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Another "help me decide what to buy" thread (Ampeg content)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassnyc1, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm almost ready (financially, that is) to buy a new combo amp. It's purpose will be for gigging in small to medium size clubs plus practicing at home. I also gotta cart it back and forth on the subway so portability is somewhat of a consideration. I mostly play classic rock with a 5 piece band (guitar, keyboards, drums, vocals and of course BASS!) My usual basses are a KSD 5 string, CIJ Fender Jazz 70's reissue and and most recently, a Fender Classic Series Precision Bass (MIM)

    I have always lusted for an Ampeg but have never owned one. I love their classic sound and if I had my way, I'd have an SVT 8-10 stack but realistically, financially and practically, it's not going to happen any time soon. I was considering either their 210 combo or their 115 combo amp but recently, especially on talkbass, I hear and read a lot of bad things about Ampeg. Many people say the company is in trouble and their quality has dived big time since they started manufacturing in China. I don't really know much else about it but I'd like to ask
    some questions:

    1) Is it still "safe" to buy any Ampeg product?

    2) If so, does anyone think the combo amps I mentioned above are "good" for what I plan to use it for or are there other models by Ampeg that would be better?

    3) If Ampeg is a foolish purchase these days, what are good alternatives?

    I realize that everyone's opinion is subjective yet I'm out to hear just that; opinions. Maybe some of you don't like the "Ampeg sound" but that's what I prefer so again, if not Ampeg, what else catches that vibe?

    Thanks in advance for your responses! :bassist:
  2. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I don't think Ampeg makes one single product that would suit the situation you described very well... I'm thinking that a Genz-Benz Shuttle and one of their Neo 112 cabs could work well, though - the Shuttle could ride in the pocket of a gig bag for your bass, and you'd have a fairly manageable setup for subway transport, that would still give good performance...

    - georgestrings
  3. 63Precision


    Dec 14, 2008
    Carting it back and forth on the subway is going to be the issue. I was going to suggest the SWR-Redhead due it's quality and capability to take care of your immediate needs. But at 90lbs that would not be a good "subway packer". You need something around 20-30lbs with enough sound capability to take care of small venue performances also. I am lost at suggesting one. Good luck with your search.
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Forget Ampeg, the only way to get "worthy" real Ampeg results is with an old and usually very massive and heavy rig.

    As suggested above, get a Genz Shuttle, or a Markbass LMKII or similar, with a neo 1x15 or 2x12 cab, and use a Sansamp pedal to give you the Ampeg-like tone.
  5. georgestrings, 63Precision and bongomania: thanks for your responses. I was checking out the Genz Benz website and their stuff looks impressive. Unfortunately, I'm thinking that the shuttle head with the 112 cab may not be powerful enough for club work. So, let's forget about portability for now (I'll have to spring for a cab!) and let me ask about sound. Does Genz Benz cop the Ampeg vibe? Will I have to get a sansamp pedal like bongomania suggested no matter what amp I use?

    Again, thank you in advance for replying!
  6. Stacknobuser


    Nov 11, 2007
    Markbass 1 x 15" combo (like the Jeff Berliln) may be able to get closer to the tone you are seeking and be portable (small-ish and relatively light).

    If you truly forget about portability you might consider Acoustic. Good "old school" tone, but the gig-able combos are not really suitable for the subway, unless you use a club provided cab and just transport the head.

    Hope this helps.
  7. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    The Genz stuff not only looks impressive, it IS impressive - however, to my ears it sounds better than Ampeg, not like Ampeg... To me, the Genz stuff has the warmth of Ampeg, but is more punchy, better lows, and not as "muddy" - for lack of a better description... I'd say that a 6.0 Shuttle, a NeoX 212 cab, and maybe a Tech 21 VT pedal will get you where you're going, plus offer a ton of extra tones - and not be difficult to drag in and out of clubs via taxi... You could still backpack a bass and Shuttle in a gig bag, and carry one of those 212s fairly easily - and have plenty of volume for gigging...

