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Help a Newbie - Ampeg BA 115 v. 210 v. 115HP

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Balkan, Aug 8, 2005.


  1. Balkan

    Balkan

    Aug 8, 2005
    New York, NY
    Hi - I am brand new and would love some advice on my impending purchase of an Ampeg Combo amp. I mostly need an amp for home practice and jamming at friends' apartments so I don't really need something that loud, but I would like to have the option of something I could use in a club etc. in case I start doing that again (I do own a Peavey Combo 300 that I bought in 1987 and that has always been loud enough for anything I needed to do - either I played small places or went direct. That amp is too big to use for practice and I prefer the Ampeg sound anyway).

    I checked out the Ampeg BA 115 in the store and thought it rocked. I have a Stingray that I was thinking of selling for a Fender, but this amp made me love my bass again, it really smoothed out the Ray's harsh edges while preserving its signature sound. I would be psyched to buy this amp but now I am thinking about maybe buying the BA 210 in case I want to have something louder. Here are my questions:

    1. My assumption is that the 210 with 220 watts should be louder than the 100 watt BA 115. But all the reviews for the BA 115 talk about how super loud it is, how it's good for clubs etc. whereas many of the 210 reviews complain about how soft it is. Does anyone know what's up with that? Are these just different kinds of people with different standards or is there something weird going on?

    2. Also, will 210 be too loud for practicing at home, or can this amp perform well at low levels?

    3. There's is also a BA 115HP which is the same wattage as the 210, but with a single 15" speaker rather than two 10". Can advice on what the difference between the two and perhaps, more generally, the pros/cons of 15" v. 10".

    Any help would be really appreciated!
     
  2. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    The Ampeg B100R is a worth checking out. IMO it plays louder than the BA 115 and has great tone. Don't get too hung up on wattage. Twice the watts will give you about 3db more volume which may not be noticeable. I had a Peavey several years ago running around 200 watts into 2 15's that sounded like crap and wouldn't play as loud as this Ampeg. A 15 may have better lows whereas a 10 may have better mids. YMMV; compare and buy the amp that sounds best to you.
     
  3. Balkan

    Balkan

    Aug 8, 2005
    New York, NY
    Thanks for the advice. It's funny, because I actually went out today in search of the B100R and no one had it which surprised me (this on 48th street in Manhattan). One store had the B50R and BA 115 and the guy told me that people bought the B100R just b/c of the design - I am happy to save the money if that's true. (Of course he didn't have the B100R so perhaps he was just trying to sell me BA 115). I personally am happy with the aesthetics of either, and what you say is interesting and makes me reconsider. One thing that seemed nice about the BA 115 though was that little knob that switched between the five different sounds. I don't really know how useful it is, but it seemed pretty cool - does that make the BA 115 more versatile than the B 100R?
     
  4. Interceptor

    Interceptor Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    I had a BA115SP in my practice room, and I literally gave it to my nephew. It was fine for a practice amp, but I'd suggest something that can play louder for use with a band. The other thing you might want to think about is portability, the BA115 has just one plastic strap handle on the top, and no side handles, which makes it clumsy to move.

    I have played through a BA210, it is a very substantial upgrade from the 115, louder, less hiss, better tone and side handles. And $700.

    Take a look at Avatar, you can end up with something that will be more versatile and harder to outgrow and easier to move yet more affordable than the Ampeg options listed.
     
  5. srxplayer

    srxplayer

    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    I own a BA115HP and previously owned a BA115 for a short time.

    I can tell you this the BA115HP is a great sounding amp. It's reasonably loud for most small room / club situations. Sound wise it pretty much sounds the same as the 100 watt 115 with out the tweeter hiss and more headroom but it doesn't seem that much louder. I do fine with a drummer and two guiatrists though.

    The tweeter hiss on the BA115 drove me crazy. At low volume it's really bad. I kept the amp in my bedroom and it drove me crazy when practicing at low volume. The amp still sounded good at regular volume though. The High Frequency horn in the 115HP does not hiss like the tweeter in the BA115.

