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another "help me pick an amp" thread...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by chrisb7601, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. chrisb7601


    Aug 30, 2005
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here, name is Chris. 40-something brand-new bass player haha :cool:

    Our little church praise group finally got a drummer and right then I said "You guys need a bass! Oh, and that's something I've always wanted to try." :D And here we are....

    Two of my daughters strum and sing, with another lead guitarist (1 electric, 2 acoustic-electrics) with 1-3 other singers. The mics go through a nice PA, and the guitars are plugged into a Peavey KB4 (I think about a 100watt?) keyboard amp, the drumkit is not amped. The room will hold about 250. Sometimes there are 100 there but usually less. Sometimes a lot less.

    I knew I would need an amp so I started scrounging for any and all info I could get my hands on, here, talking to sales people etc. (Using the PA is not an option, the board is off-limits to instruments.) Found out I would need at least a 15" speaker and around 100 watts, minimum, and started comparing Peavey's TNT, TKO, Fender combos, Crate stuff. I liked the Fender Rumble 100 for cost/features, but then started looking at stacks :eyebrow: G-A-S!

    Well I was shocked at the prices, then I found Behringer :eek:

    I know, I know, I have read almost all the posts about the B word, but... I don't really care about brand names, and can't justify Eden or any high-end brand. This needs to be a secondary hobby for me, it's already cutting into my car fetish...

    Anyway, I was at Guiter Center and they had a used Behringer short stack, used BX3000 with a used BA115 (aluminum cone). I wanted the BB paper cone since I figure it would be warmer, but tried this stack out. Well the speaker farted bad over 3/4 volume, so I tried the Rumble, which I could not get to distort. I said I was still interested in the stack, and the guy brings around a used SWR Workingman 1x15 cab that he said would definitely rock, said it sold new for about 3x the BA115. But, it too did not sound that great (to me), also could not handle the top end without distorting, so I looked at the Rumble again. That's when I noticed I was playing a Rumble 60, and that the price tag was for a Rumble 100, for $259! That's $40 less than Musicians Friend. SO he says, "Get the 100, try it out, a lot of churches use the 60, if it doesn't work, bring it back, no problem" I thought, the 60 sounds good, the 100 will sound better, right? So I grab one (my wife was pushing me hard, I was in there over 2 hours... it seemed like 5 minutes!).

    So I've been using the FR100 for a couple weeks, sounds good but not as loud as I expected. Played it in service this past Sunday and it held its own, but on one song the drummer kinda let loose and we started escalating on each other and I had to really start TA-WANGING the strings to get heard. I mean I was yanking those things (I only had the amp on about 2/3 power but I had turned the guitar volume all the way up by this time). So I would have had this amp set on almost full to get where I need (want?) to be.

    I don't really like not having more headroom than that. I was hoping to be able to play around 1/2 power. It seems to me that the gear would last a lot longer that way. Plus I just like having the extra power that you may seldom use, just like in a car. I also really like the flexibility/expandability of a stack (if I go BX4500+BB115, I would add probably the BB210 later). So I'm not sure about the Rumble. But then again, if the Rumble "works," that's really all I need. Like I said, I'm trying to keep GAS at bay, I can't really become so obsessed with this..... :(

    Then I keep thinking about the Behringer. A BX4500 with the BB115 is only about $380. I can't find one in my town to try, but I thought, hey, get one from MF and if it stinks, send it back.

    I have read tons of opinions about gear on here, but again, I can't justify spending more than the least for decent sound. Tone is not that important, clean volume is what I'm after, for a good price.

    Sorry for the longie, I'm watching "My Travails (er, Travels) with Behringer" closely (thanks Jellybass!) and trying to decide what to do with the Rumble that will become mine in about 2 weeks.....

    (Oh and did I say I am a fatal quagmirist?)

    So basically I wanted to say "Hi," tell my story, say "I LOVE BASS!" and ask if you would give me some feedback on my situation...

    Thanks for any insight,
  2. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Hey Chris, I'd say you've got it all figured out. 100 watts is not really enough juice to play with a band. I'm not sure what your budget is, but I reccomend 500 watts and either a single 4x10 or 1x15 + 2x10 as a basic amp for anyone who is going to play with a rock drummer.

    Shop used on the classifieds here and you'll save a lot of money. There are amazing deals sometimes. As a specific reccomendation, look for someone selling and old SWR Goliath 2 or Eden D-410T. The prices on those get down into the 200s, and they sound great. Then you just need a head.
  3. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    Hey chris, I was in almost the same situation for the past 6 years. I started small and cheap (no offense) and was playing with friends and then with church. I hope you can trust me and learn from my experience.

