How much amp to take to college?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by CamMcIntyre, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    If there is a thread in the Amp FAQ please point me to it-i checked but didn't see anything quite this specific.

    The all mighty DB gods of Talkbass i have a question for you. I'm currently a high school senior where i've played anything from football stadiums [Indiana Class A football....wooohooo] to gyms to small combos. However, for my latest endevour i am clueless.

    This fall i will be attending Roosevelt University for the Chicago College of Performing Arts where i will be a Jazz Studies Bass Major, and it hit me-i don't have a clue what size amp to bring.

    I have emailed the Professor i will be studying under [Scott Mason], and he told me that i won't need all that much and that space is at a premium as i will be storing my amp primarily at my dorm. The setup will be in my dorm room. Also-the only time i will be using my own amp is on concerts and if i get involved with any outside projects.

    How much amp will i need? I'm more concerned about having waaaaaaay too much than not enough as my current setup i think will be a bit too big.

    My upright is a New Standard Cleveland w/K&K Bass Master Pro electronics.

    My Rack:

    Pres: SansAmp RBI & RPM [i use the RBI as an Electric Bass Pre and the RPM as my DB pre-i get a much more natural sound from it], BBE Bass Max T that i don't use much and might get rid of as I also have a Line 6 Bass POD Pro coming from another TB member [BG side].

    My poweramp is where the issue comes's a Carvin DCM2000. During high school [read as-now] it's been nice to have the ability to run a PA system off of one side of it while i run my bass rig off of the other. Also-when i've played in rock bands, it's nice not having to turn up past half power to go toe to toe with a marshall half stack. Now-i'm not concerned about having enough-it's if i have more than what i could feasibly take. If i run a single 8 ohm cab off of one side of it, it puts out 425watts. This poweramp has far more power than i will ever need period. The head room is nice even if i don't quite use it all. I don't know if that is as much of a can of worms down here as it is in the BG side.

    Currently i have [all avatar] a 2X12, 2X10, and a modified 1X15 [the stock speaker quit working so i put the speaker from my bassman 200 {the internals quit working in that one} into it]. I currently use my 2X12 as my main cab as to me-it sounds most natural on upright, while still giving my electrics a nice voice [while handling the Low B]. I am debating-if i got a 1X12 cab {smallest cab avatar makes}-would that be small enough for a college jazz bass major or would i be better served by buying a combo amp and if i want to keep using my pres plug them into the effects return while they are stored in a rack bag? [I'm thinking just the RBI and RPM-maybe take the POD Pro to mess around with on occasion, but not in the rack bag]

    I will also be taking 2 electric basses. My StingRay5 w/nickel rounds, and my DeArmond Pilot Plus 5 {active Jazz w} w/flats.

    The advice and guidance is greatly appreciated. It's weird-on the BG side-i think i'm doing great, i've got more power than i'll ever need, and have a huge rig. On this side-it feels like it's the opposite mentality-how little amp can one get away with. [I realize-down here, you want the unamplified tone only louder-i think i've come remarkably close/got it with the combination i am using].

    Edit: Thanks for the email Sam-i'm looking into the Clarus now. Also-got an additional email from Scott Mason. I corrected some information at the top. Additionally-he told me that other bassists there use either a GK combo or a Workingman's 12. I will leave this up to see if anyone else has anything to add.
  2. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    One consideration is whether you own a car or not. Carrying a separate amp head/speaker plus basses and bags is darn near impossible on public transportation, especially in the Loop where Roosevelt is located. To get on the El you have to climb a bunch of stairs, to take the subway you have to go down a few flights, either way you have to go through turnstiles and watch out for other people. Not easy, and hand carts aren't very good on stairs.

    That said, I found it really easy to get all over Chicago on public transit (including buses) with a bass guitar in a gig bag and a GK 200MB combo. Particularly if you're playing jazz you won't need a huge amp, so a GK, Acoustic Image, Polytone, or SWR (I actually prefer the tone of the WM10 to the 12) should be enough, and you could hold on to the power amp and Avatar cab(s) to daisy-chain for bigger gigs.

