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Buying cabs/amps based on research and reviews

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by spectorbass83, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. spectorbass83


    Jun 6, 2005
    I notice that many of the TBers here purchase amps and cabs without testing them, based on opinions and reviews alone. I see this is a common trend with Schroeders and Avatar speakers since they are harder to get a hold of than an Ampeg or a GK...Obviously you are taking a risk in doing this since you cannot take your bass with you, plug into a rig and play.

    What are your views on this?
    Have you ever purchased an amp or cab based on research and other people's opinions? If so, what was the outcome and would you do it again?
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Per Vic's comments on the Accuswitch thread a few moments ago, I find discussions and recommendations on gear very, very helpful as long as the opinions/reviews are based on gigging (not sitting at home playing alone) and if the reviewer or poster describes his/her playing style/tone preference for context. I not only bought my Schroeder1210 based on TBers comments, but also opted for an optional tweeter based on players comments who strive for a similar tone as mine. I'm VERY happy with my purchase.

    Very similar with my Thunderfunk550.

    So.... I find it very helpful. However, you have to realize that every once in a while, you are going to buy something based on recommendations and it won't be for you.
  3. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    You have to take specs and opinions and consider them within the context of your own experience with how "you" sound.

    I know that most basses, in my hands, tend to sound pretty bright. It's hard to pin down exactly why it is that some players hands and technique result in a brighter or bassier sound than others, but that's the way it is. So you have to be honest and objective about the sound of "you" when considering whether or not a particular piece of gear will suit you.

    Also, I would be very cautious in buying anything new, because if it doesn't quite work out, you're going to take a significant loss when you sell it. It's a lot safer financially to buy used gear if you don't have the opportunity to thoroughly road test it, because you'll be able to sell it for pretty much what you bought it for.
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Yeah, two cabs and a few amps. They were all pretty much what I expected, but my gigging situation keeps changing and I've moved though a succession of amps because of that. I still have both cabs though, and am vey happy with them.

    I find that the negative reviews are often the most telling. Sellers on Talkbass have been great about talking about shortcomings of the gear, which was very helpful to me. I think it's important to include perceived downside in reviews. I really look hard at the playing situations of the reviewer as well.

    Everything I've bought blind was used, and I've done very well at reselling for the same price, or very near to it.
  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    A huge +1 to that... it's sometime hard to be totally honest with opinions on the site, since the people who totally love the piece of gear that you weren't so happy with sometimes tend to hammer the poster. So, based on that, I find PMing a poster who seems to know what he or she is talking about can really help... since we can all be a little more 'honest' in private. I try to post positives and negatives in my reviews.
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The "boutique" part of the industry is pretty small, and it's sometimes tough to call out guys you like and respect too. Some amp builders have mentioned to me that they tread very lightly on Talkbass, because negative perceptions can easily become overblown.

    So, based on that, I find PMing a poster who seems to know what he or she is talking about can really help... since we can all be a little more 'honest' in private. I try to post positives and negatives in my reviews.

    You do great reviews, but I know what you mean about PMs. I use 'em a ton, and I get 'em from lots of guys who rarely if ever post as well.
  7. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    "Have you ever purchased an amp or cab based on research and other people's opinions?"

    I recently bought my Aguilar AG-500 based solely on research and reviews. In fact, I had never heard any Aguilar products live prior to getting it. I love the amp and feel that I have never had better tone than I do now.

    When I bought my Schroeder cab, I was able to try it first but once I did, I was sold.
  8. I took a leap of faith buying on line with mostly reviews and opinons to go buy, but I did do lots of reseach and some real testing.

    This was my path: I tried out some gear in the stores. I was initally set on SWR gear, but after I tried it, and one of their cabs in my price range, I decide to look futher - Fender, Ampeg, Eden, I tested what they had in the store. I tried combos, too heavy a package, and the external cab thing was limitied, some combos have no external options. They seemed up there on the price/feature curve, with not a very good ratio.

    Then I discover my newest setup, tubes with 2 small cabs, prefect for small/med clubs we will be playing, and not much to lug, in my price range, plus I always like the Traynor's sound from back in the 70s.

    So i guess a combination of on line reseach, reviews, forum opinons and really picking apart what guys are saying about the amp and cabs (this is brite, this is bassy, this cab works good, this one doesnt, switch out the preamp for this tube etc, etc), and going even deeper to what kind of music the poster plays, his gear, his age even, then trying out gear locally, and knowing that you usually get what you pay for.

    That was my experience, and it worked out. So, Id do it again, heck I bought a mutli pedal too.

    But, with that said, I dont think Id ever buy an instrument w/o playing it first.
  9. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    To date I have purchased an Acme B 2 w/o hearing one. Awesome gear and Andy is a good guy to deal with...as everyone mentioned before I purchased..
    I Also purchased an Accugroove Tri210L.
    Great sounding cab but too pricey for a 2x 10. I sold before the controversey hit....

    I just last night purchased a Bergantino HT 115 w/o hearing one but based my decision on the many TB threads I read that spoke highly of this cab...

    There are quite a few very knowledgeable guys on the board who know their sh*t and I often read their posts....

    It also depends on who you buy from but some vendors have a trial period that allows you to test the gear and if its not what you like you just have to eat the fght charges...

