Ampeg Porta bass better than EA iamp for both DB and electric?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Bonafide, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    I know that is a stupidly impossible subjective variable driven question, but I asked it anyhow.

    Actually since they all 3 cost about the same but I haven't heard hardly anything about 'real life' use with the Porta Bass. Is Ampeg taboo amongst DB players?
    I tried one out last week with the 210 cab and it sounded really, really good with Upright bass. I was so suprised that I almost bought it but I am still not certain yet because I haven't actually played through an Iamp or AI yet.
    I was (and still am) looking at the iamp 350 combo because I am looking for something that doubles on electric, the Porta Bass does this as well.

    Does anyone know something that would be of some use? Nobody around here sells EA amps for me to check out.

    Thank you
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Funnily enough, I was just re-reading a "shoot out" in UK Bass Guitar magazine - they had a special on EUBs - Electric Double Basses and compared sveral high end, compact set ups. So as well as Mesa and Eden, they compared EA iAmp and CXL112 Cab against Ampeg Portabass.

    The EA setup won every category except lightest cab!! ;)

    So - smallest cab with best low end, best clarity and definition, best peak power etc.

    They did actually mention that the EA rig would suit a Double Bassist best, because of the exceptionally clear sound and its ability to reproduce the full range of the instrument - even the fundamentals of the E string.

    Whereas, they said the Ampeg (and I quote) : "lacked a little of the low-end meat of the others"!! ;)
  3. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    Thank you for the repy Bruce.
    Ha! I knew it was flawed somewhere :rolleyes:

    Yes I find this to be true of all of the Ampeg SS stuff and with electric bass I found this to be the case with the Porta Bass. Consequently it was a pleasant side effect for Upright as it kept the boom down and really reproduced the sound nicely. Still I would prefer the option to have them present and cut them myself as opposed to not have the choice of adding those rumling lows.

    Thanks again.

    So who came in 2nd? 3rd? etc in this shootout? Where did Ampeg actually fall or what were the comments you read?
  4. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    Actually I just realiized that the 'shootout' was using EUB's. Which one's?
    That wouldn't really make it a fair comparison for Upright anyway since SO MUCH fundamental was probably coming from an Electro-magnetic pickup in an EUB. Most DB players use a combination of Piezo and Mic or magnetic and mic or just piezo etc.
    Hmmm... Anyone else?
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I own both an AI Clarus and an EA iamp 800. Through EA speakers, both sound absolutely wonderful. The Clarus seems to have a bit of a mid scoop built into it at (I think) about 1Khz, but that's also the frequency that often gets cut first when a DB player plugs into an amp anyway. The iamp is totally clear, to the point where it's unnerving at first. I'd say that the iamp is the better choice of the two for doubling (which I also do), although the Clarus is no slouch. I use the Clarus for low/medium volume DB gigs, and the iamp for medium/high volume DB gigs and doubling gigs. Before I had the iamp, the Clarus did a nice job for all of the above, but was a little short on power in some situations.
  6. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    I can see that no doubt,Ampeg has certain voicings that are unique to them and that are subjective to taste..But it would be presumtive to assume that with the porta bass considering it's hi-fidelity design.
    In truth most DBer's simply wouldn't play it despite it's claim of transparency, particularly when you can obtain a Clarus or Coda for less, which is tried, true and respected in the unspoken underlayer of the upright cult.
    I was tempted as hell to pick up an AI these past couple of days as it seems that so many people have them for sale used right now but man that Porta Bass REALLY sounds good. Not just good, but 'wow what the hell is going on?' good.

    I can order the EA and be safe for both URB and Electric but I am pretty sure I will own the PB by tommorow.
    Anyone elese get a chance to actually play YOUR bass through it should (Especially if you need it to double on electric)
    Thank Chris for the reply.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    My EUB has got piezos-only! But they weren't using EUBs in the magazine article - they just made a comment that they thought the EA stuf was best for Double Bass .
  8. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    Hey Bruce, like I said some EUBS use only Piezos. Still that would be a totally different 'performance' on a solid piece of wood vs.a big hollow violin. I somehow got the impression from your post that this was a comparison USING EUB's.
    I'm curious now since they were actually using Acoustic Upright Basses and not EUB's, which ones? What pickup configuration? What strings were used? Usually they give those kinds of specs on a shootout, did they here?
  9. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Here's a bit of a funny story.

    I was hanging at the EA booth at NAMM this past January (as I am an endorser and wrote the forward to the iAMP800 manual). The owner of St. Louis Music (Ampeg) was there with his tech guy. Pointing to different features or the iAmp and asking his tech guy, "Why don't we have that" or commenting "well that costs less than ours.

    Ampeg has a bit of a reputation of copying other's ideas. Larry from EA was getting a bit unnerved and mentioned that the tone shaping section of the EA was patented.

    It was kind of surreal, as the Ampeg guys were talking as if Larry wasn't standing right there. I think the tech guy felt a bit uncomfortable and struck up a conversation with me.

  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - the issue of the magazine was a special on EUBs - but this test was just a test of small, compact but high quality bass rigs.

    I can't remember all the details - the comment just stuck in my mind, that they said the EA setup was best for Double Bass!