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Help Me Find a Small Combo Amp < $300

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nspark, Sep 19, 2005.


  1. I'm helping get stuff set up for my church's youth group's worship band and right now my job is to find a bass amp for the group. It will be played by a very new-to-the-bass bassist, who I'll probably spend some time teaching, but generally will need to support an amplified team of an acoustic guitar, a keyboard, an electric guitar, and three singers or so.

    I was generally going to look for a 1x15" combo amp that puts roughly 100W to the main speaker. I really didn't think this would be hard, but I'm stuck with the stipulations that it must be purchased brand new - no used amps from stores or used amps from individual sellers - and for less than $300.

    I'm not really familiar with amps in this price range. Also, there are no local stores (Gainesville, FL) that have a good selection. So, overall I'm afraid I really don't have much to work with. I've looked through the online catalogs of Musician's Friend, Sam Ash, Zzounds, Music123 and without any local stores to try gear, I can't really come to any definite conclusions. I read Harmony Central reviews, but nearly all of them give very high ratings, so I'm generally skeptical that ALL of the cheap amps would sound great. However, whatever opinions you guys have to say, I'll listen.

    My first inclination was to go Peavey or Crate, but even there I can't get what I'm looking for. Same with Yorkville, which was much more expensive than I had thought. Right now, after looking around, I think these are my options:

    -Fender Rumble 100 Bass Combo
    -SWR LA15 Bass Combo Amplifier
    -Gallien-Krueger Backline 112 Combo
    -Ashdown Five-Fifteen
    -Behringer Ultrabass BX1200

    Not to be an elitist, but while I don't expect these to sound as good as my Eden Metro, I would like them to have a good, solid tone. I can't try out these amps ahead of time, which is what gets me the most. So, whatever opinions, warnings, and/or praises that you have to offer are more than welcome.

    -Nick Park
     
  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Of those choices, I'm going with the SWR. I haven't had a good chance to run the Fenders through their paces, so I can't comment on them. I like the stuff from Ashdown, and GK, but the SWR wins among these choices. I can't really make out the name after Ashdown. I don't have the "rip-off" language pack installed in my browser to decipher that code. :D

    You should really convince the person spending the money to let you buy a used B100R from Ampeg.

    -Mike
     
  3. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    +1 on the SWR LA15 BUT +1 on the B100R if you can find one.

    :D

    Joe.
     
  4. Mcrelly

    Mcrelly

    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    If you could add $50 dollars to your budget I'd go with yorkville XM100C

    EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO GET $50 OUT OF YOUR POCKET I believe it would be worth the effort over most of the other choices, however if you must, GO WITH THE BACKLINE112. some people have had reliability problems with the backline series, but I like the tone of that particular model.
     
  5. I have an Ampeg Rocket amp and it's the shizzit. I picked it up on E-bay for 300 bones, consider it.

    Ampeg Rocket B100R
     
  6. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    I agree about the tone and I love GK stuff, I own GK equipment. But the backline 112 is very disappointing in it's volume hence my going with the LA15. I also own/have owned SWR equipment and think that their LA series is well worth the money. A 15" cone gives you much more surface area than a 12 and at a similar wattage it will be louder. Plus the tone of the LA series is really good. The LA15 I believe has the same preamp as my LA8.

    In this particular application I think size matters. Cone size, that is. ;)

    :D

    Joe.
     
  7. I'd get the SWR or maybe the Fender. I've played most of these combos and the SWR is the nicest of them all, even though I personally don't like SWR. Behringher doesn't get very good reviews around here, even though they are decent.

    Since you are not fronting the cash for this amp, you can basically go with whatever you want. Get the loudest and best sounding rig you can.
     
  8. Aenema

    Aenema

    Apr 18, 2001
    Michigan
  9. Any thoughts on the Carvin PB100-15 or PB200-15? I've never used Carvin amps, though the one Carvin bass I've played was decent. They're in my price range, so they're at least a possibility.
     
  10. A fellow bass doubler here in SLC recently received an Ashdown Electric Blue from zzounds. He loves it. It has 180 hp:-}. You can either get the 115 or the 112 combo. He has the 112 combo.

    It was slightly over your budget,$28 I think, but it did include the shipping.

    It is a step up from the 5 15 combo. They are reviewed favorably on the various websites.

    Peace :bassist:
     
  11. asnutter

    asnutter

    May 11, 2005
    Southwestern PA
    -Fender Rumble 100 Bass Combo
    from my experience, this is a pretty nice amp, the mids are not real warm, a bit "tinny"...I liked the low end when I played this at g.c....
    -SWR LA15 Bass Combo Amplifier
    this amp did not "light my fuse"...I was using a fender jazz which had great mids and decent highs, but the low end on this amp to vibrate like an old wooden roller coaster...I found that when I turned up past 6 it clipped out and the vibration was irritating...
    -Gallien-Krueger Backline 112 Combo
    one of the best "inexpensive" amps I plugged into...I liked the growl on the compression button...this amp kicked back as well and had plenty of "play" to adjust and find your tone...Not a bad choice of the ones listed...
    -Ashdown Five-Fifteen
    no experience with this amp...my apologies...
    -Behringer Ultrabass BX1200
    this amp was a pretty nice "toy" to play with...I liked the tone and the volume with this...the kickback feature worked great for a floor monitor... I have heard NUMEROUS stories relating to the reliability of behringer products, and buying sight unseen may tip the scales away from this product...
     
  12. Try the Ampeg BA112 -- it's only rated at 60W, but it seems louder than that, has great tone, and can be bought for under $300 new.
     
  13. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    I was going to recommend the Carvins. I had a PB100-10 for a couple of years, which had excellent tone but obviously didn't move much air and wouldn't be suitable for you. I think the 15" models would be a good bet though, especially the PB-200. They have useful on-board compressors, and very good EQ sections IMO. On mine, the speaker would fart out at high volumes, but there's only so much one can expect from an inexpensive 1x10" combo.

    For the money, I think they have more punch than the various SWR combos I've tried over the years. I even preferred my PB100-10 to the Workingman's 12 combo, which costs much more.
     
  14. I'll say it again the Ampeg B100R is 100 watts a 15" speaker and a great warm tone. It's good for small venues and practices. IMHO it beats them all, the Ashdown would be my second choice.
    I'd avoid Carvin and Behringer just not up to the quality of Ampeg, Ashdown.
     
  15. Aenema

    Aenema

    Apr 18, 2001
    Michigan
    ampeg and ashdown also have a smilar retro type groove. id say theyre prolly the top 2 as well. i think ashdown gear loox kewler though. :p