Reccomendations for an amp around 100 watts, $600 new or used?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jacob M, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York
    I'm about to build myself a bass, and obviously need an amp. I play in a band with a loud drummer and a guitarist who has a pathetically quiet Marshall valvestate AVT 150. I've played with a 120 watt 1x12 SS amp with my bandmates before, and I was easily heard having the volume around 4, so I don't think I'll need an incredible amount more than 100 watts, if we're playing shows and I'm not loud enough, I figure I'll just mic the amp.

    Anyway, I'm looking for reccomendations as to some amps to try out. I don't want to spend much more than $600, and I don't mind buying used equipment if the quality's alright. The bass will have a Korina body, Maple neck and Ebony fingerboard, Seymour Duncan vintage jazz bridge and vintage p neck (the dual coil kind, not the single coil kind). I'll only be playing fingerstyle and with a pick. I want 2 main things from the amp. Primarily I want clarity, but not like overly bright poppy sterile sounding SS crap (not opposed to SS as a whole, just some of them are way too bright and sterile). While I wnat clarity, I do like rich, warm low/mids. Secondly, I want a good diversity of sounds. I'm not looking for digital synth stuff or effects (infact, I probabally will use no effects besides overdrive), just an amp that has dynamic tone that can really be shaped into many different ways.

    So, does anyone have any reccomendations? Genz Benz's seem to be really nice (though I've never played one, they just seem that way), anyone have any specific Genz Benz amps I should try out in my price range?
  2. slinkp


    Aug 29, 2003
    brooklyn, NY, USA
    $600 isn't a whole lot for a bass rig... but it's enough :)
    If you don't mind shopping used, that opens up a lot more options. Plus if you don't like something you can often sell it again at little or no loss.

    For the clarity you mention, IMHO the most important thing is the speaker cabinet. Lots of cabinets get low end in a smallish box by having overly boomy ports. That means the cab is loud and bassy, but not clear. (cough*SWR*cough). You'll have to try a bunch to know what works for you, of course...

    Also from your comments about "bright and sterile" I guess you won't be a fan of the tweeter on most modern bass cabs. That's OK - most have a level control. Try turning the darn thing off before you decide you don't like the cabinet :)

    For secondhand cabs I'd look at Ampeg or Eden, all their stuff is good and the used prices aren't too bad. I used to use an Eden 210XLT cab that I got for about $400 on ebay and it was a big solid sound, pretty tight and punchy but not cold or harsh.

    Musicman also had a great 210 bass cab that didn't seem to get much notice. I think there's a cheap one at recently, maybe still there. A bit heavy though.

    To go with your cab you'll need a head... assuming you've only got $250 or so for the head, you'll pretty much have to get somethign used. I used a GK 400RB for years, which I got used for $300 and it never let me down. Great little head, 200 watts into 4 ohms did the job. I did eventually start to feel underpowered though, so I moved on.

    For new cabinets, you don't have too many choices that you can get under $600 and still have money for a head - but there are at least two makers worth checking out:
    Avatar and Dr. Bass. Both have models starting around $220 which is hard to beat. I've never tried either but many folks here are happy with either. Certainly they have better reputation than Crate and Carvin. Also, Avatar has some specials with Ashdown heads, might be worth checking out.

    Speaking of Ashdown... they make some nice stuff, and some of their combos are damn cheap. They have a bunch of models between $300 and $500. I wish something like the Electric Blue 115 combo had existed when I was starting out, it would probably have eaten my old Peavey TNT-130 for breakfast - which cost the same price in 1983! Or for $400 you can step up to the MAG 300-watt model. BUT - I haven't actually played these, so I can't really recommend.

    Speaking of Peavey... I hear they're not so bad these days :) But I haven't tried one since like 1990 so I really can't say.
    Might be worth a try.

    Yorkville made a decent 1x15 / 200-watt combo a few years back which some friends of mine bought... those were pretty decent. It's been replaced with the XM200 model which fits your budget, if those are like the ones I remember it's worth a try.

    One to avoid: THe GK 400RB/210 tilt-back combo. I like GK heads, but the cab in this combo has no low end at all, it just wimps out. There's one at a practice space I frequently use and I hate it.

    Crate: Just say no.

    Fender: Their combos can be a good value used. One of my favorite bassists in NY used one for years (a BXR 300 I think?) and she sounded great. Her sound was warm and punchy, not at all sterile. Hey, there's one of those at bassnw too :)

    I'm feeling talkative today :)
  3. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York
    Man, what kind of stores have this variety of bass amps? The local Sam Ash pretty much has just Hartke and Fender, I feel so deprived.

