My Rig Setup - Is there any value in an amp upgrade?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jeffnesham, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. jeffnesham


    Jan 19, 2014
    Ok so I believe i have built the perfect rig for me personally, but that endless gear tweaker itch won't go away. I should state too that my practice rig is just an Ampeg PF-350, SVT210AV, and Line 6 M13 for effects (Chorus, Flange, Delay etc.)

    My main rig:
    6 Space Road Case
    Korg DTR-1000
    Furman Power Conditioner
    SansAmp RBI
    DBX 266XL (I am having separate thoughts about upgrading this but a separate topic)
    Hartke HA3500 ( Preamp Bypassed by running the rack chain into the effects return, input to the SansAmp)

    Cabs: (I did it this way to take advantage of 4 ohms from the HA3500, while also matching cab power ratings both 200w cabs, and getting something close to at least a 610 in height without actually having to lug around a 610 or "gulp" an 810 (ouch). The 15e is crazy light compared to the rack and the 210 is perfect for practices)

    I've had a lot of time off playing due to the pandemic and have spent months sculpting my tone through the SansAmp, compression tweaks, routing changes etc. I believe I have found a tone that really works for me. Very thick, with some harmonic breakup, smooth, and growly.

    My question is is there any value in entertaining the though of upgrading, or swapping out the head? Say for an SVT3-PRO, or even a B2R since I'm bypassing the preamp and effectively using it as a glorified power amp (Although i do use the Hartke EQ and contour controls to sculpt)?

    Or should I just take comfort in finding something that sounds really good and not trying to chase perfection? I don't even know how much more a different amp would impact the sound if I'm bypassing the preamp.

    I've become somewhat of an Ampeg fanboy but am not entirely locked in, i just like that dirty growl breakup sound over crystal clear transparency.

    I should also note, that if i do upgrade - I would be leaning towards something a little lighter than the HA3500 if possible as the rack has not gotten quite heavy with the doors on (something like 65+ lbs)

    I though about using my PF350 but 1. i like to be able to carry that around to practice, and 2. I like using the rack for live gigs. so I am hesitant on exploring mounting the thing to the rack.

    Sorry for the long rant and thanks for any feedback positive or negative.
  2. jeffnesham


    Jan 19, 2014
    I also want to add that I did try to run the Sansamp in front of the Hartke and use the Hartke preamps. Oh boy did that sound like total garbage....
    BrentSimons likes this.
  3. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    I think you are approaching this from the wrong direction. If you want to sound more Ampeggy, run your rack through an 810 SVT cab. You can make the Sansamp growl if you work with it.
  4. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Unless you have a specific deficiency and know how to address it, you’re just throwing money away.

    There’s nothing wrong with GAS, but be honest with yourself.
  5. jeffnesham


    Jan 19, 2014
    That’s a good point - I’d love an 810 but man the bars I play I just can justify hauling that around for shows plus wouldn’t my HA3500 be a wee bit underpowered at that point?
    juancaminos likes this.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    No such thing as "underpowered" unless your amp just won't go loud enough for the gig. But geez, how loud do you need to play typical venues unless you're in a doom band?
  7. Spend all that time achieving a tone you truly like? Keep enjoying it. I found my tonal goal in a relatively big, heavy rig. I will use it til a lighter rig takes its place. I try gear all the time. Nothing is quite like my current rig. So I use it.

    I have made some compromises. For portability. I play a lot. And have continued to gig thru most of the issues closing clubs in parts of the country. I am blessed, to say the least. My rig is a Shadow of its former self. Ha! But in weight, only. Where I used to use a 52lb Crown power amplifier, I now use an 8lb Crown power amp. Where I used to use a 65lb 2x12, I now use a sub 50lb 2x12. But my configuration hasn't changed in a long time. Rack, power strip, preamp, poweramp.

    I have a couple "backup" amps. For home use and when I want a change in my basic tone. I play in a variety of acts from pop to metal. Sometimes changing things up is fun. But my main rack does the gigs. And its bassic format hasn't changed in a long time. I love the tone and response it gives me. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  8. jeffnesham


    Jan 19, 2014
    No sorry typo I mean I cannot justify an 810 for the bars I play. It would be louder than snot. But I’ll still keep an open mind on the 810 I’ve only played through one once and I loved it
    mikewalker likes this.
  9. jeffnesham


    Jan 19, 2014
    Thanks for the insight, yeah I guess I just needed some validation that good tone is good tone and just enjoy that.
    The Nameless likes this.
  10. jeffnesham


    Jan 19, 2014
    Yep, no deficiencies of any kind it’s pretty much exactly what I’ve been after I can’t even imagine what would make it better. It’s prolly just the GAS so yeah I need to chill and just enjoy my tone.
  11. Yeah, it's a rabbit hole, trying to find a "better" tone than the one you're happy with already.
    You may simply spend lotsa time and money and not find something that suits you as well.
    Then again.....
  12. To paraphrase; there's a great device for sounding Ampeggy. It's called an Ampeg.
  13. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    If what you have works fine, why change. I used an RBI for quite a while great preamp. If you want to go lighter. Go to a class D power amp and a pedal compressor. (My SKB shallow X-rack with Peavey IPR2-2K weighs about 10lbs) You can use the same speakers if you like. The mixed driver police would probably have you go to (2) of the same cab, but if it sounds good to you that's all that matters.
  14. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    *cough* 6-10 *cough*
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
    bassface69 likes this.
  15. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Sounds like a pretty solid setup. What about the same bass you like but in a different color? Gas is GAS.
  16. burgerdj


    Dec 4, 2006
    Nothing wrong at all if you don’t mind the schlep - but there are so many great Amos out there, you could probably reduce your load significantly and use the Sansamp pedal of your choice. You’re right about sending the Sansamp into the Return - things get ugly quickly, even leaving the amp set flat.
    jeffnesham likes this.
  17. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    Lots of good advice here! Make sure to read the posts before mine and twice. The only thing I will add is that a Ampeg B2R is the least Ampeg sounding head out there and is not an upgrade. I owned one and will never touch it again.
    jeffnesham likes this.
  18. torinodeathride


    Dec 1, 2020
    In my mind if you have such a complex rig, you might just new a better head. Years ago I was in a constant search for the better pedal. Then I thought why not spend more money on a good head and stop chasing a sound. The SVT Pro 3 is a good start, you mentioned that before. I recently got a Verellen Meatsmoke. Realize that's a big upgrade and not everyone can spend that kind of money.
    jeffnesham likes this.
  19. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Inactive

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    Yours already hauling that big rack set up around, another 100 pounds ain’t gonna make a difference..
    jeffnesham likes this.
  20. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    That sounds like a good rig to me. I also have an Ampeg SVT210AV cab that I run in conjunction with a Carvin 15MBE 1x15 cab and that combination of cabs sounds really good to my ear. I run various Ampeg rack preamps and preamp pedals into the POWERAMP IN patch point of an Ampeg B2-RE and that also works well for me. If the Hartke sounds good to you and is loud enough for your purposes, I'd say keep on keepin' on.
    jeffnesham likes this.