Ampeg BA-108 Practice Amp

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by gtaus, Mar 24, 2011.


  1. gtaus

    gtaus

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    Looking for a light, portable, bass practice amp. My main use would be to jack in an mp3 player and jam along with the tracks. Would be nice to use the headphones at night when everyone else is sleeping, or still getting a decent tone if playing through the amp's speaker. Would be nice if the tone was good enough to send a line out to a mixer if I play at an open jam.

    I saw that Ampeg came out with the BA-110 and BA-108. Checked out the YouTube video at YouTube - Ampeg BA Series: BA-108 & BA-110 and can't hear much difference on my headphones. I am leaning towards the BA-108 for the smaller size.

    Am wondering if anyone actually has these amps, and/or if anyone has tried one out. Where I live, I will have to order any bass amp I would buy from the internet, so I won't get a chance to try out one before buying. Hoping that someone can offer real life opinions. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    i haven't checked them out since they're not out yet, but if you're going to do jams with other musicians, i'd get the biggest one you can stand to move. small combos like the ba108 are great to have around the house or for a quick and dirty low volume practice amp, but at a jam, you'll appreciate the bigger size, especially if you play with a drummer.
     
  3. gtaus

    gtaus

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    Thanks, Jimmy. I called Sweetwater and they won't get the amps until May. I have seen so many ads about the amp that I thought they were already shipping. Like I said, our small town music shop does not carry Ampeg.

    Anyway, I have a 120 watt 115 combo amp and a 450 watt head and 410 cab rig (no big brand names). Neither of those rigs is good for jacking in a mp3 player for jam along playing. Even the 120 watt amp is too heavy to just throw in the car for a quick night out at a open jam. There is a house PA where I go to the open jams, and I have been just jacking my bass directly into the stage mixer and playing through the FOH speakers. It works. I just thought that the line out of the Ampeg BA-108 might provide a better sound than jacking my bass into the mixer directly. I have always like the Ampeg sound, just never could afford my dream 810 cab and SVT head.

    I do realize that a 20 watt bass amp is not going to keep up with a drum kit. I've been playing in a successful cover band for almost 5 years now, so I know that it takes a lot of power just to bring up the bass to the drum level. I am really looking for a small bass amp for practice, hopefully it still sounds OK (the Ampeg BA-108 sounds good on the promo video), and I was thinking that the line out to the PA might be a good addition if I needed to jam out with other guys. Lots of these small bass practice amps do not have a line out, so I was interested in the Ampeg BA-108 which includes one. But my main goal is to get a small, light, easy to carry practice amp.
     
  4. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

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    I just bought an acoustic b10 for the exact same uses you need, headphones out & aux in (iPod). I already have a head/cab for when I need loud. I thought I was going to go the headphones amp route, but went for a small combo instead.

    Prefering to spend $100 or less for something that'd probably never leave my spare bedroom, I looked at the Peavey Max 126, Fender Rumble 15, and the acoustic. Though smaller in size & speaker, I liked the Peavey better than the Fender. Would've like to have tried the Max 158, but the store was out.

    In the end, though, having previously owned an acoustic b20 (which I got rid of last October :oops:), I went with the smaller version of that. It was heavier and had a bigger footprint than the other 2, but helped by the biggest speaker of the bunch (10"), it also sounded the best. Plus, with the acoustic, I wouldn't need any 1/8" stereo to 1/4" plug adapters for either the headphones out/aux in. For the Peavey, I'd need 2; the Fender 1.

    I really wanted to toss a Hartke A25 into the mix, even upping my budget, thanks to Larry's contributions to this forum. Unfortunately, the one small shop I called was out, and the customer service experience I had at 2 different Sam Ash stores was pitiful.
     
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  6. Ibanez Bassist

    Ibanez Bassist

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    I have the Ampeg BA-112 and its great, Nice power, some great features and very light to carry around..
     
  7. gtaus

    gtaus

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    Thanks for the info. I have seen the Fender Rumble 15, and, IMHO, it just did not have much bottom end even for a practice amp. Like you, I was just thinking about a headphone amp, but if I could get a small combo amp just for practice that had somewhat a decent sound, I'd go that route. I was surprised at the YouTube video on the Ampeg BA-108 and BA-110 and how good they sounded. Plus, you can send a direct line to the PA (which most of these small combos do not support) or put on headphones for private practice later at night.

    I have heard good things about the Acoustic B20 bass practice amp, and even have it on my wish list at Amazon while I consider that model. There is a video of the B20 posted on YouTube YouTube - Review of the Acoustic B20 bass combo.. I also read the thread on the B20 here at http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/acoustic-brand-combo-gc-%24149-99-a-376710/. Yeah, I like the 1/8" jacks for the mp3 player and the headphones, but I already have cables and adapters for RCA jacks and 1/4" headphones, so that feature on the B20 is a wash for me. The B10 seems to have good reviews also.

