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Suggestions for someone moving from combo to head/cab setup

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by gr8bassplayer, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. gr8bassplayer


    Feb 12, 2013
    Hi all,
    I've been playing bass for about 5 years and am in high school. I would like to upgrade from my 50 watt Yamaha amp that's 20 years old. I would like to spend around $1000, but am defiantly willing to wait a while and save for a better setup, maybe up to $2500.

    Thanks for your answers in advance.
  2. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    What are your objectives?
    ie. Loudness, portability, a certain tone?

    Set some parameters here, otherwise most everyone here will probably pitch you every amp available under the sun.
  3. My suggestions...

    don't buy a head. Buy a separate preamp and power amp. This allows you flexibility to change one or the other down the road if you want. Pre amps come in pedals and rack units. The advantage of this is you can get different sounds much cheaper. I love my tech 21 sans amp RBI for rock/metal stuff. But you can switch to say an EBS micro bass and go play in a funk band without having to spend all the extra money on separate heads. This also allows you to upgrade power amps later on If you want more power.

    what would you use it for? If your not In a band and don't plan on playing shows and your amps gonna stay at home then how heavy/portable the equipment is might not matter to you. But if your going to be moving it all the time it's easier to move say 2 2X10 cabs instead of one hundred pound 4x10. Really big cabs like 8x10s normally have nice wheels but are tough to transport and cost wise you can buy say an ampeg 810 cheaper than a most top of the line 4x10s.
  4. superblues

    superblues Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    Don't forget your speaker cable. ;)
  5. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    If I had to start over with what is currently available, I would go with an Ampeg PF-800 and a fEARless 115. Will handle just about any gig until you need a mega rig or PA support.
  6. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    what does PA support have to do with rig size?
  7. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Most people are not going to try play an outdoor stadium with out PA support for bass, but there are a lot of guys that play shows with out PA support for bass. That is usually due to the fact that only vocals are going through the PA. PA support varies from player to player. Some would prefer to have a rig that will carry most of the rooms they play.
  8. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Ok but if you have PA support you can get by without a rig. Your post made it sound like you needed one.
  9. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    I think you missed a very important word in my first post.

    Even with PA support I am going to need a rig on stage. I have yet to run across a monitor that does what I want, and in ears may work for some, but they dont have the feel of having a rig behind you. Monitors may work for some, but thats a personal preference.
  10. Eminor3rd

    Eminor3rd BLAAAAARRGGHH!!

    Feb 10, 2008
    Allentown, PA
    Used is your friend
  11. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Broadly I'd suggest a head that pushes at least 500 watts into 4 Ohms and a 212 or 410.
    There are many choices. I'd buy used.
  12. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    My band uses IEMs when we run sound. The last time we did a festival I had 2 EAW monitors just for me. When You figure the amps and processing involved there was probably 4 grand in monitors that I was using. So even though I had an amp onstage it wasn't needed.
  13. blastjv


    Jan 8, 2010
    Philly Area
    DAMN!!! If only I had $2500 to spend on gear when I was in high school...
  14. coyote1


    Mar 23, 2012
    A couple of comments that relate to previous ones.

    First off, any bass head with an effects loop can function as a power amp merely by inputting whatever preamp etc you want into the effects return. Given that some very good, very powerful bass amps can be had in great condition for cheap on the used market, IMO the"separate power amp" thing is not a good starting point. For example, I own a Hartke HA2000 and a SWR 4004. That's 200 and 400 watts respectively. Paid less than $200 for each, both in great condition.

    Additionally, I got a Peavey 4x10 with horn used, in great shape, a couple years ago for $50.... and last month I got a near-new Ashdown 4x10 with horn for $100!!

    You see where this is going. By being patient you can assemble an excellent rig for $500.00, which is half of your anticipated budget. From there you can add preamps, effects, etc to customize it however you want. Odds are though that you'll be happy for some years with what you have. Currently my rig is using the 200w Hartke to drive the two 4x10 cabinets, and it is far more than enough to keep up with gtr drums and keys in a heavy prog setting. Plenty of headroom, plenty of tonal versatility.
  15. PA support has a lot to do with my rig. Live and In the studio lately my sound to the board is just my bass and a sans amp RBI. What that means is I am free to eq my sound between my pre amp and power amp to suit the venue and it does not effect my tone in the PA. When I'm playing a venue with a Pa that has really strong subs ill roll off the lows below 40hz all together so the bass doesnt get muddy on stage from mixing with the lows bleeding back into the stage from the PAs subs. I figured out this little trick by owning a bunch of cabinets over the years that were tuned differently and liking certain cabinets in certain venues and other on in other venues.
  16. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    The best advice in this thread.

    just because you have $1000 doesn't mean that you have to spend $1000. If a head will push 500 at 4 ohms then usually that means it will push from200-250 or so at 8 ohms .... There are a lot of heads that will fall in that category. By buying used you can experiment at a lower cost to you and then when you find the right combination of amp and cab you will know it. I went through several heads and cab configs before I was able to make an informed decision on what I like. All this was made possible by buying used gear and selling it along the way. The TalkBass classifieds are a great place for that.

    Happy hunting.