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Portable But Loud Rig?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mdjazztheatre, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. New poster, I searched around but didn't really see any threads that directly address my situation...

    I play with a 30-person Big Band (doubled horn section) and a 90-person Concert Band, in addition to a jazz quartet and occasional musical-theatre gigging. Due to the nature of all these groups, I can't leave my rig anywhere, so I have to completely load in and out of every rehearsal, every time. Between my Bass Guitar, EUB, combo-amp, and gig bag of cables and crap, I'm lugging about 200lbs of stuff into every rehearsal. My back is definitely starting to complain, and I haven't hit 30 yet.

    I'm looking for a small-and-light-but-powerful option to try to cut down on gear weight as well as get things down to a single-trip load-in (maybe). Most of the options I've seen listed for small-and-light talk about filling up a 200px venue or smaller, but my concerts usually are in much larger halls (high school auditoriums ~450-600) or large outdoor spaces, and have to easily cut through an army of winds. [[Also, a lot of questions about rock / metal bands, and I'm looking for a completely different tone]] From the musical theatre gigging standpoint, big amps just don't fit in a lot of pits, so a small footprint is also desirable.

    What I've kind of sniffed around on my own is pointing in the direction of MarkBass cabinets for weight, and potentially their heads as well. I know Vulfpeck and Snarky Puppy's bassists use MarkBass rigs, which lends credence to the tone being appropriate for my genres.

    So my list of needs is:
    • Loud enough to cut through up to 90 other musicians
    • Small enough for one-hand carry (maybe)
    • Under 40lbs (current amp is 60+)
    • Small-ish footprint
    • Clean, clear tone, with support for a Low-B five-string
    I'm looking at a MarkBass Little Marcus 500 and a 102HF cabinet, but I'm nervous about how the tone works for EUB / jazz. Plus, that's kind of expensive.

    Any advice / suggestions? Thanks!
  2. Check out Genzler Amplification.
    They are light, loud and if you are not loud can still be heard by the dispersion of sound from the cabs design.
    They are also made with double bass in mind. For most pit work the 1x10 or 1x12 BassArrays will work and for your larger theaters 2 of the 1x12 BassArray cabs will cover you.

    Click>Homepage - Genzler Amplification
    Also do some reading in the Genzler Club here. >Genzler Amplification Club

    Welcome to TalkBass.
    revroy, RobertUI, jnsnj and 2 others like this.
  3. ThudThudThud


    Jun 4, 2010
    The Gallien Kreuger MB212 Neo combos could work. A little over 50 lb. but plenty of tone & power.
    GKs sound great (to my ears) with EUBs too.
    BrBss, bassbully, RyanOh and 2 others like this.
  4. JimChjones


    Aug 6, 2017
    SE England
    What amp/speaker do you have now? The fashion round here is for what seem to me amazingly high powered rigs, but if what you have now is more than capable then its just a question of finding something equivalent, but with a modern class D amp and neo driver, which will probably halve the weight.
  5. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    500 watts? Seems a bit overkill. How about the 1x12 200 watt version?
  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Consider an amp with a two-channel pre with separate mute, gain, and EQ like the EA Doubler. Another option would be a two channel preamp pedal. Separate EQ and muting is really nice. It's likely that each of your instruments will require unique EQ curves and muting allows you to quickly switch between instruments. Keep in mind the amp's DI factors into this as well.

    If there is any chance you will play an acoustic upright, consider the need for notch filters and parametric EQ for feedback mitigation. Also piezo pickups should be buffered with an input impedance of between 1Meg and 3Meg. Input impedance is normally listed with an amp's specs.

    I did very similar work to what you are describing and used two amps. One was a GK 700RB/112 Combo and the other was a rack rig with a Ashley MX508 rack mixer, QSC power amp, and an Eden D210XLT speaker. Switching between instruments was a lot easier with the rack mixer but the the GK combo is a lot closer to what you need due to portability requirements. I always had good PA support so I didn't have to totally carry the ensemble with just my amp.

    Note: I used Shure A95U line matching transformers so I could patch into the mic inputs on the rack mixer.

    Consider a compact mixer or dual channel preamp and a powered speaker like a QSC K12.2

    Sorry, none of these options are cheap.
  7. Over 77 pages of great ideas over in the Mini Rigs of Doom Thread all kinds of genres and live situations have been discussed there.
    It seems as though around 500 watts into a your choice of barefaced brand cab is the preferred setup as of late.
    Zbysek likes this.
  8. I think 500 watts is the sweet spot, remember horns are super loud live. Also when the pieces reach a crescendo and you have to cut through while 90 other musicians are all playing, you'll be glad you have that extra headroom.
  9. I decided to start my own thread because "Mini Rigs of Doom" heavily favors rock/metal, and that's not the genre or tone I'm looking for at all.

    Two-channel suggestion, your definition of "quick" doesn't match mine - I use an ABY pedal because I sometimes need to switch between EUB and Bass Guitar over 2-3 beats in-time in the middle of a tune. And I'm trying to shrink my rig for travel, not upsize it, so two amps really doesn't work for me either. Thanks for the idea, though!

    500W isn't overkill for the size of bands I'm up against. 200W I'm having to turn up to 9.5/10 to be heard, and that's got a ton of hiss and distortion.

    I'm currently using an Acoustic B300mkII (I think, don't have it in front of me - basically a B300h on a 15" cabinet) . It's a bit ungainly, the electronics have started failing (cracks when turning multiple knobs even without a cable plugged in) and the cone's clearly wearing out. It's too cheap to consider fixing, and I really do want something lighter.

    I'll take a look - 50lbs is better, but not great.

