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doubling amp

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by joereda, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. joereda

    joereda Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Hi folks,

    I'm new here so please forgive me for the rambling post. I've searched a bunch of threads. Is there a REALLY versatile amp I'm not aware of? I'm looking for:

    2 channels (2 inputs) for doubling (high imp for one)
    switchable for 1 instrument channel switching (diff tone setting)
    di with pre/post, grnd lift, level control
    at least one band of fully parametric eq or sweepable notch
    compressor (not essential)
    high power 800 to 1000 W

    Am I dreaming?

    So you all know where I'm coming from...

    I play with corporate party band The Rupert's Orchestra (www.ruperts.com), Guitarist Anthony Papamichael (papamichael.com) and several jazz quartets. I need lots of power to cut on stage on the electric gigs, as the pa's are always bumpin'. My upright is not particularly loud so I can't seem to get by with as small an amp ast many other players.

    I use a Raven Labs USIP with a QSC PLX 1602...
    with an SWR Goliath III for loud electric gigs
    with 1 or 2 Bergie HT112's for some upright or doubling gigs
    -a GK200MB for the quietest upright gigs
    -SWR Redhead for many medium doubling gigs

    The Raven is very flexible but lacks EQ from 120hz to 250hz. Also the xlr outs are post eq and there's no channel switching. The rack is cumbersome for upright gigs. The Redhead has limited eq and 1 channel. The GK is only useable on very few gigs for me. I'd love to find one amp to pair with different cabs for different gigs.

    Anything out there? Oh yeah..It should be lightweight and look really cool too ;^)

  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I use my Euphonic Audio iamp800 to double, though most my URB gigs and some doubling gigs are served by an Acoustic Image Contra alone if its a coffeehouse type thing. Its nature is very neutral but with some warmth, and does a great job for acoustic or electric gigs.

    There don't seem to be many amps with switchable two channel EQ, and the iAMP 800 is no exception-- however, my usual bass guitar has onboard Bart electronics with a three band EQ, switchable midrange center, and its versatility allows me to use the iAMP with the EQ section punched out-- there is an EQ defeat button on the iAMP. I've also used the iAMP's Contour II preset for electric.

    Point is, I can then preset the very flexible EQ section to accommodate my URB or EUB, and moving between the two instruments is just a matter of one or two button pushes.

    Just my own solution.

    Disclaimer: I sell EA gear.
  3. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Not sure how much help this will be... but...
    My friends swr sm 900 has channel switching. Only 1 set of
    inputs, but 2 channels of eq. Or... Ampeg is now making the
    pb 800. 350 @8ohms, 550 @4ohms, 800 @2ohms. It has 2
    separate channels. Perhaps a Walter Woods ultra would be
    the answer. 2 channels with tons o watts.
  4. joereda

    joereda Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Bob, thanks for your input. B, I'll check out the Ampeg. I've been leaning towrd an AI Focus and considering a ww... but I want to check out all my options.

  5. Well, I'm in the same boat for several gigs. Had 2 separate rigs, including the Acoustic Image Contra for upridght and quiet electric gigs.

    About 3 weeks ago I broke the bank and bought an iAMP 800 Combo. Well, it's bigger and heavier than the Contra (the iAMP 800 combo is about 60 lbs), but with the added portability features of integrated wheels and removable "luggage handle," and a much better EQ section than the Contra, I don't miss the Contra! Well, maybe a little for duo gigs where I need slight amplification.

    The iAMP 800 Combo doesn't have 2 EQ-able channels or channel switching, but it does have two inputs, including a 10MOhm, which is perfect for piezo and other double bass pickups (I use the Realist at the moment).

    I've been looking at the EBS MicroBass II, which has 2 switchable channels (EQ on one channel only, the high-impedance input -- perfect for upright), and has an effects loop, amp sim, etc. which is overkill with the iAMP's stellar EQ section. Not to mention the $750 US price tag. But it has channel switching, and a high impedance (10 MOhm) input!

    So, I guess this message might not be too much help! ;-)

    I'm close to just building a simple bypass box that'll mute the upright without colouring the sound being in the circuit. In fact, I think I've just convinced myself to do this.

    Please let me know if you find this holy grail, and I'll do the same if I do...

  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    As of yet, I don't know if any one product alone hits the nail right on the head for what you are looking for, but I will echo some of the comments above and say that the iAMP 800 is an excellent choice for doubling, and it meets many of your requirements. Another, very different take, on a doubling amp that also meets many of your requirements is the Walter Woods Ultra High Power Electracoustic. Two channels, seperate EQ for each, variable mids, very high power (1,200 watts into 4 ohm) in a small package, no compressor, and while it does have a DI, the DI does not have all the features that you are looking for (Walter believes in the use of a seperate direct box in conjunction with the DI).

    Either the iAMP 800 or the Walter Woods Ultra would get you most of the way there, and both are well-made, excellent products. I own both, and have no intention of selling either. The iAMP is undoubtedly the better bang for the buck, but there is something so very cool about carrying around a 7 lb amp capable of 1,200 watts!

    Good luck, Tom.
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I bought a Walter Woods because at the time it was the only two channel solution. Today there are a few other true two channel amps: the Ampeg PortaBass 800 (already mentioned) and the new Epifani UL heads. I've seen or heard neither and am not sure if they have the needed high impedance inputs.

    The AI two channel heads miss out just barely because one channel is for a mike. You can use it for e-bass with a matching transformer, though (in fact when I asked Dr. Rick about this, he actually tried it in his lab and called me back to discuss the result!).

