Which is louder: Mesa Walkabout or Ampeg V4b reissue?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by malpasso, May 26, 2017.

  1. malpasso


    Apr 24, 2005
    Thanks in advance for your answers to this short, straight question!
    Which wold be louder with a couple of GKcx210s: Mesa Walkabout head or Ampeg V4b reissue?
  2. hondo4life


    Feb 29, 2016
    Obviously the Ampeg, since it is bigger. Watts don't matter, but Jimi Hendrix would be louder than both
  3. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I have a Walkabout, and have used a V4B in the past. Both amps are pretty honestly rated;
    Walkabout is a stout hybrid Class A/B design that does 300w @ 4ohms (~500w @ 2ohms)
    V4B is an all tube classic that does 100w @ 8, 4, or 2ohms (according to the Ampeg manual)

    With the same cab (hopefully a fairly efficient multi driver cab) the Walkabout is most likely to be somewhat louder, particularly at 2ohms where it delivers 5x the power compared to the V4B. But, as the technically minded will remind us, 10x the power is needed to be perceived as twice as loud (measured by decibels). Choice of cabs and your willingness to accept a certain amount of distortion/grit in your tone will have a lot to do with your perceived volume with these amps.

    The Walkabout will give you more headroom to work with and so, will stay cleaner higher up the volume dial. The V4B will start to be grittier sooner due to its lower power rating. Depending on your needs, the cab you use, your tone goals and the style of music you play, both amps can deliver the goods. It will just come down to what you want to sound like.

    Mastermold, malpasso and GregC like this.
  4. malpasso


    Apr 24, 2005
    Thanx for your view. I love my Walkabout Blackface's tone but it is too shy with just one cab and the tone of the V4B gets raving reviews. As I said, and, on first instance, comparison should be made at 4 Ohms. Then, with just one cab, it seems that the V4B would be louder, doesn't it?
  5. jbd5015


    Nov 23, 2009
    Boalsburg, PA
    I think what you are finding is that one cab is just not enough.

    I feel you will be disappointed with the V4B through one cab, just as much so as the MESA.

    Its also a perception of whats "louder" versus harmonic richness between SS and tube heads.

    Look at the numbers, the head with more watts will always be louder. All that REALLY matters is how good it sounds at the volume you actually need. Do you actually need to turn up the MESA to full power? A maxed out V4B is certainly great, but its a pretty aggressive tone.

    Methinks you need more efficient cabs to attain the desired effect.
    malpasso and GregC like this.
  6. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    not really, the Walkabout still delivers 300w @ 4 ohms, compared to the 100w @ 4 ohms for the V4B. While that's only 3x the total power and not the 10x technically required for a perceived doubling of volume, it is still a LOT more clean headroom.

    I completely agree with jbd5015, you really should consider your cab(s) too. More drivers, and more efficiency is going to give you more total volume than amp power by itself. Keep in mind that the original V4B came paired with a pretty efficient 2x15 folded horn cab, most likely to make the most of its 100 watts.

    The good news here is that both are amps are great options, you just have to decide which one will work better for you.
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
    LiquidMidnight, malpasso and GregC like this.
  7. malpasso


    Apr 24, 2005
    Thank you all for your answers. I love my Walkabout's tone, buttery, blooming, smooth and deep: nearest i have experienced to al all-tube amp...but I was in trouble the other day when I had to use it into only one cab (8 Ohms) against our guitar player's Mesa Triple Rectifier. The WA at 8 Ohms gives you some scarce 150 Watts...and that seems not to be enough to stand up against that 100 Watts guitar monster, specially when our guitarrist goes beserk, he, he!!
    The cabs seem modern and efficient enough to me. Still -I insist- the problem comes when I use one cab only, which I did on that ocasion because of the small stage size at the club. When he showed up with the Triple Rectifier -regardless of stage size- I knew I was in for trouble :laugh:
    Now I am considering the Sadowsky SA200, the Orange AD200b...or just keeping my WA with its two cabs. I am not willing to lug an 90 pound SVT around!!!!:roflmao::roflmao:
  8. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    yep, when any member of a band goes power/volume crazy (guitarist with too many watts, drummer with concrete hands, keyboard player with a heavy left hand etc ...) the 165 watts that the WA delivers into a single 80hm cab will probably never work out too well.

