Amp purchase advice/recommendation...

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by herbygardener, Nov 30, 2013.


  1. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    A Rock in the Pacific
    Hi all,
    First post here as a newb.
    I'm teaching myself (ugg, one of those ;~) and feel I've come along pretty well in my first coupla months of playing. Loads still to learn. Thanks to everyone for all the help and advice I have already gleaned from this site...awesome resource for an eager beginner.
    I'm looking at an amp upgrade (been sharing one with the electric drum kit) and am trying to decide between 2 amps right now. It will be for home/garage jamming mostly, perhaps the odd backyard get together.
    Just wanted to get any feedback/pros and cons from those who have used or know of these models to help me make my decision.

    1) Fender Rumble 75
    http://www.long-mcquade.com/products/7361/Guitars/Bass_Amps/Fender_Musical_Instruments/Rumble_75.htm

    2) Traynor Travel Mate 2-Channel 50 Watt Wedge Amp
    http://www.long-mcquade.com/product..._-_Travelmate_50-Watt_Battery_Powered_Amp.htm
    This one comes as battery powered or plug in and I'm leaning to the plug in.

    Thanks again for helping to guide me on this new journey.
    An old dog can learn some new tricks after all ;~)
    Cheers
    Herby
  2. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Location:
    North Cackalacky
    Hi Herby,

    Welcome; I'm new here too.

    I got a chance to demo a Rumble 75 a month ago, and it was impressively loud, and went relatively low - but at the cost of definition. It sounded really muddy, and blurred the notes together. In comparison, an Orange 50 sounded bright and crisp, but had no low end for drop D tuning.

    Haven't heard the Traynor, but at this pricepoint, you have to choose the shortcoming you're most willing to put up with: low end extension, ability to play loud without turning into fart noises, or definition and clarity.

    When you do decide to buy, be sure to audition the amp loud so you'll know how it will sound in a garage jam session.

    Good luck!
  3. walldaja

    walldaja

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Moving a low frequency wave takes a lot of power, you need to get the most you can afford. I think a good starting point is with a 15" speaker and 200 watts. At that point you're pressing about 60 pounds unless you get one of the newer lightweight amps. The TC-250 and the G-K MB115 gets that size and power for less than 40 pounds. My G-K is much closer to 30 actually. Best wishes.
  4. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    Hi Herby, and welcome to TB. I haven't use those amps, so I can't comment about them - but if you're open to other suggestion just let everyone know.

    Cheers, Joe
  5. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    A Rock in the Pacific
    Thanks for responding gang.
    It is great to get other angles to think about things from.
    Joe - I'm always open to other suggestions, I just didn't want to start another 'what amp should I buy' thread ;) I've kinda narrowed it down to those 2 on my own but my general parameters are...$200-300ish, 40-100w range? 2 inputs; would be great to be able to connect a mic as well. Not sure about modelling amps either, seems like more bits to break but? Garage jamming mostly with an acoustic drum kit, 1(sometimes 2)Mustang2 guitar amps and a 15w keyboard amp.
    Swampbass - I never really thought of it in those terms. I realize that there are limits to what I can expect in this price range and by listing the attributes you did I would say I really don't need it to get 'That Loud', I'd prefer the clarity and extension. The Oranges have intrigued me but I haven't heard one yet.
    walldaja - again I never thought of it in those terms of pushing air, thanks. I think 200W might be a bit bigger than I need and want to spend on right now but the speaker size will be more on my mind. And there will always be the next upgrade ;)
    Keep the opinions coming!
    Cheers
    Herby
  6. basscooker

