Combo amp for gigging

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mo Boogs, Jul 22, 2021.

  1. Mo Boogs

    Mo Boogs

    Mar 26, 2014
    I’m looking for good combo amp for gigging. I’ve got a modern Ampeg V-4B with 212AV cab and an ole 90s Ampeg Rocketbass B-50R. Both of these amps I absolutely love but I want to get something that’s lighter, easier to lug around for most gigs and plenty powerful enough to hang with the band. Not getting rid of those two just looking to add to my arsenal. I’d like to avoid needing an extension cab or any type
    of pedals to get that Peg tone - Just sold my Tech 21 VT Bass DI. I’m playing in a folk rock/adult contemporary cover band but always like to be able to jump into an Allman Brothers, Humble Pie, 70’s ZZ Top kinda band.

    Now I’ve got my eyes set on either the new Rocketbass RB-115 or RB-210 but thought I’d put some feelers out to see if either of these two will suit my needs or whether I should be considering something else. Any input/experience with these? There’s none in music stores around here so I can’t really try em out.
    DJ Bebop and StyleOverShow like this.
  2. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    I was there once upon a time. I bought a PFP-800 with a 2x10 and 115 cabs. Though the ease of rolling a combo was easier than my usual class D head and neo 210 cab. It is marginally easier. But I like the tone of the Class D head, Markbass and Avatar better than the Ampeg. So it sits at the ready.
    lfmn16 and Bonsist like this.
  3. If you love the Ampeg sound, the new combos by Ampeg should do the trick. I bought a Fender Rumble 500 combo several years ago and if became my main rig. I tend to go for a more vintage sound (although I play with roundwounds). It's light, loud and only weighs 36 lbs., which was a major reason for buying the Rumble.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I agree with @StyleOverShow on this one. I don't think a combo would be as easy to load in OR as modular/versatile as a lightweight head and a small cab or two.

    If budget is no issue I humbly suggest the Mesa TT800 head and any number of the Subay cabs. The 115 is smaller and lighter than you may think. And the tone/volume of that cab is just stellar. I dare say you would rarely need another cab to go with it. I got mine with the intention of adding another later. But I never got a second cab. I don't need one.
  5. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    Unfortunately no personal experience with the Rocketbass series, but both of these would be in the butter zone power and size-wise. This is easily enough to be heard over an unamped drummer, and that in turn should be the most you need to bring on stage, because if the kit's getting miked up, you should have a DI.

    The RB210 is Ampeg's answer to the Rumble 500, which in turn was developed to seriously compete with my current gig rig. I play a Markbass CMD102P, and have done ever since I started playing out on bass again:


    They had their vogue when they were the new sweetness in the mid-2000s. These days they aren't the hip thing to be seen playing, but they still do the job, and mine's light enough for one-hand carry making for a one-trip load-in with no cart needed. Definitely look used, if you're patient you can score one in the $700-$800 range, and they're worth every penny of that price. The $1200 street for a new one is a little much IMHO.

    The RocketBass has very similar specs to the 102P on paper. The X-factor is going to be speaker sensitivity, which determines how far the 300W of the combo with no extension cab will take you. I can't find info on the Ampeg's "Custom Eminence" 10" drivers, but a look through their production lines shows nothing above 98dB/W/m and an average closer to 94dB. Markbass's 10" drivers are 101dB, so at all output wattages, the MB will be significantly (6-7dB) louder. The tradeoff is that Markbass cabs have a... "signature" sound, and let's just say a tasteful application of the VPF knob comes in handy to tame the rig's midrange for your standard bar band fare. That said, no regrets on the Markbass from me.
  6. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    The Rocketbass is only post eq line out. That was a deal breaker for me.
    Bonsist likes this.
  7. daveyo


    Nov 6, 2013
    I agree with the separate Head and cabinet
    I have a small TC electron head which has 200 Wtss
    And a small 12 inch Hartley cab
    Seems to hold up very well in my van situation
    If I need more in the future I will buy another 12 inch cabinet and another head
    What is the latest I can go I’m done with the current heavy stuff
    kentiki, JC Nelson and DJ Bebop like this.
  8. Lowendchamp


