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New Bass Player and New Ampeg Portaflex Rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Gretsch6136, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Hi everybody,

    Just joined the forum after a couple of months lurking and learning.

    I am a long term guitarist, having played in bands for over 20 years. However I recently landed an audition for a Rolling Stones tribute show on bass, and was lucky enough to be offered the job.

    As a result I needed to move pretty quickly and find myself a bass guitar and amp. The band's repertoire is nearly all late '60s to late '70s numbers so I figured I needed to go with Ampeg for the tone and looks.

    I went out shopping and of all the equipment I looked at, the Ampeg Portaflex series ticked the boxes for me. It had the right look, the right tone, and the right price. However the thing that worried me quite a bit was all the horror stories here about the Pf500 head failures.

    So I figured the PF800 was a new product and that Ampeg would have learned a lesson from the 500 experience. Regarding cabs, I liked the fliptop idea but felt it would somehow compromise the integrity of the enclosure with regards to strength, sound, and reliability over time.

    After reading lots of opinions here I ended up choosing the PF800 and matched it to one PF115LF and one PF410HLF cabinets.

    Visually this rig really made a statement. I set it up at home and had a good play around with it. I found that the 115 sounded fantastic but the 410 just wasn't my cuppa tea.

    I took each cab to separate band rehearsals and my initial impression was borne out. The 410 just didn't do it for me. So I called the shop I bought it from and they were happy to exchange it for a second PF115LF.

    I must say this rig is just great. It sounds huge, nice and fat and woody. It still has plenty of definition and top end which can be dialled in to levels more trebly than I would ever want.

    Using a single cab is more than enough for rehearsal. I can't wait to gig with two.

    BTW the guitar I bought was a used Fender Sting Precision which had a Lindy Fralin pickup installed.

    All up I feel pretty happy, just keeping my fingers crossed that the head isn't going to fail like the many PF500s I've read about.


  2. pics!

    The pf115lf is my favorite ampeg cab in production.
  3. awesome rig and gig

    I have the 350 head and the same cab. I use Jamup on iOS and run the output to the effects return and it works great. Plus there's still the native sound of the amp which is totally acceptable in case the iPad has a problem.

    If I need to go bigger, adding the 800 and another cab would be my choice as well. With both cabs then there is also a backup amp in case of disaster.

    congrats, have fun
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I have yet to see any reports of the PF800 failing on here, and I watch pretty closely. Good call getting matching cabs, though...they always work better than non-matching for a number of reasons.
  5. Matched cabs sound better............

    Glad you found out early that the 4X10/1X15 is not a good combination.
  6. SuperK


    Sep 12, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Congrats. I have a similar rig and love it. I have the PF115HE cab but I keep hearing good things about the LF. Has anybody paired a 115HE and a 115LF? Would that work?
  7. stonewall


    Jun 14, 2010
    sounds like you gonna have some fun dude enjoy
  8. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    i use 2 pf 115he with a svt 7 and it sounds great.
  9. Yup, sounds like a primo rig ...you really did your research well! I absolutely LOVE my +2-year-old PF-350.

    Care to share what that rig costs in Australian $$ so that those of us who live elsewhere can have some sense of our local Ampeg prices? Thanks.
  10. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
  11. SuperK


    Sep 12, 2012
    San Jose, CA

    I think that's the exact same rig that I'm leaning towards. I plan on adding the second 115HE first and then trading the PF500 in for an SVT-7Pro
  12. Thanks for the welcome and positive comments.

    Can you guys elaborate on the "matched cabs are better" comments? What's the issue with a mix and match approach? My issue with the 4x10 wasn't how it paired with the 15, it was really just that the tone of that cabinet didn't sound smooth. It was too nasal sounding, even with the horn off.

    For the person who asked, the rig cost me $2,000 AUD. The full retail price was over $3,000 so I feel I negotiated well.


  13. Thanks for the Australian pricing info, Mark. Economics is one of my other interests besides electric instruments and amplification.
  14. VerryBerry

    VerryBerry Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2012
    Alberta, Canada
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Here's why I don't like non-matched cabs in the same amp:

    1. Unpredictability of behavior. Matched cabs always work well together, while mixing cabs can result in phasing issues. Sometimes they're miniscule and unnoticeable, sometimes they're crazy noticeable. But it's unpredictable as to whether they will work well together until you try it out, whereas matched cabs are a sure thing because they have identical behavior.

    2. Imbalance of volume. If the cabs are of relative closeness in speaker surface and cone movement, you won't get a volume imbalance if they're mismatched. A 115 is usually way outmatched for volume by a 410, though, and your rig will be limited in output by the quietest cab. Having said that, a rig with two 115 cabs is often quite badass and can be plenty loud for many people, so nothing against 115's...it's just physics.

    3. Limited EQ abilities. With non-matching cabs using the same amp, one of the cabs probably won't be EQ'd the way you want it. But if you change its EQ, you also change the other cab's EQ, which means you just chased your problem from once cab into another.

    You can mitigate a lot of those problems by using separate amps, and again, it's not that they can't work. If someone uses a mixed rig and it sounds good to them, then party on. But I've yet to use mixed cabs with a single amp that I've liked, and the best I've ever gotten was OK at best.
  16. Thanks for the info guys.

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