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Best amps today for upright

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Danimal23, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Danimal23


    Dec 25, 2012
    Hey guys,
    Just got off 6 years of touring with backline techs, in ears, and no need for amps. SO, my question is this.
    What are the best head/speaker and combo amps out there now for double bass? I usually use a pickup but sometimes blend a mic(in need of 9v phantom) also. Would be happy to hear your thoughts on weight, speaker size, satellite speaker options, etc, you name it. Price of course too. :)
    Thanks ahead of time.
    Daniel Immel
    Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco from 2008-2012
    Currently in Nashville, Tennessee
  2. I just picked up a Euphonic Audio iamp Doubler, which was designed with help from a touring upright bassist (Mike Arnopol, who is on this forum). It is around 3lbs (I think), 550 watts at 4Ω, and has two blend-able channels, one optimized for upright and with an xlr input and phantom power. It has all kinds of features to dial in a good sound, including a phase knob and notch filter. I've only used it on a handful of gigs, but I think it's a keeper. I think it's in the $700 ballpark, though they pop up used sometimes.

    I also have been using an Aguilar Tonehammer 500 for the last year+, and really like that one, too. 4lbs, 500w, also around $700, I think.

    Some folks are really into the Tecamp Puma heads, but I have no experience there.

    As for cabs, the Fearless line from Greenboy is getting some rave reviews, as are the Big E 4x5 cabs. A lot of folks seem to like EA Wizzy speakers, as well as Phil Jones and Acoustic Image. I had a Crazy8 cab built by Mike Arnopol (a Greenboy builder), and I loved it, but I sold it to get something larger. I mostly play through a Low Down Sound 4x8 that I like well enough, but I don't think it's the ultimate solution for me.

    Search this forum, there is a LOT of discussion about heads and cabs!
  3. Danimal23


    Dec 25, 2012
    Thanks Tyb...that gives me some good direction for sure. I'll dig a little deeper here as well. Take care
  4. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ (Certified Gear Junkie) Supporting Member

    Daniel, the previous poster named most of 'the usual suspects' and they are indeed good options.

    Also check out another thread here: New EDB-2 and EDM-1 from Headway For Trial

    Many TB members have raved for years about the Headway EDB-1 Pre-amp. Well, Headway just came out with the new model, the EDB-2. I have been thinking more and more lately that I would like to get a rig where the Headway is the front end - (it can mount on a mic stand or on your belt so you don't have to be by your amp to make adjustments). Many members have been using powered speakers such as the QSC K-8, K-10, and K-12. Most seem very happy with them. Ric Vice (who has posted on that other thread) does indeed use a Headway as a pre-amp to his K-8.

    I haven't seen or tried one yet but I am intrigued by the Phil Jones powered cabs - for me in particular, the PB300. It has 6 5" neo speakers, weighs about 37 lbs and has 250 watts, You can also 'daisy chain' multiples together. I found it here for $919. http://shoppingcart.djangobooks.com/Item/phil-jones-pure-sound-pb300

    You could use a Headway EDB-2 for the pre, or I might use my new little Phil Jones Bass Cub, 13lbs and 100 watts. The PB300 powered speaker frequency response goes down to 25 hz!!! (probably time for a HP filter), but I do like the idea of being able to get fundamentals all the way to the bottom of the register. Most amps won't do that.

    By the way - Phil Jones is one of those companies with ridiculously great customer service. I called and left a msg on their company VM a couple weeks ago. About a half hour later Phil Jones himself called and we chatted for 10 or 15 minutes. Later that night, about 10pm after a gig I sent a follow-up email not expecting a response till the next business day at the earliest. TEN MINUTES LATER I HAD AN EMAIL REPONSE FROM PHIL JONES HIMSELF. By the way, the little Bass Cub is great by itself when I just need a little reinforcemtent for my acoustic sound and don't want to schlep a 'real' amp. Sorry if I sound like I'm selling something, i'm just a new owner really enjoying the experience.

    Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide.

  5. Danimal23


    Dec 25, 2012
    All great thoughts Rick. Thanks.
    I'm looking at the Phil Jones stuff now.
    Based on the fact that I also double quite a lot I'm thinking about getting the Aguilar Tone Hammer 500, The Headway EDB 2, and an Aquilar DB112....and perhaps a much smaller cabinet for cocktail gigs. Bring that new little DPA mic in the loop and I'd be good for a while.

    Where do we get the Headway stuff in America? I can only find links for them shipping everywhere BUT the USA....strange with the drop down menu on the shopping cart page.

    Thanks again.

  6. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ (Certified Gear Junkie) Supporting Member


    Steve, at String Emporium has them in stock http://stringemporium.com/headway-upright-bass-preamp.htm his ph number is 800-600-2689. I think you'll find him to be both very knowledgable and helpful.

    ps. don't worry about that web address, they really are (b)ass-preamps.
    Josh Kneisel likes this.
  7. You'll be happy with the Aguilar setup....I love the TH500 with upright, and folks on the EB side seem to love it as well! I came really close to buying a DB112, but wound up trying the LDS 4x8 for now instead.
  8. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    Thoughts on the Genz Shuttle?
    nickrs540 likes this.
  9. hensonbass

    hensonbass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I have a GB Shuttle 9.0 that I used for all my upright gigs. It worked very well.

