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The future of the bassamp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by De Teng, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    The following just crossed my mind.

    Small floorpreamps are being developed more and more quite recently, e.g. EBS Microbass II, Radial Bassbone, etc.. Will this development have an important role in the 'evolution' of bassamps in general? Let's be honest.. it's small, doesn't weigh a lot, very portable and has great tone. The more brands, the more sounds, so everybody should get satisfied..!

    Will bass-amplification take a different step in the future? Will bands only have monitored stuff, take the bass-sound out of those small wonderboxes and won't they drag the 4.10/1.15 combinations with big fat powered heads?

    Let's have a dicussion...! [like always]
  2. I think it'll grow more popular, but things like an ampeg stack will stay constantly more popular i think4

    the problem is with smaller pedals and such, you cant appreciate it as much because of your lack of hernias :p
  3. relayer66


    Oct 10, 2002
    Zushi, Japan
    True, if you want it ya gotta work for it...
  4. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I've said it before and I'll say it again - amps built and mounted directly into the bass. Bass -> Cab. No fuss, no muss. People have already done it with effects units, and poweramps probably aren't far behind, with the light weight and size of Class D amps, which can probably get even smaller in the future.
  5. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Personaly I like having a rig making my pants flap a little on stage :bassist:
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    The future of the bass amp:
  7. eventually yes, but will it sound as good as having a huge amp behind you? nah

    and you wont be able to get that full tube sound with a bass mounted amp

    god, think about how heavy a bass would be with the huge transformers and how hot it would get with 6+ power tubes sticking out the side!

    a friend and i were looking into an onboard tube pre for bass, dont know if its been done, but its an interesting idea

    what i never said before is, i dont think anything will die out, i think there will just be an increase in selection of amp types, which is always good :bassist:
  8. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Why not? Your cabs will still be behind, it's just the preamplifier and the amplifier that would be mounted on your bass. You'd still have all the tone coming from the same spot on the stage.

    As per the tube amp thing, you could always gut a small preamp like an ART and mount it all in a huge cavity in your bas.
  9. Originally Posted by jerry
    "Personaly I like having a rig making my pants flap a little on stage."

    :D :D :D !!!
  10. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Also, in my crazy whacked-out world, the premp stage would be modular, and the amp companies that want to be able to play the game will conform to a standard design for a plug-and-play system. Thus, you can swap out your Ampeg module for a GK one or an EA. Therefore, nobody can bitch about not being able to choose what amp they use. :D

    Preamps are as small as the J-Retro. Once the poweramps are set to go, we'll be on the road to AmpBasses.
  11. thing is, i was actually meaning an all tube beast of a head growling with energy as it powers your cabs

    also, what happens when you bash your bass, get a short or a grounding problem, imagine how bad a grounding problem would be with a 1000w poweramp encased around your crotch (even if it was your fingers that got fried :p )

    and about the art preamp, yeah, i guess you could, but something with the tube sticking out the front of the bass is what we were going for (metal protective grill over it tho)
  12. another thing that kinda craps on the idea of a fully onboard amp is how do you power it ? you'd need a power chord coming to your bass aswell as the speaker cable coming out
  13. I think the future of bass amps/basses may lie alongside the Line 6 stuff...

    A single amp that can model loads of amps, maybe (like in-built pod/sansamp) Fender and other brands will make their different versions of Variax's based on all their own models (i.e. - a fender one: P/J/Mustang/Musicmaster/(downloadable) custom shop and particular vintage year models/tele)

    I reckon theres a chance that may happen...

    Also: small combos will become louder (not now, but in 15-20 years) you'll be able to do a gig quite happily with a little 8-inch speaker that sounds like an 18-inch, with inbuilt amp (into the cone/dustcap?) pumping out 2/3/400-watts...

    :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:
  14. i hope the modelling technology evolves pretty decently then

    i dont see the thing with combos coming tho, even with a massive excursion, an 8 inch speaker will sound not pump much sound, it definatly wont be able to throw the sound as well as larger speakers, and then theres the fact that you'd loose alot of bass response, i could very well be wrong, but i feel like being a pesimistic bastard and pissing on everyones bonfire :p
  15. anyonefortennis

    anyonefortennis Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Lincoln, NE
    I think step one in the amplification world is Guitar amp technology needs to catch up with bass amplification.
  16. I hope they fix the weight problem... a 150 watt Peavey is 80 pounds... :bawl:
  17. If I'm not mistaken, it's actually been done by a German company. Can't seem to remember which at the top of my head, though, but I think it's Sandberg. I'll try to find some links and/or pictures soon...
  18. my amp head alone weighs more than that, suck it up :p

