What is the Bass equivalent of a Fender Hot Rod deluxe?

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by piloto117, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. piloto117

    piloto117 Member

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    ...if there is such a thing. Looking for recommendations on a modest combo bass amp with good performance for medium venues. Something that sounds great without too many mods, reliability and good volume. ?
     
  2. OllieDox

    OllieDox Member

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    As a guitarist-turned bassist, I can tell you that the world of bass gear is much different than guitar stuff. In most cases, the best way to go with bass gear is a head and cab configuration rather than a combo. Combos tend to be heavy, less flexible, and often quieter (based on utilizing the amp's full power) than a head/cab set up.

    Although some people still swear by them, tube amps in the bass world are the minority. There are plenty of class D digital micro heads that are powerful, super light, and highly regarded (this is, of course, a major change from the guitar world!). A huge advantage of this set up is that it allows you to swap out amps if you're looking for different sound. Modding isn't common (and likely not very possible) with these types of amps.

    My original and now backup bass amp is an SWR Workingman's 15 combo. It's an old, solid amp that is also very heavy (weighs about as much as an AC30) and sometimes not as loud as it needs to be. Another workhorse combo would be a used Peavey TNT. Either of these amps should be around $200 used and would be good options, although I would lean toward the SWR since I think some models of the TNT do not have a DI (which is practically essential for live playing - I generally always go direct at every venue I play at regardless of the size).

    I would strongly recommend checking out Talkbass.com. I learned a ton of information there. They taught me that the speaker cabinet is probably the biggest factor on your sound. A frequent piece of advice there was to spend the money on the good high quality cab and not worry as much about the head initially.
     
  3. piloto117

    piloto117 Member

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    Thanks, that's good advice. I was actually looking into these micro head amps. So what would be a good, affordable, reliable head and cab?
     
  4. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    Define "affordable".

    Can't go wrong with a Markbass LMII head. They can be scored for $350 on CL or Ebay any day of the week.

    They sound awesome, IMO.

    Add to that a Mesa Powerhouse 1x12 cab for about the same price and you have a killer sounding, extremely portable and gig-able rig for $700.

    Want more? The sky is the limit on cabs...mix and match to taste.
     
  5. OllieDox

    OllieDox Member

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    There are plenty of great choices - I think it would come down to how much you want to spend, how much wattage you need, and tonal preference. The Ampeg PF series is affordable and very popular. According to many it is a good take on the classic Ampeg tone. I briefly owned the PF-350 and then upgraded to the PF-500. Both were fine, but I've moved on to something else. Other popular options are the GK MB series, Mark Bass Little Marks, Aguilar Tone Hammer, and Genz Benz Shuttle and Streamliner. I think you should be able to find any of these at most Guitar Centers. FWIW, I'm using the Aguilar Tone Hammer with an SWR Marcus Miller cab.
     
  6. piloto117

    piloto117 Member

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    Lets say you have 750 to spend, what would you buy for medium sized venues?
     
  7. ksandvik

    ksandvik Member

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    Talkbass.com is your friend. Expect to get about 367 different answers to what bass amp/cab you will purchase.
     
  8. s2y

    s2y Member

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    I'm unaware of unreliable amps.

    About the only amps I don't like are some of the older Peavey amps that were heavy as $^#$@%# and not even designed to be carried by 2 people. :waiting I thought it sounded good, but it was a backbreaker and not worth the hassles of lugging around.
     
  9. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    Along with the MarkBass LMII recommended above, check out Gallien Krueger's options. They have great sounding heads, lightweight combos, etc.

    I have an GK 700RB-II. It has a nice, solid loud clean tone that can growl a bit, especially when pushed by a SansAmp VT Bass or Catalinbread SFT pedal.
     
  10. NashSG

    NashSG Member

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    I think with a 300-400 watt solid state head and a 4x10 cab, you will have enough power for most bar gigs even with a band with some volume.

