1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Combo amp taste test

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Dr. Jake, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Dr. Jake

    Dr. Jake

    Jul 1, 2008
    Oakland, CA
    Earlier this week I was able to test four combo amps head-to-head, toe-to-toe, at More Music in Santa Cruz. All amps were tested with a Shen SB180 hybrid, Sprio Weichs, and a Full Circle. No outboard preamp was used. Here, in brief, are the results:

    - Henriksen JazzAmp 12: A surprisingly loud amp for 100 watts (160 with an extension speaker). Plenty of EQ control, but seemed to my ears to be lacking in some high-end definition. Set flat, it had too much midrange for my tastes, but trying to dial this out left the tone a little hollow.

    - Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0 10t (my current amp): Also plenty of volume, although quieter than the Henriksen. Set flat, it also seemed biased toward the mids. More success dialing some of the midrange out without losing too much tone.

    - Acoustic Image Contra: Even more midrange bias and seemingly less ability to EQ it out. Seemed to have plenty of power, although I know many on TB have complained about a lack of volume. Maybe I didn't spend enough time working with the EQ settings, but given its reputation (and price) I was surprised at how little of the acoustic quality of the bass it captured.

    - Phil Jones Flightcase 150: I knew something was different about this one when another customer walked over and said, "That sounds really good!" The volume knob had to be set at the halfway point to get as loud as the Henriksen set at 1/4, but the tone was strikingly different. The Flightcase seemed to capture more of the nuance and detail of the acoustic instrument than any of the other combos. It sounded the least like an amplifier of anything I've tried yet. This one got the ride home and my Genz Benz is now a backup.
  2. Rvl


    Dec 23, 2003
    Aomori Japan
    Flightcase does sound different than others
    I sometimes wonder if my amp is on , the sound is that natural


    Robert VanLane
  3. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Running a piezo pickup straight into a bass amp with no regard to impedance matching rarely results in a great sound for DB.
    Your results could have been quite different if you had used a buffering preamp.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I've been taste-testing a Flightcase for the past couple of weeks, and I have to agree. I dig the sound, the drummers dig the sound, and I've even had my students play it on concerts so I could sit back and listen, and damned if they didn't all sound better than usual. Congrats on yours.
  5. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    I'll go one further. The Neo 6B and up, series of his cabinets, with a Markbass F1 head, or other neutral head, takes those small combos to the level of powerful BG/doubling rigs for more electric ensembles. I've run with some pretty loud bands in larger rooms, without PA support, only with the 6B. And frankly, I think the 6B is as easy to carry in my region as the Flightcases. That's because it has a luggage handle and rear wheels. It ends up being my 'hand cart' as it's low enough for me to put my gig bag and anything else on top and wheel into the room. Of course, I'm in Florida, so no hills and hardly any steps. Glad to hear more are discovering the sonic wizardry of PJB.
  6. Sol


    Sep 9, 2007
    North Carolina
    Exactly my experience with Rev Solo II straight into a Flightcase 150.
  7. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    On the videos that Ed Friedland does, the first one with the Flightcase he states that a preamp is necessary to match the impedance (he's using the Full Circle). With the Super Flightcase, he states that no preamp is required (he's using a Realist). The impedance is the same on both the Flightcase and Super Flightcase.
  8. bassbuddie


    Jan 8, 2003
    I have a Flightcase, no preamp needed, it's high impedance.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I have both for a review at the moment, and they sound exactly the same to me as far as the preamp goes.
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I believe it had to do with which pickup was being used. With the Full Circle he preferred the sound with a preamp. With the Realist . . . no preamp. Not sure if Phil Jones wanted him to change to the Realist for the demo so that he wouldn't mention using a preamp.
  11. massimo


    Jul 29, 2006
    Paris (France)
    very interested in the PJ super Flightcase rewiew by Chris F.
    Tried one (the normal one)sometime ago in a shop here in Paris with my dark sounding czech+weich strings+gage (no pre).
    Sounded very natural and transparent, more room filling kind of sound than direct sound. I dont know if it has the kick and punch you need in real gig situation
    Wondering how it sounds:
    1) in gig situation with drummer
    2)bad sounding room (boomy, muddy acoustic etc...) gig
    3) with only microphone
    4)open air gig
    Please report your experience
  12. hensonbass

    hensonbass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm really happy with my Neo 8B cab paired with an AI Focus head - perfect for upright gigs.

    I'm also thinking about picking up a Super Flighcase Combo for small gigs as well. Those 5" drivers are so musical sounding!
  13. Dr. Jake

    Dr. Jake

    Jul 1, 2008
    Oakland, CA
    Update: After one too many complaints that my Flightcase 150 didn't have enough volume, I decided to try a significant increase in firepower: an AI Coda+ and a Schroeder 1x12 extension cab. The full rig for loud gigs, the Coda+ on its own for more reasonable volumes.

    I'm just back from a loud gig - finally no whining that they can't hear the bass.

Share This Page