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n00b needs opinion on first big purchase...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BanJhankri, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. BanJhankri


    Mar 30, 2009
    New Zealand
    Hi all,
    I've wanted to join fora while and with a new purchase coming up I figured now was an ideal time. I'll introduce myself properly in the right section later, but for now I've got something I'd love some knowledgeable feedback on...

    A bit of background: I've been playing on a permanently loaned Marshall 150w since I started playing in 1999. It was fine for a beginner just playing at school or home, but after 10 years of wear and tear and moving into weekly professional work in medium sized venues combined with the poor performance of the marshall.. I need something with more grunt and a better sound! I have a budget though, which sadly holds me back from getting top of the line. And living on the edge of the world doesn't give me much selection.

    Here is what I'm looking at getting later this week:

    if you aren't able to view the page, here are the details listed:
    SWR 350 X excellent condition in road case,see SWR website for specs

    Gallien Krueger 4 X 10 BLX series2 Speaker cabinet, excellent condition 8 ohm 400w

    Gallien Krueger 1 X 15 BLX series2 Speaker
    cabinet, excellent condition 8 ohm 200w

    Cabinets on removable castors and has manual and all leads and subwave octave generator footswitch

    Been gigged a few times, never thrashed or trashed


    I've got to travel 3 hours to get there, and I'll be spending around $1800NZD which works out to be around $1000USD (I gather a lot of people here are from the US). I read up on reviews at Harmony Central and they all seemed really positive, but I have a feeling that most people are always gonna see their own gear in a favourable light on that site. I followed the links supplied on harmony central to external stores to see how much they would all cost brand new and it came to over $3000NZD, so financially it seems like it'd be a good deal - but technically?

    Basically, I'm going up to try before I buy in 3 days. I'd hate to get up there, test it out and find that it wasn't what I was after. I play in a cover band every weekend in bars that I guess could fit 300 people but also do big weddings/corporates and large school formals as well. Would this rig handle the workload and have enough grunt to keep up with the rest of the band running through the PA? Can I finally get a discernible sound at these packed gigs rather than just being able to feel a generic bass boom? And is the head evenly matched with the bins and not going to fry anything with extended use over a long period?

    Thanks again, and I hope to be able to be able to frequent the forum quite a bit now.

    [p.s. I have a few alternative options in case it turns out to be a dud, but I'd prefer to leave them out of the mix for the time being.]
  2. RobertPaulson


    Dec 11, 2008
    Des Moines
    I have a BLX 1x15 that to be honest I'm not horribly ecstatic about. It doesn't seem to be a very punchy amp. Might be better when paired with a 4x10 - I do tend to prefer 10's over 15's. The SWR 350 is a nice little amp, I don't you'll have a problem with that part by any means. Really I'd just try it, and if you like the sound go for it.
  3. pbassturk


    Jun 22, 2008
    what style music? how many pieces are you most likely to perform with?
  4. BanJhankri


    Mar 30, 2009
    New Zealand
    thanks for the quick response guys...

    yeah I've heard things about the GK bins, thats one of the things I was worried about. It's hard to get a real idea without experiencing it yourself when some people praise a product and others diss it. My marshall is a 1x15 and it definitely has deep bass boom, just not enough definition in the actual notes. especially around the E/F area. But I was hoping that with this rig I could still get the phatness of the 15 but with more clarity in the 4x10. Is this an accurate assumption?

    Its a 4piece mainly rock covers band. We play older tunes like the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Queen to newer rock like the Kooks, Jet, Kings of Leon. I play a few songs that go through the register a bit, for example, Steal my Kisses, Santeria etc and the main obstacle I've experienced with my Marshall is that my tone is uneven (even after tweaking the EQ) where I get a deep muddy low, a quiet mid and a rattly tinny high
  5. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    The 4x10/1x15 is a common cab combo (say THAT 5 times fast) because it works to push the low end while retaining clarity in the upper registers. This may not be your cup of tea though, as ti sounds like you are looking into a more present bass tone.

    You might look into cabs with 12" speakers. Generally speaking, they tend to have more pronounced mids and can still pick up those lower notes very well.
  6. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    The SWR amp is fine, but those cabs won't make you happy. If possible, keep searching for cabs, and grab that head.
  7. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA

    Get you a single SWR Goliath III cab with that head and you will be a happy camper.
  8. BanJhankri


    Mar 30, 2009
    New Zealand
    hmm thanks guys.

    Could you clarify why these cabs won't cut it? The guy won't sell them separately.

    I suppose I should also mention now that I've also been stalking this which was offered to me for $2800NZD. It's just out of my price range although if this was a great rig I could probably work something out. I've been told by heaps of people that Ampeg is top shelf, but I've read a few opinions on here that they have gone downhill and aren't worth it. Your thoughts in comparison to the original swr/GK rig?


    details: Ampeg Cabinet -4 10 HLF
    4 Ohms
    500W RMS
    1000W Programme
    SWR Head - 550W
    SKB road case
    Washburn Bantam Bass Guitar with hard case

    Extremely grunty rig, had very little use.
  9. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Hi BanJhankri.

    Your description of your Marshall combo's tone indicates that it could be voiced for the 'mid scoop' (boosted lows, cut mids, boosted highs) that many bass combos have to make them sound bigger in practice/low volume situations.

    If you check your Marshall's BLOCK Diagram you may see something labeled as a 'contour filter' or 'pre-shape EQ' in the amp's signal path just ahead of its power amp.

    Which model is your combo, the B150?

    Do you set your amp's EQ flat, turn up the volume as loud as it needs to be, and then tweak the EQ slightly to compensate for competition from other instruments/compensate for room acoustics?
  10. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Ocoee, TN

    Once again, this is a good head, but those cabs aren't the way to go. They're heavy, whumpy, and don't hold up very well.

