New Amp or FRFR?????

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Skybone, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    Currently in a bit of a quandary as to what I'm going to do regarding amplification.

    The situation is that I'm playing in an originals band, we've not played any gigs yet as we've only recently managed to get a singer on board (I'll not bore you with the details). Anyway, we're almost ready to start looking for some gigs, but I'm wondering what I should do regarding an amp.

    I currently own a Hartke HA4000 & a 2x10 cab, which I've only used a few times, as the rehearsal space has an old Peavey rig & 2x 4x10 cabs.

    I also use a Line6 POD HD500x as a pre-amp, which I plug into the "Power Amp In" on the Peavey, bypassing the on board pre-amp. This sounds alright for rehearsals, but I wouldn't want to record or gig with it.

    My idea was to use the HD and go amp-less, but should I use the rig I currently have, get a newer, more "transparent" amp (and lighter!), or ditch the lot and get an FRFR Active Speaker?

    The plus side to using the rig that I have is that I already have it. No expense incurred. The downside to it, is that the amp's heavy, doesn't have a dedicated "power amp in" (Post Pre-Amp Effects Return). Also concerned that the amp's a 400w, where the cab is rated at 250w. Doubt I'd ever use the full power of the amp, but it's still a concern.

    A new amp, especially a Class D amp would be lighter, therefore easier to lug around, but they aren't cheap.

    An FRFR isn't as expensive as getting a new amp and cab, the cheaper ones are cheaper than a half decent Class D amp. They're generally lightweight, which would mean that I could load in with one trip. Using the POD's DI to the PA, and use the FRFR as a monitor. It'd give me more of the sound that I'm after, rather than having any "colouration" from a bass amp. But, it would mean that I need to shell out for the FRFR, and sell the Hartke & cab.

    Decisions, decisions...
  2. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    An active FRFR cab that is usable with bass will most likely cost you a lot more than a decent class-D head and a bigger cab combined - and frankly, I don't see much use in that. The advantage of FRFR is that you get out what you feed it without any coloration. When exactly does that come in handy? When you're recording, the bass usually goes direct or through a preamp, and in any case using a mic on a FRFR cab would be stupid.
    When you play live with PA support, you get your FRFR on stage while the FOH does his thing, EQ'ing the bass to suit the room and your FRFR is your stage monitor. I did in fact play a few gigs where I sent my preamp's DI signal to FOH and instead of plugging into the FX return of my stage amp, plugged into the normal input and EQ'ed the stagesound differently to hear myself better.
    In my humble opinion, as soon as you touch an EQ somewhere in your chain, the whole FRFR thing is obsolete.
    Those cabs have a big impact on guitarists that use amp modelers, because guitar cabs have a very limited tonal range and when you play a modeled amp through a limited cab, you might not really be able to tell the differences.
    A typical guitar cabs usable frequency will start somewhere above 100Hz and will have a drop between 4 and 6 kHz, while your average modern bass cab will start much lower and go a lot higher (35Hz - 15kHz or something in that ballpark)
    So bass cabs have had a bigger frequency range for ages and lots of modern cabs are in fact quite close to the whole FRFR idea - Any given bass cab with a big frequency range is capable of sounding flat, once you apply enough EQ to straighten out the curve.
    John Ferguson and Daniel Piper like this.
  3. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    Thanks, that all confirms what I was thinking anyway, so that's put paid to an FRFR setup.

    Indeed, for recording, I'd just use the HD500x as the DI, no need for an amp/cab, or to mic any monitoring speakers.

    The question now then is, do I get rid of the Hartke and buy a Class D? Alternatively, just keep the Hartke and save some cash?
  4. If you're going to only use the poweramp anyway, you can find a lightweight poweramp for pretty cheap. All true about FRFR does not add much to the bass cab world. Just find a bass cab with an even response across the frequency range and you're OK. I'm using a Helix with a peavey ipr poweramp into genz benz cabs and it sounds great. I'm even using the cab sims with the helix to add "character" to the sound.
    Skybone and BasturdBlaster like this.
  5. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

  6. Full Range Flat Response, more common term in the guitar/modeling world
    JB Lars likes this.
  7. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Thank you. This term describes my Acmes. :D
  8. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    One advantage of FRFR is that FOH is full of them. There are many options. Many great ones. Interchangeable. And costs are under control.
    Mix a powered sub with a top and you have FOH
    I saw NAMM there were specific makers of FRFR for guitars modeling - but gee they could just be PA cabs.
  9. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    Finally had a chance to try the HD500x into the Hartke "Post Return". Sounded great IMO, so thanks for the opinions. :)
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