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Which of these lightweight bass combo amps for practice and jamming?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bluebard, Apr 20, 2015.


  1. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Hello all,

    I'm in the market for a lightweight (15-30 lbs) combo amp with at least 20 watts for practice, jamming, and basic recording. I'm dissatisfied with my Peavey Max 126 10-watt amp, since the tone is not very full and it cannot play very loudly during jams without becoming distorted.

    I am presently looking at these options:

    a used Peavey Max 110 20-watt with a 10-inch speaker for $84
    a new Peavey Max 158 20-watt with an 8-inch speaker for $99
    a used Crate BT-25 25-watt with a 10-inch speaker for $99
    a new Ampeg BA-108 with an 8-inch speaker for $99

    If anyone has any experience or advice with any of these amps, I'd appreciate if you could share. I am particularly interested in the Crate and the Max 110, since they both have 10-inch speakers. Which is better? Any advice on which of these I should purchase? Which do you think is the best deal / has the best tone / most power?

    I can't afford anything more than $120, and I'm looking for something I can carry, walking, for a mile (since I'm a student without a car on a large campus). So nothing big, heavy, or expensive. Something like the amps I mentioned above, but as powerful as possible for their light weight, small size, and affordable price.

    Thanks! i appreciate it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  2. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    I forgot to mention that the only one I have had the opportunity to play is the Max 158. I liked the sound of it, but I am wondering how it compares to the Max 110, since the 110 has a larger speaker and is more affordable.
     
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You can't really expect to be heard in a band with less than a 100w combo and that's with a drummer playing lightly and a guitarist not driving his amp up the wall.

    For this kind of price I'd look for used Peavey TNT, Ampeg B15, Crate BT-100, Yorkville BassMaster, Hartke, even Behringer if you can't find anything else.
    For speaker you want a 15" or a pair of 10s, maybe a 12" if it's good.

    As for weight, the old equation still applies : loud, cheap, light, pick 2.
    With your budget you can't expect something light that will get you heard.
     
  4. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Hi Jazz Ad,
    Thanks for the advice! However, my budget is what it is, and I am looking for a small amp that I can carry around. I'd like it to be as powerful as possible for its size and price, but if it can't be heard over drums and guitar at a gig, I'll just have to deal with it. I can't afford the amps you mentioned, and they are too big for my purposes, since I will have to walk significant distances carrying the amp (I"m a student on a large campus without a car). Do you have any experience with the amps I mentioned, that you could advise me about which of them is best for my purposes? If not, thanks anyway!
     
  5. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Mattrill, spectorfreak and BigDanT like this.
  6. iualum

    iualum

    Apr 9, 2004
    60453
    Simple. The $84 unit with the 10" speaker. Larger speaker & least bux. You need as much in your pocket as you can get. The difference in wattages is meaningless.

    Oh, & get some money together. Somehow. Minimum you need is 100 RMS & a 15" speaker.
     
  7. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Thanks, iualum! Does the power and volume of an amp, then, have more to do with the size of its speaker than its wattage? What does wattage affect, then? I'm a bit new to the technical aspects of amplification.
     
  8. GoLeafsGo

    GoLeafsGo Not Quite Right! Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2013
    Whitby Ontario
    I had the BA108, great little amp, nice tone, great features. But, and I think you will find (I know I did) this with pretty much all the choices you have listed, jamming with others is going to be a problem. You have to be able to "move" more air than any of these will. While I think they are all real nice practice amps, or used if you are only playing with an acoustic guitar, if they throw guitar amplification or drums into the mix, you may have to move up a notch. Might recommend the Ampeg BA110 used , and you can get one used for your price range, but you will still struggle to keep up.
     
    bftbassman likes this.
  9. GoLeafsGo

    GoLeafsGo Not Quite Right! Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2013
    Whitby Ontario
    This. You can get a used Ampeg Micro CL (100 watts and 2x 10) for not much more than you are looking to spend.
     
