1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

My amp is getting unreliable. Need help picking out a new one. Specific details inside

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BCB75, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. BCB75


    Dec 20, 2017
    Hey guys! A little background... OK, a ton of background. Skip a couple paragraphs if you don't care. I have been playing guitar for about 15 years, and bass for maybe 7. I was and still am a huge gear nerd when it comes to guitars, guitar amps, and bass guitars. I never really got into bass amps/tones though. I was only really into playing. I had a cheap rumble combo for the longest time and it worked fine. Then my bands got more serious and I just used a friends 70s SVT w/ 810 that was at our shared space. Finally got myself an SVT3 non-pro (cheap, nowhere near as good as the vintage tube one) and I scored a Bergantino 310 for dirt cheap on Craigslist.

    The SVT was alright, but I am far from an expert on bass tone like I am with guitar tone. Our band has changed over time, we now use a much lower tuning, and the SVT3 was having trouble being loud enough. My drummer found (legitimately, just found it) a Trace Elliot GP7 head and it killed my SVT. So I found myself another Craigslist steal and got a GP12SMX. Thing sounds awesome, and I love the footswitchable graphic EQ that I can enable for a more cutting tone for leads. It's starting to not always start up properly and requires some powr cycling and smacking/punching to get started up. Once it gets going, its good. But this just won't cut it long term, especially with an expensive studio session upcoming.

    OK so on to my needs!

    With our low tuning (drop A#) and modern style, I think a modern solid state is the way to go. I love the sound of a tube amp, but I don't think its appropriate for my immediate needs with the band.

    The footswitchable graphic EQ has been a huge benefit for me. I would love some way that I can step on a switch and re-shape the tone for leads. Whether this is a tone shift, and graphic EQ enable, a seperate channel (does this even exist in bass amps), I like having 2 sounds available for a single song.

    Loud enough to keep up with a rock/metal drummer and a 50 Watt Marshall half stack. Would this be like 350+ watts? 500+ watts solid state? I really have no clue here. Cab is a 310 Bergantino, 4 ohm, for reference.

    Built in compression would be nice. I really dislike having pedals for some reason. If I can set and forget on the amp faceplate, that would be preferred. This isn't a necessity though. Also, are there any mdoern bass amps with decent on board effects? I think all the guitar stuff that offers this is nonsense, so I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't worthwhile.

    I also have both active and passive basses, but I assume multiple inputs (or a switchable input) is the standard now.

    XLR outs for recording into our Tascam. Pretty sure this is way more common on bass amps, and might not limit my choices at all.

    And just general reliability. I want to depend on this thing.

    Prefer to go used to get more for my money, but wouldn't rule out new. I am willing to spend up if needed, but let's say $500 for the head as a starting point. We don't gig, just jam, write, and record, so it doesn't need to be super portable. Would be nice, but not necessary.
  2. Linnin

    Linnin SUSPENDED

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Fender Rumble 200 or 500 heads would do you proud.
    Aqualung60 likes this.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Find a tech to look at your TE.
    Bim1959, Raw N Low, Al Kraft and 10 others like this.
  4. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Warwick LWA1000 will get you the dual channels and built-in compression, XLR direct out and is plenty loud.
    But I actually agree with @Stumbo to repair the Trace Elliot since you like it so much and it offers everything you want.
    Stumbo likes this.
  5. BCB75


    Dec 20, 2017
    Thanks guys. I will attempt to fix my TE in the mean time and then either have 2 amps or sell one in the future. But for now, I'd like to have another option and have something ready to go.
  6. 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
    Are you playing heavy music with a lot of triplets and hard stops?

    There's several routes depending on your tonal preference

    GK RB series, or MB series heads: There's several different power ratings. These are clean and articulate, or can get more growly. I toured a 700rbII heavily and it performed night after night with no issues, and hardly any tweaking to overcome room EQ issues. Would be considered more modern in tone, though Duff Mckagan used an 800rb in GnR so you're interpretation of modern may be different.

    Darkglass Microtubes: These are 500 and 900 watts, or can be found as a preamp. These are also clean and articulate, but where they differ is the overdrive. These have a unique overdrive that is loved by many modern metal and hard rock acts. It's capable of a wide variety of tones, but is most often portrayed as a slightly overdriven tone accented by clanky (fret noise) bass.

    Ampeg PF series: several power ratings and Certainly the way to go if a warmer old school tone is your route. There are also a new preamp pedal or the SCRDI that shares this old school tone if you want to go the pre/power route.

    Tech 21: They have various sansamp pedals, rackmount di's, and standalone heads (VTBass 500, 1000, and Landmark 300/600 are a few) They have a time-tested and proven tone that is on many recordings and used live by many bassists. It's a very consistent tone based on that old school Ampeg SVT. It can sound rich in the clean dept. or start to take on a compressed svt type of overdrive, or even further almost a grind. The VT series is voiced differently that other sansamp stuff. The character knobs on these give them a lot of versatility.
  7. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    If I had to choose between no compression and built-in compression, I would choose no compression.
  8. BCB75


    Dec 20, 2017
    blubass, I was looking at the Darkglass and GK RBs since I started the thread. How does the MB series compare to the RB? I like the sound of the RB, but it doesn't seem to have as much flexibility, in terms of features and EQ sensitivity. Haven't heard of the PF series, I'll give them a look. Same with the T21 stuff. And FWIW, we play instrumental rock. Inspired by everything from classic rock, thrash, and grunge, to a tiny bit of djent stuff (but barely). If it helps, the guitar is using passive pickups on a Baritone straight into a pretty much stock 70s marshall JMP.

