Pls Advise: Bass rig for club gigs

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by tbitsky, Apr 15, 2005.


  1. tbitsky

    tbitsky

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Hi,

    I'm looking to put together a solid bass rig for use in rock/pop club gigs. My goal is to spend between $400-$600. Only after reading miles of reviews, I'm not sure what to do.

    My original plan was to buy a Carvin PB-100-15, which is 100 watt combo and sells for $299. I only want to buy a rig once, however, and I started to worry about needing more power in the future and the issue of not being able to sub out individual parts in the future.

    So I had these ideas:
    1. Buy a Carvin PB-200-15, which is 200 watts.
    2. Buy a SWR Workingman 12 combo, which I've read good things about.
    3. Buy a 15" Bass cab, use my old solid-state power amp for a while and buy a nice bass pre-amp. Update the power amp next time I get a chance. But is it going overboard?
    4. Hartke had some good deals. An HA2500 was selling for 299.95 and a 15" cab (VX115) was $249, or a 4x10 cab was $299.95. I see Hartke used all the time and know they have a bullet-proof reputation. How do people feel about them?

    I guess what I'm asking is:
    1. What is the minimum wattage you could survive with indefinitely? Is 100 watts too small?
    2. If you could only bring one cab to a gig, would you use a 15" or a 12" based model? Is a 4x10 better? Any recommendations on a good, all-around cab are appreciated.
    3. Is it inevitable to out-grow a combo, and is one best off buying a modular system?

    Any gear recommendations are appreciated.

    Thanks for the help in advance!
    Tom
  2. MuzikMan

    MuzikMan

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Location:
    Bristol, Connecticut, USA
    1. I wouldn't be happy with less than 300 watts. This is realistic in my view.

    2. Without a doubt I would (and do) bring my Avatar B212 to a single cab type gig. It has the low and high end covered.

    3. When you are on a tight budget I think a modular system is the way to go. You can build a rig little by little this way. Easier on the wallet.
  3. CQBASS

    CQBASS Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    IMO, and depending on what size clubs, type of music, plans for future gigs etc...it's tough to say. But it's pretty definite to say that 100 watts won't do ya. Although a combo might suit your needs now, when it comes time to upgrade the baby goes out with the bathwater. I think you're always better off going modular if you think there's a chance you're going to need more. Plus combos can just be really damn heavy. If you're going to be playing rock in clubs plan on at least 500 watts, just to be sure. You're always better off having more power than you need, always. What's the old power amp you have? I'd try and factor that in to a new rig as long as it's a viable amp. Good luck!
  4. tbitsky

    tbitsky

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    I'm definitely staying away from the combo amp, then.

    The power amp I have is old, but it works and it has a good deal of head room. It's a starting point.

    It sounds like the first step is the cabinet. Any 2x12 recommendations? I've always liked the sound of the Hartke cabinets. I saw a 4x10 on a website, but didn't notice a 2x12. Couldn't find the avatar anyway except in user reviews on Harmony central.

    Thanks!
    Tom
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  6. CQBASS

    CQBASS Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Location:
    Asheville NC
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    I've had one of those Hartke 2000's and it was under powered for club sized venues, even with good monitors etc. I used a 3500 for about 12 years after that...and it did work in most situations. These days I'm using a tube head, between 300-500watts and it's plenty loud.

    I'd also suggest going the cab/head route. Combos tend to get heavy and bulky and unruly to move, while with a racked head and cab (or two) it gives you more moving transporting options. Also, if you decide that you want a different sound later on, or you need more power, etc.., you can change out either the head or the cab and not have to reinvest $$$ for a whole rig.

    Since I have no idea what you're planning on playing and what tone you're going for...I'd suggest if you're going for a basic but flexable speaker setup, stay away from just a 15. Either a 4x10 or a 2x12 ...or or maybe you could follow the advice up there, and pick up 2 smaller cabs...like a 1x12 and a 2x10 and get the best of 'most' worlds.
  8. BigSky Bass Guy

    BigSky Bass Guy

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    My 2 cents... a recent Bass Player mag article reviewed the SWR Workingman head, the WM 2X10, and the WM 4X10. Lots of good things said about the head, and lots of NOT-so-good things about the Workingman cabinets.

    Their quote, paraphrased: Go a little easy with your dough on the Amp, then spend the money you saved on a good cab. It'll make a marginal amp sound good.

    I gotta say, I LOVE my Peavey 410TX (last generation, not the TVX). I had an SWR Goliath II that I A-B tested, and wound up selling the SWR. The 410TX was the sweetest IMHO, and they're pretty affordable used on Ebay.
  9. The 0x

    The 0x

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Timonium, MD
    You need a Yorkville XM200. That will last you for a LONG time.
  10. tbitsky

    tbitsky

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    [snip]
    Since I have no idea what you're planning on playing and what tone you're going for...
    [/snip]

    That's a good question. I like a nice tight bass tone for rock. The bass players I really enjoy listening to are Mike Gordon (Phish), Jon Bonacorsi (Freddy Jones Band), and whomever Steely Dan was using on the Aja album (Becker?).

