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Ampeg or Markbass for small gigs?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Stevehill, Feb 15, 2016.


  1. I have an Ampeg rig that's far too big for practice and small gigs (bars with 100 people max). I'm stuck between the PF800 and LM3 heads, probably with a PF115he cab. Firstly would the cab give me enough volume? Then I'm worried about the reliability, I've seen a few issues with the Ampeg, but what about the Markbass?

    I want to use just one cab but don't care for 210's, I use a G&L five string and play classic rock in my bands.

    Sorry if this has been asked before, I searched the forum but couldn't really find a definitive answer.
     
  2. Best ask a definite question then. If you turn the master down any amp works. Then you need enough cab. 210 up and down throws sound better than 115 but whatever floats your boat.
     
  3. hopsbb

    hopsbb

    Nov 8, 2014
    I'm not a big fan of either Markbass or Ampeg but the 115 will be fine. I take my GK rbx 115 out alot and it holds its own.
     
    Stevehill likes this.
  4. chris_b

    chris_b

    Jun 2, 2007
    The one cab solution I'd suggest is a Barefaced Big Baby 2. Better tone and volume than the cabs you're suggesting, IMO.

    Choose your amp. I use a TH500, Mesa D800 and a Thunderfunk. All work well with almost any cab you put under them.

    Then you could replace your big rig with a second BB2.
     
    Plutonium244 and Stevehill like this.
  5. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa

    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I think you'd be fine with a 115. I run a single SWR Golight 115 at some pretty loud practices and it handles everything just fine with a lot of room to spare.

    As for the amps, my Markbass stuff is solid. I have never used the Ampeg so cannot speak to it's merits or lack thereof.
     
    Stevehill likes this.
  6. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Concerning reliability issues, if I worried about everything that I read on the internet, I'd never buy anything. People with product issues tend to be vocal about them and far outweigh the majority that don't encounter any problems.

    With loud amps, I turn them down and use a pedal to get the grind at lower levels. Maybe that would work for you with your higher powered amps.

    A 115 cab can easily work, but it depends on how loud you play in those small venues. Elevating the cab so that you can monitor better makes a huge difference. I try for three feet but even just a foot on a small stand helps a lot. Since you have a 115, try it and see how it goes. Consider a 212 cabinet if you need a little more.
     
    jnewmark, Rickenbottom and Stevehill like this.
  7. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    the ampeg portaflex with known reliability issues is the PF500, not the PF800. i don't recall seeing reported issues with the PF800.
     
    Stevehill likes this.
  8. Cheers, I haven't got the cab yet but I like your 212 comment, the barefaced super twin looks good, I could even use my main amp with that. The reason for something smaller is that my cab is an 810 and takes up a lot of space in a small bar, the head isn't such a problem.
     
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  9. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    No question that an 810 is imposing on a small stage. If you have the room, turn it on it's side. There won't be issues in a small room.
     
    Stevehill likes this.
  10. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I have a Fender Rumble 500 v3. Before I bought it, I tried out the Ampeg, the Markbass, and the Rumble. Price was not the issue. I was looking for great tone and enough volume from a small combo.
    I chose the Rumble over the others. I'm very happy with it. I have played venues rated for 800 people with no FOH support and was asked to turn down because I was overpowering 2 guitars and a loud drummer.
    I know you were asking about 2 specifics, but I just wanted to give you my perspective after having tried both. If you prefer a separate head and like a single 15, both are in the Rumble line.
     
    Stevehill likes this.
  11. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    The MarkBass CMD121 will blow away any other combo, regardless of it's size. I tried all the combos in the GC store when I bought mine and there was no comparison.
    I can play ANY indoor gig with just that amp, from small dinner houses up, and even played the Canyon Club at 1/2 volume. Two super session/touring players in my neighborhood liked and borrowed mine so often they bought their own.
    15" cube, 350/500W. 32 lbs, scary loud and great tone. I feel that this is the best product in their entire product line.
     
  12. Funny you mention the combo because I was looking at the CMD151 at one point, I hadn't considered the 121 because I thought a single 12 would never be enough. Having said that, I saw someone playing a TC Electronics 12" combo in a small bar at the weekend and it sounded fine!
     
  13. staurosjohn

    staurosjohn Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Nottingham, MD
    +1 ... I've added a few other MB products to my 'arsenal' - but use my CMD121P mostly! If I were buying a new MB combo (have had mine since 2009) I would consider the 121H. It's a bit larger & has a horn... I have the Traveler 121H cab. & love the richer 'high-end' tone which comes from the horn (vs the piezo).

    MARKBASS | Bass Amplification
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
    johnny_bolt and Stevehill like this.
  14. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Gasaholic
    i sold my cmd121 combo with the ny121 extension because my ny151 with a BH800 sounds MUCH better, and it's easier to haul around.
     
  15. mam1862

    mam1862 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Northfield, Ohio
    Markbass is good for any gig. The LMIII and the Big Bang were my go to amps for a long time. Now I use the Multiamp. All 500 watt amps at 4ohms and IMO can service any size gig.
     
  16. When I was out shopping about 4 years ago, I chose the Ampeg PF-500 and the matching 2x10 cab over Markbass. I have had no reliability issues and I use it in every conceivable indoor and outdoor setting and every possible configuration. I just preferred the tone, so it was a completely subjective choice. The Markbass stuff is great! Both brands will suffer occasional failure. Play a lot of equipment at varying volumes and choose what suits you best. I grew tired of carting around my heavy tube set-up and the Ampeg got me closer to the sound I prefer. There are plenty of pieces of equipment that perform well and are even more portable than what I chose. Anything with a long production run is reliable; otherwise they go out of production quickly.
     
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  17. mam1862

    mam1862 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Northfield, Ohio
    Well said Rico!
     
    staurosjohn likes this.
  18. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    I use a 115, Greenboy Bassic 15 for 90% of my gigs now. Most of them are smallish gigs, private party, weddings, etc. The 115 carries the room fairly well. I've had a lot of compliments on the sound and dispersion.
     
    Stevehill likes this.
  19. bigtone23

    bigtone23

    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I have a CMD121P combo that is amazingly robust on it's own. The 151P would have a little more heft, but that 12" combo is insanely easy to tote.
     
    Stevehill likes this.
  20. Eminor3rd

    Eminor3rd BLAAAAARRGGHH!!

    Feb 10, 2008
    NYC
    Huge tonal differences between these two options. I don't think there's a substantial difference in terms of reliability, so I'd let your ears decide this one.
     
    Stevehill likes this.

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