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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / How much bass amp is enough?

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drksd4848

USA

Jan 25th, 2017 12:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I know, I know:

This question has probably been asked a thousand times over and there are so many factors that apply, but I'll ask anyway. I need bass amp that can effectively cut through a drummer for rehearsal, practice.

Here's the extenuating factors: We're playing mostly rock music. The guitarist is playing through (my) Hot rod Deluxe or sometimes through a Blues Jr. The drummer is fairly loud. Not death metal loud, but he plays with authority.

We're playing in a narrow room in the lower level of a split ranch/Bi-level house.

I was eying a used 120w Behringer BX1200 Ultra Bass, but I've read some terrible reviews on it.

Any thoughts?

digiboy

New York City

Jan 25th, 2017 01:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well you didn't say if this is going to be a purchase but I'll assume it is.

I don't think 120W is gonna cut it.

Good bass sound eats up power, especially playing rock with a loud drummer. If you don't have sufficient wattage and speaker muscle, you'll either get buried, or have nothing but a distorted "BLAT" or both! Get the most powerful amp/speaker combo you can afford and make sure it's a really bass amp, with good powerful speakers. Much better to have more than you need, you can always turn the gain down.

I know this is kind of general. There are tons of good brands; Ampeg, Markbass, Genz, Eden, etc. etc. You need to do some more research and consider the limits of your budget. I'd say you need at least 250w and 2x12 or 1x15 on the speakers, more would be even better.

Taildragger
Contributing Member
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USA

"toxic masculinity personified"
Jan 25th, 2017 02:11 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'd agree that 250 is about minimum for the use you describe. If you get a combo, in addition to something that sounds good, look for one that has a speaker out so you'll have the option of running an external cab. Not all of them do.

L. Nedmundo

Philadelphia

Jan 25th, 2017 02:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I agree that particular 120w combo won't be enough, but based on my experience, 200-300 watts through a GOOD 1x12", 1x15" or 2x10" cab (or a similar combo) should be fine. I've been playing smallish rock gigs for years with G-K heads through a single G-K Neo112 cab, and it's loud enough, even with some fairly loud guitars and drummers. I have two Neo112 cabs, but have only needed both for one show, because the bigger shows tend to have a good backline.

Heck, for rehearsal my Roland Bass Cube 100 is enough, but it pumps out WAY more volume than a typical 100 watt 1x12" combo -- and was priced accordingly. (Current model is 120XL, which I think would work, but is expensive.)

Maulden7
Contributing Member
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UK

It's got to be CAR!
Jan 26th, 2017 02:58 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Imho don't think about that Behringer amp. I tried one some time ago for rehearsal work, & when pushed it became flappy with poor note definition. No good at all with a loudish drummer let alone a loud one.

I now use a Markbass Mini Mark (something like 300 watts - now replaced in the range?) with the single 2x10in cabinet for both rehearsal & small / medium gig stuff (amazingly portable) & then add a 1x15in cabinet if more volume needed (600 watts available)

I also have a Minimark for home practice or low volume / acoustic music.

drksd4848

USA

Jan 26th, 2017 09:24 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

What about this one:

Ampeg BA115 v2 1x15 Inch 150 Watts.

OK, so I know it's 150 watts. But there are some good reviews on it. My rational is: it's only to jam with my buddy on drums and and his son playing the Hot Rod at maybe 4.

If I would play out with people I would figure there would be some sort of backline.

The other thing I didn't mention is, I didn't have much of a budget so I was hoping to scrimp something used, getting away with scoring something in the $150-200 on craigslist.

But I was surprised how much people wanted to sell the 200+ Watt amps. Not a single amp like that in my range, or if there was, it was miles away from where I lived.

That Beringer was $175, but since I posted here I've found some really horrible reviews; much like what Maulden7 said. The Ampeg is $269. A little more than I wanted to pay, but the market dictated otherwise.

Plus, this bass thing for me is kind of new; I'm taking up out of frustration. It's tiresome to show up to a jam and have 10 other guitarist a head of you, waiting to play, at varying skill levels. Bass players are a bit of a higher commodity. Good bass players are GOLD.

But who knows how it will last. I've got little ones at home who suck up almost all of my guitar-practice time.

Figure with bass: less of a commitment and I can be "Root note Rudy" (making sure playing in time and tune, of course.) Bm7b5 is just a B on bass....

Well, maybe I'll throw in the b5 as a bonus ;)

Thoughts?

