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Best amp for live gigs (indoors)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by wavey, May 16, 2003.

  1. wavey


    May 16, 2003
    London, UK
    Howz it going chaps,

    hope someone has an answer for me..............

    I'm looking to buy an amp to use in a covers band. We'll be playing many different size rooms, mostly small to medium.

    (The amp I use at the moment is a Trace Elliot SM 130 combo which is not powerful enough).

    We've had a couple of rehearsals in medium size, empty rooms and I've noticed our PA makes my bass (Ibanez SRX 500), lose definition and sound boomey out front. I'm hoping there will be less "boom", when we get an audience in the venues, but I feel that I should at least be able to get a fairly good sound either way.

    On that note, I want an amp that will cut through the PA "boom", which one would you recommend??

    Cheers :help:
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Hmmmnnn... there are lots of questions to ask for clarification.

    For example, what style of music, what other instruments in the band and what anticipated size of crowd? Those all have a bearing on what might work. What venues do you think are likely? Your profile has you in London, UK - there are a few other TB'ers from round these part so we might actually have played in the places you're thinking of and be able to offer directly relevant experiences.

    Also, given the factors of tone (plain to delicious), volume (quiet to loud), cost (cheap to expensive) and portability (small and light to big and heavy), which are more important to you?

    FWIW, I'm currently using an Ashdown Mag-250 and Ashdown Mini 1x15 cab, along with a Sansamp Bass Driver DI for extra tone-shaping and PA feed. It gets a sound I like, working with Lovesjones (see the website for details of the band lineup) and worked very well at our most recent gig at WKD's in Camden Town (smallish club, about 100 in the audience).

  3. There are a lot of amps that will do the job. Am I right in assuming that you want most of the bass if not all of it to come from the stage? The problem with mixing your stage sound with PA support comes from the fact that your bass amp is usually 10 to 20 feet behind the PA speakers. This causes certain notes or frequencies to be out of phase and more or less disappear because they cancel each other in different parts of the room depending on where the listener is seated. Many people use a floor wedge instead and let the PA carry the bass. This keeps them monitored but really cuts down on the interference between a back line amp and the PA. Others just get an old SVT with 8x10's and forget about the PA. Which leads me to say that if you want most of if not all your sound to come from the stage it is tough to beat 8x10’s and about 300 tube watts or 1000 SS. If you still need more then the PA is really your only option. (jmho)
  4. wavey


    May 16, 2003
    London, UK
    Thanks for the quick reply by the way chaps.

    Right, a bit more info:

    Wulf here are your answers: The style of music is mostly indie. We play stuff from Gigolo Aunts to Foo Fighters (I'm aware that the more thrashy songs will lose definition).

    Other instruments are lead guitar, rhythm guitar and drums.

    Types of places we'll be playing will be pubs initially (probably outside of London), so you're talking 100 at the most I'd presume. Then we are hoping to get into Redback, Walkabout etc., when we've tightened the set (These venues have a house PA, thank god!!).

    What's next, ah yes, I'd like the amp to have delicious tone, be loudish, cost up to £500 and ideally, to be able to carry it on my own. I'm not too up on all the different makes and models so please be gentle.

    Greybeard here are your answers: I would like to have most of the bass coming from the stage yes, as I just don't trust the PA sound.

    That's a good point about Frequencies from the amp behind the PA. As a band, we sort of agreed that maybe the best route would be to keep the bass guitar out of the PA and just from my amp.

    So with that in mind, what 8x10 amps would you suggest? I seem to be hearing a Ashdown quite a lot, now that I've started looking into amps?

    Thanks for the help
  5. I haven't gotten a chance to play any Ashdown equipment, but it is very highly spoken of on this forum. As far as big loud amp/cab combinations, pre-SLM Ampeg SVT/8x10 is the mother of them all. Finding one in good condition can be quite a job but the results are worth it. As for new stuff, there are a lot of companies making 8x10 cabs. Eden, SWR, Ampeg, Hartke, and a few others. You can also match a pr of 4x10 cabs and get the same effect. They will also be easier to transport. A small American company Avatar makes a killer 4x10 for a very reasonable price. I don't know about shipping to the UK though. Another option is 4x10 + 1x15. I've paired a Hartke 4.5XL (4x10) with a 1x15XL with 1200 watts (QSC) and it more than did the job. Hope this helps.
  6. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK

    Mmnnn... pub gigs... so size will be a consideration - a lot of the pubs I know have got pretty small stage areas. On the other hand, you want something with a bit of oomph to help you cut through, and you want it all for under £500.... :eek:

    The thought which comes to mind is 'extension cab'. If your Trace combo supports plugging in an extension cab of some kind, you may be able to get more volume from it (lower resistance) and the benefits of more speaker area. You could get something like a Peavey 2x10 (good, solid gear - stand it up with the combo on top and you've got a decent column of sound... and costing about £325 at my local music store last time I checked).

    You might find this was enough for now, and then you can splash out on a new, more powerful, head a little further down the line and eventually a second cabinet to go under it.

    Of course, that all depends on whether your combo can take an extension cab...

  7. wavey


    May 16, 2003
    London, UK
    Thanks for the reply.

    I'd rather get rid of the Trace Eliot

    I've been looking at Ashdown 4x10 amps but have just realised how expensive they are. I saw a covers band at the weekend and the guy was using a Peavey set up. It sounded pretty good (definitely cheaper), so I thought it may be the way to go.

    Another band I saw a couple of weeks back had just 2 top speakers for the PA, all the bass came out of the amp and it was a nice sound. Admittedly he had a Hartke set up (expensive again), which everyone appears to rave about.

    I'm thinking that I need a 350 watt 4x10 and head and am currently thinking along the lines of a Peavey, what d'ya think?

  8. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I quite like the Peavey stuff I've used in the past.

    On the other hand, if you're trying to work within a £500 budget, my primary thought is 'secondhand' - see what comes up locally and try a few things out. If you can get loud and solid for about £325, you could still afford a Sansamp Bass Driver DI on top for a richer set of tones and the option for feeding out to a PA in bigger venues.

  9. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I would second Wulf's advice here (or use all your funds now on better second hand stuff and save for the SansAmp later).