what to look for in a new amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Newman, Oct 26, 2000.

  1. Newman


    Jun 6, 2000
    ok i am looking for a new amp and want to know what i should check for. I want it to be loud enough to play with a drummer and like in a school auditoriom. So probably 100 watts but is watts the only thing that determines loudness?
    used market is gonna be my first priority and im also really looking into the crate bfx 100. That is a little out of my price range but i can try to find a way. So what else should i look into? I am a little new at this so i need instructions. k thx
  2. A Big Speaker :D!
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Apart from a big speaker heres some basics from a bloke with basic knowledge.

    Watts are misleading as there are other factors like speaker efficiency and valve or tube amps sound louder as they distort gradually. The wattage is clean so if you crank an amp it will be louder. Speaker area matters so an 8x10 will appear louder than a 1x10. Also an angled cab aimed at your head or a speaker stand will enable better monitoring. Anyway I am dangerously close to a shotgun answer.

    Try 1x15 or 2x10 100-200w combo's with your bass and see what you like. Try to buy one with an extension speaker option so you can add a cab later for those world tours :)
    (I didnt now I need a new amp:()

    I dont know anything about Crates. Try looking secondhand

    Happy hunting and use your ears
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Don't kid yourself about 100 watts. You'll play one gig, and realize that even 300 watts might be a little wimpy. As has been pointed out by many in here, 100 watts is a lot for a guitar. It's not very much at all for a bass. It takes a lot more power to reproduce those low frequencies at any volume at all. One hundred watts is great for a practice amp. I get by with 300 watts, but I'm an old fart, and I want to preserve what's left of my ear drums. Good speaker cabs help, too.
  5. Newman


    Jun 6, 2000
    yeah i've been told a lot that 100 watts just aint enough but what about price! im still young and no where close to being rich. Plus, i wanna be able to carry my amp. I gotta bring it to and from school occasionally and to friends houses, etc. S i'm still lookin for 100-125 watt.
    thx for the replys
  6. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    Try to find a used SWR SM400 or 400S head.I found one in mint condition for $480.It puts out 500 watts into 4 ohms,so the next step is a good 4 ohm cabinet.I'd put more money into the amp at 1st 'cause you can always add more speakers if you've got a good amp,but good speakers will be somewhat limited by the quality of your amp if it's not so good.
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I can tell you from experience, that 100 watts is definitely not sufficient for an auditorium, and I've never known a drummer that 100 watts was sufficient for! :)

    Realistically, 300 is a better area to begin looking at. As far as details, I agree with what everyone else has said. I definitely suggest taking as much time as you need, and researching as much as you can. That's means a lot of work on your part, making calls, reading websites and other threads in this forum, and actually playing the amps at music stores. But, don't forget, this is an investment, and it's better to take as much time as you can, and not get stuck with something that just won't work in the long run.

    Check out bassplayer.com for old articles on amps, they've got some great ones. Also, don't forget to look through old forums. Either way, best of luck to you!
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    The reason I use the Eden Traveler is that it weighs only 13 pounds. Of course, I've got it in an SKB 4-space rack with my DT-1 tuner, but it's still lighter that what I'd be humpin' if it was a WT-800. Also, didn't someone say their Walter Woods 1000-watt amp weighs only two and a half pounds? Something like that. But he lives out in the desert, and may not actually exist.
  9. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    To the power crazed gentlepersons above.

    The thread starter wants a budget concious first amp and the contenders are SWR separates and Eden? Come on lets come back to reality. The best setup I have ever tried was a WT and a EU208 loud and portable but not everyone can afford it. I cant and I'm vastly overpaid.

    Personally the way to go is a decent combo and upgrade later. Why?

    Because if the band thing does work out you can keep it as a practice amp or spare or use it for giving lessons.

    Because if it dont you have not spent 2 grand on a world class rig only to use it once a year for a scout hut gig.

    The best compromise has to be something slightly more than you need.

    Nowadays there are things called PA's and I did a gig in a football stadium with a 60w 1x12 combo.

