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Amp quandry: Thinking about a cheap head.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Philbiker, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Here's the deal. My main "big" rig is an Eden D210T cabinet and a 1967 Fender Bassman (blackface). This has been great for the occasional small and medium gig, and sounds unbelievable. However, my new band "Not Dead Yet" is starting to gig more, and I think it will be fairly regular. I've got two issues:

    (1) Juice. For a small club the Bassman does the job no problem, but for larger and outdoor work, it doesn't have the juice. We just played at a company picnic and I had it at 7 and it was hurting. The tiny amount of distortion at 4/5 sounds wonderful, but getting higher it doesn't cut it.

    (2) Antiquity. This amp is an antique. It's a somewhat valuable vintage piece. If I'm going to be gigging regular, then using this amp is akin to using a '67 Mustang as a daily driver. I know these old Fenders were made ultra heavy duty and tend to last forever, but still, I can see someone falling on it or dumping a pitcher of water or beer on it in a bar or something and just thinking of that makes me cringe!!!!

    However, I don't want to spend a bunch of money on an amp. I like the looks of little Behringer head, and I know I can look for used stuff. Does anyone have specific recommendations? Anything used?

    The Eden D210T cabinet is going to stay.
  2. MrBonex


    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    OMG, getting a Berringer after playing a Real Bassman will be like going from a Rolls Royce to a Yugo. Or from fillet mignon to Macdonalds. Woof.

    See if you can find a used Bassman 135. Other choices would be a Sound City Bass 150, Trace Elliot V300H (solid state power amp, tube preamp).

    I mention those 3 because I have owned the 135 and the 150, and currently own the 300, so I have experience with them.

    In any case go used, and go quality (if at all possible).
  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I'm afraid of that.....

    Even with the nice Eden cabinet? The bassman really does have a wonderful sound.

    How about the Ashdown Mag 300H or Electric Blue 180H? I don't think I could possibly go over $300 ($200 would be a lot better!) for a "work-a-day" amp considering I already have what I consider to be the holy grail of bass tone.
  4. Aenema


    Apr 18, 2001
    it sounds like the ashdown mag will deliver the sound your after. smooth-vintage-vibe is what ashdown is about. id suggest the mag 300h. that will be the loudest/best sounding head in that price range IMHO. if youre going to be playing some outdoors gigs you will want all the power you can get.
  5. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Check the Philadelphia craigslist.org. Someone's trying to dump a mint condition Ampeg B2-R for a reasonable price. (At least he still was yesterday.) That will give you SS reliability with more vintage vibe than most SS heads, and should sound great with your Eden. I play G-K, but I've used the Ampeg at a few gigs, and love the tone.
  6. I play an older Ashdown Mag 200 1x15 combo. I find it works fine for my older audience in venues up to approximately 200 seats. If the volume starts getting intense or the venue gets larger, I need PA support. I have never played it outside without PA support. Overall though, I think you would be much happier with the tone of an Ashdown Mag than a Behringer, and you should produce more volume with the Mag 300 and the Eden 2x10 cab than I do.
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I'm thinking if the Mag 200 does it for you then the Electric Blue 180 may be all I need with this efficient cabinet.....

    PA support for larger venues is a given, that's another problem with the Bassman. The only way to reinforce is to DI direct out of the bass or put a mic in front of the cab.
  8. Robear22

    Robear22 Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    Beach Park, Ill
    I have used a Behringer for almost two years now.(11/03) I have gotten tons of compliments on my tone and the head has a lot of flexibilty. If you need something cheap then I
    would suggest it. Now they have the new 450 watt model. For price and wattage there is nothng that compares. Check Harmony Central's reviews of the amp and see that the consensus is it is a good unit. But if you can find a deal on something used than grab it.
    Two years is a long time though and I repeat I have had no problems. I use the head as a backup/practice amp but I have been using it a lot over the past 2 months because I don't like hauling the rack/pre setup everywhere. If you have a chance to try it then bring your bass and give it a shot. You may be very surprised by the good, warm tone.
  9. When I bought my Mag 200 the Electric Blue series was still 120 watts and a 1x12 speaker. I bought one, played one small gig and then returned it for the Mag 200. I thought the Electric Blue was a good amp, but I liked the tone and volume of the Mag better. I have been looking to increased power and quality and haven't heard or tried one of the new Electric Blue 180s, but I have read some very good comments about them.
  10. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Used SVT-ii (non pro) is always among the wisest of choices.
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA

    Last Saturday morning I bought myself one of these:
    Peavey Max 160

    Made in USA, bought from a local independant music shop for a price lower than any that I have found online using Google! I think it sounds just peachy with my Eden cabinet, it's loud enough for my needs, and has all the features I could ever want.

    Gigspam: you can hear it in action at Red Rocks Cafe and Tequila Bar in Centreville, VA, on Saturday January 14.
  12. Used SWR bass 350 Red Faced. Great tone good volume and cheap, cheap, cheap, on the bay. I bought mine used and have played it a ton for years. Only changed the tube one time.
  13. Congrats on the new head!

    And though this is too late for you I though I might suggest it for a future. That is, what about using a power amp? Use your amp at lower volumes, less stress, nearly the same tone, more volume?
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Too much to carry and I don't need mega power.
  15. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    That, and you can't preamp out of a Bassman head, nor can you run a tube power amp without a speaker load. Most of the tone of those things comes from the power amp anyway, so it wouldn't be the same at all.

    To do this, you'd need to mod the head with a preamp out, get a dummy load, and buy a power amp. Sounds like his solution is much, much easier.
  16. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Congrats. Is the Peavey a lot louder than the Bassman?
  17. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Yup. But it doesn't have that creamy tube compression dynamic when I dig in like the Bassman has. It's 160 watts into 4 ohms, the Electric blue I was considering is 180 watts into 4 ohms, so it's about the same power as the inexpensive Ashdown. A higher MSRP and a higher price by about $60 (comparing online price which would not include shipping - real differene probably $30), but "Made in USA" instead of "Made in China" makes it a no-brainer for me.

    Also, I know Ashdown grew out of the same minds that brought us Trace Elliot. My Boxer 30 is an incredible sounding practice amp, but I've had significant problems with it. My friend's Trace Acoustic guitar amp is an unusable lemon after a couple years of service and from what I've read it's a design/engineering problem with that amp that is impossible to fix (except with a Genz-Benz Shennandoah ;)). Peavey's reputation for reliability is pretty much without peer in the industry. I don't know about Ashdown.