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AMP RECOMMENDATIONS for small jam space/gigs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassnewbz, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. bassnewbz


    Feb 6, 2013
    Hey there, I need some help in determining which bass amp would be best suited to my style of music.

    Let me set up the situation:

    I play in a 4-member Alexisonfire (Canadian post-hardcore, punk) cover band (not 5 because we're looking for a screamer/frontman still). We play in the drummers basement, which is reasonably tight, and just concrete and drywall. I usually play guitar, but since the two other guitarists are better than I am (no shame in admitting that), I figured I'd try the bass since I had one lying around for awhile. It's just a plain Squier Precision bass, and I currently use a small starter Peavy Max 110 Bass Amp for the practices. The guitars largely overpower the sound from this amp, as do the drums. I had expected this, and I'm just ready now to sink a little bit of money into some equipment if I'm going to be continuing to play bass as opposed to guitar.

    I don't know much about the workings of basses or amps, I usually only pay attention to what catches my eye visually, but I appreciate the good, rich, deep sound that a bass delivers.

    I'm not sure the minimum wattage I should be looking for in a new amp, that will allow the bass to cut through the mix.

    We plan on playing gigs eventually, and they are likely to be just smaller, bar-type venues.

    Portability doesn't matter so much to me, as I'll keep my small amp for practice at home, and as long as I can get the new amp to the practice space, I'll just leave it there. Back and forth between gigs eventually as well.

    I love the big look of a head and cab, but I don't think I can afford to buy them yet, so I think my best bet would be a combo amp for now.

    I'd say my price range is between $400-$600 CAD.

    The ideal music chain I'd like to deal with would be Long and McQuade's (http://www.long-mcquade.com/) as there are a few store locations in my area. But I'm not that limited.

    I'd at least like some direction into what I should be looking at.

  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Buy as much wattage as you can afford, and understand that it's speakers that get the volume. Remember this_200 watts through a 1x12 will not be very loud, but that same 200 watts through an 8x10 can be very loud. If you get a combo amp, be sure it's capable of adding an ext cab, 'cause you'll want to add another spkr cab when you realize 1 15" spkr isn't quite loud enough. 2 of them will be plenty, though.
  3. Bassnewbz,
    Best bang for your buck from Long & McQuade would be Traynor gear at your price range. Not sure where you are in Canada but also used gear would stretch your dollar much further - try Kijiji. Gear by Yorkville, Traynor and Peavey is all good equipment and with $600 you'll be able to hear yourself quite well. Agree with Rickenboogie, probably want at least 200 watts. When you spot stuff, you can always write back to TB for opinions or do some research in the reviews section.
  4. Used stuff is the only way to get loud enough with that budget. 300W and any two identical cabinets is a good start.

    In a small practice space it's typically impossible to get good sound unless everyone compromises until everyone is happy. Typically that doesn't happen.

    It comes down to the question of why you would need to run guitar amps on 11 in a small space?

    You must get the guitarists to tilt their amps back to face their heads or else put them up on stands to get their amps to blast their own ears. Instant volume decrease. Drummer won't have to hit so hard and you might stand a chance of hearing what note you are playing.

    If you haven't got earplugs you are already starting to go deaf. You'll hear better and won't wind up like me with 24/7 ringing in the ears.
  5. bassnewbz


    Feb 6, 2013
    Thanks for all the feedback! Yeah, I know typically that the higher the wattage, the louder and more powerful. I don't totally understand the distribution of it all though, between 10", 12" and 15" speakers. So just really to understand how that all worked, and how ohms affects everything, I guess is pretty essential.

    I've looked online to see what's out there, and you can get some better named stuff. I read a few threads about 'Hartke' products today on here, and on kijiji I found a bass amp/cab (both Hartke - HA40000 amp and Pro 2200 cab) for $600 in my area. I'm just cautious buying used stuff when I don't really know what to look for in terms of making sure it's worth what they're asking - eg. condition of the amp and such.


    Above is the link to the aforementioned Hartke rig. I just don't understand all the technicalities, and what's best, as I said before, except the higher the W the better.
  6. Seems a bit pricey compared with US prices.

    I would have a crack at the amp but the cab is a bit limiting. 2x12 isn't going to keep up at a gig with two gui****s and it's 4ohm so you can add another cab. Good cabs are way more important than lots of watts.

