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Amps - which one to get...? Am I doing this wrong?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Cran, Oct 25, 2020.

  1. Cran


    Oct 24, 2018
    Hey gang,

    So as of late I’ve been meaning to replace my current amp(s) with something more powerful and easy to carry (not to mention better sounding :p). I play in a punk/rock band, but also study jazz in uni and would like to start taking gigs playing other genres as well, so I’d like for my new rig to cover all those bases. Ideally something easy to carry, versatile, and not ridiculously expensive.

    My teacher at uni has been touting Markbass to me since I’ve started working with him, and I see why: they’re light and sound good for the genre, as well as being reliable. The thing is that their sound is the sound that *he* likes, not the one I do. Think players like Marco Pannascia for an example of his type of tone. Meanwhile I prefer amps that have a bit more grit, that sound good with a pick or hard fingerstyle playing.

    So, my original idea would be to get something like a Darkglass Microtubes 500 and two 210 cabs: a markbass one (to use for jazz/pop/whatever gigs), and an Orange one (to use with my band and for anything more rock-oriented). The Markbass cab would also be convenient because they’re ridiculously light. I’m pretty sold on at least getting that.

    The thing is that I’ve started looking on here, and apparently there are other options to the darkglass that may cover my bases better. I’ve heard people talk about mesa, aguilar, trickfish, puma, etc...

    Would anyone be able to help me pick a good head for my situation? If you’d like, think a head that can do the aforementioned Marco Pannascia sound, as well as a more Geddy-oriented sound (and yes, i know that a lot of the difference is in the fingers, and I am working on it: that’s why I’m in jazz school, haha).

    What do you guys think?
    BOOG, DJ Bebop and CallMeAl like this.
  2. Bent77


    Mar 6, 2013
    Not sure where you reside, and that may determine what is available for you to try, if at all, in your area

    The choices you listed, and also including Mesa, Ampeg, and Traynor are probably more of what you may like. Try before you buy if you can

    But also understand each person is going to tell you what they like, much like your Markbass friend. Find what YOU like
    Peter Torning, DJ Bebop and CallMeAl like this.
  3. Bent77


    Mar 6, 2013
  4. Part ot would depend on the sound you're after, Mark bass amps to me sound very sterile, I like a more warm sounding amp such as an Ampeg. Most Ampegs would cover anything from punk to jazz. I don't see a Mark bass in a punk band.
    Bent77 likes this.
  5. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    Gallien Krueger. Widely available, reasonably priced and versatile, great for more aggresive tones (and everything else)
  6. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive Suspended

    Mesa TT800 with it's twin flavours would be worth looking at. :)
    AudioTaper, Dabndug and DJ Bebop like this.
  7. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    So, long ramble warning....
    I’m playing mostly blues and country these days, with some jazz and some heavier rock sprinkled in there. So not exactly your situation, but the versatility struck a chord. I was using a Rumble amp, and wanted something bigger. My BL/Guitar Player is going on and on about Markbass. I notice pretty much every serious bass player in my town uses Markbass...

    Then I get to use one at a blues jam, the CMD 2x10 combo. I’m pretty skeptical cause I’m an “Ampeg or Fender, old school grit and warmth” kinda guy. But both onstage and out in the audience they sound freaking great. Push the gain, engage the filters (scoop or vintage emulator) and they can get pretty versatile. And you can always add a pre amp. It’s easier to add grit and warmth to a clean amp, than it is to “take away” baked in tone.

    And if I didn’t sell you on Markbass, GK is the obvious choice. Popular with the Jazz cats and metal heads alike. But like others said- follow your heart, get what YOU want

    One last thing- I personally wouldn’t pursue the 2 different cab options. When the time comes to stack them both together (and it will) you’re gonna want 2 perfectly matched cabinets

    good luck!
    TrevorR and SJan3 like this.
  8. nilorius


    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Check out Aguilar tone hamer series.
    IvanDrummer and Dabndug like this.
  9. Cran


    Oct 24, 2018
    Thanks for the thought out reply! I won't say that you've 100% convinced me on getting a Markbass, but you've at least convinced me to try one out at a local shop. I'd probably still go for something like a 500W head and two 210 cabs.