    Jun 27, 2021
    Shelton WA
    I've found that my acoustic b600c is great but I don't know if you consider 66lbs light. It also has a direct out for use with a PA so as to be just a stage monitor. I don't care that this is GCs cheap brand it has a nice eq with other sound modeling features at 425 watts standalone 600 coupled with another speaker. Right now I play it at home and hook it up to my acoustic 410 and it feels great having 60 inches of air blasted at me. Anyway yeah the combo itself would be good for small to medium size indoor venues.
  9. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    I can play any indoor gig with my tiny MarkBass CMD121P - it is insanely loud and punchy, and only a 14" cube, 32 lbs. I feel that the one 12 sounds better than the two 10s, and it is a lot smaller. When I need more for outdoors, I add an extension cab. The amp is 500 REAL Watts, so there is no problem driving it.
  10. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    One of the MarkBass offerings will do the trick! They have quite the variety. Should be easy finding one to suite your needs.
    RocknRay and Dirk Rockbottom like this.
  11. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    I have a Tech 21 VT200 1x12" combo and it is indeed a nasty little box! It has an 8 ohm ext. speaker output, built in XLR direct inject and effects loop. The only thing that's missing is a tuner.
    SJan3 likes this.
  12. Hounddog409


    Oct 27, 2015
    iagtrplyr and jw112 like this.
  13. As an Ampeg user (V-4B, 2x112AV, MicroVR, 2x210AV cabs) I wouldn't hesitate to grab one of those Rocket 210s or even the previous model wedge-shaped BA210. I've used those at a rehearsal studio and they sounded great. Have you considered one of the PF flip tops? It's kinda technically a combo amp if you mount the amp on the lid. At least tonally it will stay in the family. IME, having similar rehearsal and gig-rigs makes it so much easier to switch between gear with minimal effort and you'll know what to expect.
    johnnynitro likes this.
  14. SunByrne

    SunByrne trained monkey Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Pearland, TX
    If you're looking for that Ampeg sound, then probably just get the appropriate Ampeg and be done.

    However, if you're not wedded to the Ampeg sound and you like having a 212, GK makes a nice 500w 212 combo that's only 41 lbs: GK MB212 Yep, 25lbs lighter than the Ampeg 212AV, and no head to lug around. It is a bit more expensive than the Rocket 210, though.
    shoot-r and HaphAsSard like this.
  15. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    I've got the 12. It's pretty awesome. I also had a v4b with a 112 and 212 av, a fridge, pf800, 7pro, 3pro, and just about every cab ampeg makes. The new rb series sounds like an ampeg, and weighs next to nothing.

    Get the 210 for more power, and a tighter tone. 15 for bigger, warmer tone. Either one will do you just fine.

    For reference on the rb112, I've got quite a few vids on the rocket thread.

    Ampeg Rocket Bass Combos

    There are also plenty of members there with the 15 and the 210

    In fact, here's a test run with di + shure beta 52
    No production of any kind. What you hear is what you get. That's the 12. The 15 will be louder, and cleaner. The 210, I can't speak for. Never played it. I can't imagine it being too different from other ampeg 210s though.

    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
    iagtrplyr, Bret Music and DJ Bebop like this.
  16. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Roots and fifths and a little extra. Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    After many years badmouthing combo amps, I picked one up. I got a Hartke KB112 "kickback" in mint condition for $340. I do turn the treble down to tame the half-aluminum cone, but aside from that? Love it. It's easy to carry, easy to get rockin, and easy to get it back out to the car. And it's surprisingly loud for a 112 combo. The cab has a lot more volume than it appears to, I think. My only other beef with it is, they should have wired the internal speaker at 8 Ohms instead of 4. It can't really use all 500w of the amp. And I can't plug in a secondary one if I wanted to. All in all, though, I'm pretty satisfied with it. I have been selling off gear left and right this summer, but I never even considered getting rid of the Hartke.

    ADDITION: gigging "light" with a combo amp for me also means that I don't have my big pedal board. But my combo amp does not have a tuner or a compressor or any overdrive...nothing. I can't have that. Which is why I picked up a used Zoom multi-effect pedal. Tuner, check. Compressor, check. Grit, checkety check check with its emulated SansAmp bass driver. All that and it's battery powered. I'm even toying with the idea of velcroing it to the top of the amp.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
    iagtrplyr likes this.
  17. FronTowardEnemy

    FronTowardEnemy It is better to go unnoticed, than to suck Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Chicago Illinois
    I have many amps, tube, class D, lead sleds, and I gig this.
    Fender Rumble 500. It handles all shows large and small, sounds great, and is an easy load in and out.
  18. rugrat

    rugrat Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2003
    Northwest Illinois

    Same here! Love it! Cool set list, by the way.
    Fight4Bottom and FronTowardEnemy like this.
  19. BEADG63

    BEADG63 Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2015
    Amherst, NY
    +1 for the Rumble 500. I got the 210 extension cab as well. The whole thing together weighs 75 lbs.
  20. basshawk21

    basshawk21 Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2018
    Columbus, Ohio
    I have a PF500 head mounted on a PF-210HE cab so it flips over for easy transport. If you can, try out the PF-115HE cab as well to see which one suits you.
    Jaycephas likes this.