New to buying amps and need help?
I am just getting into buying a decent amplifier and I would like to buy a head and a cabinet. I understand how the Ohms have to match or how you can put an 8 Ohm head into 4 Ohm cabinet and be okay, but I don't entirely understand the wattage.
1) If I had a 4Ohm cab that could handle say, 800 watts, and a 500 watt head @ 4Ohms, am I only going to be putting out the amount of wattage that the head puts out, or will I be putting out the 800 that the cab can handle?
2) With the difference in solid state and tube, does the cabinet make the amp tube, or does the head make it a tube amp?
Any help is appreciated. Sorry if any wrong terminology is used. I am just now starting to immerse myself in the bass and I am really enjoying it. Thanks!
1. The wattage that the head puts out.
SS amp heads will put out their maximum rated power at their "minimum load" impedance (supplied by the speaker cab). 0 ohms by the way is a dead short.
Tube output amps will put out their full power independent of speaker load.
See Jimmy's answers above.
Thanks a ton. That really helps. Now between SS and tube, which would you prefer? I've played with and heard plenty of SS but never I've never really gotten the opportunity to play a tube amp. I do know that tubes are generally a bit louder though correct?
Tubes by far for me. And yeah, tube amps generally will seem like they go louder, but a lot of that is that watts are watts, but tube amps handle distortion more gracefully than other types to where you don't really notice it until it reaches a fairly high level of it. Or words to that effect...not thinking very well at the moment...had a gig that made me want to retire.
Have you got any particular models in mind? If there's a sure thing here it's that you will get personal experiences posted about just about any model out now, recently, a little old, and likely, most vintage models, too. Here are some of the answers that will help the TB collective to help you:
1. Budget: how much ya looking to spend on either, or the whole?
2. Purpose: are you looking to get by in the garage, find a rehearsal and gigging amp, or already have the practice and rehearsal stuff, and now you need gig gear?
3. Sound(s): what guys' tones do you like, what sort of music are you playing, and are you using pedals?
4. Power: what sort of gear are you up against, and if you're searching for gig gear, are you going to be running through the PA more or less often?
5. Location: are you in a bigger town where CL and GC and other places and sources of used gear as well as new gear are plentiful?
6. Aesthetic: is there a certain look that just plain turns you off? (this is completely unimportant in the real world, but if you think your amp is ugly, well, that sucks)
7. Skills: Is a diy cab even on the radar?
Posting these answers will get you the best chance of narrowing down the field from the literally thousands of choices out there.
Okay, thank you again. As for matching a head and cab again, would it be safe, or reasonable to match this head:
With this cab?
I am also on the lookout for cost efficiency for a good product as I'm sure we all are.
Can't tell you what you will prefer tube or SS and one brand to the next is not the same. If you have never played through a tube amp you absolutely need to. I came from tube to now SS, but that does not mean anything as far as what you will like better. My favorite tube amps were Ampeg V4-B, original SVT and Sunn 2000s.
For both the head and cab I am definitely looking to spend at 800 or below. I will be using the amp for various performances like at my church, FFA string band, gigs with my friends, and just plain playing music. Music type definitely always varies, and I do not own any pedals. I am up against 2 very loud tube VOX guitar amps and an overly loud drum player who can't control himself half the time. So considering I am using just a friends smaller amp, I am more than half the time, under powered and not mixed in the music as well as I'd like. I am not in a big town so used gear and such is not as plentiful. Looks arent a big deal, i am okay with just about any look, sound and power are definte priorities. As for now, diy cab is definitely not on the radar. I wouldnt even know where to begin with that.
Get yourself at least 300w and a 410 212, or 215 rig at the minimum. And when it comes to cabs, don't worry so much about numbers. Most of them are BS anyway. People who go strictly by the numbers are people who end up blowing their cabs ("Well they said I could do it!"). Always use your ears and your common sense above all else, and remember my golden rule for safe bass rig operation...if it sounds like the cab's going to explode, it will.
So 300w head and atleast the 410 or 212 cab. Got it. I think I may have to adapt your golden rule.
Are you only looking at new stuff?
At the moment, yes. But only because I havent got much used gear in my area to work with and cant really travel too far out of the area.
In most cases that's enough to get the job done. Now there are cases where you might need more, but for most people looking to get a rig that doesn't break the bank and has enough guts to put it out without straining too hard, the 300w head with one of those cab rigs is usually enough. And if you have to skimp on anything to put your rig together, skimp on the amp, not the cab. A budget head can sound quite good. A budget cab almost always sounds like ass. You don't have to get the most expensive one in the store either, but the cheapest ones are just plain garbage.
OK. The head you posted is probably fine for power and features. It isn't by a brand known for being high quality, so there is a possibility of getting a bum unit you'll need to exchange for another, or just plain won't dig it.
The cab will be safe to use with it, but may not let you add another cab in the future-- I couldn't see the minimum ohm load the amp will take- that cab is 4 ohm, and lots of amps can only use 1 four ohm cab. You could definitely hit its limits with too much low end in your settings, and some guys say 410 cabs have too many drawbacks-- the main one being that they're awkward to move around being heavy, bulky and low to the ground. The casters are a bonus, though.
Seems to me if it fits in your budget, put a pin in that rig, and keep looking. Some suggestions will follow. It appears to be a decent enough starter rig for your purposes. There's better (IMO), but that's a good place to start.
If you have a Guitar Center in your area you can use the ship to store near you from the used section.
If you call them you can most likely make your budget. They do not list their best price.
For a tube amp you will have to keep an eye out for used as they are more expensive.
That 212 and mb500 rig will be easier to move around, is by a popular and reputable brand with great customer service, and should be all the rig you need for years to come.
Thanks for all the help from everyone! I will definitely be sure to look at many different places to be able to get set up.
What about matching the MB500 head with the fender rumble 410 i posted? This head would be an improvement over the other i assume?
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