Were you happy after downsizing?
(Here's the backstory)
I know a lot of folks here haul around massive rigs, but I'm feeling that lugging around my Acoustic 106 2X15 cab might be a bit much.
I'm at a fork in the road of bass amps. My current head is a cheesy Ampeg in a case I made from old pallets. And the cones in my speakers are held together by Elmers glue, toilet paper, and ModPodge.
I play in a trio with a loud drummer and a nylon string acoustic player. Most of our gigs have a full PA and soundperson provided. The acoustic guy uses a tiny little amp, and I feel like my amp is a bit overbearing for our stage set up.
I know that if I got a more respectable head, and replaced my speakers, I'd have a badass rig. But the idea of a 2/10 or 1/15 combo is very appealing for aesthetic and portability reasons.
(Here's the short part!)
I'm curious what others have felt when they went to a larger stack to a more compact amp. Did you find yourself missing out? Tell me how it went for you!
I love my Markbass LMIII with 151P cab(s). Actually, I went up in wattage as I went down in weight, from mostly 200w amps. And, I'm always looking for more and more ways to go light. I'm very interested in Barefaced.
Just played a decent size bar (probably holds about 80-90 people) with my TC BG250, and it PUT out serious bass, plenty loud! Cut thru like a knife.
Didn't even turn it up past 5 all night.
(and I wasn't in the PA at all, only acoustic guitar and vocals were.) Drummer was playing a little aggressively as well.
I went from gigging the rack gear and an 8x10 to an amp that's less than 5 lbs. (Aguilar Tone Hammer 500) and two 1x12 cabs that weigh 25 lbs. each (Aguilar SL112's)- couldn't be happier. I always thought that I needed that other stuff and have found that I really didn't. Most if not all of my gigs have adequate PA but, this little 2x12 rig hasn't disappointed when it needed to be pushed a little more to get the bass to the back of the room. And, with the "super 12's" out there now, you can easily find a lightweight rig that'll handle much more than what you'd think.
My current favorite rig is my GK MB800 and Bergantino AE212. I also like the AE210 with the MB800. For those who like a little more vintage sound, the Aguilar TH500 works very well. I downsized from Aguilar DB750, Glockenklang Heart-Rock, and Eden WT800, all with their 80- to 100-pound 410 cabs. Now all of my cabs are Bergantino AEs. No regrets at all. If I have PA support, the MB800/AE210 rig is superb. That's a 5-pound head with a 40-pound cab. If no PA support, then I use the MB800 with the AE212 or AE410. Still small enough to fit in the back seat of my car.
I'm getting more happy with downsizing on occasion, and even used a low watt SS practice amp on my gig tonight, but I still prefer the big tube stuff by a fair margin. I'm a raging tube snob, but a bit of a pragmatist as well, so I have been known to show up with small stuff now and then.
Went from a heavy Eden rig to a 5-lb head (Aguilar Tone Hammer) and a 1x12 (Audiokinesis.) Just as loud as the Eden 2x12, less than 40 lbs total haul, fits on a little cart that goes right through the subway turnstiles.
Love the tone, too.
I do have a hard time downsizing on guitar, though; I need tubes (or VERY convincing tube analogs like the Bogner pedals) to really feel "at home."
I went from a really big bearhug of 1x15 to a 2x10 I can carry in one hand for my main rig. I'm a happy camper. I still like to have the 1x15 for loud backline gigs.
Sometimes I drag out a 2x15 with FOH with some really loud cats but the 2x10 does most of my gigs with FOH support.
I have a hard time putting your manic drummer and nylon string guitar in same band. I can't imagine nylon string guy is having it easy with monitoring himself? Less stage volume is great so long as you maintain the performance energy. This feeds back to the drummer being happy to use some smaller sticks and chillax, groove more, bash less.
If your drummer gets on board your band will have a much easier time of sounding really damn good in medium venues with PA.