    The worst case scenario is that you dont like the product and have to resell it at a loss :rolleyes:
  10. el_Kabong


    Jul 11, 2005
    I've made purchases based on opinions/research and been satisfied with the outcome. I always talk to the shop first about any trial/return policy they might have, most seem sympathetic and will try to accomodate. As for the quality of the information here there's quite a deal of hyperbole to cut through. There does seem to me to be a fair amount of 'groupthink' where popular opinion is 'best' because it's popular. Unauthodox opinions/suggestions/solutions tend to be ignored rather than explored, which is to our detriment imo. Also I think that using the information posted on talkbass successfully can require a certain amount of experience. You need to be able to interpret the poster's experiences/requirements/environment/taste (!) in relation to your own. (Second thoughts, perhaps clairvoyance is required rather than experience!) For example a review may be 100% accurate but if your gig is jazz and the poster is a closet metal head....
  11. I've made a lot of purchases based on opinions, reviews, and research. Most of the time I have been satisfied. If I have doubts I usually buy used and resell if it doesn't work out. Some that I have bought new based on the above are Ric 4003, Lakland Skyline 44-01, and Schroeder 1210. They are all keepers.
  12. David Vega

    David Vega

    Aug 28, 2002
    Puerto Rico
    yes i do!! I buy a Avatar B410Pro without tested, just the reviews here and harmony ccentral.

    Als o i am in the process of getting a BBE or Ampeg SVP preamp, with out testing those.

    Thats the beauty of this web site!! :bassist:
  13. I've never taken that leap... It is risky. Hard to really nail down the terms used to describe the sound. If you like a "dark" sound, you'll tell me cab "A" is too "bright". But it might be perfect for me. The buy used advice is great for that situation, you can try and resell if it doesn't work out.

  14. unity bass

    unity bass

    Dec 15, 2003
    Modesto, Ca.
    Have I?

    Yes. I bought the Thunderfunk TFB550 based on my research and the reviews of several TBers whose opinions I respect.

    What was the outcome?

    I couldn't be happier.

    Would I do it again?

    Absolutely. If I didn't buy gear sight unseen, I wouldn't have most of my gear.
    This includes my Stambaugh which I like so much I can't even put it into words.
    I'll admit it's risky...and stressful. But so far it's also been worth it.

  15. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Out here, there is not a lot to choose from at the local music shops, so I buy a lot of gear without hearing it. I've been lucky so far. :cool: I also know the usual suspects who's opinons I trust,......one of the many things I love about Talkbass!
  16. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    Its risky to buy on recommendations. Good recommendations play into your gaseous desires for new and different equipment. I'd suggest always, unless you have money to burn, try before you buy and try with YOUR guitar amp cabs etc and if you can try it at a GIG!! or gig volume situation.
  17. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    This has mostly been covered, but:

    1) How is the reviewer using the gear? i.e. style of music, other gear, playing style, etc. There are a *lot* of different types of musicians on TB. If some solo jazz artist is raving about his xxx and you play metal in a loud band...well, you get the idea. Best thing to do is check profiles, posts, etc. to try to get an idea if someone has a somewhat similar use/style. Not that gear can't be used in more than one situation, but it helps to know.

    2) Most people reviewing something already own it. If they own it, they're probably proud and therefore calling it "the best" etc. Polls of what to buy are a good example. Most people are going to vote for what they already own.

    3) If you can buy used from trustworthy people, you can always resell and get something else without loosing your shirt. I've tried out several pieces of gear in the past year since I discovered TB. It's worked out pretty good - mostly because even if my local music stores had the gear, I can't tell much without playing it at practice and gigs. If I paid $500 plus $20 shipping for a piece of gear and sell it two months later for $500 plus $20 shipping, I'm out the $40 shipping cost - cheap 2 month rental charge and now I know it's not for me.
  18. I purchased a Thunderfunk TFB550 and a Shroeder 1212 based solely on the information posted on TB. The posters provided excellent and accurate advice that led me to make both purchases unheard until they arrived. The result is I have the best sounding compact and superior all around rig I've owned in 30+ years as a bassist.

    Can't say enough good things about TB, Dave Funk and Jorg Schroeder, for me the holy trinity of low frequency worshippers.
  19. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I bought my Acme Low BIIs sight unseen based on a couple month's research and scrutinizing the reviews. I'm happy with them. First, they had the specs I wanted. Second, I poured over reviews noting which were from the ilk "I've been playing a couple years" or "I'm new to bass" versus they guys that have been playing for 20 years or more and play my style and my type of basses. Then, I had several email exchanges with Andy before ordering.

    I'm comfortable doing it this way and have not got burned yet.

  20. I must admit the TB has helped "guide" some decisions on buying.

    Ironically, the stuff I LOVED the sound of better than anything else "available to try" , i.e. in a store, is the very stuff I no longer have, but sold it at very insignificant losses, and got to play them for quite a few gigs.

    I thus learned that gigging the setup is the only way to test it for yourself properly.
    Unfortunately my gig scedules don't always line up with a trial period available to me.

    the schro 1210 will be the latest gear purchased this manner, and I'm very hopeful that I will love it with the eden heads I have.

    Good to know the used market value , BEFORE buying, as always.