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A Fair Warning...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bassline1414, Oct 22, 2000.

  1. Anyone who is contemplating buying a Genz-Benz bass amplifier should read this...
    About 6 months ago, I needed a new bass amp, preferably larger than 100 watts. So I go to this place called Guitar World to get it, who I've had a good relationship with. It was between an SWR ($400) and an amp I'd never heard of that cost about $320 that my teacher recommended, a Genz-Benz. Playing it at the store it had a real good tone, great for the price. There were 2 of them. The next day, I bought one of them, not knowing which was the one I had played the other day. When I brought it home, it snapped, popped, and crackled like a mother f***er. So we brought it back, Guitar World sent it back, no questions asked. About 3 months later we get the amp back, and I am very excited, I mean surely, there couldn't be any problems, right? Lord, was I wrong, the problem seemed to be worse. So I e-mailed Genz-Benz and got a reply from the guy who worked on it. He claimed there were no problems at the factory, and he said that as soon as I sent it back he would try to look for a problem. So we bring it back to Guitar World, and wait about 2 more months. So we ask Guitar World about it and they said that Genz Benz had told THEM to fix it. So Guitar World did a damn good job fixing it and now my amp sounds great, no thanks to Genz Benz. Seriously consider your position on Genz Benz amplifiers after reading this, I wish I would have.
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Y'know, this brings up a point that many of us are slow to learn. I know that most of us don't have a fruiting money tree out in the back yard, but it seems to me that you are ahead of the game to buy the very best equipment you can buy. Buy what the pros use. Buy what you see on stage. Buy what gets rave reviews. Now this may mean waiting and saving an extra year, or selling your baby sister, but it also means there will be fewer stories like this one. I use Genz Benz racks because they are built like tanks. I would never buy Genz Benz electronics or cabinets, because I've never heard a single thing good about them. However, on the other hand, this is the first bad thing I have heard. But why take a chance? Sure, SWR, Eden, Aguilar, Walter Woods and all the other high-end manufacturers have rigs that develop problems, but not as often. And, their customer response is excellent when something does go wrong.

    I mean, when that guy in the store starts hyping this Yorkville combo, or that Crate cabinet, stop and think about it. Who the hell has made these things famous for their sound and durability? No one. If you wait a little longer, and buy a high-quality, well-known product, you'll spend less in the long run, because you will love the sound and reliability of your rig, and you won't be constantly looking for its replacement. While the folks at Peavey, Carvin, Fender and the like make acceptable amps for reasonable prices, there is a reason that they cost less, and it isn't that the high-enders are ripping you off. You're getting what you pay for. I've owned Fender, Peavey, Hartke, and SWR WM amps. They were all transients on my path to Eden. (Nice metaphor, huh?) I've had that little Eden Traveler for over four years, and only occasionally yearn for the big WT-800. I don't need or want a new amp. If I'd have found a way to buy the Eden seven years ago, I would have saved a couple thousand dollars.

    So my advice: Bite the bullet. Scrimp, save, have bake sales, blackmail your siblings, scrounge, and BUY HIGH-END GEAR. Don't fall into the false economy of buying some middling stuff that just frustrates you every time you plug into that big Ampeg rig down at GC and wonder why you play better and sound better (and I don't even care for Ampeg).
    And don't cop out by calling me an elitist pig. Even if I am one, I speak the truth, which I have learned on the GAS-laden pathway to equipment nirvana.
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    good advice munji. the only thing i would add is to always weigh your own experience against the anecdotal experience that you hear - meaning try things out before you decide, don't just rely on what you read. some "high end" gear is more high end then others - and what is high end to some people may be sterile and dull to you.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Boy, I was sweating bullets over what jt's take would be on this. You are correct on the anecdotal stuff. Most people equate this with statistical evidence, which it is not. Of course, many people don't care for the "SWR Sound" or the "Eden Smiley Face", but the key is to find quality stuff that suits your taste, then buy it, as John said.
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    On the other hand, maybe it DOES make more sense to get into a rig, whatever it is, to get started playing bass. Let's face it, if you ultimately decide that you're really cut out to be an oboe player, you don't want a ton of expensive gear to shed when you pull the plug on bass. There'll be plenty of time to deal with GAS later on. This reminds me of that song that says something like "I've looked at life from both sides now ...". Y'know what? Hell with it. Just do what you want. Who am I to say what's best for you? Some arrogant, elitist, pompous buffoon. Never mind.
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    :hand raised:
    I use Yorkville cabinets. They're well constructed and use high power capable Eminence speakers. Eminence speakers are in a quite a few high end cabs. I did swap out the 300w 15 for an EVM 400w that I had lying around. The 210 is stock. I've used their 400 head and got a good, loud sound out of it.

