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"Hi-fi" combo amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by KingRazor, May 23, 2011.

  1. Anyone know of any transparent, un-colored combo amps out there for under $300?

    I don't need a lot of volume, going to use this for bedroom practice and possibly jamming with a garage band.

    I don't like most heavily-colored amps so I'm looking for something that's relatively transparent.

    Being able to handle a B-string is a plus, but I don't play 5s that often, so if it can't really cut it with a 5er it wouldn't be the end of the world.
  2. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    The only thing I can think of is a used workingman 12 from SWR...or you could get by with a workingman 10 but that would really only be good for acoustic gigs or bedroom practice...

    I used the workingman 10 some times with my upright...it is very glassy and transparent sounding. But the 10 will not cut it for the B string.
  3. I won't be gigging with this amp, just practicing in the bedroom or jamming in the garage with friends.

    The SWR working pros are all over $400, which is out of my price range right now. Even $300 would be pushing it, I'm looking for more in the $250 range if possible.
  4. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    That's an oxymoron, as hi-fi cabs have large enclosures and midrange drivers. Combos tend to have undersized enclosures and AFAIK none has a midrange driver.
  5. Interesting, I wasn't aware. I was under the impression that "hi-fi" meant a clear tone without any reduction in the high end.

    Well, in that case, what I'm looking for is the most transparent, un-colored combo amp I can get for under $300.
  6. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    In addition to the size factors pointed out by Bill, lower cost amps tend to be colored. It generally costs more to build in PA-like tone.
  7. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    It means relatively flat response. Where that's concerned a small box can't go low unless at very low volume, and woofers don't stay flat above 2kHz at best. Even if the cab has a tweeter that doesn't help, as tweeters don't work down to 2kHz.
    Also true.
    They're not at all flat. Your best bet is to go try some stuff and get what sounds best to you. If SWR and the like is your frame of reference chances are you've never played through a hi-fi rig anyway, so it may not be what you really want.
  8. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    Carvin MB12 has a mid. Don't know if it's hifi and it's a little out of the price range. Certainly isn't a large enclosure.

    For the OP, I picked up a Behringer 115 combo to leave at church. Didn't need much volume. I tried their 12 and 10 combos and this was the only one that sounded decent. It says 180 watts but that's, uh, optimistic. It was about $225 and has worked trouble free the last couple of years. It had a 2 year exchange warranty.

    I also recommend used items on CL. 100 watt 115 combos show up for $100-150 often in my area.
  9. Well, maybe I can share some of my experiences and you can help point me in the right direction.

    My local GC has Ampeg, Markbass, Acoustic, and Fender amps. Those four brands make up 99.9% of their stock.

    The Ampegs and Markbass amps sound as if there's a boost in the high mids.

    This video shows exactly the sound I'm thinking of: YouTube - ‪Genz Benz Shuttle Max 12.0/Uber Bass 212‬‏ (at exactly 6:37, not the part with the pick though)

    The acoustic amps have a weird noise in the background that I don't like.

    The Fender Rumble amps sound pretty good, but you can tell they have a scooped sound and I like to have some mids in there.
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    If you're going to use YouTube as a reference.
    Go pick up demos of Amplitube Custom shop, or Pod Farm, and try out a bunch of the amp combinations. Both include many types of amps SS and Tube. Amplitube include official certified editions. When you find something you like, go look for the hardware, or get a good hifi PA cab and play the model through it.
  11. KramerBassFan


    Jan 3, 2009
    If they boost in the hi mids, why not turn the hi mids down?

    Amps do have EQ's for a reason. ;)

    If they have scooped mids, then boost the mids.... and so on.
  12. I tried turning them down on the markbass but it didn't sound like the tone changed at all. It might not have been the high-mids, I'm not sure.
  13. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I think you've sort of answered your own question. You give an example of high end gear that delivers the tone you want, but comes with the price tag it takes to build in those features.

    Your best bet, IMO, is to look for a used high end combo with the tone that appeals to you. You may have to be patient and may have to stretch your budget a little bit. You can save some extra $$ while you're being patient :)
  14. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    Personally i think combos limit your options speaker wise.

    Nothing is going to sound hi fi , brand new for 250bucks.

    I would rather have a high powered head, and use a combo sized cab. Single speaker combos with some horrible tweeter always have a goofy sound. You would like a 2x10 or a 2x12 should give you a compact size and give you the midrange clarity your looking for.

    Otherwise if you insist on a combo I found a used GK 2x10 in portland on craigslist here

    If you already have a head just find a used cabinet, find a nice 2x12 on craiglist, finding good used deals is your friend. I seen all kinds of goodies in portland.
  15. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I wouldn't describe GK as uncolored or transparent :rollno:
  16. dbhokie


    Nov 1, 2010
    I wouldn't describe any lower priced combos as uncolored hardly...Go with what others have suggested and try a few and pick the one you like best, I have had a smaller Ampeg BA115 for a practice amp in my office for a while, I can adjust the "coloring" of it to hit a tone I find desirable, but it is certainly colored.
  17. $300 can buy a heck of set of headphones. Couple that with a small mixer that you already have and you'll hear every note, noise, click and pop that your bass is capable of making.
  18. The example I gave was actually to point out something I don't like about some of the amps I've tried. (although the beginning of the video definitely shows the tone I would like if I had the money).
    I already have a decent set of studio monitor headphones. I don't have a mixer, and don't remember ever saying I did, but I do have a Behringer V-AMP. So if I want to plug my headphones in I can get a pretty transparent tone, but if I want anyone else to hear it, or I want to hear what's going on around me while I practice, or if I just don't feel like wearing the headphones, I'm stuck using my combo amp.

    I just don't have much of a budget for a good cab and power amp. I'd probably have to save for a few months.
  19. blastjv


    Jan 8, 2010
    Philly Area
    I think some of the Acoustic combos would be right up your alley. I think you should really give them another look. The only beef you listed with them was a noise in the background, which very well could just be the power at the GC you were at, and is not typical of them IME. I've owned a few of them and they were very quiet. They are cheap, and have very versatile and powerful EQ's so I think you'd be able to dial in just about any sound you'd want including a relatively flat and transparent one. About the only thing they really DON'T do well is a good overdriven sound, which is exactly what you said you don't want...so that's a win/win!!!


    PS - Musician's Friend has the B100 combo for $250 shipped.
  20. Maybe the next time I'm at GC I'll try some acoustic amps again. I'm not going to buy an amp without trying it.

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