How good is the new microlight Class D gear?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dBChad, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. dBChad


    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    So I've been a fan of SWR's tone since I first snagged a Grand Prix pre-amp from a pawn shop many years ago. Took a while to get dialed in, but once I spent some time with it, I really started to dig it. Sold all my gear several years ago to fund my wedding, have less heavy equip. to move around during PCSs, etc. etc.

    I'm working on putting a rig back together, and now all these highly reviewed micro-lights are saturating the market. At first (coming from SWR), I was under the impression that if one person can carry it, it either won't sound good or won't last. However, it seems that both of these have been worked out (or were just psychosomatic issues to begin with)now. Having been through surgery in the past to remove my "output cable" from my "soft case" (inguinal hernia reference), light weight has much more appeal.

    A few features that are important to me:
    -headphone jack with speaker defeat/muting because I live in an apartment and will spend most of my home practice using headphones.
    -scalability. I see a lot of amps supporting 2 ohm loads now which makes me think I could dial in my tone and add or subtract cabs for volume. Sounds like a good system
    -tone. If it doesn't sound good, I don't want it. I really like the SWR sound, but since they aren't around anymore, I need to open my mind
    -durability. Common sense. No one wants to spend money on something overly fragile or unreliable. I'm not planning on buying a backup amp just yet, so it needs to work when I plug in and play.

    I'm probably going to try the Trace Elliot Elf, since a local shop has one in stock, but I'm also a bit intrigued by Peavey's mini mega (sounds overkill, but tames down to 125w into an 8 ohm cab which is appropriate for my apartment), and possibly some used Carvin, Yamaha, or SWR gear. What else should I be on the lookout for? Keep in mind, I'm a college student who recently purchased a semester of textbooks, so bang for buck is also important as my budget is on the tight side.

    SirMjac28 and zon6c-f like this.
  2. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    My GK Class D combos are great.
    Nunovsky and packhowitzer like this.
  3. I have bass players lower back and inguenal hernia 10 years back. We will Always need to be careful of straining

    I bought Bergantino forte’ and 1-12HDN cab @ $2000

    Do I love the tone and oomph from my 45 lb Acoustic 370 head and my over 100 lbSunn 1-18 VH? Has breath of Thor but I can hold my 6 pound 700 watt forte’ with one hand and 1-12 in the other. My hernia repair and lower back Love it!

    You can read several Bergantino posts within this section

    Welcome to 2018... Oh and speakon cables as well!!

    Best to you and keep us posted as to your selection
    SirMjac28 and TheBear like this.
  4. You don't mention which cab(s) you intend to use. If you really want to go tiny head then the elf or GK MB200 would be my choices. I have a GK MB110 combo (only 100 watts) and it sounds really good so I imagine that a MB200 head would be an excellent mini rig with a single 10 or 12 cab and very capable with an additional cab (two good single 12s with 200 watts will go pretty loud).
    Plectrum72 likes this.
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I live a couple miles from a big ten university. I can't imagine a college student wanting big, heavy gear. Everything is stacked against transportation in a college town. Driving sucks. Parking sucks. Gear storage sucks. Your assigned parking space might be miles from your dorm. You might not be in a condition to drive a car if you've been out playing and are over 21, if you catch my drift.

    Also, at least from what I've seen in this town, playing opportunities for college bands aren't all that great, and don't involve big venues where you need really loud gear. The student bars don't seem to need or want live music. At the same time there are interesting opportunities to play music, that are not loud rock bands, so you might not need big gear anyway.

    Meanwhile, the lightweight gear is great. There are no tradeoffs, just smaller and lighter.
    MattZilla, bdplaid, Al Kraft and 3 others like this.
  6. dBChad


    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    Currently using a single 12" 8 ohm cab. Looking at adding a couple of 2 10"s, but trying to pick out a head first so I know what impedance to get.

    I'm attending college late in life (early 30's) so I live off campus. Annoying my wife is a real concern, hence my prioritization of headphone only usability. I don't drink, so I'll drive myself, but my hatchback isn't going to fit a huge rig. 1x12s and 2x10s are probably just right just considering the possibility of closing all the doors while the car is in motion. I figure 1 cab of I only need to stage monitor, or 2 cabs if I'm not PA supported.
  7. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    So many choices.

