Bass Combo Dilemma

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thebeermann, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. thebeermann


    Jan 15, 2018
    I am in the process of deciding which of the myriad of bass combo amps to buy. There are just so shaging many. Sure I know all the usual suspects: Ampeg, Acoustic, Fender etc., etc. But then as I'm digging deeper online I see names like Bugera and Eden so on and so on. Prices and wattage all over the place. Please advise
    Martyman likes this.
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Fender Rumble is the best bang-for-buck!
    dbbltime, Coolhandjjl and Craig4003 like this.
  3. You can narrow this down a lot simply by deciding what kind of combo you want.

    How much are you willing to spend?
    Tube or SS?
    How many watts?
    What speaker configuration?
    Maximum physical dimensions?
    Maximum weight?
    Do you care about built-in effects or an effects send/return loop?
    Do you care about XLR output for a PA?
    What kind of tone controls do you prefer? (Bass/mid/treble, parametric EQ, graphic EQ, etc.)

    Answer these questions and you'll narrow the field quite a lot. If you then can't find an amp you like that satisfies your answers, see if you want to change any of the answers.
    blubass and deathness like this.
  4. Nebula24


    Nov 23, 2017
    Norman, OK
    Ive been on quest to get 50 wattish amp for bedroom. Watched lots of videos and read review online. Luckily nearby store had acoustic, fender and orange. Also had my bass so could get feel for how it would sound. Played 4 or 5 amps over and over fiddling with all the knobs to check them out. Going with the fender. Also seem to always see fender amp in stores near me so can i know what other basses would sound like in future if i look to upgrade mine.
    Linnin likes this.
  5. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    VOX VX 50 BA Nutube Combo

    instrumentalist and 10cc like this.
  6. Nebula24


    Nov 23, 2017
    Norman, OK
    Anyone try one of those vox amps?

    I like their headphone amp.

    Havent come across one in real life. And dont think it has footswitch like fender and orange do.
  7. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    Since you already know there's a lot... you're not going to get much help here except a bunch of suggestions about what we would want.

    What style of music do you play?
    Are you playing in a band with a drummer?
    Do you know what you want the combo to sound like?
    Do you care about built in effects and gizmos?

    You have to have an idea of what you want to sound like.
  8. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player

    Jun 12, 2008
    First of all, what are you planning on doing with it? Home practice? Band practice? Coffee house gigs? Club gigs?

    For home practice, you'd ideally like an amp with a headphone output that mutes the speakers, and an audio input for backing tracks.

    For coffee house gigs, you probably want at least 30W. For club gigs, you probably want at least 150W (some will say 250W or even 500W, but I've gotten by on an efficient 150W 112 combo on a number of occasions). A relatively low power combo can be quite giggable if it's got a direct out (XLR is awesome, effects-loop-out 1/4" can generally be adapted) to run into the PA.

    For band practice, you need to be loud enough to be heard with the right balance relative to your drummer, which probably puts you north of 50W, but it depends on the drummer's technique and control.

    Then we get to the question of sound, which is completely personal. I thought the first several generations of Fender Rumble sounded like crap. The latest versions are a bit better, and are everywhere, so you can find one new or used at a good price with pretty low risk, if that's the sound you like. GK and Ampeg are also safe bets, and easy enough to find and try out in a store, to see if you like them. Bugera is essentially Behringer, so good bang for the buck if you want loud and cheap, but my friends have had problems with reliability of their guitar amps. I'm partial to EBS, Aguilar, and Mesa myself, but they are higher-priced options (and I don't think Aguilar has ever done a combo). If you live anywhere close to a large guitar store, set aside an hour or two, bring your bass, and try everything you can.
    Craig4003 likes this.
  9. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Winter NAMM is 9 days away and there are going to be several interesting new introductions you should wait for.
  10. There's all kinds of combo amps out there with mystique-laden names. I'd ignore most of them.

    You can't go wrong with Ampeg, Fender,Traynor or GK. For lightweight/good tone and Class D.

    There are some good older (and also current) Peavey 15" combos that sound very nice. Tho' some of those are a little heavier.

