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Fridges... A dying breed?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ferdugan, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. Ferdugan


    Jun 30, 2012
    Ok fellers, this is a long one, but hear me out :)

    After a long day at work, I like to kick off my boots, plop down into my recliner and see what the
    talk of the day is among my fellow TB'ers. As I browse through the array of topics, I read about the awesome
    things being posted, from new products to troubleshooting advice. But, there's always one topic that always catches
    my eye, and continues to brew up almost daily. I'm talking, of course, about the concept of mini rigs, or amps and cabs that are smaller, light weight, easy to transport, yet still pack a punch.

    Now, before I go any further, let me say that I'm am by NO MEANS bashing on these setups. They are indeed awesome! However, I seem to be heading in the opposite direction than that of the popular trend.

    I first picked up a bass 3 years ago. Before then, I had been playing drums since I was in the 3rd grade, and I thought I would always be a drummer. Then, on a snowboarding trip in 2010, I broke my back, and I was left unable to play my drums while I had a big ass corset-looking brace wrapped around my torso. My buddy had just bought an ESP ltd 4-string. He had no idea how to play it, and it just
    sat in his house unattended (he was also a drummer). So, out of complete boredom (and from being not-so-sober from pain killers), I decided to pick up the ol' bass guitar, and I plugged it in to a nearby guitar amp. I cranked up the bass setting, and gave the E-string a flick, and something clicked in my head. The sound and vibration that resonated through the floor and up from my feet got me hooked. For the 4 months that I was layed up, I never put that bass down. When I was healthy, I took some money I had saved up, and I went out and and bought a Schecter Damien 5-string (I know... lol) and a BA-115 HP. The band I was in had just let go of our bassist, so I took the position over and we hired a drummer. A half year later, I saw a Crate amp with a 2X15 cab for really cheap, so I had to have it... You know, because it was bigger, taller and louder :D! As time progressed I became more and more obsessed with bigger, larger and more powerful amps. My dream was to finally own an 8X10 "fridge" of some sort, and an amp with more than enough power. This past December I finally got that opportunity.

    My pennies were saved and I went in to our local store to get one ordered. I did alot of research; I wanted a Gallien Krueger Fusion 550 with a Neo 8X10 initially, considered an Ampeg SVT-CL, then I got hooked on the idea of owning a Mesa/Boogie 400+ with an SWR Megoliath 8X10, then a different rig, than a different rig,..You get the idea. I then found a Marshall VBA 400 on Ebay for a swell deal. I had to have it... two weeks later I had this thing sitting on my sofa with nothing to pair it with. So when I was at this shop, I told the guy helping that I wanted an 8X10. He insisted I get something smaller because of the "smaller" trend. He told me smaller and lighter is what everyone wants. He offered me anything from 1X12s to 4X10's. I finally had to say to him
    "Look, these are all awesome, but I really just want a fridge." lol so we finally looked up fridges, and I ordered a Mesa Powerhouse 8X10.

    I now play bass in 3 bands, 2 are covers and one is all originals. And I gotta tell ya, nothing makes me feel and play music better than a monster rig that's almost as tall as I am backing me up through the whole set. I love the low rumble and headroom I get out of this thing. In our practice
    area, I use an SVT-3 with a 4X10, and I just don't get the same feel. Maybe I have a size complex. lol. Anyway, there's nothing wrong to me with mini rigs. Maybe I'll own one someday. But as of right now, I'm loving the fridge concept, and I don't mind moving it from gig to gig whatsoever. As long as it delivers anything I throw at it, I'll keep it until my back gives out haha. It just makes me wonder... In 10, 20 years, will these big companies continue building these pigs, or will the mini-rigs completely eradicate them to the point where they just make a fancy shelf?

    If that's the case... Fridges, you will be missed.
  2. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    I have a neo 212, Nice and light, plenty of punch. I still want an 810. The image is half the fun of being in a rock band.
  3. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    I guess that, yes, they are decreasing in popularity. But that's like everything, it's relative. I think they're still very popular & will likely remain so. I'll add that, in my mind, two 410s are synonymous.

    I think your Mesa PH810 is probably just about as good as mass-produced 810s get (maybe the best). And sure it's great. And happy you like it so much. And it does look super & is built exceptionally well, granted. If it's everything you want, need, & like, then tremendous. Those are the main points for every musician.

    I'm just of the opinion that a 215 with two LF drivers & two dedicated mids is superior, that's all. It's a smaller box, though still pretty tall. Easier to transport & m-u-c-h lighter. Still has a great "look." And with the best drivers, moves more air & is louder for less bread than the 810. A 215 with top-of-the-line, full-range non-LF 15s by themselves (or combined with a great high frequency driver/horn) is awesome, too.

    The bottom line, though, is "to each his own." And that's how it should be. :bassist:
  4. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    One thing you can be sure of: Whatever isn't popular today will be popular tomorrow. That's just how trends work. Also, sales and marketing exist almost entirely to make you buy something you don't have, not to keep you using something you already own. Stay away from the punch bowl.

    What is most important is outfitting yourself in a way that is satisfying to you as well as appropriate to whatever job you're doing. If you're doing large outdoors events, a fridge type of rig has much more visual pizzazz than a micro rig ever would in that situation. On the other side, an 8x10 cab, even with the volume turned low, is not a versatile choice for many reasons. It's not only about sound. All kinds of factors go into a perfect fit.

    Just don't get talked out of something you like by someone whose only goal is to win an argument or make a sale.

    That's all I got.
  5. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine

    Those have been long gone for me. Decades ago.
    Tired of moving stuff that big, and, not much need for it.
    Much smaller cabs can outperform those, now.

    I do sometimes need "that level of support," and when I do, I move two 212 cabs.
    Much easier to deal with, for me.