    I only know my tc Electronic rh450 which has a ton of great features and I love. The eq is very well thought out and implemented. Great DI. Compressor. Tube tone. Tuner.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    What's your max budget, amp and cab?
    wintremute and BadExample like this.
  9. If you are happy with your 1x12 (which one?) cab then adding another of the same would be sensible. Mixing cabs with different speakers is rarely a good idea unless they are specifically designed for that purpose. Small 4 ohm cabs aren't a great idea unless you are trying to squeeze the maximum from a very low output amp and 200 watts certainly isn't low output. Better to stick with 8 ohm cabs for modular flexibility and ease of resale. 4 ohm cabs are best if you know you won't need to add another. There are 2 ohm capable heads but they are either big (Ampeg SVT etc) or expensive (Mesa D800).
    craigie and Hounddog409 like this.
  10. dennis james

    dennis james

    Jun 30, 2018
    chicago area
    things sure have changed. in the 70's if you had a band in a college town like Madison there was no end of playing opportunities.
    Admiral Akbar, BadExample and fdeck like this.
  11. My Ampeg pf350 has all the features that you want and has the great Ampeg sound .
  12. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Agree with this - I uses several combinations of 1x12 cabs (8 ohms) and it worked out well. No need to go to a 2 ohm capable head unless you have real needs to do so. If you like your current 1x12, then get another to match and a decent head and you are good to go. Value for money, you can't beat a used Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 or 9.0 (they pop up in the classifieds here from time to time for $300 or so). I had an Elf and sold it - nice little amp but I didn't think it good enough for my purposes as a primary head, and really don't need a backup.

    Currently using a Genzler Magellan (great amp but might be more than you want to spend) and also have owned and love the Mesa Subway D800. Both can be found in classifieds here for around $600 and are exceptional amps.

    So to answer your initial question - much of the class D stuff thats out there now is extremely good bass gear, easy to load and more than capable of handling any gigs short of major stadiums. Not sure where you are located, but see if you can find a bass-oriented music store even if you have to drive a ways and try as many as you can. Guitar Center doesn't count, they typically carry a pretty limited selection. IMO, buying from TB classifieds (especially for heads, cabs not so much due to shipping costs) is the way to go.

    Good luck on your search!
  13. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009

    Mesa Subway D800. Pretty much all you need to know.
  14. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    I was in the same boat .Few more than ago. I needed something more portable for practice and I wasn't about to lug my sm400 around with a 410. Acquired an amoeg portaflex 210 in a trade and went ahead and grabbed the portaflex 300 head. Sounds d awesome. But I played a mark bass tube head the other day and fell in love with the sounds. If you don't care about money, go try that markbass!!
    pjbassist likes this.
  15. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    GK MB 500
    TC RH 450.
    No issues in 3 years.
    gazzatriumph likes this.
  16. ardgedee


    May 13, 2018
    I thought the Trace Elliot ELF amp sounded very good when I tried one through a MarkBass 1x12 cab (sorry, don't know which one). Funnily enough I didn't think the sound was nearly as good when the ELF was paired with Trace Elliot's 2x8 cab; with all the tone controls centered it sounded comparatively dull and boxy, and fiddling with the tone controls didn't help much.

    conclusion: Try it and see. It definitely works well with the right cab.
    dBChad likes this.
  17. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I have an Aquilar Tone Hammer 500 that I love (but has no headphone jack). I also have an older Fender Rumble 150 v2 head which has done well. If you are looking at budget you will do well with a Rumble 500.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
    Moosehead1966 likes this.
  18. Hasty


    Jul 4, 2014
    Fort Worth, Tx
    You might be surprised what you can fit in a compact vehicle. I have an old 2003 Corolla that can hold my 5 string bass, Double bass, two 112 cabs, Ampeg PF500 Head, 12x24 pelican type case (for pedals, cables, and such) and music stand when needed. Plus the folding dolly to schlep the heavier stuff.

    I don’t always carry that much stuff... but it’s good to know I can when needed. It’s like a really awkward and expensive version of Tetris.
    dBChad likes this.
  19. Hounddog409


    Oct 27, 2015
    Mesa D800 or D800+
    End of story.
    MTN.bass72, wildman2 and Element Zero like this.
  20. 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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