    I have played the BA210 also but prefered the sound of the 15 over the 2 10's. I think the 2 X 10 sytem gives you punchier mids but the HP w/ the 15 sounds" warmer. Try them both out, preferably with your own bass and decide which one you like better.

    I have used my 115HP almost every day for the last 9 months and have no problems to report.

    It also comes with casters and nice spring loaded side handles which are nice since it weighs 85 pounds.
     
  6. Balkan

    Balkan

    Aug 8, 2005
    New York, NY
    Thanks all for the replies. I can get the BA 115HP or 210 for about $650 incl. shipping, which isn't quite $700, but it is an investment of course. Perhaps the B 100R is the one to get after all since I can get if for $100 cheaper and perhaps it doesn't have the noise problems of the BA 115 (which would be the cheapest)..

    I am curious to hear more about the Avatar option. Those speakers have been getting great reviews, but how does the tone compare to the Ampeg? Can you create a similar range of sounds, or are these speakers more modern sounding? Versality is great but in the end I want to privilege sound quality. To meet my budget, I would probably end up with the Ashadown or Hartke amps advertised on the Avatar site. The whole thing would add some bulk to my setup, but it might be worth it only if I am not sacrificing tone. Any thoughts?
     
  7. Interceptor

    Interceptor Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    Musical instrument amplification sound quality is very subjective, and as players, our tastes (and tone) tends to develop over time. As our taste develops, gear gets traded to allow the pursuit of the "tone that's in your head." This all turns out good, because the development over time helps keep us inspired to practice - which is the root of great playing.

    By purchasing a combo amp, the only future change one can make is complete replacement. That is when you learn the other side of the business - the blue book. Check with your dealer on the trade in value of the equipment you are considering. Buying used (or really well priced) will look pretty attractive!

    Obviously, this whole idea goes out the window when one finds the tone they are looking for, and it does happen.

    So, you've got to ask yourself - how long am I going to keep this thing?
     
  8. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    You may just end up like Jaco and buy a good solid amp and an old Jazz Bass and make music with it. I sometimes wonder whether we put too much emphasis on the equipment and not enough on the music it allows us to make. Just a thought and I've had my share of gear over the years. It's just that I envy people who are content with what they have and make the best of it.
     
  9. Balkan

    Balkan

    Aug 8, 2005
    New York, NY
    I hear you. I think I'm going to go for one of the Ampeg combos and hope to find a used one cheap (which I think I can do). If I ever start giggin seriously again, I can look at Avatar. Right now, I need something nice and small that I can put in my apt. and not take up too much space.

    Re: Jaco, your comment inspired me to learn the bassline to "Come On Over" - don't quite have the technique to do it seamlessly just yet, but getting close - boy, what a work out and that's probably one of the simplest things he played! This will be a great warm up - once I play through that piece, I feel like I can play anything.
     
  10. Balkan

    Balkan

    Aug 8, 2005
    New York, NY
    Update - I went to Guitar Center where they have all the amps mentinoed in this thread and I have to say that volume wise the B100R blew away all the other amps including the two 200 watt models. It was good testing conditions for volume, no drummers around but there was some kind of bass-off happening in the room - you know when people are ostensibly checking out basses and amps but instead are just trying to play as loud and fast as possible. With the BA 115, 115HP or 210, I had to crank up both the gain and volume to full blast and it still just didn't sound that loud. The 100R was a completely different story - I couldn't turn it up more than 2/3 without hurting my ears. It was kind of funny b/c the salesman had just finished telling me how you needed 100 watts to be heard above a drummer. Once I showed him the difference he pretty quiickly switched to explaining why wattage was not everything.

    Anyway, conditions were not so great for testing the tone (on account of aforementioned bass-off once again). The BAs seemed to have a really nice smooth tone, whereas I noticed more (non-distorting) rumble from the 100R. but that could just be the fact that I had that puppy cranked much louder. In any case, I'm inclined to go with the 100R as the more flexible choice.