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an idiots guide to buying an amp and cab.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by themajorrager, May 3, 2006.

  1. Hi Guys,

    having just sold my first rig (warwick profetIV + 411pro cab), i am now in need of another. now i have to admit that my first purchase was made on the recommendation of a friend and also because of the warick brand name. now i was very happy with the rig but now that i have to buy another rig i would like to do it right.
    the question is how do i it? i had a look at the FAQs and used the search function and there doesnt seem to be a thread dealing with the issues related to finding yourself the best rig for your buck.
    the questions i have relate to how do you now what to listen for in a good or bad rig and when do you know whether you are hearing the amp/cab or your bass?
    personally i am after a smaller rig this time... maybe a 2x12 preferably with a horn -any suggestions.
    any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Well as far as best rig for your buck, I would recommend the Avatar B212 cab. It is a 2x12 with a horn as you prefer.
  3. ebladeboi123


    Jul 11, 2005
    Oberlin, Oh
    Go by whatever your ears tell you. If you like it- you like it. If you don't, you don't. You say you're looking into a smaller rig. A 2x12 can be great, but personally I feel that a 2x10 will be just as good (and I'm sure people are going to come in here tell me I'm an idiot, but it's what my ears tell me). So I would look at some Eden 2x10's, schroder 2x10's, aguilar 2x10s. The Aguilar GS112 is a great little cab, I've only heard amazing things about it. Just go, try out everything. But bring you're bass. It's also good to have an idea on what type of tone you're looking for. Personally I'm into the "funk-rock" type tone which to me just screams Gallien Krueger.
    There are some real fast things you can look at in a rig to decide if it's bad. If there is ALOT of noise (and it's not a grounding problem), typically I'd steer clear of that rig. If when you hit a low B or some low notes, you get a "flappy" sound or some sort of undsesirable sound- again steer clear.

    So in conclusion.
    1). Take bass (make sure it's grounded and set up well)
    2). Go to music store
    3). Play as many rigs as you see please (Eden, Aguilar, GK, Ampeg, Thunderfunk, mix and match, if the sales people know you're looking seriously they'll usually do all they can to help you). And this personally what I do, before I play any rig I'll make everything flat (eq on amp and bass) and just see how it sounds that way, then I'll adjust a little bit. Typically I don't spend more than 10 minutes on a single rig (I guess thats fast?). But only you'll know
    4). Whatever sounds good sounds good

    Hopefully that helps
  4. vyse933


    Mar 31, 2006
    Grand Haven, MI

    +111,000,000. and what do you listien for? anything that seams good to you....and the helpfull people here at talkbass. and if you need help looking for a head..musicians friend, some good heads for 300$...ashdown mag ( i believe it's the mag) gk backline 600..and some other ones. also..to listien for the sound of your amp/cab vs your bass..play your bass through every rig at guitar center and every other music store within 100 miles..and you should be able to figure out what your sound is...and with trying out lots of rigs..you'll start to get a feel for what you like and what you don't. :D
  5. paulraphael


    Apr 13, 2006
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    be careful, though, and give some weight to the advice of people you trust and who understand the sound you're going for. what sounds good to you in the store or in your living room isn't always what sounds best on stage, or 30 feet from the stage, with the rest of the band making noise. it can be hard to predict what's going to be best in the real world.
  6. There are so many options, it's sickening.
    I don't know what your budget is, but for a powerful amp that's going to be both dependable and affordable, look into the Gallien-Krueger Artist series amps (400rb, 700rb, 800rb, 1001rb). They're available in a wide range of power choices.
    Another awesome choice is GenzBenz, and Musician's Friend is blowing out the last of the GBE600's for $500.

    Cabs are the tricky part, IMO. So many to choose from. If you go with one cab, and you want a 2x10, make sure you get a top-line brand (Aguilar, Shroeder, Eden, etc.) or you might be disappointed in the output. The 2x10's from Avatar are great cabs if you put them with another cab, but mine doesn't get the job done, for me, as a standalone. For a single cab, I like 2x12's; you get the presence and punch of 10's and the thump and bass of 15's.
    Have fun, rig shopping is great!:D
  7. get ashdown, i like them, they sound great, and look great, and i think they have the best customer support than anyone i know, get an e-mail back in less than 5 hours, brilliant
  8. jpark


    Feb 2, 2006

    Dave at avatar gives a combo deal for the ashdown mag series and his cabs
  9. You're damn right.
  10. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I'm going to go the opposite direction from what a lot of the responses have been so far... "buy brand XXX, buy brand YYY."