    Bodeanly, can you elaborate on why? Are they not as good?
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  10. BCB75


    Dec 20, 2017
    How much is the Schroeder? And adding a 150 footswitch it better be cheap to reach my budget.
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    $500 as a starting point(from your OP) or ending point?

    Eich-Schroeder is around $1,500.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  12. BCB75


    Dec 20, 2017
    Starting point. I just feel like 500 gets me into some pretty good stuff on the used market. If something in the 6 or 7 range is really worth stepping up to, I'd consider it.
    Stumbo likes this.
  13. BCB75


    Dec 20, 2017
    I'm also using a fretless if that makes a difference.
    Stumbo likes this.
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  15. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I have both, though I just got my RB yesterday so I can’t say a ton. The Mb Is super portable and has footswitchable drive. It sounds really good in a hi fi modern way.

    My 400RB is a little less flexible, but I think the tone has a little something extra that I like. I can’t explain it (somebody called it magic pixie dust on another thread). I’m also not sure the differences are anything you’d hear in a band. They are very much sibling amps.

    New, watt for watt, the MBs are a tad cheaper. Used, however, there are a million RBs out there and they are pretty darn cheap. My used 400 (which is probably less power than you want) was 200 bucks shipped in a rack bag.

    One other thought, though way out of your range would be a Bergantino B amp. It had all kinds of preset stuff to it, and be updated via usb, and has some built in fx (mostly drives I think). They are pretty expensive, and fairly new so there aren’t many used one floating around

    I think the issue you are going to have is on the flexibility side. Not many bass amps have footswitchable anything. Some GKs have foot switchable drive, your trace had the eq, but most are really single channel deals. You may end up better off (even though you don’t want to) just buying an eq pedal
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  16. In my view your problem is your speaker cabinet. A 3x10 will only take you so far.

    I endorse the statement of getting your existing amp fixed. It sounds to me like it shouldn’t be hugely expensive to repair.
  17. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    Finding a nice powerful head with every feature you want might be tricky and it might also be pretty expensive. I agree that compressors that are built into heads are typically not outstanding. Many have only a single knob to set the threshold and then we're stuck with whatever ratio, etc. that it offers. I'm not much of a compressor user myself, but this has been my take on what I've seen lately.

    You mentioned that portability isn't a huge priority, so I'll point out that you can probably get a boatload of power for not too much money if you go the preamp/power amp route. Your cab sounds like a honey, but also keep in mind that doubling your power won't automatically double your volume. If you eventually need to make more sound, you may need more speaker to push more air. A power amp can often be much more flexible when dealing with different cab arrangements and minimum ohm ratings.

    I agree with the recommendation for Tech 21 Sansamp stuff, but rigs from Radial (maybe their Bassbone) or something like the Battalion from Electro Harmonix could have something to offer. I found a rack preamp some years ago that gives me two channels that can be blended and "footswitched", but I know that the Boss LS-2 is an option that allows for similar blending. I don't need one, but might eventually try this gizmo anyway.

    One of my latest gear additions is a Traynor DB 800 - this is an 800 watt head. I haven't gigged this amp yet, but it seems to do a whole lot so far, both in the woodshed (at home) and at jams with the band. I got this in fantastic condition for a bit less than $350 and I know that they're available here and there in the used market. Not as popular as GK, Ampeg, etc., but maybe worth a look if you happen to spot one near you. This rig offers a number of the things you seem to be looking for, but you should be able to scrutinize all of its specs and features at Traynor's site.
  18. BCB75


    Dec 20, 2017
    Thank you so much everyone. For the moment I'm leaning towards a gk and an eq pedal. I don't mind as much since the amp is so cheap, and I can use it with my guitar stuff as well. I have some more research to do, but I'm a chronic gear flipper, so I'm giving some priority to recognizable brands too. I don't want to dig into the trace until I have something else to play with, in case I need to order a part or a tool or something. Cheers!
    The Terror, Buzz E and Stumbo like this.
  19. AcridSaint

    AcridSaint ベーシスト Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2012
    I don't play well.
    The BX500 or BX700 will meet all of your needs. The footswitch switches between the parametric and graphic EQ. The onboard compressor is quite decent and they are cheap. The downside is that they are going out of business and won't support it. The upside is that for your budget, you can buy two. Check them out on eBay which is for some reason cheaper than the website.
    cheechi, Fluid Power and mikewalker like this.
  20. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    On a tight budget another vote for the BX500 & 700. For a bit higher cost look at used Darkglass and Genzler. Both have dirt circuits that can be punched in/out via foot switch.

    Edit: @BassmanPaul said, your volume issue is probably the cab. You can only push three tens so far no matter how much wattage you throw at it. You might consider getting a second identical cab or looking at a super cab for increased volume at the tuning you are using.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
    cheechi, murphy, BassmanPaul and 5 others like this.

Share This Page