ELF / Downsizing advice

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Schteve, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. Schteve


    Jun 28, 2015
    Hi all,

    I've been strongly considering the Trace Elliot ELF for a couple of years and pairing with a barefaced cab (probably a two 10) to minimise my rig and carry weight (currently have a Hartke LH500 and Hydrive 4x10).

    My chief concern is that I tend to operate in heavier bands (double-kick metal drummer) and that the ELF won't really have the headroom to compete at a sweaty rehearsal. I'd considered the Quilter Bass Block but reviews on here have put me off a little...

    Can anyone recommend a decent little (size weight) power amp I could sit between the ELF and cab that would give me the extra volume that the ELF currently lacks?

    I'm rather smitten with the ELF and all its flexibility.

  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    The head isn't going to be your weak link. You can shove 10,000 watts into the wrong cab and it won't help.

    By the inverse does work. If you run 25 watts into an efficient cab with lots of speaker cone surface area, you'll be fine.

    I do gigs and loud rehearsals with an Ashdown LB30 (30 watt) bass head all the time. But I run it into an Epifani UL410 or an Ampeg 610 HLF. Those combinations kill.

    If you don't have enough cab, you won't get there. Period. If you can find a lightweight CAB that will hang with that drummer, spend your entire budget there.
    shoot-r, Joedog and Zbysek like this.
  3. Schteve


    Jun 28, 2015
    So can a barefaced two 10 hang with a metal drummer? I don't want a 4 or 6x10... I'm trying to downsize!
  4. voided3


    Nov 11, 2008
    Barefaced cabs are quite efficient and the Two 10 can run at 4 ohms so you might be fine with just the ELF powering it for a rehearsal. I've used my ELF to power an Ampeg 410HE with Basslites (4 ohm total load) for an outdoor gig and it did great.

    If you're expecting extended lows at high volumes or are worried about headroom in general, though, you might want to look at a higher power amp to get the most potential out of a Two10. I also have a matching ELF 1x10 cab, but I typically use it with my Mesa D800 set at 2 ohm mode to limit power to 300 watts at 8 ohms, either for practice or for drummer-less jazz combo settings. The cab sounds much thicker with the D800, but I do have to be cautious with settings to avoid over-exercising the driver. Inversely, I also own a Barefaced Super Compact and the ELF does a great job pushing it, but the D800 definitely gets the majority of gigs as it's not that big and provides enough power to get the full potential of the cab.

    If portability is a key concern, I don't think bringing an amp head plus a power amp is the best option; more cables, more components to bring, more to plug in at the gig. I would even consider trying the Two10 with your LH500 first so you are just changing the cab instead of head and cab in one go, but I would look at 500+ watt compact bass heads to pair with a Two10 if you play in a louder setting.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  5. Schteve


    Jun 28, 2015
    But the elf is almost negligible, it would fit in my guitar case which is why it's so appealing. I to feel like the ELF and a two 10 would probably cope with most scenarios. On the barefaced thread I've just spotted people talking about the GSS Baby Sumo which may be the stage between that I'd need in certain circumstances. Thanks both for your replies!
  6. Schteve


    Jun 28, 2015
    I should probably have asked: what is the minimum viable rig for playing with a hard hitting metal drummer?
  7. brithedark


    Jan 5, 2009
    I own two elf 1x10 cabs. I also owned the Elf heAd. And a TC BQ500. And live I always thought the cabs were weak. I was wrong. I am demoing a Markbass little vintage 500w amp. The Elf cabs JUMPED to life. Even running just one of the 1x10s was loud as hell. The elf speakers are the most sensitive I’ve used. The head would clip out with a full band.
  8. brithedark


    Jan 5, 2009
    And forget the BQs. I’ve had two already and need to have the second one repaired. Electrical issues.
  9. I'm using ELF with homemade 6.5" speaker cab and it's enough to amplify by double bass for a bigband practise in full forte. Sometimes i add another homemade cab (8" speaker) and then it's much louder on the bass side of spectrum. I never turn the ELF fully on because I would occur feedback.

    I think that the ELF head would probably be enough. It has a compressor you can't turn off, which adds life to a bass guitar (and, somehow, steals life from double bass).

    As for the cab, there are not many ways how to find out how loud it is before you try for yourself.
    For example, you might look for data on the speaker. 6.5" B&C speaker (used by small Markbass cabs I was told) claims that it had 92dB sensitivity (SPL/watt [email protected]). The bigger this number, the bigger loudness you can expect. Also, the price tends to leap with every additional dB. But you can't count on this rule, because there are many other factors that are equally important. If you want to follow theoretical line, you need to study it quite thoroughly before it starts to make some sense.

    If you want to downsize, the cab is more important than the head. I would advise to try smallest cab you deem reasonable, and count with using more than one cab. This means getting 8ohm box in the first place, so that later, if necessary, you might add another 8ohm to get a 4ohm set that ELF can easily handle.