    Ampeg has some good portable tube-oriented combos.
    Gibson Victory likes this.
  11. I own both a combo and separate cab n head GC Acoustic ( the older ones) B200

    I was stunned that the store brand GC Acoustic was the ONLY amp that didn’t distort on low B on my Zon ... even 8-10 SVT farted out even at low volume I thought I’d ever get to hear my Zon until the B200

    Reason I bought the combo was I had pulled a groin hernia from yard work and still wanted to play bass. Thought combo was the answer but whereas a combo is a one trip load ; actually head and cab separates are easier to lug ....Separately

    Dilemma with older GC Acoustic Combo is adding aux cab was a mis match instead of making an improvement. With Head / cab separates you can gain full power Combo weighs 45 lbs as I recall which is a little on the heavy side imho.

    Overall the GC Acoustic has plenty of volume whether used at home, rehearsal or performing will be Very satisfied Has 6 bands of semi parametric VS B M T tones so the tonal palette is quite broad for a relatively inexpensive unit . My last paid gig was outdoor fest ..outperformed all other rigs that day .

    Both have DI out for PA use if needed

    GC Acoustic offers Tons of tone and best Volume bang for the buck in my experience and opinion

    The older ones like mine are common and are not expensive at all as used

    If $$$$$$ is no object then I recommend Bergantino forte’ or BI and Berg cabs of your choice

    I recently bought Bergantino forte’ @ 6 pounds and HDN 1-12 @ 26 pounds, which is a one-hander for an older guy like me

    There are so many choices for bass these days so and as I most often recommend that after reading our opinions that you use Your bass Your wallet and most importantly Your ears to make Your choice .

    Please keep us posted as to your choice and enjoy !
  12. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Fender & GK are popular, affordable and
    will do better in resale.
  13. HauntedDave


    Mar 7, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I frown on combo amps almost entirely in favor of head and separate cab. I am from the school of "too much is never enough". One head can be paired with a cabinet as small as a 1x10, or as large as 8x10. Never forced to lug around a one fifteen inch speaker when it won't do the job or keep up with the drummer.
    zon6c-f likes this.
  14. Davyo

    Davyo Davyo Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2008
    Las Vegas, Nv
    I’ve owned more brands of combos than I can remember,,,,, in my opinion, the Gallien Krueger MB combos are the absolute best !!!!!!
    The Fender Rumble’s are a distant 2nd place.
    Hartke, Markbass, Ampeg and others are just ok.
    Just my 2 cents.
    nolezmaj and Buzz E like this.
  15. I don't know that much about Bugera but, Eden is well known for their quality or, should I say, at one time they were known for quality. About 5 years ago, I was in the same market and doing researching on amps "Combo-class" as you are doing now. I went to the stores in town and tried out all the amps that I read about and decided on one of the usual suspects: AMPEG B150 and it has been a very trusty workhorse. I did swap out the Chinese Eminence woofer for a Real Eminence Legend and I get more tone now than before. But, that being said, get out to the stores and test drive the amps over and over until you find one that you really like.
  16. Has Eden gone downhill? Lately I've been playing through an Eden Traveler 400 head and Eden 4x10" cabinet owned by our guitarist. It sounds really nice. The one thing I don't like about it is that the cab weighs about 100 pounds. I'm not sure how old it is, but probably several years.
    Martyman likes this.
  17. Eden as far as I'm concerned is still a great bass brand name. There are some I am sure will disagree...
  18. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar... Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    I tend to agree with this, but if the goal is just bedroom practice, a combo will be more than adequate.

    That said, when it comes to combos, I pretty much ignore anything 30 watts or above and just under 100 watts, assuming a single speaker configuration. Every combo I've used in that range just doesn't cut it with a band, and in my experiences, I'm just adding weight to my practice amp for no reason. Also, using those in band situations, even if they keep up with the volume, just sound bad to me.
    zon6c-f likes this.
  19. GC Acoustic w/ headphone jack
  20. Toddbass65

    Toddbass65 Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2012
    I recently picked up the Vox, and I'm impressed. It's not quite as loud as a rumble 40, and doesn't go quite as low. But...great tone that's easy to dial in. Best 8" combo I've ever tried. Compression works well, tightens up the sound. Nice little overdrive on board too, gives a little grit. I used it for an acoustic duo gig and it sounded great. Line out worked well too. SUPER light weight...lunch box weight :) May not be enough for more than a small acoustic gig, but if you do a fair amount of them it is worth checking out the Vox. I tried it after a music store I frequent got them in....they told me take it and try it. Don't like it, bring it back no problem. It's not going anywhere other than my next gig :)
    Nebula24 likes this.

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