    I'd perhaps look for a Gallien Krueger 800Rb head used or a newer equivalent, as there are a bunch out there, they can be pretty affordable, were used by a ton of pros, sound pretty good and are generally hard to break. Then I would get the best 4x10 or 1x15 cab you can find.

    If you look around, you can find some decent stuff used out there.

    I've had two combos, one being an Ampeg (B2?) which was like a 200 watt 1x15 combo and a Peavey TNT. They sounded OK, but if you play with a band with any volume at all, they weren't enough. The TNT was also the most un-ergonomic to move amp ever. One handle on the top, no stock casters and it weighed like a hundred pounds.

    My live rig is...

    Gallien Kruger 700RB head
    Ampeg SVT410hlf cab

    I also got...
    Eden WT-300 head
    GK 4x10 cab
    Mesa 1x15 cab (older one from 80s)

    I used to have a Hartke 3500, which isn't the most toneful amp, but it can get the job done and has plenty of volume. It sounded way better once I got rid of the Hartke cab with the paper coned speakers and got that Mesa cab quite a few years back. Actually just got rid of the 3500 as I now got the Eden as a backup.

    I've had the GK setup for quite a few years. I blew out the horn once on it and when it was down, got the Ampeg cab used and it has taken over as my main cab.
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    there you go, a head with some power and a 4x10 cab is the "fits in the car, gets the gig done" rig.

    look at the hartke hydrive cabs; light, clear, and loud, and not too big or too spendy.
     
  12. uglybassplayer

    uglybassplayer Member

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    I've owned several lightweight heads in the past few years...

    - Markbass LMII - Great sounding solid & dependable amp. Not a class D amp, but still light. VLE & VPF controls help contour the tone. Can't go wrong with this head.

    - EA iAmp Micro 300 & 550 heads - The 300 had buzzing issues (a design flaw in this amp). The 550 is great if you want/need a super light & compact setup, especially when combined with EA's Wizzy 10 cabinet. It's a very transparent head, which can be a very good or bad thing depending on the sound you're going for. Simple bass, mid, treble controls do not offer a lot of tonal control. The 550/Wizzy 10 is my practice/coffee house rig.

    - Carvin BX500 - First few batches had some issues, but Carvin seems to have solved the problem. I've had mine for a couple of years and it has not had any issues. Lots of tone shaping options. Sold my Markbass after buying this amp. It sounds great & can operate with a 2ohm load. This along with a Schroeder 1212R 2x12 cabinet is my standard bass rig.

    Cabinets are a whole other ball game. I love my Schroeder, but it does have a slight bump in the low midrange. I find it helps me cut through in the mix like butter in a live setting, but it's not everyone's cup of tea.

    As someone else already stated, TalkBass.com is a better resource for all things bass related (no offense to TGP).
     
  13. piloto117

    piloto117 Member

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    OK, thanks guys I really appreciate it! I've begun to read some more suggestions at the other forum. Seems that a light head with a seperate cab is the way to go. Best regards!
     
  14. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    Agreed.

    This would work well:

    http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/BX500-210N

    $772.00 shipped, brand new and has a warranty. Made in the US and comes with a 10 day trial, can return it if you don't like it. I play an amp and cab setup similar to this for 95% of my gigs. If you get down the road and need more. Get another 2x10 or even a 4x10. That's the cool thing about the 2ohm load, you can run all kinds of different cab configs safely.
     
  15. ksandvik

    ksandvik Member

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    Carvins are fine but terrible resale value, buy used if possible.
     
  16. nealpolitan

    nealpolitan Member

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    I've been a part time bass player for a long time. My main bass rig has always been a GK400rb with a 2x10 cab (currently an Avatar neo 2x10). This set up is light, compact and powerful enough for almost anything short of a theater-sized show. If I need more, I use my backup amp (was a Peavey Max 450, now is an A.M.P. BH-250) and backup cab (1x15 Ampeg) as a dual amp setup. My whole set-up, backups and all cost me about $500 total.
     
  17. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    Yes, if you are buying a cheap bass amp as an investment, then might want to go with another brand. But if you are buying cheap bass amps as investments something is wrong already :D
     

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