  10. barrybass33

    barrybass33 Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2008
    westchester new york.
    Hartke makes a nice little combo for around $100.00 - $150.00.

    I would get the ten inch speaker min.
     
  11. Crate and Peavey amps are good, but I have no experience with Ampeg and where are you looking for the used stuff? The prices you listed are wayyyy over what I have seen. Should be $50-$60 max each for the 2 used ones.
     
    MattZilla likes this.
  12. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Hi Portland Bass77, I'm looking on eBay for the used ones, but I included shipping in the costs I listed. Do you know of any websites with better deals / lower prices on used amps? I'm thinking about going with the Peavey 10-inch.
     
    Munjibunga likes this.
  13. Check craigslist, amps are always expensive on ebay do to shipping, plus with CL you can test out the amp before you buy it. I personally prefer Crate, but it all depends on taste (I play an aggressive style with lots of mids).
     
  14. iualum

    iualum

    Apr 9, 2004
    60453
    Yes. It has to do with displacement (Vd specification), the amount of air that a driver(s) moves. This is the product of the surface area of the speaker & the distance of its back & forth (piston-like) movement (Xmax specification), expressed in mm. A larger speaker will have greater surface area. Xmax specs can (& do) vary greatly among drivers.

    2.5-4 mm Xmax is common in many lower to mid-priced speakers. Actually 4 mm isn't bad at all (not at all). 5-7 mm is pretty darned good & not particularly common unless you're spending significant bread. 9-11 mm (found pretty much only on drivers that specialize in LF (low frequency) production is tremendous. But they ain't cheap. Typically they start ~$180-190 (that's the speaker only) for a 10" & go up from there. These LF speakers don't reproduce mid frequencies that are much easier to sound "loud," so they really need to be combined with a specialized mid-frequency speaker in a 2-way cabinet with a crossover that directs the lower frequencies to the LF driver & the higher ones to the mid-specific speaker at a predetermined frequency.

    The other speaker-related item that most governs volume is the speaker's sensitivity (SPL dB). A driver with a higher sensitivity is more efficient at converting watts to volume/loudness. 95dB SPL is pretty decent. About the very highest sensitivity on stock drivers today seems to be ~101. Again, that rating usually comes on more spendy offerings.

    Most (or at least many) guys will recommend ~300 RMS at 4-ohms into four 10" speakers (or two 15" speakers, a 15 is roughly equal to two 10s, in an apples to apples comparison) for a kinda "ready for prime-time" rig. I pretty much agree. But it can be tweaked to whatever special circumstances present themselves, to a great degree.

    Amp wattage ... doubling of wattage equals an increase of volume by 3 dB, basically the smallest increment discernible to the human ear. To double volume using watts, you need 10 times the number.

    Now, the main problem with this speaker stuff is that just about no commercially available cabinet (in fact, none that I know of mentions Xmax in their info). And the total cabinet SPL figures need to be taken with a grain of salt (sometimes an entire lick :laugh: ). Just 2 ways to be sure ... have a cab built & select the speakers you want & have info for or buy a cab that was made with drivers/specs that you know.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
    Bluebard likes this.
  15. shawshank72

    shawshank72

    Mar 22, 2009
    Canada
    I used to own the crate bt25, just a fantastic little amp.
    But a Rumble v3 is a great choice if you find one.
     
  16. iualum

    iualum

    Apr 9, 2004
    60453
    Yes. Or just check around that large campus.
     
  17. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    The amps I quoted should be found used for about 100 locally. Don't be afraid to pick old stuff. If it's 20+ year old and still works fine, it may work forever.
    Also, a hand trolley is 15 bucks at home depot.
     
  18. iualum

    iualum

    Apr 9, 2004
    60453
    Abso-tively!
     
  19. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    Stay in school :cool:
     
    iualum likes this.
  20. iualum

    iualum

    Apr 9, 2004
    60453
    And party only a little. And study ... h-a-r-d. And in a field/subject that you know you can get a well-paying job in.
     
    organworthyplayer337 likes this.

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