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Help me assemble an Ampeg Portaflex rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dls119, Dec 31, 2016.


  1. dls119

    dls119

    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Hi gang,

    I'd like TB's assistance assembling an Ampeg Portaflex rig for my 90s cover band. We do a mix of 90s pop/rock/grunge/nostalgia that I think demands Ampeg tone. We typically play small/medium sized venues with and without front of house support. My guitarists aren't overly loud, but the drummer can be a bit of a hard hitter when on a full kit and I have keys to compete with as well. I would like to purchase a head and cab - but would also like to keep it under $800. Size is an issue - I have a very small car, so I would like to keep the cab size down as well.

    I think my ideal setup is a PF800 mounted to a PF115HE to maximize the power output to rig size, however I think a PF800 is a little out of my budget since I also have to purchase the cab. My preference is to buy new, but I'm not married to that either. I'm willing to fudge (pick up a beater) on the cab if the PF800 is the right choice - I would hate to get a 350 or 500 and have to buy an 800 in 6 months. Although, if a 500 and 115HE would get it done, let me know that, too!

    Thoughts - opinions - suggestions - heckles?
     
  2. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    My thoughts are that you would be better served with the cab first.
    To repeat a common theme, a bad cab will still be bad with a good amp..... But even a bad amp can sound good through a good cab.
    Bigger, slightly older amps, for instance from the 90's, are super cheap, and often are 100% fine, their owner is just moving on to smaller lighter or whatever.
    You may be able to pick up the cab you like new and still have the budget for something like a 400/800RB or Hartke LH, SWR or Trace head, etc.
     
    Helix and Gearhead17 like this.
  3. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    A PF800 and two PF 115HE cabs would probably do the job well. I don't think the PF cabs are really designed to fill a room, but I am not 100% sure how loud your band is and what kind of rooms you are referring to.

    As for the cabinet, don't skimp on this part. It's the most important part of the chain. I have found the Ampeg PF heads do the warm sounding Ampeg vibe with just about any cab you can plug into it. I highly suggest getting two identical 8 ohm cabinets for instances where you need to be louder, filling the room or just getting the speakers next to your ears. You can also get one cabinet and a cabinet stand/something to stack your cabinet on and there you go - instant monitor.
     
  4. dls119

    dls119

    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    I thought a lot about a Hartke LH500, but size and weight considerations ruled it out. My area does not have a particularly strong used market, so a lot of the old standards like the GKs or SWRs are pretty hard to come by in decent shape.

    Space considerations limit my cab options somewhat (I drive a Fiat 500) - two is out of the question unless we're talking 112 neo cabinets, however I tend to agree with your thoughts on the PF cabinet itself. Would a used SVT, (which are oddly abundant given my comment above) do the job a bit better?

    The newer PF112 is also pretty interesting - especially given the expansion options it opens up later down the road. I could get down with a PF500 and 112, adding a second 112 down the road.
     
  5. 4-fingers

    4-fingers

    Nov 22, 2015
    Ontario Canada
    I have been gigging a pf500 and matching 115 cab for several years. I have one of the early ones. I use it stand alone for almost all the gigs I do, which are small to medium sized venues. It has been plenty loud in almost every situation, no FOH support. I luckily scored a pf350 and similar 115 cab for a good deal and grabbed it to leave where we rehearse. On occasion I bring the second cab......but that is rare. We are a 5 piece which includes keys.

    If I'm directly on the floor I take the back wheels off and aim it up. I find I hear myself better that way. On a hollow stage I prefer to leave the wheels on the cab.

    I wouldn't hesitate to go for it and keep an eye out for a second cab. It looks great stacked and moves a lot of air with both cabs. There may be better sounding set ups and I have really only had a couple of 4x10 cabs to compare this to. The 15" cabs are super easy to transport and as I already said, sound great for my classic rock and country cover band.
     
    DirtDog likes this.
  6. dls119

    dls119

    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    That's really reassuring. My band is also a 5 piece with keys - two guitars, keys, drums, and me. My concern with the 500 was headroom and stage volume, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for you, and likely won't be for me either. The PF115 has some pretty solid reviews, and I like the flip-top option. The PF500 and 115 cab are right on my budget and sounds like the right choice given how similar our band situations are.

    Are the wheels easy to remove? I'd love a no-hassle tilt-back option...
     
