Ampeg BA-108 with Basslite 10" upgrade?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by SDhackbassman, Feb 13, 2014.


  1. SDhackbassman

    SDhackbassman

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Location:
    Rapid City, SD
    I’m a baby-boomer who plays primarily in church with occasional gigs with some out-of-my-league musicians in a county/western swing show. I play a Conklin GT-4 active bass with Thomastik-Infeld flat wounds which I really like and a Roland DB-500 160w amp.

    Two or three years ago, after demoing many different brands, I bought an Ampeg BA-108 as a practice amp because it was small, I liked the tone, and I couldn’t beat the price.

    I now play the Ampeg more than my bigger amp, running the line out into the PA when needed, but sometimes wanting a little more “stage” volume. While the logical upgrade would be the BA-110, I am several hundred miles from an Ampeg dealer and the one I called said the 110 wasn’t that much different from the 108 and recommended the 112, which doesn’t meet my definition of small.

    What has caught my attention are the forum members who have upgraded BA-108 and 110 amps with Eminence Basslite S2010 speakers. The benefits of the 110 upgrade are clearly articulated, but maybe less so for the 108. Since I have a 108 and size matters (at least a little), I have a few questions.

    1) Will the Basslite S2010 improve the BA-108 as much as it does the BA-110?
    2) Will the BA-108 with the 10” Basslite be louder and “better” than a stock BA-110? (I like what I call full and warm, not bright)
    3) Will it play well at full volume and will it still sound like an Ampeg? Based on posts, I presume the answer to both is “yes.”
    4) When cutting the cabinet for the bigger speaker, do you leave the port as-is and mount the speaker up and off-center? If not, how do you modify the port.
    5) Any reason why I shouldn’t do it - or other comments or advice?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. Woodstockz

    Woodstockz

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    I put an S2010 in a BA-108.
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/ampeg-ba-108-coffeeshop-micro-rig-915633/

    The S2010 is now in my BA-110. 3dB upgrade for 1W/m testing, and can take the full volume without farting out. I use it weekly for my jazz trio practice. The BA-108 now has the stock 110 speaker...

    Most people just want a plug and play replacement that is the same size, they don't want to cut any wood.
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/ampeg-ba108-eminence-alpha-8a-921135/
  3. AstroSonic

    AstroSonic Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    rural New Mexico
    Ampeg has done a good job of matching the cab size to the driver, and matching these to the amplifier. Further they have produced a series of combos that have a house sound - Ampeg. As a result, there should be no major gains possible. I would not put a 10 inch in the BA 108 because the cab volume is a bit low. You could try the Faital 8FE200. Similar to the stock tone, but with higher max spl in the bass, and a smoother, better dispersed HF range. The bass alignment is somewhat non-standard (non-flat) and relatively insensitive to tuning frequency variation, but works. Probably also gain a few db in sensitivity.

    You may be a long way from the nearest Ampeg dealer, but if all you want is a little higher spl, I would shop on the internet for a BA 110 and have it shipped.
  4. SDhackbassman

    SDhackbassman

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Location:
    Rapid City, SD
    Thanks for both replies. The coffehouse rig thread was exactly what I was looking for. I had stumbled across some of your posts on other threads that didn't have nearly as much detail on the BA-108 mod. Between watching the Olympics, dozing off, and reading the 19 pages of posts, it's too late to organize my thoughts.

    Having said that, I don't want to belittle the recommendation to just buy a BA-110... because I did everything suggested except click on the buy button. I found a new-in-box BA-110 for $150 on the internet, which is a great deal. That's when I called the seller, an Ampeg dealer, who said the BA-110 wasn't that much better than the BA-108 and to buy the BA-112.

    I also have to agree that Ampeg knows what they're doing. The BA-108 is, IMO, the best value out there, and sounds better at greater volume, again IMO, than amps costing much more.

    I should be satisfied and just lug around my bigger Roland when needed...but the temptation of that little Ampeg soumding so big is nearly irresistable. More thoughts another night. Thanks again.
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  6. AstroSonic

    AstroSonic Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    rural New Mexico
    Not to muddy the water, but the sim runs on the Faital 8FE200 were so favorable that I was actually tempted to pick up a BA-108 just to try it. Plug-n-play. Would be a killer little rig! I don't think that the Faital was widely available when the BA-108/S2010 thread was active.
  7. Woodstockz

    Woodstockz

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Actually, the BA-108 is big for an 8", ... that is one of the reasons that it sounds good. In fact, the BA-108 is larger in volume than a 10" GK 110 Backline, so I wouldn't call the box volume is low. The GK is 1" taller, but the BA-108 is 2" wider. When I saw the two side by side in a GC, I was pretty sure that the experiment would work. After modelling of course.

    Ampeg did a good job of matching the cab size to the driver, and matching these to the amplifier and keeping the price under $100. But in a $100 amp, how much did the speaker cost? What was X-max in the stock speaker? Adding X-MAX and 2" more diameter with a speaker that costs as much as the amp has generated some gains by pushing more air. I have gotten complements by other bass players - "hey, that little thing kicks".
  8. Woodstockz

    Woodstockz

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Yeah, I really didn't find an 8" that I liked at the time. If I were to do it over again, I would surely have considered the Faital 8FE200 and a few other 8inchers. Plug and play is easier than making sawdust.

