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Help A Guy Choose A New Amp!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by HubbardsFate, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. HubbardsFate

    HubbardsFate Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2006
    **I originally posted this on the BBS on the Carvin website, but no responses so far...** :crying:

    Howdy Folks,

    This might get a bit long-winded, so please bear with me...also, disclaimer: I will be throwing out names of bass amps OTHER than Carvin, hopefully that's okay (Mods, please feel free to move this to the "Non-Carvin Gear" forum if I am breaking rules here:)

    I am a long-time "bedroom bassist" (last time I played in public was 1995...sigh...) who wants to spread his wings and start playing out again. Right now I am thinking just small "coffeehouse" type gigs, just myself playing some solo bass compositions (hoping it evolves into hooking up with some other players and being in an actual band.)

    The amp I have been using for years is a solid-state SWR combo. There is nothing "wrong" with it per sé, save for the fact that it is a little sterile sounding to my ears a lot of the time. I am pretty sure it has enough power to project in the small venues that I am thinking of playing in at this time...

    So what am I looking for? That's a good question...for starters, I am a bit of a technophobe, and I get pretty overwhelmed when I start looking at what's out there. Tube amps, solid state, hybrid...how does one choose? Here are a few things that I can say:

    1. I definitely love the warmth of an amp that has tubes somewhere in the signal path.

    2. Weight is not a real issue for me, I know a lot of people shy away from tube amps because they don't wanna be schlepping the heavy buggers around, but I am used to packing lots of weight/doing lots of heavy physical labour in my job, so...

    3. I am leaning more towards a combo or stack as opposed to a rackmount rig, both for simplicity's sake and (hopefully) to keep the costs down.

    4. As mentioned, I am hoping to start jamming with other people and maybe being in an actual band again at some point. So although I am talking small venues/solo performances to start, I am thinking it might be an idea to go with a high-powered rig right from the get-go so that I have the power/volume to compete with other instruments in a band setting down the road.

    Now having said all that, here are a few brands that have piqued my interest:

    1. Carvin (obviously.) I am considering the BX1500 head, but not sure which cabinet configuration(s) would work best.

    2. Hartke HyDrive 210C combo amp. Saw one of these in a shop the other day, didn't actually plug into it, but have read some online reviews, mostly seems to be highly-regarded stuff.

    3. Peavey Tour 700. Totally solid state (as far as I know), but I have read good things about these amps/Peavey gear in general, so it's definitely on my radar.

    4. Trace Elliot AH-1200. I watched Ed Friedland's review of this amp on the "Bass Whisperer" YouTube channel, seems like a solid amp for sure, obviously with power to spare at 1200 watts.

    I have absolutely no doubt that the Carvin BX1500 with almost any cab config would compete with any of the systems I mentioned (and power-wise it would obviously decimate the Hartke, which I believe is only rated at 100 watts.) I don't even have a huge problem with the fact that I can't plug into and try out a Carvin rig beforehand, as I am well aware of Carvin's quality/reputation. I guess my one potential issue with Carvin is if it needed repairs at some point, would I actually have to pack it up and ship it back to Carvin to be fixed? Not that that'd necessarily be the end of the world either, especially if I had a backup rig...

    Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? All are welcome...:cool:
  2. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    Make a trip to a music store that has several bass rigs. Mix and match, play around and see what floats your boat. Once you have some hands on experience ask the question again. You will probably have narrowed things down a bit.

    Keep in mind, you don't have to have tubes in the tone path to get warmth. And tubes don't always guarantee warmth.

    That being said the BX1500 is an excellent piece of gear and would be all the amp you would likely ever need. I like them a lot personally. You could do a lot worse.

    This would probably cover you...

  3. What is your real budget for this?
  4. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
  5. pizzazombie


    Dec 19, 2012
    Kustom DE 300 head and a Kustom 8x10 cab perhaps?
  6. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    One of the best poor man's Ampeg imitators on the market.
  7. Budget allowing my recommendation would be for the following:

    Ampeg Portaflex 800 or Genz Benz Streamliner 900 in to a greenboy DuallyT or a fEARless F115.
  8. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    That would be a warm, LOUD rig.
  9. For real it would be. Either of those amps and the F115 would be a easy grab and go to boot. Some of those F115 cabs are coming in in the low 40# range.

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