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combo amp choice


Adamixoye

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My brother, in another city, wants to get a bass amp (he currently has my old bass but no amp). There's a Mars close-out going on near him, and there were three amps on sale that he identified as in his price range:

 

SWR LA-15 (100 W) for $230

Crate BX50 (50 W) for $225

Fender Bassman 100 (100 W) for $360

 

I'm sure there's a lot of various opinions on these brands or these specific amps...so here's my analysis and a question or two.

 

First off, I found prices for these on-line at musiciansbuy.com. Their prices were (respectively) $300, $200, and $510.

 

So, obviously, the BX 50 doesn't look like that great of a deal. My experience with all these brands has been fine, but not extensive by any means. So I guess boiling it down to the SWR and the Fender...is the Fender worth the extra money? Is it a better deal? Or is the SWR a pretty good amp and the way to go to save some money?

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I'll echo the "try 'em both" line. If it were ME, I'd lean towards the SWR, but that's because (a) I've tried & liked the LA series, & have had good experience with SWR in general, and (b) I don't have any experience really with Fender amps. All that to say be sure to give the Fender a try, but all the same I'm sure you (he) won't go wrong with the SWR.
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Oh yeah...further complication...he can't try them out, because Mars is being stingy in that fashion. The sales guys claimed they would get "fired" if they did demos. You know, fired from a job they're going to lose anyway.

 

So I suppose I can go around town here and try to find those same amps (which I may well do), but I don't have the bass he's going to be using, and I'm not assured of where I can find them.

 

So I'll try to check them out myself, but I'm still looking for some more input. But based on my own feelings and the comments so far, it seems like the SWR is the way to go.

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Well, I've played everything I've ever seen. I went with a Fender Bassman 100. It just seemed to project more than other amps. Crates just didn't have any guts to 'em. The Ampeg BA seres didn't sound so great either. The Ampeg B-100, SWR LA15 and Bassman 100 where my final choices. I just ended up with the Fender because it had a little bit more versatility and power. It was louder than the LA-15 and you could hear a lot more difference and definition between basses. Of course, this was two years ago, I might change my mind with some new things that are out there now...
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I guess that on Friday Mars is marking things down another 10%, which would put the Bassman down to near $320, which seems like a pretty good deal.

 

I didn't have the chance last night to go experiment. Hopefully I will this afternoon or tonight. I'm also using that info to justify bumping this thread just in case there are more opinions.

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i have no experience with either the LA series SWR or the fender bassman, but i have played fender's older BXR series, and SWR's workingman's series.

 

i think you might find the LA series to be short on loudness, as the workingman's 12 i've played extensively was very much deficient in that respect.

 

sound is a matter of preference, though, so if you strongly prefer the sound of one over the other, by all means.... i think of the fender as being an overlooked value in the world of bass.

 

robb.

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I have not tried the LA series. I have been extremely satisfied with SWR. I had a Fender several years ago and it was good, but it sounded dull and lifeless, no matter how I set the eq or what bass I used. It seems every Fender amp I've tried since then has been the same way. I have heard good things about the Bassman, but I wasn't impressed with it, but that was at $450. For $300, I could see it as a good buy.

 

I'm bewildered by the guy saying he'd get fired for demoing an amp. I guess maybe he thinks people are stupid and don't realize he'd lose his job in a few weeks anyway.

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Go with the SWR! I bought the LA-12 (60 watts) for practicing ($225 @ Mars back in Aug.) and it is extremely light. I can carry my bass on my back and the amp in one hand and a gig bag in the other hand up a flight of stairs with no problem.

 

:idea:

www.myspace.com/thefunkfather
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I appreciate the comments. Contrary to what seems to be the majority opinion (and my initial opinion), I checked them out this afternoon and I was impressed with the Fender...I thought it had better tone I think, overall, it's a better deal. So I think we're going with that.

 

But I'll still listen to anyone who thinks we're making a huge mistake... :freak:

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It's funny when people put down one particular brand, or claim their brand is so far superior to other brands...In reality, any of these combos would be better than 90% of the amplifiers on the market 20 years ago. What I'm saying is that there aren't really any "losers" in the bunch. Sure, somebody might have the occassional bum electronic component in their amp, but for the most part, just get whatever works best for your budget (but still gives you enough power for the future). That's my 2 cents worth!
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