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Looking to get an amp...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sheep Man, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. ...and I don't really know much about 'em. :p

    I do know, though, that I want a relatively simple combo that I can use for practice and small/medium gigs, assuming I ever get in a band here at USC. :p

    Anyway, I'm guessing something like...200 - 250W should be ok, right? And maybe a 1*15" should work? Or...?

    I'm not entirely sure about this all, but I only have about $2300 or so in my bank account, and I'd rather not have to call home and say, "Mom, dad, I need more money. I went and bought a $2000 amp..." :p

    So, oh great amp gurus, what would you say was a good buy for me in this case?
  2. Dean_CustomJazz

    Dean_CustomJazz Guest

    Jan 23, 2002
    $2300, 200watts? two figures that dont mix:D
    for 2300, you have a world of possiblites, and cheese loads of power. I guess the main question, what kinda tone do you want? or do you want one where you can get every kind of tone?
  3. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    My first suggestion: Get something loud enough which can allow you to still hear yourself when playing with a drummer.

    2nd: Go to somplace like talkbass.com or
    Select the link for "User Reviews." Unfortunately, they have lumped the bass amps in with all of the guitar amps. Search by manufacturer. I'll give you a partial list of those brand names which I know make bass amps.

    Genz Benz
    Hughes & Kettner
    Trace Elliot

    I'm sure I missed a few.

    Now if you are buying new, go to all of the local music stores in your area. Make note of what brands they carry. Plug and play with YOUR OWN bass, not one of the store's basses.

    Beware of salespeople who are more interested in pushing a product than setting you up with the amp you need. Ask lots of question, no matter how stupid they may make you feel. If you don't understand the answers, ask them to explain more clearly. Ask for product brouchures.

    After getting an idea of what you like and what brands are carried, search for the companys' websites to see what else is among their new products (the stores may not have it all).

    Go back to the User Reviews and look for other players' experiences with these products as well as the brand name, overall.

    In the end, forget the stats. Take others' opinions into consideration, but make up your own mind about what you like. It's not just about gimmicks and features. You have to like what you feel when you play.

    Or... you can make it really simple and just get the baddest-ass Gallien-Krueger you can afford.

    What? Me biased?

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
  4. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    There are a TON of amps that are under $2000.

    First, you have to decide on a price range. What I have seen (with a couple of guitarists I have played with) is that if you don't set a limit you will spend a ton of money that you didn't necessarily mean to. Here is my story:

    I went into a local music store in Edmonton. It is a very good store, good prices, excellent gear. He has $2500 in his account. So he wants a good 1x12 combo. He was thinking about the Marshall DSL and TSL. So he tries them out. Likes them fine. Then the salesman asks how much he was willing to spend. My friend says he doesn't know. The next thing I know, my buddy is plugging into this Mesa/Boogie heartbreaker all tube combo. He had just enough money to afford it. Did the amp sound better than the others? He and I thought so. So he bought it. He only intended on spending about $1500, but instead he spent all his money.

    One possible moral: only try amps whose costs are equal to or less than the amount you are willing to spend.

    Another: some people are just compulsive shoppers.

    My point is that I don't like trying things that are above what I am willing to spend when I am shopping. In general, the more expensive product is either going to sound better, or have features that will cause you to think that you are settling if you go with the less expensive product. I think salesmen are generally very good at playing this, except the really good (really bad :confused: ). When I am not shopping, I play on everything that I can't afford.


  5. I think the trick is to distinguish between perfect and adequate, and go for adequate.

    Depending on taste, Nemesis (I don't really like them, but many swear by them), Ampeg B100R (again, not for me, but I'm not sure why), Fender Bassman 100 or 200, Carvin, SWR workingmans amps...there's a lot around.

    For me, portability comes right at the top of the list of what I look for in an amp.
  6. Go play a SWR Workingman's 15. I think it's a killer amp for the price.
  7. Hey there Sheepy. If you don't foresee any gigs anytime soon, I'd suggest spending no more than about $700.00 on an amp. A rig is nice to have, but, it will take up a lot of space. As for tone, you'd have to decide for yourself. I personally like Ampeg, Fender, Hartke and GK. I have an Ampeg B100R that has a great vintage tone and will go loud enough for a decent level gig. They go for $500 or less. Hartke and GK have more of a modern sound. I'd say anything with 100 - 200 watts with either a 1x15 or a 2x10 would be just the ticket.

    The main thing I would stress is the money. Don't blow even half on an amp if you're away at school. Unexpected expenses always have a way of rearing their ugly heads when you least expect it. You don't want to call your parents and give them agidato. (upset stomach) :D

    Mike J.
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX

    Combo's are fickle. The only combo's worth their snot, (IMHO) are the Eden Metro's. But those can a bit. Though they can have an extension cab added, which is spicey. Ask Embellisher about his. He's pretty happy.

    Personally, I'd forsake a combo, and go with a 2x10 or 2x12, used of course, from the company of your choice, and then a small poweramp, say, 500 or so watts, and a preamp, like the Sansamp BDDI. That would run you about say, 400 for the cab, 250 for the poweramp, if that, and 150ish for the Sansamp. Or, about $800, and you can do better if you scout E-bay and so forth.

    But that's me. There is a certain appeal to a combo; no fuss, no muss, just pack ONE thing and ride. Me, I'd take the extra complications.
  9. Hmm...
    Well, the whole reason I'm going for a combo is because I'm not in a band or anything, so it'd be mostly, if not entirely, used for practicing on my own.
    I'll go ahead & keep in mind what you said though, Mike J, about prices.

