Cheap Amp Head: MAG 300 vs NA320 vs BBT 500 etc.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by flexo, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. flexo


    May 3, 2005
    Perth, Australia
    I currently have a Peavey Mark IV bass head and a Lab Systems 4x10 quad box (8 ohms) and I'm looking to upgrade the head of my amp setup as I'm not really digging the sound I'm getting from the Peavey.

    Anywho, I've been thinking about getting anyone of the following as a replacement as I can them bass heads at a decent price:

    -Ashdown MAG300 ($AU580)
    -Nemesis NA320 (~$AU950)
    -Warwick Pro Fet 3.2 (~$AU600)
    -Warwick Pro Fet 5.1 ($AU749)
    -Yamaha BBT 500 ($AU850)

    My budget is pretty tight and will be largely dependent on what i can get for my Peavey head when i sell it. At this stage i definately can't afford anything more expensive than the Nemesis and i will struggle to even afford that.

    Basically what i'd like is if someone can give me a comparision of the heads i've listed and the pros/cons of each. Has anyone done a shootout with any of the models?

    The bass i will be using is Musicman SUB (active 4 string).
  2. flexo


    May 3, 2005
    Perth, Australia
    Can't anyone help me?

    I've searched for opinions on the following amps but there's not much here (with the exception of the MAG 300). Surely someone has tried a few of these out!

    Unfortunately i cant try most of these amps out so i would really appreciate some feedback on them to help me make my decision.
  3. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    If I were in your shoes, I'd spend some time in a shop making sure it's really your head that's the issue. The Peavey isn't a "Talkbass A-list" head but I've heard it plugged into three or four different cabs and the sound is decent.

    You'd probably be well served by taking a bass player friend to a store and spending the afternoon doing a blind listening tests. Have him/her try your bass through your head through some other cabs. Then do the same with your bass through your rig. Then do the same with your bass through other heads.

    I just know that if I had that kind of money to spend and the rig you have, the head would be the last to get replaced regardless of my music style.
  4. flexo


    May 3, 2005
    Perth, Australia
    The current head i have just sounds bland to me. i have tried my bass on some friends rigs and it sounds much better to be honest.

    I'm not really looking to replace the quad box unless i can get a good replacement rig with the funds i would gain by selling it. I have briefly heard another head be played through my quad box and again i thought it was better.

    Im not really expecting a leaps and bounds upgrade since my budget isnt so great however i am looking to get something with a bit more character than my current head.

    I will attempt to try any of the ones i have listed out but thats not the easiest thing to do as i havent seen any of them around recently. This is why i would really appreciate any experiences with any of the heads i listed.
  5. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Of course it does. They're different rigs. Different is often confused with better. What were the rigs you played through? What sounded the best to you and why?

    Here is an important question: Do you have the Musicman SUB yet or have you been using a lesser bass with this gear?

    I dunno. I've played through a Nemesis and a MAG and neither were astounding. Not that the Peavey is either, but it's a decent amp that a lot of people have used and been satisfied with for years. My feeling is that you're mostly going to be curing GAS with this head purchase if that's your price range, and that might be why nobody has done the kind of in-depth commenting for you that you see with the DB750s and the Thunderfunks and the EVOs. You get what you pay for, and below a certain price point a lot of that stuff just sounds the same for the most part.

    If you honestly feel like your sound is bland, consider instead getting a SABDDI or similar unit.
  6. Rvl


    Dec 23, 2003
    Aomori Japan
    I have Yamaha BBT500 , GK 400RB and a SWR SM400 heads
    Tried and owned many more , but these are the ones I kept

    For variety of sounds the Yamaha wins hands down
    Has 11 amp voices , can be run in 2 ohm and has 5 programmable settings that can be midi footswitched.


    Robert VanLane
  7. flexo


    May 3, 2005
    Perth, Australia
    I don't expect miracles from the equipment that i will be getting, just that i have tried other budget equipment (a friends behringer head and a low end fender combo amongst others) and was more impressed with the tone of those than i was with my current rig. I understand that you say different is not necesarily better, however in my opion the other gear i tried did sound better to me, and isn't that what matters?

    As for the bass, I currently own the SUB and have done for 6 months now and yes that is the bass i tried the other amps with. I know you think that i'm just getting this rig due to GAS but i have to disagree. I have tried to get a decent sound with the peavey for some time and i'm unhappy with it. I dont see whats wrong with getting something that i will be happier with.

    As for the high end heads you mentioned, i'm primarily a guitar player and it will probably be years before i spend the amount of money required to get me a high end rig. People may not have compared the options i listed in-depth, however there must surely be people that can tell me about their experiences with the amps, no?


    Thanks for the reply. The yamaha head sounds ideal with the vast array of sounds it has, i just havent heard much about it and it is a fair bit more expensive than the MAG 300 so im curious as to how good the sounds are.
  8. jhfva


    May 2, 2004
    Roanoke, VA
    I wanted a decent cheap solid state amp so I tried a MAG300 with a Ampeg PR-410HLF. After playing with it for a few days, I think it is very good. Definitely has the electronic 'sound' that I was looking for. It is quiet electronically and physically, has good overtones and tight bottom end.

    The unit has a cooling fan and good 3 band tone controls.

    I have only two negatives. First, the power switch is on the back which I don't think is smart for a rack mount piece. Second, it only has 1/4" speaker jacks. I looked at lit on the web site and was lead to believe that it had speak-on connectors based on pictures.

    I went with the rack mount which I would not recommend unless you have a rack.

    For the money, I would recommend it.
  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    +1. None of the heads you have mentioned strike me as being significantly better/different than the Peavey you already have. However, different amps definitely have different signatures. Peaveys are IMO very neutral, which isn't what a lot of players are after.