1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

A good bass amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MSIMSBASS, Jan 30, 2014.



    Nov 25, 2007

    I am wondering what defines a good bass amplifier? I play clubs, church, and some theatres.I want the best possible sound I can get. Do I need to get something like a Tec Amp, or Epifani, or Aguilar, you know the "top" names to get the best sound possible? Thanks
  2. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Endorsing Artist: VF Cables, Dirtbag Clothing
    your ears, nothing more, nothing less.
  3. 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
    No, you don't need one of the "top names," but it's a good idea to avoid the "bottom names." Brands like Carvin, Peavey, Fender and Ampeg can produce acceptable sound like many of the higher-end amps. I'd say it's more important to focus on getting a good cab and the right amount of power.
  4. rbacker95


    Jan 30, 2014
    I buy used gear from Sam Ash. Their policy is great. I bought my Markbass 3 head and a Hartke 4x10 from them. My Hartke actually died right after I got it, and or just a little more money, I bought a brand new one for a steal. I love Sam Ash. Used gear is so much cheaper and you can get great deals for not that much money, but be careful who you buy from.
  5. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    As with anything, knowledge is power. Read everything you can. Start with the FAQ's here. Check out lots of reviews on anything you're considering, but take them with a grain of salt. Some require a full shaker of salt. Buy used for the best bang for your buck. Try out everything you can to see what suits you. Ignore the brand names (skip some as there are some companies that only make junk) and use your own ears.
    If you still have questions, use the search function here. There's a good chance that your topic has been discussed to death many times. Example - best ________ for metal.
    Most importantly, have fun exploring it all!
  6. What defines a good car, good truck, good computer, good TV.............one that fits your needs.
  7. +1 Yep, that's excellent non-partisan (open minded) advice right there.
  8. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together

    Nov 20, 2013
    North Cackalacky
    Many amps have signature sounds, while others are designed to be neutral when the tone controls are set at zero. Which one you like is a matter of taste, and a function of the type of music you play.

    I agree with Linnin and Munjibunga: the cab is the most important part of the equation.
  9. 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
    Just trying to help. I forgot - Hartke is good, too.
  10. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    A good bass amp allows you to be heard by yourself or with a loud band. A good bass amp has the capability of going direct. A good bass amp is built rugged and can withstand moderate use without failing. A good bass amp will have the features that suit either playing at home or with a full band.

    Should I go on?

    Sometimes the better question is "What is the best bass cab?"

    To know that answer, you'll first have to find the best bass amp. For you. The one that sounds good to you.

    Mine is a GK700RBII. It suits all of the above within the guidelines of my own personal criteria.
  11. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    If your playing produces the best sound possible (as in your technique is really good for doing the sounds you want) then transparency is what you want from the amplifier, and the cab is the main limiting factor there. If you need the tone of the amp itself to dominate the sound and sound like the classic records (before hifi stuff was invented), the more coloured amps would be the way to get the 'best' sound, plenty of amps aim for adding their own colour.
  12. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    Beyond being loud enough to be heard, and reliable, it depends entirely on what sounds you like. Not everyone likes the same stuff.
  13. Tagruvto


    Nov 2, 2011
    This is actually a really good general question! The problem is that answers that attempt to answer in general terms may be a little nebulous.
    A good bass amp should incorporate quality components and design. Beyond that it pretty much comes down to what the music demands and personal taste. If I wanted a good vehicle, both a Toyota Prius and Ford F350 have quality components and are well designed ....but they have different attributes.
  14. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I like what Munjibunga said, as long as you stick with the middle to higher ground as far as quality goes, you should be fine. Also, shopping used is a great bet, and as stated, from the right place like Guitar Center or Sam Ash. In the end your ears will be the judge. I would aim for a Gallien Krueger, Hartke, some of the new Peaveys coming out look sweet (the micros they showed off at NAMM), Ampeg for sure.

    I was in the same boat you were in a little over a year ago now and I found myself in a Sam Ash walking out with a used SWR 750x. Thing sounded awesome and had some cool effects built in. I brought it home and enjoyed it very much. Then I realized I hadnt done my homework on power ratings and cabs. Long story short, I took the SWR back for something with a little more power and got a GK 1001RB. I couldnt be happier today. I also bought an GK SBX+ 410 that had all kinds of issues and ended up returning it after them trying to repair three times. I cut my losses and went somewhere else and got a Neo 410. In short, make sure you do your homework on power ratings and cabs too. For this will make a big difference in the amp you choose to go with. Good luck!
  15. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Here's what defines a good bass amp for me:

    1. Balls.
    B. Sounds good at a low volume as well as high.
    III. Easy to get a tone I like.

    Now I'll make any amp I've ever used sound good (and I've used a lot of different ones), but some do sound better than others. Price is sometimes a factor, but sometimes it isn't, as I've gotten really good sounds out of cheap gear, including my little 35w BA110 practice amp. All I can tell you is that when you play an amp that suits you, you'll know it.
  16. JeffVanter


    Sep 23, 2012
    I've heard so many things about Hartke being terrible. It seems like people either swear by the name or hate it.
  17. kikstand454

    kikstand454 Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2012
    I would bet that 90% of the time that is a matter of sound taste ..... not a reflection of quality. Every thing i have ever owned/borrowed/ played through that was hartke has been bulletproof.
  18. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    The latest Hartke's seem to be pretty well regarded. They were huge in the early 90's. I used to have a HA3500 and while I thought its tone was a little generic and lifeless, it held up great with no problems aside from a couple knobs being sheared off by a clumsy drummer and its EQ slider knobs getting lost (more for lack of a road case than anything else).

    I haven't tried any of the newer ones yet but I like the simplified EQ as opposed to the semi-parametric sliders.
  19. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Also, there are so many preamp options out there. I'd stick a VT Bass in front of just about any quality heads power amp and be happy if the onboard pre didn't suit my tastes. I did it with my Hartke (BDDI) and my SWR350 (VT). It wasn't until I revisited GK that I ditched the pre-amps and just got a decent compressor. If I ever get bored, I'll just stick the latest, new fangled pre in front of it and play that until it gets old again.
  20. NightCat


    Apr 4, 2013
    I agree with what everyone is saying in this thread. However, I want to suggest an actual amp.
    This is "my" favorite mid sized amp. It is one of the TB perennial favorites for a good reason. I've used mine for noisy brew pups and quiet coffee shops. I don't know if it is the way the box is ported or what, but if placed right this amp fills a room with bass without being perceived as "loud".
    The amp sounds great, is fairly versatile in the range of tones, and it has a very good sounding line out for recording or PA. They will hold their value so if you need to go bigger you won't loose money.
    From Google Search:
    Ampeg B100R $350