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Amp Head vs. Rack Setup - It's time for a serious rig.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DubHunter, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. DubHunter


    Feb 15, 2008
    Columbia Gorge
    New on the TalkBass community. Joined as I the final realization that I need an amp setup with true power and low end for bigger and more varied venues.

    I play in a band in South Florida called Jahfe. Rock Reggae with dub and hip hop flavor. Big band that needs a big sound (11 people on stage) and I want the true & thick basslines that rumble floorboards and make your bottom drop.

    I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with an Eden 18xl and 410xlt for the cabs. They just seem like true craftsmanship, and nobody has anything bad to say about them. So, here is where my lack of knowledge kicks in.

    If the 18 is rated for 500 watts at 8 ohms and the 410 700 watts at 4 or 8 ohms, we've got 1200 watts. :help: questions:
    is it a good idea to have at least (or around) 1200 watts going into these cabs?
    I've heard the term headroom - is that ideal?
    Can someone explain the ohm thing to me, or direct me to where to read it?

    and with this info culminating, I'd like an opinion on a setup consisting of preamp/poweramp/conditioner vs an amplifier head (ex. eden WT or Ampeg SVT)

    I apologize if it is ignorant or naive to post a thread like this. I am very curious and excited to have finally joined the TB forums. It'll be cool to meet other bass players and gain some knowledge.

    many thanks.
  2. playibanez


    Apr 3, 2006
    well im not sure if there are heads around that can push over 1200 watts (then again i dont know if an 8 ohm 410 can handle 700) but you can get ample power in a power amp for around 350-400 used.

    im not sure on pre amps for that type of music that is someone elses call. but i have a qsc plx 1202 and love it. its 200 watts at 8 ohms though so that might not be good for you so youd have to look around and see what works. the qsc has many usuable options you can go 2 ohms it has xlr ins 1/4 ins and speakon and banana plugs. along with db lights and clip lights on the front so you know how hard your pushing. and its pretty light with a decent amount of power.

    but basically you can run your choice of preamp into the power amp parallel and run the signal to each cab. or if you want you can get two preamps and biamp your signal which would work very well also. there is alot of options and its all pretty much waht yo want to do.

    if i were you id go to your local music store with a freindly employee and just chat it out with them!

    also if you search some stuff you will find a wealth of info. hope i helped a little bit though.

    *edit. search the ohm stuff and you will find alot. also search headroom, im not well versed on it*
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    One definition of "headroom" is how loud your signal can get without distorting. Note that not all distortion "sounds like" distortion- it can also sound like weak sound, lack of "power" or "oomph", weak lows, too much compression, muddiness, etc. Note too that distortion can occur at any point in your signal chain- the instrument, the tuner pedal, the preamp, the power amp, the speakers, etc. That's one of the reasons people sometimes say to get a super powerful rig with very high headroom: you won't actually be using 1200 W or whatever all the time -in fact you'll be using only a small fraction of it most of the time- but having the ability to generate big peaks without distorting can give that sense of massive heft and power and depth even if you are not turned up very "loudly".

    OTOH it's not necessary to go that route, and many people use much more conservative rigs successfully.
  4. Eminor3rd

    Eminor3rd BLAAAAARRGGHH!!

    Feb 10, 2008
    Yes, you want to get as close to the maximum wattage as you can to maximize headroom without ever risking blowing your speakers. There are heads out there that are that powerful, but your choices will be fairly limited. In your case, it may be ideal to get a solid state poweramp of some kind (Crown, QSC, etc.) and then just buy a preamp of your liking and rack it up. It'll be easier to get your ideal power that way without sacrificing the ability to choose the preamop that drives your tone.

    By the way, "Ohms" is a measure of impedance, or electrical resistance. The formula for calculating impedance in two parallel cabinets I BELIEVE is this: 1/(1/A + 1/B) with A and B repesenting the ohm rating of each cabinet. If you plug in 8 ohms for each in the formula, you get a total impedance of 4 ohms. My advice, regardless of how you choose to go about it, is to get as close to 1200W@4ohms as possible. Some will say to overpower your cabs and just never turn them up all the way, but IMO, it's not worth it, especially at this power rating. 1200W will be plenty.
  5. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    I've always felt fortunate that we bass players actually get to play thru an ampeg SVT. guitarists have their plexi marshalls, deluxe reverbs and AC30's, but as far as i'm concerned if you only can afford one amp, an old ampeg SVT or the new SVT VR is the only amp that i would recommend. I have both, (a '69 blueline and a 2007 VR) and they are both great amps.

