considering a new rig.. suggestions? (long)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by steamboat, Jul 19, 2001.

  1. First the essentials: My two basses are a Peavey Fury on which I've installed a Dimarzio PJ set, and a fretless Musicman Stingray 5. The Ray is strung with big Rotosound tapewounds. It has an unfinished rosewood board and the sound is more mellow than 'mwah.' The Peavey has a maple board and I like to get a fairly bright growly sound out of it. I use no effects at the moment. My current band has a guitarist with a Les Paul going into a Vox AC30 and an amplified acoustic guitarist. I would describe our sound as being light rock more than anything, every once in a while we go a bit heavier. I play mainly with fingers in the band but also do a wee bit of slap (I like to slap for my own enjoyment.. even if I was in a band in which I did not slap.. a good slap sound would still be important to me). I'm not sure how much the sound of my current band matters, as I goto a different college than most of the band.. I have no idea what sort of band I will end up in.

    Right now I have 2 amps, an Ampeg BA-115 as my main amp, and a Crate BX-15 which I use when I don't need much volume and am too lazy to bring the Ampeg (this is more important during the school year as I don't have a vehicle..).

    The other day I was thinking (I was in the shower.. I do my best thinking in there, but perhaps that is more than you need to know :p) and I came up with sort of a two phase plan:

    Phase 1) I'll ditch the Crate for a Vox T-25. I'm not sure if I could trade in the Crate at the place I'll buy the Vox, but maybe I could get a few bucks at Musicgoround. If not I'll either give it away or destroy it... that would be really really fun :). The Vox is actually lighter than the Crate according to Vox's website and it sounds a helluva lot better than the Crate. It makes less noise, is more versatile, and also deceptively loud. I found a store that sells it for $200. It would make a great portable amp. Phase 2 involves me selling the Ampeg which would leave sort of a midsized amp void.. I think the Vox may be loud enough to help fill that a bit as well.

    Phase 2) More power!!! I love my Ampeg, but it is barely loud enough for me right now. I think I'm pushing it too hard (if I max everything out it actually produces a pretty nice overdrive sound for a solid state amp.. but that probably isn't too healthy for it.. I rarely push it this hard, and never for long periods). It also has a good all around sound that is very fat and warm, but it's not tight enough for my taste. If I could keep it I would, but as someone living in a college dorm.. my room just ain't big enough for two big amps. I won't mind getting a little extra cash for it as well. Parting with it will be sad, but that's the way it is.

    I'd like to have a 2x10" with around 400 watts of power or more. Ideally I wouldn't spend more than $1500. The number one contender in my mind is the Eden Metro. I really liked the sound of the one I played through, and the features list is pretty appealing to me. Here are the pros and cons as I see them. Hopefully this list will give you a good idea of what I want in an amp and aid in giving suggestions.

    Pros (in no specific order):

    Versatile EQ- I love playing with knobs. Having two footswitchable channels of EQ also really appeals to me.

    Builtin Compressor- I've been toying with the idea of buying a compressor, so this would save me the trouble.

    Loud- I didn't crank the one I played, but I'm guessing it will have plenty of power for me.

    Expandable- If I ever needed to, I could add another 4 ohm cab, which would put me up to 600 watts.

    Nice tone- With the amp set flat the sound seemed to be about what I'm looking for. I'd say it was modern but not too modern.. if you know what I mean. ;) It had a grunt to it but wasn't at all muddy. The SWR Super Redhead (the Metro's most obvious rival) that I tried out had a very nice tone, but I prefer the Metro.

    Size/portability- It comes with casters right? When you get right down to it, it's not that much bigger or heavier than my Ampeg. My dorm has no elevator and I'm not that big of a guy, but thankfully I only live on the second floor. I don't think the weight will be that much of a problem though.

    I've actually played it- My experience with high end rigs is pretty limited. So far the best stuff I've played through has been a Metro, various other Eden stuff, an SWR Super Redhead, an SWR Mo'Bass on top of a Goliath, and an Aguilar 200 watt all tube head on top of an Aguilar 4x10". I've done my fair share of drooling over spec sheets.. but great specs and good reviews don't guarantee that I'll like something. I have to admit that I bought my Crate and my Peavey from ebay, and my Ampeg and Stingray5 from BassNW. The Ray is the only one of those purchases where I had even played anything remotely close to what I bought. I'm no stranger to taking risks in the gear buying dept, but from now on I want to have at least tried out the same model of something I buy.

    It is a combo- I don't have to worry about getting a preamp, amp, and speakers that will work well with each other.

    Misc features- headphone jack, DI out, effects loop, and tuner output are all plusses in my book.

