Another new rig...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CoolHat, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. Hello everybody!

    This is my first post here. I am a 30-year old amateur bassist from Finland, been playing for little under 20 years now. I´ve been lurking for a while, doing some searching and found lots of interesting info. Now I feel brave enough to post my first question...;)

    As the subject says, money is going to be spent. My old Kickback 12 has been a faithful companion for years, but now is the time to upgrade to something with more headroom and low end.

    I´m thinking of getting a >300W head and a 4x10 cab (pref. with an adjustable tweeter). My budget is 1500 euros - adequate if not luxurious. I have been around town testing various heads (Warwick, Ampeg, SWR)and so far the clear winner both volume- and sound-wise has been Mesa Walkabout. However, at 1300 euros it would leave me with just few hundred for the cab.

    OTOH, I have always liked my friend´s Hartke 3500 head. It might not sound quite as good as Mesa, but it´s loud enough and can be had for 500 euros... you do the math.

    So basically my question is: should I invest in a very good head and a decent cab or vice versa? Or should I just get "pretty good" stuff (like Warwick) and go 50/50? And generally speaking, what are peoples views about this amp/cab-relation, which one do you feel is more critical?

    And yes I know, ideally I should save more money and get a very good head and a very good cab. But ours is not an ideal world, and I´ve got too serious G.A.S. so please bear with me...
  2. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Welcome aboard!!!!

    Do you like the sound of your friend's Hartke through his cabinet or something else?
  3. Have you ever thought of a rack setup? You can get a decent one for cheap, and it is very easy to upgrade. I was basicly in your situation a month ago, I had 1200 canadian for a decent head and cab. I ended up getting a Yorkville xs400 and a yorky 410, which was 12-1300. But this doesn't really help because you don't live in canada :) . If I wasn't going to get the yorky setup, I was going to get a hartke setup. The 3500 is a good head, at a reasonable price. So I would either aggree with the hartke, or look into a rack setup. Just start off with a power/pre, and you can build from there!
  4. Thanks!

    Yeah, I have played it through his old Warwick 15" cab. I don´t much care about 15s, but it sounded quite decent.

    And Circus, I have been complentating a rack setup too. There was a used EBS pre on sale over here some weeks ago, but somebody beat me to it. Well, maybe something will come up...
  5. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    it seems as though ther is a halfway point between the mesa and the hartke. I had the hartke 7000 before and now i have an ampeg. I LOVE me ampeg. I dont know how much they are over there but for 1500 euros you could probbaly have a nice little ampeg stack, check it out. The rack setup is also a good idea. Get a cool preamp, a big poweramp, and a nice cab.
  6. mesa 400+ and eden xlt 410
  7. Isn't that more than 1500 euros?
  8. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Have you tried out some EBS gear? You'll probably get a lot more for your money if you buy stuff that is built there in Europe. You're paying a lot of import tarriffs and/or value added taxes for US built equipment....put it this way......the Walkabout sells over here for $799 US, which is about 660 euros :eek:.
  9. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Well, you could get a used 400+ for about $1000 and a used 410xlt for about $500 pretty easily - in the US.

    And the exchange rate is currently 1.21 euros = 1 dollar.

    But there are all kinds of fees and taxes on imports in Europe (and a lot of countries), so buying US equipment outside the US is usually VERY expensive.

    So yes, a 400+ and a 410xlt would be a lot more than 1500 euros, even used.
  10. what? i can get a mesa 400+ for 700 on ebay
  11. Thanks to everybody for suggestions! Yes, I am afraid finding a Mesa 400/Eden rig for 1500€ would be nothing short of a miracle here. US stuff is expensive here, a new Mesa 400+ is around 2500€. I´m fine with used gear, but the second-hand market is pretty dead when it comes to higher end stuff; it´s mostly sold privately I think.

    But hey, gotta live with it! And actually the situation has improved drastically after Finland joined EU. The big German mail-order stores (Especially Thomann, who even have Finnish customer service) have forced the local stores to lower their prices.

    But back to the issue: yes, I am familiar with EBS. HD-350 head is nice, but at 1100€ it would again leave me a bit short for the cab. Of course there are other European brands; I´m definitely going to check Ashdown when I have the time - ABM 300 EVO top can be had for 900€ and the MAG series is downright cheap. Any thoughts about those, is ABM worth the extra cash? What are the main differences between the two series? What about their cabs?
  12. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    Charleroi, Belgium
    I know what you fell, I'm in the same situation, I had 1500 euros for a pro rig, I choosed to buy a MESA M2000 used for that, now i'm saving for a cab....

    Please all americans, understand that we cannot order stuff from US because
    1 Cabs are too heavy
    2 We don't use same Power system (Here we are in 220V)
    3 Price + shipping + import taxe = retail price in store

    For example here is some price in Belgium:

    Ampeg SVT CL =2600e
    Mesa 400+ =2600e
    Mesa RR 1x15 =1615e
    Ampeg SVT 810 =1250e
    Hartke XL4.5 = 1299e (who said hartke is cheap)
    Mesa M2000 = 3600e
    aguilar head = +4000e
    Rack 19' 4U (no skb, Stagg!!!) = 150e
    wood one = 225e !

