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The best practice amps regardless of price

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ajkauppi, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. ajkauppi


    Aug 17, 2018

    I have noticed that most of the topics related to small practice amp are always centered around inexpensive options, e.g. amps that cost less than 100 bucks, and since I'm considering an amp for home I got to thinking what are some of the best small amps in the market and why? What do professionals prefer? What would you get if price wasn't your first concern?

    I would welcome any tips, so thanks in advance!

    lowplaces and Pbassmanca like this.
  2. 1bassplayinfool

    1bassplayinfool -Nowhere Man- Gold Supporting Member

  3. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    If price isn’t the object then I would go with an amp for tone, form factor, and potentially features like DI, tuner, etc.

    The Ampeg BA115 sounds amazing and is a well-regarded combo.

    The Mesa Subway Amps are three great heads to choose from that pair nicely with their 112 or 115 cabs (or others). I’m especially intrigued by the newly announced Walkabout Subway. For bonus points you could get a custom Mesa cab to compliment your practice area decor.
  4. ajkauppi


    Aug 17, 2018
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  5. The best practice amps come from headphones in my opinion. When it's on your ears, you can play as loud as you want. Also, you can mix in music to play along with. I just run through my interface from the di on my amp.
  6. 1bassplayinfool

    1bassplayinfool -Nowhere Man- Gold Supporting Member

    BA108 great little amp. I gig with it sometimes.
  7. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Whatever leftover crap I have that doesn’t buzz too much. Really, I have zero standards in this area. Honestly couldn’t care less as long as I can practice with it. Kinda the main point, if you ask me.
  8. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    When you count yourself amongst those who play less than a hundred gigs a year and you are not engaged in multiple projects that require weekly band practices so you spend 4 nights a week in the rehearsal den, the chances are that you spend the major part of your bass playing playing over your home setup.
    Therefore, my reasoning is that this has to be less of a cheap setup that barely works for you, but the place where money is well spent.
    To further enforce this, I realized that in the last couple of years, I played only one show where my rig needed to carry the venue. That was because the person organizing the gig was no musician and had no clue that the sound person basically brought a pile of outdated rubble that looked like he dragged it straight from a PA dumpster, with the poweramps and bass cabs way too small for outdoor venues. Apart from that, all gigs happened with sufficient PA support and my rig was used to form the sound and act as a stage monitor.
    So, a terrific sounding small setup is not only great for home practice, but it will cover for lots of live applications as well.
  9. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Works great as a “practice” amp.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If money were no object I would have a fully restored vintage Ampeg B15 fliptop as my practice amp. And I would grin every time I turned it on.

    There's a chance I may get there. An old friend has an 18 he's thinking of letting go. He's halfway through restoring it and can't find the time to finish. But he's also in no hurry to decide whether to sell it to me or not.
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    If it’s primarily for home practice use then the weight becomes a moot point since you won’t be lugging it around. So all those good sounding albeit heavy old heads and cabs that are selling for next to nothing now become a viable option.

    For newer affordable I’d suggest an Ampeg B-100R. Nice little combo with a really flexible EQ section, a full sounding 15”, and a headphone jack.

    Money no object? An Ampeg B-15N fliptop. Period.

    Small portable form factor and silent practice? An Ampeg SCR/DI paired with a pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones.
  12. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx

    Some people may disagree. Those people would be known as "wrong".
  13. Kriegs

    Kriegs Peace

    Feb 14, 2018
    Southern New England
    One of these:
    • 1964 Ampeg B15-N (if money truly isn't an object)
    • Heritage Ampeg B-15 (nice to have both the '64 and '66 circuits in one)
    • Ampeg PF20-T & Ampeg 115HE (modern, currently-in-production version of the fliptop) This one also happens to be my personal practice rig :thumbsup:
  14. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    GK MB212...small enough for the bedroom, loud enough for a mid sized gig.
    Rock on.
  15. Alban


    Apr 8, 2004
    The Netherlands
    There is something of a consensus on best small form-factor combo, it seems to be the AER Amp Three. I know I like mine! Expensive but worth it, ask Ed Friedland.
  16. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Respectfully. Why ? You will spend 50x more time practicing than on stage. Enjoy. Have the best possible tone. Enjoy your great tone at home, cause on stage some wooden eared meth head may have control of it.
  17. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Good point.
  18. Lava

    Lava Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    El Paso, TX
    For me it's the Carvin MB210. At home, it's small and sounds good, I can even take it to a small rehearsal and use the 210MBE extension cab. Not a stage amp at all though, for me at least.
    lowplaces and mikewalker like this.
  19. jcerio

    jcerio Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Markbass MiniCMD 121P

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