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Amp head comparison chart

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bmc, Feb 17, 2005.


  1. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    Hi folks....sick at home with the flu and bored out of my alleged mind. I'm about to pull the trigger on a new head. I was surfing the reviews Harmony-Central (no affiliation) and decided to compile a ranking of heads.

    The attached spreadsheet shows amp heads that were reviewed by 10 or more reviewers. I figured it was a good starting point for enough opinions to be averaged. YMMV. I then took the total scores for "reliability" and "overall satisfaction".

    There's some interesting results for what it's worth. It's amazing what boredom will drive you to.
     
  2. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    3 Questions:

    What are your personal top 3 picks for heads thus far?

    What type of music do you play?

    What's you budget?
     
  3. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    It's down to one head. I'm picking up a Markbass F-1 Little Mark head. The sound is right. The power is right, size/weight and the price is right.

    There's a nice Eden head on special at BassNW, but after shipping, duty etc, it blows my budget. Even so, it would still be about $500 cheaper than buying locally. Looking at some of the comments at H/C, reliability raised my eyebrow.
     
  4. Th9nker

    Th9nker

    Mar 18, 2002
    Well one thing that I have learned is not to pay too much attention to anonymous online reviews... Some people have no idea what they are talking about...

    I think online communities such as this one are a much better place to get that sort of info... I enjoy reading people's stories about their experiances with a company's customer service, etc...

    It all comes down to your ears though...
     
  5. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    Aren't you contradicting yourself?
     
  6. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Not really. We aren't anonymous. We're real people (or really well done shell scripts). If I say "I don't like Trace Elliot amps" you can get more details as to why (I used to have a trace, it just didn't fly for the kind of tone I want).

    Generic internet reviews are cool, but you can't really get the depth of context you can from boards like this.

    One of the reasons this place is fast becoming my new favorite internet hangout.
     
  7. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    When I opened the spreadsheet, my eyes immediately fell on to the Fender BXR400. Why? Partly because I used to own one (until it was stolen), and partly because I know it's been out of production for a long time. Just thought I'd mention it in case anyone uses this spreadsheet to help them chose an amp head.............
     
  8. Heckxx

    Heckxx

    Nov 2, 2004
    Libertyville, IL
    yeah, some internet review places arent too accurate, like harmony central. Alot of people just give 10's in all the categories, and then every once inawhile someone gives 2's in every category cuz they complain theres some sort of "noise" the unit creates or that it just sucks for no reason.
     
  9. Th9nker

    Th9nker

    Mar 18, 2002

    I guess what I mean is that people here often have to defend their statements... On a review site, you can just say what you want and not have to worry about anyone questioning you... Plus, I like to think of these boards as being somewhat of a community, in which people don't just flat out lie... I mean all of your statements are essentially recorded here....

    Of course you will always have "brand-faithfull" reviewers who will never admit any limitations of their gear... Really they are usually just looking for reassurance that the did the right thing by spending so much money on a piece of equipment... Makes 'em feel a little better about being in debt up to their eyeballs!
     
  10. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    I agree with the comments above. When I look at the high rating the Behringer head gets, is it getting rated by players with similar experience as those rating the Mesa 400? The lower price point for Behringer may be giving high powered heads to a new market that wouldn't have bought a 300 watt head at a higher price.

    What I did find interesting is the comparisons of Ampeg heads. Some scored very well. Others not so well. Mesa 400 scored highly. The GK400RB had a high reliability. The GK1000 less so. For someone in the market for a head, I found it interesting to see a cumulative scoring.

    One thing I quickly discard are reviews that are written within three months of ownership. They all tend to be WOW, COOL, BEST OF BREED, blah blah. Meaningless. I also tend to discard reviews that say "never gigged with it, but..... ". YMMV

    Conversely, this forum also draws out the same element. You never really know how qualified a reviewer is. Also, does he play my style, does he use the same bass with the same floor preamp, strings, prickups, settings, calloused finger tips? In the end, it is listen with your ears. I purposely omitted the "sound" ratings for that very reason.

    I can't wait for this flu to leave.
     
  11. pdxmar

    pdxmar

    Feb 13, 2005
    I agree also.............I have done quite a bit of research the past two months looking for a new head.........way too much information from bad sources is out there. It all comes down to personal needs and ears. I decided on the Genz Benz 600....... IMO the best sounding and most features in the price range I was looking for...700-100.
     
  12. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    I think in an ideal world, the store lends you the gear to take to a gig or two to see what it can do in a real world situation. If the local stores rented decent gear, I would try that out.

    There's a huge difference between playing in a crowded music store on a Saturday morning and playing a long narrow bar with concrete floor, walls and ceiling, let alone playing with a drummer and other musicians.

    I'm glad Ivan Mike posted the thread reminding people to post reviews. I would like to make reviews more meaningful and I'm trying to think of suggestions to pass on. Should there be a requirement that you have to own the gear more than three months? Should you ask if you have gigged with it? What gear this equipment replaced and why did you replace (Gas, upgrade, reliability,etc).

    We all hear stuff differently. We all play differently. There must be some common points that make reviews more meaningful to us.
     
  13. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    well, i just posted a reminder about this as another thread. TB is an excellent place to check gear reviews as you can always contact the reviewer for more details, etc. TB has a great gear reviews section (link located right next to the link to the forums at the top of your TB page. I strongly suggest (beg?) TB members to post more reviews of products in the gear reviews section. Reviewing a product in a thread in the amps forums is great, but eventually they get lost. Taking the tiem to post a review of an amp, cab, bass, etc in the gear reviews section leaves a permanent and easily accesable resource for all of us. Sometimes i hear complaints that there isn't enough stuff reviewed there or that there aren't enough reviews per product there. Gee, maybe if more of us took the time to post reviews there............well, you get the idea. ;)

    ps. thanks for taking the time to make that spreadsheet. it's cool. although you may want to consider more hobbies, or maybe prozac. :p
     
  14. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    You've been talking to my wife and kids haven't you?

    :D

    I'll go add some reviews.
     
  15. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I agree. It's not uncommon to have these initial glowing reviews followed by a "for sale" add in the classifieds shortly after.

    Here's a tip. Be wary of any review that don't offer any constructive criticisms. I have some fantastic gear, and there's not one piece of equipment which could not be improved slightly. The "warts and all" reviews are the honest ones. And if the warts don't bother you, then that's a piece of gear you should consider.
     
  16. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    great points. i must go edit a couple of my reviews here and add the warts (seriously).
     
  17. Happy MurphDay

    Happy MurphDay

    Mar 9, 2004
    around
    the thing I dont like about online places like harmony, is you dont know what thier prior experiances are. They claim that thier "insert gear here" is "better" ...... but you dont know if there comparing it to a beginners combo

    or this is the worst .... when its a lemon, or they have no experiance and cant figure it out
     
  18. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    exactly. So how can we come up with a meaningful review page? Do you put just that:

    This item was purchased to replace what?

    Why are you replacing it?

    How long did you own the previous item?

    What do you like best about the new item?

    I think there's good info worth sharing and I think manufacturers could benefit from the info.

    Just my $.02 Swiss Francs
     
  19. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    that's another reason why i think the TB reviews are so much more valuable. you can always pm the member doing the review (or invite them to a thread discussion) and ask those types of questions, find out what their experience since the initial review has been, etc. The threads themselves can be the most revealing, as various users can chime in with differing veiwpoints and experiences.