    basscooker

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    cincy ky
    Disclosures:
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    Since you are willing to consider other options, I'd like to point out that the used amp market is your friend. With a lower budget, you really have few, if any, options for an amp that can give the power and headroom that playing with acoustic drums requires. Even a 15 watt guitar amp can bury about any new bass amp in the $200 range. With that same $200 you could track down an amp that sold new in the $4-450 range or higher, but has seen some use already. A common suggestion for your situation is to check out some used peavey stuff from the 80s or so. A tnt 150 is big and heavy, but it's a 1x15 combo with enough power to keep up with most garage/basement jams with acoustic drums. It will also likely provide more headroom than it seems you'll need, but will allow you the opportunity to learn to fit in the mix, not just boom the room. I think it's always better for bass to have more AVAILABLE headroom than required, just to keep the gear from sweating too much. For example, at this very moment on the Guitar Center used pages there are two capable peavey bass heads, a citation and a mark 3, for 50 bucks. yes tax and shipping (are you in Canada?) will be extra, but starting at 50 bucks, even those extras don't take it out of the "good price" range. Hang in there, but keep in mind, the 1x15 100-200 watt range is (in the opinion of many) the next logical step in gear, after learning the instrument. With a bit higher budget, there are some 1x12 amps that can cut it too. 2x10's aren't a bad choice, either, since with two, you can make a vertical 4x10 stack (eventually) putting the bass up by your ears, giving you that clarity and definition that a 1x15 firing at your legs sometimes lacks. The GK 200mb 1x12 combo gets lots of love here on TB, I've personally never fiddled with one, but it seems like a good way to go if I needed a combo with jam room power, and IIRC it will kick back, too. Good luck, and welcome to the forum.
  7. Andyman001

    Andyman001 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    Also with used gear, if you research current prices before you buy, if you don't like it you can probably re sell it and get your money back, whereas buying new you would be lucky to get half of your investment back. If you do decide to buy new, find out the return policy of the store you purchase at.

    As for amps, I would look for a combo that has an extension speaker output for more versatility.

    good luck.
  8. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    A Rock in the Pacific
    Thanks for the feedback guys.
    I have been perusing the used market as well. Seems like most used amps I have come across locally (left coast of Canada) are either small(10-30w) home practice amps or large(200w+) concert units.
    Are there any particular or common issues to keep an eye out for when buying used? Any makes/models I should search for or stay away from? Peavy is a name I think I could trust...Even bringing my bass and trying out a used amp; as a noob I may not know what to pay attention too as my experience and knowledge is somewhat limited. Not interested in throwing money at a lemon...I guess no one is ;)
    Cheers
    Herby
  9. basscooker

    basscooker

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    cincy ky
    Disclosures:
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    Well, unfortunately, the next step up from practice amp is the 200 watt range amps. See with our chosen instrument, once you start piling on instruments that live within the frequency range our ears favor, we get lost. Add to that the fact that it just plain takes moving a lot of air to make bass guitar frequencies loud. Add to that the fact that making that much air move requires more power. And here we are back at the beginning, you need more power. There are guys that do just fine with a low powered combo, they just elevate or tip it. You can do that. If you want a single package that can work in random jam settings, it might not always cover it. That is why I think the best suggestion is to get one of there larger 100-200 watt combos. Also, amp power can be tricky for noobs: a 200 watt amp through the same speaker might not seem any different than a 100 watt. You'd need either twice the speakers or three (or more) times the power of amp to double the volume. A 100 watt bass amp is actually not that high power.
    With used combos: fartout, rattles, noisy pots, and incorrect speakers are what I'd say are the most common "problems" to look for. Most combos (especially the kind you're looking for) aren't the best at keeping the actual cabinet dimensions perfect for the speaker inside, and often have too small of an enclosure, leading to early fartout. If you can't test it to see how loud it gets, you shouldn't buy. Lots of rattles like to appear with combo amps, and most of the time can be fixed with a screwdriver, glue , and patience. Noisy pots can be cleaned. As far as obvious red flags, it's not really much different than buying anything used. If it's banged up, missing knobs, or leds/jewel lamps not lighting, there's likely been abuse and may crap out any minute. Signs of being wet in the past, spill or pet stains, or a new grillcloth on a very used box are signs to be cautious of also. Metal corners with dents are a big nono- it takes a really hard impact to dent those, making the possibility of hidden issues real. If the chassis mounting screws show signs of being messed with at all, I usually walk also, because any respectable tech would either not strip them coming out or going in, or would at least replace them if he did--- this means "who knows" who has been poking around inside there, possibly doing things badly. There's a laundry list of stuff like this to look for, but at your price point, just make sure it powers up, gets loud without making the speaker fart, and rattling, if it happens, is definitely something like a loose screw or internal bracing come loose. If you shop a cab/amp just be sure to confirm the cab's speaker(s) and ohms are what they should be, and the amp and cab will work together (if you have a 4 ohm cab and an amp that only goes to 8 ohms, they won't work together--- the GK Backline 250 is one of these amps, boooo). Once again, good luck.
  10. tmdazed