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 11:50 AM, Jan 26th, 2017)

JackL
Contributing Member
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Chico CA

If you rest, you rust.
Jan 26th, 2017 09:58 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I play thru an ampeg ba-115 at a local jam once a month (last night, as it happens to be). I don't think you could go wrong with this amp in any way, shape or form. If I came across one for sale at a good price locally I'd seriously consider it, tho I need another amp like I need another bass.



drksd4848

USA

Jan 26th, 2017 11:06 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Proaudio has one for sale for $260 free shipping! ;)

BonkersBass

Tejas

Do'in the 5 string thing!
Jan 26th, 2017 11:36 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

An alternative could be a Fender Rumble 200 v3. They are out of your price range new, but maybe close if you can find a used one. I've used mine for some fairly loud practices with multiple guitars, keys, loud drummer and it keeps up just fine with just the internal speaker. Great tone and it weighs 35 pounds, so it's easy to move.

digiboy

New York City

Jan 26th, 2017 11:42 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"What about this one:
Ampeg BA115 v2 1x15 Inch 150 Watts."

Probably would be good enough. It's hard to say for sure with a "loud drummer" but Ampeg is a good line and their bass rigs are pretty efficient. You won't really know if it's enough until you actually play it in a session with the band. Might want to check what the return policy is where you buy it.

I'd prefer to see an external speaker jack, which allows adding second cabinet later if you find you need it. Effectively doubles your power.

What you don't want is to be stuck with an amp that you have to push to it's limits just to keep up.





Hammond101
Contributing Member
**********

So. Cal. USA

Jan 26th, 2017 05:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"What you don't want is to be stuck with an amp that you have to push to it's limits just to keep up."

Exactly

It's easy to buy an amp without enough power in the entry level amps. I understand the budget thing but went through all this myself about 10 years back. I bought a GK Backline 100 for use around the house and thought it would be OK for rehearsal, Not. It does sound good up to a point but beyond that point it is worthless.

I ended up with a Tech 21 preamp, QSC RMX 850 that I run bridged and a Agular 1-15 cab. Buying used I have about $600 in this rig that includes a 4 space rack for the e-tronics. I'm very happy with it and can play just about any indoor gig with it. I also acquired a Mesa 4-10+15 cab for outdoors.

My point being if you ever plan to get out and play live you will need more amp than the Behringer or the Ampeg. If you guitar player gets a little frisky with the HRD at rehearsal you are toast without 350 watts minimum to keep it clean.

hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jan 26th, 2017 08:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've used my SWR Studio 220 since 1985, It's handled nearly every venue. I've had to use the line out a few times, mostly outdoor gigs.

I know my current amp the Genz Benz Shuttle 9.0 is out of the price range, it's option to go from 500 watts to 900 watts, depending on my speaker arrangement, gives me options to cover everything I'll ever need. I use it mostly at 500 watts into a 2X10.

Get as much power as you can comfortably afford, buying used is a great idea, you can keep upgrading without out loosing too much in the deal.

martin p.

Westbury NY

I am never unintentionally rude
Jan 26th, 2017 09:55 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

the ampeg is a cool amp, but in my opinion, with only 150 watts, you would be limited to using at home for rehearsals in a semi loud rock scenario.
Having said that, if the price is right, and if that's what you need, it's certainly work.
and as a bonus, they sound pretty good.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member
****

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Jan 27th, 2017 06:27 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You said:
"If I would play out with people I would figure there would be some sort of backline."

My response:
Where do you expect to perform that provides backline?

Most of the touring artists, including those "touring week end warriors" (meaning leave their home on Thursday, perform on the road...meaning spending the night in the van or in a motel...and return home on Sunday to return to their steady "day job")...most of those guys travel in an SUV or van with a trailer carrying their own sound (in case venue too small to provide a house or hired sound) and their stage instrument amps, and probably even a small lighting set up.

But that may not be true in "your neck of the woods".

Out here in the "fly over 'flatland' states" that is very common. Leave Austin or DFW metro going north and west or due north or north and east. We are on the "due north" circuit as they head to KCMO or Omaha...and even some will detour this way if last week they went thru Little Rock on their way to StL or Memphis.

The polite term for venues in towns like mine is "gas money gigs", And you do not get backline in typical gas money gig venues. At least not around here.

If you pass thru here, call me, I rent backline. I have NOT had a customer since November.

$35 gets your choice of any of the four Hot Rod series guitar amps (Blues Jr; Deluxe, and both 212 and 410 Deville). $50 gets your choice of GK700RB or SVT3Pro and an Avatar B410.

It is cheaper if you buy something to learn on, then buy a decent bass rig.

Guy last night in a Bob Wills Texas Swing tribute band played a GK MB115 and could have carried the room (150 people) without any PA support.

I previously owned an Ampeg BA115 "100 Watt model" about 10 years ago. I sold it when I turned 60 and bought one of the class D GK series. The Ampeg was able to hang with a "moderate loud rock drummer". We did not play many venues with house sound so we rarely miced up. Venues of 100-200 rarely required that much volume for our band. But I am a geezer. You may need a little more punch for crowd size.

Buy once...cry once.

Buy the right amp for the gigs you intend to play. Cry over "sticker shock" once.

USED GEAR IS CHEAPER THAT NEW GEAR....but there is usually a reason that gear is being sold. Broken dreams? Broken check book? Broken gear?