    (there is a reason I"m gonna tell a long his-story of my amp adventures)

    First I bought a $200 guitar and a $300 amp (60w fender bxr 12") loud, but heavy (55lbs) and boxy boring tone. then I bought a ampeg b50r (50w 12") heavy, good tone, but not enough power for drums, let alone big room. got a ampeg b328 (2-8" with 150w) heaviest so far, ok tone, loud, but rear ported (I like front ports especially out side. finally got tired of the weight and bought SWR wm10 with extention 10 (two cabs) ok tone, fairly loud, built a cart to roll on. then the church got a drummer, not really loud enough for a two story old church seats about 500+. bought a "head" amp (pre and power amp no speaker built in) and got a 250w 12" cab (no amp inside). in the mean time I upgraded guitars several times (see profile, click on my name above message) I started getting REAL picky about "tone". bought an RBI from Tech21nyc.com to fatten up my SWR equipment and my fairly cheap guitar. (at this point I realized that I'm heading towards racks and separate amps etcetera) Tried some EA cabs but didn't like them much, heavy too, oh did I mention I hurt my back real bad??? I have Cart suggestions too! LOVED the flexibility of the RBI for tone (I now own two, so I don't have to take home my church rig anymore). finally settled down with some Aguilar GS112's (two sound great, but one should keep a small church happy) I eventually got the "headroom" bug and bought a stewart world 1.2 amp (1200w into 4ohms at 11 LBS!!!!, I have two of those too!!!)

    (and no, I'm not seriously recommending a big expensive rig for you, right now, maybe later)

    Ok, trying to wrap this up...If I was in your shoes and had to start my journey over again, knowing what I know now about what I like in tone, value, weight I'd:

    If I had to buy a combo I'd probably seriously consider Yorkville BM200 (200w, 15", can hook up TWO 8 ohm extension cabs in the future) Here are some reviews about $520 new, 60 Lbs

    If I was going to buy separates or head/cab I'd seriously consider finding a Tech21 landmark300 bass head (300w into 4ohm, with 2 RBI's built in) and get a Aguilar GS112. I'd probably buy used to save money.

    for total separates I'd recommend what I have now RBI, Stewart 1.2, rack, and two GS112's, but that can be spendy, about $1500 new not counting your guitar or tuner or cart.

    for a cart I use a Remin Kart-a-bag "tri-800" folding 4 wheel cart that holds up to 300 Lbs and collapses into about 15x15x4" size, but it was about $150 on the net, close to $200 at a luggage store.

    finally, one of the hardest lessons I had to learn was TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!!! with your band if possible.

    If you made it to the bottom of this post I hope I helped
  4. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    You can get quality stuff on ebay for a fraction of the price. That's actually where I got most my equipment!

    Maybe try and narrow it down to a range of choices that are within your budget and we can help you from there.

    Sometimes its surprising how much equipment you need to handle live performances as a bassist. Lots of wattage, lots of speaker area.

    If you feel certain you are going to be doing this for a long time and bass is going to be a real important part of your life, it might be worthwhile to sink money into a semi-pro/pro setup. Otherwise you'll end up replacing your stuff at a greater expense.
  5. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    You don't have your profile filled out so Have no Idea where you are but If you are neas a daddys Junky Music or some chain like it that sells new and used gear I would check that out. You would be supprised what you can sometimes find there. They recently had a trace elliott 1048 4x10 cab for 250 and you could get a used peavey MKIII head 300w amp head for 150.00 and have a decent rig until you can afford more power if you need it. :bassist:
  6. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005
    You're not going to need 500 watts, that's overkill, try three. I get on great with four, not in a church, but i used it in a gig in a large hall with terrible acoustics and it held up great against everything else there, not even on full volume. SWR wp400, 2x10 and 1x15.
  7. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I kinda agree thats why I picked the 200w 115 combo, granted the headroom is not really there, but headroom is kind of a luxury thing, not necessary for good tone/sound. 200-350 into 4ohms might be a minimum for multi-cab rig.
  8. Dan the Lorp

    Dan the Lorp

    Aug 30, 2005
    NW Florida
    Hey CHRISB!

    I don't know the prices on the newer models, but about 3 years ago I got a Crate 100 watt combo, with a 15 inch speaker. It is the BX-100, and weighs 60lbs.

    I just wanted to let you know---this thing plays loud and deep for a 15 inch combo amp. If you are playing in church, without going direct to a board, this would be loud enough. I have had this thing outdoors and in gymnasiums, and as I said, it really cranks out the bass, good lows. It has a gain and contour/shape knob, and one balanced line out level and jack to go to a board, a send and return effects loop, a headphone jack and additional speaker jack. Also, it has an 8-band equalizer. Nothing fancy, no compresion or noise gate, or any effects.

    Basic, good clean and loud bass for this type of amp. I also have a Carvin 10 inch 100 watt, smaller amp (36 lbs.), the PB 100 (10). It has a built in compressor and noise gate, but the sound of the ten inch speaker just sounds distorted and flat if played too loud.

    The Crate only cost me $300 new, the Carvin was $279. The Crate is a much better amp---sturdier, heavier, and plays much louder without distortion. I would check out the newer Crates in this class---they are a good deal for the money, you are not paying for the name, like Ampeg and others.
  9. chrisb7601


    Aug 30, 2005
    Thanks everybody for your input. Whew, this is not easy is it???

    Played with the Fender Rumble 100 again on Sunday and it was pretty capable this time, since the drummer kept more tame.

    I wanted to make a decision before my trial period expired on the Rumble-- since it held up pretty good this week, I think I'll just keep it and begin a longer slower process of selecting the next outfit. Then the rumble can be a better practice amp than what I'm using now...

    Thanks again,