    Keep looking. After it's been for sale awhile you could offer him $400 for it and flip the cab down the road when you get gigs lined up.
  7. bassnewbz


    Feb 6, 2013
    I appreciate the reply. I'll wait a bit to jump on it then, thanks! What makes a good cab besides the wattage then? Just number/size of speakers?

    I've been doing some research, and I'm really into blink-182 also. That's personally what I play and practice when I'm at home without the band, but either way, they are my top two. Mark and Chris, bass players from both bands, appear to be using the Ampeg 8x10 cab's and the Ampeg SVT Classic tube heads.

    I know Ampeg's are pretty well the top of the line, but what would be most comparable in my price range, if anything? I came across an Ampeg cab like the one I just mentioned, online kijiji, used for $700 CAD. Is that a reasonable price for used?

    Also, a really noob question (but that's what these forums are for, right?). As I mentioned before, I've just got a very very basic starter bass amp, the Peavey Max 110. I don't think/see how this would work, but I'm just trying to learn what I can: How do I know whether or not I'd be able to hook up a cab to it? I'm just not sure what the cab actually uses to connect. I know there would be a tremendous gap in the performance between the amp and cab if it were even possible to have them both working, I'm just thinking if the Ampeg is a good price, if I could get that now and put away some money for a real head, that'd be great if I could get this all to work together and at least be louder even if the desired/final end sound/tone isn't there.
  8. Almost anything is possible if you don't mind a bit of butchery. It would be kinda funny to see a Peavey 110 amp taken out of the combo and put on a 8x10 but it would be pretty loud too. Lots of little speakers add up to one big speaker which takes a lot of power, relatively speaking when looking at such old technology.

    Loud isn't everything. There is another quality, dispersion. Basically anything x10 in a cube is not to be recommended if you value hearing the same tone across the listening area. Look up beaming and comb filtering with google.

    In your case you are on a small budget so you may be stuck with the old tech to meet loudness and budget.

    Used Ampeg 8x10 are going cheap in USA. They tend to get abused because gui****s play too loud and we bassists try to keep up by adding more power. I think it's quite ridiculous that 8x10 isn't loud enough for a lot of bands.
  9. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    An amp that is capable of adding more spkrs will have a 1/4" jack labeled SPEAKER OUT. Nothing else will do. Wattage ratings on spkr cabs are not important, and don't really tell you much. Just get as much spkr as you can, 2x15's should be easy to find, relatively cheap. Put a 300 watt head on top and you're set.
  10. bassnewbz


    Feb 6, 2013
    Thanks again for the replies, that's great. So wattage doesn't matter so much in a cab, what would be desirable then? ~300?

    Regardless, the cab talk is something in the future for me yet, I was just looking around on kijiji and saw the Ampeg so I asked. What would be ideal in a combo amp in terms of wattage and speakers? I know you guys were talking about Traynor's and Peavey's and such before, anything specifically for a combo amp in my price range?
  11. Sod all combos will get you the volume you want, certainly not ones you can afford.

    Have a look for a Traynor yba200 in your area. Peavey make solid cabs for bass. You could get a 4x10 and add another identical 4x10.

    Cab ratings are all over the place, usually you can figure on half the cab rating being roughly what size amp can be run hard into it. Only your ears can tell you if you are actually pushing a cab too hard. Wattage does matter but not in the way you probably think. Read the sticky "All amps, ohms, cabs etc"

    Guitar takes a lot less power and speakers to get stupid loud than bass. Bass needs big power and very capable cabs to deal with it. Laws of physics are really up against us.

    What amps are your guitarists using? If you get a rig will they go and buy stacks of 4x12 to drown you out? This is how gui****s think.
  12. bassnewbz


    Feb 6, 2013
    I'm looking around and it's seeming that it might be cheaper just to find a cheap, used cab/head as opposed to getting a combo. I can't find any used combos, and all the new ones are pretty expensive. I've been looking around and most of the wattage in the combo's are fairly low, especially for in my price range except for one of them that was about 250 or 300w, but I read a review and the guy was saying how he lost some low end in drop C tuning. This matters as I play anything from standard to drop c.

    My brother (one of the guiarists) uses a Line 6 Spider 112 tube amp, and the other guitarist, not exactly sure what it is, but a larger Peavey tube amp. They wouldn't swap their gear to be louder than me, and I'm not trying to necessarily be louder than them, it would just be really nice to hear me from across the room - as right now I can barely hear myself even in front of the amp.

