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What amps should I try?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by displaced, Nov 19, 2000.

  1. Hi there!
    Might get a bit long but here I go:

    I play in a punk-rock/hardcore/ska band. On our first gig we played through this really high-end PA (lucky for us) so I didn't have any problems with my seriously underpowered amp. But over the next few months we'll be playing lots of gigs where we're not sure if there'll be that kind of PA.
    So now I'm looking for a new amp.

    What I like sound-wise is a good bottom-end but with a very transparent sound. On my old Marshall 3-band with Fender Mex P-Bass this would have been all three band cranked to the max and the tone control on the bass to the "brightest" setting. I also very much like the sound of the bass on the newest GreenDay album.

    So here for my questions:

    To give you an idea of the price-range I was thinking of I had an eye on the SWR Bassman 750 at the highest end. More in the range of a GK 1001RB or Bassman 350.

    1: How much power do I need to play a gig with about 300 people and to keep up with 2 guitars?

    2: What brands should I try?

    3: What cabs would you suggest? I can afford only one so I thought about a 4x10.

    4: I saw a good offer for a Trace Elliot 12-band 500W top with their 4x10. Would that be a good choice for my needs?

    And one more question of a more general nature:
    Why do I see lots of cabs that are rated at less than the power of the amps from the same manufacturer? e.g. SWR's Goliath is rated at 700W, I think, but the BassMan 750 does punches out up to 850W of power. Same goes for Trace amps, like the 500W top with a cab thats rated at 320W, I think?

    Thanks in advance. I know there are a lot of similar threads and this has to get quite boring for you people, but I really don't want to waste my money.
  2. downfaced


    Nov 19, 2000
    Hey, I was just in your position about 4 months ago. I ended up spending $1,400 on a bass rig from Carvin. All I have to say is, Carvin is really nice. I mean really nice, it's quality too, and at a good price. It's got a 1000 watt head, with lots of cool features and different options as far as hooking it up. That would be the bi-amping and full range options, which are sweet. You can get just the right sound through it. It's a Carvin Red Eye Bass Amp. I have a "Red Eye" 4x10 cab, w/ a tweeter. The tweeter has it's own seperate power control on the back of the cabinet, which is a handy feature. Also, to get that nice low end, I have an 18" speaker cab. I play a five string in drop A, and this really pushes my sound. All in all, I think carvin can fit your price range very nicely and still provide excellent, high-quality sound. Good Luck!

    P.S. I played with a guitarist who had a trace elliot and it was pretty nice too, but I would still reccommend carvin for your bass.
  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    You didn't indicate above how much money you're willing to spend. Are you looking for the "high-end" gear that some people seem to talk about?

    There are a lot of great amps out there. I'm personally a fan of EBS gear. Of course, I own the EBS Fafner and accompanying 4x10. It puts out 410 watts into 8 ohms and 620 watts into 4 ohms. And, in playing with a really loud drummer, I had no problem cutting through with the amp turned up to about 3!

    It's not the cheapest gear around, but if you read some threads from the past (do a search and you'll find them) I think you'll see what I mean. Also, Bass Player Magazine gave rave reviews to the Fafner.

    If you want components instead of an integrated unit, Aguilar has about the best gear around, according to the comments I've read in recent threads. But, you'll also end up paying a lot more for that gear.

    It really comes down to how much money you're willing to spend. Good luck!
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    The rule I use is, 4x more power than your guitarists. However power is not volume, and cabinets have different efficiency ratings in decibels. Moving nicely onto cabs, if one has to use a single cab then the 4x10 is my choice (I am buying one soon) however if you can go to a 1x15 as well do so. The other power problem relates to the number of cabs used. A solid state amplifier will deliver its full rating into 4 ohms and most cabinets are rated at 8 ohms. This means that when you run two cabinets, its 4 ohms. So running the Trace Elliot 500w head into one 4x100 you are delivering about 300w. This means that you have to compromise, buy a 4 ohm cab so you cannot add another one(without modification) or put up with the lower power until you get cab #2. Valve or tube amps have a switch or on old ones a plug with pins on to adjust the head to match the cabinet(s).

    I like Trace Elliot amplification myself so I would try the 500watter and cab.

    Happy Hunting
  5. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999
    What should you try? Everything you can get a hold of. I don't like the new fender stuff I seems rattley (if that's a word).

  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    For the style of music you play about 300-500 watts into some large speaker cabinets.

    All that are in your price range, at least all that you can find at local dealers. It's best to try everything you can just to see what sort of sounds are available.

    I would suggest trying Ampeg and GK first, these are real mainstays of the rock world. At least it will give you something to compare other amps against.

    For punk, I would recommend AGAINST getting SWR. I love their stuff but it's pretty clean sounding.

    Your budget will go much further with buying used gear. For example, I see used Peavey and Ampeg 4-10 cabinets for about $250, buy 2 and add in $400 for a used head and you're all set for less than a grand. You don't really need a lot of super low end so don't bother worrying about low the cabinet goes, for the music you play you're more interested in the midrange and "punch" of the notes. You also don't need super highs so having a tweeter in the cabinet is pretty unimportant.

    I would go with more speakers. Like TWO 4-10 cabinets. Even if it means getting a less powerful amp head.

    Speakers are rated at CONTINUOUS wattage, i.e. a continous tone. They can handle more power (often two to four times) for short periods of time. Think about how your bass notes sound, there's a loud attack, then the note decays away. This is enough to let the speaker recover.

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