    Last year talked myself into trying something lighter weight (to be easier on my back) , so i bought a brand new Genz Benz GBE600 and a new Eden WT550B. The genz benz was quick responding, but lacked the smoothness and fullness of an all tube amp (kinda reminded me of my old Acoustic 370). The Eden was pretty smooth, almost tube sounding, but not as punchy as the genz benz, nor an all tube amp. Well, i ended up selling both of them and bought a new SVT VR (my '69 is a little tired). I was running the Eden at 2 ohms so it was putting out all of its 750 watts, but the VR has more power (300 watts-tube) and it's sensitivity, punch, smoothness and overall tone is so much nicer, it just walks all over every solid state powered amp that i've played thru (and i've tried them all).

    I have a '74 Sound City Bass 150 amp (four KT88's) that also sounds awesome, and although it's only rated at 150 watts, it easily feels and sounds more like 200.

    In my opinion, the very best sounding (but not the most power) bass amp that i have is either a Sunn 190B or a Sunn 2000s. they are less colored than all the others and have the smoothest, fullest and warmest tone that i have ever heard. If you ran a 2000s thru four JBL D130F's (or K130's) it would probably keep up with an SVT since the JBLs are twice as efficient as everything else.

    2 cents......
  6. DubHunter


    Feb 15, 2008
    Columbia Gorge
    on Eden's website, bass player/endorser Adam Blackstone is said to play an 18 and 410 with the WT800. This means that the amp is running at lower wattage than the cab ratings. This guy plays with Jill Scott, Jay-Z, Joss Stone, and more, so it's got to be working for him.

    so what would be the advantage of bumping up to the WT1205

  7. alexgeddy

    alexgeddy Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    I respectfully need to disagre about headroom!!
    Headroom is what you have left after the mfg specs.... some amp company rate thheir amps at example.... 500 wats with 2 0r 3 db headroom which is nothing.... crown and other quality amps have full rated out put with 5 or 6 db of headroom...it all comes down to specmanship..EDEN doesn;t have a lot of leftover headroom....I think GK does...but this affects when your amp will distort when you push it to the limits.....just my2 cents worth!!

  8. alexgeddy

    alexgeddy Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    me thinks from personal experience that eden power ratings are over rated.... if you push an eden head to its limits the power amp limits...that is because they have no headroom... but they sound good....try a crown power amp at it's limits and you wil hear why guys go with separates...given the aggravaation of hauling the stuff around!!!
  9. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    Dubhunter; welcome to the tb community, i hope you enjoy your stay. I leave most of the technical stuff out and just say - don't think you could go wrong with an eden 410+118 and wt800. Matching power ratings for amps and cabs is less of a deal than you would think. For one, speaker pwr rtg specs are thermal based not excursion based. Amp RMS power rating is based on a continuous sine wave (as you know music is not one cont. Sine wave). These are just a couple reasons why using your ears and common sense is more important than power specs. Many might say that impedence and sensitivity are more imprtant than power handling.

    The last thing i want to add is that although headroom is nice, I've found that more speakers gets you that "thump" a lot faster than more power.

    I tried not to get too verbose in this post. I did like what the one guy said about the svt being "the" amp. Try different stuff; a pre/power setup is not the be all end all for most players.

    If you do decide to go pre/power though, i recommend the qsc plx 1804.
  10. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Welcome to TB.
    I live in South Florida and I know what kind of band and clubs you play in, so if you don't mind, I'd like to suggest a rig to you.

    Preamp - Any quality preamp of your choice, BBE, Sansamp, GK, are affordable options. Do a search here and you will find great info.

