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New To Amps..I Have Some Questions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by stephanie, Apr 2, 2003.

  1. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Hi. I think this is my very first post up here in the Amps forum. I've been doing some searching around here for info on some amps I'm possibly interested in. I found so much it's a bit overwhelming. And being new to this, a little confusing so I have a few questions (sorry if they sound silly)...

    - What is the Ext. Speaker on an amp used for? I have never found use for it on my amp.

    - What is an XLR line?

    - What exactly is a preamp?

    - If you use a combo amp at a (small) gig is there anything else that's needed?

    Ok. I'll probably have some more, but onto what I was really wondering about: I am looking for a new amp, preferably a combo because I believe they'd be more convenient for me. I currently only have a Squier BP-15 practice amp and a Squier Affinity P-Bass. I am wishing to get a new bass someday, like a Spector and also hope to get a fretless. I love to play and write a lot of melodic stuff. I am looking into playing Jazz gigs and hopes of doing Solo Bass gigs (which would probably be in cafes and such places), but I would like to leave an option open for basic rock gigs in small clubs or bars. So I am looking for an amp that would be suitable for such gigs. I am also very low on cash. I can't even afford an amp and buying one will put me in debt, but I need one so I'm figuring maybe a budget of around $300. I'm afraid to buy used.

    The following I'm rather interested in (after doing some searches on the net or seeing them in catalogs. I've done some searching on them here but I've found both pros and cons and was a bit confused):

    - Carvin Pro Bass 100 (PB100-10 or PB100-15)(I saw this in my Carvin catalog and it's nice and clean-looking.)

    - Behringer Ultrabass BX1200 Combo (I really like the sound of this one. It has so many features.)

    - Gallien Krueger Backline (I'm not sure which one)

    Any comments on these? And if anyone knows of any other amps that would be good as well, please let me know. Any comments, suggestions, or advice on anything would be greatly appreciated.

  2. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    Ext speaker- this is a jack where you can plug in another speaker (of the correct impedance) and run 2 speakers overall.

    Xlr line - this is a line that can be (normally) run to a mixing console.

    Preamp - this is the tone shaping part of a head. In a rack system the preamp is a separate unit from the power amp.

    If you use a combo nothing else is needed.

    Dont be scared to buy used, you get more bang for the buck.
  3. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    If this is on of your first puchases, I'd recommend not buying something sight unseen (Carvin). You want to be able to play through it, listen to it and turn all the knobs to test their effect. If you're new to the field, don't worry too much about lots of features (compression, reverb, etc.). what you want is good basic stuff. You'll always have some tone control so check out the features that come with the amp. Take your guitar and play through it at the volume you think you'll play at. Go through each control all the up and down (watch the volume) to see what it does. Trust your ears and get the one you like. Try a bunch if you can.

    Good luck!!:bassist:
  4. It's best to try before you buy, if you can. :)

    Another amp in your price range:

    SWR LA15

    It has no XLR out, but should you need one in the future, you could get a decent inexpensive DI box.

    Edit - the SWR would hold it's resale value better than the rest, if you outgrow it or just don't like it.
  5. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I only say that because since I don't know much about amps, there might be something wrong with a used one that I might not even know about until it's too late.

    Heh, I think the music store only sells Crate amps. :meh: My teacher uses one at my lessons and I don't really like it too much.

    Thanks for the help,
  6. A few comments on the ones you mentioned...

    Carvin - I know many satisfied Carvin equipment owners. It's just a bit of a shot-in-the-dark buying something that you can't try out.

    Behringer - probably lots of features for the money, but I've read that some Behringer equipment is rather disposable... i.e. if you have a problem, it's difficult to fix or cheaper to buy a new one than to have it repaired.

    GK Backline - I own a GK200mb and love it (little 12" 100w combo). I don't know anything about the backline series, so I really can't say.
  7. btw - I agree with what blueszilla and thunderstik said. :)
  8. DNE


    Feb 27, 2003
    I'm new myself to amps, bass, and so forth. One link I have found very helpful with respect to technical issues concerning amps is:


    It should give you a good idea about various components, features, etc.
  9. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    I can't believe that Crate is your only choice. There has to be more stores in Scranton. I know they used to be an entry level type of equipment, but seem to look better these days. To be honest I don't know anything about it now. You would do yourself a favor if you could try more than one kind.
    bimplizkit mentioned SWR. That's what I have it sounds good and keeps value well, like he said. Crate or not, trust your ears and buy what you like. I also agree with thunderstik; used gear is ok if you play it and it works and sounds good. Just ask anybody who has bought a used Fender twin or Deluxe reverb.

  10. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Ok, heh, I totally forgot about the Bass Palace here in Scranton. I've never been there. I'm sure if there's one place in this city that has decent amps it'd be there.
  11. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    I just looked at the combos at the Bass Palace web site. Definitely check out the Ashdown Electric Blue, the Genz Benz and Tubeworks combos. I would recommend looking at the 12" combos, or a 2x10 if you can find one.

    I agree with a previous post, don't worry about XLR on a combo amp. You only need one if you are going to run a line to a PA system, and then the sound guy will prefer a DI box anyway.

    I've played through someone else's Carvin combo, and while it didn't blow me away, it wasn't too bad. I think Carvin still has a trial period, but you would have to pay for the shipping if you return it.

    I think you would probably be happier with any of the three mentioned above (Ashdown EB, Genz Benz, Tubeworks) or an Ampeg or SWR.
  12. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000

    IMHO you get the most bang for the buck with Carvin. Are they the best amps out there? No, are they the worst? No.

    For the money I think the pb100 would suit your needs just fine. If I read correctly and I think I did, it also has a line out, which is a very useful feature to have, this way you can run the amp directly to a P/A if need be without having to mic the cab or use a direct box (The other amps probably have this feature as well.)

    Ive got their 4x10 and IMO it sounds just fine. Could be a bit deeper, but you should have no problem with low end since its a 15" down to 41 htz. I believe the E strings frequency is 40 htz, so there shouldnt be a noticable difference.

    I can understand why someone wouldnt want to buy something sight unseen, but they are IMO/IME built like tanks and very reliable. Their customer service is also IMO second to none, they totally hooked me up and treated me right they sent it 2 day air for me due to a delay and didnt charge me extra for it.

    The biggest drawback is that if you dont like the tone you have to eat the shipping costs to send it back. I dont think you'd dislike the tone enough to send it back though. Again good reliable amps with good tone, for a great price.

    I have no experience with the other amps in question, but I have played through other GK stuff in the past and didnt care much for the tone.

    As far as your reasons for not wanting to buy used, I can relate to that, and wouldnt do it either. Unless the cabinet/amp was in imaculate condition and I had hardly any fear of the failure from it. But ya never can really tell IMO. I also like the idea of having a warranty, just in case.

    Good luck and happy hunting.
  13. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I checked out the website. I think most of the decent combos on there are out of my price range. I just don't have enough on my credit card, except maybe the first Genz Benz listed. I will have to try to get my butt over to Bass Palace. :D

    Well, I guess I have some thinking do to. I think the Carvins were the first amps I looked into. But I was reading both pros and cons on TB about them and was very unsure. I figure I just need something to 'get me out there'. Once I'm out there and making some cash I can sell/trade whatever cheap combo I have and upgrade to an even better one.

    Thanks again :)