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Small Amp Heads - question for those who've tried some...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thrash_jazz, Apr 28, 2003.


  1. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I'm in the market for a good, versatile, primarily PORTABLE head. I was wondering if any of you folks had done this kind of shootout before and what the results were.

    The heads I've been considering are:

    Euphonic Audio iAmp 300
    Acoustic Image Clarus
    Ampeg Portabass 250
    Eden Time Traveler
    Mesa-Boogie Walkabout

    Are there any others that should be on this list?

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    The ultimate protable head is a Walter Woods. No shootout needed.
     
  3. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I went through a similar search, which started out as a quest for a powerful, yet portable practice amp (like the Eden Time Traveler 10 Combo), but evolved into a Mini Rig with a smallish head and separate cabs.

    I ruled out the Ampeg and Clarus as not being powerful enough for my needs. I heavily considered the iAMP 800, but it was a bit more money and a bit larger than I was looking for (I already have a rack with an Eden Navigator and PLX 3002). So for me, at least, it really boiled down to the Time Traveler or the Walkabout.

    I couldn't find a store that had both products, so I ended up buying a used Walkabout from a guy off BassGear.com. However, when I went cab hunting, I did get a chance to check out the Time Traveler. While it is a fine little unit, the Time Traveler can't hold a candle to the absolutely killer tone (and tonal flexibility) of the Walkabout, and the Boogie just blows the Time Traveler out of the water volume-wise, despite the fact that the Time Traveler is rated at 330w into 4 ohm, while the Walkabout is rated at 300. That little Boogie is crazy loud.

    So, if you haven't figured it out already, my recommendation would be the Walkabout. The shoulder bag that it comes with is a great addition, too. You should find the Walkabout mentioned in a number of threads here.

    FWIW, I ended up getting an Epifani T-112 and a T-110UL, and the Walkabout sounds great with these. Very portable, and tone (with clarity!) for days...

    Hope this helps, Tom.
     
  4. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    the Walkabout is great, but i like Eden's WT400. growlier and to me, a bit vibier, but i guess Tom likes his WB.

    my old Eden WT400, which i recently rediscovered is great for straight up rock kinda sound. but coupled with my Acme B2, its like the best of both worlds!!! you get a growly tone if you want it, but the clarity of the Acme cab really lets the highs shine more. KILLER combo.

    the Acoustic Image is a great transparent, "this is your bass like a DI" sound. just dont expect anything in terms of a growly rock sound. but you could stick a Sansamp BADDI would make it sound pretty rock like.

    also, my EA iAMP350 is great for that crystal clear open slap/funk kinda tone. and the EQ is one of the most versatile i've seen on a "travel" head.
     
  5. 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
    The SWR Baby Blue head definitely (note correct spelling) should be on your list. This thing gets rave reviews. I played through one when I sat in for half a set at our company Holiday Party (note politically correct name for Christmas party). I was surprised by the tone and volume of this little thing. Check out the link below. It weighs only 13 pounds, even in that wooden fuzzy box.

    SWR Baby Blue

    Of course, the 15-pound WT-400 is what you really want. Or better, the WT-550, which weighs 18 pounds.
     
  6. The GK 1001RB-II is 700 watts at 4 ohms and in a box that weighs 18 lb. 2 rack spaces only 8" deep. You can take the rack ears off and put it in the optional gig bag too.
     
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    GK heads always seem to get overlooked. They were the FIRST mass market downsized heads back in 1982.

    Hard to get excited about Ampeg's Portabass when 400RBs have been thumping it out for over 20 years.
     
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I have one of these heads and it does sound great but at only 150 watts @ 4 ohms (various SWR spec sheets claim anywhere from 120 to 160 watts) it's not very high powered.
     
  9. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hey, thanks guys. :)

    I'm not really looking for a "growly" sound per se - actually, the more uncoloured the sound, the better. I have a SansAmp and onboard preamps for that...

    Also, I am looking for uber-portability as I'm looking to put together a rig that I can carry on the bus. Power isn't the ultimate requirement but I'm looking for enough volume to keep up with a drummer at a rehearsal, or enough for stage volume at a small gig.

    So far I'm thinking of a Clarus with a Portabass 1x10 cab. My next question is, how loud is the Clarus when run through a "regular" cab? I tried one once, but it was gong through one of those DB-oriented Contra cabs and wasn't very loud.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  10. NV43345

    NV43345

    Apr 1, 2003
    I have the AMPEG PB250, At 14lbs it is very compact, and has a handle built in the side.
    I use it with a Hartke 2x10 transporter and a SWR Workingman's 15. The amp has 4 pre-set EQ shapes. so it has plenty of color, if you want to use the pre-set, at the push of a button i can set the tone for switching to my fretless, or six string. I tried out the MESA Walkabout and some Hartke and the Ampeg won out. It also has XLR direct out.:) Most of the time, I just play with everything flat and it sounds great.
     
  11. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    The Mesa Walkabout would definetly be my choice.

    Powerful, light, small, good shapping capabilities, nice tube preamp. Its a killer amp.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  12. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    And the Walkabout even has an XLR out, too!:D
     
  13. chardin

    chardin

    Sep 18, 2000
    Eden WT-400. Simply amazing.
     
  14. cjgallen

    cjgallen

    Oct 19, 2001
    I've been looking to downsize, and I'm leaning towards a WT-400 at this point.

    How about a WT-400 + 2x Aguilar GS112s, would that work pretty well?
     
  15. GK 400RB.....Limited funds!

    Walter Woods Super High Power.....money not an issue!
     
  16. DBasica

    DBasica

    Jan 6, 2003
    I have a Portabass 212 cab and like it alot. I also have the Clarus 2R and it works great with the Portabass. Really pretty loud for 200 watts into 4 ohms.

    I've also used the Portabass 212 with an EA iAMP800 and with a QSC PLX2402/Meek preamp. I ended up selling the EA since it wasn't much smaller than the QSC (about 20 lbs) and the Meek preamp is tiny (1/2 rack). The QSC gives me alot of flexibility since it can be bridged, but the Clarus really handles it for me for most things. BTW, I play in a 3 piece blues rock band, and finally have the drummer and guitarist focused on using volume for dynamic range, so I don't play all that loud. Loud enough though.

    I haven't tried the Clarus with one of the Portabass single speaker cabs, but I think it would be worth a try.

    Good luck in whatever you choose.

    Dan
     
  17. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    In my experience is the cleaner and flatter the amp the LESS loud it sounds. Coloration in the RIGHT part of the midrange makes an amp seem a lot louder.

    As far as the Clarus, you're talking about less than 2 dB difference between it pushing 200 watts @ 4 ohms next to a 250 or 300 watt amp...in other words pretty insignificant in terms of raw power.

    If you can live with the super flat voicing and don't need lots of features, you can't get any more portable. It's even smaller and lighter than a WWoods.
     
  18. 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
    No. It would work very well. It might even rule.
     
  19. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Wouldn't that be dependent on the cab(s) you use?
     
  20. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    ditto