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GC of Totowa Bass Combo Shootout 2/4/02

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jvbjr, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. jvbjr


    Jan 8, 2005
    Decided to go and try out some combos, brought my six string fretted and fretless Pedullas.

    At the door I had to leave my double gig bag and carry the basses, one in each hand. :eyebrow:

    No one was around in the guitar or bass department, so I helped myself for a good 15 minutes until a guy showed up to ask if I wanted any help, little late aren't ya? :eyebrow:

    I decided to start with the Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scout 12" combo. The amp had a great tone and played the low B well, did not fart out even when slapping the low B. I found that with the volume up about 75% the amp started to loose itself however and I am unsure if 225 watts (75% of 300) is enough for most applications, it sounded a bit on the quiet side, but I was also 18" away from it as the bass area is TIGHT.

    I then went over to the Ampeg BA-210SP. This amp has five voicings, the only one that sounded good with the low B was #1, where there is a -25db scoop at 500hz, which would be around B4 on a piano. With this dramatic scoop, the amp becomes VERY quiet overall. The three tone knobs did little and were really just fine tweaks for the voicing, they did not have a vast difference from 0~10 IMO. The built in effects were TERRIBLE, I would much rather use a $50 used Alesis Microverb like I have on my piezo output of my guitars. Some effects flat out did not work, other made weird noises that I have never heard before and am quite sure do not represent "slap back echo". I have a 27 space guitar rack system via Bob Bradshaw, so I know a bit about effects. Also, the whole thing felt cheap, the knobs had no resistance, the voicing detents were not sold clicks, very disappointing given Ampeg's bass legacy.

    SWR, where to start? They had several Workingman combos and one called C2x10 (I think). They were all HORRIBLE, I mean the Peavey TNT I used in HS 20 years ago sounded much better. A friend had a SM-900 full stack set-up in the early 1990s and it sound great, these combos are terrible and after trying several and getting nothing close to Peavey quality tone I gave up.

    Next up was the Mesa Boogie Nomand combo, 2x10. This amp could not handle my low B of either bass, and any note below 55hz (open A) made the cabinet rattle like crazy. I was sure a 2x10 would be able to hang or slaughter the Walkabout 12" but this was far from accurate. This was a disappointment because I expect more from the once boutique Boogie company.

    Long about now my "saleman" returns and start with the hard sell about how Boogies are all hand made in America, keeping Americans working and that they are in such high demand it takes AT LEAST four months to get one. Funny when I called Boogie on Thursday and asked about lead time of a Walkabout Scout 15", they said 8 weeks. This Boogie had an 1/8" of dust on it, the lettering was worn almost off on the master and gain knobs, so I am guessing it has been there since Tuesday? If I failed to buy now I "would be sorry", I thanked him for that advice and blamed it on my wife that I had to get approval first.

    Finally, and fighting hard for last place with the SWR stuff, is the GK Backline series of combos. I was very surprised to hear the voice coil bottoming out on a 15" speaker with a low B or C note. I had a GK 100 watt combo for a while that had a 12" speaker and built in chorus and it never sounded this thin or anemic.

    I wound up buying a set of 10~52 guitar strings and left with a fondness for the Walkabout Scout but I want to test drive some more amps before I settle on one. While Scout was the clear winner of this shootout, I am uncertain that it is the best value at $1149.00 plus tax, and I'd want one that still had its letterign intact, that damn four month wait again. :oops:
  2. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Nice job. But, what is a "Nomand combo?" Was that a guitar amp?
  3. jvbjr


    Jan 8, 2005
    That is what the saleman said it was, it said something about being "600" on it, I thought Nomand was a guitar amp as well, I do not know if they use the name for abass amp as well. The controls were very similar to the Walkabout with the three middle knobs, this also had a ftsw and a built in compressor of some sort.
  4. Salesman is a dummy :(....the only 2x10 Bass combo Mesa has is the Venture 600.
  5. sal paradise

    sal paradise

    Aug 12, 2004
    We go to the same guitar center. I think that 2x10 "Nomand" has had some technical issues in the past. That 15 inch mesa cab with the walk-a-bout, 600, i believe, head, was my favorite amp there. They have a really small bass section, no?