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What would you buy with $1000

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tash, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    If you were building a from scratch amp and decided to spend no more than $1000 for the first batch of stuff, what would you get?

    The purpose of this post is to solicit ideas for my new amp. I'm not intending this to be a finished rig, but rather the start of a more powerful and extensive setup. I do have a couple things I am looking for though.

    The first is tone, I want balanced, heavy tone with full bottom end that sounds as clean as possible. As I've stated previously, I want to get as close to piano like tones as possible. This is priority #1.

    Secondly I need decent volume. This si somewhat subjective, what is decently loud for me may be way too quiet for some of you, but the rig should be able to project loudly enough to play small club sized gigs with a single guitar player and still sound clean.

    Lastly I want reliable hardware that will last. This is v1 of my amp, I want v2 to be created mainly by adding things, not replacing broken stuff.

    OK, with this in mind, what would you do if you were me?
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    $1k all on the amp or entire rig? I'd get a GK1001RBII for $600 from Rik's Music and an Avatar 4x10 or 2x12 cab @4ohms for less than $400! If 750w ain't loud enough for you, your band is playing way too loud!!
  3. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I would say go for something with at least 400W - certainly would cover your existing needs and give you some room to grow, I would think. You'd have enough headroom to keep a clean tone at the volume you're looking at. Second, I would recommend going used if at all possible. You can get good used gear - bass players are fickle creatures by nature and swap out gear a lot. Not only would you save money, but you would likely be able to sell it for (or close to) what you paid for it in case you decided you didn't like it or wanted to upgrade long term. Third, I would figure out what gear you want and save up for it - better than buying something in your existing price range then trying to "trade up" later. I've thrown away a lot of money over the years doing that...

    That said, I understand Thunderfunk and EA iAMP amps have the type of tone you are looking for and can be had (especially used if you can find them) under $1000. I am a BIG fan of Bergantino cabs - they are not cheap, but give you the tone you are looking for. If you had a rig with one of the heads mentioned above and Berg HT112\EX112 cabs, you'd have the foundation for a prettey amazing rig.
  4. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Great head with headroom (1200 watts) and clean as you want it and gritty if you want it to plus great cabs (like DW said).




    = Killa Tone at Under a Grand!

    Most don't believe it but you really can have a GREAT head and GREAT cabs for under a grand. This is not a head that you will want to upgrade after a year or two either. It's really that damn good. I'm extremely impressed with it and you can't beat the price on it! :bassist:
  5. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I thought that he wanted cabs too for that grand. Not sure... :confused:
  6. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    For clarification, yes, I need the entire setup for a grand. Actually I can go a tad over if need be, but that's more or less the target I'm shooting for.

    I had wanted to save for a while and get the PERFECT rig, but I'm really missing out on too much not have a real amp right now. I'm in my last semester of my AA in music, going on to recording school after this. I've had 3 chances to gig in working, paid bands that I've had to pass on because I don't have an amp. This summer I have a studio gig lined up playing for my friend's technical black metal project, with the possibility of doing a small European tour with the same band. So its really time for me to get a real amp again.

    So keep the suggestions coming. I have a few ideas of my own but I'm trying to keep as open a mind as possible at this stage. All I want now is to make a list and then try and hear as many of the items on it as I can before moving forward.
  7. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, to be honest, it is a bit difficult to get "balanced, heavy tone with full bottom end" and "piano like clarity" for under a grand, total. But let me take a crack at it. If you want a full sounding, musical tone, with rich low end, but not perhaps the ultimate in scalpel-precise, piano-like clarity, try a used Mesa Walkabout (about $600) with a 3x8 or 4x8 from Low Down Sound (the 3x8 is $350, not sure about the 4x8). Those long-throw 8" speakers put out tremendous low end, and the sound it tight and full. As for a larger tweeter driver for more upper midrange clarity. Don builds a great cab, and they are a bargain for the price.

    Give the Walkabout preamp a listen over at basstasters.com. It does sound a bit more warm and midrangey using the internal MOSFET amp, but you can add a tight, powerful SS amp later that will give you more of that piano like clarity.

    Let me think on some other combos...
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    What kind of bass do you have? That's an important part of the equation. :)

    You can get a Stewart 2.1 for maybe 600 bucks used on eBay, and one or two Bag End cabs with the rest. That'll work, assuming you have the right kind of bass.

    You can probably pick up an "acceptable" pre, used on eBay, in the fifty to hundred dollar range.