    Cons and uncertainties:

    Weight- I put this in both categories because I'm really not sure. The Metro is 16 pounds heavier than the Ampeg going by the spec sheets. The Ampeg can be a real pain to get up and down stairs sometimes.. but that might be more from it's unwieldy shape than the weight. Maybe this will force me to start working out again.. which would be a good thing.

    It is a combo- Again, both a pro and a con. Despite the fact that right now, I like the preamp, power amp, and speakers, I am stuck with them. It would probably be a great deal easier for me to get a separate cabinet and head (or rack) up the stairs than a combo.

    Price- A potential con.... What would you say is the going price for a new Metro? How about a used one in good condition? I plan on getting pricequotes from BassNW and Basscentral, and then seeing how much the local Eden dealers would be willing to sell a Metro for.

    [end pro/con list]

    I'd like to hear about as many experiences with the Metro as possible. The more info the better. Suggestions about other possible rigs are also very welcome. Aguilar's 2x10" seems really tempting, but I'm not sure what I'd power it with.

    Thanks for reading my longwinded post and for any responses. I hope I didn't leave anything out ;)
  2. EString

    EString Guest

    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    What is your question? I'm sorry but the issues you raise in your post leave things a little too open ended, perhaps you should be more specific on what you are needing to know.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Hmmmm ... Eden Metro ... Super Redhead ... you're definitely (note correct spelling) "headed" in the right direction. You cannot go wrong if you keep your mind right.
  4. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    Hi steamboat,
    I can´t help you with your ampsearch (still reading :)) because I´ve no experience with the amps you´re mentioning, instead, I´ve a question for you: you mentioned using a dimarzio PJ set of pups, what do you think about ´em in terms of sound, presence, eq (high,mid,lows) output volume etc etc ....... I´m thinking about changing the pups of my Ibanez SR400 and those dimarzios seem to be perfect....
    Thanx a lot.
  5. Well.. I suppose what I'd want to hear most about the Metro would be if anyone has any problems with it, but I'd like to get whatever impressions of it that people have had.

    I'd also like some suggestions for alternative rigs that would have similar specs and go for about the same price.
  6. Caracas: These pickups have a tone that I think would work really nicely in heavy music. Mellower sounds are in there too, but more aggressive sounds seem to be the strong suit of these pickups. The midrange is very powerful and cuts through well. My band records our practices and I seem to have a lot more presence than I did before. Output is on the high side.

    They put out more noise than I'd like, but that is probably due to my crappy wiring/shielding job than anything else. I plan on having it redone sometime. The noise is more of just an annoyance when I practice, it isn't noticeable in the band.

    I was worried from the online specs that there wouldn't be enough treble for a good slap sound, but with both pickups on full or the bridge pickup soloed the slap tone is fine (if I slapped all the time I'd get another bass with different pickups, but these work fine for me). Picking sounds great but I don't do it much.

    One thing that really surprised me about the Dimarzios is that if I solo the bridge pickup and roll off the tone knob completely, I get sort of a Jack Bruce sound that I haven't been able to find in other basses. My band covers 'Badge' and I got compliments from the rest of the band the first time I played it with the new pickups.
  7. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    Thanx man....... I think that will be my choice
    good luck with your amp-search
  8. JohnP

    JohnP Guest

    Jun 9, 2001
    Endorsing Artist: Rick Turner Guitars, DTAR, Seymour Duncan,
    Buy an Ashdown abm 1x15 combo. Used 300 watt ones are around $5-600. new 500 watt $9-1000. i just bought a mint used one for $500.

    The Ashdown is a better, more versatile Ampeg..nice and full sounding, with a lot of modern improvements/connections etc that suprisingly don't screw up the sound. the Metro is too heavy for what it does, the redhead is thinner sounding, not the same sound at all if you like the Metro/Ampeg/Ashdown thing.

    get rid of the ampeg and crate.

    Take the money from the crate and ampeg, and buy a small 1x15 extension cab-ashdown mag 1x15 is good.

    Now you have a pro versatile rig that is pretty mobile and can generate enough stage volume so that the sound person will tell you to turn down or he'll take you out of the mix. Like he does when the guitar player cranks his AC 30...

    enjoy, play your ray, take a walk, pet the dog, write some songs, get them covered by Limp Bizkit..and quit thinking so much about amplifiers, you'll feel better!

    That'll be $0.05. paypal accepted.
  9. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    With $1500 you should buy an Ampeg B2-R head (350 watts) and whatever speaker cab you'd like. It'd give you the power you'd need, and would be in your price range, with your own Ampeg sound (providing you got an Ampeg cab to accompany the head.)
  10. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania

    I agree. You could go with a bag end 1x15 deep, and 1x15 with coaxial, and Ampeg B2R head for that price... and still have some $$ left over. I think that'd be one hell of a setup too, since you seem to like 1x15 combo's.