    But, part of the issue here is not just the amp, few single driver cabs will really stand up very well in the situation you describe. While specs are improving for bass specific drivers, there are very few single driver cabs that can honestly handle more than 150-200w. So, simply throwing more watts (SA200 or AD200b) at a single driver cab will not really help you in the situation you are describing. One exception might be to use one of the so-called "super cabs" made by Barefaced, fEarful/fEarless, MAS or others. These builders claim amazing performance out of fairly small, 2 or 3 way designs with custom designed single drivers which are sometimes combined with high quality dedicated mid drivers or tweeters.

    I have owned and gigged a Walkabout since they first came out and I understand the power challenge with this amp. My answer was to plug the WA into a Berg CN212 (or NV610) and since then, I have rarely had any volume challenges at all.

    the good news is that there are lots of workable options for you to consider.

    good luck
    malpasso likes this.
  9. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I totally understand. I like using my Walkabout, I've had five of them now, but eventually sell them because I just run into gigs were they run out of steam with one 8ohm 2x12 cab. I want the portability rather than adding more gear.
    I also still have my Bass 400 (240 watts) and my Bass Strategy (250/465w) and of course have no volume problem using either of those using the same cab.
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  10. I can't image ever selling my WA even if I never gigged it again! Especially since they stopped making them now.
    Caca de Kick likes this.
  11. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Well Mesa discontinues because something else is always in pipepine to replace it. So I'm hoping something in the 500w hybrid range is coming, I'll do that.
    But the class D just wasn't for me.
    Mastermold likes this.
  12. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    You do realize Mesa has been making a couple of tube amps for a few years now...neither of which are 90 lbs. The Prodigy is 29 lbs.
  13. Any new Mesa (500 watt etc.) is going to be good--and I'll likely own it--but the WA is my little friend till the end. ;)
    lomo, Caca de Kick and chaosMK like this.
  14. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    I would keep the WalkAbout, especially since you like it. Just realize that you should always drive it at 4 Ohms unless you're using it in a quiet situation. It would be easier and less expensive to pick up a single 4 Ohm cab if you needed a single cab solution. BTW, stage space requires no additional real estate if you're stacking cabs.:)
    GregC and Bass 45 like this.
  15. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    yes, this.
    I have also run into the WA clean volume issue and have resolved all my volume issues by grabbing a Demeter VTBP-M-800DJ. But, I will never sell my WA. It just sounds so good and on the right gig it is magic. I have also used it in the studio very happily too. Great amp.
  16. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    +1 to pfschim. The WA can be pretty loud with one cab, as long as it's the right cab. I can cover a lot of gigs with a Walkabout into an efficient, high-excursion 4-ohm cab. When I need more volume with the Walkabout, a Bergie AE212 does it for me most of the time, although I'll sometimes go with a Schroeder 21012L. Both of those cabs are light, loud, and low. And either cab buries the volume I can get from running a Walkabout into *two* Walkabout 4-ohm combo cabs.
  17. Well that's too bad because the above problem (although originally for Marshall's) was PRECISELY the reason why God made SVT's.:roflmao: (85 lbs not 90 lbs incidentally)
    JimmyM, malpasso and Bass 45 like this.
  18. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    dude .. really ?
    not sure that an SVT running through a single driver 8ohm cab is the answer here .. it's still just 300w (and no matter what you might believe, a watt is a watt)
    so much good stuff has happened in amp and cab design since 1969 when the SVT came out, there are great choices besides (and including) and SVT, but an SVT is not the final answer to all bass questions. :cool:
    malpasso likes this.
  19. Whatever the cab. ... at 8 ohms. ..the WA is still 160w give or take.
    My Fender Super Bassman at 65lbs is 20lbs heavier than the V4B but. ..man. ..into just ONE 115 cab it'll blow your ears off. Give it a 215 or 2x115s or a 412 or. .... fuhgeddaboutit!
    65lbs. ..that's a good deal lighter than the SVT and. ..lacks nothing in the heft, punch factory.
    I love the WA and own a V4B as well as the Super Bassman. But if I wanted to show a guitarist or two what's what. .. the Super Bassman is my go to weapon of choice!
    malpasso likes this.
  20. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Yeah, I wonder how many cats on here run an SVT into a 112. There ought to be a club for those folks. I suppose for that rig, you put the amp on the floor and the cab on the head? Awesome!
    malpasso and pfschim like this.
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