    on that note tho, its something thats being worked on, look at the neodydium magnets that are now being used by some companies (maybe just avatar or whatever)

    a problem with that is the tone of the cab itself, ie the wooden construction

    really? sweet, id love to see the pics :D

    Ill agree with the guy who said guitar amps need to catch up, but most guitarists are happy with a 100 watt marshall valve amp, to quote waynes world "We fear change" :p
  19. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    In the words of the immortal Butthead.....I have seen the light, and it is good. The light was coming from the power on switch on my iAMP500. :D

  20. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Hi all,

    this is where I see the future of bass amplification.

    Electronics packages will get smaller. There are already a number of stompbox sized preamps of good or better quality. Power amps will continue to get smaller as more people implement the newer switching (digital) amps better. But physics still has it's limits, so I wouldn't expect massive shifts down, just better packaging and refinements of what's already about.

    If you want tubes, then you have to deal with the size and weight issues they bring. Adding a switchmode supply to an existing tubeamp would lighten it, but (may) bring some reliabilty issues (getting lesser all the time) and servicing issues if it plays up on the road, ie, lots of local tech won't be able to fix them because of parts availabilty, knowledge/experience or servicing tools/test gear.

    Speaker boxes will get a bit lighter and smaller, but again don't expect miracles. Neo magnets have halved the weight of some drivers, but there are still physical constraints the designers must deal with, so I'd expect refinements here and unless there is some new technology developed things will remain prety much the same. Speakers today aren't all that much different to an Altec 515, and many aren't even as good.

    As for expecting smaller drivers in tiny cabs to do the same work as a 2x15, again, not with current technology. To create a certain SPL at a certain frequency, you have to displace a certain amount of air, a physical requirement that's independent of the technology used. For example, an 8" driver has about 210cm^2 of cone area, where a 15" has about 850cm^2 or 4x more. My 15" drivers can extend 8mm before losing linearity, so an 8" will have to do 32mm to equal the volumetric displacement. Not so easy to do and keep linear with a small driver. You could use a number of the 8" units to equal or exceed the 15, but that would probably be as big and as expensive.

    Speakers haven't changed much in 50 years, the technology is basically the same. There have been a lot of refinements of that technology, but no dramatic changes.

    I haven't seen a speaker yet break Hoffman's Iron Law, that basically states you can have only two of these three at any one time; bass extension, small size and efficiency.

    Onboard preamps
    My Alembic has enough voltage output to drive most poweramps into clipping now, and enough tonal shaping much of the time that I could avoid a preamp altogether. Same undoubtedly goes to a number of other manufacturers. This would avoid a pre altogether, but lots and lots of people like passive basses, so I don't think the bass world will ever go completely active. Plus many people don't like all the knobs some basses have, so having more control in an external box that's covered in controls would be preferable.

    Modelling technology may improve to the point where the options are good enough sounding that people start to use them more and more instead of having a number of different rigs and basses. But I don't think that putting the electronics onboard is an improvement. If the modeller is going to stuff up, Murphy's Law says it will be mid gig, and I think the mojority of performers will prefer having it in an external box that can be bypassed. I think the Variax instruments will be a bit of a flash in the pan, even if the technology continues in other implementations.

    There are a lot of people out there who like older gear, be it basses, or amps or cabs for a variety of reasons and I don't think that will change. Bassists I find are less conservative than guitarists for example, and willing to try new things and technologies but if people like the look feel and style of 50yo Fender designs it doesn't mean that they'll even consider a Steinberger.

    There are a lot of affordable simply designed basses and amps, that are affordable (new or secondhand) that produce good enough tone and perform reliably enough for most people, that any new product is going to have to offer a significant advantage at a competitive pricepoint without eliminating a lot of the 'feel' and 'comfortableness' with the item that people have for the current and former gear. More advanced technology may even be a put off for some segments of the market because of servicing issues.

    Because of outsourcing to Chinese and other Asian factories, costs are generally lower today than before. There may be some reliability, QC and other issues with some products, but these will lessen with time. As the standards of living, income, health and safety standards and expectations of the countries where these factories are producing the goods now increase in time, I reckon the gear will start to get more expensive.

    Bespoke, boutique and custom items will continue to be made by people who love to do it. I hope they can survive economically.