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Why did you choose your amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pica, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. pica


    Nov 26, 2009
    I'm having a hard time choosing an amp. I've been reading all the threads on different amps and researching amps on line. Truth is there is just way too many amps out there. So I'm curious what made you choose the amp you bought. Was it power, size, portability, special features, etc.
  2. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Gold Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    GK MB800. Size, power and tone. Pretty much in that order.
    Used to have a ShuttleMax 9.2 but I rely on outboard EQ pedals now if I need extensive tone sculpting as the 9.2 was not a "mini" and the dual pre-amp/channel was overkill.

    (Too bad GB is gone but I would have liked to see the same pre-amp strip as in the ShuttleMax Series in a single channel version)
  3. I was looking at 350 watt solid state heads (Ampeg PF-350, Aguilar TH350) and I stumbled across the Hartke LH500. The punch, clarity, and price made it an easy decision. Yes, it is 500 watts compared to 350 - but in the same price zone. Also, the LH500 has a tube preamp section which I like, and about a million positive reviews all over the 'net. I absolutely love it (playing through an Aguilar 1x12)
  4. I chose my amp because it had all the relevant features for me at an affordable price. Of course more features and better quality would have been even nicer, but cost is important for an occasional gigger with no sustainable music income. I wasn't sure I was making the right choice until I saw Jack Bruce of Cream playing the almost exact same amp at the Royal Albert Hall. Power is not really an issue, it's cheap now. I chose the Hartke HA5500.
  5. cold prep

    cold prep

    Jul 14, 2013
    I want a lightweight amp with enough power and a smooth sound.
    EBS Reidmar brings it all to me
  6. pica


    Nov 26, 2009
    The LH500 is high on my list.
  7. I wanted a ton of clean power and the ability to run 2 4ohm cabs with lots of EQ...

    Hence, the Carvin BX1500
  8. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013

    I wanted clean tone for maximum versatility. This came first and pretty quickly narrowed the field to Hartke and MarkBass. These days I'd include Glockenklang, but I didn't know about them then.

    Even tho I am not a working pro I demand reliability and excellent customer service. At the time, there was horror story after horror story about MarkBass failures and interminable waits for warranty repair. I haven't seen as many of those threads lately but then MarkBass isn't the flavor of the day like they were a year ago. Also, too many models with inscrutable feature sets. This consideration took MarkBass off the list for me.

    For my needs 500W is arguably enough, but I can easily imagine outdoor gigs with no PA. As the LH1000 is but about $150 more than the LH500, I was sold.

    It is not small and it is not light - both the 500 and 1000 are basically rackmount amps. The amp has not yet left my house although since I'm seeing that become more likely, I bought a wheeled rack case and eliminated the portability issue. It will not fit into a pocket of a gig bag! If that level of portability is important to you, look elsewhere.
  9. Having bought two amps last year (first time in years) I was researching most aspects you mentioned, but the the two most important things that held equal importance to me were tone/sound and reliability...
    I spent weeks reading through all the SS and micro/class D amp threads as SS for me means less maintenance/greater reliability, and got a feel for which amps fit my tone requirements to narrow it down, then tried to find as many problem threads as possible, to know what to avoid.

    So the order of criteria for choosing was really:

    Tone/reliability> build quality >power > price > features >size > weight

    To be honest I almost got into trouble early in my research/hunting when visiting a local music store that had a sale on one amp that I could have impulse bought at a good price, then decided against it until I looked it up here on TB and sure enough, for that very amp were a bunch of threads discussing cut outs and magic smoke ??? so I am very happy I did the reading and checking, and took my time. Another brand I was also considering strongly also turned up a heap of issue threads... both had multiple threads on getting faults repaired too... These were two big names in bass amps...

    Oh and I'll save you a little time by saying the only micro I couldn't find any failure, cut out issues or seemingly any issues AT ALL that fit my tonal needs were the tone hammers... Runner up, Genz amps.. So that's what I bought, one of each... Good luck !

    Edit: just to add that the Hartke amps were on my short list, great stuff... but in the end I chose to go the micro/class D path as I've been lugging amps a long time ;)
  10. For me tone is the number one factor. If it doesn't sound great, why buy it?

    Reliabilty follows close behind. An unreliable amp is an ungig-worthy amp. Even if you aren't a working musician, an unreliable amp is just so much junk and a complete waste of your money.

    Size & Weight come into play when you need something that is easily portable. For me at 60, I wanted a class D head and a pair of 112 neo cabs.

    Price Point: For some price is no object and the more expensive the better. Not so for this working class musician.
    I got some good deals and bought a Fender Rumble 350 head and a pair of Rumble 112 Neo cabs for $1,150. Brand New. Shipped.

    I sound absolutely fabulous with plenty of: Power; Volume, and Headroom. My rig looks sexy. It's easy to transport. Affordable. Proven Reliability = A Road-Worthy & Gig-Worthy Bass Rig.
  11. LakeEffect


    Feb 21, 2013
    Because the people of talk bass told me too!!!!

    And they were even right:bassist:! But I was also honest about what I wanted, I think most people asking for suggestions here miss that step.
  12. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I chose my cabinet, an Ampeg SVT 810E, because for the classic rock music I play, it sounds the best and can easily keep up with the volume of the 2 guitars and drums. I bought it used so the price was right. I chose my amp, an Ampeg PF800, because it has no problem supplying the power and sound quality needed for my cab. I got that new from Amazon at a special price. I love my Ampeg amps!
  13. karl_em_all


    Jul 11, 2013
    Dimension X
    Small size was the biggest factor for me. Then with the options available I went for tone and power capabilities. And I wanted a matching set up.

    TB500 amp
    SP212 cab
  14. Markbass LMIII & Markbass STD102HF - small dimensions, lightweight, lots of power, good flat tone.
    I really don't care about weight, but small dimensions yes! I have a really small car, can't afford another one, bigger, so to travel with a 410 is no option for me, otherwise I would have no problem transporting a big Mesa or Eden rig.
  15. At the age of 60 I'm simply not strong enough to be hauling an 8x10 refrigerator, and I like lightweight combos, so I chose the GK MB115. As a matter of fact I have two of them, and I daisy chain them together for all the power, tone and headroom I need.
  16. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Bought my GK 1001RB because of it's stellar reputation. I've not been disappointed.
  17. Ken J

    Ken J Hartford Hot Several Brass Band Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Middlefield, CT
    GK 115
    38 pounds, 200-250 watts goes boom for $335.00 out the door at GC
    What else can I say

    Line 6 110 Lowdown, 60 watts
    I pick these up on Craig's List for $25 - $50 each
    Best portable practice amp for the money
  18. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Used a friend's GK 400Rb at practice one night. I noticed that I could hear myself better at the same volume. Have used a GK head pretty much ever since.
  19. Hartke LH500 - Iv'e played lots of other amps, and I keep coming back to Hartke. You just can't beat the combination of tone, reliability, and price. I also own Orange, but I always go back to the Hartke.
  20. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Older Ampeg BA210 combo.

    Tone, volume, size - pretty much in that order.

    I'm a weekend warrior playing bars, clubs, some private parties and the occasional wedding and outdoor festival.

    We have a decent PA that I play through, don't need anything any bigger, and actually I'm tempted to downsize another level or two.

    I'm finding the older I get the more I like my smallish combos, FWIW.