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Lookin' into upgrading bass amp... with hard specifics

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Da LadY In Red, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. Hello! Right now, I have a Peavey Mark VIII bass head and an Avatar Neo 2x10 at 4 ohms (cost me $430 total, by the way). I got the Avatar at 4 ohms as I'm planning on only playing for that single 2x10 for like, my whole career. I'm definitely a minimalist. However, I now really that while the Mark VIII sounds fine, I really want to upgrade when it's most conveigent (sp) to a lighter bass head.

    I was originally digging the GK 700-II RB's, but then I realized, what happens if I need more volume than just a single 2x10? I don't have to worry about that with the Mark VIII as it runs to 2 ohms. I've come to somewhat a brick wall as a lot of heads (good ones, by the way) only run to 4 ohms.

    So what's the best solution? I would like the head to weigh less than 25 lbs total, as the main reason I want to upgrade is for it to be lightweight, so I can make one trip, head in one hand, cab in other, bass on back. I'm looking to spend no more than about $600 dollars.

    Or, there's some more options available.

    1) keep the Peavey and use that for gigs where you need more power and have a seperate head for just running the single 2x10 by itself that's really lightweight

    2) pray to God I'm never gonna need more than 2x10

    3) go instead to a power amp and preamp (best alternate option)

    I don't particularily want to go to the power/pre as I rather have a head, however, if it's truly the best option, I'll do it.

    So all considered, what do you think is the best option? I'm almost thinking the power/pre, but I don't have a good idea what heads go to 2 ohms.

    Thanks guys.
  2. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    I know there are a few pro-quality heads that can go to 2 ohms (eg. some EBS I think) And there are some (Mesa Walkabout spring to mind) that are 'unofficially stable' at 2 ohms.

    Course with a pre/power you could bridge in 4 ohms and then run a stereo 2 ohm load, so either way youd get a whole lotta power.
  3. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Pre/power can be lightweight - but will be more bulky than a head. A used Stewart World 2.1 or 1.6 should work great along with a good used preamp. I recommend getting used for both pieces to get in under your $600 budget. The only problem with pre/power is your "one trip" requirement. Even though it would be lightweight with the Stewart, it would probably be too bulky to carry in one hand. Maybe if you got a 3 space skb rack...?

    Heads are tougher. As far as small/lightweight 2 ohm capable heads, the only alternative I'm aware of is an iAmp. The 800 is out of your budget and I don't think the smaller ones would have enough power for you.

    Then there is the alternative of getting a lighter head for the 210 and keeping the Peavy for future use with a 2nd or bigger cab. This would allow you to keep your minimalist rig and have the bigger head "in reserve" if needed. This is a good plan. You could even stick the Peavey in the trunk and have it as a backup in case your main amp gives you problems on a job. For this alternative, I would recommend the Thunderfunk TFB420. A very conservatively rated 400 watts at 4 ohms head that is ligtweight and easy to carry with one hand.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.
  4. Eden Time traveller head. Great preamp on this head. Does not require eq or msessing around to sound good. 330 watts @ 4ohms.
    420 watts at 2 ohms. Good optical compressor, great DI for running through PA. Good tube emulation sound ("Warm" button). Has auto bass or auto treble buttons that are cool. It is kind of like the "loudness" button on a stereo, however tapers or turns itself off at high levels so it won't harm speakers. You will be able to get a new one for $600 if you haggle a little. 13 lbs. I am editing b/c the WT550 is mentioned. If you can afford it, go for it. And if you can get a new one for 600, let me know.

    If you want to keep it simple, i would not go the pre/power route. More wires, plugs etc.

    I have never heard the T-funk head. It looks cool and people on this forum seem to love it.

    I would keep the peavey around because it is worth more to you as a back up amp then it is on the used market.
  5. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    You ought to spend another $50 and get the 1001RB-II for $649. 18 lbs, 700 watts. The extra power should help somewhat with your concerns. Then if you need more volume buy a 4 ohm Avatar Neo 410 down the road to use on your bigger gigs if you feel it's needed.

    If you're looking to be portable you'll get tired of hauling a rack around real fast.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Eden WT-550. I mean it.
  7. Guys, thanks for all of the good replies!

    I did a ton of research on the weight of various power amps. I wasn't too pleased. The only way I could get what I want, is if I found a Stewart World 600 for about $300. Then add pretty much any pre and have a under 20 lb rig of doom. I kinda doubt I'll be that lucky, though.

    I don't think I'm gonna be able to get a one trip type deal in no matter what I do. However, I would like a lighter head. Preferably with a little more juice than 350 watts @ 4 ohms.

    Can anyone name off some other 2 ohm heads?

    Would it be better for me to buy, say a GK 700RB or 1001RB, and just buy a Avatar Neo 4x10? I'm definitely keeping the Peavey Mark VIII unless I sell it to my friend eventually (which I might do out of goodwill). If I could find a used Stewart World 600 or 1.2 cheap... or possiblity one of the PLS, I'd definitely think of moving to a pre/power. Otherwise, it's a head for me.

