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Dependable Lightweight Amps?


Imogene

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I need a lightweight bass amplifier. I've researched the GK MB800 and GB Shuttle9. Tone is not that big of an issue to me as I'm assuming that they both sound terrific (and I sound like me no matter what I play through anyhow). I like the price of the GK unit better, but what I'm really after is reliability. I don't want any problems with a fluff unit when I'm powering it up gig after gig.

 

I've come to rely on my QSCRMX/SansampRBI unit week after week and year after year with happy results - But only during the time between load-in and load-out. I've had it with 70lb racks.

 

Can anyone speak to the performance and durability of the two lightweight units I've mentioned? Are there others that I'm not aware of? Thanks!

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I think either one would be a good choice. I have a Shuttle amp that is incredibly light and not only that, I get the sound I want.

 

For many years when I taught at a music school, there was a GK amp on stage in the main rehearsal room. This amp was on for at least 6 hours a day, five days a week, for years and there was never a problem. Even though I stopped teaching there over ten years ago, I'm betting that the amp is still sitting on the stage getting constant usage.

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jc, I'm thinking 10lbs or less. And jeremy, I'm sure you're speaking of something like the old 800rb unit. The new generation is much lighter, and less proven. So I'm looking for something that I can rely on week after week (year after year), and stuff in my bag (instead of hefting onto the pneumatic dolly cart).

 

Plus I want it to perform at the level that I've become accustomed to. Tall order? Yes. Too tall? That's what I'm asking.

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Various makers do a line or several of low-weight heads (i.e., < 10 lbs.), and I've noted where I know forumites who use or have used them:

 

Genz-Benz Streamliner series (new)

Genz-Benz Shuttle series (Jeremy, SteveC)

Gallien-Krueger MB series (getz76...oops)

MarkBass - various (Flemtone)

Aguilar Tone Hammer amp (new)

Euphonic Audio Micro (Bob Gollihur)

Eden WTX series (Nicklab?)

SWR GoLite (?)

Epifani Piccolo, EpiFunky 300, UL 501 (all new or redesigned)

Ibanez Promethean head (newish)

 

I'm sure there must be others.

 

There ya go.

 

Peace.

--SW

 

 

 

 

 

 

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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I've got a QSC-PLX/Demeter Pre rack setup that is very nice (even at 45 lbs), but my Shuttle 6.0 gets the most work. <4.0 lbs and great tone. You can find these fairly cheap these days used - I'd spend a few more $$ on a 9.0 or 9.2.

If you like a "tubier" sound, the Streamliner series might be a better choice.

Jim

Confirmed RoscoeHead

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why not a peavey IPR power amp? you can keep the tone you already have, know, and like, and you can save money. the IPR1600 is $300, and the IPR3000 is $450. so that saves you half over an MB800 or shuttle 9.0.

 

they weigh just over 6 pounds, so you also get your rack down to the 10-15 pound range. it's bigger than a small head, but this is presumably why you went to a rack setup in the first place.

 

robb.

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why not a peavey IPR power amp? you can keep the tone you already have, know, and like, and you can save money. the IPR1600 is $300, and the IPR3000 is $450. so that saves you half over an MB800 or shuttle 9.0.

 

they weigh just over 6 pounds, so you also get your rack down to the 10-15 pound range. it's bigger than a small head, but this is presumably why you went to a rack setup in the first place.

 

robb.

 

Pay attention, class. This is an example of "not an idiot." Thanks.

 

Peace.

--SW

 

PS: Maybe one day I will have one of those Peavey IPR power amps... Until then the heavier but 1U DPC1400X will keep kickin' out the watts.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Compared to 70lbs, just about anything is lightweight. I use a GK 1001 RB that sounds great, has a ton of power, and is probably 25lbs. If you want lighter, I say stick with your preamp and get one of the new lightweight amps. I have a QSC PLX1802 that is ridiculously loud (500 a side at 8@) and weighs 20lbs. The new G3, G5, or Crowns new amps are all under 13lbs! and can be had for around $500/$600. As for reliability on the new smaller digital bass amps, talk to someone you trust at your local Gspot/SamRash and ask them how many come back. And then ask for directions to the pro audio room and buy a power amp.
Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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Various makers do a line or several of low-weight heads (i.e., < 10 lbs.), and I've noted where I know forumites who use or have used them:

 

Eden WTX series (Nicklab?)

 

There ya go.

 

Peace.

--SW

 

Damn. Look at the good memory on Dr. S Dubs!

 

I really like my Eden WTX-500. I've been gigging steadily with it now for almost 18 months and it has not disappointed. I chose this amp for a few reasons.

