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Buy an Amp Without Playing Through It First?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jgroh, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I was reading another thread in the Bass forum and it got me thinking...

    How many of you have bought an amp without playing through it first?

    I recently picked up some Hartke stuff...2500 Head and 4x10 cabinet, and even though it sounds ok, I want to upgrade soon. I dont have a ton of options as far as music stores around here, and even the Guitar Center that is an hour away didnt have much in selection. So, I may be buying something at some point without the benefit of playing through it first. Anyone else do this?
  2. eshears


    Jul 30, 2001
    Spokane, WA
    I bought my Eden WT-400 about 8 or 9 years ago site unseen, based mostly on the reviews here on TalkBass! It's been a great amp.

    Just yesterday, I ordered a Genz-Benz Shuttle 6.0...again, based on the reviews here.

    I don't live in a major metropolitan city (yet), and I couldn't try out ether of these amps even if I wanted to! But, I don't want to limit my gear choices to just the handful of brands available locally...
  3. NoHomework81


    Jul 27, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I purchased my WT550 from WarpdriveMusic on ebay. Never heard one before then, but the reviews and the ParaEQ sold me. ZERO regrets on the one.
    And now that I think about it I bought my Ampeg V4 before hearing it (it was quite broken).
    Again, no regrets.
  4. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Thanks. Since I went for the lower end of the price range with the Hartke stuff, this next upgrade will probably be considerably more money. Spending that kind of dough sight unseen is a little daunting (for me anyway).
  5. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    It's not ideal, but I bought my first Eden rig entirely unplayed. A used WT330 head, plus the then-new Nemesis NSP212 and NSP210 cabs. I got lucky ... that was a stellar rig. I also bought an Acoustic Image Clarus SL head and a Euphonic Audio Wizzy cab without playing them first. Again, I was lucky ... that's a great little rig for upright, and with a Sansamp it works great for slab as well.

    Since then, everything I've bought and used was played through first. My main advice would be, try it if you can, but if not, make sure there's a good return policy wherever you order from. At least then you're only out shipping if the gear just doesn't cut it for you when you receive it.

    Good luck!
  6. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Yes I bought an Ampeg V4b without ever having heard or played or seen it. Bought it on reputation alone and it worked out for me.
  7. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    +1 on what everyone has said so far.
    The local music stores have a limited product availability so I've bought a lot of gear based on input from other players. Forums are great because you can get a good cross section of information on a particular brand. You may have to weed out the "zeal" that you get from people's reviews of their fav brands but still a good way to go.
  8. I recently picked up a Neo Pak with nothing to go on but the stellar reviews here and I couldn't be happier.
  9. blackwaterferg


    Jan 31, 2008
    Carvin 1500 .... Like it has power, tone and enough stuff to get any sound that I want...
  10. blackwaterferg


    Jan 31, 2008
    I did the same back in 1987 bought an Ampeg SVT400T.. One od the first Solid state... GREAT AMP... but the Tubes are better... I bought it on Rep alone...
  11. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    I got my Mesa 400+ and Powerhouse 8x10 without being able to try them out first. The two closest Mesa dealers are 75 and 88 miles away from me. Neither of these dealers had either of the two pieces that I was interested in. So, after a few months of solid, relentless research, I found these items on the internet and went for them. Yeah...they kick ---, I'll probably never get rid of them.
  12. I buy most of my gear without hearing it first... bought two basses that way, two or three amps. I was lucky enough to buy my current rig locally, so I did play the different parts first, but imho it's just a test, really, there's no way to know how it's going to sound with your gear and your bass in your room, playing with your band.
  13. Hi.

    I did buy one without playing it first, never read a review about it, just took my chance. Based on the price and features alone.


    So far I have been extremely pleased about my purchase, but it's obviously been quite a short period of time that I've played through it, the time will tell.

    I've even ordered some speakers and enclosure materials to revive my hibernating cab-making skills, so that head has done a tons of good ;).

    With well known makes and models it's easier. You'll hear 'em in recordings and on gigs, plus there's usually tons of reviews around to help in the desicion making. And obviously there's some bass related forums where there's the truth and then there's the absolute truth ;).

  14. dfuruta


    Mar 7, 2008

    I bought a used Genz Benz Series II and an Avatar B212neo unseen, and they have worked well for me. If the makers are reliable and the reviews are good, why not?
  15. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Come to think of it I also bought

    1. Carvin 1503

    2. Fliptop 1x15 cabinet

    Unseen or heard.
  16. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    You can't really just hear an amp in a store and expect to know how it's going to work out on real gigs. True for any piece of non-spec'd gear. So buy from stores with good return policies so you can try it out in real life.

    From amplifiers (not heads) to Cabinets - if you can find accurate specs and measurements you can predict how they'll behave in real life. Sound companies know this. For the "bass pre-amp" part, you don't know until you try it out in a few situations and have a chance to practice it, just like your bass.
  17. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    there are two things that worry me about buying before trying (at least for me in my situation)...

    I would probably look at something used first to maximize the bang for the buck. Unless its at a store, it probably doesnt have a return policy. I could always turn around and sell it, but thats a hassle.

    As I am getting older, I am becoming much more picky about the tone I want. When i was younger I would setting for anything halfway decent and loud enough. I was always a plug and play type of guy with my gear. I could get by like that with the Hartke stuff I have now, but why bother to settle?

    I have been doing a lot of research but its so subjective that its making my brain sweat. ;)
  18. optikhog


    Apr 2, 2007
    St. Peters, MO
  19. EBodious


    Aug 2, 2006
    i too have little availability where i live (i just got a 55-02 solely off reputation and FWIW it is very much as described here, subjectivity or not!!).

    when i was amp shopping, i took advantage of an out of town trip to sneak away to a big music store. i a/b'ed mesa walkabout and eden wt-400. i went with the eden (great for 4 yrs, now there is any issue - separate thread). the only disadvantage to using a far away store was i have no local resource for fixes.

    i bought my cabs (berggie) solely on rep. very satisfied- and again lived up to their descriptions.
  20. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I've done it many times. Several times with very good results,
    i.e., Eden WT400, Bergantino NV610, Mesa 400+, Sadowsky SA410, and sometimes with not so good results, i.e., Aguilar AG500 (crappy honky midrange that COULD NOT be dialed out), EBS Fafner (unreliable and not all that great sounding),
    Mesa M2000 (just didn't have the "Mesa sound" to my ears).

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