  6. agorilla

    agorilla Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2010
    Someone needs to engineer an 8x10 that can fold up into a briefcase...
  7. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    We're pretty loud and I rarely go through our PA, but I have never come close to maxing out my M9>>>LDS 15/6 rig on a gig.....not even close. When I also factor in the fact that my cab reproduces the M9's wide low end better than any 810 I have ever heard, I have no interest in any "major applicances" that weigh twice as much and cost more. I suppose if I wasn't an occasional hobbyist and played a lot "real" pro of gigs with roadies and was more concerned about how my rig looks on stage I might want an 810 though. Glad you're happy with it. On a medical note, and not knowing how old you are or what the exact nature of your spinal injury was, I'd caution that in virtually all humans, articulating parts like spinal facet joints and discs tend to wear out well before current average life expectancy........so treat your machine with care and happy thumpin'!
  8. My dad stole the Markbass Classic 8X10 fridge at a local guitar center about 6 years ago - he paid $500 brand new! And in his garage it still resides. I live about 500 miles away and I now play a feather-light, 5.6lb Fender Rumble 350 head with an Epifunky 210 (200 w, 8ohm) and am waiting for an SWR 210 Workingman's pro (200w, 8ohm) in the mail. Having played on a huge 8X10 and played multiple 2X10 and even a 1X15, and a full-stack of small cabs, I can actually say that I would prefer that Markbass fridge. It's an excellent sounding amp, with a rear air scoop, and frankly, none of these baby 210s do the same.

    On the other hand when you're in a local band trying to make a local name and you only drive a small sedan and you can't fit the fridge in your back seat or anyone's back seat for that matter...

    It just doesn't seem feasible to have one around here :p

    But, my friend, I was once a drummer and now a bassist, exclusively, and I know one day I will own a vehicle large enough to transport that MB Fridge.

    Ain't a dying race, but certainly a retiring race.... Regards, man.
  9. Ferdugan


    Jun 30, 2012
    Thanks for the feeback guys. I like hearing your opinions on the matter. BTW, let me point out my typo in the title: "dying" is, in fact, what I meant to write. lol.
  10. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    lol, didnt even notice.
  11. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I used to gig a mesa powerhouse 1000, not exactly a fridge but close to it. Its now retired in one of my practice spaces due to weight and size. I now gig an ampeg 4 10 heritage and am very happy. I can handle it very easily, and that was a huge plus because I don't have any roadies. That said, if I get a couple of bigger gigs lined up and get to choose from a backline that will be supplied, an ampeg fridge it is. Hauling it myself, no way, been there done that. I think thats the sentiment with everyone whos not a big time musician for one of the bigger bands.
  12. Gougedeye

    Gougedeye Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Central Washington
    Dying? Never! There are a lot of players that feel just as you do and truth be told, there is something about a 300 watt, all tube head pumping through an 8X10! But from a practicality stand point, it is cumbersome to move a 160 lb. cab and an 80 lb. head and all the other gear a band needs to play a show, unless you got guys to do it for you! I don't...So lighter more efficient cabs for me. Not to mention, my need for an 8X10 is pretty limited, considering the venues I play. Usually, any place I need that, backline is provided.
  13. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I have no interest in image. So, that's one thing not influencing my equipment purchases. When I need a fridge I use my two Markbass 151Ps with my Little Mark III head. I have played it alongside my bud's Ampeg V4 and SVT 810 at the practice room, back and forth from one to the other, and prefer my Markbass rig. I have also played each at gigs with the same result. The only changes I need are a couple of Barefaced cabs that are even lighter in weight and will kick my Markbass cabs' butts. Oh, and I don't mind the yellow cones on my Markbass cabs. I'm 63 and don't give a rat's petoodie how things look up there. Not that I don't have some style, but it mostly has to do with wearing decent clothes, trimming my beard and moustache, and tying my long hair back. To me, the most important thing about a bass rig other than sound is that it be lightweight. And, these days lightweight ca outperform the older heavyweights.

    But, it's not all about me, it's about each of us having their own. And to that extent I am happy for you that you have something that thrills you to no end. Enjoy it while you can haul it, and do be careful with that back. I've had my share of back problems, so I know how awful it can be.

    Cheers, pal.:bassist:
  14. Mulebagger


    Dec 12, 2007
    poppin in the corn belt
    Endorsing Artist: Zon Guitars, Tsunami Cables, DR Strings, GK
    For most gigs and practices I haul my 2 BagEnd 15 cubes. Massive sound and volume for their size, but whenever the gig allows for it, I stand in front of my 412 and bask in the room filling fatness it provides.

    Of course it's only about 15 or 20 lbs more than my two little cubes and easier to move. Not an awkward heavy fridge like days of old.
  15. someparts


    Nov 22, 2010
    Depends on where you play and what you play....and if you are willing to move it. I get the old tech vs new tech arguments....and I'm not totally a dinosaur although it seems I may not live to see the release of the Barefaced 69er....haha.

    If you play volume oriented rock stuff or crappy clubs with just enough PA for vocals and a little kick and snare then sure the monster rig is a plus.

    If it was doing show band gigs with tons of PA or in-ears then probably not. But then again I wouldn't be as concerned about one really great tone but more of a tweakable middle of the road tone.
  16. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    I thought the 69er was out ?
  17. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    I dont know, at warped tour this summer I will count how many I see.

    but every company seems to have a 810 copy so somebody must be buying them.
  18. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    I've got the best of both worlds with 2 tb153 avatars. I can use just one or bring the full stack if I want to blow the pants off the ladies.
  19. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
  20. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    No, there will always be players that put image first and rock stars that want to play at stadium levels in their garage.

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