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Experience with Ampeg B100R


Bill C from Nashvegas

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I'm beginning to get GAS...basically I'm tired of lugging around refrigerator-size cabs and amps for smaller gigs, so I've been contemplating a medium-sized combo. The Ampeg B100R has caught my eye, partly because I'm still a sucker for Ampeg(I've got a 40 year old V-4) and also because I've heard good things about its simple setup and great tone (and it looks cool too). But 100 watts ain't much, with my regular rig I push 500W (NOT with the V-4 obviously). Granted I don't have it cranked, but still...

 

Before I shell out 5 c-notes for the B100R, anybody here actually have any experience playing one in club settings? Current band is 60's and classic rock, not extraordinarily loud, and I do play a 5 string.

 

And I don't want to hear "well just run it into the PA" because it's my PA and for smaller gigs I don't want to lug refrigerator-size PA speakers!!

 

Thanks in advance. I've read the reviews on BGRA and Harmony Central, but it's hard to put much faith in reviews written by people whose first line is "well this is my first amp" or "i've only been playing for two years"

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I have had a B100R for 5 years and love it. I have used it for all types of music, with 5 stringers and even upright and guitar. Actually, I have used it for outdoor restaurants and parties with a classic rock band and a soul/blues band (upright). 100W doesn't sound like much, but each one of those watts is smoking. It is light (believe me, I had an svt), has classic Ampeg tone, plenty loud, certainly looks cool, and is really tough. I would be carful about the tolex, but I have had good luck with it. All of the electronics and speakers are rock solid, my amp has been rained on (while playing, weather in TX changes every 30sec) and it didn't miss a beat (yep, its a pun). This was my first bass amp, and because of how pleased I am with it I have only purchased other Ampeg products (the big rig, now slightly smaller). I highly recomend it, it will serve you well.

BNC

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Originally posted by Wickerman:

If you have a fairly bass heavy tone, not the typical trebley twang, 100 watts is fine.

A bass heavy tone requires MORE power, not less, than a treble heavy tone. Low frequencies require more power to reproduce than do mids and highs.

 

However, 100w with the right cab can get very loud.

 

Hope this is helpful.

Hope this is helpful.

 

NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

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I have the B50R, the 1x12 50W little brother of the B100R. I get great sound from it, and I've decided that the 50W rating isn't the best way to judge the actual loudness of the combo. It's really frickin' loud. My guess would be that the B100R would give lots of volume.

 

Bring a guitar playing pal to the store with you, have him/her fire up a nearby powerhouse of a guitar amp and see if you can keep up with the B100R. Or, even better, see if you can bring it to a gig or a rehearsal to give it a test run -- What's the store's return policy? Rent-to-own plan? Rental price for a day or two? That might be your best bet before you really commit to purchase and gives you a chance to test-drive under actual conditions rather than just trusting our testimonials. A local shop here has great monthly rental rates which they will apply dollar-for-dollar to purchase price if the customer decides to buy/keep the equipment -- gotta love that!

spreadluv

 

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Wickerman: If you have a fairly bass heavy tone, not the typical trebley twang, 100 watts is fine.

where02190: A bass heavy tone requires MORE power, not less, than a treble heavy tone. Low frequencies require more power to reproduce than do mids and highs.

I think Wickerman was trying to say that a tone laden with midbass-through-lower-mids can do the job better sometimes than attempting to compete for the upper-mids-and-above sonic space that is already heavily inhabited.

 

Typical combo amps often have pretty wide EQ bands anyway, so boosting a slider that says 50 HZ or whatever may be boosting quite a few freqs up to the next slider's/knobs numeration, and they also often have designs that "compress" fairly gracefully as more demand is heaped on.

.
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A few different things help an otherwise underpowered rig not get too lost in the shuffle (or stampede).

 

(1) Default voicing. Depending on the type of music / sonic landscape the amp will be used in, (and even the bass driving it) its default frequency curve can help or hinder its being heard. There are few constants here since bands vary so much in what freqs tend to get masked.

 

(2) Compression. Some combos have built-in compression circuits, and maybe a couple of knobs so one can choose a ratio if not a threshold, and maybe another knob to do gain compensation. Some have even incorpaorated all this into one knob. Regardless, compression can give a few extra dB of apparent gain - the average volume can be louder than otherwise.

 

(3) Overdrive/saturation. In a way this too is a form of compression, because saturating a gain stage or two can raise the average level. More yet, the overdriving of a circuit or tube that can gracefully overdrive can increase the perception of volume by emphasis on overtones. Tubes (among other subtle properties) when overdriven increase the even-order overtones especially, and even when it is not that obviously distorted/crunchy. The apparent volume increase can be useful. These days there are some pretty good non-tube circuits that mimic the tube pretty well.

 

That is a big part of the Ampeg sound.

 

(3) I haven't looked inside a lot of combos. But it seems like a lot of them are pretty capable of gracefully leveraging overgain situations without becoming obviously distorted at the output stage. I'm thinking there is some soft limiting going on in some of these; circuitry like Peavey's DDT, or tubelike power stages. This too helps them sound louder and keeps neophyte abuse from blowing them up as quickly ; }

 

100 watts will never be 400, and a small combo will never be a mid-sized rig. But with these aids it can do amazingly well. Just don't expect headroom.

.
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I think it's a pretty good amp, I couldn't remember the name of it when someone was asking about the B-15 reissue, but I think it's a better (and cheaper) amp to get.

 

It's a good amp for "bass-heavy" tone, that's what it does, as opposed to the (sometimes) excessive clarity of something like an SWR or Eden combo.

 

I'm a big SWR user and that's what I usually recommend, but one of my students who is a blues player traded in his Redhead for the Ampeg and is now a much happier person.

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