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How on earth do I pick an amp??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bornagain, May 1, 2018.

  1. bornagain


    Apr 25, 2018
    So guitarist turned bassist here. I tried out an Orange AD200b and thought it was cool except the price, especially for a pcb amp I have handwired guitar amps that literally cost half the price. I've found one used but it's still pretty expensive, for that price I could get a Weber Mywatt (Hiwatt DR201 clone). Then I found Matamp and they seem legit but incredibly expensive too. Then I started looking at D-class amps again because I'm not a millionaire and read about the Tone Hammer 500. Then people said Fender Rumble is as good as the Tone hammer, but I tried the Fender Rumble and didn't like the clean channel. Now I can't really try out most of these amps. And then there is the question of what type of cab to get. Help please
  2. It's tough when you can't try stuff out.
    But you will only get opinions about what others like when you ask here.

    It would be helpful to describe the type of music you will play, your band setting for loudness reasons, type of sound you're after and a budget. Plus any other specifics that interest you.

    Lot of good bass rigs to chose from. Handwired vs PCB is rarely a consideration though.
    DrummerwStrings, HolmeBass and ELG60 like this.
  3. This is just one mans solution. You can pick up a reconditioned Ampeg PF 500 from Sweetwater for around $300. You can pick up a used Ampeg 8 10 for $500 or less. Yeah , it's big and heavy but it sounds soooooo good. This will cover just about any degree of loud you will ever need for about the price of the Tonehammer. If you get gigging and can put away a grand or so ,you can get a used SVT Classic head and have the holy grail of bass amps. Or you can get a Fender rumble 200 (or 500 if that's what you think you need) and have your basses (pardon the pun) pretty much covered. Then there's G.K, Traynor , Mark Bass and about a hundred others. Naaaaaaaaa...... Get the Ampeg.:thumbsup:
    The preceding message was brought to you by an obvious Ampeg fan boy. That's the rig I've been using on stage lately and it works great for me. Like Old Garage Bander said , you'll get a hundred different opinions about this , but this opinion was mine.:rolleyes:
    Jeremyberb likes this.
  4. bornagain


    Apr 25, 2018
    Ah forgot about that. Classic rock, 70's rock. The amp is for rehearsing and I want it to be able to handle small or mid-size gigs. In my guitar stack I have two 50lb heads and 1 50lb 2x12 so I don't really care if the head weights 50 lbs I'm used to it.

    I also like some nice grit on the bass

    But I would also prefer to buy something quality straight off so I don't have to upgrade anytime soon and lose money in that way. I know PCB doesn't sound worse but I'm a bit paranoid buying second hand equipment when the warranty is just 6 months knowing that if something breaks it might not be as easy to fix :)
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  5. bornagain


    Apr 25, 2018
    I'm in Sweden so no sweetwater for me. There is actually an used SVT-classic for around the same price as the used Orange AD200b, but it is still quite expensive. These heads here are around 1500-1800 usd used, and that's without the cab
  6. The circuit for the Orange AD200 is incredibly simple and easy to work on. Mine runs without a hitch and my tech loves working on it (had to be re-birthed as was previously a festival backline amp that was heavily abused).

    My Reeves C225 is totally handwired and has been blowing itself up on the reg for the past 5 months. My tech can't figure out where the issue is.

    Handwired vs PCB is only ever a thing when you are dealing with crappy PCB. The Orange is a great amp.

    But yes, expensive.

    Essentially the way I choose amps is to try and see what people I love the tone and style of are playing then find a store that stocks that same amp. I'll give it a good going over and make a decision. For me after finding out that Julia from Future of the Left played an AD200 the choice way easy :D
    jumbodbassman likes this.
  7. Linnin

    Linnin SUSPENDED

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Fender Rumble Stage 800. 15 amps in one. Including a 70's all tube Orange. This amp will change the bass amp world forever.
    HolmeBass and edencab like this.
  8. TuneSalad666

    TuneSalad666 Banned

    Mar 1, 2018

    Bring your bass to some different music stores with a wide selections of amps and try them out with your own bass.

    Then pick the one you like the best.

    Less ideal:

    Check out a lot of reviews and not least YouTube demos of different amps to get an idea of which amp you like the best.

    Personally I was lucky and got an Ampeg B-15S really cheap in a second hand music equipment store, which I by chance happened to love the sound of.

    Many years later after having been stupid enough to sell it again during a break from playing in bands I borrowed a Trace Elliot amp from the new band I was playing with, and although a completely different beast than the Ampeg I also really loved the tone I got from that, which fitted my playing style and the type of music we were playing at that point better than the Ampeg would have, and that was my clue to get my current amp which is a Trace Elliot.
  9. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Why not save some money, try some of your guitar amps with a bass cabinet. You never know how they’ll perfom till you try them.

    In general a bass amp will have an EQ and power supply designed for tone shaping and reproducing low frequencies. The lower notes require more energy in order to reproduce bass frequencies. Some guitar amps have power supplies that are good enough for bass.
  10. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    What kind of music are you playing? What bands do you really enjoy the bass tone, and what gear are they using? What kind of basses do you play, or want to play? Are you interested in effects pedals, or do you want some of that included? Separate onboard OD channel, or just single channel?