    Sorry to disagree and I hope we can all be friends still :)
  10. Cornbread


    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    I recommend an Ampeg BA-115 or B100R. They are 100watt, 15" combos that sound great. You can read all about them in other threads. I have the BA-115, and I think it's very capable. I haven't tried it in an auditorium yet, but I plan on using it with my school band soon. Check it out; you won't be disappointed.
  11. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    Thanks Chris for showing the way!
    One has to stay on the ground!

    I admit I was too lazy to write an answer like yours, but I give my vote now...

  12. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Matthias you are welcome

    BTW I took your general advice about boosting the mids for a better monitoring and it works for me. Enough mutual back patting I will see you around.

    Newman read ALL the advice and make your own mind up.

  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Was this a dig at Ed Fugua? He's the only one I remember talking about a Walter Woods, but he does play upright in small acoustic Jazz combos - trios mostly, I think and I'm sure he said it was 100 watts.;)

    I think that Ed lives in New York and has proven his existence by making his latest trio CD available - some people actually bought it and I think a few others might have actually mentioned meeting ED - I still await this privilege. ;)
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Walter does exist, he hand makes the amps so they are only available direct for him, there's a waiting list, etc.

    His amps are all the same (tiny) size, 3" by 12" by 8" and weigh between 6.5 and 7.5 lbs depending on model. All look indentical from the outside except for the pilot light color. Here's the kicker, the power ratings (at 4 ohms) are "low" (200 watts), "high" (450 watts), "super high" (650 watts!) and "ultra high" (1200 watts!!!!! 7.5 pounds???? aaaiiieee!!!!). The secret is in his power supplies, he uses transformers he has custom designed himself that keep the weight and size way down.

    Prices range from $1100 to $2000 and there are no discounts. You don't see many used ones because usually the people that buy them don't ever need to upgrade :)

    BTW, if you think that's expensive, keep in mind that a new SVT lists for over $2000 and it weighs a lot more than 7.5 pounds :)
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think Munji was saying that the person who owned the Walter Woods amp might have been a figment of his imagination - not WW himself.

    There have been several discussions in the past on who owns the smallest and lightest amp and Ed Fugua usually turns up and "trumps" everyone else by citing his Walter Woods amp, which beats an Eden Traveler by a long way - if you look at Ed's profile, it is mentioned in there :

  16. Skip


    Mar 22, 2000
    Bronxville, NY
    Back to the topic at hand ...

    What is your price range? If you are looking to spend less than $500 it's going to be tough to get you into a loud amp - think used. It also depends on your sound - pro sound costs more. That said the MF web site has G-K 400RB112, 400RB115 and 400RB210 combos for $679 (I'm looking myself). The Mars web site still has a SWR basic black for $599. And almost everyone has the Fender Bassman 100 for around $500. As well as the amps mentioned in other posts.

    And I will not vouch for the existance of any member of this board other than myself. :D

  17. ulf_kurt


    Feb 10, 2000
    Umea, Sweden
    Here's another vote for something called PA.

    I think its overkill to suggest a big head+cab-setup as your first bass-amp. As said above: Go with something like 100+ watts, and check that it has an extension-jack for another speaker + something called DI or line out so that you can use it with a PA. That will do

    Good luck

    You dont have to have thousands of dollars worth of stuff, to play bass and have fun.

    cheers ulf/
  18. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    As a first amp in the 100 watts range....I would highly recommend the Ampeg BA-115. It will give you 100 watts, a 15" speaker...plenty of tonal variation, and is extremely portable.
  19. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    Just one experience:
    Yesterday I played with a jazz-funk band (yeah, something new, I'm excited..)
    When I saw the amp they had there I was disappointed at first, but to my surprise it worked very well in a setup with drums, piano (a real one without amplification), 2 guitars, 4 horns and 3 singers.
    It was an old Peavey Basic 112. 50W into a 12" speaker, 4-band EQ, that's all.
    Believe me, I had enough headroom!!

  20. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    The Ampeg B100R cost me $199 used. 100 watts into a 15 inch speaker. Very good sound even with a loud drummer. It might not work well in a huge stadium but for medium sized gigs, it's fine.