What`s better...the cheapest Ampeg, or the most expensive Hartke?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by manwiththedogs, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. Been lurking here for quite awhile. Always good fun and very informative as well. Just need a lil` advice on a new (bigger/louder) bass head. Most Ampegs are out of my price range and I`ve heard (some) good things bout Hartke...any help would be appreciated!
  2. I've never played a Hartke, but from shows I've been to I'd have to assume that the quality Hartke heads are a better buy than the cheaper Ampegs (which I have owned, and subsequently sold).
  3. I'd go with an ampeg preamp. Great tone for $450 new. I'm sure you can find a power amp somewhere. :D
  4. I´ve played few gigs through the HA3500 head and I think it´s pretty good for the price. It has good basic sound (although I don´t care for the tube pre thingy) and is loud as hell. I´ve read rumours about reliability problems though. But then again, I´ve read the same things about every other manufacturer too, so... :ninja:
  5. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I can only tell you my experiences. I've owned my current 3500 head and 4.5XL cab since 1997 without a problem. In 2001 I added another 4.5XL cab which I changed in 2003 for a 215XL cab. Now I have the hell of a rig, loud and reliable enough. I had only one failure "incident" with my head. Years ago we were playing at a theatre and I had a spot light 1 meter away from the head and pointing directly at it. At a moment during the show it cut off the power section for about 5 seconds (built in protection) but the preamp and XLR out continued to do their work so no external PA sound cut offs (smart!). It was an extreme heat situation for the head. And it wasn't in a rack (I had it un-racked until early 2003). Anyway, just in case I canged the cooling fan with another twice the thermal capacity of the factory installed one. Such thing never happened again. Hartke customer support was very responsive, illustrative and kind with this case (another good point). Recently, on my 4.5XL cab, one of the 10"'s dust cap started to unglue (making a little vibrating noise -due to air comming in and out of the cab through this tiny gap-), but hey, it's been more than seven years of banging this cab, and I can even repair it by myself (partsexpress.com's caps and glue on the way), so no big deal.

    On the other hand, it's everybody's opinion that Ampeg stuff is good sounding and reliable. I know I'd never buy Ampeg stuff because I'm totally "anti-vintage" and particularly hate how Ampegs sound. Besides, if your budget is limited, Hartke is definitely a great bang for the buck.

    Good luck!!!!

  6. The Portabass Ampegs are cheap and pretty good sounding. However, I'd say the most expensive Hartke is probably better. The Portabass seemed to sound better than some other cheap Hartkes I've tried, but it's nothing really special especially if you compare it to the SVTs and V4s.
  7. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    The Hartke 3500 is a VERY good sounding amp with lots of power. I bought it when my Mesa 400+ was in the shop. It is the only SS amp I have now, and I'm keepin it. I got it used, in x cond for $265. with rack ears included...... BEAT THAT..!!!!
  8. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Ampeg gear is insanely overpriced, but it gets hugely discounted at Guitar Center and other places during sales.

    For example, I got an SVT-350H new for $289.99 because they busted a couple of the EQ fader tips taking it out of the packing. Works perfectly. I just got a new BA-112 for $159.99 last Friday, etc., etc. I've seen a lot of similar prices on other big and small Ampeg gear there I didn't go for.

    If you want a super deal on a Hartke head, check this out. I don't think Hartke is up to Ampeg quite, but the price is right!
  9. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Tough question to answer. The cheapest Ampeg will be inferior in power ratings to the mose expensive Hartke.

    Comparing amps of equal power ratings, you will find they are both quality amps. Which one is better depends on your needs, and the tone you are looking for. I think what this comes down to is you can get more watts per dollar if you buy Hartke. I had zero problems with my HA3500 for the two years I owned it. I am sad it is gone, and I will probably go back to one when I sell my Metro.

  10. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    What do you consider cheap? You can always get the "Most Expensive" Amgep rig for alot less used.

    I used to use Hartke cabs (410 & 4.5) & when I tried an Ampeg SVT-410HLN, I sold them both to get the Ampeg!!!!!!

    I just found a HELL of a deal on a new floor model Ampeg SVT-2PRO. Normally sells for $1799 or so. I got it at a Guitar Cender blow out for $399.

    When i worked at Sam Ash a few years ago (Sam Ash Owns Hartke), tying to get in touch with Hartke Customer Service was close to impossible. I'm happy to hear that andruca was able to get good servive from them.

    I'd put an Ampeg B2R up against any Hartke head & they sell new for about $550 & used in the $300 range.
  11. peterjc


    Nov 3, 2004
    very easy to answer to me,I have a lot of times to play with a backline. I always ask for swr because that's what i have at home. but a lot off times there is a ampeg because it is cheaper to rent for the venue.
    If its the expensive ampeg:no problem,wonderfull amp
    If its the cheap one and this is often the case:complete disaster ,it just has not enough power to give a decent sound on stage and if the monitorsystem is not strong enough to give me some bass I don"t have any bass on stage
    ampeg amps are actualy the reason I always try to bring my own amp to the gig(the manager hates me for it)
    as for hartke ,the few times i had them I didn't have any trouble
    sometimes xl and sometimes transporter speakers and if I remeber well 3500 heads most of the time
    the best backline I ever had was aguilar
  12. Basspolizei

    Basspolizei Pseudo bass player/collector Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Buy basses and lots of guns before it's too late! You have been warned.

    Oh yea, without a doubt.......'a' :hyper: :bassist:
  13. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    Why would you have to make a sacrifice, since you can get the best of both worlds at a very low price ?


    You really should go out and try one of these.