    Actually, I'd also prefer something that was...a little on the lighter side. I get people asking me if I swim or workout all the time because apparently my shoulders are quite broad...but I'm pretty bloody weak when it comes to lifting weights. My ex only weighed around 95lbs at her heaviest, and it got a little hard for me to carry her around the place when I wanted to. :p

    The 2x10 sounds nice...but I'm imagining that would be significantly heavier than say...a 1x15, right? I was browsing through the SWR, Trace Elliot, Ampeg, Aguilar etc. web sites for info on combos, and now I think I'm even more confused than I was before. :p

    But thanks for all the input guys, I really appreciate it. Now it's a matter of finding the right place to go looking for an amp.
    Seeing as I'm in LA and I know plenty of you are in the area too, any suggestions? :p
  10. Fender bassman 60 . Ampeg BA 112 . Both of these will be great practice amps.

    What I have learned about amps is basically this: don't buy until you know what you are buying for. If you are playing in your room or in the rehearsal studio, you don't need a large amp unless you are playing at ear splitting volume.

    Playing style and musical style have so much effect on amp choice (and bass choice, for me!) that I choose my gear for the gig. I had a P bass for my band before last, and sold it when the band split. Now I have a jazz bass. I used a Fender bassman for that band, and it was fine. My current band is a louder, harder blues three piece, and the bassman doesn't cut it. I sold it and go through the PA with a small Trace elliot combo as a monitor.

    Don't buy a large rig until you know firstly that you need one, and then what you need it for. If you do, you will not buy the right thing. I guarantee it.

    You will always need a practice amp, so get one.
  11. Hmmm...
    Whereabouts would I be able to get/look at Ampeg stuff, though? I've been rummaging through store websites & what not and haven't found anywhere that carries Ampeg...
  12. Sheepman, where I am always buying stuff? www.musiciansfriend.com

    Hint: Type in "Ampeg amp" in the search box. This way you'll see ALL the Ampegs. They have a ton of Ampeg stuff there.

    Good luck.

    Mike J.
  13. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    You'll save on weight by getting separates. An Ampeg B2R is only 15 lbs. A Flite cabinet with 2x10 is 35 lbs., or a 1x10 at 18 lbs. The new Ampeg PB210 is 32 lbs. The Acme cabinets are not real heavy either, as are a number of other cabinets. If you're just playing in your room ATM, how about an Aguilar GS112? or for less dough, an Avatar 1x12? This way, you can add another cabinet later when you need more power. A set up of a B2R with a 1x12 cabinet could be had for as little as $600, perhaps even less; or you could spend a grand on the same sized setup. And you'd have enough power to add another cabinet easily.
  14. Sprinkler

    Sprinkler [account disabled]

    Jul 31, 2002
    You basically have 3 choises:

    a combo amp



    In the long run, 3 would be cheapest, then 2 and then 1.

    I'd say go with a decent preamp(sansamp is good and cheap) 150-300$, a capable poweramp(for a start, 2x200 watt)200-xxxx$, and cabinets(a powerfull 1x10 would even be enough in your situation) 200-xxxx$

    So if you look well and make decent choises, you'd be able to get a rig for about 600$ (depends on your location, and if you can find used stuff).
  15. Hmmm...
    I'm probably going to be hitting the stores with my bro later today, so I'll keep all this in mind.

    I've been looking around, though, and I seem to keep coming back to the Workingman's 15...

    But now hearing that I could save on weight by going for a head/cab...what kind of money would I be looking at in terms of the amount that would leave my bank account?

    Or would it actually be a better idea to buy online?

    I never knew buying an amp would be so...hard? :p
  16. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    If you're pretty sure you'll never play in a band and will just sit around and plunk on a bass at home, go out and get something cheap and light.

    If, however, you seriously expect to play in a band (in any context) get something you can use for a while. I recommend the SWR Super Redhead, given your budget. It weighs 80 pounds but if you start working with a drummer, you'll appreciate what it offers. Go check it out here: http://www.swrsound.com/products/proseries/superredhead.html

    As combo amps go, this one is hard to beat. Tone and punch but most of all, clarity, a comodity that is missing from so much bass amplification.
  17. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    the WM15 is a great combo, lots of features, good tone, not TOO heavy.

    i'd go seperates though, but in a different way.

    Avatar Compact B112 @ $179
    Avatar Compact 115 @ $159

    Used SWR SM-400S ~ $400 on ebay.

    that be around the same price as a new WM115, be WAY more portable (get a rackbag for the head and sling it over your shoulder, gig bag on the other shoulder, carry one of the cabs @ 37 lbs) louder, and more flexible. (bring one or both cabs!)

    plus it won't take up much more room than a WM15 would.
  18. Ok, my bro stopped by earlier and we went looking at amps for a little bit, and I've decided that the two most appealing are:

    Carvin PB200-15
    SWR Workingman's 15

    Anyone have any experience with either of these that they care to share?
  19. rok51


    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    I have a WM 12 that I've had since '94. Wonderful sounding amp and it's well-built. More useable features(DI out, effects loop, ability to use a second cabinet, stereo headphone jack(mono signal), a switch to use the main speaker alone, with the tweeter or both off(for headphone use), as well as the ability to feed a signal from a CD player or tape deck into the effects return and mix it through the effects blend to "play along"...either silently, with headphones, or through the speakers) than any other combo at the time, but now most have caught up. For practice or small gigs, I actually prefer the sound of the WM 12 to the WM 15. However, the 15 is somewhat more powerful and might make a difference depending on who/what you're playing with. Neither one will keep up with even a moderately loud drummer. Regardless of what you intend to do musically, I recommend a practice amp. Then, if you join a band or start gigging, THEN get an amp for that purpose...but KEEP your practice amp. My WM 12 weighs 46 lbs and fits in anything! That said, I echo Mike J's comments on price.
    There's no sense spending more than you NEED, now, simply because you can. Save it for your "dream rig"...or for car repairs!


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