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Combo Conundrum

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JimmyO, Apr 9, 2006.


  1. JimmyO

    JimmyO

    Dec 15, 2004
    Durham, NC
    OK, I've got to make a decision on this quick, and can't think of a better place to get a bunch of bass players' input.

    I need a combo amp for a new band I'm playing with. It's a local party band company that does all sorts of weddings, events, etc. A combo amp is what I'm looking for, mostly for portability and with enough power to be heard onstage by a drummer, three vocalists, guitar, keys and 2 or 3 horns. This is a pretty professional group, and they always run the bass direct through the PA. So, a 400 watt halfstack isn't necessary. The other bass players in this outfit use Hartke Kickbacks and the like, so I know 120 to 200 watts will be fine.

    I've been looking around, playing through a bunch of amps, and have narrowed it down to these three in my budget range that I like. Quick feedback would be great because I need to make this decision soon.

    1.) SWR Basic Black - $350 used. I know someone selling this and it's in great shape. A few of the knobs scratch a bit when cranked all the way to the right. Otherwise the tone is good, the tweeter sounds good. Super light and portable, a huge plus, plus the ability to add an extension cab to up the wattage from 120 to 160. It is my understanding that these are not made any more, and searching these forums, it seems to be the type of amp one would want to scoop up if they find one in decent shape. I would have to transport this amp a lot, and am concerned about the tubes reacting to travel, cold, etc.

    2.) GK Backline 210 - $450 new. I'm torn on the 1x15 vs. 2x10 issue. For me, there are plusses and minuses with both. This was among the best sounding/cheapest 2x10s I've played through. Quite a bit heavier than the

    3.)Ampeg BA 115 $450 new - I like the "tone selector" option on this amp, and it's relatively light, though a bit more cumbersome than the Basic Black. The Ampeg name obviously carries a lot of weight, but I've heard some say that these "lower end" Ampegs aren't anything to write home about when it comes to durability.

    So, like anyone, I'm looking for the right combination of value, portability, durability and tone. Any and all comments would be appreciated. I'm sort of leaning towards the Basic Black, so I need to move on this soon. Thanks!
     
  2. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Roland D-Bass 210 or 115
     
  3. of the three, i'd get the SWR...otherwise another combo i'd check out is the nemesis combos (budget brand of eden) i think they are very capable combos, and they even go as big as a 4x10 combo :)
     
  4. JimmyO

    JimmyO

    Dec 15, 2004
    Durham, NC
    Thanks for the tip on the Nemesis. I'll check those out next time, but I think I'm going to be going for that SWR tomorrow morning. I'd be interested to hear anyone else's input, though. Especially in regards to the Ampeg BA 115 vs. the SWR Basic Black.
     
  5. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    IMO the Ampeg B100R sounds much better than the BA 115. I like mine better than anything else I've tried, including much more expensive rigs. Just my opinion. You might check it out; often on EBAY for under $300.
     
  6. Another vote for a nemesis combo, very light, very affordable, powerfull and high quality. The 15 is very compact for a combo.
     
  7. lowrez

    lowrez no.

    Nov 27, 2004
    New Englandish
    basic black. Probably your best option of the ones listed. It's not bad all around.
     
  8. JimmyO

    JimmyO

    Dec 15, 2004
    Durham, NC
    OK, so here's where I am now with my conundrum.

    1.) Still considering the SWR Basic Black used for $350.

    2.) I also checked out an Ashdown Mag C115-300 combo for $400 which has an awful lot of volume for the buck, and plenty of headroom for another cab.

    Seeing as how I'm going to be onstage in a party band with horns, keys, etc, I'm thinking I may be better off with the louder Ashdown. I love the tone of the Basic Black, but if I can't hear it, what's the point?

    Any more input?
     

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