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Help: I want to buy a “less expensive” amp and cab

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JohnnyMan, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. I currently own an Ampeg B100R 100-watt combo amp that I am finding nice but not capable of filling the larger areas with bass so I want to take the next step up to a separate amp and cabinet. With Xmas coming soon and I have a terrible bout of g.a.s (Gear Acquisition Syndrome for all of the newbies) and since I have been a good boy…. ;)

    I have allotted a budget of $700US for the two but that limit is negotiable. I just bought a 2004 American Jazz bass (via ebay) that I don’t play that much so I don’t want to overly upset my wife by spending a lot of money.

    The tone I am aspiring towards is that of John Entwistle (both old [Live at Leeds, The Kid’s Are Alright’s live version of Won’t Get Fooled Again] and the latter years [The John Entwistle Band Live DVD]). I accept the fact that I do not have the resources, playing technique, or year’s of experience Entwistle had so not precisely achieving his tone (or sound) is understood and accepted.

    My current ‘primary’ axe is a Line 6 Variax 700 Bass (http://www.line6.com/variaxbass) running into a Bass POD XT Live (http://www.line6.com/basspodxtlive). (My dream is to own an Alembic Exploiter or Warwick Buzzard but that’s another story and thread).
    The band I am in is aspiring to play in the smaller nightclubs. We play mostly heavy metal-type music such as Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains to more ‘rock-type” songs such as Godzilla (Blue Oyster Cult) and Animals (Nickelback). Please excuse the generalizations.

    Currently I have been looking at 300-watt heads and 4 x 10 cabinets. I have spent some time here reading threads on amps and cabinets and it seems these (below) are the ones I have noticed as being popular and in my price range. (I apologize for all of the Musician Friend links but they provide information on the gear and a ballpark price to start from.) I have not yet left my house to audition any of these. I first wanted to hear what the Talk Bass people had to say about these before I narrowed my “short list”.


    Ashdown MAG 300


    My comment: Ashdown was the last amp of choice for John Entwistle before passing away (R.I.P.) so my first look was at Ashdown, and I like their price. There is also the ABM series of amps. They are more expensive but if it’s worth it….

    Gallien-Krueger Backline 600


    My comment: I have read somewhat mixed reviews about this amp compared to the Ashdown but I have an open mind.

    Behringer BX4500H Ultrabass


    My comment: There are many here who dislike Behringer for various reasons. I own Behringer gear and I have been reasonably pleased with them so I am not entirely ruling out their products. I remember reading a review (I believe it was about this amp) in either Bass Player or Bass Guitar magazine and the review was favorable. I hope that this thread does not open more Behringer bashing. Like everyone, I want the best bang for the buck and this includes quality-type issues.

    Yamaha BBT500H 500W Digital Bass Amp


    My Comments: I don’t recall seeing this amp mentioned much here at Talk Bass but I have been happy with my other Yamaha products in the past. This amp is a little more expensive than the others.

    Ampeg B2RE Bass Head and B410HLF 4x10" Half Stack


    My comments: Yes these two together go over my budget but if there were compelling reasons go with this duo…. I have been happy with my Ampeg and they do have a renowned name.

    If I have omitted an amp that you believe is a contender please let me know.


    Ashdown MAG 410T


    My comment: I suspect that it was designed to be matched with the MAG 300.

    Gallien-Krueger 410BLX-II 4 x 10 Bass Cabinet


    My comment: Same as for the GK amp above.

    Yamaha BBT410S 4 x 10" Bass Speaker Cabinet


    My comment: I have had no issues with Yamaha products in the past.

    Behringer Ultrabass BB410 1200W 4x10 Bass Cabinet


    My comment: Same as for the Behringer amp above.

    Avatar 4x10 B410 NEO


    My comment: These seem to be very popular.

    I would love to hear your comments. Please tell me if you own any of the above, where you bought it and price, what you like and don’t like about it, and would you recommend it.

    If I have left out any obvious choices please feel free to tell me about it.

    I will add a poll to this thread if people think it will benefit the thread.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    From your choices, this is the easiest selection I've ever made. For an amp, I would definetly choose the Yamaha BBT500H. For the cab, the Avatar is easily the best in this price range. You will have a killer budget setup with these choices. Good luck!
  3. Thanks for the advice. Have you used the BBT500H?
  4. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    I personally have not used the BBT550H, but I have owned and used the B410Neo. Many well regarded people here can vouch for the sound and quality of that yamaha amp, and the avatar b410neo is regarded as one of the best deals in the bass gear community.
  5. I ll suggest Ashdown, only different models:
    ABM500 EVO II, or Klystron (model thats basically a new EVO 3 and its coming out this month I hope).
    With 2x10 and 1x15 compact ABM cabinets.