    tmdazed

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2012
    Not sure where in the country where you are Herby , but i noticed you had L&M referenced up there, for that kind of price range and power output , Dollar for Dollar , this Ampeg BA112 50-Watt Bass Combo is your best deal and right within the budget you are looking at

    http://www.axemusic.com/store/produ...plifier-with-1-x-12-inch-Bass-Driver-Speaker/

    Axe also does free shipping over their online store
  11. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    A Rock in the Pacific
    Great info basscooker.
    I've yet to learn about the ohm ratings, guess I'll put that on my research list as well :)
    Thanx tmdazed, will check that one out too.
    Cheers
  12. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    Herby, checkout the Gallien-Krueger MB110 Bass Combo Amp.
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MB110
    [​IMG]
    Tiny: 14.5"H x 12.5"W x 11.5"D
    Lightweight: 21 lbs.
    Powerful: 100 Watts
    Affordable: $299.

    I'm loving mine.
  13. basscooker

    basscooker

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    cincy ky
    Disclosures:
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    You're welcome, and yes you totally need to know the ohms part of it. it's easy though with most bass cabs: Speakers provide a certain amount of (we'll say resistance, but technically that's the wrong word) resistance to what the amp is feeding it, this is the ohm rating for the speaker. If you don't have enough resistance (ohms too low) the amp will push itself too hard and bad things happen. By adding more speakers in parallel (the way most amps and cabs hook together) you are providing LESS resistance to the amp. Most bass amps will happily work at 4 or higher ohms. Two 8 ohm cabinets will show 4 ohms to the amp, two 16 ohm cabinets will show the amp 8 ohms. Two 4 ohm cabs will show most bass amps their last gig, haha. This is the guideline for the majority of solid state amps, with exceptions, of course. When shopping combo amps, do also keep in mind that if it is, say a 300 watt amp, but it has a connector for an external cab, it is likely about a 150 watt amp as it sits, and adding that second cab later will allow the amp to use it's full rated watts. BUT going from 8 to 4 ohms with the same amount of speaker area will not make the VOLUME double. It's tricky, but just remember to stay at or above ohm ratings, and that more speaker cabs is almost always lower ohms.
  14. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    A Rock in the Pacific
    Joe and tmdazed those 2 are definitely added to my compare list.
    Basscooker again great info thank you. I thought as a mid 40's guy learning to play and read music it would be like learning another language. Never thought about the whole other language needed to learn to deal with gear and equipment...makes it easy to learn something new everyday ;~)
    It seems to me like I have a bunch more research to do.
    I have also been perusing used gear and am now leaning towards sitting on this decision while I continue to practice and learn. Perhaps I'll wait until I am willing to spend closer to $500ish and get something of size and quality that will suit me for quite some time.
    Thanks again to all for the helpful info.
    This forum rocks!
    Cheers
    Herby
  15. basscooker

