Am I doing something wrong?/ what do I need?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Iheartreverb, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. Iheartreverb


    Oct 31, 2013
    I'm using an amp borrowed from a friend in our practice space and I'm just struggling to be heard.

    I'm using an Ampeg ba115 against a fender twin and a tiny terror. To me this seems to be the point, the amp just doesn't have enough to compete but want to make sure I'm not wrong.

    Next. What would you recommend? I'm looking at a PF350 possibly but I (because I have never had to before) understand speaker sizes. Would the same amp being louder through a 4x10 from a 1x15? It seems like using a bigger speaker with anything less that 400/609 watts is daft as your under powering the cab, am I right?

    All help appreciated
  2. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Generally speaking; More speakers, more volume. Again, that's very general.
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    General rules of thumb:

    More cones make for a more efficient cabinet.

    The size of the cone makes little difference in how much low end a cabinet can put out.

    More identical cabinets beats adding more power every time if you are looking for more volume.

    Do NOT add a 1x15 to a 4x10, or the other way around. This just creates a weak link in your system as the 15 cannot keep up with a 4x10 in any regard. In fact, mixing cones sizes just creates a crapshoot. It might work well but more often does not.

    To get twice as loud you'd need to increase your power by a factor of ten.
  4. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Underpowering a cab is a myth. Everything else being equal, a 4X10 will be a good bit louder than a single 15. A PF350 and a good 4X10 will blow away a BA115 volume wise.
  5. Avoid that PF350 I've played one and it wasn't very loud or punchy at all. Look for something used- a Hartke 3500 has 350w at 4 ohms, tube pre, graphic eq, comp, fx loop and can be had for around $150. Try to get to some music stores and play as many different bass amps and cabs as you can.

    When looking at cabs, look at efficiency- the higher the number the more efficient (and hence, louder) the cab will be with the same amount of wattage. For instance, a cab rated at 94db would be fairly inefficient, and one rated at 99 or 100db would be very efficient. This rating usually isnt on the cabinet, you'll probably have to look at the specs on the web.

    A lot of other factors come into play as well- ohms (4 or 8) lower ohms lets your amp work to its full capacity, porting, size/number of speakers, all kinds of things that will turn this thread into a 12 page argument that will probably end with BFM setting everyone straight on just about everything.
  6. Iheartreverb


    Oct 31, 2013
    Thanks guys. Really helpful. The PF isn't the mainly thing in contention for the same price (in UK anyway) I can get similarly powered things fork ashdown, mark bass, GK, Hartke, TC so there is loads of options.

    So am I wrong in finding it difficult given the above set up?
  7. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    It really depends on several things.

    * What volume setting are the other amps at?

    * What is your EQ setting on your amp?

    As silkysmooth stated, more speakers means more volume. However, you have to take everything into consideration.

    For instance, if the other two players have their amps dimed, and you have the bass/low setting turned all the way up and the mids turned down, you are not going to be heard over them.

    I'm not positive but I don't think you can add a cabinet to the ba115. If changing the EQ setting on your amp and you are unsuccessful in talking your bandmates into turning down, you will probably have to start looking into upgrading your system.
  8. mkmsound


    Mar 10, 2011
    Arnold MD
    I have the 100 watt BA115 and use it for rehearsal. If you need it louder without dimeing it, put it up against a wall or in a corner. I have mine against a wall and its loud enough with two guitarists who play loud.

    I second the Hartke for playing out. I have the old HA3500 and a Trace Eliott single 15.(8 ohm so only 250 watts) Never turned past 3-4 and has direct out with a pre-post eq switch and ground lift for PA support.


    Previous post correct as no external speaker output. There is a direct out.
  9. AstroSonic

    AstroSonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    rural New Mexico
    Neither power handling nor speaker size determine which cab will be louder. If you cannot directly compare cabs you need to check their sensitivity (how efficiently a speaker converts electrical power into sound), specified as the number of db a speaker puts out with 1 watt input measured at a distance of 1 meter from the cab (db/w/m). Unfortunately there are manufacturers that exaggerate this spec. Still, the spec is usually ballpark and useful to a point. Cabs that are rated to within a db or two of each other (like 99db/w/m vs 97.5db/w/m) may well sound equally loud. If there is much more difference - choose the higher rated cab. Also remember that a cab with 3db more sensitivity than another cab will be only a little louder with equal power input, or the same loudness with half the power input. And twice as loud takes 10 times the power.

    To comfortably keep up with those guitars you are going to need more than a 210. A 212 or a 410 with a sensitivity to be at least 98db/w/m would be a safe bet.

    The PF350 is a good head, but doesn't like to be overdriven with a 4 ohm load (many amps don't like that, but some are not bothered by it). If you like distortion (or overdrive distortion) you should use a distortion pedal rather than trying to get it from overdriving the amp.
  10. Iheartreverb


    Oct 31, 2013

    Couldn't tell you numbers but their volume is reasonable for a practice...just louder than me.

    I had the style at 3 which I read keeps it fairly flat. Mids nearly at the way off, treble in the middle and slight bass boost. Had to get gain and vol up full to even compete.

    To clarify I don't ever have this issue. It's not quiet with my 30w practice amp in the house nor with a mag300/ svt450 from the other rooms we use.

    Another cabinet isn't an option as this is borrowed in the first place.

    Like I said. I need to get something myself but wanted to check if I was right about it not being enough
  11. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    This. You may (probably) need a bigger amp, but proper EQing will go a long way. Boost your mids. Cut your lows. This isn't necessarily foolproof, but it'll generally help you cut through the mix.

    Have you tried asking the guitarists to turn down? Radical thought, I know... Definitely try to get them to turn down their lows.
  12. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    I find that knobs like "presence", "contour", and "STYLE" tend to sound great soloed, but make the sound get lost in the mix.

    Turn style to 0. Turn mids to 7 (out of 10). Turn bass to 3. Turn treble to 4 or 5. This may sound like rubbish soloed, but i'll bet it sounds better in the band mix. Adjust as needed.
  13. Iheartreverb


    Oct 31, 2013

    The style knob on these is a 5 way selector which controls different boots and cuts. I just leave it on flat.

    I need my sound overall to sound good solo'd as I play in a post rock band and at point my bass is upfront.
    I HATE the sound of pushed mids.
  14. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    I use a PF 350 with a cheap Eden 4 ohm 4X10, and it is most definitely loud. I'm in a 6 piece with a drummer, and the thing keeps up just fine.
  15. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    Bottom line: with the combo you are using your best bet is to try the settings that jefkritz suggested. You might hate pushed mids, but that's pretty much your only option with the current setup. If you can't play with those settings, you will not be heard.

    Something to think about, the sound you hear onstage and the sound the audience hears is, most of the time, very different. What you hear as a very mid-forward tone is a very good fit in the mix. Try it out and use a recorder for an honest assessment.
  16. AstroSonic

    AstroSonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    rural New Mexico
    Ok, get a GK MB212-II and worry no longer! Or, as suggested before, pair a PF350 (or similar head) with a high sensitivity cab (sensitivity at least 98db/w/m). You could probably get by with a GK MB115-II (or equivalent), but there is a tendency for the guitars to turn up the volume as soon as the bass starts keeping up. This is often, but not always the case. Your bandmates may be among those who will leave the volume where its at. You will have to make that call.
  17. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    BA115 might be quietest modern amp available for its size and weight.
    A lot of people also report of other low cost Ampeg amps not delivering the goods.
    I would stay away from anything Ampeg that is smaller than SVT-4...
    +1 for Hartke, GK or maybe (!) Peavey.

    Cabs? Ampeg is a good starting point!