Massive Amp Confusion...advice needed

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mikarre, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. mikarre

    mikarre Guest

    I am a bassist without a band at this point, but I am going to try to find one soon. Right now the only amp I have is a little Peavey Microbass, which is fine for practice and carrying to jam with friends. I am really confused about what to do as far as upgrading my amp setup. Everything seems so dependant on what band you are in, and I have no way of anticipating that at this point. I could wind up playing anything from metal to light jazz, whatever situation I find that is best.

    How can I know what rig I should be looking into if I don't even know what I will be playing? I would love to just wait and see, but what band would ever hire a bassist that shows up at audition with a 20 watt practice amp?:( I don't want to seem like an unprofessional yo yo.

    I was really turned on to the Ampeg B100R at one point. Sounded great and it's at a great price, and seems right in the middle of the road between a big rig and a home amp. My concern is that it won't be powerful enough. I read some reviews that say it is, and some that say no. I thought it seemed loud to me. I also don't like the fact that it only has a 1/4" line out jack. I wouldn't mind mic'ing it, but I can see that leading to conflicts with uncooperative sound guys.

    Another option is just to break down and get a powerful amp and seperate cab. I was thinking about the Hartke 3500 with either a Hartke VX or Avatar cab. Yes, money is an issue, so this is the least preferred option at this point.

    And option number three is just to get a good DI unit, since it seems like sound guys want you to go direct usually anyway. The thing I have against this option is that I don't see how it would help me in an audition.

    Sorry this is so longwinded, but I'm just trying to clearly explain my confusion. I guess most of you guys already have your rigs well established, but if you can imagine yourself in my situation what would you do?
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    As you stated there are many variables.

    Many people here have common ground in the 1 300w head and 2 cabs approach. You can take 1 cab to rehearsal and use 2 for gigs.

    There are some bands where the guitarist and drummer are so loud that the poor bassist needs an inordinate amount of gear to compete (be heard). IMHO avoid.

    In your situation I would hang onto the Peavey and save up for a new amp. Keep saving and look in the private ads if you are confident enough. If not have a look at local shops who have second hand gear as trade ins. If you see something you like, make them an offer. Wave cash at them if you have to.

    I personally use a 1 amp 2 cab set up that I constucted through trial and error (3 different makers). It's versatile and I recently did a very loud covers gig with minimal PA asssistance.

    The 100w Ampeg is a very nice amp but I think that it will strugle in a loud band.

    Rule of thumb you need 4x the amount of watts than your guitarist. If his amp says 'Superlead' and the volume is over 2 run like the wind.

    Some people say 10x

    Hope this helps.
  3. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    Quote from CS: I personally use a 1 amp 2 cab set up that I constucted through trial and error (3 different makers). It's versatile and I recently did a very loud covers gig with minimal PA asssistance. I did the same thing. I use the
    Ampeg PB250 head, wich has a XLR out, If you
    are playing with a decent PA. A Hartke 2x10
    Transporter cab and a SWR Workingmans 15 cab.
    The rig is light, portable and tears down and sets
    up fast, and all fits in my car. The problem with
    just using a DI box is sometimes the PA is small
    and cant handle to much. It is good to have one
    with you at all times. I used to keep 2 of them with me, til I got the new head, now I just keep
    one with me. Having the option of using one cab
    or the other or both makes the rig more versitale.

  4. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    buying an amp is kinda like picking out a car. You buy what you can afford and what you THINK will fit your needs. usually in a coupld of years you'll KNOW what you want differently from a car/amp then you buy something else. NOONE buys ONE car for life!

    If you feel you will be in a band and not just a living room bass player then I'd suggest starting with a used 350 to 600watt head (preamp/amp together) and get ATLEAST a 210 cab rated at 350+watts or a 410. later you can get another cab like a 15 or another 410 if you need more volume. get 8ohm cabs because most amps seem to handle 4ohm loads or greater and if you have two 8ohm cabs the load is 4ohms and if you have two 4ohm cabs your load will be 2OHMS and you'll blow a fuse.

    separate component are easier in the long run to carry around as more powerfull stuff is usually more heavy! look arouND AND TRY OUT new and used stuff with different heads and cabs until you know what brands you think you like the sound of, then try and find them used.

    If you KN0W you will not or won't put yourself in a really loud band, then the B100r is a nice combo, but you cannot hookup another speaker if I remember other discussions. ALSO if you get a combo, make sure it has a signal output that can be sent to a PA mixer for bigger gigs. MOST 'heads' (non-combos) have outs, but nnot all combos do. if you get a combo with a 'speaker out' that means you can hook up another 8ohm speaker to your combo and double your volume (+3dB) which is always helpful if you get in a loud band.

    Good luck!
  5. I've never run into a problem with a FOH guy having to mic a cab. At least they are getting a balanced line running to the board! I think a good rule is 10X RMS what the guitar head is. Esp if you have two guitars and play with any amount of "real" gain.