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Compact amps vs "the fridge"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by drunkenDAYlewis, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. So currently I'm rocking a Ampeg B4R or a Ampeg SVT pro w/ 6x10 cab live.
    I love how they sound but I hate moving it for gigs and touring requires a trailer.
    Now at the same time I've seen more and more of these Compact/micro amps coming on to the scene and despite my first thought they seem to be plenty loud and punchy, I played a friend of mines Mark Bass and it sounded stellar!

    I was just wondering what kind of experience people are having?
    Are they as good as they seem or should I stick with a classic?
  2. If your band mixes everything through the PA, there's no reason to have a fridge today (IMO). Get a good compact with a tube pre-amp and a quality DI out. You only need a sufficient speaker (if any) to be the monitor for you and maybe the drummer, the FOH will do the rest. I have played a lot of gigs of all sizes with the Genz Benz Shuttles and with the Streamliner 900 using a small cab as monitor.
  3. However, if your band doesn't mix everything through the PA, whether a micro/compact will work for you has everything to do with the size of the venues you play. For a large venue with no PA support, you might want to keep the fridge. For smaller venues, there are good options with compacts, not just Genz Benz (which is out of business now anyway) but several other brands. You can mix and match the head and the cabs with different brands. I suggest you just hang out here in the "Amps" forum and read up what people have to say.
  4. Alexander

    Alexander Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I just went the other way. I have a Mesa Walkabout into a Berg HD212 that I absolutely love the tone of and it is plenty loud. It's a great rig. I also just started playing through a rig similar to yours (Fender Super Bassman) - a completely different experience, in a good way. It has a presence and feel the smaller rig just doesn't.

    If you can swing a smaller rig without sacrificing what you have, do that and try for yourself. Having both options at hand is great. It might become self-evident after a while what suits you best and you can ditch one then.
  5. I love the Fender Super Bassman... Awesome sounding amp...

    I've read a lot about MarkBass and their reviews are fairly consistent
  6. Killens84

    Killens84 Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    I've played through the big Ampeg SVT-CL and 8x10 rig, and they sound fantastic. But my current rig is an Aguilar TH500 (4 lbs) with a Bergantino CN212 cab (46 lbs). And it sounds so incredible, I can't imagine giving up my rig to carry a fridge cab to my gigs. I don't have a road crew, so I have to haul, carry, set up, and break down my own gear. If I had a road crew who did all that for me, I'd look into getting a big touring rig. But my current lightweight rig honestly doesn't leave me wishing for anything more. It sounds so good, and is plenty loud for any application I need it for.
  7. I've heard amazing things about those Aguilar, what kind of tone do you get?
    It's important to have a good deep low end.
  8. Killens84

    Killens84 Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    I haven't had a moment of needing more low end from that rig yet. My favorite thing about the TH500 paired with the Berg CN212 is the clarity of the mids, which makes it so easy to hear in a full band mix on stage. It still has a lot of low-end presence though. Even in my 5-piece band with drums, 2 guitars, and keyboard, I haven't had a single note from my amp get buried.
  9. I'll have to look in to them!
  10. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    The best cabs I have ever used would be either the greenboy DuallyT or the fEARless F212. Either one will replace an 810e in terms of volume, and low end, and do so while weighing a third of the weight, and being significantly smaller.

    The sound of an amp doesnt come down to its size or weight alone. It is the application of the design. There are large, heavy amps that sound like dog turds, and there are small light amps that sound like sonic wonder. Right now my eye is on the new Peavey MiniMega.
  11. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    i have a fridge and do admit that there is nothing like playing while standing in front of it. It is a thing we low end lovers must admit. However, it really does not go that low (Ampeg anyway). I now play a GB streamliner 600 into a Xsonics 2155cf (basically a dual 15 with 5mid and super tweeter). That cab is 49lbs and 1000watts and knocks the socks off of my fridge while going deeper. I have never played a venue where I needed more, and if I ever do I know I will have PA support in spades. Now my fridge is my practice cab in the living room ;0)
  12. Boom762

    Boom762 I AM the one who Booms! Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2013
    Lubbock, TX
    Ive always had a bit of a grudge towards the Fender brand, but Ill admit the last time I plugged into amps at a store, to test a bass out well I plugged into the small fender combos "I even said, now lets try some small cheap amps". I was surprised how well they sounded. I think Fender is getting better with their amps so if you can find one used "and as many churches and fans of fenders there are in the world" youre bound to find some on craigs or ebay.

    Short Answer: Get a Fender Combo...or Hartke.... love me some hartke.
  13. See that's the thing, I stuck with the Ampeg's for years and years and it's mid and high are GREAT and I learned to love it. but I've always lacked that "teeth shaking" tone that I crave so deeply.
  14. My first 'real' amp was a Fender Rumble 150. I had no complaints, nothing ever got messed up in three years and it was cheap and loud... I wish I hung on to it, but I need something professional quality.
  15. Alexander

    Alexander Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    If you dig the Ampeg tone, but want smaller, try a 7 Pro with 2 AV210 cabs. Not full on all tube SVT, but reasonably close
  16. fitz420

    fitz420 Knows Lows

    Oct 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have always used big cabinets. I have never played a show with my current band without a full PA though....we're on 7 years and well over 800 shows. With the recommendation of the players here I tried a lightweight and pretty high end rig a few years back. I admit that from FOH it sounded wonderful and even on stage it sounded really good, but for some reason I just couldn't get into it. I probably did 30-50 shows with it and just threw in the towel and went back to either my NV215 or my Ampeg 810. Nothing compares for me. I really don't play at super loud volumes either, it just never felt right to have a small cab. I do get into the lightweight heads, but I honestly don't buy them for the weight. I have an SVT and I end up using my Streamliner 900 on 90% of my shows each year.

    Just my $.02
  17. fitz420

    fitz420 Knows Lows

    Oct 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    As a owner and player of an SVT-CL i completely agree with this. the 7 pro really gets closer than anything I've heard to sounding like the original SVT.

    I've also really been meaning to try a couple of the 210av's.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I use smaller stuff totally as a nod to the fact that I'm 52, and as much as I tried, I just don't have the stamina to use a fridge for a long series of one-nighters anymore, nor do I have the room on long trips for it. I still have the stamina to bring it out now and then, and every time I wish I still had the stamina to bring it every gig because there's just nothing else like it. I'm working on getting the stamina back, though. We'll see how it goes. My smaller stuff is very good, but it is smaller, and the rule for bass is bigger always works better. Even the greatest small cabs sound a lot better when you double them up.
  19. hsech

    hsech I'm not old, I'm just seasoned. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    I'm 65 and can neither justify or haul the big stuff anymore. These days I gig with either a Markbass cmd112p and a NY112 extension or a GK MB Fusion 500 and GK 1x15, 2x10 or 2x12 depending on how loud I need to be. The GK cabs are all super light neo MBII cabs. Gives me all the low end I need to get the job done.
  20. I went with a pair of acme fullrange 12 cabs - 37lbs each
    soft 4 space rack - xls1000, furman, sansamp rpm - under 40lbs
    no tubes to go out but still vary warm and versatile, mid shift to eq for the toughest rooms, 1000 @ 4ohms, also stacking the cabs vs side by side makes alot of difference sound wise as well. Was toting well over 200lbs between an SVT 810-E and a B4R in an anvil before this. Wish I would have had this years ago.