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Ampeg B-100R vs. Ampeg BA115

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Billy-Bob, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. Billy-Bob


    Nov 4, 2005
    So Cal
    Well, I originally started off with a BA115. It was all the dealer had at the time, and I really needed a compact combo for a series of small club gigs. After buying it and then reading all the horror stories about suspect quality control, I was a little worried. But it worked perfectly, no tweeter hiss at all, and had that cool Ampeg tone. The five or six way (I forget) shaping control was pretty cool (and I miss that on the vintage model), although the pot/control felt really cheesy. The amp is heavy, but it was built very well, no issues with how it was constructed at all. If I wasn't such a vintage junkie, I certainly woulda kept it. I had no problems being plenty loud enough at a small club venue or at practice while playing with a Blues band. Anyone who says these can not get over the drummer is mistaken, it cuts thru nicely, and I was no where near maxing it out. The drummer was also very impressed with the tone.

    Well, I decided I realy wanted the vintage look, and I am not big on bass amps with tweeters, anyway, so my dealer got me one and took the BA115 "loaner" back in. The B-100R certainly looks cooler, is a little smaller, doesn't have that goofy (to me, anyway) tilt-back "feature" (you lose all the lows if you tilt the amp back). It is a little heavier, but came with castors; cool! Also has very cool knobs and controls.

    I could not tell you which amp sounded better, they both sounded great. I do miss the signal shape on the BA115--you definitely can get varying tones out of it, not so with the vintage model--you get vintage.

    I can not figure why the B-100R costs so much more than the BA115--it just doesn't figure. I'm sure the coverings are more pricey, but not by that much. Most internal components would seem to be very similar. I was expecting bigger things from the B-100-R's gain leds, but they really are not of much help. You would have to have really hot P/U's to overdrive the input section, anyway, it would seem. No advantage here, maybe if this was a tube amp, but not for solid state.

    Bottom line, if price were a consideration, I would have been just as happy to keep the more modern BA115. Since retro looks got the best of me, I suppose the B-100R was worth it, but I woulda been just as happy Ampeg sound-wise with either one. I definitely recommend either one.:bassist:

  2. BobNewBass


    Apr 2, 2005
    Great review. I also have played through both amps and own the BA115 and feel about the same way. I installed a tweeter cut-off switch on ther BA115 and use it both ways. For quite practice I turn the tweeter off which works out well. With the tweeter on and using the CD input, the amp makes a great play along machine. Live I use it whatever way sounds the best for where I am at.
  3. I got a B100R as a loaner right now. I think it sounds great and I'm really considering buying it. It's used, and the guy wants $350 for it, and it's in really good shape.

    I've only played the B115 in stores but it has always impressed me. I agree; both are great little amps.
  4. The B-100R is what I usually play through at Guitar Center (I don't like to play through the SVTs at skull-crushing volume in the store). That is a pretty cool amp, but my friend has a BA-115 and I think I actually like its tone a little better. I do agree that it is really heavy! Both nice amps, though.
  5. Billy-Bob


    Nov 4, 2005
    So Cal
    Yup, I'm not sure I don't agree with you. The BA115 does sound really good, and gives more tonal choices. I think I'd have to really sit down and A/B them both a bunch to be able to decide which one I really liked better. I don't see how you could go wrong with either. I gigged with my B-100R again last nite and am still very impressed by it.

  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I use my B-100R just about every day. Had it for years and still very happy with what it does. Haven't taken it on a gig or to a rehearsal for years.
  7. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    I quit taking my full size rig out to club gigs, simply for the fact that my B100R is easier to haul & sounds so damn good...
  8. Billy-Bob


    Nov 4, 2005
    So Cal
    I think I am rapidly beginning to agree with you:)

  9. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    My B-100R is THE best sounding solid state amp i've ever played through. I'd like a 500W 215 version:D
  10. floridadave


    Feb 18, 2006
    I read in one of the latest Bass Magazines that Ampeg is coming out with a B-200R (200 watts) in March (I think, it may have said May).

    Do these things have a CD input or a headphone jack?
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Headphone jack, yes. CD input, no.
  12. ElBajista


    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    +1. Yesterday at Church I played my SX jazz with the neck pup soloed and tone at 75% through my B100R. I can't describe how well it sat in the mix between an acoustic guitar and a grand piano. Smooth, tubey tone for days. I love this amp!
  13. True. I read it also, it's going to have like 200-220 watts and A TUBE PRE-AMP!! :eek: :D

    BTW I kept the loaner. So, I am now the proud owner of an Ampeg B100R. :bassist:
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    The new model may be another case of fixing something that clearly wasn't broken. We'll see.

    Sounds like it would have to at least be in the $700 too... not exactly a bonus;)

    BTW a tube preamp or a tube in the preamp? There's a big difference.
  15. Your right, list was like $849 or something like that. Not exactly a steal. :meh:

    I don't remember what the article said exactly, but I think it was a tube IN the preamp.
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I haven't found that my B-100R sounded like it could benefit from a preamp tube. It already has a tube vibe.
  17. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I've had 2 BA115's - to me they sounded awesome at home, and "Ok" at rehearsals. I tried the new BA210 (actually it was the BA210SP) at GC, and that amp sounded superb.

  18. I just picked up a B-100R for $150.00. Got home late so I couldn't try it out. But I read countless tests and they are well liked. I had a BA-115 but it fried the mother board (like many other BA-115s did.) Looking forward to trying it out.
    Bobby Bass likes this.