    I had Genz Benz cabinets. The 210XB had too much of a scooped mids sound. Folks who tried it and liked scooped mids loved that cabinet. The 12T didn't have enough oomph to be used alone. I traded them in on an Eden Metro...which developed problems. It was used. Speakers are a lot easier to get right than heads.

    I've tried several GB combos and thought they were okay, but IMO overpriced for the sound they produced. I feel the same about the SWR Workingman series. I'd buy a Nemesis first.

    While I agree in principle that you should get the best you can afford I think you need to first step back and check your commitment level. There's the best you can afford and then there's the best you actually need. I could afford a complete Aguilar rig but I have zero desire to hump that much amp around.

    JT's right, you have to decide if it's right for you. The Roland DB series amps have gotten nothing but rave reviews, but IMO they're nothing to write home about. When you hear a name band live chances are you're not hearing their rig as much as the house system. When you listen to recordings most bassists are still going direct, unless they have the budget to set up close mike, ambient mike and direct sound and mix as needed. That takes more time which usually equates to more money.

    I'm a part-timer, my gigs typically pay between $200 and $400+. My rig cost me a grand total of $700 (used amp, new cabinets and replacement speaker). Most of my friends/ aquaintences have $2000 plus rigs and play for much less than I do. The pros I know use fairly simple rigs...it's not about impressing their friends, it's sound, reliability and sometimes portability.

    I've heard of and experienced quite a few problems with Eden and SWR but it's similar to what's happening with New Beetles. People say they love the cars and they've "only" been stranded 3 or 4 times so far because of various problems. And I'm still thinking about getting one (go figure:D)
  7. Whoa, Munji! Just a second! I realize your comments are probably based on older Fender gear, but the new Bassman series is right there with the Redheads and Metros. It's very cool and very pro. I recommend you try one, particularly the Bassman 400 combo (2x10). I have one, I tried it against everybody else's and it's what I wanted, lots of power, ballsy sound, and all the features I need.

    I'm not flamin' ya, cuz I love ya:D I just wanted to stick up for Fender on this one, as it relates to their NEW stuff. Their older stuff, especially the BXR stuff, is definitely sub-standard.
  8. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    The main point here, however, is how are you going to be treated when something goes wrong. And even under the best of circumstances, something can go wrong.

    You can spend a buh-jillion dollars and buy the "best," most highly recommended, most used, etc., amp on the market. And you still could end up with a lemon.

    It's how the merchants and manufacturers you deal with handle it that makes the diffence. In this case, Genz-Benz gets an "F" for not backing up a pretty expensive product with solid service. Guitar World gets a "B-/C+" for hanging in there and seeing that the problem eventually got fixed, although five months is a ridiculous amount of time to make a customer wait for a satisfying experience (they would have gotten an "A" if they had really gone out of their way and swapped out the amp for a new one after it came back a second time).

    The bottom line is that when it comes to gear, the only thing we have to vote with is our dollars. The really great thing is there are a lot of dealers and lots of manufacturers out there -- I don't need to waste my money on those who don't value my business.
  9. Mungi and JT,
    I DID try out the Genz-Benz amp and was pleased with the tone for the price, I actually liked the tone more than than I liked the Workingman series. And my teacher and other local players have recommend Genz-Benz as quality amps. I guess none of them ever had to deal with the company though, unfortunately I did. They hadn't yet released the new Fender Bassman series for bass, and the only amps in that price range that I felt were decent amps were the SWR Working Man series, Hartke, and Genz-Benz, and out of those, I liked the Genz-Benz best, plus it had the most wattage (135 watts). Oh yeah, the guitar player Stephen Lynch endorses Genz-Benz speakers, not that that effected my decision on buying it.
  10. I have to chime in- in reply to Munjibunga's comment about Peavey, Fender and the dollar factor. I've gone the SWR, Mesa, Eden route and I've since gone back to old faithful Peavey. I'm past the ridiculous logic that expensive means better- some companies in this business have realized the need for great equipment at better prices. I wish that more musicians would get there heads out of the name-brand realm and go back to playing their instruments.

  11. Ah yes...Munji and I go WAAAAAAAYYYY back on this Eden vs. Peavey thingy....don't we Mr. Bunga? :D

    Tried both out, along with a comparable SWR rig. Had the green stuff for any of it. Walked out with the Peavey. Why? Cuz it sounded as good as the Eden, and better than the SWR - IN MY OPINION. If you don't dig a tone, get another, but always remember that hype and high prices do NOT necessarily equal better tone or reliability.

