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Amp advice

Discussion in 'Bass Guitars' started by BassUncle, Nov 16, 2009.

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  1. BassUncle

    BassUncle

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    If everything goes well, next year i should start playing around with my band. Since we've started from scratch I am looking for some advice on buying an amplifier for my vampyre.
    Any suggestion is welcom, wich one you used to start too, best sound or whatever for small and medium audience.
    Thanks to everyone!
     
  2. ColinB

    ColinB

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    Do you have any more details we could go on as you'll get 100 different amps from 100 different people with this question.

    What sort of music will you be playing...Jazz, Blues, Pop, Metal? (Probably the latter if you have a Vampyre :d)

    Have you a weight limit or a physical size limit... I won't go over about 20kg per item with my bad back, and I don't want to lug a big 4x10" cab around regardless of its weight.

    Do you have a price limit? Very important if you don't want lots of MarkBass etc advice.

    Of course, we all want a light, cheap, loud and great sounding amp - but you can only have three of these four at most, perhaps more like 2½ of these.

    I use an Ashdown MAG300 head (which I like - and lots on eBay) and a Warwick WCA112ND neo cab - which is OK for the volume I play at (dinner'n'dance swing and pop band) but I wouldn't buy again.

    EDIT: There's good advice here about choosing your first amp.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2009
  3. Pedro

    Pedro

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    Colin makes a VERY good point...prepare yourself for a barrage of advice mentioning amp makes you've probably never heard of! :d

    At the moment I have a Peavey Black Widow combo and a warwick profet stack, and in all honesty i sometimes think that the Peavey actually gives off a better sound. However, Peavey don't use the Black Widow drivers anymore (which is apparently what makes it kick ass so much) so the bad news is you won't find one new, however the good news is if you keep your eye on ebay you'll probably find one really REALLY cheap (like, probably around £50 - £100), because combo amps are large and therefore difficult to sell on.

    Having said all that, the warwick profet is still a very decent bit of kit (especially live) and as they have recently bought out the 3.3 version, stores that still stock the 3.2 are dropping prices to sell them on and the differences are very minimal.
     
  4. golem

    golem Philosopher King

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    I set myself a similar weight limit per item.
    I'd rather lug, seperately, two 20kg items
    [total 40kg] than a single 30kg item [total
    30kg]. This limit means that 200 watts and
    at least 12" of speaker just ain't likely be a
    combo. Head + cab is really the way to go.

    Even if you're an Olympic weight lifter, you
    are inexperienced at choosing your sound
    system, and will likely make some degree
    of unfortunate decisions. But it's not gonna
    be both the speaker and the amp section of
    a rig that lets you down .... yet you'd hafta
    ditch both sections at once with a combo !

    So weight aside, there's another advantage
    to a head + cab. It's easier and cheaper to
    figger out what works for you if the major
    elements of your system are independent
    of each other, rather than co-joined.

    Plus, since it's so expensive to minimize the
    total weight of a reliable, good-sounding rig,
    and since you're prolly NOT an Olympian, a
    head + cab allows you to tolerate more total
    weight by spreading it out in smaller pieces.
    IOW what's good for your back just happens
    to also be good for your wallet !





     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2009
  5. BassUncle

    BassUncle

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    First of all thanks everybody.
    You are right, I had to be more specific, so we are focused on hard rock and some heavy metal.
    I don't think that weighth is an issue, well not too much.
    The main need is to have a good sound for what we play, and enough to satisfy a small audience (about 100-150 people).
    We are just starting over, and i think that this will be the settlement for a while.
    And for the price limit, well, we are going to buy quite everything except the drums, so i cannot steal all the budget. I think around 500-600$ is what I have for me.
    Well, i think i should read the link you posted in your edit, and grab some ideas.
    Thanks again!

    EDIT
    After a small trip to the local music store, i've seen a markbass and a carvin, both combo, both in budget and not too large/heavy. Sorry i didn't take note of the models, i just remember 150w for the markbass and 160w for the carvin.
    I think i'll test them before christmas holydays.
    Any advice?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2009
  6. golem

    golem Philosopher King

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    Carvins have sub-zero resale value.
    Unless they pay you to take it away,
    skip the Carvin and get the Mark.

    You're gonna outgrow it if the band
    succeeds, so don't get stuck with a
    Carvin [unless it's free ... ].




     
  7. Pedro

    Pedro

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    150w will be big enough for the gigs you'll be playing. Most venues have such decent PA systems now that you can turn up with your 50w practice amp and get some kinda workable sound, and even if you're playing straight through your amps, 150w should be enough, as long as your guitar players aren't jamming through 600w monster amps.

    When I'm buying stuff i generally go for brands that i have heard of (fender, marshall, peavey, warwick) as the reason we've all heard of them is because their slightly cheaper entry-level stuff is still of a fairly high quality. Going on that philosophy, i personally wouldn't go for either of the two you tried in the shop.
     