    That's something I realised today as well - I can mould any amp to fit my sound when I'm playing with my band, but I can't mould a rock-style amp to sound good for jazz and pop music very easily. I think a markbass setup might be ideal.

    What I want to ask about, though, is what will happen if I run two different brands of cabs? If it's really that bad then maybe I'll use the same two Markbass 210s.
    Bassdirty, SJan3 and CallMeAl like this.
  10. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Running non-matching cabs is a gamble. You are better off finding a cab you like, and if you need more volume, get a second matching one.
    BOOG, TrevorR, SJan3 and 3 others like this.
  11. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    ^yup. What Bulldog said.

    They might get along just fine. They might sound weird together. Worst case scenario, one is straining but you don’t notice, and gets blown.
    Iristone and Peter Torning like this.
  12. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Owe it to yourself to at least take a look at Mesa. You could spend 4X and not get a 5% tone improvement.
    BOOG likes this.
  13. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa Guest

    Sep 24, 2015
    I’ll be the fourth guy to recommend GK.

    That being said, I owned and gigged Markbass for three years. Not a thing wrong with them and they are very reliable and versatile. But the GK does rock better, and that’s what I was doing before the plague hit, so that’s what I have. Were I gigging now, and GK for some reason was off the table, I’d be looking hard at a Quilter BB802.
  14. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I am not really going to recommend an amp or cab. But rather than getting two separate rigs, you might want to use a pedal for your nasty punk tone. Or get and amp the does both clean and grind.

    AFAIK the Darkglass heads are pretty clean and HiFi when you turn the distortion circuit off, so I would not be surprised if they are versatile enough to do both. Also I believe you can get the same distortion circuits in a pedal.

    Course if you have the cash and storage space for multiple rigs, go for it.

    The best advice I can give you is play as much gear as you can and choose whatever sounds great too you. Don't be in too much of a rush.
    TrevorR, bassfran and Dabndug like this.
  15. StringslamDan


    Nov 18, 2012
    Vintage GK 400rb, Mesa d800, Traynor small block, Genz Benz come to mind.
  16. nuage420b

    nuage420b Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2014
    I use a markbass combo, I also used an M500 on the cab for different tones. you just plug with speaker wire into the m500. They're both incredibly powerful and have the perfect amount of power for the 310 set up. The markbass head gets the sub bass and full tones better, also sounds better with clean tones of you want to only hear your basses natural sound. The darkglass, as you can imagine was better at ripping your face off with punchy growly mix cutting hard rock and metal tones and all the dirt I could throw at it. I just sold the microtubes 500 but only to buy one of the new AO 500.
  17. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    +1 on Markbass, and I find them to be warm and clean. Also an excellent amp platform for effects. Don't let the Yellow turn ya chicken! Good luck
    CallMeAl likes this.
  18. Cran


    Oct 24, 2018
    Thanks for the replies guys! Of course I'll give several amps (pretty much everything that fits my category that they have at the music shop in town) a go, but I think I'm relatively set on getting a 500W markbass head. I've also got a Line6 Helix, which I will be using for effects. Maybe later on I may sidegrade to a darkglass head if I deem it necessary.

    Thanks for the replies again!
    BOOG likes this.
  19. Iristone


    Jul 8, 2017
    Could be a good idea to plug in the Helix (with an amp model) into the effect return of the (any?) head.
    Personally I rather like the Darkglass overdrive in Youtube demoes, but they tend to sound a bit honky to me in person (especially compared with the clean channel). Seems to have a bit of baked-in EQ between the channels. :)
  20. Cran


    Oct 24, 2018
    That sounds like a good idea in concept, but I’ve found that I don’t like the amp models on the Helix when running through a cab in real life. They’re fine when recording into a computer, but I’d rather use it for its effects and use the natural preamp of whatever head I’m working with.
    Iristone likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Nov 25, 2020

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