Amp Advice - Back from 10 year hiatus

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Matt Lynn, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. Matt Lynn

    Matt Lynn

    Jun 9, 2020
    Back to playing bass and back on talkbass after about 10 years off. Sold off all my equipment years ago so looking to spring for some new gear as I've recently started practicing again during pandemic.

    I've already picked up an orange 112 cab but now looking for an amp to pair. Previously used amps from Ashdown, Mesa, and GK (700-1001RBII) but given the market has changed, I am looking to see everyone's thoughts on new players or other just to try.

    I've already demoed 2-3 heads (Aguilar AG700, Orange Terror 500, and Mesa Subway D800) with the cab. All were great I was interested in a few others at a lower price point that weren't in the showroom:

    - Trickfish .5k
    - VT Bass
    - GK 800
    - Darkglass 500

    Thoughts on anyone who has used a variety of these and how they stack up with the Aguilars, Oranges, etc.
  2. joel406

    joel406 Inactive

    Dec 27, 2013
    pick one.

  3. Matt Lynn

    Matt Lynn

    Jun 9, 2020
    @joel406 awesome! I loved the RB series. very versatile and assuming these new ones are the same!
  4. joel406

    joel406 Inactive

    Dec 27, 2013
    Personally I think their better. Bite and punch.
  5. Djadja

    Djadja Supporting Member

    You’re considering some great amps. I’d add the Mesa line and the Genzlers to your consideration and maybe the Bergantinos. There are tons of great choices available today. Slightly different flavors and different bells and whistles but great sounding amps.
    From my sig you can see I’m a Genzler fan. They are fairly neutral and really allow your bass and technique to shine through. It is very easy to get your sound dialed in. They punch very hard in every register, have very versatile EQ, lots of I/O, and one of the best DI’s available. Customer service is also top tier and the amps are reliable. The 800 adds a second channel over the 350 but other than that the preamps are the same and they sound pretty much identical to me other than volume/headroom capability. I own both.
  6. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    welcome back to playing bass. Lot of great gear you can choose from, although not a whole lot different than when you left 10 years ago. Biggest thing is probably the prevalence of Class D/SMPS power sections vs older school AB stuff.
    Most manufacturers have embraces Class D/SMPS and the designs have really improved in the past 10 years.

    It might be helpful if you let us know a little more on your plans ... what style(s) of music you will be playing, kind of bass you use, volume needs etc etc .. more info usually leads to better responses.

    Of course, the best advice is to try the gear you are considering if at all possible (difficult these days with the pandemic thing still happening I know ... ) sounds like you have tried a few with your Orange 112 cab. I usually think of Orange gear as more rock oriented, is that where your headed ?

    The VT stuff is going to have that Ampeg-ish sort of sound (not exactly perhaps, but thats what their generally aiming at).

    I can't comment on the other items you listed and I'm not going to get all fan-boi on you like some others already have (J .. cough .. cough ... oel).

    good luck OP, and again, welcome back to the bass playing fold. :thumbsup:
  7. Gibson Victory

    Gibson Victory Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2019
    So looks like anything Ampeg is out of the equation. I guess I’ll stop here. If not check them out.
  8. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    IMG_3151.PNG The VT500 is a lot of amp for the price point. Versatile too.
    It would be able to approach Ampeg (as someone already mentioned) or Aguilar Tonehammer type tones.
    So clean and warm to dirty and much in between. Interesting amp.
    mattj1stc and pfschim like this.
  9. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    yes, its pretty much the VT Character Series pedals as a preamp with a 500w power section. I use the VT Deluxe pedal when I'm aiming for an Ampeg type tone. Works great.
    SJan3 likes this.
  10. Thumpin6string

    Thumpin6string Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Shoals Indiana
    Tried a bunch of the new heads. In fact I went through over 20 heads in a little over a year. Ended up going back to this old school tone monster.
  11. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    At the risk of derailing, I'd be interested to see a list (if you can recall all of them) of those you tried. I've played through a fair number of amps, but two a month takes determination!

    I've never owned a WT550, but I played through my friend's old one on numerous occasions. Sweet and detailed through the right cab, with a nicely "planted" feel.

    OP, since you've got an Orange cab, you might check out their class D Little Bass Thing or, if you find one used or NOS, their class AB 4-Stroke 500 (or 300). I've not played the former, but it sounds similar in demos to the 4-Stroke, which surprised me when I tried it -- it's articulate and pretty clean-and-even sounding (though can get just a bit of hair if you want). Not what I expected -- I liked it enough to buy it.

    The Markbass Little Mark Vintage amps have gotten a bit of buzz and have some nice-sounding demos, but I've never played one.

