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Looking for a bass head update. Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AlexBassMP, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. AlexBassMP


    Feb 5, 2014
    Here's the thing:

    I'm 44 y.o. weekend warrior . Most of the times I go ampless and I play whit whatever I find when some backline is provided. I plug my bass into my sansamp and I send a signal to FOH , then plug the Sansamp to the amp and I use it as a stage monitor (I set it flat)

    Lately I've been doing some gigs when there's no backline and/or backline is just a bass cab...so I must grab and carry my bass head and sometimes, a cab. I use an old HArtke HA3500 which I have since early 2000's...(there wasn't class D amps back then). I love it.. It's not heavy but it's huge if you compare it with brand new amps out there..so after 18 years I decided to go out and buy a brand new bass head.

    I'm considering the new TC Electronics BQ line ..they're light,loud and cheap..My tone comes from the Sansamp..I'll use them as a poweramp, basically...

    I'm considering other options with on board distortion like the Darkglass Microtubes 500 or the TC Electronics BG 500 (all those Toneprints looks awesome)..So I won't need to carry the Sansamp to the gigs...They're a little bit more expensive..

    I like Hartke and I saw the TX300 which has on board Overdrive but the overdrive tone didn't like me too much...

    I like the Bias head mini for bass, It seems sound god, it's light and loud but I don't really need all those modellers..so basically I'll pay for things I won't use..and for the price I may get the Darkglass..

    Any other suggestions?
  2. voided3

    voided3 Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    Do you like to have more than a moderate overdrive at your disposal, or do you use the Sansamp for a more subtle effect? The majority of bass amps out there are designed to give a clean tone, but not all can provide an overdriven tone with the built-in feature set.

    If you'd like to continue using your Sansamp in front of another amp, the Quilter Bass Block 800 might be perfect for you. It's extremely compact, has an XLR power amp input, but also has a simple set of preamp controls for shaping, and it's 800 watts.

    If you want to try other overdrive pedals that are less of a "preamp" type pedal and more of a straight up overdrive, you're essentially looking for an amp that will provide a good clean tone with some EQ shaping to compliment your pedal(s). The aforementioned Quilter and a plethora of other bass amps will do this for you so it's hard to narrow it down with that criteria.

    If you want an amp with its own overdrive character built-in, the Darkglass Microtubes bass heads are great for that as they have two different overdrive circuits at your disposal to blend into your clean tone. The GK MB Fusion amps have tube preamps that overdrive nicely from what I've heard, too. If subtle overdrive is more of your thing, the Aguilar Tone Hammer and Mesa Subway D800 can do that nicely with higher preamp gain level settings. I'd dare say it's even worth looking at the Trace Elliot ELF if you don't play super loud and want a real weight difference going from a 2U rack to a 200 watt amp the size of a direct box. The ELF's preamp has some compression and mild overdrive when you dig in.
    Primakurtz likes this.
  3. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    You might consider a Bugera Veyron in either the Mosfet or Tube version. Good bang for the buck.
  4. twc1313

    twc1313 Practice is the cure for GAS...or so I've heard. Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    If you want affordable, quality, and ease of use, I'd go with:

    Fender Rumble 500 (good vintage, classic tone, impossible to dial a bad tone out of)
    Bugera Veyron Mosfet (good modern sound, easy controls)

    If you want a more "premium" setup:

    Aguilar Tonehammer 500 (vintage sound, the classic Class D amp head)
    Mesa Subway 800 (IMHO the best of the best, but more expensive)

    I use a Rumble and love it for Classic Rock, Dance, Alternative Rock, and Hip-Hop. I will sometimes engage my Sansamp for songs, but if I want overdrive, I prefer the one on the Rumble.

    The videos I've watched of the new TC heads made it sound pretty "meh" to my ears. It's basically their version of the Rumble without a sweet overdrive.
  5. AlexBassMP


    Feb 5, 2014
    That's the idea because it's the thing I do most of the times in provided backline gigs...Basically I want a clean platform for the Sansamp...
  6. the current generation of class D amps provide a wide variety of choices, many of which are simply killer although they present different voices and different features. I tend to avoid bargain brands as, IME, they end up not being bargains over the long run.