    I checked out the Avatar B212. Heavy (75lbs) but the price is right. There's also a special on their site:

    [snip]
    Special Ashdown Amp Package
    Mag 300H 307 watt amp...$278.
    [/snip]

    Is that a good deal?

    Thanks!
  11. Joe Martin

    Joe Martin

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Frederick, MD
    You would not be the least bit dissappointed with that setup. Ashdown makes great stuff and Avatar is great aswell.
  12. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    Location:
    NY / NJ / PA
    here's a little thing, i wrote for my church newsletter. but pretty much covers the basics for any dooder lookin' for a proper bass rig.

  13. The 0x

    The 0x

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Timonium, MD
    Uh, i've never heard so much over-generalizations before in an article. 10" speakers move faster than 15" speakers? 10s have more "clarity & punch?" Don't think so. There are SOOO many variables to this. For example, IME the Peavey BW-215 is punchier than any Ampeg speaker with 10s in it, AND has more clarity. The Schroeder cabs have only 12s & 10s and have more bottom end than most 18s. Look at the Bill Fitzmaurice cabs, etc.
  14. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    Location:
    NY / NJ / PA
    over generalizations, maybe...

    a starting point? yes.

    other than the ampeg and peavey, there are a few rather esoteric pieces and recent designs that buck the trend. what i mention in my article is just a beginning point to put someone in the general headspace. what they experience in lew of that is open to their interpretations.

    also, much of what i mention isnt just my IMHO, but what i've gleaned from the very knowledgable peeps here on TB. so, my article as well as myself are open to improvement from the gents here on TB.
  15. tbitsky

    tbitsky

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Then I'll definitely go with the B212. My only worry on the Ashdown that it is only 300 watts. Anyone here using one?

    Can anyone recommend a good bass pre-amp to use?

    Thanks!
    Tom
  16. tbitsky

    tbitsky

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Also, the Avatar B212 is available as either a 4ohm cab or 8ohm cab. Why wouldn't I just want the 4 ohms?

    Thanks!
  17. MuzikMan

    MuzikMan

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Location:
    Bristol, Connecticut, USA
    The impedance of the cab is important when matching with an amp. If your head is rated to handle 4 ohms max you will want either 1 4 ohm cab or 2 8 ohm cabs. If you are absolutely sure that 1 cab is all you will want then a 4 ohm model is the way to go.
  18. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    Well...if you wanted to add a cab at any point in time, and you got the Ashdown MAG300, and you had a 4ohm cab, you couldn't do it. If you're sure that you were NOT gonna add a cab, then you'd get the full 307 watts out of the head with a 4ohm cab.

    Otherwise, if you get the 8ohm cab, you're only getting about 180 watts or so out of it...but you have the opportunity of adding another 8ohm cab (brings the final load down to 4) and gives you the full 307 watts.

    In a vast generalization, if you did the second thing further down the road, and mated the 2x12 with a small 2x10 you'd get more volume with the same 307 watts, because you have more speaker surface area. You'd also have a super modular set up where you could have:

    - a nice small home/practice set up (amp+2x10) or good for low volume settings, and easy to transport.

    -A nice all around around club sized rig (amp+2x12) that's still pretty portable.

    -A nice rig for bigger venues or outdoors shows (amp+2x12+2x10)

    My suggestion is to use the search function here at TB and look at all the components you're thinking of buying. Also do take a look at the FAQ stickies at the top of the page, they're full of good info about how amps/set ups and such work...all in one neat place. Also, just scroll through the past 'bunch' of pages here manually...there's a bunch dealing with just the dilemma you're trying to solve.

    There's a lot of knowledge here, and people all have their own answer to YOUR situation...so dig in!
  19. GSPLBASSDC

    GSPLBASSDC

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ

    1.100 watts is way to small..especially if you do rock gigs. 300 watts is my absolute minimum, but I'm more comfortable with 400+

    2. If I could bring only 1 cab, it would be either a 2x12 or 4x10...Avatar immediately comes to mind for good quality and low price.

    3. No it's not inevitable that you'll outgrow a combo. Combos have gotten a bad rap as being too unprofessional, but they're perfect for some, unsuitable for others. I've had a 300 watt combo for 5 years, but I now need a separate head/cab since I'm gigging outside of church. If it wasn't for that, I'd keep my combo.
  20. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2003
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I still feel that the best rig out there for quality, cost, reliability and sound is a GK800RB and a Hartke 410. The Hartke 4.5 is very impressive if you can find one of those. You can find this stuff used fairly easily and it'd be a great rig for a long time. Really give this rig some thought. It was the standard for a very long time.
  21. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    Location:
    NY / NJ / PA
    www.basstasters.com is your friend...

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