    Ofcourse u can always buy just the 1 cab (say 2x10) and if u think u need the other one too, u can buy it later... :)
    Good luck.
  6. Thanks Low D.

    I had tossed around but not discarded the idea of a 2x10 instead of a 4x10. The reason I had not listed the ABM line was because of their higher cost.
  7. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    You already have a great preamp in the Pod XT Live, just run that straight into a power amp rather than a head. No point paying for a whole 'nother preamp that you don't need.

    Search the classifieds and eBay - you should be able to get a decent power amp and cab used for $700.

  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I find myself agreeing with Alex a lot lately. With the Variax and Pod XT you are obviously sold on the modeling thing, so get a nice power amp and cab. You should be able to get nice stuff (used) for $700.
  9. This is an idea I had not considered.

    I typically run all my guitars through the POD. With the Variax and Fender Jazz I also have a 1983 USA Wave BC Rich and a Yamaha 5-string. I use the POD for pretty well everything (compression, effects, selecting which guitar on the variax, etc). I have been bypassing the amp modeling when pugging into my Ampeg combo amp.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
  10. True dat.
  11. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Yeah, with the V-Bass it became quickly obvious that a head was just a bottleneck (as well as extra weight) for a couple reasons: One was that going through the input stage of the head just added coloration that sometimes got in the way of any model used. Sometimes it was actually opposing the voicing that a model might be using.

    The second concern was that the way I used at least some preamps was to selectively use the pregain to get some overdrive. But since that's already available with decent modeling and the V-Bass typically has a lot of output level, I'd just end up overdriving the head's input too easily whether overdrive was the intention or not.

    And if you use the effects loop the head just becomes in effect a power amp - usually one with lower specs than a standalone power amp, without the benefit of the extra protection a pro power amp has.

    As far as cabs, it's nice to have something that has enough xmax to deal with presets that can dish out real low end, and something that's relatively flat so that it can act as a transparent window for the amp/cab models instead of overly coloring them. That just makes the different amp/cab models less individual, at best.
  12. That would have been what I would have done: that is, use the head as a power amp (I have the Bass V-Amp too by the way) and the POD as a pre.

    So maybe I should be focusing my sights at a power amp and cabinet.

  13. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    A Carvin DCM 1000 would be a good poweramp for what you need.2 space,lightweight,good power and about in your pricerange.If you are wanting an Entwhistle tone you might want to look at the Avatar 212 neo instead of the 410.I gigged with a 410 neo for a couple years and it is a little scooped in the mids and the mids /highs are what Entwhistles tone were about.The 212 is supposed to have a more upfront midrange and still has good lowend.The 410 I had was a great cabinet,I still hear the guy who bought from me play out with it and he sounds great but I think the 212 might be more what you are looking for.
  14. Thanks for the advice Blues Bass 2.

    I read about the 2x12 on Avatar's web site. They have posted a review from Bass Player (I think). I have looked at Carvin's catalogs before and I have always thought that their guitars are worth considering. I haven't given their amps a thought until now.
  15. wolfs


    Jan 18, 2006
    Go used... that's the best way to make your $$$ stretch. If it were me, I'd be looking at older GK, Peavey, or Hartke heads and used Peavey, Bag End, or new Avatar cabs.
  16. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Ellicott City, MD
    Endorsing: Spector Bass Guitars
    Get the Behringer amp, get the Avatar 410.

    Run the Pod XT Live into the effects return of Behringer basically using it as a glorified power amp (but you have the convenience of having the real preamp should the POD ever fritz on a gig). You'll get exactly the tone you want from your POD. This is almost a clone of my setup (Behringer 300, Pod XT Live, Steelsound 2x12 or Mesa 410 cab - depends on venue).
  17. I agree with the Power Amp, Avatar cab group. You can get a very powerful power amp and Avatar cab for that price. There's a 212 for sale in the classifieds right now for just over $200. That leaves you with close to $500 in your budget, which should net you a very good, powerful power amp, that will easily power a second cab (say another Avatar) in the future as the need (or want;) ) arises.
  18. Couldnt go wrong with a peavey IMO
  19. So it seems the majority believes the Avatars is the way to go for a cabinet.

    And I should maybe look at a power amp instead of a head. In the back of my mind I am leaning towards getting a head in case the POD goes down I will still have a backup. Does this sound realistic?

    I have temporarily retired the Variax because the guitar's G string is not putting out the same volume as the other strings. I am going to attempt resetting the bass and see if that restores the volume. I have already turned up the G string's volume to its max. I hope the pickup is not failing.
  20. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Ellicott City, MD
    Endorsing: Spector Bass Guitars
    Check the position of the sting on the piezo. They can be quite finnicky.


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