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When buying a amp, what are you looking for?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Thomas Kievit, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    So, this makes me thinking : I do know what I want for sound and playability when buying a bass, but when it comes to a new amp, I have no clue what I want... :ninja:

    Maybe just trying some and see what I like, I guess?

    So, what is it, that made you buy your current amp?
  2. brianerwin


    Oct 21, 2012
    trying them out is probably the best advise...
    I bought mine for 2 reasons, Price and the fact that it is my first one, I just needed something to play on at home while I learn. I have a regular guitar amp, but the salesman said I would blow that one up quickly because it is not designed for a bass guitar. Probably true, I plugged into it and it shook the hell out of the woofer and sounded like it was on overdrive. I do believe that given time it would have blow out like the guy said.. I wasn't even close to half volume....
  3. After owning MANY brands I have my current rig(s) based on reliability, tone and not the bells and whistles toy factors.

    Try BEFORE you buy will save a lot of time and money as only YOUR ears know what you want to hear. Then balance that with what will sound good out front in a band mix. After all, what other people will hear is much more important than what you hear on stage.
  4. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    For me, its all about the sound and reliability.

    You will find that as you become more experienced, your idea of what sounds good will change.
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I'm always looking for the loudest I can go with the ability to still tweak and shape my tone however I want, with the smallest and most easily transportable size. While combos often have given the illusion that they'd offer all that, after countless purchases I found happiness in a Bergantion NV610 and Carvin BX500. Combos just don't cut it for many reasons IMO.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Tone has a big factor in my decision, I like a nice clean amp currently so if I were looking for another I would look for something nice and flat that I can dial in. I have also become a S(olid)S(tate) convert, so I avoid tubes and love light weight stuff. I also avoid amps that have effects and features built in, anything that does multiples of anything is usually to compensate for its lack of doing one thing awesome (in my opinion)

    This is obviously putting aside the technical side of things, like output power and such.
  7. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Tone flexibility in a small, light package that is affordable.

    Thus, I am the poster child for GK ultralight combos.
  8. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    In this order, Tone, volume, tone, tone, volume, tone, and price.
  9. bassfran

    bassfran Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Reliability, tone, and portability.
  10. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out....

    Feb 6, 2010
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    I love this. This is applicable to so many other things as well
  11. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    How loud are you going to be playing? What sort of sound do you prefer when you hear other bass players? I have had a lot of amps over the years. Some were great and some were awful. Try a bunch before you buy. Try to get away from combos if you can. And if you find a head you like, remember you can upgrade your cab later.
  12. There are lots of good bass amps out there to chose from - however, I like the Gallien Krueger sound best so that’s what I look for.

  13. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    I play classic rock covers. I have been playing bass for 40 years. Since I'm now 56 years old, I can no longer schlepp the super heavy stuff (85 pound SVT amp head, 120 pound fridge cab, 100 pound Berg cabs, etc etc). But I still want a rig that has enough oomph factor in case I need it (such as for outdoor gigs with no PA support). I also want to have the ability to use half the rig if the venue calls for it.

    So, I now have a rig where the heaviest item is 63 pounds. The rig includes:

    • All tube preamp in its own separate rack
    • Crest CA9 power amp in its own separate rack
    • Stacked pair of Genz Benz Uber 212 cabs
    I can just take one cab if I want.

    So, my advice to you (for what it's worth) is, first figure out what type of music you are going to play and the types of venues you are going to play at. That will help determine the size of the rig you need. I suggest going with a rig that you can downsize/upsize as the venue requires.

    Have fun amp shopping!
  14. xk49w

    xk49w Supporting Member

    It sounds decent and has good marks for SWAPc. (Size, Weight and Power, cost).
  15. Well I have three 100w tube amps. Looking back, that was kinda random. I might not have been better off with one 300w tube amp because of reliability, but two 350 to 500w hybrids, yeah, that would have been much better. Anyway, whatever you buy, buy used. That's because two of anything is way more reliable than one, and generally where you could afford one new something, you can afford two used ones, maybe not the latest but good enough.
  16. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    Man, you guys are so rational! No one has mentioned magic, the voice of the gods, or unicorn tears yet. What are we... Technicians,or Musicians? ;)
  17. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Holy crap. Prima is right. What the hell is wrong with us!!!

    OP: whatever amp you buy, make sure it comes with plenty of mojo!
  18. Sactobass is right. What you need is to get a righteous intact High John the Conqueror root to put inside your amp. Make sure you don't get it any bigger than can fit in there without cutting, however most amps can take an extra large. It would be prudent to fix it in place somehow away from electrical contacts, and also heat sources. This would be the simplest kind of mojo hand. Now all mojo hands require feeding, kind of like Jamerson fed the Funk Machine with his body oils and dead skin. Well the Funk Machine was kind of its own Being, you know, apparently with its own kind of food. But you can feed your amp's root with John the Conqueror oil. Again, you wouldn't want drippings to end up on contacts or near heat. Parts and supplies are available at: http://www.luckymojo.com/johntheconqueror.html
  19. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I wanted a reliable high powered amp, clean with great eq and DI. I also wanted two channels for doubling gigs...lightweight would be a bonus. Got a Genz Benz ShuttleMax 12.0 and now also have a ShuttleMax 9.2. Very happy :)
  20. Tuned


    Dec 6, 2007
    There is an important distinction to make, between tone and clarity. Good tone is apparent in the shop, clarity is not. My #1 priority is whether I can discern my playing among the rest of the band. That takes clarity.

    For example I find Ampeg cabs to have good tone, but they don't cut through the stage sound well. Side by side my SWR isn't as full as an Ampeg cab, but the SWR takes far less volume for me to hear what I need to play, because it's just more clear.

    On that note, I find SWR and Traynor cabs to have best clarity for the buck. Amps are far more subjective, cabs either cut or they don't.