    I guess I'll just wait for the user reviews to come in on the Ampeg BA-108 when they start shipping this May. I'm not in a great hurry and have other options until I find something better. Thanks to everyone who responded.
     
  8. LM Bass

    LM Bass

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    I just got a BA-108 this morning, and it's a wonderful little rig! You can't go wrong for $99. Good tone, you can plug in two basses at the same time, and the stereo input and headphone out are great. I'll be using this at Vancouver Community College where I teach.
    Laurence
     
  9. Ibanez Bassist

    Ibanez Bassist

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    I have a few of the Acoustic Brand amps. and I think there great, Nice Tones, great sound.. good power.. and a couple Ampeg, great quality there as well..
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Agreed. I even use my BA108 on a little gig I do with upright. For $100 it's unbeatable.
     
  11. gtaus

    gtaus

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    Thanks for all the comments. I did buy myself an Ampeg BA-108 and I absolutely love it. It's now my main practice amp at home. During the day, I can jam along with backing tracks I play through my home system. At night, I jack an mp3 player directly into the BA-108 and use my headphones. Just the other day, my wife said to me that she noticed I'm not practicing my bass as much as I used to. I told her, in reality, I'm practicing bass more but now I use my headphones at night and I don't have to worry about waking her up!

    I really love how Ampeg added the aux in volume control knob on the amp itself. Although my mp3 player has a volume control on it, occasionally I use an audio device with only a line out (no volume control on the device), so the ability to adjust the volume of the aux device on the amp itself, separate from the bass input, is very useful.

    Just curious if anyone is using the BA-108 for open jams and taking the line out from the BA-108 to a PA for extra power/volume, and if so, how does it sound? I have not hit the road with my BA-108 yet, but if the sound from the line output sounds as good as from the speaker, that would be great.

    For anyone considering the Ampeg BA-108 for a practice amp, I'd say it's a no brainer. I'm extremely happy with mine. And my wife is also sleeping better. Happy wife, happy life.
     
  12. bassgreek

    bassgreek

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    what is the difference \between 0db -15db jacks?
     
  13. gtaus

    gtaus

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    I think the difference is for which input jack you use for a passive or active bass. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that you plug a passive bass into the 0db jack (standard jack).

    The -15db jack is for an active bass (which has electronics to boost the output signal) so sometimes the amp is overdriven on the standard input jack which is why they offer the attenuated -15db jack to cut down the signal of the active bass. You can plug an active bass into the standard jack, but you have little control over the gain/volume of the amp. Meaning that the signal is so hot, that small increases in the volume quickly lead to an overdriven sound. So, you use the -15db jack, which cuts down the signal level, allowing you more control over the full volume range control of your amp.

    On The Ampeg BA-108, I use the 0db input for my passive bass, and use the -15db input for my active bass guitar. Hope that helps.
     
  14. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

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    gtaus is correct, but, there's no need to use the -15dB input with any bass, active or not, unless doing so causes the preamp to clip at very low gain levels. I would suggest using the normal 0dB input with ANY bass, and using the "gain" control to set your input level. If the signalo is just so hot, that your preamp clips with the gain set at minimum, then, and only then do you need to use the padded input.
     
  15. Reprise

    Reprise Supporting Member

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    I have the Acoustic B20, and recently picked up a BA-108 on sale to have a 2nd practice amp for when I travel. The Ampeg is a little lighter & smaller.

    Liked the tone of the Acoustic better. I'll bet that 12" vs. the 8" has a bit to do with it (besides the electronics).
    Took back the Ampeg. Disappointed.

    Only downside I see to the Acoustic is that it uses a 6 ohm speaker (per TB reviews that I read) - so if it ever blows (or you wanted to 'upgrade' it) - that might be a problem.

    I guess if the Acoustic ever goes south, I'll try the small Hartke (I've already got a Kickback 15" that I use for various things; wish it had the line-in like the newer ones do).
     
  16. gtaus

    gtaus

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    No doubt the Acoustic B20 was highly rated. Never got the chance to try one. Now I see they are no longer being sold. I suspect the 12" speaker would sound better than an 8" speaker. Having said that, for practice, I spend more than half the time jamming with headphones on. So I was looking for the smallest, decent sounding amp I could find, and the Ampeg BA-108 was the tone I was looking for. Plus, it has a line out to jack into a mixer if you take it out to an open jam. I thought that was an advantage for an amp this size.
     

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