    basscooker

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    cincy ky
    Disclosures:
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    Y'know, once you start increasing the budget, the size can become a bit less of a factor. They've been shrinking the size and weight pretty steadily for years now. Going small and light, but still having good power and fullness does come at a bit of a premium. BUT I'm not getting any younger, either, and I'll pay a bit more if I can get something I like, meets my needs, and that's light and small, too. I have a Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0 micro amp, and 2 1x10 shuttle cabs. I am happy with the range of tones i have. I never need more power or low end than this rig gives me, and it's 36 pounds, in a package smaller than lots of 2x10 combos, and even some 2x10 cabs. Could everybody do what they do with my rig? No way, but I've found one that's the right fit for me, as you will, too. Just get out and play through stuff. ;)
  16. groove pump

    groove pump

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    I respect everyone's opinions here and I agree that this is a rather nice amp, but... I owned one a few years ago and it was a disappointment for me in terms of making enough sound when playing with others in a practice/rehearsal setting. Yes, the preamp is rather flexible and when I used my Ampeg for practicing by myself, it made very nice tones. Even when elevated up on something like a chair or table though, it just couldn't hang in a mix.

    This was one of the few pieces of gear I bought brand new in recent history, so I gave it several chances before unloading it. If you want to get a practice amp that might also run well in a practice or small jam, try to sample it first and turn it up beyond one or two on the volume to see what it delivers. If Ampeg is readily available for you, I'd look at their BA-115 as a possibility instead of that BA-112.

    Peavey has always been a leader in terms of delivering bang for the buck. Yep, my first amp was one of their big ol' boat anchor combos. You might also find some great price tags on Canadian gear (maybe Yorkville/Traynor?).

    In terms of the used market, I think it's safe to say we can't shop enough. All sorts of gizmos in different condition out there. The "practice" amp I stumbled upon a few years ago is an old Genz-Benz ML 112. Their premium gear has earned a great reputation, but this little "tilt-back" combo has been phenomenal for me. Terrific sound and Godzilla-loud when I want to turn it up. More than okay for at least a small gig. I've even used it at a show when we needed a spare monitor. I think I picked it up for $85.

    These super values are out there, but it's just tough to know when or where they'll show up. Try them out whenever you can and don't let an abundance of bells and whistles sway your decision so much as your ears. You'll probably know what's a stronger option for you when you hear it.
  17. Webskipper

    Webskipper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2013
    Returning player here. It's been years since I played.

    I'm in a quiet apt complex and don't want to annoy the neighbors. I plan to take lessons and will mostly rely on self-study to get back to speed.

    Can IOS gizmos like Apogee allow one to put off the floor amp purchase and just use GarageBand and headphones?
  18. bigcam

    bigcam

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    There some good advice... Just get out and play through stuff.... Look at used gear, and make sure it has an XLR output for the sound system. I've been playing a long time and have owned most brands. The each has their own sound and limitations. Be comfortable with it. Having good power and fullness does come at a bit of a premium. BUT I'm not getting any younger, either. Personally, I come back to Fender most times. My first amp was a Fender Musicman combo in the mid 60's.
  19. Signs

    Signs

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Muskegon, MI
    If you have $300 to spend, I would look at getting a used amp head and cabinet. You could probably look around a get something decent you could practice with and play out with. If you spend $300 on a low wattage practice only amp, you won't get it back, and won't be able to play out with it.

    When I play with my friend (lead guitar and vocals) and drummer (vocals/back up vocals) and they are miked in my friends building, I use a 150 watts with a 15 inch speaker to cut through. I have an Ampeg Ba110 which is 35 watts and is probably twice as loud as an Ibanez amp I played with the same wattage. I love this Ampeg dearly, but there is no way it would be loud enough to play with this pair. And they aren't that loud...
  20. Linnin

    Linnin

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    Waynesboro, Virginia
    Welcome herbygardener! Great first post.

    I have owned a Rumble 75 for a year and a half now and I love it. It's a great personal practice amp that's also loud enough for the occasional jam with a drummer. I also use it for gigging in a jazz duo in small bars, and restaurants. It has great full tone that is thick and rich.

    I've written an extensive review here http://forums.fender.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=72320

    I've never seen much less played a Traynor amp, so I cannot speak to that.

    Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy it. :cool:

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