    The are other amps, but if you can say what you liked about the ones you've tried already, that might help focus things.
    SJan3 likes this.
  12. So we’ve learned that you used to play then stopped then came back. What we don’t know is: What’s your music? Are you going to be gigging or garage jamming or bedroom thumping? If gigging, how big a space and crowd do you need to cover? Do you “need” 800 watts or will you consider a 200-300 W head?
    LostJohnny likes this.
  13. _One//Man//Mutiny_

    _One//Man//Mutiny_ Gold Supporting Member

    The Darkglass is a great amp, flexible for anything you could want and do it well, also super reliable
  14. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Yeah, that's a great amp! It will sound good through just about any cab. His Orange 112 would love it.
  15. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Well you know the Class D amps now are really good and crazy light. The old Eden WTX-500 was nice and can still sometimes be found used for not a lot of $$. The new Eden TN501 (500-watts rms) is arguably better but new they are around $649. I have their TN226 (225-watts rms) and use it with a single 112 cab. I bought it from a friend for a really good price, but I probably should have held out for the 500-watt version. It really has great sound though.

    If you're going to spend money in that neighborhood, you should look at the DNA-800. I have a couple of their cabs and that amp is on my list for my next purchase. Then along came that Carona virus and no gig money yet this year. The DNA-800 is an 800-watt Class D amp that weighs 4.8 lbs. sounds great, and has all the bells and whistles including an adjustable compressor. Lots of power and amazing sound. Street price is $799, which is what most of the quality 800-watt Class D amps go for.

    If your Orange 112 cab is an 8 ohm cab, it will deliver ~400-watts rms to it. That's a pretty perfect match. Then if you get another 112 cab down the road when you player bigger venues, it will deliver 400-watts rms to each cab - it puts out 800-watts at 4 ohms. So you would have a light and versatile set-up. Use one cab for small venues, and two for medium and large venues.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
  16. gelinas666

    gelinas666 Guest

    Sep 8, 2009
    Bergantino B/Amp.. Just an amazing Amp and Jim is constantly sending updates you can load to tweak it..:cool::thumbsup: bergantino-b_amp-top3_4-white-web.jpg
    Eddie LeBlanc and ruju like this.
  17. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff Inactive

    Aug 21, 2014
    Mesa just announced the Subway TT-800. It wasn't out yet when I got my WD-800, but if it had been I'd have probably gone for it instead. I love my Mesa WD-800 though, and the D-800+ gets a lot of love in these forums as well.

    If you've got the money to throw down on a Mesa Subway head, I think you'll end up pleased with it. 5 year warranty and serviceable long beyond that afaict.. lightweight, plenty of power, yet yummy at low volumes as well...capable of a 2 ohm load, meaning you can get away with a plethora of cabinet combinations. If you have no interest in tubes, the D-800+ is probably a good bet. The WD-800 has one pre-amp tube that adds some warmth, and supposedly has the best qualities of the Mesa Walkabout amps, the TT-800 is dual channel, and supposedly offers something along the lines of the D-800/D-800+ but different, and the other channel offering the best of the Boogie 400+ with 3 tubes, gets pretty gritty. All have an XLR out with all the bells and whistles, grount lift, pre-post EQ seletion, line level or mic level signal depending on your situation and the preference of any sound engineers running FOH or recording.

    I haven't owned all that many amps in my lifetime, but my WD-800 has been one of the most impressive gear purchases I've ever made. From the packaging, to the quality of the build, the sound, both tone, and capability for being loud. And watching the videos of the d-800 and d-800+ being hand assembled really helped to seal that deal after a bad experience with another manufacturer, where nothing was easily repaired or replaced. I don't forsee something going wrong, but if it did there's comfort in knowing that I'd be shipping within the US to get it serviced.. or order a replacement tube.

    I'm not saying anything else on your list is bad.. but Mesa/Boogie has made a fan out of me. Amp should last me a long time, and the designer is a very active member of these forums.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
    Bassdirty, AudioTaper and MAXSPINRUN like this.
  18. John Le Guyader

    John Le Guyader Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    DC Metro
    The WT550 is an awesome amp, very musical, but heavy. I can get the same tone using the Eden WTDI preamp pedal in through the effects loop to bypass the onboard pre of any amp. Turns my Acoustic Image amp into an Eden. Go modular...amp head and separate speaker cabs for flexibility. If you don't need a lot of oomph, try the TC BAM200 and the BC208 cab. Small (amp fits in your back pocket) and sounds great for both electric and upright.
  19. MaxSpinrun

    MaxSpinrun Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 10, 2012
    Knoxville, Tn
    657E8B80-068A-491B-85ED-AFF20ABE4D65.jpeg Revroy and Matty said it all. Stated all the reasons why Mesa is such a good choice. My rig is a hybrid for all the right reasons to me.
  20. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..