Power amp question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by theinfamous, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
    I'm new here. I apologize in advance for my mundane and probably already covered questions.

    I've been playing bass on the side for quite a few years (as tuba is my primary instrument) but just recently I have begun getting far more gigs playing bass than tuba. I've never been a "gear guy," and I had the same Carvin 115 combo for years because it sounded just fine and I only needed it for practice. Well, I played about two gigs with that combo and decided I needed to upgrade because whenever the drummer would get excited I wouldn't be able to hear myself at all. I found a great deal on this setup on craigslist:

    Galien-Krueger 400RB head (200 watts)
    Fender Bassman 410 cab (rated 350 continuous, 700 program @ 8 ohms)

    I am very happy with the sound that the amp and cab put out together, but my problem is that I feel like I still don't have enough power to keep up. I'll put both volume knobs up to about 80% on the amp, and its okay for a little bit, but whenever the band gets louder I lose definition in my sound. Also, as I play with a more aggressive right hand finger attack, there is a nasty bit of distortion on the front end of the attack. Since I haven't ever been too interested in doing my homework on amplification I have this question: Is the distortion due to pushing the amp too hard, and will this do damage in the long run to either the head or the speakers? There does not appear to be distortion at lower volumes or when I play less aggressively.

    Secondly, I've always wanted to run a pa power amp and bass preamp setup, but I'm pretty ignorant in what kind of a power rating I'd need. Since I've already got the fender 410, (and I like how 410s sound generally) I'd like to stick with that cab and get a power amp that will pair with it. My goal is to get a large amount of cost-effective, clean power and have a modular system where I can switch things out if I need to.

    Bass- Carvin B4 with the bridge humbucker and active electronics
  2. Extra power is NOT going to really get you any louder.

    You need more speakers.
  3. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
    It isn't as if my bands are playing huge venues, and I don't play with super loud guitarists and drummers, so the lack of useable volume is a little puzzling to me.

    So, in your experience, if I were to add another cabinet, I would get more CLEAN volume out of my current head? If that is the case why do some 410s or even smaller combos have no trouble keeping up volume wise? (I'm not challenging your statement, I am legitimately curious)

    I also don't want to carry another cab around if I don't have to. I HATE carrying equipment. HATE IT.
  4. I disagree Bass_Pounder. the 4/10 size is not the problem. The 4/10 cab is probably an 8 ohm cabinet. The 400rb is only pushing out 180 watts. you probably should have at least double the wattage. I'm not familiar with that particular cabinet but you might want to add more low and high mid range and back off on the bass controls. That should help you cut through a little better. Usually the eq that sounds good by it self will get lost in the band setting. Might sound silly but change your battery for the preamp.
    If you don't mind the tone of the 400rb and just want more power, the 1000 rb is a beast and can be found used at great prices because people want the micro amps.
    I still think some of the small light weight amps are the most convenient like
    Warwick Lwa 1000 http://www.warwickbass.com/en/Warwi...Serie-Ampheads--LWA-1000-Black--Pictures.html
    TC BH800 http://www.tcelectronic.com/bh800/
    GK MB800 http://www.gallien-krueger.com/products/mb-heads/

    Some good power amp options are
    Carvin dcm 1000 (bridged mono) http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/DCM1000L best bang for the buck!
    Crest Pro light 3 (stereo mode)more expensive but you could use the other side for PA duties etc.
    If you bridge the lower model Pro Light 2 it might be too much power! If your careful it could kick ass!
    you can get the pro light 2 with dsp and set the limiter for safety for bridge mono operation.

    some low cost preamp options
    Sans amp rackmount like
    VT rack http://www.tech21nyc.com/products/sansamp/vtbassrack.html
    RBI http://www.tech21nyc.com/products/sansamp/rbi.html
    BBE Bmax or even better used B Max-t http://www.bbesound.com/products/instrument-preamps/bmax.aspx
    Basswitch Classic or Clean Boost http://www.rmi.lu/products
  5. First if the old 400RB, not the III or IV it is 140 watts with one 8 ohm cab. Next if an older Rumble 410 they did not use wattage to sound judiciously (lower sensitivity per watt). Third If you are using the contour button or cutting the high mid control that is why you lose presence and definition in a band mix.
    Revisit your EQ choices and get a second 8 ohm Rumble 410, your troubles will be greatly relieved.
  6. Who wants to carry 2 4/10s to a gig? if that 4/10 is that low in sensitivity, replace it with a different cab or add more power. I agree with you about the eq/contour switch problem.
    Passinwind likes this.
  7. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
    I certainly do not want to carry two 410s. I would way rather spend money on a more powerful amp if it'll solve my issues.

    I've tried different eq settings, and don't use the contour buttons as they only seem to sound decent when I'm playing by myself in a small room. My high mid control is set at about 11 o'clock and low mid at 2, but the eq seems to make much less difference than with other amps I've played through.

