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portable battery powered amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by retitled, Apr 24, 2004.

  1. retitled


    Feb 13, 2004
    forest hills
    im looking for an affordable portable amp that doesnt drain batteries and has pretty deasent sound.

    im loking for sites, images, prices, input, anything useful :)
  2. Depending on what you already have, you could consider a 12v to 110/240v convertor, and use your existing equipment.
    I took a 120W Hartke kickback combo amp on holiday with me, and ran it from a 300w invertor from a caravan battery.

    If you have the car/caravan battery, thats about 20 GB pounds (30 dollars) and your problem is solved.
  3. retitled


    Feb 13, 2004
    forest hills
    well by portable i mean tiny that i can carry on my back :p or hook up to my belt hehe
  4. Humabass

    Humabass Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2002
    Northern Virginia
    I use a Carvin Stagemate battery powered PA cab. Same 10 inch speaker as in their bass cabs,horn,100 watts,has room for two batteries inside,has 4 channels,and you can get one with optional built in multi-effects. Very small but not small or light enough to carry on your back or belt?!? Surprisingly good sound. Blows away any other battery powered bass amp except the Phil Jones briefcase.
  5. I've been using the Pignose Hog 30 for three years now and it's a good deal for $139. It's not very loud, but it's perfect for playing with accoustic guitars. The battery holds it's charge for about 8 hours. I tried running my Fender Bassman 60 from a battery/inverter set up and it made a terrible hum from not being grounded.
  6. I hooked up my 4 x 10 in the back of my caravan with a power inverter. It was screaming loud, and totally freaked out the nieghbors. So much so infact, that they called the police on us. I havn't had any problems with a power inverter, so I'd personally try it if I were out in the middle of nowhere.
  7. Many many years ago I wanted to crank up my guitar amp without disturbing the neighbors. So I borrowed a power inverter and drove out to the woods, found a great spot and cranked away for maybe half an hour.... till the car battery was completely drained. Suddenly I found myself totally hosed. In the middle of nowhere, with a dead battery, in a time before cell phones. :eek:

    Problems with power inverters: 1) ya gotta have lots of battery. Car batteries are heavy and the acid makes a heckuva mess 2) the inverter isn't very efficient, in fact the whole process isn't efficient. You're taking 12 volts DC, making a fake 120V AC signal, then your amp is taking that power to create the DC for the amp's transistors. 3) the inverter doesn't make a true AC sine wave, it's a very bizarre imitation, and some electronic equipment can't handle the AC signal.

    The Pignose concept is the much cleaner solution. Though it's not specifically suited for bass...maybe put a bass speaker in there instead of the guitar version?
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, bass players are screwed when it comes to portability. I had the same experience with the car battery, it took just about a half hour to die. You can leave your car on (or use a gasoline powered generator), but that kinda defeats the purpose of having people hear your bass. Bass amps take too much juice to be portable (given today's technology, IMO). You'd have to carry around a huge number of batteries to get one to function reliably under real gigging conditions.

    The Hog and similar ideas are great for practice, and as you say for low volume gigs (like with acoustic guitars and acoustic singing). I've been looking for something more along the lines of a real gigging amp though. So by definition that would mean at least a couple hundred watts, maybe three hundred. And it would have to last maybe five hours or so (let's say, 9pm to 2am). Anything like that out there?
  9. Humabass

    Humabass Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2002
    Northern Virginia
    Carvin Stagemate!! Look it up. Even has an extension cab. Can also be plugged into your car. It actually sounds good.
  10. I take my Pignose Hog 30 to the my cousin's cottage every summer and jam with acoustic guitars and love every minute of it.
    Of course the tone suffers from such a small unit, but then again, when I am at the cottage jammin, I do not expect to sound like I do through my regular rig. :bassist:
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Crate TXB50


    It's a little heavy at 50lbs. though. You may want to try the smaller version TX30BE.
  12. joemamma


    Jul 18, 2002
    I was at a Bluegrass Club meeting last night and meet 2 lady bass players who were using the Crate "bass bus". To me it sounded good. They were each playing with an acoustic band and said they had to keep their volume low. One woman said she used to play through the "Hog 30" , but liked this one way better. She also said she bought hers about 2 yrs ago and has never had a problem with it. Has anyone here bought one of these recently? I was thinking of getting one, for those "can't find a plug" gigs. Thanks for the help.

