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Versatile setup for NYC-type areas

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TyKao, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. TyKao


    Jun 29, 2003
    I'm thinking of starting to play in public again and am considering my amp options. Right now, I live in Manhattan and it's extremely difficult and expensive to own, maintain, and park a car in this environment. I had a car during my school years, so it wasn't a big concern then, but living here has really driven home the point of having a rig of manageable size. Fitting an 810 Ampeg cab into a studio apartment, let alone a cab, is way too much hassle for no tangible benefit.

    So my question to all of you living and playing in New York City (or other crowded metropolitan areas where driving is impractical) is: what kind of rigs have worked best for you and how have you transported them around?
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I used to have a Nemesis 2X10" combo, which even at that size and weight (48 lbs.) was too big for frequent city gigging.

    I currently have an Eden WT-400 head (14 lbs.), CX110 cab (26 lbs.) , and a GK150MBE combo (28 lbs.). It works for everything I've encountered so far. A lot of venues have cabs, so the head alone works for them. If they say they have a cab and it turns out to be busted, I can still plug the head into a standard monitor. For gigs with no backline, the head and the cab work fine for big gigs, and the GK works fine for the quieter ones. If I need more speaker area, I combine the GK150MBE with the CX110, and it sounds pretty huge.

    It's like Lego using lots of light pieces. Everything works with everything else, and no configuration is so big that it can't be lugged onto the subway. So my advice is: find a lightweight high-power head, a small cab, and a small, relatively high-powered combo that can drive the cab as well.
  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
  4. nysurf2772


    Jun 20, 2005
    a small cab---like a lightweight 1-15 or 4-10

    a small head...like a GK or Eden Traveler or AG500 or something in a soft rack case or something

    a Sansamp bass driver to make sure you alway can dial in your sound..

    alot of clubs have their own cab or combo for you to use....

    you'll just need to get a cab to get to the shows 'cause you can't take the subway with all that gear....buy a nice folding dolly
  5. TyKao


    Jun 29, 2003
    I've been saving up money for quite a while, but I don't think I can swing the prices of the Epifani or EA cabinets. With some penny pinching, I can take the hit of the standard retail prices I've been seeing for the small Aguilar cabinets.

    Most of the musicians I've met up with so far have been playing blues or indie rock, Sigur Ros-style music. From what I can tell, the most wattage the 1-2 guitarists have been packing are 50 watt tube combos.
  6. For me it always seems to happen these ways...

    Some places have backlines already, but if not...

    My "subway" rig... bass in a gigbag, my eden WT-300 in a backpack, and a 1x12 cab on a luggage cart...
    I am checking out an Epifani 1x12 this week, its supposed to be 30 lbs (!!!), and its made in Brooklyn.

    The "taxi" rig- 2 2x10 Eden cabs and my head... I drop off 1 cab at the deli below me (the dude puts it behind the counter), walk back upstairs,and bring the rest of the stuff down on the second trip.

    Finally, the best, when somebody you are playing with has a car!!!

  7. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY

    If I might ask, what style of music are you using these rigs for?
  8. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    lets see, i think a pair of 1x12's should work well for you. Aguilar's GS112 are pretty popular, and you can find them on ebay or in our own classifieds pretty readily. got dough? then, go ahead and get those Epifani UL112's. each literally weighs as much as an empty briefcase, yet sound 5x bigger than their size.

    when i lived in the lower east side, this was the easiest to pack into a cab. and while, you can pull off the subway, the stairs is problematic, especially on a busy friday nights. and dont even mention trying to get onto the M23. :scowl: taxi's are the way to go. if mass transit is a must, then go with the waaaaay lighter Epifani cabs. even bundled up on a small folding cart, you can carry it up/down the stairs like a baby carriage.

    speaking of which, a folding cart is a must. i use the aluminum Wesco, and its little brother, the Mini Mover. stop by B&H Photo/Video in midtown, and you'll see a vast array.


    head wise, for a more aggro stylie sound, Aguilar's AG500 or Eden's WT550 should work well. for a smoother sound, EA's iAMP-500, or Epifani's UL502. these heads weigh about 15-18 lbs. each, yet pump at least 500-600 watts @ 4 ohms, and best of all, can fit in a napsack with ease.

    or you can try the daddydiddy, Acoustic Image Focus, which weighs less than 4 lbs., yet pumps a healthy 600 watts @ 4 ohms. the only draw back is the lack of a really flexible EQ, unlike the aforementioned swiss army knives. still, if your bass has a kicker of an onboard preamp (like my Sadowsky's :cool: ), then you're good to go.

