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Help choosing touring rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tlayley, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. tlayley


    Sep 22, 2010
    Hey Guys,

    I am new here and wondering if I could get some advice from any of you bass amp gurus.

    My band is about to go on tour and I am shopping around for a bass amp rig. I know it's not much to work with but my budget is £600. So my question is what would you say is the most:

    1) Reliable
    2) Powerful (loudness / tone)
    3) Cost Effective

    I was looking at the Hartke HA2500 or the Ashdown MAG 300H EVO II heads. I have heard bad things about the ashdown but wanted to see if anyone here had any thoughts on both? I know they offer combos for both but I think I might go for the separate 4x10 cabs.


  2. I'd buy something light and small. Look at all the lightweight tops.
  3. It kiiiinda depends on what your bandmates are using and what sound you go for. Also, what kind of transportation will you be using?

    I toured for 3 years with an Ampeg 2x15 and Kustom200. I got both used for a total of $400.

    Buy used.
  4. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    What kind of music are you playing/what type of tone are you going for?
    Do you have a trailer or are you cramming stuff into a van?
    Are you worried about weight/size?
    What size of gigs will you be playing?
  5. rovito


    Jun 26, 2005
    I have had the Ashdown and the Hartke. The Ashdown is more reliable than it gets credit for. If you go the Ashdown route get the 600 instead of the 300. The 600 with a pair of matching 410s is a great sounding, loud setup. The Hartke 3500 is good as well. Which ever amp you choose go for the most power and speaker coverage you can afford.
  6. tlayley


    Sep 22, 2010
    Hey guys, thanks for all the advice.

    We play rock / alternative or whatever the kids are calling it these days. I like to go for a very low end sound, nothing too twangy. I really like the sound that Chris from Muse has (when it's not too overdriven). I know he has an expensive rig but it's just an idea of what tone I like.

    We are touring in a fairly big size van so I am not too concerned about space. I will also be building a flight case on wheels for the whole rig so it will be pretty mobile.

    With regards to buying used amps I would be confident buying an ampeg but I am sceptical about buying an ashdown or hartke used. I am sure most sellers are honest but some aren't.

    I am steering towards the Hartke amps at the moment but do you think:

    1) The Hartke is good for low end tones

    2) Will the HA250 be loud enough for 200-800 capacity venues?

    2) Or it simply not loud enough and I should go for the HA350

    One last thing does anyone have a good recommendation for a cab for either the 250 and 350?

    Thanks guys, you are really awesome.

  7. tlayley


    Sep 22, 2010
    We play Rock
    We have a large sprinter van
    Not too worried about weight and size
    Venue capacity could be from 200 - 800 for this tour

    Thanks man
  8. thebean


    Jan 23, 2007
    The last tour i did one of the bands we were out with used a sprinter. I'd say if you're using just the back of the sprinter get a 4x10. There isn't as much room in the back of those as you think. Plus the 4x10 will be super easy to load in. And as far as the road case goes, i wouldnt. You'll be loading this stuff in and out so much that it'll get real old real fast.
  9. Yep, a 410 which you put on a case or something to bring the cab nearer to your head (that's how I do it - the drummers hardware case fits my needs perfectly).
    If you play rock and you want a Hartke, I'd suggest the LH500.
  10. Zitch


    May 12, 2010
    Akron, Oh
    I don't know the conversion from # to $, but take a look at GK Backline 600 or for a little more an 700rbll super reliable, great sound, and powerful, then take what you have left over and buy the best 4x10 you can get.
  11. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Hire stuff, where ever you gig whilst on tour and maybe bring only your favorite piece of gear.
    That way you don't have to worry about it too much.
  12. snapple


    Nov 25, 2003
    Victoria-Vancouver Canada
    Endorsing Artist: PCL Vintage Amps
    DO NOT RENT GEAR IN EACH CITY. If you show up to town late / get lost / dont book gear in advance then you could be out of a rig.

    I have done 3 or 4 national tours in a sprinter, and for all I brought along my 8x10 in its road case. Those things do actually fit a lot of gear if you know how to pack properly.

    Don't go for combos. You want lots of power/speaker surface because you never know what you're going to get for PA coverage unless you've visited the venue before, and even then recently. I suggest obviously going used, and try both heads to see which you like better. Then I suggest pairing it with at least a 4x10. Get another cab or upsize if you can afford it. The bonus of grabbing 2 cabs is that you can modulate for whatever suits the venue best.
  13. tlayley


    Sep 22, 2010
    Hey guys,

    Thanks so much for all your responses. I am have narrowed it down now to the following (not in order of preference):

    1) Hartke HA3500
    2) Ampeg B2RE (Found B-stock which is going for £389 which is roughly $615)
    3) Marshall MB450H

    Does anyone know much about the Marshall MB450H? I know Marshall is better know for their guitar amps but it's a 400W bass amp with some nice tone shaping knobs. I also really like the fact it has a compression option. I do like bass amps with compression levels.

    What do you guys think would be the best choice out of all three?

    Thanks again guys,

  14. bassistjoe


    Aug 31, 2005
    I've toured professionally for over 12 years with some major artists and trust me when I say this DO NOT BUY HARTKE! That is entry level crap. Spend the money and get Eden or Aguilar. Trust me you will appreciate it in the long run. My current touring rig has become an Avalon U5, dbx 160A compressor and a good Shure PSM 600 in ear system with e5's...........sound guys love it and I get EXACTLY the tone I want........but that's just me. Also, most top acts are going in ear now anyway plus if you're doing gigs with sound provided they are always set up to give you a great monitor mix. I played Gilley's and they gave me a pair of JBL 12" wedges along with my ear mix and it was PERFECT.............
  15. The first time I went on tour I went with a Hartke HA3500 + ashdown 4x10 bass cab. The Hartke never died despite it having lots of loose knobs/inputs. It literally was dropped, kicked, sprayed water with 0 problems. I recommend it.
  16. tlayley


    Sep 22, 2010
    OK, before I go out and buy the Hartke does anyone think the Marshall is a good amp (Marshall MB450H)?

    Marshall have a great reputation for their amps being reliable and it looks like it's build solid so in terms of reliability it looks great but how does it sound? Can it compete with the Hartke?
  17. I'm honestly not a fan of the Marshall solid state sound. I don't know of a single person that gigs a non tube Marshall amp (for bass, anyways). However, i know PLENTY of very skilled and respectable bassists that gig Hartke.

    I'd say go with the Hartke for now.

    Good luck, dude!
  18. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Looks like I kind of missed the boat on this one, but based on your answers to my earlier questions I'd recommend going with a head and a 4x10 cab, not a combo. Even if you can fit an 8x10 in a road case into your van, it may not always be easy getting it in and out of venues.

    I remember one time, it was the last show of the tour before we were heading home, and the venue was in a basement, and the only way to get down there was a narrow staircase with really high handrails. At that moment, I was so glad I brought my 4x10 instead of my giant 2x15 Ampeg fridge cab. If you have PA support in the venues you're playing, you shouldn't need much more than a 4x10 for stage volume anyway.

    I can't comment on any of the heads you're asking about though. Try them all and see which one sounds the best.

    And, unless you can get the venues to have the backline provided when you show up, I would NOT recommend renting gear in each city. Just thinking about trying to do it that way makes me cringe.

    Best of luck!
  19. tlayley


    Sep 22, 2010
    Thanks bro, it's settled, I think I am going to go with the Hartke HA3500 and a 4x10 :)
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