    CoolHat have you consider SansAmp RBI + poweramp + decent cab, that could keep your wallet safe?
  13. Hello again!

    Just wanted to keep you up to date about my quest (and bring this thread conveniently back to top again)!

    I visited the shop that sells Ashdown and I must say I was pretty impressed. They currently had only MAG combos there, but they were certainly good enough to convince me. In fact, I am seriously considering forgetting the 4x10/head combination and go for a 2x10 combo. The MAG 250 combo with 2x10 and tweeter was certainly loud enough and the bottom end was surprisingly good. I actually liked it more than the 4x10 combo they had - it was tighter and more defined. The EQ seemed pretty useful although not as flexible as Mesa´s three-band semiparametric. They also had a 400 watt version, but I felt the 250 had plenty of headroom already. The tweeter wasn´t adjustable, but it was tuned very well, not too loud; I hate when you have to cut highs just to get rid of that brittleness. With the Ashdown the balance was just right with flat EQ.

    I liked the sound very much. Again, not quite as good as the Mesa, but very close. That made me think about the ABM series. I understand the ABM amps have a tube pre, right? So maybe an ABM combo´s sound could rival even the mighty Mesa? This is of course hypothetical, since the shop didnt have any ABM stuff present. So I am asking again, is ABM worth the extra cash (few hundred euros)?

    And BTW, the best news came when I was leaving the store. I ran into my old school buddy at the door. It turns out he works at the very store and you know what that means: discounts! So it definitely looks I am going the Ashdown way. I´m of course going to do some serious forum searching now, but as always any info and experiences about Ashdown is very welcome. And do you think a 2x10 would be enough for gigs or should I get a 4x10? Maybe I could add another 2x10 when needed?
  14. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    You should try to find an ABM to see if it is worth the extra Euros to you... Personally, I prefer the sound of a solid state preamp...but that's my opinion based solely on the actual gear that I've compared (and none of it was Ashdown).

    Besides TalkBass, there are other sites that have user reviews... Check out (bass amp reviews are in the guitar section), and perhaps even

    Happy reading!!!
  15. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    Charleroi, Belgium
    If you like it, i'll say go for it.

    I though the same, for larger venues just add a 2x10 or a 1x15 to the combo if it's possible.
  16. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Not true. I'm in the UK and I use Acme cabs which I had shipped from the US (and ended up costing less than equivalent SWR cabs) and I'm just upgrading my power amp to a QSC PLX 3002, bought off ebay secondhand and converted to 230V power by the factory. The amp cost me about £500 including voltage conversion, service and shipping - cheapest new price in the UK is over £1000.

    However, it's a lot more effort than just going into a local shop.

  17. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland
    I agree with the people that say go with a rig!
    I had the same problem and during the year i have been patient and looked through the used market! Now i have a Aggie 659 Pre a Crown and QSC Poweramp and a Epifani 2*12 : ). And all this came out less than 1500 Euro!!!!
  18. I wish I had the patience...

    Anyways, it´s time for my update (and a bump!) A local shop was selling an old Trace Elliot Quatra Valve. I tried it out and the sound was wonderful, even though the cabinet I used wasn´t very good. They asked 850€ for it - not a bargain but tempting.

    However, it was pretty noisy. The salesguy said it´s because of the old tubes. With the cost of new tubes added, the price wasn´t so attractive anymore so I decided to leave it for now. But I´ll keep it in mind...
  19. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I own an Ashdown ABM 500 EVO. There is a tube in the pre-amp, and you can dial as much tube into the mix with a control knob called "grind", or leave it out entirely and enjoy a very clean solid state preamp tone. I LOVE the performance, tone, volume and versatility of my Ashdown. I got the Rackmount Chrome version and it is awesome!

    Additionally, the Ashdown ABM Series have a sub harmonizer feature that is foot switchable. Mesa does not have that. I play my ABM500 EVO through a Bergantino HT322 Cabinet (4 ohm cabinet) and it kicks! I use a Modulus Quantum 5 bass with Blackstone Quilt maple finish and EMG pickups.

    I never fail to get compliments on my sound and tone. The Bergantino is a big part of my sound. When I demo'd the Ashdown, I played it through an Aguilar 2x12 cabinet and that tone was equally fantastic! It was a Seriously great sound. I might have bought the Aguilar cabinet had it not been sold when I went back to buy the Ashdown. No regrets however. The Bergantino is the best cab I've ever had.

    In any event, everyone I've spoken with who has played through an Ashdown has loved it. I think it's more versatile than the Mesa and equally nice.
  20. tomdabass


    Apr 19, 2004

    Just one question. I also play ashdown equipment. I have the abm 500 evo 2 combo and want trade it in te music store for a rack version of the head and a 210 cab... the question is how do switch on the amp when it´s rackmounted?? I mean the power butten is on the back side and when rackmounted it´s difficult to reach it??