  7. 4-fingers

    4-fingers

    Nov 22, 2015
    Ontario Canada
    Wheels are real easy to pop in and out and the tilt does make a difference. Knock on wood, I have had no problems with this amp and its played well over a hundred shows. I have run it at 4 ohms and 8 ohms with no hiccups. Again, I won't try to tell you it is the absolute best amp for my situation but I can guarantee that it has enough headroom and has a classic Ampeg tone. I've played through SVTs and a fridge when back line was supplied and this set up gets close without anywhere near the cost, weight or transport challenges. Good Luck with whatever you choose.
     
  8. dls119

    dls119

    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Hey, as long as it's a good workhorse and sounds like an Ampeg I'll be happy. I can add another 115 down the road if necessary, but I'm not sure it will be. I regularly rehearse with an SVT/Fridge setup and love the tone, but don't have that kind of dime or transport room.
     
    castelletti likes this.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    If you want to keep it under $800, PF500 and PF115 or 210 would cost just under that new. The PF112hlf is my favorite and I use one all the time, but if you happen to need serious juice to hang on a gig, it's not as robust as the 115's or 210.
     
    fourtet102, Spectrum and dls119 like this.
  10. dls119

    dls119

    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    I was hoping you would chime in. The 112 looks really cool, but I'm pretty confident of the PF500 and 115 combo is the way to go. Now to order!

    Thanks!
     
    pcake, fourtet102, High Camp and 2 others like this.
  11. JJR58

    JJR58 Dirty Bird

    Dec 2, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY.
    PF500 and 212AV?
     
  12. blubass

    blubass

    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    To throw my hat in the ring, I prefer the PF-210 to the 115. The 115 felt bland to me with the PF500.
     
    dls119 likes this.
  13. dls119

    dls119

    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    I was pretty split between them - the only real difference is that the 115 has some pretty good reviews and will move a little more air. I used a 210 previous and was pretty pleased with the results, though.
     
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I know I'm only guessing here, but I imagine @4-fingers is the exception rather than the rule. I have played all kinds of bars with all kinds of bands. The only shows I have ever played where a 1-15 bass rig would carry the room were private parties with volume complaints. I would be blown away if any single 15" speaker could carry a bar gig with no PA support unless your band is really quiet.

    Maybe I'm the exception to the rule?

    Maybe a fEarful or something like that could pull it off. But an off the rack consumer grade cab? I haven't seen/heard one. Two 15s or a really efficient 4-10 (or stacked pair of 2-10 cabs) I can see.

    I'm fully prepared to be corrected if you guys play in pretty quiet bands.
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Ya, the 210 is better IMHO if you like the slightly rolled off low end of the 810e. The 115's have more sub lows, especially the PF115lf. But the 115he has a goodly amount as well. Goes lower than any sealed cab I've ever heard.
     
    blubass likes this.
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Many bass players have no clue how loud they really are :D
     
    4-fingers and blubass like this.
  17. dls119

    dls119

    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    I see where you're coming from. I'm willing to take a small gamble and see where I'm at with the 500 and 115. I'd rather not, but if another 115 becomes necessary then so be it - at bare minimum the rig is expandable.
     
  18. dls119

    dls119

    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    This seems reasonable - I'm comfortable living lower with a 115, at least to start with - I have keys in my band that spend a lot of time in the mid range, anyways.
     
    pcake, JimmyM and blubass like this.
  19. BPhillips

    BPhillips Ayatollah of Rock 'N' Rolla

    Oct 12, 2015
    Savannah, GA
    +1
    I gig a PF500 with a matching 115 and a 210. For several smaller gigs I have taken the 115 only. I usually have FOH support, and pretty much in each of those cases the sound engineer has had me keep my stage volume pretty low (relative to its capabilities). We are a five piece with keys, loud guitars, and loud drummer. Even in rehearsal with no FOH, I have always had the headroom I need with the two cabs at 4 ohms. If my band members had more discipline, a single 115 would be quite adequate. I tried the 115/210 combo based on Juan Alderete's Rig Rundown. I'm pretty sure I would've been satisfied with 2x 115s as well.
     
    4-fingers, GoLeafsGo and dls119 like this.
  20. dls119

    dls119

    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    How do ya'll like the onboard compressor?
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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