  8. warwickhunt

    warwickhunt

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    FWIW I'd have to disagree with your assumption Pedro. I gig regularly and if the OP is talking about audiences of 100-150 then he is talking pubs/clubs/bars and I've yet to turn up to one of those type of venues where PA is provided let alone 'decent' PA. I could be wrong here but the image I get is a young band starting off and the expectation will be that the bass backline will be expected to project the sound to the audience (if the OP wants to correct me I'll ameliorate my impressions ;)), with 'possibly' a bit of assistance from the PA (not sure of the band will be buying their own or hiring in).

    Without wishing to sound like an old fart; if that is the scenario then ideally you need to be looking at possibly something close to 250w+ for your amp power BUT with the caveat that 250w is a generalisation dependent upon the speaker compliment and cab sensitivity. Another rule of thumb is that you need to be looking at having anywhere from x2-x5 the number of watts that your guitarists are likely to have, as the bass requires a lot more power to be heard than the frequencies occupied by our skinny string friends. :lol:

    I'd agree with the first part of your statement BUT why would you dismiss Markbass gear? This may seem contrary but I personally have tried it and it didn't suit my needs however the brand is high quality, well respected and has a very good resale value. I'm not sure you'd be able to get a sufficiently loud MB amp in the budget outlined but that's another matter. ;)

    My recommendation to any bassist starting out in a gigging band who doesn't have restrictions with regard to the size and weight of equipment but who is on a tight budget is to look at Peavey equipment (used is even better value). Their amps have a good inherent tone, they are bomb-proof and tbh they punch WAY above their weight! You could easily get a 300w Peavey amp and 4x10 cab within your budget and there are generally a lot of this sort of gear on the used market... in fact in the States you could probably pick it up within your budget new.

    Just my thoughts. ;) :d

    <edit>

    Just noticed that you are in Italy! Hmmm not sure what the situation is with finding used Peavey gear there. Do the venues you are likely to play have PA systems in place? Either way my advice still pretty much stands as is.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2009
  9. Pedro

    Pedro

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    Touche, my man!

    OK well from my own experience (also gigging fairly regularly) if the venues are actual music venues, they will have pa systems and stages. If we're talking pubs and clubs, then the huntsman is correct. On the subject of audience sizes - without wishing to insult anyones music - playing at a venue that holds 100 - 150 ppl doesn't necessarily mean there will be 100 - 150 ppl actually listening. We've played in venues that kinda size to audiences of 7 or 8 ppl before, and trust me sound travels a loooooong way when there's no ears to soak it up ;)

    Maybe i was a little rash with that, but was just stating that its not a brand i've heard a lot about.

    +1 on that, brother!! My 150w Peavey amp is a monster, it even survived being kicked over on to its front. The jack pushed the head part back (its a combo amp) and it still works absolutely fine 2 years on!! Peaveys are built like tanks and you'll nearly always get a decent tone.
     
  10. BassUncle

    BassUncle

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    Wow, that's again lot to read here.
    Well, my local vendor here doesn't have Peavey or Warwick. That's too bad since they where the choice i had in mind. I have to search something on ebay, this night my guitarist tried a Peavey with black widow speakers and the sound was awesome! So i think i start searching for something like that, and if i can't find it anywhere i'll go for the mark bass.
    As for another advice, do you prefer tube amps on your vampyre or not?
     
  11. warwickhunt

    warwickhunt

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    Regardless of whether tube amps sound good with a Vampyre I doubt you'd find a valve amp within your budget. ;) If you did find one cheap enough, I would expect it to cost a lot more in the long run as valve amps need a higher maintenance regime than solid state amps... and old ones are usually the worst! :lol:
     
  12. Pedro

    Pedro

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    totally agree there, i really REALLY want a tubepath as well but they are sooooo expensive.

    Might be best looking on ebay for a Black Widow Peavey, you won't find one new in any shops because they were discontinued years ago. I was lucky with mine, was second hand in my local guitar shop.
     
  13. BassUncle

    BassUncle

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    Well i guessed that tube were more expensive e needed more cares.
    Since for the next gig I can choose between tubes or solid state (it's a recording studio with a stage for "young" bands) just wanted to hear your opinions.
    I am thinking about solid state, because after quite an hour of playing tubes it's like it has lost his volume settings, so i have to do a small soundcheck.
    I think that's something I miss, as a freshly restarted bass player....
     
  14. Pedro

    Pedro

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    I've never actually played through tubes so I can't really help. It probably would b better for you to play through a solid though, as this will ultimately be what you are going to be investing in.
     
  15. BassUncle

    BassUncle

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    Clean thought, you are right!
     
  16. Pedro

    Pedro

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    Wahay!! And they said it would neva happen :d
     
  17. BassUncle

    BassUncle

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