    If you have a car the schlep is a little easier, but since most of what's interesting about Chicago (besides the Art Institute and Buddy Guy's Legends club) is located outside of the Loop you'll have to contend with traffic, parking, and lots of snow.
  3. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Thanks. I'm looking into a light weight setup now. I'm eyeing a Stewart World Power amp....the little 1 rack space, that plus a pre maybe 2 in a rack bag, w/an Epifani or other light weight cab is getting serious consideration. This will sound bad, but-the idea of going back to a combo is really turning me off of that idea due to bad experience. That's all and thanks
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Cam - I'd have to say that the ultimate in "Bang for the square inch/lb." is the AI Focus. I got the 2-channel version, and it delivers something like 300w @ 8 Ohms (one 8 Ohm cab) and 600w @ 4 Ohms (one 4 ohm cab or two 8 ohm cabs). For the ultimate doubling rig, I'd suggest either a Focus (if you can afford it) or a Clarus (also great just not as much power - but way cheaper) plus an EA CXL 112L (8 ohms) or Wizzy (the Wizzy is a 4 ohm cab). Do a search for "Posts by tombowlus" for the most comprehensive hi-fi cab information available anywhere. He even did a shootout of many of the available hifi cabs. The Focus weighs 4 lbs, and the Clarus about 5 lbs, and either is about the size of a hardback book. With my current gig rig ( Focus 2 + either a VL108 or VL208), I am able to one-trip it into most venues with my bass over one shoulder and my folding dolly carrying my stool, amp, and cab in the other hand.

    I know you're young and strong now, but even at your age, the schlep gets old VERY FAST when you do it over and over. The other advantage of the combinations I mentioned is that they easily fit into about any car, and if you tire of the sound of the speaker cab, you can always swap it out. Good luck!
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I just busted out my old Series 1 Contra for a gig this weekend (hadn't used it in awhile), running the La Scala's K&K into the Raven Labs blender, no mic. I was surprised how great it sounded, not boomy at all. Though I really love the full-rangeness of the iAMP with the microphone, this little rig would certainly do the job for a lot of my work.
  6. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I talked to my bass teacher about some of the different combos out there. The catch that i'm beginning to realize is the issue of me doubling. E.g. there's plenty of combos out there that are perfect for either electric or upright, yet not so great for both.

    The gear hurting the back.....i can vouch for that one now-my rack is in the ball park of 60-70 pounds right now. Each cab [my 2X12] is about 70 pounds. I may be 18-but if i keep schlepping this equipment, i will feel like i'm about 75.

    Would a Stewart World 600 power amp [10 pounds] in a 4 space rack bag [w/2 pres], plus a 40 pound or less 1X12 work well?

    I'm hesitant about going back to combos since i have had bad experience with them and i really like the idea of having 2 separate pres still.

    That's all and thanks.
  7. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    For a light cab, you could try a Flite Sound 1x10 cab that weighs just 15 lbs. I use it with an iAmp500 and it sounds great. I did get to play with a CXL-110 but the Flite isn't as clear, probably because it's just the speaker and lacks that extra horn. I'll have to compare them side-by-side one of these days. Anyways, I love the sound and it's nice and full to my ears. Almost "like my bass but louder". I think it may be a little colored, but I like it nonetheless! Together, my 500 watt rig weighs 29 lbs. If I wanna, I can run the iamp 500 into a 2x10 cab for loud stuff. Actually, I'll just probably get a 2nd Flite 1x10 for a grand total of 44 lbs if I get to using the 2x10 alot. That entire rig will be lighter than my 2x10 cab by itself!

    Sometimes I wonder if I should've gotten the focus for a super light power combo. 1x10 Flite + focus = 20lbs. Crazy.