    - georgestrings
  8. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    Genz Benz, Mark Bass, GK, & Carvin all make set-ups (light, powerful, & good tone) that would fit your needs. It really comes down to budget and if you really must go for an Ampeg tone, then yes add a sansamp bddi or vt pedal to help ya out.
  9. Musicphan


    Oct 11, 2008
    Genz Benz makes the shuttle 3 & 6... the 3 may be a little light - the 6 should be fine. I have a GB Neo Pak and Avatar SB112 arriving tomorrow!!
  10. Why are you lusting after an Ampeg??? Have you played through one and it is your tone nirvana or are you under the impression that Ampeg is the best in the world. If the latter is the case, may I humbly suggest that you visit every music store in your area and try every single amp you can. THEN you can make an informed decision on your purchase.

    I too recommend that you take a look at Carvin.com. You can try what you buy for ten days in your home and send it back for a refund if it does not suit your needs.

  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    1. Negatory. Buy used if you want Ampeg.

    2 & 3. Best combo Ampeg now makes is the B100R. Used you can find one for the price of a new BA115 or BA210. Markbass is a great alternative, but it probably costs way more than what you want to spend, and while the LMII is a very Ampeggy sound, their cabs really aren't. So I'd go look for a used B100R. And also a VT pedal...it really cops the Ampeg tones to the letter, if not the exact feel of a tube amp.
  12. Again, thanks everyone who replied!

    BassmanPaul: I have used many different amps in over 25 years that I've been playing and just my personal preference that I liked what I heard coming out of Ampeg amps more than others. I don't necessarily think they are "the best in the world" it's just a tonal preference for me.

    Having said that, I did some "internet research" and checked out the Tech 21 VT pedal. This might be the answer to my dreams! I checked out their website and watched the review on Bassplayer.TV and it does what I want tone-wise PLUS it's very affordable and portable!

    I also did more research on Genz Benz and I asked myself "how much power do I really need?" I think 300 watts would be fine and their Shuttle series is VERY portable! I'd probably choose the 6.0 Shuttle and the NeoX 212 cab. Only thing is they're a bit pricey but clearly they look like quality products. I'm off to Sam Ash this weekend to check them out. Any more sound opinions on Genz Benz out there?
  13. Fair enough, you've tried and liked Ampeg and I find no fault there. You should search these pages for anything on Ampeg. It looks like they will not be conducting business for very much longer. Anything you buy from them could leave you with no avenue for parts should you need them in the future.

  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I wouldn't sell Ampeg totally down the river yet. It's still a very marketable name and if a decent company bought it, they'd get back up to speed soon enough. LOUD just needs to sell it soon. Bankruptcy proceedings don't move fast enough for me. In the meantime, though, parts are already drying up. Still, I'd buy a used B100R any day of the week. I'd just be careful not to lose any parts.
  15. bluedyna


    Dec 4, 2008
    Birmingham, AL
    I bought Ampeg and found a very reputable service source including former Ampeg design Engineers at LS Electronics in St. Louis. These guys will give you the security that Loud does not.
  16. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    Maybe so, but I don't think I'd want to cart a B100R and a bass on a NYC subway... I also don't think one would get nearly as loud as a head and cab from Genz-Benz or Markbass - nor be loud enough to gig with, although that's JMHO...

    - georgestrings
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well fortunately I don't have to deal with subways, and I spent over 10 years playing hard rock and metal with a 100w amp (albeit into an 810), and I kind of like blowing minds by showing up for gigs with a B-15, too, so low wattage doesn't scare me. You're right...a GB or Markbass would be louder and easier to carry, but dang, that B100R is loaded with tone, bro.
  18. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    I hear what you're saying, Jimmy - but the OP specified probable subway travel - that's why I answered that I didn't think Ampeg had a suitable product for him... Also, I know for a fact that a B100R wouldn't cut it for many of the gigs I play...

    - georgestrings
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh snap, he DID say subway travel. Missed it. Sorry. Never mind.

  20. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    Markbass LMII + Schroeder 15+L 4 Ohm

    6Lbs for the head, and small enough to put in your gig bag, and the cab is only 30 lbs.

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