    When downsizing, your sound limit would probably be lows. If you like deep trouser shaking bass, you would probably be disapointed. I don't like too much lows because then I can't hear whether I am in tune. Playing double bass and fretless a lot, 'mids' and 'highs' are crucial to me. I never turned the bass button on any of my amps past noon, so I downsized drastically, and the missing bass I can easily obtain by turning the bass knob a bit to the right. If I want to sound more bassy, I put the cab to the corner.
  10. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    By all accounts, the RevSound RS210 is, as they'd say in New England, wicked loud--enough for outdoor gigs. So that and a small head could be a good place to start. Listen to some ELF demos and consider if you like--or don't--the automatic compressor that kicks in when the gain is turned up.
  11. I think the Elf would do you fine - it’s going to be all about the speaker from this perspective.

    I’ve ran the Elf through an 8x10 with juice leftover at a rehearsal not had an issue with volume. I’ve ran it live through an old TE 2x10 (8Ohm) against a 4x12 and loud drummer (post hardcore band). It was fine.

    A 2x10 might be a tad shy of what you need though for - I’d have a word with BF. I’ve just ordered a 2x12 Super Twin and they are extremely helpful! I’ll be running a 220W tube amp through this.

    If you do go for an Elf, a 4 Ohm cab + maximum surfaced area will do you wonders.
  12. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    If you want to downsize from 4x10 for metal, the obvious choice would be one 2x12 or two 1x12s, IMO.

    One 2x10 would usually be inadequate.

    I have no experience with BF two10 though.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
    Omega Monkey and Artman like this.
  13. sspear

    sspear Inactive

    I have a Hrtke 1x12 that is switchable from 8 to 4 ohms. When I play my MB 800 through it starts farting when we get loud. I wonder how the Elf would sound with it? Maybe I should buy another Hrtke 1x12?
    Zbysek likes this.
  14. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    If you are playing with a double bass drummer and have loud guitarist(s) too... I'd be impressed if 200w into a 2x10 would get ya there. I like to use kinda cranked (power section "involved") 300w tube into a loud 4x10 for just one 4x12 guitarist. I use two Mesa PH112's currently as my downsized modular rig... doesnt have the deep lows of my PH410 but has a bit more focus which works fine in the mix. I had PH210 for a while and wasnt into it, prefer the 112.
  15. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    I was using Hartke HX112 with Elf for some time. I liked that combination. It was capable of carrying a small/medium sized room with my semi-acoustic band (cajon, no drums)
  16. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    I don't think that setup is going to get you anywhere close to where you'll want to be volume-wise to be able to play with a metal band.

    First of all, the Elf loses the "flexibility" (which in this case really just means it's small), when you have to add a separate power amp. if it was more of a classic Trace preamp I might feel differently about that, but it's just a TMB tone stack, gain, and volume, and presumably some compression and whatnot going on behind the scenes that you can't change. It's only 200w and that's at 4 ohms, so you might get away with it with a big 4x12 or something.

    But there are a zillion and 1 lightweight amps that put out 800 or 900 or 1000w that weight less than your bass, AND have a tone stack PLUS generally other useful controls. You'll shed 20+ pounds just going to one of those. I would say in terms of wattage, you should be looking at at least 400-600w or so. 800-1000 would not really be over the top. Any more than that though and you're starting to have too much for whatever cabs you get, unless you really go for it with the cabs too. I don't care for the quilter because I like having actual tone control and not some steve jobs' like CEO's vision of what he thinks I should be fine with. Those kinds of things are great WHEN they're a complement to either regular tone controls, a graphic EQ, etc...

    Then you're looking at cabs. You need to be realistic about your needs. In an aggressive and loud genre, you really want to have way more cab than you might think you need. If you were playing fusion and had a really controlled playing style, you might get away with being closer to the edge of the cab's capabilities. But with metal where you're likely to be thrashing about most of the time, you really want your cab setup to have extra for days, so you CAN just play and not worry about damaging the cab/s.

    I would say a REALLY good 2x12 is probably the minimum you would want. You MIGHT get away with like a GK NEO 212 and a 500w amp. I would go with at least 2 2x12s and 600-900w probably. Technically my "big" rig right now is a pair of "1x12s", but they also each have 2 8s which carry a lot of the low to upper mids, and the cabs are rated at 600w each. So probably closer to being equivalent to like a 3x10 each. For heads I have a 600w traditional SS and a 900w class D (and also a 650w SS which doesn't get used all that much). I would never even consider playing an actual metal gig with anything less than a good 4x10. I had one of the GK 412s and that was awesome and I only got rid of it because I got my current cabs so it was superfluous to my needs.

    If you're on a budget, you kind of just have to roll with size and watts. The stuff that performs great "for its size" is almost uniformly very expensive. But for instance those GK 212s are about 50 pounds, so not too bad to move by yourself, and not too expensive and they actually sound really good. They are rated at 600w, but I wouldn't dare to put an honest 600w of metal bass into a single one. You could probably get away with 300-450 or so.

    Anyway, don't underestimate what you need, and remember the last place you want to find out you're undergunned is at a loud rehearsal or worse yet a gig, and then you push your rig too hard to hope to be able to hear yourself and boom, blown speakers. The work of moving a little more cab will be a lot more pleasant than the work of saving up to replace blown drivers.
    shoot-r, Ur2funky and Zbysek like this.
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