    I'm in transition right now, moving to a new place. I have a few more DIY projects in work now. I will start posting them after I get settled in April.
  9. SDhackbassman

    SDhackbassman

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Location:
    Rapid City, SD
    It did muddy the water. I had a Basslite S2010 and 3” Precision Port in my cart and then checked the forum one last time…I started by looking up the Faital. My first reaction was “how could a $50 8-inch speaker outperform a $100 10-inch speaker?” But I continued to search topics such as “bass speaker size and volume” and “bass speaker theory” until my head hurt.

    But if you get out of the creek, the running water will clear it up again…and so it did. Fast forward to tonight when I resumed my search and eventually came across the following post:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/ampeg-ba108-faital-8fe200-speaker-swap-1013366/

    The description of the Faital speaker’s actual performance in the BA-108 made it clear that, while it was an improvement in some areas, it did not meet my objectives. But that's good to know - I won't be wondering.
  10. Woodstockz

    Woodstockz

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Now that you have been through muddy and clear waters, I can address a few specifics.

    1) Will the Basslite S2010 improve the BA-108 as much as it does the BA-110?
    A. Yes. The S2010 improves the BA-110 by about 3dB on average. It will improve a BA-108 even more.

    2) Will the BA-108 with the 10” Basslite be louder and “better” than a stock BA-110? (I like what I call full and warm, not bright).
    A. Maybe a little better at some frequencies. The BA-110 will still have a few more Watts to throw at it.

    The 110 is 1 inch larger in each direction. The circuit board with the preamp, HPF, EQ, and power amp are exactly the same. That helps to hold the cost down due to economies of scale. The 110 has a little extra power because the transformer supplies a few extra Volts to the rails.

    3) Will it play well at full volume and will it still sound like an Ampeg? Based on posts, I presume the answer to both is “yes.”
    A. Yes. Part of the Ampeg tone comes from the High Pass Filter.
    The S2010 is more efficient, so you would have more SPL at a given volume setting. It also has better power handling, so it will take full volume, where the stock BA-108 would fart out.


    4) When cutting the cabinet for the bigger speaker, do you leave the port as-is and mount the speaker up and off-center? If not, how do you modify the port.
    A. Cutting a bigger speaker hole will get very close to the port, so I plugged it and went rear port. You can offset the cutout, but it is hard to get the jigsaw close to the edges.

    Another thing that I never mentioned is that the S2010 speaker sticks out above the baffle farther than the stock speaker. In order to get the grill to fit again, you have to remove some of the material from the frame to clear the speaker. Not a big deal.

    5) Any reason why I shouldn’t do it - or other comments or advice?

    "Hey, that little thing kicks!"
  11. AstroSonic

    AstroSonic Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    rural New Mexico
    The waters are still a bit murky I'm afraid. Here are a few comments on the "Ampeg BA108 Faital 8FE200 speaker swap" thread.

    Frequency response measurements in the bass range are notoriously difficult to make. The comments on the sound were more informative. The Faital produced a more open, articulate sound on music, but, when used for bass guitar, sounded 'less like a bass' than the stock driver.

    I am not surprised that the Faital sounded (and measured) only about 3db louder than the stock driver. On a music signal, the 'drone' from that massive bass peak would add considerable energy to the sound, making the stock driver sound much more sensitive than it is.

    Box Tuning and Driver Performance

    Unfortunately n1as "did no analysis on the box tuning'. If he had done so he might have found that:

    1) If the box is tuned between about 95 and 105 Hz that the Faital will also have a peaked bass response (5-7db around 120Hz), much like the stock driver.

    2) By tuning lower (60-65 Hz) you can flatten the Faital's peak and extend the bass for a -3db around 60Hz.

    3) Tuned low, the Faital requires over 3 times the power output of the BA-108 to be overdriven.

    4) The S2010, like the Faital, can be tuned high for peaking and low for a flatter, more extended bass (F3 ~72Hz).


    Faital 8FE200 vs Eminence S2010

    As you can see, the Faital 8FE200 and an the S2010 may both be used effectively as replacement drivers in the BA-108. The S2010 is around 1db more sensitive than the 8FE200, and, with its larger cone, can move more air. When either driver is used in the BA-108, the max spl is determined/limited by the available power, with the S2010 is about 1 db louder than the 8FE200. The 8FE200 has smoother, more extended and better dispersed highs.

    Not doing an analysis of box tuning for a driver upgrade left n1as without the critical information he needed to effectively use the new driver.

    Hey, both are good drivers. Enjoy whichever you choose.
  12. WesW

    WesW <>< Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery, AL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist:Spector|DNA Amp|Rotosound - Owner:FretlessBassist.com
    Great analysis here guys - thanks!!

    I think I'm going for the BA-110 with the S2010 upgrade. . .sounds like the best gains, with the least work (no cutting!), and with the box being the same size, the size gains are negligible.

    Great thread(s). :)
  13. bnolsen

    bnolsen

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Location:
    aurora colorado
    you should test drive a ba112. I really liked its sound over the ba110. But then for a few bucks more you're into more serious stuff with DI and external cab support like one of the disappearing benz genz ctr500 combo amps (what I ended up with) or a carvin MB.

    Honestly I'd keep an eye out for a used/on sale ba108 and then drop in an eminence and port. That seems to be a good setup if you can find ba108v1's on sale somewhere.

    Actually stupid me...I was testing some ba amps at GC and found that some idiot blew the speaker in the ba108 (they had a ba110, ba112 and ba115 in stock as well so I could test drive them all). At the time it would have been prudent to try to get the ba108 cheap just to replace the driver...as long as it was only the speaker that was blown, that is!

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