  13. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    This is one of my big concerns, as well. My favorite place in the universe is a folk music festival in the Texas hill country. I go live in a pasture for as long as I can get away with. THe best part usually is jamming around the campfires. But as a Bass player that plays AT everything else it's pretty sad to have to leave my main instrument at home and take something I play less well. I get to feel like a spaz at many of the campfires, when if I had a bass in my hands I could contribute meaningfully.

    And now I am subscribed to this thread so I will get notices on it. Woo hoo.
  14. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    what a great thread
    i always wanted to get something like that but never looked into it
    i too go crazy at those "campfire sessions" where i wish i could play along :bawl:
  15. rok51

    rok51 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    I have had a TX30 Taxi for about three years now. It sounds quite respectable, is perfect for playing my electric bass along with acoustic guitars. It lasts forEVER on a charge! Very happy with the purchase.

  16. Can't the Phil Jones Breifcase run off batteries?
  17. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    may not be what you have in mind but what works for me is a Korg PX4B. Great little box about the size of a pack of smokes and not weighing much more that has impressive sounds through headphones - noisey if used as a preamp through an amp. Effects, rhythm patterns, phrase trainer with record capabilities, amp/speaker emulator, 50 user and 50 presets, yadda yadda yadda. You get the idea. Runs off 9v dc or a/c adaptor. About a 150 bones. Tuner on it sucks.

    Oh yeh, has loops for a belt. I hang it from my back pocket. I've known of guys that have hung them from their basses for frequent changes or adjustments.
  18. Don't know of any "hang on your belt" amps that work for bass.

    I've done a fair amount of research on the battery powered stuff. As mentioned, any combo could be powered by converter. You will need a "Deep Cycle" type battery to get a reasonable amount of playing time. Commonly available are marine batteries deisgned to drive electric trolling motors. The full size batteries are heavy, but I imagine there are smaller versions.

    Of the commercially produced battery amps, you get the old three sided argument. Bass response/loud/good price .... pick two.

    For most folks who simply want to jam a bit with a few acoustic players, the Pignose Hog 30 is a good choice with a great price. I own one and although I originally was dissapointed in it's lack of booty, I've found it works in enough situations to keep it. It stays in another part of the house, away from my computer/practice room. When I want to break out of my room, I simply take it wherever I want. When playing with others, it keeps up as long as the music is quiet enough to hear an unamplified singing voice. I've used it for low volume rehearsals, radio appearances (with acoustic guitars, voice and drums with brushes) and I take it on any vacation trips I get.

    If you need louder (in order to project to an audience or compete with group singing, battery powered guitar amps, horns, etc), the next $ steps up are the Crate Bass Bus and the Carvin Stagemate PA cab. Each has it's pros and cons. The Crate is designed for bass, the Carvin will get louder, etc.

    If you are willing to spend some serious cash, you can get a serious battery powered combo. As mentioned, the Phil Jones Briefcase has a battery option and from reports, sounds great! I'm a little concerned that initial reports are that battery life is less than an hour. The other option at the high end is the Walker Labs Freedom Series Big Brother. A search reveals that there's been some good reviews written about this line of gear, but AFAIK, no one on this board has one.
  19. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Hmm? Figured I'd catch some flack for that post.

    I posted it cause I was looking for a small amp once, or so I thought. Just something really portable to play through while on vacations/whatever. Ran across the Korg and realized I didn't need amplification for accompaniment or anything, just something I could hear the bass through. So didn't know if that was Retitled's situation or not.


    There's a decent pick of a phil jones briefcase in the "Soundhole pup" thread of the pickup forum.
  20. joemamma


    Jul 18, 2002
    I appreciate any post with good info. Wish there was an amp powerful enough to hook on your belt. If rok is happy with the Crate "taxi", then the "Bass Bus" can't be to far off. The "Bass Bus" I listen to was 2 yrs old and sounded good even at the low volume. I read some posts from 11/03 that said Crate was using plastic cases instead of wood ones and this creates a buzz from the case. Does anyone know if they still have this problem? Also, I was thinking of building an upright bass like one of these.