    Be patient and keep looking. You'll find something that works fo you.
  11. skotsour


    Mar 4, 2009
    I'm currently using the Ampeg 410 HLF with a Genz Benz 6.0 Shuttle. I love the GB and like the Ampeg. I can keep up with the rest of the band and can definitely be heard, but I am not in love with the sound of the Ampeg. If the Shuttle is in your range, you might want to check it out with a good 410 cab.
  12. 6810


    Jan 11, 2008
    Yeah, you can pick up a shuttle 6.0 pretty cheap these days, even new from some online dealers in the US. Genz Benz are great to deal with. I'm not sure of all issues to do with NZ power supply, but since the Shuttle is a switch mode amp, it has universal power supply - meaning you can use it any where.

    You may just need a different plug. But I can't confirm that - perhaps an Oz or NZ user can confirm that.

    BassNW gave me a great deal on a 6.0 head last year including postage to Japan. Hit up their website or send them an email. With the cash you're spending you could by a 6.0 (600 watts @4ohms) and have a grip of cash left over for a really decent cab.
  13. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Those cabs are GK's "bottom of the line",(Backline) and don't have the clarity and punch of GK's better speakers. The 2nd rig is much better, but that particular Ampeg cab is known to be quite bass heavy. (read-boomy) That might be something you want, or not. Of the 2 rigs, I'd pick #2, but you're definately on the right track.
  14. warwick.hoy


    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    Contact Geoff Whitehead, the Australia Distributor for Avatar and see if he will ship to New Zealand. The website linked is with USD prices and Geoff's number is in the FAQ. I'm not sure what those overseas prices would be but you may be able to set yourself up with some new cabs for the same price as used. If you don't like them you could probably turn around and sell them.

    In the States; Avatar cabs are factory direct relatively inexpensive, well built, powerful and great sounding cabs.
  15. WarMan


    Feb 18, 2008
    Plano, Texas
    I started with a USA made Backline 110. I blew the speaker without ever even gigging or playing loud. I was using it in a bedroom. I replaced it the a USA made Backline 210. The speakers lasted but the sound quality was lacking.

    I recently concluded a search for another combo. I ended up with a MarkBass CMD 102P. You won't believe how much better it sounds than the Backline. I also looked at an SWR Spellbinder. It seemed pretty good to. I didn't consider the USA made GK stuff due to the weight factor. I had enough weight issues with the Backline 210. It weighed 67 pounds. My MarkBass weighs 44 pounds.

    Bottom line, I too am in the group that doesn't care for GK's backline series.
  16. BanJhankri


    Mar 30, 2009
    New Zealand
    hmm.. all very helpful posts guys. thanks for the feedback. I am considering asking the guy who listed the swr/ampeg rig if he would sell me it minus the bass guitar... that way i might be able to afford it.

    yeah its the B150. And you're correct, I had the smiley-face going on. Next gig if I'm not playing with whichever of those new rigs I'm looking at I'll completely reset my eq from flat. I find that I have to boost it though to compete with the level of the rest of the band - maybe thats not helping?

    I'm a bit disappointed that the first rig doesn't cut it in everyones eyes, but I appreciate the advice. I'd love to really hold off and wait for something really sweet to come up, but I'm desperate for a new rig and selection isn't the best down here. I will look into those amps from Oz, but shipping will be really expensive.

    I also have access to this local shop. It would be way easier to get something from them but I just thought that the first rig was a way better deal than what I could get brand new from there(obviously not). I have 2 options, I could either spend just what I have budgeted for - in which case I could probably only really afford the warwicks (thoughts/feedback?) or I could -hopefully- get finance to pay off a slightly more expensive rig.

    I could post just the ones I'm looking at, but you guys are pretty knowledgable and I really appreciate the input so far. So I'll post the Head and Cab pages of the shop and maybe I could get some recommendations for what I'm planning on spending that would suit my situation. The listings are all in NZD of which I'm looking at spending around $2000 (unless you find something in there REALLY worth spending a bit extra for)

    RockShop - Bass Heads
    RockShop - Bass Cabinets

    It's probably too much asking you guys to look through the pages, but the lists are pretty small and I've arranged to drive 3 hours to meet the SWR/GK guy in 2 days so I'm pretty desperate to get a better alternative ASAP so I can cancel.

    Thanks again for everyones help, I don't know why I haven't joined this place earlier. It's a relief to talk to people that know what they're on about.
  17. BanJhankri


    Mar 30, 2009
    New Zealand
    i guess i should include what tone i'm after. I still really want the deep sub bass sound but i want the mids to pop and the highs to be smooth and clear. I really enjoy reggae/dub bass where you can get a phat sound all through the register but still enough bass to rattle you're fillings. I think that if you can't physically feel the bass, its no fun playing!

    [edit: sorry if double-posting is frowned upon on the forum. I haven't had the time to really browse through yet]
  18. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    If I can add one more thought: Amps in stores or at home NEVER sound like they do on stage; The mix is the where you really know how a rig sounds. For years, amps have been made with these fun "Mid Scoop" buttons that make a player sound really dandy in some shop or when showing off to his gal, but on stage it sounds like caca. Good defined mids are what make a bass stand out in the mix, not huge lows.

    Good luck.
  19. babebambi


    Jan 7, 2008
    [edit: sorry I messed up the currency rate, actually seems on the expensive side, but these are sweet cabs]

    these would be a good deal if they match your sound (and provided if they are in good condition)
  20. BanJhankri


    Mar 30, 2009
    New Zealand
    thanks bambi, I have been watching that cab actually...

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