 

-I like the tone shaping / EQ section. It's powerful and user friendly

-I feel that I can get a pretty transparent sound without much effort (and yes, I know this is a somewhat touchy subject when it comes to amps)

-As the owner of another Eden head I was already familiar with Eden's control layouts

-It's powerful - 500 watts will work on almost any stage

It's compact enough that it fits in the front pouch of my gig bag, and it weighs less than 5 pounds

 

The down side? I don't see this head in shops very often. So trying one out could be a bit of a challenge. It might be a lot easier to try out a Genz Benz since Fender owns them and distributes their products. I kind of like GB, but I'm not totally in love with their tone shaping section. Be sure to try one out if you're leaning in this direction.

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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Not a MarkBass fan here. I don't particularly care for the midrange voicing of their EQ sections. I tried out several MarkBass heads in assorted stores and was not a fan. And then I used a MarkBass combo at a club gig. Again, not a fan.

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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What's funny is that now, my Ashdown Superfly seems kinda heavy at 10 lbs. Makes by gig suitcase kinda heavy.

 

Now, if only they'd invent some lightweight speaker and XLR cables......

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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why not a peavey IPR power amp? you can keep the tone you already have, know, and like, and you can save money. the IPR1600 is $300, and the IPR3000 is $450. so that saves you half over an MB800 or shuttle 9.0.

 

they weigh just over 6 pounds, so you also get your rack down to the 10-15 pound range. it's bigger than a small head, but this is presumably why you went to a rack setup in the first place.

 

robb.

 

Thanks Robb, I took a close look at those. No bridge capability though. Its always something.

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I think what you're referring to is actually a very flat, un EQ'd sound. If you want to take out the harsh mids a simple Boss external EQ would do the trick but I've found that the mids really cut through the band.

 

Pre amp clipping? Something's wrong there. You had the master on 10 and adjusted the volume from there? That baby is 500 watts and I barely put it on 3 and it kills. Clear as a bell in the loudest situations. Something was off -- the oms, or something.

JAZZ UN-STANDARDS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vE4FoJ4Cr4&feature=related

 

DON'T FEAR...THE REVERB! 60's Instrumentals with MORE BASS!

 

 

 

 

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Bam!

 

 

Good to see they updated their website. It was Under Construction for, like, forever.

 

Oops. I stand corrected. PA and Keys pages still aren't done yet.....

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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I have tried the Mark Bass mini in various versions and have always managed to get a good sound from it on a variety of speakers.

I have seen the G&Ks and they are so small and so cute. The next thing I thought was that I really liked the eq of the G&K I tried in a rehearseal room.

So, I think the question should be which has the sound you like. I think that most class D power amps are very similar and the topology does not allow for much difference, power being the most important variable. The preamp instead is very very personal. You should consider which of the many different small amps has the eq and personality you get better with.

-- Michele Costabile (http://proxybar.net)
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My problem with the GK is that they sound good when playing alone but they lack body when playing with a band. The ones I've owned (granted, several years ago) also tended to be touchy. I've had two break down.

 

They're also inherently thin to my ears, yet when adding low end, the E string tends to get boomy. This is why flat power is the way to go IMO. It's more even across the board and I can change tone with the guitar, hands, or external effects.

JAZZ UN-STANDARDS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vE4FoJ4Cr4&feature=related

 

DON'T FEAR...THE REVERB! 60's Instrumentals with MORE BASS!

 

 

 

 

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why not a peavey IPR power amp?

 

Thanks Robb, I took a close look at those. No bridge capability though. Its always something.

The IPRs can be bridged.

Not as simple as flipping a switch, but still fairly simple.

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  • 8 months later...

I may be in the market for a lightweight head along the lines of the ones being discussed here. I wanted to bump the thread to see if anyone had any new or different thoughts.

 

Somewhere in the n'hood of 500W into 4 ohms and < 10 lbs would be lovely. Thanks.

 

Peace.

--SW

 

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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No-one's mentioned the Ashdown MiBass 550(?) - it's getting some pretty decent review over here providing you like that Ashdown sound. Way better than their previous Superfly & Little Giant offerings which in some respects were shocking (although not literally). Also the way it works, there is little or no difference when played through a 4 or 8 ohm cab.

 

Ought to be worth a look.

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

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The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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If my Superfly were to take a dump today, I'd consider that Eden preamp pedal along with a regular class D poweramp. That'd be cool, and flexible.

 

I'd hope that the new Ashdown mini amps are better than the Superfly. That digital interface on the Superfly is a pain in the arse.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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