Newbie: Fender rumble amps for practice or an audio interface?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Eric Guan, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. Eric Guan

    Eric Guan

    Nov 3, 2019
    Hi! I am a pianist new to bass. Now, I am considering a practice amp, but they seem to be a little expensive for my budget. I found an audio interface called Behringer um2 and I tried it, it sounded pretty nice in my GarageBand, except a little flat, probably because I don't have a good headphones. So, should I spend the money on an amp like Fender rumble or stick with audio interface for now? Thanks!
  2. Of course it depends on your budget. You'll find that some players do prefer practicing through headphones, but probably most prefer a small (practice) amp, like the smaller Fender rumble combo amps. The reason for this is to be able to get a sound similar to what they would get at a performance (gig). It's more than just playing the notes, which , in a quiet environment, can be heard with no amplification. Also, a practice amp with a 10 or 12 inch speaker is large enough to be used for small, low volume acoustic gigs (electric bass with acoustic guitars, banjos, fiddles, etc.) in smaller venues (coffee houses, restaurants, etc.). If you can't really afford one of those, consider using the headphones for a few months while you save up for one of the larger practice amps ($200 - $400). This will also give you time to become more knowledgable about your needs. Since you are a pianist, you know how important the quality of the instrument is for tone. For electric bass, the amplifier is a critical part of the instrument. If you buy cheap, you'll end up buying twice. Let your ears decide which amp to buy. BTW, welcome to Talkbass and to bass playing!
    imabuddha, lucas303, dfp and 6 others like this.
  3. Eric Guan

    Eric Guan

    Nov 3, 2019
    thank you so much!!! I will look into that and I’m very excited to start bass :))
    musicman556 likes this.
  4. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Are you looking to just lay down tracks?

    Do you want a speaker to play around the house?

    do you see yourself playing with people anytime soon?

    how much do you wanna spend?
  5. Eric Guan

    Eric Guan

    Nov 3, 2019
    Thx for replying. Yes I do want a speaker since I don’t want to practice with headphones all the time. My budget is something under $80 I guess so may be I will consider a fender rumble 15.
    Don’t think I will be playing with people soon since I’m a beginner. But I have jammed with friends at my school with the big amps in practice rooms haha..
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  6. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Well, if you’re comfortable buying used you’ll get more for your money. Just for around the house, I’d get a Fender, Ampeg, or Peavey in the 25-50w range. (Rumbles have been my new personal fave)

    for playing with people, 100w and up.

    What kind of music do you like ? Favorite bassists?

    do you care about weight? Warranty? Fender Rumbles v3 are crazy light, but you can get an older, heavier amp for cheap.

    Oh, and welcome :)
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  7. Eric Guan

    Eric Guan

    Nov 3, 2019
    I love funk, soul, jazz, and some pop and a lot of MJ loll

    I’m kinda looking for a lighter amp, but really if it’s not too big heavier is fine. Where would you suggest to find cheaper old amps? I also love rumbles. I played them in Guitar center and they sound amazing!
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  8. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i'm not a huge fan of the rumble 15 - not enough bass for my taste, although others definitely do like it, as did the guy i sold mine to. i like the rumble 25 a lot, and i love my rumble 40. the rumble 25 is only $100 new, so you should be able to find one in your price range used. i've tried a lot of basses through the rumble 25s at GC, and they sound good through it.

    a little bass amp with plenty of bass is the hartke HD15. you can usually find one at sam ash stores if you happen to live near one. when i got mine, it was a little cheaper than it is now, but you should again find one used in your price bracket
    i was doubtful that such a tiny speaker could dole out the bottom end i wanted, but after getting recommendations for it here, i tried one and wow!
    Eric Guan and AstroSonic like this.
  9. LT131


    Jan 25, 2015
    Deep South
    Is noise a concern? If so go with an interface as bass, even at low volume carries through windows, doors and walls.
    LoTone likes this.
  10. Artman

    Artman a.k.a. Eddy Garcia Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2017
    Georgetown, TX
    I have both an interface fed into GB, and an amp. I prefer to practice with an amp. I use the interface to record. If I use it for practice, which I have done on occasion, it doesn't take too long before my ears become "tired". I do have ringing in my left ear though. My suggestion is to practice with a small amp. If you have some music down pat that you want to record, use an interface and your computer.
    imabuddha and Eric Guan like this.
  11. Gizmot


    Mar 22, 2009
    Pittsburgh area
    I’ve tried several different types of setups at home and for me it’s got to be an amp. Headphones just can’t deliver any substantial energy below 250 Hz to recreate the sound of a live bass.
    Eric Guan and AstroSonic like this.
  12. BogeyBass

    BogeyBass Inactive

    Sep 14, 2010
    Between IK multimedia software
    and various additional plugins you can stack in a Daw

    with decent studio monitors, practice amp is pointless

    Live in a band
    Completely different story

    I actually prefer to practice unplugged
    Live, I like very very loud rigs

    For recording, all plugins
    With most of the room and cab settings off or minimal
    very close to a direct signal
    Eric Guan likes this.
  13. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    If neighbours isn't an issue I would lean towards getting an amp. Maybe one with a headphone output?

    If you plan on doing any recording I would get an interface.

    HOWEVER (and this is important):

    If you decide to get a cheap Behringer interface DO NOT GET THE UM2. The UM2 is only 16-bit which in the recording world is severly outdated and almost like turning the clock back to the 1980s.