    I then bought a Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 and my tone really improved IMO. The TH500 has a really nice voicing balance of warmth and clarity. It makes the Genz sound a bit sterile in comparison. I will however keep my GB as a backup because it is dependable.

    The Tone Hammer reminds me of the Ampeg B-15 in terms of how many electric and upright players played through that rig back in the old days. Aguilar seems to have found a 'sweet spot' voicing in the TH amp that works for many players tastes.
  10. Danimal23


    Dec 25, 2012
    Glad to hear the feedback on the TH500....confirming my suspicions. I tried it yesterday through 2 DB112 with the tweeters (nice to have the option even if I roll them off). LOVED the tone. Huge for EB and with just one cabinet pretty dang good for UB.
    ALSO I found a few places here in Nashville that carry the EDB-2 so I should be able to check that out pretty soon. If it does what people say then I should be pleased.

    Back to the Aguilar DB112....I have to say that even just one of them is going to be too big of a footprint for many of the cocktail gigs I would do during the week. Does anyone know of a good SMALL cabinet that the TH500 would pair well with? I looked at the VL108, as I used to swear by the EA VL110s, but it's only 200W at 8ohms (and the TH500 is 350 at 8).

    Again...thanks for the suggestions. :)

  11. Small cabs...

    EA Wizzy
    Wizzy 10". 18lbs.
    Wizzy 12". 29lbs.
    M-Line 12". 34lbs. more balanced and refined.
    (VL108 is 27lbs)

    My fave
    Baer ML112. 12" & 6" speakers, only 37lbs. Very loud and also feedback resistant.

    Smallest I own: 80's Roland Cube combo (beige tolex). Fabulous tone. 35lbs. Fully retro. :yep:

    There's smaller - a decent 1x8" or 1x10" will do a lot. Phil Jones, Arnopol cabs, QSC needs a decent Bass preamp to get the best from it. Check out AER too (expensive though).
  12. hennessybass

    hennessybass Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2008
    North East Texas
    I'm not an upright player,,, but you may also consider the TH350 instead of the 500. Cheaper, smaller, the exact same amp (minus a few watts), and most likely plenty loud. I like running the master way up, and not turning up the gain unless I need to for a super clean, transparent sound.

    The ML112 is not all that much smaller than the DB112. I have played both and did not care for the ML,, although they get a lot of love here.
    DB112 - 14" H, 19" W, 19" D
    ML112 - 16.75" H, 23.25” W, 16.875" D

    Bergantino makes a very nice single 12 that is small and very light - the CN112. Very similar to the DB112, but maybe a little more smooth throughout.
  13. The new Phil Jones C4 is a cab worth considering. 4x5" speakers with a lot of punch and bottom end in a small cab. I think the weight is about 24 lbs.
  14. @OP: Is it weight or size/dimensions that's the issue for you?

    What's the sound your going for?
    Flat/ HiFi- like -VS- warm/ slightly coloured?
    Favourite sounding rigs in the past?

    DB112 is 45lbs. (too dark for my tastes).
    Baer ML112 is 37lbs. Can sound bright with bright BG & bright amp. A good EQ helps a lot.

    +1 to Bergantino CN112. 28lbs.

    Acoustic Image. Small and light, the downfiring woofer some people love. They have a new preamp/ powered cab model too.

    TecAmp do some nice stuff. Less preamp features though.

    It all comes down to tonal preferences, and how each part interacts. There's plenty to choose from.
  15. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013

    There's a Phil Jones Compact 4 (C4) cab for sale at a very good price on Talkbass right now:

  16. Cannot go wrong with Acoustic Image. I have been using mine constantly for the last two years, for both upright bass and electric. I constantly get compliments on this amp! Lightweight and dependable, and truly has a lifetime guarantee.

    I also have an EA Wizzy 10" just in case I need more headroom for a larger gig, but has not been necessary yet as the AI has plenty of power.
  17. artfahie


    Dec 14, 2007
    Bar Mills, Maine
    Although not especially designed for upright I love my MarkBass CMD121P (???)... it's a lightweight 12" cab with up to 500 watts of power (if you add an extra cab).... I've had the AI and much prefer the MarkBass over it... as with most of us there is only so much exposure I get to all the different brands. I did have a "Baby Blue" SWR (Stanley Clarke's version) and the MarkBass just blew it away.... the guys in my groups love the sound and I get little to no feedback. Good luck with your buying decision.

    Art Fahie
    oren likes this.
  18. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    I use both AI and EA gear and am happy with both, mixing & matching equipment as needed. Just finished playing in a musical (Anything Goes) and the AI Contra worked great with my Epiphone in that 17 piece band setting.
  19. lrhbass

    lrhbass Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
  20. Take a look at the Crazy88. I have one with a tweeter from Barry Audio and it continually impresses me at how much it can do.

    Mine weighs 31.4 lbs and I routinely run a 500 watt amp through it and an Fdeck high pass filter and it is marvelous!