portable battery based amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by brutuscheezcake, Nov 8, 2003.

  1. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    hey guys!

    i am wondering if anyone has experince with any battery based amps like the new crate TXB50 or anything like it? i think pignose made one as well.

    i play alot of jazz duo casuals and have really wanted to be ultimately portable and small. not having to rely on AC would greatly ease locational requirements. i do end up playing outdoors a fair amount.

    any experiences or thought on the subject?


  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi brutus, I have some experience with the Pignose models (but not the Crate). The classic Pignose runs off AA batteries, but the bigger ones have internal rechargeable batteries (some of which are pretty hefty). The problem is that it's hard to get exact replacements when they finally wear out. And I'm not sure about using them for bass purposes, most of them are pretty low power (they have to be to get decent uptime off a rechargeable). If you're playing outdoors, you probably need a decent size amp (right?), unless it's on the patio of a coffee house or some such thing. What kind of music do you play? BTW, did you sell that junior Kay?h
  3. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    thanks for the reply!

    the amp would be mostly for lite jazzuals. a few sets of standards. nothing to taxing, nor loud. cocktail music. yup. the great american songbook. i work a duo with a professor from USC.

    yeah, its strictly for that because there is just no way a battery amp could do my other gigs.

    on the bass, the M3 was picked up by the buyer within 2 hours of purchase. gotta love ebay!


  4. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    The Crates use rechargeable gel-cells, and I have heard they go a long time on a charge. Sound OK, might be perfect for you.

    Mostly I have heard of them in use with portable PA, but there is a bass unit out now.

    The Pignose small amp was pretty good, lots of coffee joint folkies used them in the 70s.

    If you do the Crate one, get the wood cab, there were some heavy-duty plastic cab units and they tend to rattle and buzz.
  5. I been fooling around with the Pignose Hog 30 for the last couple of months. My report is in this thread. Be sure to read the follow up I did later in the thread. Searching this forum for Pignose will bring up more threads on battery powered amps.

    From my research, the Hog keeps up with a couple of acoustic guitars, the crate bass model is much louder and equally more expensive. For the ultimate in battery powered amps, check out the Phil Jones threads in this forum. They are coming out with one that will be in the $600 range.
  6. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    From what I've heard, Crate is not pushing
    the current bass version because they have
    been having problems with them as well as
    the whole battery powered line of amps. The
    older models seem to be more reliable, and
    they weren't that good to begin with. Remember,
    these are "crate" amps, not "great" amps. lol
  7. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    The wood ones are OK, the plastic ones rattled.

    I have heard nothing about problems other than the rattle in plastic ones.

    The battery life seems to be good. I checked around and got good reports of that.

    Hey, Crates don't HAVE to be bad......there's folks that have posted here and seem to like theirs.
    I am not usually blown away in a good way by their guitar amp tone, but.......
  8. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    There was a similar thread on The Bottom Line last year or so. A few people suggested buying a regular small combo amp, a trolling motor battery for a boat (designed to deal with slow discharge unlike a car battery), a charger for it and a DC to AC inverter for it at Wal-Mart.
  9. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    My bandleader insisted I get a pignose (Hog 30) to do cocktail hours with. I told him I've always used my WW with EA10 which is part of the rig I use for the receptions but a lot of the places now don't want you to run ANY power cords ANYWHERE during cocktail hour, hence the battery powered amp.
    For the cocktails I use my Knutson EUB but the pignose sounded pretty bad with it and not loud enough to compete with sax and acoustic piano. I was pretty unhappy.
    Just to get more volume I ran the bass through my Sadowsky outboard pre and voila, a hell of a sound difference. The tone was definitely a lot better and no problem at all with volume.
    So my verdict is it is fine for what it is and if there is no other option I would use it with the pre, but it really is not a professional sounding rig by any means. It can cut it but I greatly prefer my regular gear. One thing that is really good. The charge lasts a really long time.
  10. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
  11. rok51


    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    I have a Crate TX 30 that I have been more than pleased with. At reasonable volume, it sounds good and will last forever on a charge.
  12. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    The TX-30 is one of the older models. (I think)
    Sounds better than expected for an 8in.
    speaker at 30 watts, but having a piezo
    buffer on channel 2 helps alot. BUT!!!
    I've been hearing high failure rates with
    the newer ones.
  13. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    Just a point of information.....checked with Crate service, they don't know about any high failure rate, and for sure they don't know about any "not pushing" the line due to problems. Apparently they actually sell well.

    There were a few bad batteries, but that is it.
    I don't know where the high failure rate info comes from............

    I have consistently heard good things about the Crate battery amps. You probably should check out the bass version.
  14. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    When I showed interest in them a while
    after last winters NAMM, The stores were
    telling me they couldn't get The bass
    version due to problems. (2 stores) My
    guitar player friend ordered a new taxi
    to have a spare. The factory told him
    they were way back ordered due to problems.
    I've heard of a few new ones failing on gigs
    in the last months. BUT!! For the size and
    weight, they sound good for string bass.
    Not to cast aspersions, but I've never known
    of a professional who made their living as
    a bassist, who used a crate amp. I'm sure
    there are... I've just never seen one in LA.
    The battery amps are a specialty item.
  15. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    Sounds more like a problem getting parts in time, but who knows.....

    Crate does aim at the beginner and "garage band", meaning folks who don't have to make all their money playing. I don't know if that is a quality issue as much as maybe a tonality thing ("store sound") and a matter of cost and parts.

    Lots of amps are built about the same way, but the tonality is clearly different, and parts can be similar and yet a lot more expensive (and hopefully durable)

    But then, Sears sells tools to a lot of folks who don't work as mechanics, Crate sells amps to.......

    Different floats for different folks. Ain't a lot of battery amps out there.
  16. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Yes!! And this is the problem! MORE BATTERIES!!!
  17. rok51


    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    I bought my TX30 after trying to find an acoustic bass guitar that would suffice for outdoor jams with acoustic guitars. Every ABG that I tried sounded good by itself, but got buried when more than one guitar was happening. I then found that many with ABGs used small, battery-powered amps (Hognose, Fender Amp Can and the Crate Taxi) for playing along with several acoustic guitars or other instruments. I tried this and it worked very well. Not having an ABG at the time, the "light bulb" went off...would my regular bass work with the same battery-powered amps? The answer was a resounding yes...and I saved from not having to purchase an ABG. Acoustic jamming is all that I use mine for. As noted above, tone is outstanding...considering what it is. I have to turn it down real low so not to overcome the guitars...so, in that context, it works wonderfully for me. After two hours of playing, it only took 15 minutes to fully recharge.