A game of Pin the Head on the Cab anyone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bornwelsh, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. bornwelsh


    Mar 10, 2009
    Hello All (or at least all who are reading this),

    I'm looking to buy a new amp on a budget of around AU$1,200 to go with the gear pictured below, i.e. MIA Standard Jazz and MarkBass 104HF 8 ohm, and thought I would tap into the collective experiences of you all before I part with the cash.

    I play in an Indie/Alternative/Rock band and we use allot of dynamics in our songs. I play mostly finger style and rely on a soft touch Vs. digging in to the strings, mixed with boosting/cutting the treble to change my sound/tone, i.e. no effects (as yet), don't fiddle with the amp much and use the sound of my bass and as you can see by my choice of bass, I like the Fender tone.

    I've played through a load of heads over the last 4 weeks and I have short listed the following:

    - Hartke LH500/1000 - Nice and simple, little more edgy than the HA's.
    - Hartke HA3500/5500 - More flexibility than the LH including the adjustable clip (compressor)
    - Ashdown ABM500 EVO III - Not as much power/volume as the Hartke's, but seems warmer

    You'll notice that each of the above has a valve pre amp which is something I have decided I want as a feature. So over to you, for the money would you pick one of the above, or have I missed another option?


    Note: For those TBr's who feel the need to educate me on the wonderful technology that is the "search function", A) I know about it. B) I have used it. C) If we didn't ask each other questions like this, there would be no forum, just a bunch of bass players reading reviews on Harmony Central. ;) Peace!
  2. xxpigxx


    Nov 4, 2007
    That note on the bottom of the post is sig-worthy . . . just sayin'
  3. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
  4. bornwelsh


    Mar 10, 2009
    Hi MIJ-VI,

    I have played MarkBass Amps, but a MarkBass with a valve pre amp is out of my price range (by about a grand!) and I found that the Little Mark II & III sound too clean.

    Cheers for the input.
  5. totallybacan


    Mar 30, 2009
    What about the Gallien Krueger Fusion 550? YOu can get a great price off RMCaudio. # tubes, 6 stage preamp
  6. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    LMk III + a VT Bass?

    BTW. What part of the world do you live in?

    For me the most important question re bass amps is not 'how does it sound?', it's 'where could I get it fixed?'
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I would say any amp + a VT Bass pedal would kick it for what you're looking for. I bring a VT on the road with me just in case the SVT on my rider turns into an Eden or something equally heinoo. Makes a nifty overdrive, too. Sounds just like an SVT or B-15 in a PA or recording.

    So whatever's cheapest is what I'd go with. The Ashdown is probably more up your alley, though.
  8. LMII & a VTBASS pedal!!!! KILLS all of above IMO !!!!!! Oh it's an 8 ohm cab... grab another! ;-)
  9. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    I'm curious, why with the heads you are checking and the style of music you play, did you go for the Markbass cab? I'm not saying it's bad (low weight and reliability are nice features definitely), but I wouldn't describe Markbass cabs as warm.

    Also in some cases, the tube preamp does not really affect the sound much (I tried LM Tube and LM III out this weekend, I doubt if many of you could actually hear a difference!). Also Ashdown MAG/EVOII series head (without tube in preamp) sounds warmer than Hartke HA3500 with the tube in preamp IMO. What I'm saying is, don't make the false assumption that the tube in the preamp is the key - try them out and decide whether it does its job.

    Of these three, I would go with the Ashdown, but I have no idea how does it sound with a Markbass cab.
  10. +1 re the "TUBE IN THE PRE" biz...???? PLENTY of amps with this feature are LAME!!!
  11. bornwelsh


    Mar 10, 2009
    Okay, thanks to all that have responded so far, responses:

    totallybacan - the Gallien Krueger Fusion 550 you say! Cheers, I will give it a test this weekend. Oh! Scratch that, just looked up the price in Australia, about a grand out of my reach!

    MIJ-VI – I live in Melbourne, Australia, BIG live music scene, and therefore plenty of music stores and techs in town…

    Seems to be a lot of love for the VT pedal which is something I’d not considered, again, I will try it…

    Rodl2005 – really don’t need a 2nd cab, been using a cheap borrowed 200W amp that really should have been pushing up the daisies long ago and still can’t get it over 3 through the 104HF without incurring “the evils” from the lead guitarist! Not that that stops me... :p

    Sten – I went with the MarkBass 104HF as I found it was the cleanest sounding, which I know sounds strange given that I am saying I want a valve-esq sound. The thing is out of all the cabs I tried, I found that it best took on the sound of which ever cab and bass I put through it. I’ve found the 104HF to have pretty warm sound, I’m no expert (hence the post and request for advice) but perhaps it has something to do with it being a front ported cab?

    Thanks again guys....
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Has to do with the size. The port can go anywhere and it doesn't matter. I think it's a good choice as 410's go, personally. It's got a good low end but it's not all dark like a lot of those cabs can be. Sits in a mix nicely.
  13. bornwelsh


    Mar 10, 2009
    Thanks for that JimmyM, makes sense, the smaller MarkBass cabs I tried didn't do it for me and the 104HF is nice and deep...
  14. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    Great, a selection based on trying out several different combinations! You're on the right track :) If you do the same with your bass head while trying out the recommendations here, I'm sure you'll end up loving your amp.

    I have to admit that I haven't played that exact cab :bag: and my experience comes from playing Markbass heads through their 102 HF cab. It explains everything that JimmyM pointed out.
  15. bornwelsh


    Mar 10, 2009
    Hey Sten,

    Yep, I'm trying everything I possibly can in my price range, made the mistake of rushing into upgrading my bass and bought the wrong one. Ended up having to sell it on to buy my MIA Jazz, which I'm loving BTW.

    I've noticed that MarkBass cabs don't et much love on TB, but don't write them off until you give the 104HF a listen...

    Also, bump for the next shift.

  16. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Anything I recomend will most likely cost too much, but a note on the tube-based preamps. I have 2 hybrid heads. One has 2 12AX7's, the other a mixture of 6 tubes, (all small). Which would you think sounds tubier? Of course, it's the one with only 2. Moral of the story, don't count out anything until after you've played with it. You just never know. Best of luck in your quest.
  17. Meandmy74


    Jul 26, 2008

    I'm from Melbourne as well and so thought I should share with a fellow Victorian. For your money check out the secondhand LMII Bass Centre has and pair it with a VT in-store. However, with the AU$ at 84c and your budget perhaps consider doing what I did and order the VT from bestbassgear.com in the States. Great service to Aus but of course no warranty cover in Australia (but it's American made and therefore very well made and solid). I've recently been running my precision and jazz basses into this combination and a markbass cl104 and it's great. I have upgraded to a Fusion 550 just because I made the mistake of plugging into one (to me, exactly what I want) but seriously the secondhand LMII plus VT is a great investment and in your price range (as you know the Fusion is another $1k). The combo will kill the Ashdown I think, if you invest some time in the VT and read all the good advice on here. The LM is just a run flat amp too, doesn't get easier than that...