Amp choice

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Stride000, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Stride000


    Mar 15, 2006
    Hi there fellow bassists.

    I'm currently shopping for a new rig and wanted to share my experience and have some comments as well.

    I've tried and owned some rigs up until now and here's what I thought of them.

    The first rig was played with a G&L-2500 and a MF 6 strings fretless. The subsequent kits are played with a MM StingRay 5 and a Fender Jazz bass deluxe.

    Note that these remarks are for the way I play and based on my personal experience and what I like in a bass sound.

    GK 800RB with Hartke 4x10 & 1x15

    Very thin and very cold sounding. I was playing fusion jazz then so it was the sound but I always felt that the amp was sucking the sound instead of pushing it. Would not buy any of those products again.

    Eden wt550 with Ampeg BXT-410

    Plenty of headroom for the power rating of the amp and good response from the cabinet. What I didn't like, and that's with all Eden amps in my case, is it was too sterile sounding. Either too much bass or not enough with cold mids.

    Ampeg SVT-4 Pro with 2 BXT-410.

    Overrated power on the amp. Really hollow sound with no punch at all. Need the 2 cabinets to rehearse only and hearing only grit on stage. In rehearsal at 10 ft from the cabinets all you hear is mud. Probably the worst amp I've ever owned.

    Now, I've been testing other kits at my local music store in order to finally find the best combination and here's what I tried so far and what I thought. Note that all tests were done with the EQ flat on every amp.

    SWR SM-900 with Ampeg BXT-410

    Really thin and really cold sounding. No punch.

    Ashdown 900 EVO II with Ashdown 4x10 cab

    For some reason I couldn't get a clean sound out of this head and it lacked punch. Seemed fairly warm though.

    Fender 800 Pro with Ampeg BXT-410

    Very warm and full sounding with punch.

    Mesa m-pulse 600 with powerhouse 410

    The most impressive so far. Extremely punchy with loads of warmth and with defined highs as well.

    In conclusion so far, I'm tending towards the Mesa kit. My only concern is the headroom and reliability. I'm also wondering how it would perform in a live setting and if it would cut through most mixes with slight Eqing.

    I play anything from pop, blues, r&b to rock so I'm not competing against very heavy guitar sounds so it might be okay but I'm still not certain.

    So how about you guys? Any similar experiences? Any thoughts?? Any suggestions?

  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology: Protecting the Pocket since 2007
    You might be a candidate for a fairly generic yet powerful head plus a 31-band.
  3. Stride000


    Mar 15, 2006
    I'm not big on eqing. I'm trying to find the combination that'll be the closest to the sound I want when the eq is flat.

    I might also look into a preamp/power amp combination. I would then try an Aguilar DB680 running into a QSC power amp plugged into an Eden 410XLT.
  4. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Bass cabinets, heads, preamps, basses themselves all come with some colored EQ built in. Sometimes you add EQ to erase this built in Eq in the chain.

    If you're OCD and need the knobs straight up, then maybe turn the knobs until you get the sound you like. Then pull off the knobs put them back on at 12 O'clock.

    Or put a false front on your amp so there's no knobs to see. If you go through a PA, the sound tech will adjust the EQ for the audience.

    <insert smileys>
  5. Stride000


    Mar 15, 2006
    it's not that i don't want to eq but you got to find the amp that reproduces the sound of your bass the most precisely with it's eq flat.
  6. lame(B)ass


    Jun 18, 2004
    Get Genz Benz GBE 750 and thank me later. ;) :D
  7. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    You need to go pro sound.
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    The M-Pulse 600 is a great head, especially paired up with Mesa cabs.

    If you want punch, maybe you should consider using a compressor with attack/release settings on it. Also, a Sansamp BDDI pedal would probably make most of the amps you are not happy with sound way better. I have said in other posts that the Sansamp will make all of your dreams come true, and this is no exception.
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology: Protecting the Pocket since 2007
    What matters is the overall response curve of the system, which is the sum (in dB) of the amp and speaker response curves. There is nothing magical about a flat amp.

    If you EQ too much, then you start giving up headroom, but it has to be a pretty aggressive curve before that happens.
  10. Stride000


    Mar 15, 2006
    lameBass: good point, i need to check out Genz Benz.

    ChaosMK: i didn't see any problems in punch with Mesa, like I wrote, it's the most impressive kit so far. My only concern with it is reliability and being able to cut through the mix as it seems to be very deep sounding.

    again, i don't have a problem using eq's, i just want to find the kit with wich I won't have to cut and boost a lot.
  11. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    You've tried the Mesa and like the sound, That's a plus. Mesa gear is reliable. You'll have plenty of headroom for the volume levels you say you play at. If you can justfy the cost, go for it.

    I have a Mesa Walkabout. Wouldn't change it for anything. When you look inside Mesa gear you get an idea of what you pay extra for.
  12. Very funny! LOL

    Here I come again with my same old same old:: I know your review of the Ampeg setup was really not good - but I play the same sort of music and have a MMSR5 - and through my SVT II Pro and the 810e my sound is really good! Tons of punch, tons of warmth, tons of whatever I want out of it. Both of my guitar players have commented repeatedly about how much they like my sound over the last bass player's (who used the same cab - 810e - but used a GK head of some sort instead).

    I used to run mine pretty much flat (SVT II Pro) eq-wise - all knobs at 12 - no graphic eq, or graphic eq all bands centered, and simply colored my tone via the MM tone controls and thru pickup switching - but since then I have started adding shape to my tone via pre-amp and graphic eq based on the room.

    Now I also know the SVT II Pro is not cheap, weighs a ton and is a hi-maint. beast - but boy, is it worth every penny!

  13. Stride000


    Mar 15, 2006
    Well, I did some more tests and went for an Aguilar DB750.

    I was able to come to the conclusion that the SVT-4 Pro and the BXT cabinets are not a good combination for me as when plugged into an aguilar cab, the SVT had a really good, more punchy sound.

    But at the end, the flat eqed db750 was far more impressive. It's warm, balanced and punchy. The D and E on the B string don't sound muddy at all, a problem I had with the SVT and the SVT was eqed.

    Then I tried to find the best cab complement for the aguilar since the store only had the entry line cabs. So i tried it with an Eden 610xlt and found out it had tremendous punch and definition but no bottom or warmth. Then i tried it into a mark bass 4x10. It had twice if not three times more bottom but no punch and no definition.

    I then brought it to the rehearsal space and plugged it in my BXT's and found that i had good definition, great bottom but i could feel the cabs can't deliver everything the head has to offer. It lacks responsiveness and projection.

    So finally, I decided to order the Aguilar GS 410 cab wich seems to be the best suited.

    But up until now, I'm really impressed with this amp. The power on this thing is incredible. Only drawback is the weight but I'm used to haul my two bxt's that are 136lbs each so i can manage.