Need advice on a new amp/head purchase

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BartmanPDX, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I'm asking for advice because my situation is a little unusual . . .

    I'm looking for a new head, as my GK 400 RB (circa 1990) is aging less than gracefully.

    Weight/Portability and power are of little consideration, as I am a stay-at-home bassist due to family concerns. My daughter has epilepsy and autism, and requires around-the-clock supervision and occasionally has to be rushed to the hospital for several days. My wife works 60+ hours a week, yet makes good money (2-3 times what I made as a high school teacher before I became a full-time stay-at-home dad), and her big annual bonus is coming up. As a result, I am not in a band, nor am I likely to be in one for quite some time. I mostly play along with CDs on the stereo while my daughter is in her special ed. preschool.

    Therefore weight of the amp is of little concern -- once it's in my house, it may not be moved for years. Also, I don't need huge amounts of power, as I am not competing with a guitarist or live drummer, etc.. Sure, I like to crank it up a little, but I don't need a pre/power amp setup like a Demeter VTBP-201/Crest CA-9 combination or anything. :D I just want something that sounds good

    I'm pretty sure I can convince the wife to go up to around $1K. My cabinets are a (circa 1990) Hartke 410 XL aluminum-cone and an '05 Avatar B212, which I got on the advice of people here and am very happy with. I am also thinking of replacing the Hartke with another Avatar -- either another 212 or a 210 (possibly 410).

    Right now, I'm thinking about a Mesa 400+ (used -- I think they're over $1K new), or an Ashdown ABM 500 Evo II. I'm leaning toward the Mesa, as I am intrigued by the possibility of getting a tube amp. It's probably overkill in terms of power, but what the heck, right? The Traynor YBA 200 is also a contender, though I don't know where I can try one locally.

    Any advice is welcome, especially models I should look to try and what I should look for in buying a used tube amp, etc.
  2. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Mesa is $1500 new, about $750 usually used. I would choose the Traynor if I didn't need tons of volume; I am thinking of getting one for a backup for my 400+ and as a recording head. That way you have some extra $ for a nice cab, and you have a nice sounding and pretty powerful head. That is, of course, if you want a nice SVTish overdriven tube vibe. If you want something more hi fi and a lot more versitle, the Ashdown is your head.
  3. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Thanks for the input. After doing more searching around on this forum, I'm starting to lean more toward the Ashdown -- I'm going to see if I can try the Mesa and the Ashdown this weekend, if possible.

    The Traynor is really the X factor, as I have no idea where I can possibly try one out.
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    the used market is pretty awesome these days. my favorite place to shop is the TB classifieds.

    One of my picks would be a used eden wt-400 which you should be able to get for 600 tops.
  5. fatsobasso


    Dec 24, 2005
    Ormond florida
    i must say, i had a mesa boogie bass 400 and it was by far the best sounding amp i ever played through,i sold it awhile back(weight issues)buyer got a steal because i was moving,so mesa is good ,but i am not familier with the ashdown stuff.
  6. LarryO


    Apr 4, 2004
    This is strictly my opinion....If I were in that situation, I'd sell the hartke cab to offset a little of the cost, and buy an Acoustic Image or eden head. If you want a tube head but dont need power, the 70's silverface bassman 100s are ok and can be bought for cheap
  7. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Thanks for the input.

    Ironically, one of the advantages of the Hartke is that when the head is sitting on it on top of the Avatar, the stack is so tall that my daughter can't monkey with the controls. Being autistic, she doesn't understand "don't touch daddy's things" -- I've caught her kicking the metal grilles on my Avatar more than once, and my instrument cable has been chewed through so much it looks like we have a rat problem or something. :eek: Suffice it to say, my basses ALWAYS stay in their hard cases unless I'm actively playing them.

    In any event, I'd like to get a quality piece -- I'm not a "gear trader" -- I just like to get one quality thing at a time, and right now, the head is the weakest link in the chain. Eden is on my short list of amps to try, as well. I won't be looking to get any Bergie cabs until next year, at least. :D Maybe by then I can get her to stop kicking the speaker grille -- she hasn't done damage to it . . . yet. :meh:
  8. FunkyLemz


    Oct 17, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I heard pretty good things about the Mesa. If there is any way you could get another $500 on top of that the Aguilar DB 750 is one of thes best amps out there. If not maybe give an Iamp a shot or another Mesa - Walkabout. Also, I used to have that VL cab myself and some new speakers will change you tone so much for the better. Just my 2 cents.