    I really like the look and weight of the BassArrays, I'll have to find somewhere to give them a shot. The integrated multi-tweeter arrays seem like they'll be really good for the EUB. Great suggestion, thanks!
    Zbysek, S-Bigbottom and tewnty_two like this.
  10. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear

    Aug 14, 2000
    I am utterly impressed with this "little" rig. I would suggest going modular if possible, and depending on your budget.

    This is an Aguilar TH500 going through 2 of the TE Elf 2x8 cabs. The sound is very full and punchy. I admittedly was a little skeptical using 8" drivers but these continue to put a smile on my face. I used only one of the cabs in a rehearsal with 3 horns, keys, guitar, and a tasteful drummer and had no problem being heard. For one gig, with FOH support, I brought this vertical stack and it was almost overkill. The rig takes up little real estate on a cramped stage and despite it's look is quite stable.

    McFarlin, Zbysek, HotelX and 2 others like this.
  11. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I totally get the need to switch over in 2-3 beats as I had to deal with the same issue. Sometimes I continued wearing the electric while playing EUB or acoustic bass on a stand. Prior to using the rack mixer I used an ABY. I felt the dual EQs was a better compromise as it allowed me to optimize each instruments tone, and the mute buttons made it possible to switch almost as quickly as the ABY. Don't totally discount the idea as you may find a footswitchable amp or preamp.

    Also look into the QSC K12.2 a bit more. This is a full range flat reponse speaker that has digital modeling presets that would work great with a pedal based two channel preamp. There are TalkBass threads on the K12.2; and also threads on 2-channel pedal preamps on the Double Bass side of TalkBass that may be relevant.

    The discussion on two amps was meant to be an exploration and integration of ideas...sorry I guess I missed the mark. Ideally I think you need a light-weight, powerful, 2-channel combo amp that is footswitchable. I don't know of a current product that checks all the boxes, so you would need to get a pedal and combo amp to get the desired functionality.

    You mentioned the Genzler combo...great amp but read the fine print. The MG350 combo only puts 175W into a single 10" speaker with a rated sensitivity of only 96dB 1W/1M. Given your volume requirements, I would be a lot more confident with a second BA10-2 speaker.
    Zbysek and mdjazztheatre like this.
  12. Looks nice and has appeal, but I'm skeptical of 8"s for jazz and 200W as enough for my enormous bands. I'll give them a shot if I can find them in a shop!

    Oh, good, we're on the same page about rapid switching! Definitely done the wear-one-play-another. I'll keep an eye out for a footswitchable amp or pre-amp, but I'm a bit wary of rackmount gear, since that's going solidly in the wrong direction from the more-portable aim. I'd like a head I can put in my gig bag - if I'd have to get a rack or separate carrier for it, I might as well stick with a combo.

    Out of curiosity, could you link a couple of the threads on 2-channel pedal preamps? I'll try to find them, but links from someone who knows what they're looking for generally work better. I've got some PA mains (Behringer B115W's, pretty darn good for the lack-of-money) that I've used as backup-amps with just line-level input and they sound terrible in that role, but a preamp could make those usable and negate the need for a separate amp. The K12.2 does look pretty great, but if I'm going the Main route I might as well just use the ones I've got.

    I do appreciate the two-amps discussion, exhausting options is appreciated, it's just absolutely not the direction I want to go in. Again, simplifying, not complicating.

    I am definitely wary of the low power limits on the Genzlers. Would try-before-buy. Neat tech, though.
    Yogi Bear likes this.
  13. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear

    Aug 14, 2000
    I definitely understand the skepticism with the 8's. However these faital drivers really pump out some low end with great clarity. I am primarily playing old school funk, think Maceo Parker, so my tonal needs may be different than yours. I also completely understand wanting to try before you buy.

    These combined are taking the full 500w from the Aguilar and have hardly broken a sweat.

    Whatever you decide best of luck in your search... I hope you find something that fits the bill! :bassist:
    mdjazztheatre likes this.
  14. leche

    leche Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    I’ve got a markbass 121p and matching extension cabinet. I found a good used deal on the made in Italy ones. Definitely light loud and compact. They don’t sound every way I want them to, but they do well enough for live music when I need to move air. They’re not a problem to carry up stairs or for a few blocks. I can load in with a single trip when I have my mono gig bag as well.
    Tony In Philly and mdjazztheatre like this.
  15. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Here's a long one: Best Two-Channel Preamp for Doubling?

    The Grace Felix looks just about perfect, but unfortunately super expensive. FELiX

    An EBS MicroBass II might do the trick. EBS MicroBass II Preamp/DI-box |
  16. Zbysek and Wasnex like this.
  17. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Get a 500 watt class D head, and stick it in a laptop (padded) backpack along with your cables, which you obviously carry on your back. Revsound 210 or 212 is under 40 pounds, and is easily carried in one hand. Your bass goes in the other.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  18. Haroldo

    Haroldo Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2005
    North Shore, MA
    I've no affiliation with either Acoustic Image or Gollihur Music (nor have I played through any of AI's stuff), but I've been intrigued by the AI range of amplifiers and speakers - and they seem to be designed with folks like you in mind (weight, power, features). DB players use them a great deal - perhaps there would be feedback / information on these systems on the Double Bass side of TalkBass.

    Acoustic Image Products, at Gollihur Music - Upright Basses, Pickups, Preamps, Amps, and More
    John Wentzien likes this.
  19. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I had one of the original AI combo amps with the matching extension speakers and found it was pretty underpowered for use with a big band. It was perfect for jazz trio gigs and sounded awesome! Haven't used any of the current amps.
  20. Haroldo

    Haroldo Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2005
    North Shore, MA
    I was interested in the 650W ones they now advertise. (Were the originals the 300W ones I see mentioned?)

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