    I've come across a Peavey 410tx in my area, for just under $200. Would that be a decent buy? And then I'd just have to find a decent head, right? http://kitchener.kijiji.ca/c-buy-an...-700w-Peak-350w-continuous-W0QQAdIdZ454456575

    EDIT: This same guy actually has that same head you recommended, the Traynor YBA 200 for $550. He offered to sell both for $720. Would that be a decent rig for what I want to do? http://kitchener.kijiji.ca/c-buy-an...00-200w-all-tube-bass-head-W0QQAdIdZ454456822
  13. Jump on that. He might take 600 for the whole rig.
  14. bassnewbz


    Feb 6, 2013
    Appreciate it, I'll let you know how everything works out if he's available sometime in the next few days to meet up. This would suffice though in terms of cutting through the mix, and would have a decent sound? Is there anything I should be checking for specifically when buying used? And by that, anything I should be looking at or listening for when I go to look at it that would indicate some problems?
  15. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Combo's are the obvious choice for you at this point in what you do but as Downunderwonder has kindly pointed out you're in need of volume and there are a lot of combo's that don't really pull their weight when it comes to moving air. Not even a lot of the expensive ones. They're best for studio application or for lighter style bands usually.

    I think that Hartke rig you posted would be a great avenue. Hartke gear is reliable and a 212 would give you quite a lot of purchase in the room especially with that dual port system. Also it looks like one of the drivers is pointed at face level which is kind of charming. 400w should be more than enough for you at this stage of the game. It would also be a good range for a punk rock sound.

    If you do go for it though take it easy on the master volume. You've got 100w more amp than you do cab and while this is not a big deal, a smart cat wouldn't run the amp into that cab at full throttle, not that I'd suggest you'd need to. Besides, if you cruise in and hobble your guitarists with that amp you'll turn up another day to find a new pair of Marshall half-stacks bearing down on you.
  16. MP87


    Mar 12, 2012
    Not sure of the traynor head.

    I'm in Canada. I bought a brand new ampeg pf500 (500 watts) for ~370 from L&M, and a used 410 cab on kijiji for 150 or so. Lots of volume with a loud drummer and one loud guitarist.

    There is a new ampeg pf800 you could probably do with your $600 budget.

    The used market rocks.

    Edit: I run the pf500 into an 8 ohm cab, so I'm only really using ~300 watts.
  17. bassnewbz


    Feb 6, 2013
    Yeah, that's what I mean. I don't really understand all the technicalities in terms of wattage and ohms and all that. Looking at the traynor/peavey combo I would have thought I had more wattage in the cab than the head just by the 350 vs the 200 but I don't get how all that works.

    If that cab is decent though, and I could get a new head, or a better head, that'd be awesome. MP87, what kind of music do you play? Are you happy with the ampeg head?
  18. Nasty noises, creases in the cones, missing cab corners. If sounds good it's probably good, but not guaranteed, hence the bargain nature of used stuff.

    The reason to go for the likes of that peavey is you can double up 8ohm cabs with any decent amplifier and it will be all that and a bag of chips for around 500 bucks.

    The Hartke cab combination would do for the rehearsals but for a gig it's limited.

    I can just about guarantee as soon as you have a stack your guitar bretheren will go get stacks too. You might like to point out you need ten times the wattage to balance guitar rigs and would they mind chipping in for a 1000W stack for you or you will need to find a band with sane volume levels.

    How are those earplugs coming along?
  19. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    There is no set rules for wattage issues. Only recommendations. One rule of thumb is that you should always have at least double your watts in cab than you do in amp. eg. If you have an amp which puts out 300w at 8ohm you should ideally have a cab which is rated for at least 600w at 8ohm.

    But most people won't do this because of brand and budget constraints and that's totally fine. This is just a basic point to illustrate that it's genuinely a good idea to have more watts in cab than you have in amp if you possibly can. That said; I certainly don't. I pipe 485w into 300w of cab which means I have to be very very careful with my eq to ensure that I don't end up with 4 popped speaker cones.
  20. bassnewbz


    Feb 6, 2013
    Another stupid question then, IPYF, how do you know what to play at if there is that much more power in the head vs the cab?