I recently downsized my rig in the summer of 2012. I run through an Electro Voice LiveX 15 inch powered speaker, 1000 watts, preamped by a Zoom B3 effects unit. Beats the hell out of the old Carvin B1500 and Avatar 12" cabs that I lugged around! The sound, portability, and versatility are great. I may never go back to a conventional set up again! :)
I run a Tecamp Puma 900 (about 2.5#) and either a fEARful 12/6/1 or a Glasstone LiL G (both about 30#) and I have never been happier.
My back loves me and the audience loves my tone.
Wow. I didn't expect every reply so far to be a positive one. This is definitely helping me narrow down my search.
Coming from the portaflex member number one!
For me it was a matter of being practical and realistic. My only gig is serving at church and I took a chance on a GK MB115 combo. Pretty big stage in a high school auditorium with comfy theater styled, tier seating with about an 800 seating capacity. Even though I run direct to the PA I've found that amp is plenty for my needs on stage. Fact is, I'll be serving today and I love the fact that I can put the amp into the back seat of my Ford Focus with no problem....and that's okay with my bad back and knee's!
Most gigs I only use an Ampeg BA-115, which isn't expensive and fits easily on the back seat of my Toyota. Puts out plenty of output for its size! When I used an SWR 4x10, I never needed the extra power except on really large outdoor gigs.
At some point I realized that I didn't play stadiums, doing mostly bar gigs and didn't need anything more than a powerful combo.
I have been much happier since then. Nothing's more depressing than having tons of gear in a cupboard that you never use.
5LB GKMB800 + 43LB DIY fEARful 15/6 gets it done for me. Though with my new band I am finding my 12/6 is more than adequate for stage volume with PA support.
Going from a GK700RB-IV to an MB2-500, no. Going from a Carvin BRX-212 to a WT-330+2x10, yes- but was after the Eden's specific tone, size didn't matter so much. W/the GK it was strictly a size/weight thing, but the tone &(lack of)power didn't thrill me.
I am happy to be most variable, having an Ibanez Promethean 5110 for small gigs, a Little Mark LM II with a SWR Workingman 212, upgradet with two Beyma Neodymium Speakers, 600 Watt @ 4 Ohms now, or a (much heavier) closed 410 without tweeter, built like the upper half of an Ampeg fridge, 400 Watt @ 8 Ohm.
When I go a bit louder I pack my GenzBenz GBE 1200 on top of this cabs.
If there is time and room for big stacks, I prefer the two Peavey TVX 410 for fullstack, on top either the GBE 1200 or an Ampeg SVP Pro + Poweramp (about 40 lbs, 2 x 750 Watt @ 4 Ohm, 2 x 550 Watt @ 8 Ohm).
Last opinion is my Tecamp L 810, a lightweight 810-cab, only 86 lbs, 2.400 Watt @ 4 Ohm. I change between Ampeg/Poweramp an GBE 1200, as I like to.
Most venues I play allow one of this fullstacks, and I use them four to times a month. The smaller, lightweight combo or halfstack maybe twice a month.
Yes, I play hard rock in the one, heavy metal in the other band. The third band is a hard-rock - cover band, this band plays in the smaler venues like bar gigs.
So you see, I am prepared for everything, but I am more happy with the solid gear, because of the sound. Lightweight combos or amps are useful, but I like heavy torodial transformers.
Or, as Ed Friedland, The Bass Whisperer, says in the review of a new GenzBenz cab-series with new speakers made with a ferrit-speaker, driven by his GBE 1200: "Definition, definition, definition...."
I DS'd to a 210 for a while. It just sounded thin. I tried. I really tried.
About the lightest I can go and still smile when playing is 215 at under 65 pounds and Streamliner.
I am going to make one more stab at it with the F115 and the Streamliner. If that doesn't cut it, I am done trying to go light. I dont play 200+ shows a year nor am I hired gun so it's not even a minor inconvenience.
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