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Buying a PA and a small amp instead of a descent amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by chilepunkbass, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. chilepunkbass


    Apr 15, 2013
    Is this possible?
    would it work?
    In my country amps are very expensive because of shipping and all that (120 dollars for a 30 watt amp)
    And PA speakers aren't as expensive for the power
  2. With speakers IMO not really. But as for poweramps and stuff it's no problem at all.
    Are there no music stores around?
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Well you should be able to "get Down" with a descent amplifier! :D It should be decent. Here endeth the English lesson.

    To be used with a bass, a PA system needs to be quite powerful and have speakers able to handle bass frequencies. Most common PAs will be unable to do that.

    A stereo power amp driven by a pre-amplifier is a choice many of us have made. You'd still need a proper bass speaker cabinet.
  4. If the PA is nice (with subs) yes - otherwise no.
  5. chilepunkbass


    Apr 15, 2013
    yes, there are music stores around,but they only sell big brand names and the people there are absolutely ignorant (they don't know the difference between a humbucker and a single coil pickup)
    I guess I'll just have to sell some stuff and get a good amp:meh:
  6. What is your band situation? Do bands own PA's usually, or do venues provide? Owning a big PA and little bass amp could work well for you if the guitar amps aren't too big. Take punk to the people?
  7. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Are you one of the main members of the band? What kind of pa do you have now? What size gigs? Have you checked into the Ampeg BA108? Very inexpensive bass combo that gets great reviews.
  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I do a lot of gig's where I take a small combo and let my PA do the work. We re not loud but we so fill some rooms. If you don't need high stage volume, then it is a very practical way to approach it.

    I could play through pretty much whatever amp I want... But then our vocals and acoustic instruments would be in a crappy PA... And we wouldn't get hired often... So the small amp and good PA seems like a reasonable approach to me.
  9. Hi.

    To save money if You have to start from scratch and do it relatively quickly?

    IME/IMO no, it's not possible, nor will it work.

    And believe me when I say that I've tried that with varying success for about 30 years now ;).

    As much as I love going "ampless", over the years I have had to go back to MI rigs more than once.
    The money (or more precisely the lack of it) has always been the deciding factor.

    If You have stellar luck or a lot of time to pick up the rig piece by piece, and don't mind the old lead-sled equipment, the bargains are there in PA world.
    At least here, I don't have a clue about Chile.

    The cheapest -not the easiest by any means- way to go is to learn how to repair amps, and to buy or dumpster dive ones that no-one else wants.
    The savings to be made on that approach has however been dilluted quite a bit by SMD technology and the $/W ratio going down like there's no tomorrow.

    The same goes for the cabs and mixing consoles, not everyone is willing to haul those 40Kg+ outhouses of yesteryear anymore, so they can be had cheap.

    So, You then have the most important quality in a bassplayer, PA, covered and You discover that the second most important quality (a van) becomes a necessity rather than a choice ;).

    You ain't gonna haul all that stuff on a bicycle.
    You ain't gonna store all that in a closet either.

    So, even though getting a PA instead of a dedicated MI bass amp would be the choice I'd prefer any day, it's very unlikely that You would be saving any money by going that route.

    Unless YOU are the band (leader), and you use that PA for vocals as well.


    You can rent that PA out and perhaps do sound on the side as well.

  10. chilepunkbass


    Apr 15, 2013
    thanks for all the answers! :)
    now let me clarify some things
    1) I'm 14 years old, I don't play gigs and I am trying to (and not doing well ) start a band.
    2)I don't want a big 1000 watt amp, nor a rig with loads of parts.
    I just want a small thing that can get me loud enough to play in a punk rock band.
    3) My budget is around 100 US dollars, and that around here gets me a used washburn 30 watt amp if I'm lucky.
    4) As much as I'd like to have the possibility of putting together a rig, the options of dumpster diving or stuff that nobody wants is not possible. In $hile if it has a name in English, people are willing to pay for it, so no amps or guitar goes for cheap ( my first bass, a plywood pj cost me 95 us dollars). The only option in this would be to go to the "persa" a flea market style place where people sell cheap stuff and about 80% of the used things are stolen. and even there a used plywood bass goes for around 80 dollars.
  11. Damn, sounds like you'd be better off taking up percussion.

    How is postal service in Chile? Maybe you could import a speaker driver and build your own cabinet. Rolling Stones' original bass player made his cab out of wardrobe doors.

    Behringer make a knockoff of sansamp bddi preamp, I forget the name BD121 or similar, about 25 dollars used from TB classifieds. Add any nasty old hifi amp to make surprisingly decent bass.
  12. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Buddy, you can't get a realistic bass amp for $100 in the US either. It'll take about $300. Only thing you can do is start saving.
  13. Hi.