    Instead, I'd suggest you focus on what your specific needs are and then decide how that will translate into what rig you move into. For example, if you're playing a lot of large clubs with PA and monitor support, there's really no need to move into a bazillion megawatt tower with dual 1x18"s. And on the other side, if you're doing a lot of performing where you are expected to provide enough rump-shakin' booty from your system alone, you're going to want to make sure your head is optimized to the power needs of a cabinet (or cabinets) that will sufficiently cut the mustard.

    Also you'll need to consider your sound - do you like the natural sound of your bass, or do you like what happens when you add in the flava of an amp's DI (that is, if your amp is going to be DI'ed)?

    And you'll want to think about portability - what kind of equipment can you reasonably lift and transport? Is space in your car at a premium? Would you prefer the flexibility and convenience of having a rack tuner and maybe a few other helpful items patched into a rack setup?

    To help you out, here's some perspective on own my rig needs:

    -Portability...small enough to fit into a large sport coupe and easy to wheel on a rolling cart from my high-rise condo to the parking level.
    -Powerful...able to be heard over a pair of Marshall 4x12 guitar cabinets.
    -A clean, warm DI...an important part of my sound.
    -Modular...so I can bring a small cabinet to a low-volume jazz session or a few cabinets to a louder rock show.
    -Versatile...so I can tune onstage silently, and patch in and out various effects as needed.

    What met this criteria? A big power amp, a wheeled 6-space rack case with a nice preamp and a few 2x10s. Perfect. Haven't deviated from this approach in 5 years of steady work.

    There are a ton of good brands out there. At this point, if you really want to build a great rig that will make you happy for a long time, I think it's better to think about what you "need" than simply focusing in on a specific brand.

  11. thank you guys for all your input, makes me realise how much of a begginner i really am!
    thanks esepecially to Lonnybass for his excellent breakown of what i should be thinking about when looking for a new rig.
    unfortunately im not entirely sure what a DI is (educated guess would be Digital Input but thats as far as i got...:help: )
    as far a what i NEED from my rig well im moving to england soon (which is where i'll buy my new rig) so it has to be small:crying: but that is handy as it will make it easily transportable - thats why im thinking along the lines of a
    i really want a head that brings through the natural sound of my bass but allows me to emphasise or accentuate aspects of that sound. that is why i have loved my Warwick Profet IV head so much with its bypassable EQ and low, mid and high b/c's. how come theres not much love for warwick amps here?
    i have an old zoom bfx708 pedal so i can tune silently on stage so i guess i dont need a rackmount tuner?
    if i go with a 2x12 with horn and find later that i need a bigger sound how easy is it to add another cab on?
    thanks again guys!!!:cool:
  12. DI = direct injection = line level output on your amp which can be plugged into the mixing desk for PA support/putting yr bass thru the PA.

    I don't own a bass amp and am therefore an avid student of threads like this, so don't expect help from me on what to buy but good luck!

    Bear in mind that prices in the UK are significantly higher than in the US... I would suggest trying out a bunch of rigs before you go leave the US, and think about buying a head with switchable voltage and taking it with you if you love it and it's a lot more expensive in the UK. Cabs are a lot more difficult in terms of flying so I'd buy one there. Then again, you may be able to get good deals on UK-based amp company wares in the UK (Ashdown, old Trace Elliot etc).

    Good luck,
  13. I have and love an Aguilar GS112 that I use (and love) for rehearsals and smaller gigs. While I don't necessarily want you to go buy a GS112, you should take Lonnybass's advice to heart. I also recommend multiple smaller cabs over a single big one (2X12 cabs are on the larger size of the equaton to me) and power them with an amp that wil give you room to spare in the headroom department. I know where you are it must be difficult to listen to a lot of things, but that is really what you have to do to get the right combination for you! Good luck in the hunt!!!


  14. steve4765630


    Feb 27, 2006
    Acme Low B-2. Only buy this cab if you want to hear your bass as it really sounds. If you hate the sound of your bass and want to hear what another company thinks you bass should sound like, buy something else. Acme cabs have THE BEST low end and CLEANEST sound of any cab, even better than Bag End (a bold statement, I know). They really are amazing. You'll hear people bash them, but those are people who don't want to hear the true reproduction of their bass. If you have a cheap bass, this will pull out every flaw in it. If you have a really nice bass it will shake it's quality through the floorboards of any room you're in. The 2x10 B-2 is rated at 300 watts. I would recomend at least 300 - 500 watts to drive it. Pretty much any head will do as long as the power is there. Just make sure you get the 4 ohm version so you can milk every last drop of power from your amp. Visit www.acmebass.com for the real story.
  15. Your in Australia, so I would reccommend looking for a Genz Benz GBE600, which will set you back around $1100. As for cabs, a schroeder 1212 for http://www.greensquare.net or a Genz Benz 212 NEO.

    Also pay a visit to the Bass Centre in south Melbourne for a look at a fairly large range of amps.

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