    I know you're not into combos, but I would think the IAmp500 or iAmp800 combo probably warrants a serious look too.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I like the idea of the Stewart in a 4 space rack with a 12" cab. I would recommend a Bergantino HT112 for doubling. It is a fantastic sounding cabinet that is clean and tight.
  9. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I have a Stewart 1.2 and it's a great amp. Stewart recommends leaving a rack space above and below the amp for cooling. I have a four space rack with an empty space above the Stewart and an empty 1/2 space between the amp and a 1.5 space Demeter preamp. I've had no overheating problem like this, but I would be careful about crowding the rack. BTW, the Demeter is a great pre amp for DB or BG.
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You're not going to be doubling on the same gig, are you? If not, that sounds like 1 head and 2 different cabinets. You really seem to default to the electric rig over the DB rig (they all seem to start with a seperate power amp), but I would second the recommendation for either an AI or a Woods. There's PLENTY of cats in NYC who double with either head and if you have a 1-10 or 1-12 for upright and a 2-10 or 1-15 or something for electric gigs, well the thought is you can carry a big/heavy thing and small/light thing. If the big/heavy thing is the DB, then you carry the small/light cab. If the big/heavy thing is the cab, then you carry the small/light BG.
  11. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    just being a devil's advocate.... but how about just leaving the electric basses and associated gear at home for a semester or 2? see if you miss it...

    I mean, if you're going into "jazz studies" you just might find your New Standard Cleveland to be the order of the day. everyday.

    best wishes!
  12. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I mentioned the Contra before I knew that you were going to be doubling. Not surprisingly, I've found it to be useless for slab.

    I'm with Ed....AI or a Woods head, and a coupla cabs would be my setup if I were doing it now.

    Again (sorry, I'm a broken record), I really like my iAMP 800 Combo when it comes to an "everything" amp. Heavy as sin, but it does come with a built-in dolly so you can wheel it around. Not cheap.
  13. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I would like to say thank you to all of you. It's great to know that i can ask questions down here without being slaughtered for lack of a better term.

    I'll try and respond to as much as i can.

    Idea of leaving the 2 electrics at home....nice, but i'm expected to play both. Part of the reason why i chose this particular school is because they allow the bassists to do both. Nice idea though.

    I looked into the iAmp combos.....if i had the coin-i might talk to my dad about going halfs with me. I emailed [all hail] Bob G to get prices. If it's going to be financed just by me.....too rich for my blood. I will crunch some more numbers though-the size/weight/SOUND-reasons all point to the iAmps.

    Ed-from what i understand/am interpreting [could always be wrong.....wouldn't be the first time]. There will be times where i will be doubling on the same gig. No clue how many times that is though. I do default the BG rig-i've found a tone that to me, and my teachers sounds like my bass only louder. The catch-it comes in a right about 100 pound package.

    As i reread this thread continually, if i can by any means get the cash for an iAmp......i think that'll be my first choice. I'm in the process of selling a chunk of my BG stuff [2 cabs, a pre, plus my van]

    The stewart idea.....
    The main one that i am looking at is the 600 watt one, maybe an epifani 1X12 w/a pre or two from my current rack.

    Is there any worth in buying an equipment cart? E.g. the rock n roller ones that can be converted into several different configurations and dealing with a heavier setup? I realize that i don't want to use my 100 pound plus setup b/c i will want to pawn it just so that i don't lug it so much.

    I thought that if i got a cart, i could stick the amp on it-strap a BG double gig bag [2 basses] and carry the upright in addition to any backpage/etc that i may need and have that be my "maximum" load. I would be wheeling a cart and carrying a DB-does this seem unreasonable to think that i can achieve that or I am thinking that i am superman of lugging?