    That might be a good place to start, with room to grow.
  9. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Good point.
  10. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    My bass is an ESP F205 5 string that will shortly be upgraded to active PUs. It gives me pretty close to the sound I want through my borrowed practice stack (a Hartke 3500 on a 4.5XL) as long as I play really, really quietly (which leads me to belive that the bass is fine, but I need an amp with more power).
  11. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    See you live in Bel Air. I'm in Maryland also and practice in Carney (Hartford, RD near the beltway). If you want to come down and try my rig, you are more than welcome! :D
  12. sal paradise

    sal paradise

    Aug 12, 2004
    I'm in the same boat as you are at the moment. In terms of clarity, ashdown did it for me, but this was the ABM series. But a 4x10 ABM goes new for about $700 at eight or four ohms. The MAG 300 head is $300 new, and the MAG 600 is $570 new. Though the MAGs don't sound as good as the ABM, they get the job done and dont cost that much, so it deff. leaves room for an upgrade. I also played through a Kustom rig with a sans amp pre. It did sound good- powerful, reminded me of mesa stuff. I can't find anywhere to buy used stuff.
  13. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, I'd focus heavily on the power amp. That's critical for a live rig. Modular speakers are good, you can use as many or as few of them as you need. The preamp part mostly gives you your tone (and crunch, if you like that kind of thing), but that's something that develops over time, it's kind of like a musical "taste", and I wouldn't put too much emphasis there to begin with. "Watts" is important. If you drive a Stewart 2.1 (2100 watts in bridged mode) with an active bass, without even a preamp, you can probably get decent volume into a pair of modular speakers. If you need a little boost, you can always get a SAABDI or something like that. Or, you can even go to Radio Sh*ck and build your own pre for about ten bucks. Batteries included. :)
  14. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Good advice, I was going to give the same. I would get a good power amp (qsc plx, stewart world) and use something cheaper for a pre until you canget exactly the preamp you want. This setup has lots of flexibility too. Different pres = big change in sounds. Thats how I put my rig together.
  15. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    I think buying used heads is a tricky proposition. You really have no way of knowing how much life is left in a used one, and there are no more than a small handful of reliable electronic repair shops in most big cities. Since reliability is a big issue, going with a used head doesn't make much sense to me. With that, and your price range in mind, I would probably find a good deal on a GK 700RB II. The tone is acceptable for most players, it is versatile, reliable, and should be plenty powerful.

    Used cabs save you a ton of money. If there is anything wrong with them, you should be able to hear it during a good audition. Use a friend to listen from a distance, maybe have her/him play while you listen from a distance, take your time, and turn it up at least a little louder than the max volume you intend to use it at. Try out a bunch of them and you should be able to get some good quality cabs for what you want to spend. Maybe a 2x10 and a 1x15, or a couple of 1x15's, or a 2x12, or a 4x10.
  16. AlembicBob


    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    The one thing I would try to do is focus on getting a 'keeper' item. In this case, I would spend the $685 or so on a Schroeder cabinet (1210 or 1212). That's my preferred cab because portability matters a lot to me.

    I'd look for a decent used head with the rest. If you do it right, you'll be able to sell the head for near what you paid for it when you get a couple hundred more in your wallet and buy a keeper head as well.

    One things for sure, don't buy 'starter' items new and plan to trade up. You'll take a beating when you go to sell them.
  17. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    My suggestion is to look into Carvin amps and cabs. They have an awesome sale going on with their amps and cabs, in both the Redline and BRX series. For the Redline, I would suggest the R1000 head and RL410 cab. That would put out 700 watts by itself, and if you added another 8 ohm cab later, it would be 1000 watts. These amps sound great in my opinion and you would have money left over, too. I've never heard the BRX amps, but they seem impressive by the numbers. I use a RL6815 combo and an ESP C-304, and they sound fantastic together. I would be surprised if this combination didn't give you what you're looking for. ESP + Carvin = BADASSEDNESS!
  18. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Thanks for the suggestions. My original plan was actually a 700RB-II (used if possible) driving a pair of Avatars: 210 and 115. I hadn't considered trying to go with seperate power and pre amps, that's something I will have definately have to look into, the flexibility of a completely modular system seems very appealing.

    Also the Kustom Goovebass looks tempting. I will have to give that a listen to as well. Quadzilla I may very well take you up on your offer to try your rig. I'll bring the beer :)
  19. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    By the way, I have an Avatar 2x10 and 1x12 (stacked) setup with the Groove Bass head where we practice, so you could sample the Avatar's with the Kustom in one shot. It really is an awesome rig for the bucks. I've owned a lot of gear over the years. I really love the tone on this one!
  20. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    You can't go wrong with the BBE 383 preamp in the for sale forum right now.

    I am a recent Epifani convert, so I would suggest you at least listen to one before you buy anything. I was amazed how beautiful they sound.