Hi TB! Back-up amp/FRFR question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Band Mom, Oct 2, 2017.


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  1. Band Mom

    Band Mom Not Actually a Mom

    Oct 2, 2017
    Austin, TX
    Hi Folks,
    First time poster/long time lurker here. So, I'm interested in a backup solution, and I'm trying to narrow down my search by getting some advice from you guys.

    First, my current live setup: P-bass -> Line6 Helix LT -> Mesa D800+ -> Schroeder 212PL 4 ohm. I run this in 4CM and my primary patch has a pre-amp bypass (through the Mesa's fx loop) to instead use the modeled Mesa 400+ preamp block that has a fairly sizable difference in gain and EQ. As the D800+ is single channel, this is my semi-workaround to create a virtual second channel.

    My current band could maybe be described as "heavy alt-rock", and I have no plans to replace my current rig because I love most everything about it. But seeing as my day job is in the technology field, my concern is that both the the D800+ and Helix are fairly complicated pieces of machinery from a technical standpoint, and my experience is that the greater degree of engineered features in a piece of gear/software/computer, the higher the chance of potential failure. That said, I've never had a single problem with my current setup that wasn't due to "user error" :)

    So, here are possible avenues I'm exploring:

    Back-up bass head: My requirements are that it 1) is tonally and within the ballpark to my current settings on the D800+ (mid-heavy, medium bass, dialed-back treble) with small (but loud) gig level volume. 2) Is either 2 channel or has an fx loop. 3) Can fit in the secondary storage of my Helix backpack (~12"x14") or comes with its own gig bag. 4) Costs less than a D800+, as this is a backup, not a replacement. I'm looking at maybe a Peavey Minimax or something around that caliber.

    FRFR cab or PA Speaker: Instead of going with a backup amp, I'd instead simply grab a full range speaker with a high enough wattage/db to still monitor myself, and simply using the Helix as my backup "pre-amp" with their selection of bass amp+cab models. My only requirements here are 1) is relatively light (maybe ~30 lbs) and 2)Price is lower than my current D800+. 1 pro for this solution is that it can also double as my guitar rig for jam sessions. But a con is that it hinges on the Helix not being the item to break during a set. I've seen so many different feature lists on PAs now that I'm starting to go blind. Anything from an Alto on up to some QSC models.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    -Mike
     
  2. kasbrey

    kasbrey

    Aug 23, 2002
    York UK
    Quilter BB800.

    The XLR in can serve as a 2nd channel for the amp.
     
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  3. Band Mom

    Band Mom Not Actually a Mom

    Oct 2, 2017
    Austin, TX
    I hadn't considered Quilter. That's moving over to the short list. Does the XLR in/out live between the preamp and power amp? Also, most sound guys seem to prefer the DI out of my Mesa. Would this mean they'd have to change over to mics for the cab?
     
  4. kasbrey

    kasbrey

    Aug 23, 2002
    York UK
    From the manual.

    LINE IN (rear panel) An XLR balanced line input may be connected on the rear of the amp. The signal enters prior to the Master control, but bypasses all preamp EQ and limiting. Thermal limiting and short circuit protection are still effective.

    Given that the DI out is post Master (slightly odd actually) I would assume that both preamp and line in would be available to the Line out XLR.
     
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  5. Band Mom

    Band Mom Not Actually a Mom

    Oct 2, 2017
    Austin, TX
    Oh, so post EQ for DI out only? That is sort of odd, but doesn't necessarily conflict with my requirements.
     
    kasbrey likes this.
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    What about a used D-800? That way you get a backup preamp and power amp, and retains the basic characteristics of your primary amp. If you are in the US or Canada, you would also have the remaining balance of the 5 year warranty (which is transferrable).
     
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  7. Band Mom

    Band Mom Not Actually a Mom

    Oct 2, 2017
    Austin, TX
    Hi agedhorse!
    Does the D-800 have an fx loop? I'd still want to retain my virtual two channel setup. Thanks for the reply!

    -Mike
     
  8. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    No, but it has an aux in that inserts to the same place in the circuit. Muting the input will mute the preamp's signal but keeps the aux input active (just like with the effects loop). The only thing different is the aux in doesn't interrupt the signal like the effects return does, there are folks using the D-800 exactly for this purpose which is why I mentioned it.
     
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  9. Band Mom

    Band Mom Not Actually a Mom

    Oct 2, 2017
    Austin, TX
    Ah! That's an excellent idea. I didn't realize that the non-800+ I/O could use those as options. And what better way to copy my current tone than by using essentially the same amp? Thanks for the suggestion!
     
  10. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Kind of kills 2 birds with one stone.
     
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  11. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Based on your requirements get another Mesa D800.
    My back up head is the size of a book and just for emergency.
     
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  12. Band Mom

    Band Mom Not Actually a Mom

    Oct 2, 2017
    Austin, TX
    What are your main and backup amps, if you don't mind me asking?

    And yes, I'm now looking into backup D800 amps, though the used market for those is what a lot of new back-up amps are going for. Granted, those amps may not have the same level of versatility/wattage/features, but I guess I don't necessarily need a swiss army backup amp. I'm curious what others with similar setups have done.

    Thanks for the advice, TB!

    -Mike
     
  13. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Note that a used Subway might have more time left on its transferable warranty that some new amps might have. This might be part of the reason for the results of your comparison.
     
    Band Mom likes this.
  14. Band Mom

    Band Mom Not Actually a Mom

    Oct 2, 2017
    Austin, TX
    Good point about the warranty. I don't doubt that's a large part as to why resale is still fairly high for those models. I'll let you guys know what I come up with.

    -Mike
     
  15. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    FWIW, I've found that companies who offer lengthy, transferable warranties are also sending you a message about the quality and reliability designed into their products. While that extra coverage is nice to have, I especially like knowing that the company took some extra time to be sure they don't get many warranty calls. :thumbsup:
     
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