    Thank you guys......if i was rich-not doubling, this would be easier in my mind, however, my true love for bass comes from playing them both.

    edit: i just crunched the numbers. If i can sell everything that i need to and for the prices that i am asking. I am a little bit short-but it's close enough to where my dad *may* help out. The catch w/this is that i would be asking him to pay for a bass wheel [the gaines one] and a new bow. Roughly so probably about $500 worth of stuff [both from all hail, Bob G]
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Supporting Member

    May 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    While we're cheering for small(ish) amps, I have to say hooray for Aguilar. I just switched from one of their tube monstrosities to the 17lb AG 500, and I use their smallest (12" and horn) cabinet. They make a combo in that configuration too.
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Supporting Member

    May 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    For doubling, I use the Radial BassBone, a little foot switchable two channel bass preamp pedal with a mute, tuner out and a DI. There are three preset EQ curves and a volume on one channel, and a three band EQ and volume on the other. It fits in a gig bag pocket.
  16. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    A couple of weeks ago I bought Sam's Ampeg PB-112H. Last week I picked up a Clarus II head for it.

    'Course, it sounds wonderful for DB but I'm very pleasantly surprised with the EBG sound I'm getting with my old Warwick Thumb. It's not an uncoloured sound, it's a very mid-rangey woodey sound. That's the sound I like anyway.

    I don't need the EBG rig all that often these days, and even more rarely do I need it to be capable of extreme volume. In the future if I'm unfortunate enough to be in such a situation, I'll rent.
  17. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    The flite sound cabs sound intriguing weight and are closer to what i'd like to spend [under $800 total]. Does anyone here have any personal experience with them?
  18. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I think there's only one or two other players that use Flite cabs but I don't think they hang around often on the dark side. During my shopping phase, I searched both sides of TB and only found a couple positive comments, and no negative ones. I wish I could provide more insight but I'm relatively new to the bass world (been playing for about almost a year now) and can't give you a good comparison on gear. I just have alot more experience with guitar gear.

    For $300 new I figured I couldn't go wrong since I could probably turn around and sell it rather quickly if it didn't work out. But I dont' think I'll be doing that anytime soon. :D

    I can only bring up the comparison against the cxl110 I brought up earlier. Personally, I like my flite better. Sounds warmer to my ears. Thinking about it now, I would probably have gone with the other version of Flites 1x10 and added the extra tweeter. I liked the clarity of the cxl and kinda wished that I went with the tweeter version. I still like the bottom end of the Flite better tho. Seems like older TBDB'ers tend to pair the Flite 1x10 with a clarus and have been happy with it. Do search for Flite sound and you'll find their comments.

    Hope that helps.

    EDIT: One more thing, some of our top guys here like the Ampeg Portabass cabs. Light and inexpensive. Maybe getting a 1x12 or 2x12 wouldn't be a bad idea. I think the only problem is that Ampeg may be phasing out those cabs and they might be harder to find. Seems like they're only making 2x10 or 2x12 cabs now. A 2x10 weighs 32 lbs (!) and runs $560 from But if I remember, T-Bal or Ray Parker likes the 12" and not the 10" speakers. Do a search on that too.
  19. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Thanx Hdiddy. I asked my electric teacher about the Ampeg portabass cabs. He told me i think it's the electric guys that don't like them so much. I feel weird by going against the general statements to get a combo, but this might sound odd-but i just don't want one. I'm tempted to buy a cart-see how messed up my rig feels [the 2X12] and then i've been back leaning towards a lighter weight power + 1-2 max pres [i think i could get away just my RPM if i had to] in a rack bag, w/a 1X12.
  20. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    IIRC, FITZGEARHEAD used to run a Clarus into a 2x10 when he used to double and said that it was sounded fine. You could just get a smaller amp for the interim and drag your 2x10 everywhere.
    Maybe you can get a used one cheap?

    IMO, a hand truck makes all the difference. In my foolish guitar days, I used haul my guitars, a 43 lbs fender amp, and a 20 lb bag of percussion stuff and effects - all bungied to my folding hand truck. No problem. Have truck, will travel. I just made sure that I lived on the ground floor whenever I moved. :D