    And let me tell ya somthin' mister!!!

    - that Peavey rig has been used and abused for 6 years of HEAVY gigging now, and nary a sniffle or cough. Always turns on, always sounds good. I had a fellow bassist down in the French Quarter in Nawlins that swore by his Eden stuff, but was always replacing speakers in his cabinet....funny, I've NEVER blown a Peavey 10", and I beat the crap outta my rig, physically and musically. There's always something to be said for reliability, eh? :D

    Oh yeah, and Slaphappy is dead right, the new Fender Bassman series is great, I took a Bassman 400 out for a spin a few weekends ago. If I weren't in the process of moving, it would be MINE now. Sounded wonderful.
  12. Ahhhhh.....vindication! :D
  13. Dave S...

    Dave S...

    Oct 13, 2000
    It always sucks to shell out the hard-earned bucks and feel like you're not appreciated...I can sympathize.

    Working for a Genz-Benz dealer (only been one for less than a year...) I can only say that the one experience we had with them was a very postive one.

    Certainly not to discredit anyone elses view here! I've only had one experience with them and wanted to offer it as the .02 that it's worth...
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I have to say this about the Peavey gear that I've owned. It was reliable. It NEVER went to the shop. It sounded pretty good. Especially that 1820 cabinet I had (one 18, two 10's, all Black Widows). That cabinet weighed almost as much as my T-40 bass, since sold. The T-40, despite its black-hole-like mass, had pretty good tone in its own right. I also owned a Peavey PA and a Peavey Bass 115 Combo. And, of course, those of us who watch the Grand Ole Opry on TV see Peavey gear all the time. A lot of country players have remained loyal to Peavey since before Peavey was really any good.

    But to end this conciliatory note to Gard, all that Peavey stuff still didn't even come close to the modern, hi-fi sound of my Eden rig. My ear just prefers that sound.
  15. this is all very interesting, and i agree that you should buy the high end gear, or basicly the Quality gear. just yesterday i told my guitar teacher that i was gonna save my money longer, and go with an eden d-410xlt, and Wt-400, instead of bassman 400 head and 4x10. Why? cause i cant afford to have the amp crap out on me. I told him that i'd rather save up longer, and know from the companys reputation that it will be high quality gear, than go and get the bassman, spend $1200 on it all, and have it crap out within a year. I told him that i wanted this to be the last amp i'd have to buy. He still wanted me to go with the bassman instead (he's bias though, cause he endorses fender, so every thing advice wise from him is with fender or GHS, {also endorses them too} so i dont really use his advice that closely) Also, he has a bassman 60 and keeps raving about it, yet durring my lession, i could tell it was starting to crap out or somthign was wrong with it. the volume would start out really soft and muddy, and then suddenly, just change to regular sounding, and the volume would increase. then it would drop back down to the muddy, then back to the regular. well lets just say it just re-confirmed my decision.
  16. Dave S...

    Dave S...

    Oct 13, 2000
    I agree...

    When I got my Trace, I was trying to be very realistic-minded...I wanted ONE box that would sound 'okay' in most any situation and last me at least 6 years. That was in '94 and (thank goodness!) it's been quite faithful and worth the extra bucks...

    Before that, I had a couple of Peavey heads, and a billion cabs. I hated trying to find the right combination of cabs to not over/under power the gig, and I wanted portability.

    Peavey WORKS, that's the bottom line...it has a readily identifiable tone that I'm not super-crazy about, but it DOES work. I sold/ traded all my Peavey stuff except for my old Fury bass (much sentimental value...)

    If I had to get a new rig, (thankfully, I don't!) I'd really consider the Eden stuff for the high-end...the 410XLT cabinet really impressed me. For mid-line stuff that was durable, most anything that's been discussed here (aside from Crate...) I think I could find one I could live with...provided I still had my Trace.

    Best Wishes
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Good call, Muttluk. You won't regret it.
  18. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    i just wanted to bump this thread because of its subject. i too bought the peavey cab cause it sounded as good as eden, better than the swr's and as good as the aggies for a cheaper price. so let the beating of me begin,
  19. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania

    ...or maybe it's just your eye reading "Eden"?

    I've never had a problem with any of my Peavey stuff, ever. I think your "tone" thing wouldn't hold so true if you tried some of Peavey's recent amps (BAM, for one).

    It's not a matter of "bang for the buck" in anything I've bought, I've viewed it as pure "how much bang will I get?"
  20. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I've never had a problem with any of my Peavey cabs, even when I didn't know about "clipping" and cranked my amp up nearly to the max, when I had my old Hartke 3500 head. It came out of it without any scratches.

    It's still running fine, 3-4 years later.

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