Ampeg Portabass 800 suggestions?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Erik Turkman, May 30, 2005.

  1. There's been very little discussion about this amp head here, but I'm wondering if any of you have experience with it. I just picked one up. I've got a couple days to try it out, but I can return it if I want. I've been using it with a Bergantino HT112, with acoustic upright and electric bass guitar. I was drawn to the Ampeg because of its two separate channels, as I've been looking for a perfect doubling amp that doesn't require resetting the EQ every time you switch instruments.

    Well, I tested the amp with a jazz/funk group yesterday and got some mixed results. The Ampeg/Berg combination was terrific for EBG, and I could get a nice upright sound. The problem was that the upright sound wasn't quite cutting through the mix. It sounded fine playing by myself, but once the drummer kicked in, the sound wasn't quite projecting. At higher volumes, the sound seemed a little compressed on upright. I'm wondering if it was the amp, the cabinet, or some other mystical mojo. I'm using a classis Underwood pickup with the older version Fishman Model B preamp.

    Essentailly my questions are these:
    Does anyone have experience with the portabass 800 and upright? If so, what cabinet are you pairing it with and how do you achieve optimal sound (EQ settings, preamp use)?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I haven't tried the PortaBass 800, but I do play DB, EUB and BG through Berg HT-112s. They're great-sounding cabs, but they're a little shy in the upper mids, so I usually boost those frequencies a bit for DB and cut the lows a bit to give more focus. In comparison my EA Wizzy cab has really full, detailed high mids that don't sound "pretty" but cut through in a band very well. I'm using EA iAmp 800, GK 400RB, and Eden WT-400 heads with these cabinets.

    Just curious--do you use the Underwood with both elements in the bridge, or only one? Using both can lead to phase cancellation, reducing your output. Also, I find the Fishman Platinum Bass EQ/DI to be a great tool for dialing in a big but controlled bass sound. It has a variable low cut filter, phase switch, 5 bands of EQ and a compressor. It can sound very uncolored, but it's also capable of serious tweaking when you need to cut through.

    Hope this helps.
  3. I've been using the Underwood with both elements in place. I actually just went back to using it as I had been using a Pick Up The World pickup, but that just wan't working for me. The Underwood may in fact be experiencing some phase problems; it had that squashed sort of sound. I'm looking for a good sounding, single element pickup to replace it. I've been considering the Full Circle.

    I haven't yet tried the Platinum EQ, but that's on my list. I bet it would help, as the EQ section on the Ampeg has only one sweepable mid control, and I've been using that to cut out some of the honk around 500Hz, but that leaves nothing to bost the upper mids with.

    I was actually hoping to replace my EA iamp 600 with this Ampeg. I like the sound of the EA, but it's an older model and weighs considerably more than the newer ones, and the Ampeg has two channels, which is something that I like. There don't seem to be too many other options for under a grand for a two channel bass amp that works with DB.