    ALSO, IMHO, a head is all you really need. sure, most of NYC clubs have a rig, but usually, i just take my Acoustic Image or iAMP-800. e.g. at Arlene Grocery, they have a nice SVT / 8x10 setup. but it needs a retube, and sounds mushier than split pea soup. thus, plug my head into the cab, and i'm good to go. or better yet, i just go DI into the house, and let the monitors do their thing. only on the big important gigs do i drag out the good stuff.

    hopefully, dave wilson'll chime in, cause he's done his fair share as well. not to mention, he's had more gear go thru his hands than ebay. :p
  9. TyKao


    Jun 29, 2003
    Thanks so much for all the tips, guys. How does a 112 work on its own for a rock gig at a small venue? Are the Epifanis pretty smooth cabs, or do they work for gritty music too? It sounds like the lighter weight is worth the extra bit of saving I'll have to do.
  10. What about a schroeder 1210? I've heard they're quite loud for the size, and are fairly compact.
  11. This is just an awesome thread... I'm going down the same road- or atleast a similar one, I'd like to join a band- or atleast jam a fair bit more but I dont have a car at the moment, and I'm reliant on public transport; which is pretty good around here.

    My Ampeg / GK rig is just too big to take out without a car- but I was thinking last nite a smaller 1x12" cabient would be good, matched up with a smaller head like my old GK 400RB III (spewing I sold it...).

    Them trolley things look great too... Definatly a must for the city giging bassist.
  12. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I'd get a high efficency 210 and 112 cab like Bergantino or Schroder. If you want to make the most of a small cab you need to make sure the driver is very efficient.

    Head would be a no brainer: GK1001RB-II, I love that thing!
  13. nysurf2772


    Jun 20, 2005
    I've been very tempted to pick up one of those Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scouts..........but I'd still have to carry my pedal board that nicely fits in my rack bag right now....
  14. Hey snarf,

    I use the small subway rig for latin and neo-soul gigs... Most of these are in clubs up in Spanish Harlem or the Bronx, or concert halls (where I barely have to turn up!).... most of the latin stuff is with congas and percussion, no drums and it cuts fine... sometimes there is a drum set and it still sounds good (not great, I am pushing it), but if there were loud guitars, it wouldnt hack it...

    The taxi rig is for rock/metal gigs with loud drums and guitars.

    And it seems at most of the singer/songwriter downtown LES places (Bitter End, SOB's etc) you just plug and play.
  15. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Great sounding combo... weighs A Lot (over 50 pounds!). The only 'one hand' cab that I've ever found that you could carry over relatively long distance and do a relatively loud gig with is the Epifani 112UL.
  16. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Just fine IME. My urban rig is a GK 700RB-II and GK Neo112, which is similar to many suggestions above. It was great for a pretty loud rock show at Kenny's Castaways in the Village. I was competing against only one guitar, but I think it would have been okay in a denser mix too. The soundman called it "massive." To maximize efficiency, I used an Aphex Punch Factory compressor, which I highly recommend for this purpose.
  17. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    when my co worker sold me the ampeg 610 i have, he downsized to a mesa walkabout head(soft side shooulder bag, light as hell), and an ampeg porta cab. he uses it for all of his gigs and plays nyc a lot.

    the rig sounded good, i just like a bit more to it then that.
  18. konfishily


    Jan 24, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    I know what ya mean when you say livin in nyc is tough. I recommend 10's because you get the most power for the size. maybe 2 - 210s is much easier to carry if your building doesnt have an elevator, which many in nyc dont have. If you have a rack, keep it simple, to keep it light.

    Or you can go with a combo. I dont have too much experience with combo cabs. But a 210 combo would suffice in the city. Anything bigger than a coffee shop would have a PA so i wouldnt worry about volume.

    Hope my suggestions helped, and tell me where you play =)
  19. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    got me on both counts... ;)

    I'll echo just about everything Jae said.

    Most venues I've played, it's either a small club with only a vocal PA PA where 100-200W can suffice or a larger club with full PA where only monitor is needed. A 1*12 or 2*10 did me, I mostly used an EA CXL-112L cab but also have an EA NL-210.

    The Aguilar GS-112 cabs are great value for money, given you can pick them out for 300 used. But if you can afford it, go for the EPI's - 30lbs and you can get one for $600 shipped to your home with no tax from basscentral, gguitars etc.

    Those guitarists playing 50W combos mean you'll need in the 200w range to keep up (although having more available is always good!)

    I don't know what sound you're after, or what amps you've liked in the past. But the lightweight SS heads Jae mentioned are all excellent - ag500, iamp800, thunderfunk, epifani ul502

    The AG500 is more of an out of the box rock, it has a slight low mid prominence. The iamp800 you can eq to be whatever you want, it's transparent when flat which might or might not be what you want. The Epi head is also excellent, but the most expensive of the bunch. I've been using the Thunderfunk for best part of a year now, and couldn't be happier.
  20. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    I also recommend a 112 cab. My favorite is the Bergantino 112. It's plenty loud and deep for most of my gigs. With that being said there are lots of choices out there. I saw Baron Brown a few weeks ago play in a trio with a fairly loud guitar player and he had a 115 GK combo. It sounded great and was plenty loud. You may want to check out either a GK700RB or the 1000RB. I don't like neo speakers but I hear that their 112 neo cab is great. It's pretty affordable as well. That would be a great budget rig without sacrificing tone. You could find the GK head used for a great price I'm sure.