    Aguilar has an amp with two switchable channels but only one input (idiots), also not sure about the impedance.

    Of course all of these amps fail one or more of your other requirements :rollno:

    So why did I choose the Woods? Because having two separate channels was far more important to me than ANYTHING else. I just got so tired of A/B boxes and compromise EQ settings that I was willing to pay the high price.

    While I still use other amps for certain gigs, the Woods is all I use when the gig calls for doubling.
  8. joereda

    joereda Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Thanks for all the suggestions! I've been thinking about the iamp 800...heard many good things. The Epifani heads seem like a really good option. I'm waiting for an e-mail back about the impedance. The EBS pedal is a great idea but the setup of the channel switching is a little strange. Sure would come in handy for church. And why only 1 input on the Aguilar?

    If I find this "holy grail" I'll let you all know. Seems like we have a good design team...just need someone to make it.


  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    The main thing I love of about my iAMP is the same thing that I love about my bass; I'm not aware of its presence! That is, it allows me to play without any concerns about compensating for any shortcomings. It just sort of "vanishes". It really feels like I'm playing acoustically at home. And I get a lot of "man, the bass sounds great" comments now, from players and audience alike.
  10. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    I use a Mesa M2000. It has 2 preamps, solid state (similar to WW) & tube, with 2 separate eq's. blend knob, separate volumes for each side, compression. However it's 600 RMS not 800+.
    I double on DB & 5 string and having 2 separate heads &
    eq' s saves in headaches when switching basses.
    It also takes some work to tweek with as there's lot of
    controls to deal with.
    You might check into one of those.
  11. joereda

    joereda Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Thanks Dennis,

    When I last checked out Mesa Boogie stuff I thought it was more suited for heavy rock stuff. That was many years ago, and I see lots of great comments on their amps here. I'll check it out.

  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    What bugged me about this amp and some others like it is it gives you two switchable channels but only ONE INPUT. I still need an A/B box or have to mute and unplug...what a pain :spit:
  13. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    Are you sure?? I just checked my M2000 tonite and I saw 2
    inputs on the front panel. One for active & one for passive
    instruments. :eyebrow:
    I plug both my DB & EB into it. :D
    Maybe you' re thinking about something else about the amp?
    The passive channel had -10db pad and I had Mesa convert
    it to a 10+db for my upright 'cause the output of pu was
    lower than my active 5 string EB.
  14. Brian K

    Brian K

    May 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I've tried lots of different amps, always looking for a setup that sounded good for doubling.

    I currently plug the two basses into a Radial Bassbone which provides two channels with different eqs and volumes, tuner out, mute and a DI for gigs where I leave the amp at home.

    I plug it into an Aguilar db750, for tube pre, tube eq, and tube DI with a Jensen transformer. I'm soon selling the db750 to switch to Aguilar's db680, so I can have two fully parametric tube eqs as well.

    I used to have an Acoustic Image, and while versatile, the tone just wasn't there for the electric.

    Nothing, in my opinion can get the warmth and thickness of tubes, without tubes.
  15. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    HI JoeyReda:
    Good! let us know what you' ve settled for.

    Mesa has rep for rockers & guitar amps as you know. I
    originally thought of that too when I bought mine many
    years ago.
    Ken Lawerence / bass maker suggested that amp
    to me as he liked it a lot. He likes playing fretless too.
    Having a SS & tube preamps was one of main selling points
    for me at that time when I was playing fretless & fretted
    5 string.
  16. joereda

    joereda Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Those Epifani amps sound like the ticket. The input impedance isn't very high, but my Realist and K&K Bass Max have been fine with my Redhead and GK 200MB. Has anyone played one yet?

  17. I use an EA iAMP800 with a Presonus Acousti-Q pre-amp (together in a 3U rack bag).

    The Acousti-Q (used for the upright) is plugged into the CD (AUX) input on the iAMP, which routes the signal straight through to the power amp, bypassing the iAMP's own EQ.

    My electric bass is plugged into the iAMP's main input, with the EQ set-up for the electric bass.

    I can leave both electric and upright basses permanently connected (the Acousti-Q has a mute button), no need for A/B boxes etc, and switch between them in seconds.

    Plus, as I am using a separate pre-amp for the upright, there are no EQ compromises!

    The Acousti-Q is a great little pre-amp. It's not specifically designed with upright bass in mind (more for acoustic guitar I believe), but it has a tube front end, a notch filter, and 3-band EQ; the mid-range EQ being semi-parametric! Plus it has dual inputs, one being high impedance, ideal for piezo bass pickups!

    I have two CXL112 cabs and one CXL110. I normally just use one CXL112 with the two Big Bands which are my main gigs.

    If I have a louder electric job, I just take the other CXL112 as well and this provides 800W which I find adequate especially if there is a FOH P.A.

    The CXL110 cabinet is great for quieter situations, but struggles a bit with the big bands.
  18. joereda

    joereda Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2003

    You read my mind. I've been looking at the Acousti-Q and was curious if any bassists used one. Sounds like a great set-up.

  19. I too have this setup (iAMP 800 Combo with the Acousti-Q), but didn't know about that little trick with the Aux input on the iAMP.

    The only remaining problem here is that I haven't found any effects that will live happily in the series effects loop without their inputs being overdriven by the hot signal coming out of the iAMP 800's preamp.

    Other than this, the setup works well for me.