    And aren't Ashdown and Yorkville Canadian brands that don't get sold in America?

    Don't worry about being talkative, that's what I wanted. I just want everyone who can think of anything to say to say it so I can develop some sort of idea of what I should spend my time playing and hunting down. Of course I'll play anything before I buy it, I'm not the kind to think "Wow, 2 people on the internet said it's good, I'll go buy it on musiciansfriend right now!"
  4. Yossarian


    Jun 24, 2004
    You can get Ashdown and Yorkville here, definitely. The newer Yorkville combos, XM200T (2x10) and XM200 (1x15) are FANTASTIC. I love them.

    My advice? Get a nice 4 ohm Avatar B410 (or B212 or something, whatever fits your fancy) and find a used Peavey Nitrobass on Ebay. They're not bad at all, and all sortsa cheap. That's... I cant remember exactly, but more than 200 watts, and you can add another 4 ohm cab later to get 450 watts. You'd probably have money left to spare. Maybe. Maybe not, I don't know.
  5. slinkp


    Aug 29, 2003
    brooklyn, NY, USA
    What part of NY are you in?
    It might be worth a trip to NYC to see what else you can check out. Even the Sam Ash here has a few brands, and on the same block there's also Rudy's, Manny's (secretly owned by Sam Ash, shhh!); and scattered around the city are a bazillion other independent shops like Mojo Guitars, Ludlow Guitars, Matt Umanov's, etc etc.

    Might also be worth some Googling to see what dealers are in driving distance for you. There may be some you don't know about. And check each manufacturer's website, they usually list dealers and there may be some nearby.

    And there's always the local classified ads, always worth a look ...
  6. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York
    Do you have any links to stores that sell them in the USA?
  7. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York
    I live within driving distance of the City, no problem getting there on a Saturday or something, I'll probabally go there one day, bring my bass and just go store-hopping for hours.
  8. slinkp


    Aug 29, 2003
    brooklyn, NY, USA
    I haven't shopped in the stores here for quite a while, dunno what the selection is like these days but 48th street ain't what it used to be, it's turned into Sam Ash Street.
    I wish I knew one shop that had everything a bassist could want, but unfortunately, no such animal...

    I'd plan ahead for such a trip: check the yellow pages online, call a bunch of stores, tell them what you're looking to spend and ask what they have in stock. Be insistent, some places are less than helpful and they may want to get you off the phone and tell you to come to the store even if a 3-minute conversation would reveal they have nothing relevant. Once you know where you want to go, check 'em on a map and see what the distances are like so you don't walk yourself to death or spend 8 hours on the subway :)

    Even if you go home with nothing, you'll learn a lot about what's out there...

    Definitely bring your own bass too. You'll have no basis for comparison if you're trying amps with whatever random bass is in each store.

    And while you're at it, try some gear you CAN'T afford just so you know what it can sound like. Then you'll know what compromises you're making.

    Stores I'd look up:

    Rudy's (has a bunch of high-end stuff, kinda cold unless you present yourself as a serious buyer)

    Manny's (aka the other sam ash store)... not nearly the selection they used to have unfortunately.

    Sam Ash... probably the same gear exact as manny's.

    Mojo guitars (small and may not have much bass stuff but occasionally has great secondhand deals...friendly too)

    Matt Umanov - great guitar shop but doesn't always have much bass gear - call and ask

    Ludlow Guitars - ditto

    East Village Music - ditto

    Rogue Music - lots of second-hand audio junk, sometimes some bass gear.

    Chelsea Guitars - walked by a bunch of times but I never seem to be there when they're open, never been in.

    First Flight (usually not much bass gear but worth a call)
  9. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Check out the Pignose B100V. :hyper:

    100 watts of all tube power, 15" speaker, reasonably portable, self contained combo. :bassist:

    400 dollars new on eBay, or maybe half of that used. :D

    It's basically a slightly modified Fender Showman, or Bassman 100 (the old kind, with the tubes). The preamp is practically identical to the Alembic F2B.

    It will give you a wide variety of sounds, plenty of warmth, and enough power to keep up with most 200 watt solid state amps.

    The one thing it could use is a better speaker, the stock speaker is "not bad", it'll definitely get the job done, but the amp sounds a whole lot better with a good extension cab. Or, just replace the speaker with a nice EV or something... :)
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Used Eden WT-400. You need more than 100 watts, trust me.