    At least spend a little extra and get the UMC22 or UMC22HD. Or even the UMC204HD if you think you'll ever use MIDI.

    I used to own a UMC204HD for my home setup (I also have a proper recording studio outside my home). It was a decent interface for the price. Drivers were reasonably stable. Latency performance and midi sync wasn't up there with the best like RME but acceptable and really just relevant if you're doing MIDI. Sound quality was fine. But the DI inputs are really poor sounding for bass. Especially for passive basses. If you plan on using one of these Behringer interfaces as a practise rig you really should add a quality DI-box, like a Radial J48. Which will obviously cost more than the interface...

    The problem with poor sounding DI inputs for guitars/basses is not unique to these Behringers. Most cheap interfaces have this problem so you really need a quality DI box for great sound. But Behringer usually takes "cheap" to a whole new level. The pots on my UMC204HD started crackling within a couple of months. I ended up replacing mine but mostly because I needed better latency performance and better sync with other units.

    Also consider if you really want a practise setup that requires a pc/laptop to work. These interfaces can NOT be used standalone.

    If they weren't so utterly poor sounding and noisy I would recommend the Vox Amplug Bass2 instead if you want to use headphones for practise but unfortunately the Amplug is a total piece of junk. But maybe there's something simliar at a decent price?
    Eric Guan likes this.
  14. Christophe C

    Christophe C

    Feb 15, 2019
    I started with a small and cheap Hartke HD15. The Fender Rumble 15 looks similar.
    It's a good little amp with a headphone jack and an Aux-in. That's why I bought it : one small box with the option to play silent with headphones and to play backing tracks from my iphone. It was also ok plugged on my girlfriend's electronic piano.
    Enough to play in a small room but the bass quality is limited due to the small size of the speaker. But that's ok for the price.

    As a beginner, I can also recommend a Zoom B1xon. It's a multi-effects pedal but it's also a decent tuner, a volume adjuster, a beat box with basic rythmns, a metronome and a looper. There's an aux-in and it runs on battery (and on main with a classic 9V DC adapter).
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  15. Eric Guan

    Eric Guan

    Nov 3, 2019
    Guys thank you so much for your input! I guess I will get an amp after seeing your valuable opinions :) have a nice day
    AstroSonic likes this.
  16. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Well if you like the Rumble, its a great amp. Many rave reviews, esp here on TB! I second Pcake that a 25 would be a step up. If you have time test more brands, but IMO the Rumble would serve you well.

    local classifieds, FB marketplace, Craigslist etc, local music shops.... at this price point, any online purchase would come with shipping costs that would eat up your savings.
    Eric Guan likes this.
  17. Mojo


    Oct 7, 2006
    Wolverhampton UK
    As a confirmed Rumble fan, I can honestly say that I was very disappointed with a Rumble 15 v3 combo that I got secondhand in a package deal with a bass. Compared to my 500v3 Combo, the 15 sounded boxy with no real bass to talk of. I had to dial out all the mid frequencies in order to get a relatively pleasant tone.
    imabuddha and Eric Guan like this.
  18. Hammertime3


    Apr 23, 2008
    Been looking for the same thing myself. I can say this about Hartke..I've had a Kickback 10 and now a Kickback 12, both 120 watts, and they have plenty of power. Problem is, wife has taken over the 12 to play rhythm thru in a band she is helping out. If the HD15 is powered similarly it should be a good amp. I do think Hartke stuff is harder to move than Fender if you decide to upgrade. I think Fender will hold it's value longer but I can't say howthey compare in sound. Hartke is good stuff tho....
    Eric Guan likes this.
  19. Hounddog409


    Oct 27, 2015
    Depends on budget and if you actually like the rumble tone.

    I dont, so they are not a good deal at any price for me.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
    Eric Guan likes this.
  20. Been there done that over the last few months. For "around the house" practicing, you have 3 real options, all with respected costs and pros/cons.

    The cheapest option is the VOX (or other similar) headphone amp.

    It's a $40 plug and play option. It has a headphone and aux jack so you can play along with your favorite songs. I often use this when I'm not playing in my music room.

    Audio Interace. Your mileage may vary here. The tradeoffs are costs vs convienience. If you like to lay down some tracks, then this might be fore you. Interfaces start at around $50 and go up and up and up. I landed on the AXE I/O and I love it. It has a great sound out of the box and right now, it includes Amplitube MAX which has all of the Ampeg, Fender, and Orange bass amp models. I often use this the most to play around with my tone. USB hooked up to my laptop and it's quite portable.

    Practice Amp. The Fender Rumble is highly regarded and reasonably so. It sounds great and light as a feather. I think they all include an aux and headphone port, the bigger ones have an XLR line out, and the big bigger one can accept external cabinets. They can be a decent buy on the used market if you shop around. Get the biggest one you can truly afford. The 100W is probably the minimum for a jam band amp and can do double duty if you ever decide to do that.

    Real Amp I know I said you have 3 options, but if you go deep down the rabbit hole, you may as well start looking at "real" amps that can get your through any jam or live situation. Cost and pros and con bennefits are here too. For not much more than a practice amp, you can get yourself into a nice larger 210 or 115 combo or mini stack. You can still use it to practice, or crank it off and blow your face off, or take it with your and keep up with just about any jam or live situation.

    And welcome to the deep end ;)
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