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Bar Band Bassist portabilty quandry

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Fletz, Jan 16, 2012.


  1. Fletz

    Fletz Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2009
    New Jersey
    Hartke artist
    Bass playing friends -

    I am in a quandry. My main rig is an Ampeg PF-500 (the best $400 a bass player can spend in my opinion) played through a 410HLF classic cab. Sound is great – I finally achieved a tone that I am happy with after 30 years. However, I still am dealing with the 110 lb monster even when playing smaller rooms – which is what my band plays most of the time (www.RockBoxBand.com).

    The challenge of a bigger rig (not gi-normous, I understand) was illustrated to me this past weekend when we played a place so small my mic stand was positioned between my drummer’s cymbal stands and the head of my bass was over his ride cymbal the whole night. While this is far from the norm, it is not that terribly out of the question. So, I brought my Ampeg VR-Micro and SVT-R 210 cab to the gig and was underwhelmed with the tone for the room. The Micro was a little thin for my liking.

    Recently I played a Markbass 210 Combo – the CMD 102P – and loved everything about it. I was totally blown away - from the tone to the size to the weight. I am seriously thinking about getting one. However, I do love my PF-500 and you can’t do much better (I think) for the size and weight. So it seems a little silly to spend as much on a combo… But, I also feel that if I get the Markbass I can use that combo more simply and easily in many (almost all) of the bars we play.

    So here’s where I am – and would love your opinions on this:
    1. Keep the PF-500 /410HLF rig and buy a Markbass combo. I’ll have two great set ups but be living in the world of too much gear (if there is such a place!). In these economic times this option seems wasteful as bass playing is a part-time job at best. In reality its a hobby that pays for beer money a few times a month.

    2. Buy a lightweight 210 that performs better than the Micro and can handle the PF-500, like a Markbass 210 or some other (please recommend).

    3. Sell the PF-500, buy the Markbass combo and use it to drive my 410 occasionally when I need a bigger boom.

    4. Sell the Ampeg rig altogether, get the Markbass combo and 115 or 210 extension cab and go all Markbass and save my back.

    What do you guys think? The Markbass combo I believe will handle 90% of the gigs my band plays.
     
  2. Interceptor

    Interceptor Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    Another option to consider, move over to the Ampeg Portaflex cabs.

    Trade in the micro SVT rig.
     
  3. 5port

    5port

    Oct 14, 2009
    LI,new yawk
    Many,many,many 2X10 cabinets will perform better than a sealed 2X10 that is 11" deep. The Carvin BRX2.10 is my secret weapon for small clubs.
     
  4. One more option,
    You can sell the Ampeg stuff, to get the lighter MarkBass stuff. Then you can get one of the many SansAmp products(Like the VT) to get that Ampeg sound when you want it.

    Win-Win?
     
  5. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Kansas City, MO
    Keep the PF500. Get rid of the Micro VR stack and get a PF115he or PF210he cabinet. IMO it's the best match for the PF heads. I love the portability of having the PF head mounted to the lid of the cabinet and the ability to store cables, pedals, etc inside the cabinet when I'm taking it to gigs. For even greater flexibility get two PF cabinets and take one for small gigs/rehearsals and two to larger gigs.
     
  6. stiles72

    stiles72

    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    I would keep the 410 and work around it as needed, especially if you dig the tone of it with the PF500. To change up a rig that works for you just for one venue that you only play on occasion doesn't seem worth the hassel. If it's a volume issue in the small bar, then i would just turn down. If it's a footprint issue, then I would just look at finding a creative way to set up. My band has played a couple of places where the area we were given to play wasn't much bigger than a corner of my living room - and I always used my big SVT-215 since the footprint wasn't really any different than a 4x10 or even 2x12 guitar combo.
     
  7. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    THIS.

    That PF500 head is pretty awesome. Get one of the Portaflex series cabs for gigs that don't need the volume of a 4x10" cab. I've been leaning very heavily towards getting the PF500 head and pairing that with the PF115he cabinet since that combination seems the most inspired by the original Ampeg B-15, but with modern gig-ready specs.
     
  8. I would get the Ampeg PF cab.
     
  9. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    Get a new portaflex 115, the match for your amp to use for smaller gigs. Or any 210 you like the sound of. Sitting the 210 on end will help get your sound off the floor and make a small footprint you need for cramped stages.
     
  10. Fletz

    Fletz Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2009
    New Jersey
    Hartke artist
    I like where you guys are going with the PF cab.
     
  11. I'm doing the "for profit hobby" thing too...playing in bars, looks similar to what you're doing.

    I'm liking the 2x12 currently. I have two TCE RS212s. One gets most things done that I'm doing. I have the option to set two up if I want.

    My $.02 opinion for an option with greater portability and smaller footprint would be to either add a 212 that sounds good with the PF-500 and keep the 410 (use the cab that's best for any given gig), or find that 212 that's good with the the PF-500, get two of them and sell the 410.
     
  12. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Kansas City, MO
    I forgot to mention that I'm using the PF350 head with a single PF115he cabinet for most bar gigs. My band has a loud drummer and the guitar player has a Marshall stack but Iv'e had no trouble being heard. So with the extra 50 watts of the PF500 (it's 300 watts @ 8 ohms compared to the PF350's 250 watts @ 8 ohms) you should be just fine.
     
  13. ronlitz

    ronlitz

    Apr 20, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    If you get a new cab for your PF500, you might want to consider one that is 4 ohms total impedance. The PF500 is 500 watts at 4 ohms, but 300 at 8 ohms.
     
  14. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Why not just get the Markbass 102 cab (front-ported version, the Standard) and keep what ya got otherwise? It's lighter than the Ampeg cabs. You don't have to buy the Markbass combo.
     
  15. Fletz

    Fletz Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2009
    New Jersey
    Hartke artist
  16. spike42

    spike42

    Oct 21, 2007
    Mind if I respond to your point 1:

    "I’ll have two great set ups but be living in the world of too much gear (if there is such a place!).
    In these economic times this option seems wasteful as bass playing is a part-time job at best. In
    reality its a hobby that pays for beer money a few times a month"

    Your point resonates with me, because I have guilted myself
    out of some pretty good gear over the years. I have learned
    the hard way that it's cheaper in the long run to buy what
    you want - and then the hard part comes when you have to
    fight the urge to sell it (typically for less). I guess what I
    am saying is that if I enjoy the item when I use it,
    however infrequently that may be, I am thus "getting my
    money's worth" out of it.... and that's OK. Long as you're
    not spending the rent money of course :}

    So I vote combo, and be happy.
     
  17. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
  18. hifibass

    hifibass

    Feb 4, 2008
    Albany, NY
  19. jonas_24112

    jonas_24112

    Jul 11, 2011
    I just upgraded from a Fender Rumble 100 1x15 to a MarkBass Mini CMD 121p. So, I went up in volume, clarity, tone, and power and down in weight and size. I may buy an extension cabinet in the future, but my band uses PA support for bass and kick drums at most gigs.

    Funny thing is my Fender is for sale, so I leave it at the practice space for practice and my drummer is begging me to start bringing the MarkBass to practice. I will as soon as I sell the Fender, but I'll never leave it there......good thing it's only the size of a milk crate and only weighs 29 lbs.
     

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