    Power amp - Crest CA9 or CA12 (proven performance and reliability)

    Bottom cab - Accugroove Whappo Grande or Bergantino NV215 (Edens are good but these are better)

    Top cab - Accugroove Whappo Jr. or Tri210L or Bergantino HS 410

    You'll shake Miami with this setup.
  11. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    I just wanted.to add that there is nothing wrong with "underpowering" cabs. As per my post above, power ratings on amps can be both exaggerated and underrated. For example, two 8 ohm 410s ran from a 500 watt markbass or thunder funk are going to have all the thump you'll ever need. The eden may run out of headroom but I don't think you'll find many guys slaving a power amp to get the volume they need out of a eden wt800. That only becomes a necessity when you are running extra (3+) cabs.
  12. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Most soundmen I've talked to seem to think that you should always have spare power. I know this guy who has a GK1001RBII that puts out 700W into a HT115 (400W) and a HT210 (400W) and our friend who's been in the industry for 30+ years keeps telling him that he's underpowered.
  13. NorCal Dog

    NorCal Dog

    Nov 28, 2005
    whatever rig you wind up with,, if you're looking for those Dub tones,, string that bass up with flats,, that's where those deep tones originate from
  14. DubHunter


    Feb 15, 2008
    Columbia Gorge
    --just bought an 18XL for under 500 dollars..bit more righteous that an 1800 dollar cab. 21 inches looks monster though.

    i'll figure it out. :confused: still need to decide a path for amplification. any more ideas? I'll throw out a bit of preferences.

    I don't need the crispest and clearest tonal spectrum. I love the thick and low and if my basslines can dub the the venue from the rafters to the floorboards, I'm feeling irie.

    then again, I'd like to be able to use the 410 for a jazz/r&b session.

    I've been playing a 15 with house PA support for a long time, and recently been borrowing 212's. Nervous aboiut 4 10s. somebody assure me that it's the right (or wrong) decision to get what seems to be a industry wide standard....

    ..can it be explained to me, (or linked to) why more ten's are truly better than bigger sub woofs. I want to be open minded, it's just tough for me.
  15. DubHunter


    Feb 15, 2008
    Columbia Gorge
    you know it man. since I put flats on my p-bass, along with a little something I call the dubfoam, drop lowfreq bombs on the unsuspecting.
  16. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    So you got a 118XL. I don't think you could go wrong pairing that with either an eden 410 or 212.

    For fat bass, I recommend:

    Alembic or BBE Bmax-T pre and a QSC PLX2 1804. There's a guy on TB (Mad Subwoofer) who plays dub in a group called Pacific Frontal System. He uses an Alembic/QSC amp with a pair of EBMM 212s.

    I always thought you could get really cool dub tones with a DOD FX25 (envelope filter) with sensitivity off.

    edit: If you plan on bi-amping I recommend one of the new QSC PLX2 "02" models as they have the built in hpf/lpf @100 hz for bi-amping.

    also as to the whole 410 vs. bigger woofers thing, my take is that 10s are punchier for low-mids/mids and that even though basses reproduce sub-bass frequencies, the most usable frequencies in a band setting is low mids/mids. I've been using 12s for years and I'm migrating towards ten because I crave the punch that they offer on stage.

    Then there's the acme cabs which use tens but they go deeper than a lot of 15s. the trade off is in efficiencey.
  17. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    I just wanted to add, as I'm sure you know, Family Man Barrett uses Eden WT800 amps (two) and 410 and 115 cabs (two each). I've seen the Wailers and wow that's a lot of bass!
    Back in the '70s though he used Acoustic 4x15 and 1x18 cabs (two each) w/ the matching Acoustic heads. He doesn't need to crank the volume for everyone to feel it...that's the idea anyway.
  18. MODNY

    MODNY Guest

    Nov 9, 2004
    get 2 bergantino NV 215 a crest ca9 run stereo, a eden navigator. call it a day.
  19. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    Yep that works too.
  20. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    4 10's can get pretty loud and the bass gets very focused and tight. If you're looking to be felt more than heard, you may want to try your 18" plus a 2x15 (talk about lows). I use two Bergs 1x15 for reggae gigs and get loud as hell, very bassy and appropriate. Turning off the horns on the cabs gives me the Alpha Blonde sound. I've added my Berg 3x10 to it before and it's even better, easier to distinguish the notes. And loud, loud, loud... Still think that you should get anything like 1800-2400W worth of amps.

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