    Thanks guy for the patience and advice!
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Eden WT-550. Period.

    500 watts into four ohms, 620 watts into two ohms. 18 pounds. Get one, or die.

  9. smarvelous


    Jun 2, 2002
    Albany, CA
    I have a stewart world 600. It will only do 200W per side into 4 ohms, which is what you would need to do if you had two cabinets. Bridged it does 4 ohms at 600W but it runs very hot (it's essentially doing 300W per side at 2 ohms when running bridged). You could use it bridged at 600W with your single cab but I'd recommend adding a fan to your rack (It would shut down on me in that mode, even at moderate volume) I'd definitely recommend the world 1.2 instead.

    OR what I actually use is a EA iamp500 (new model) it does 500w with 4ohms and it will also run 500W into 2ohms without breaking a sweat. It weighs 13lbs, which is probably less than most rack setups. It's pricey, though ($900+ ?)
  10. Hey Munji, what do you think about the eden WT 550?

    Do you think it has enough juice to drive one of those 4 ohm schroeder 1210 cabs everyone raves about?

    Man I think those stewarts look cool but she'll need to hold on the that PV if the stewart every needs to be returned to factory for servicing. There is a thread that says intereseting facts. people love them but they break and the factory customer service is really lame and the wait is forever.
  11. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    GK 1001RB-II!!!! For $650 you can buy this brand new. The 700 watts @ 4 ohms may push your 210 to the level that will cover your gigs.

    The WT-550 and iAmp 500 will go 2 ohms, but they will cost you nearly a grand and you'll still have to buy another cab(if you need it). The money you'll save buying the 1001RB-II will pay for the Neo 410(if you need it). Not to mention that the GK has significantly more watts than either amp @ 4 ohms.

    With the GK and a Neo 410 you can still have a one trip rig!!
  12. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Genz Benz GBE600 can drive 2 ohms. It's plenty loud.
  13. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i think the 550 is a pretty good idea
    i love my 400, and i'm bummed that it can't do 2 ohms like the new 550
    a used swr sm 900 should give you plenty of juice and can do the 2 ohms per side/4 ohms bridged thing, a used 400, 500, or 350 are all options too
    i tried the genz benz 600 and thought it was a pretty good head as well
    i think if you're insistent on a head the 550 is probably one of the best new choices that is still pretty affordable
  14. Yeah. But anyone who thinks 400 or even 500 will make a single 210 sound signifigantly louder than 300-ish is in for a surpise.

    But volume problems are solved more easily with more radiating cone area- another cab. So the wt550 that operates safely at 2ohm could easily smoke a lesser design with a higher 4 ohm watts rating. Has a lot to do with beefy power supplies, IMHO.

    And if tone is a consideration, then the choice is much easier. Havn't heard the genz benz heads but look forward to trying one out. well-reputed company.
  15. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    If you've been getting by with your 210 cab so far, chances are a better head with more power will be fine. I'm sure you will notice a big difference with 700 watts as opposed to the 350 you're pushing now. The heads mentioned so far that will go to 2 ohms are well out of your $600 price range if bought new. You might consider buying the GK from a dealer that has good return policy(like www.riksmusic.com) and take the opportunity to see how it performs with your cab. If you don't feel like it will work for you, then return it and check out other options.
  16. Again, thanks for all of the great responses!

    Well, to tell you the truth, I've never actually gigged before, with any amp. Which brings me to another question, do you think a 2x10 being driven by 350 watts (about) will be enough for most/to all situations?

    My originals band practices in a rather small basement. Volume is always an issue, and I'm always telling everyone to play softer/turn down. I don't see myself ever getting into a hard core metal band that would require anything like an 8x10 for stage volume. What can I say, I'm conservative. So given that do you guys think that I'm gonna be needing more? The only time I'd think so, is if I ever play outside. I can see this happening, though I'm completely open to getting a amp stand.

    I kinda want the option to go to 2 ohms as a just incase. I'm only going to run out and buy another cab when I find my rig to be failing me.

    Yikes, this is such a hard question. The pre/power will give me more power, but won't really improve on the weight issue. Going with 4 ohm head means I have light weight, but if I'm hurting for power, it's a 4x10 I'm after. Finding a 2 ohm head is gonna be hard and expensive.

    Choices, choices.
  17. The honest answer is a used WT 550. If you are not into hot tone, then the GK is fine(or your PV for that matter). You never metioned anything whatsover about tone and since you like the PV then I assume tone is not a priority.

    I don't know what you play. But if your band has a PA, the trend is to use your rig as a monitor and run an XLR cable to the PA- a GOOD PA. The dumb ass guitarists who make the whole band compete with a marshall stack are hard on your wallet and your hearing. Prolonged excessive stage volume will eventually make the world sound like an AM radio, due to unavoidable effects of hearing damge. Get a good PA with dedicated sub and have everyone chip in.

    Good amps have good DIs.