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What small and portable amps are really punchy?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Hevy T, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    I am using a Rumble 150 and though it is ok, it just don't seem to have the punch factor that I like. I was thinking about getting a Traynor Small Block 12 on a rental basis to test it out. Any other suggestions? Or does te Rumble 350 have decent punch factor?

    Also it would have to be under $500

    Pls don't try and sway me towards an Ampeg 8X10 and a 1000 watt head, I just don't need that much power for the small gigs we are doing
  2. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    You might find an Eden WTX 264 for that coin used.

    I bought an Eden Metro for that ball park and that is real punchy. And I've seen Super Red Heads go for that.

    These may be a little more map than you need and you'd be looking used. But Either of these amps would cover darn near every gig you're likely to get. And Punchy, Yeah.

    And another factor is that even used and a few years old they might be in the ball park reliability wise to some of the newer gear.

    I'm talking US. From what I hear the Used marker might be different in the Great White North.
  3. gareth dunster

    gareth dunster

    Dec 8, 2009
    Hartke hydrive 15 is pretty punchy
  4. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I don't have any suggestion, but do yourself a favor and keep in mind that "punchy" is a relative term, and has a lot (if not everything) to do with the volume you'll need to be using it with. I have a Roland microcube practice amp that's as punchy as hell, in my bedroom. Throw it in a mix with any other amplified instruments and all bets are off. Same goes for any amp. You can have a 2X10 combo that'll knock you out punch wise in a store, but then throw it in with a Marshall and heavy hitting drummer, and well... the punch becomes a 7 year olds jab. IME, in band situations, the more volume you can get out of an amp, the more punch you'll get. And if you don't get the punch you want there are enough dirt cheap pedals these days that can help ya with it. I just picked up the new zoom ms60b for $80. It's loaded with stuff to make your sound punchier. I guess I did have a suggestion after all. :) And what the hell ya got against strats?
  6. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    When you have people playing loud, as in Marshall stack loud, the whole small amp thing goes by the wayside.

    That being said if more guitarists were to keep in mind that Jimmy Page define the sound of a Les Paul through a Marshall Stack using a Tele and a Supro there would be a lot less hearing loss and a lot more happy soundguys.
  7. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay

    plus one.
  8. Top of my head, G-K MB200, MB500. Ampeg PF350 and PF500. Carvin has micros with their "drive" control that get punchy......
  9. I might be wrong but I'm guessing the OP is looking for something that'll hit you in the chest as well as in your ears by "punch"?

    I've been there as well and to be honest, like someone above said, it's more about relative volume and headroom than effects.

    IMHO, "punch" comes mostly from the ability to move air and that's then always relative the the volume you're playing at. A Rumble 150 for me, for example, would be more than "punchy" enough for bedroom practice, so I'm guessing the OP is referring to rehearsal of live situations. The I would suggest something at least 350W with a 4x10 of 1x15 (I find 4x10's more "punchy" BTW), also I found front ported cabinets tend to have more "punch" than sealed to rear ported ones. Bringing the cab to about chest height will also help.

    Mind you, another way to get more "punch" without using any effects is to set the volume on the amp louder than you need, but play with a lighter touch, that way when you need to emphasize some notes or ghost notes, you can add strength and really make those notes kick. But to do this, again you'll need some spare headroom.

    Coming back to topic, I'm afraid I won't be able to offer any concrete product suggestions (I'm not a big gear head), but it you follow above thinking you should be looking into the right direction. For example, I tried a Markbass 102HF with the SD1200 sometime back in rehearsal situation propped up on a small stool and to my delight it was incredibly "punchy".
  10. skunky33


    Dec 26, 2012
    Acoustic amps have great punch. I went into GC to try out an Ampeg svt pro7 and didn't really like the sound, it wasn't warm and it was more transparent than the Classic Ampeg sound. Since I do fast pizzicato 16th type stuff I need an amp that accentuates that. I played an acoustic head and it was perfect, I had 1000 bucks on me and was happy to walk out with 600 dollars and an amp sound that is perfect for me.
  11. Punch is heard in the upper frequencies also.

    This is easily heard in a bi-amp system playing a punchy track, then turning off the highs.
    For example, I use a bass horn in my home theater system below 100 Hz.
    With only the horn playing, it is quite dull and thuddy sounding.
    Playing the same punchy music track with the highs in place is when you hear the punch.
    The bass portion remains unchanged.

    For the bass player, this means you have to hear the highs as well as the bottom end.
    If you play a typical 15" at floor level, you will not hear most of the highs because of beaming.
    Raise the cabinet to where on-axis is at your ear level. The tone changes substantially.
    You also lose bass extension when raising the cabinet off the floor, so locate the cabinet carefully.
  12. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    TC Electronics BG250
  13. Bassflute


    Jun 24, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs

    Fantastic. Best small combo under $2,000.00.

  14. Gotta vote for the little Markbass CMD121P combo.
    I am often amazed about what it can do.

    Pair it to a good cab for extra volume, like the Barefaced Compact... And enjoy the tone and volume. Crazy!!!
  15. HeavyJazz

    HeavyJazz SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2013
    Hartke Kickback 12

    Great punch and projection for its size.
  16. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010
    At this rate who knows..sounds like there's more variables in the description of what you're lookin fo than the choices themselves. .
    I dont even think I could tell you what punchy, articulate, organic. .all these terms that describe everybody's personal setup.
    My advice..you want punch..get lots o watts. And lots of speaker surface area. Thats will punch all day.
    All these other terms that I hear repeatedly on TB to describe every tone from MM to jaco to friggin dave ellefson..who knows...
    Again..buy as much wattage as u can afford..and a decent cab to handle said watts..and you'll be set to post on tb for months using every descriptive word you can think of. ;)

    Ymmv of course.. but id love to see a list of what all these termz really mean.

    Good luck my friend.
  17. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
  18. kai_ski


    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    The only halfway-decent combo under $500 that I would call punchy AND portable is the Ampeg b50r.

    Other contenders, yet less portable, would be the Ampeg B100r or an older Peavey TNT 15 Sheffield.

    I prefer my Aguilar th500 and 1 db112 but that basically doubles your budget.
  19. stingray96191


    Jul 27, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Unofficially Endorsing Ernie Ball Music Man Guitars
    Forget the $500 limit and find a used walkabout scout for $800-900. Trust me.. Really. Don't waste your money on anything else.
  20. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    The Traynor Small Block combos are pretty sweet and I was amazed at hoe loud they are. I would suggest the 115 model as it is only $50 more then the 112 and will cover a lot of bases.