    So, how much power do you require?
    Are you going to use the head as a DI even when you don't plug into a cab?
    Are there any other features you particularly want? (ability to go lower than 4 ohms, an adjustable HPF, built in compressor, multiple channels, etc. etc. )

    When I upgraded my head a bit ago, my list included Genzler, Mesa, Bergantino, and Trickfish. I ended up with the Genzler 800 (the 350 wasn't out yet) and since have added the 350 as well. Clean, authoritative, and very flexible with a great DI... I've been very happy.
  7. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    Dont waste your money on TC. They lost me forever on bass amp stuff with their power rating fakeout nonsense (that I believe they continue to this day). So a "750w" TC amp is actually 237w or something like that, but they think it "sounds as loud" as a 750w amp. Except their 450w amp uses the same power section. And so does their 250w amp (at least last time I checked, someone correct me if I'm wrong). I'll still entertain some of their effects which they seem to be honest about and toneprint is a pretty cool concept (although my subNup seems to have an annoying latency that I just can't get rid of).

    Depending on your budget, honestly I would go with a full rig. Why leave your sound up to chance every time? If you really care that little about your presentation, just jam at home by yourself or occasional friends. Think about getting a decent cabinet too.

    For heads, if you can find one in Europe, the Genz Benz ShuttleMax is pretty great (pick whichever power level you think you need and/or can find). 2 channel head (FET and tube, each with individual 4 band EQ, with 2 of those being semi parametric mids), which can be switched or combined (including by footswitch), each channel has its own "insert" loop, plus there's also a master effects loop. Then 3 footswitchable global tone adjustments (low boost, mid scoop, and high "attack", all with adjustable amounts). And anywhere from 600-1200w of power in about a 7 pound, compact amp. Not the smallest out there, but about the smallest you're going to get with that kind of functionality. Stateside they run about $400-600 or so depending on the model and the condition.

    Everyone and their mom will tell you GK MB, markbass, and Ampeg PF pretty much. Frankly those all leave me pretty uninspired although they aren't "bad". With the sansamp you may even prefer the more "generic" tone they have. But if I was going to buy a widely available class D amp brand new, it would probably be the SVT 7 Pro. Way more watts than you need (you don't have to use them all), but reasonably priced (here at least), with a nice tube pre, the usual SVT style tone controls (including ultra high and low), and a decent built in adjustable compressor (I'd say a bit more transparent/subtle than your Hartke, which I used to have).

    If you can get Mesa over there, people like the Subways quite a lot. I haven't had a chance to try those, but I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a mesa product in terms of quality. Just a matter of if you like the sound and feature set or not. But at least one person worked on both the Subway and the ShuttleMax, so there's at least some shared DNA there.

    Or, going the other direction, if you just want a "backup plan", just get a Trace Elliot ELF. Not a lot of power or a lot of tonal flexibility, but might work well as a platform for the Sansamp. Cheap and literally the smallest 200w bass amp you can buy that I'm aware of (ie would easily fit in a bass gig bag).

    Cab wise there are so many options. The GK 12s are pretty good. I have the 4x12 which is probably more than you need, but a 2x12 should handle most small to medium sized gigs and maybe even larger ones. And people are loving the ELF cabs too, especially the 2x8. The 2x8 might work especially well if you're going for more of a distorted tubey sound from the sansamp, since they don't have a tweeter. So tonally they're somewhere between a vintage and a modern sound. Definitely brighter than a lot of old 15 based cabs, but without the sheen and sometimes harshness of modern 2 way cabs. Just depends on what you're going for.
    AlexBassMP likes this.
  8. MyMusic


    Jun 1, 2010
    Dover, De
    While I am a proud owner of a Mesa Boogie Subway D-800 and 2 15 cabs, the other brands that I would consider would be Genzler, Bergantino, Dark Glass and Aguilar.
  9. AlexBassMP


    Feb 5, 2014
    The reason I went for the sansamp was simple : I wanted the same tone at every gig I did wihtout caring about backline gear. I believe that this is caring a bit about the presentation.. Sometimes you can't bring your rig to a event , sometimes is shared backline...Sound guys love me when they see my Sansamp coming out from the bag.

    Talking about cabinets.. I've two Hartke cabs. 4x10 and 1x15. I used to play with both in medium and large gigs. In small gigs I find that a 4x10 is enough...If we played another kind of music maybe a 2x12 or a 2x10 could be enough..but for heavy rock with a loud drummer I'm not sure.. Maybe one day I'll borrow a 2x10 cab and see what happens..

    I was looking for the ELF months ago.. maybe I give it a try...

    Thanks for the suggestions
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  10. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    Then may I humbly suggest the GSS Sumo or Baby Sumo?
    AlexBassMP likes this.

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