    Thanks for the clarification(s).

    I do admit that I had to brush up on Chile, and while I don't doubt that You feel like you seem to feel about the place you're living in, doesn't seem that bad in the distance or in paper.

    1. Unless there's a law prohibiting You from working at your age, your age IMO doesn't have a whole lot to do with it.
    I'd find ways to earn some money.
    I won't even bother to mention how much I had saved up for my first real rig, but it sure wasn't the eqvivalent of $100, way less.

    2. A PA system has always a lots of parts if it's on the cheaper end of the spectrum, an unavoidable fact IME.

    Our definitions of PA may vary though, what kind of system was that You were comparing a bass amp with in the op.

    3. That kind of a budget is a real challenge, I'd look hard for ways to pump it up quite a bit.

    4. Extremely hard to believe that no-one is throwing anything with speakers or amplifiers in them away, but I do take Your word for it.

    Is there any DIY resources available at all?

    If a used 30W combo amp costs $100, that should be enough money to build an amp if the chassis and the transformer can be had cheap (=recycled).

  14. chilepunkbass


    Apr 15, 2013
    Please excuse my ignorance but what are you talking about?
    So what you guys say is:
    I should put an amp together , out of scraps and parts but what i dont get is how and what parts you need
  15. He's saying that your budget is too small and you need to learn a whole lot of skills to build up an amp out of scrap and parts. That's far out of the forum's capacity to teach.

    The route I outlined isn't so very far from your budget if you can get help to knock up a cabinet. You never know what help will come your way when you form a plan and take some action.
  16. You're not going to get a loud amp for $100 no matter where you live - US, Chile, Madagascar - doesn't matter. You're going to have to save up more money.

    Do you live in Santiago? If so there should be enough of a used music equipment market there to get a decent used bass amp for US$300 - US$400. If you don't live there, maybe save up money and shop on the internet and via phone to figure out where the good shops and pawn shops are. Then you can drive up and buy your amp once you saved the money.

    Viva Chile!
  17. chilepunkbass


    Apr 15, 2013
    Yeah, the gallery under crown plaza
    I'll go there, to see what I find
  18. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
  19. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    From small things big things one day come, as the tune goes...

    Sounds like you're dealing with the art of the possible, OP. I figure a lot of us with nice gear now, did, back in the day. My first amp was a 10 watt homemade amp with an 8" speaker, sitting on the shelf in an electronics repair shop in the mid '60s... I banked whatever I could, and kept working my way up...

    My .02: save up, as someone already said. Meanwhile, school yourself in the used market.

    I'm thinking used Carvin stuff is pretty good bang for the buck. Any of that available, out your way?
  20. Hi.

    Pretty much that, yes.

    What You're aiming at is doable, IME/IMO anyway, but it won't happen by sitting on Your thumbs so to speak.

    You have to educate yourself.

    Internet is filled with DIY audio sites where the Gyro Gearloose's make audio stuff out of everything possible -and from something seemingly improbable as well- but no-one is going to hand held you through the process unless you can come up with at least some components you're wanting to use.

    Quite a few of us (like me) plainly refuse to help if we feel that YOUR safety is at risk.
    Wall voltage appliances are not something to be toyed with.
    Death is not very likely scenario, frying the nerves on your fingers or arms however is.

    I don't say this to discourage You, but to encourage you to learn the basics of electronics and amplifiers, as well as safety procedures when dealing with potentially lethal voltages.

    If the situation in Chile is really as bad as You make it sound, I'd strongly consider a career in electronics repair.
    I considered that as a teen, but watching the techs I knew struggle, only to go under eventually, made me reconsider.
    The throw-away-society was the cause.

    My first amplifier back in -84, all whopping 10 advertised Watts, was put together from a IIRC RS (Radio Shack) kit that cost about the eqvivalent of $10 today, paired with a "multi purpose" 12" driver that did cost the eqvivalent of $20. The power supply -a transformer, a bridge rectifier and two (too small) capacitors- cost about $20.
    The sensitivity wasn't all that great, but then again I didn't blow it up either ;).
    The last time I checked, the prices of those said components were a hair lower.

    With educating Yourself a bit on the subject, a ~100W amp kit, PS, and a speaker that can handle that 100W without farting out too badly, should be doable at Your $100 budget even if everything was store bought.
    Of course You have to build a box to house all those parts as well, but that should go without saying.

    By gutting an old boom-box for example, You can do that considerably cheaper.

    One thing worth mentioning as well IMO is that in some parts of the world (most of the EU for example), One can make whatever they choose for their own personal use, but if the equipment is taken somewhere where others may be shocked by it, it becomes illegal.
    That illegality obviously becomes a problem only after someone is injured or dead of course, but IMO again, worth mentioning anyway.