    If you can't play everything you want to try out, you need to get some good headphones and listen to as many videos and reviews as possible. If you listen to enough videos of the same amp, you'll start to notice things regardless of what they're using to record. This can be a good way to isolate things you may or may not like. There's so many possibilities, we need more information.
    DrummerwStrings likes this.
  11. The first thing I would do, is look at the companie’s warranty. Is it simple to understand and is it applicable in your country? Be sure that you have a clear understanding of how any service issues will be dealt with.

    If the brand, from a warranty and service perspective, does not meet your expectations, cross it off your list, immediately.

    IMHO, a lengthy warranty filled with disclaimers and complex wording is an indication that the company is more interested in protecting themselves from a claim than looking after your problem, if one should occur.
  12. Another important question is, how much do you want to spend?
    It seems to me (may the wrong) that you want the sound of a valve amp so I don't think class D will do it for you. Don't get me wrong, for bass I prefer non-valve, but I don't think that is what you are after.
    So, depending on how much you want to spend you may want to go some inexpensive class D or other solid state and add a pre-amp pedal.
  13. That was exactly my thought. Valves are expensive, but it looks like it's the sound you are looking for. The are a lot of amps with simulations, but I guess it's not what you are after. Have thought about hybrids? With one or two valves in the preamp section? If you want something cheap and reliable, I'd go for an used Ashdown head. I got mine really cheap. Ashdown cabs are also sold at a half price used, but not everybody likes them.

    If you want something with even more gritt, an Orange Bass Terror used (if you can find one) it's also a good choice.

    Again, if you're looking for a valve tone, only a valve amp could do the job. But it just depends on how much you want to spend
  14. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    Welcome to TB and bassdom, born!

    Treble is cheap, bass hurts the wallet.

    Can you get out and try a Mesa D800/D800+ and Mesa cab?

    Genzler Magellan?

    I don't have either, but I have their great uncle, a Genz Benz Streamliner. In the unlikely event you run across one of those used, or a Shuttle, buy it.

    300 Watts would be sufficiant, but 500 to 800 watts better.

    Don't skimp on the cab!
  15. You shouldn't be concerned about the handwired vs PCB thing. If anything, I'd be way more concerned about a handwired circuit. PCBs are typically soldered by machines (under perfectly controled conditions) AND tested extensively by machines after assembly (sometimes up to tens of thousands of measurements taken on a single PCB to check for faults). PCB circuits can still be serviced if a component fails.

    Just do your research, find an amp that sounds good to you and that has a good reputation on here, and don't worry about what's under the hood.
  16. Burwabit

    Burwabit Likes guitars that tune good and firm feelin women Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2011
    Lubbock, TX
    It will? I hadn’t heard.
    Pet Politics, Datsgor and Anachronism like this.
  17. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    If you want some grind you can check out used Gallien-Kruegers at Guitar Center or whatever is nearby. An 800RB or 700RB-ii would probably suit whatever volume you may need. Pair it with a decent 4x10 and you'll shake the room.
  18. Gizmot

    Gizmot Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    There’s no easy way around it - you need to figure out what kind of sound you want and go try a bunch of things to find what will give you that sound. Don’t simply buy a Fender or an Ampeg because a lot of people use them - are they right for you? Make an informed decision based on what works for you.
  19. It seems like you have a big budget and like tubes. I'm that case, sure, a class d amp would pragmatically suit your needs, but might leave you wanting something. An orange ad200b would, surely, hold its own - but a Traynor yba200-2 IME also be a great amp. Traynor is a bit niche being made in Canada, but it's good stuff. Peavey also used to make a couple of tube amps - the vb2 and vb3 - and people seem to like them. There's also ampeg, that kind of gold standard for amps with the SVT and the V4B; and fender with their bassman amps. Outside of that I'm sure there are plenty of boutique or niche builders you could dig. But somebody else in this thread said it - maybe try a guitar head through a bass cab, maybe even with a preamp pedal into the effects return, just to see how a lower EQ would work.

    If you had a cheaper amp, you might even be able to just swap out the caps in the EQ section with caps one value higher, and mess around with negative feedback. Look I'm no rocket surgeon, I'm just proposing quick and dirty methods of experimentation - don't mess around with the internals of an amp unless you know what you're doing, maybe even then go to a tech first and ask a few questions.

    But there are a lot of options in the bass amp world, it's easy to get analysis paralysis and always think there's something that might be better. Honestly, you might just want to narrow your search to like five amps at most, closer to three, then look for YouTube videos on them, look at what endorsers use them, look at prices and average user reviews, then pick based on that. That way, instead of thinking about a million amps, you're operationalizing your desired factors in an amp (say, tube amp with 100-200 Watts, between 1200-2300usd, grindey sound, passive tone stack) and finding a few amps in there. It's a good way to go through life - look at what's going on and what your desired end state is, write down all of your applicable factors, figure out which of those factors need to be worked with and which can be compromised, then think about three solid plans that take those factors to account and pick the one that seems the best. This way you're not wasting money on features you don't want, or getting something that doesn't have features you need.
  20. YouTube a bunch of things in your price range. They're all good, in their own way. Find the power, and size you want/need, find your price, YouTube demos with some good headphones. That's pretty much all you got to go off man.
    Last edited: May 2, 2018

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