    I don't know if my cab is part of the "rumble" series as it doesn't say that anywhere on the cab. It just says Bassman and that's it.

    My main problem with this rig is the distortion at higher volumes. I would really like to avoid that.

    As far as the tech-21 preamps go, what is the difference between the VT bass and the Sansamp RBI?
  8. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Fill the drummers drums with socks. That'll cure the problem...

    All kidding aside, if your drummer has no volume control, that could be a REAL problem for you, and potentially the audience... Depends on the musical style you are going for...

    If your 410 says Bassman, then it's a Fender Bassman cab... Different series than the Rumbles...

    I am no pro, and not really sure what the impedance requirement of your amp is, but you might be playing through an 8 ohm cab with a head that performs best with a 4 ohm load. Check the docs on both the cab and the head, and see if you can reconfigure the cab to best match the head...

    Failing that, see the socks suggestion... Maybe he'll get the hint...
  9. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
  10. tedious1


    Feb 14, 2014
    How would you feel about a pair of 2x10's? If you have a pair of 2x10's you can stack them vertically so as to create a 1w x 4h speaker array (as opposed to the 2x2 the 410 provides) this puts a pair of speakers a lot closer to your ears, which should help with hearing yourself. In general more speakers=more volume, but sometimes you can get more *useful* volume by changing to a vertical array.

    On the Sans Amps, the best answer is go out and A/B them, I could say the differences are in the amp emulations and the eq, but what does that really tell you? Let your ears make the decision, that's what you pay them for. And, before you decide that you have to choose one or the other, there is a thread here on TB discussing using two Sans Amp pres, one in the FX loop of the other. I ended up with the VT after A/Bing it with the RBI, but if I come across an RBI at the right price now, I'll grab it!
    kurotenshi likes this.
  11. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
    I'd feel just fine about 2 210s if I could find some used at a price I agree with. I would like to be able to point the speakers more at my ears, certainly.

    Some of the volume problems I have are due to the fact that for some reason two of the bands I play with don't like to run a whole lot of bass through the mains, (one of them uses a cobbled together and inconsistent pa, the other seems to sound like garbage when I do run through the mains) so I have to push the entire room with my amp.
  12. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    If you are going to go the power amp route, check out the Crest Prolite 2.0

    It gets a lot of good reviews, and it is next on my shopping list.

    However, you need to consider that if you get a power amp, you will need a preamp between the bass and amp.
  13. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Crest Prolite is a good amp, and the DSP model only costs a little more but adds a lot of features like interfacing to the bass or pre-amp, adding EQ for cabinets, Maxx processing. It does not have any "distortion" you'll still need a pre-amp for that. (Amplifiers jobs are not to distort :) )
  14. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
    What I want is for the amp to NOT distort. :)

    What I'd love to get for a power amp, and I'm not sure anyone makes it, is a single channel around 500-700 watts. Very simple, without processing options or other bs.

    I'm concerned a bit with cooling fan noise as well.
  15. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    There are just very few single channel amps like this.

    You'll pay more than just buying a regular and lightweight 2-rack power amp. You can always just use one channel of a stereo amp. DIY isn't any better, it ends up costing more. Fanless designs cost more. Peavy IPR are essentially the same as Crest and have lighter aluminum construction.
  16. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
    Why is the crest prolite series such a suggestion when they seem to be underpowered and over-featured for the money (seemingly a red flag from a company with such a small name, even if they are a subsidiary of peavey)
  17. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    might I suggest you look at what I just ordered, the Mesa Eight:88 ... TONS of headroom, and with 2 210 cabs is louder than any drummer can play, and distortion free until you get well above 75% gain ... I doubt you'd ever distort this amp intentionally.. I will never tap the full volume potential of this amp, but you would find the headroom very useful.
  18. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll be sure to check it out!
  19. kurotenshi


    Jun 27, 2009
    Amadora, Portugal
    SourceAudio Endorser
    I'd put my money on tedious1's idea and I already did, I use 2x10 + 2x12 vertically.

    Another issue I experience every day is you position relative to the cabs. When at short distances, the distance and angle between you and the cabs play a major role on what you hear, sometimes one step further might give you the definition that you need to play comfortably.

    As far as Power+pre setup, most quality power-amps will do the trick (and some lower quality ones too) but my holy grail is getting a Matrix power amp. My preamp of choice right now is the EBS ValveDrive but I do fear that the lack of speaker simulation might be hurting my tone when I play DI only to FOH.
  20. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    I wouldn't say Crest is a small name. The have been used in professional audio installations for decades.

    Personally, I would prefer the non-DSP version, as I like to keep components separate where possible.

    QSC also make excellent amps in my experience.