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
**********

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Jan 27th, 2017 06:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I had my 540 watt GK head go down at a gig (tragic glass of ice water fall into the top mounted cooling fan vent 15 minutes before the gig.

I had a Crate Power Block as a utility backup head along, but with my 4 ohm cab, could only use one side. That 75 watts got me through the night, but not well. Our guitar player uses a 22 watt 1965 Ampeg Reverb Rocket. I could not really keep up.

I used my Acoustic 370 head the next gig, which is 165 watts into 4 ohms. It was sufficient.

Having played bass since 1969, there have times 100 watts was enough (with at least two 15's) and times when 300 was not quite enough.

In hindsite, 200 watts is a bare minimum. With Class D heads, although "a watt is a watt" I'd not go lower than 350.

My Acoustic was in use, louder than my GK (165 watts VS 540 watts.) My 540 watt GK seems louder than my 500 watt Ampeg, although the Ampeg has not let me down ever.

drksd4848

USA

Jan 27th, 2017 09:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

OK,

Live gigs aren't on the horizon right now. Always a chance, but right now, no.

Living in the vicinity of NYC, anytime I've played a gig with a guitar, there has always been a backline or a mic.

Again, it may be a moot point. This all came about because my buddy started prodding me to jam with him and his son, in his house. My buddy not only plays drums, he's a classical sympathy conductor (his latest project was a performance of Porgy and Bess) So, I'm sitting there jamming with a friggin' maestro.

Point of that is, although he plays with a bit of authority, he has a deep understanding of dynamics. (A DRUMMER THAT UNDERSTANDS DYNAMICS!!! WHOO-HOO!!!)

We did jam with his son and myself on guitars, but I began to think, whats the point? Everyone plays guitar and I have no time to get my chops back up to fighting shape in order to play above the guitar fray.

Then this free squire p-bass fell into my lap.

So... After drooling over 500w (you guys drove a hard argument for it), I remembered my situation. I bought the 150w Ampgeg, dealer refurbished, for $240 with FREE shipping. It seemed like a good deal, and most importantly, there IS a return policy. (although I may have to ship it back on my dime) Detailed pics shows it is in near pristine shape.

So, there IS a return policy, I'm not doing anything crazy. I paid a discount price for it. And I'm also banking on this: if it functions, but doesn't suit my needs (which are few) I could also turn that puppy around on craigslist and maybe get a little more than my money back, provided I don't smash it into a thousand pieces or something.

And I'm not going to lie, JackL kind of pushed me over the top. ;)

However, one thing I did factor in: the bass amp math formula. Guitar amp wattage x 2 = bass amp wattage. The guitar player is playing a 40w amp, that would put me at a minimum of 80 watts on bass. With 150w I should be OK, according to the equation. (Although I should have asked this ahead of time, do you guys buy into that?)

Either way, we will play next week, and I'll keep y'all posted.

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 11:46 AM, Jan 27th, 2017)

Maulden7
Contributing Member
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UK

It's got to be CAR!
Jan 27th, 2017 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

For starters is that 40w solid state or 40w valve? There is a massive difference in perceived volume between the two (never had your head blown off by a Vox AC30 valve amp then ..... or many others like it?) There are lots of sound dynamics involved here (Tony Wright?) & I'm sure that there will be plenty of other questions before I think you'll get that equation sorted (which I've never seen before myself - but then I've led a sheltered life here in the UK!)

digiboy

New York City

Jan 27th, 2017 11:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I wish you luck with the Ampeg. They make good gear and generally they deliver a lot of bass punch. It may work out OK for you. But if it doesn't:

I don't know where that ridiculous
guitar amp wattage x 2 = bass amp math formula came from but I'm telling you right now it's total horse hockey, 100% baloney!

Guitar players often purposely play through under powered amps, especially tube amps, because they like the resulting type of overdriven tone that an underpowered amp produces. There are all kinds of approaches to how a guitar player might select any particular amp. There is NO correlation with choosing a suitable bass amp...none!

Drop that that little equation in the nearest recycle bin!




JackL
Contributing Member
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Chico CA

If you rest, you rust.
Jan 27th, 2017 11:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey, don't blame me! :)

Seriously, I agree with the sentiment of buying as much power as you can afford. I play thru a GK MB500 and a 1x12, 4x10 or 1x15 (providing 350 watts) and if I couple two of them together I get the full 500. I've never been at a loss for power.

For the playing situation you described, I'll say it again - I don't think you be sorry with the Ampeg. Congrats!

Rick Knight
Contributing Member
**********
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St Peters, MO USA

Standing in the back, by the drummer.
Jan 28th, 2017 08:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Both my main and backup heads are 300 watts, which is a good amount of power for any gig I am likely to play. That said, I've jammed with a drummer and 2 guitars at a friend's house, using his old MusicMan 130 head and folded horn cabinet. Not to say it was real clean, but there was no problem with volume.

(This message was last edited by Rick Knight at 11:14 AM, Jan 28th, 2017)

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