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AMP ON A BUDGET: Ampeg B2R Experience

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tbitsky, Jun 6, 2005.


  1. tbitsky

    tbitsky

    Apr 15, 2005
    Look for an amp on a budget? Me, too. One amp I had been interested in was the Ampeg B2R, perhaps finding it on the used market. The talkbass opinion on the Ampeg B2R is usually very negative. I had been kind of turned off from the amp.

    Last night I walked into an audition and, lo and behold, the studio is supplying an Ampeg B2R. How convenient, since trying an amp in the store is one thing, but trying it with a band is a whole other level.

    What follows is an objective analysis of the Ampeg B2R for those on the market for an affordable gigging amp. This one seems to pop up in the threads a lot, and the information here is a bit confusing. Anyway, here's my take on the amp for those in the hunt:

    GEAR OTHER THAN THE AMP:
    Bass: DeArmond Pilot 4, PJ set of pickups. I was using the bridge pickup as the pickups are a bit woofy/mushy on this bass.

    Cabinet: It was an ampeg -- looked like the 6x10. Those are 4Ohms, I believe. I think these sell for a grand, and you should factor into this review that this was a NICE sounding cabinet.

    Pedals: As I said, the bass I have is woofy/mushy, so I run through an MXR 5-band EQ pedal. But I don't do much EQ'ing. I dial out some of the woof, but otherwise leave it alone.

    THE AMP:

    TONE: Solid. Good and deep. Very clean. The guys I auditioned for played LOUD, but I cut through well. Not a "wet-blanket" bass sound, but a good, percussive tone that put a lot of bottom to the band and still had an impact. If you like clean, solid, good for any style bass tone, this will do that for you.

    VOLUME: This was into a 4Ohm cabinet, but there was PLENTY of volume. I didn't mess much with the amp -- everything looked set at 5. Definitely enough power in the amp, although how it works at 1 8Ohm cabinet, I can't say.

    QUALITY: When I got there, the previous guy had been using the 9-band EQ. I don't like these on any type of amp, so I turned it off without thinking about it. Immediately I noticed a buzz go away. I have yet to find an amp where the graphic EQ doesn't intoduce some sort of noise, but with it off, the amp was quiet. Could the problem be my bass, and the graphic EQ was just accentuating those frequencies? Sure, although the EQ was set pretty flat when I got there (so why have it on?). The amp was a backline in a rehearsal studio, so it could have taken some abuse.

    OVERALL: Would I buy one of these new for $579.00? If I absolutely HAD to have a new amp, then yes. But for $600, I'd probably shop for a used Eden WT300 or Walkabout. However, on the used market for $300 or less, which is fairly easy to do, this is a solid amp for gigging.

    Would you tell the difference between the B2R and an Eden live? Probably not, and the drunk chicks dancing certainly wouldn't. My 45 minutes with this amp were a blast, and I've made up my mind to buy one of these used.
     
  2. Hmmm... the one I had didn't do it for me. Just plain vanilla, solid state sounding. Even with the 9-band eq Icouldn't coax a great sound out of it. If you can afford the WT300 thing go do it, I've seen them used for around $400, if you're patient, maybe more if you in a hurry. Or look into a GK400rb - the newer ones put out 280 real watts, which most people say are louder than B2's 350. They run about $350 used too. Or you could go with a power amp like a Carvin DCM1000 or QSC RMX850 which will give you tons of power for about $200, and use a preamp like a Sansamp or some other stomp box type of preamp for about the same money. Just a thought.

    I'm a bass player and if I can't tell the difference in the amp, it's likely that you won't either (no offense). And if the chicks don't care, why don't you go get a 700W peavey firebass for $300 and put an Ampeg badge on it? :D

    BTW - nice review, I learned something.
     
  3. jiant.

    jiant.

    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    Thanks for this review, I'm sure this will really help a lot of new/ intermediate players looking for a cheap used amp for gigging and wondering if the B2R is really as bad as the rap it gets. I had been looking at one of these awhile ago, but I figured it probably wasn't worth it and kept looking at different amps. I just now finally found the one I want. God Bless! -Brad
     
  4. tbitsky

    tbitsky

    Apr 15, 2005
    [snip]
    If you can afford the WT300 thing go do it
    [/snip]
    If the price is close, then I will. The Eden WT series is my personal favorite.

    [snip]
    And if the chicks don't care, why don't you go get a 700W peavey firebass for $300 and put an Ampeg badge on it?
    [/snip]

    Actually, that amp DOES sound like a wet blanket to me, and I think you can hear that. Even if the drunk chicks don't know that it's the bass sounding muddy, they do know that the band doesn't have any "kick."

    I certainly do believe that there are (a lot of) bad amps out there and that one has to make a wise decision. I've never thought GKs were very thumpy either, although a lot of people swear by them. My opinion is that, for the price of a B2R, you'd have to spend a lot of money to get better tone, and you might only realize the difference in the studio.
     
  5. TheChariot

    TheChariot

    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    I agree that it is good for beginners and people starting their first rig... but be warned, it helps to have a lot of speaker surface with that amp, because it sometimes struggles with power.

    I had mine running through a 410... and I was fine for a while, but when I started a loud band, I got absolutely killed by a Marshall halfstack. I had to buy a power amp and utilize 2 cabs.

    As for sound quality, I've never had a discrepancy with my B2R in that department...

    Overall..... BUY IT USED! Ampeg's replaced the B2R in its lineup with the B1RE and B2RE.... so the B2R sells for about $200-$250 on eBay, and they're always in good condition... it seems to be a sturdy head. $579 isnt worth it to me though.... not with amps like the MAG, the 700RB and the 400RB out there.
     
  6. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    I personally hate the amp. The sound is terrible and it never works propperly. It's blown 3 cabinets...


    grr I hate that head.
     
  7. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Thanks for the review.

    One thing though, I think I COULD tell the difference between an Eden and Ampeg in a live situation ;)
     
  8. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    My B2R is solid and dependable--two traits I absolutely require in gear. It idles quietly. Thumps when I want it to. Plenty of power: I have no trouble cutting through a 100 watt Marshall w/412 slant cab, 5150 Peavey w/412 cab and a loud, miced drummer mix.
    I use an Alembic F1X preamp with it and they sound great together. I also use 2 x 1-15 SWR cabs with it so I do have a lot of cone surface.
    It's refreshing to see someone with no preconceived notions objectively assessing this amp as I did when I bought mine.