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New Head Suggestions from the trenches


chewstermaniac

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Howdy,

 

Well, After christmas I'll be running out and buying a new head.

 

Currently I'm using a Hartke 3500 and its been reliable for the last SEVEN years, so its time to upgrade to more power for my recently acquired speakers (mesa boogies)

 

I was originally thinking about the mesa m-pulse 600 but I recently heard through the grapevine that it can be a little flakey and is prone to small parts failure. No idea if its true of course but a rumor should be investigated.

 

Lets face it, I've never had GAS before (never had money before, so i just never looked at anything) and now that i can back up my desires for new gear with some $ I would like to get the best I can afford.

 

My $ limit is about $2K canadian. So roughly $1500 U.S (for comparisons sake). 600+ watts at 8 ohms (for the speakers, 1 box is rated 600 and the other is rated 450).

 

The only companies I'm really familiar with are Ampeg, Hartke and Mesa, and thats it.

 

I hear things about SWR and G-K and have visited their websites, but of course a manuf. is trying sell so I would like to hear from the USERS of the equipment what you've had, what you liked, and what you didn't like, any brand or even homemade!

 

Thanks!

Check out my work in progress.
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/me suggests a forum script that can insert a list of all brand names whenever a topic title has certain keywords

 

v2.x will of course track what each forum member owns and will be able to autopost for us.

.
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Originally posted by AgentCooper:

/me suggests a forum script that can insert a list of all brand names whenever a topic title has certain keywords

 

v2.x will of course track what each forum member owns and will be able to autopost for us.

:)

 

I might suggest a script to filter out useless replies.... :)

 

Thanks anyways!

Check out my work in progress.
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Chewster:

I have some suggestions for the features that I would look for in an amp:

10-band or more graphic EQ

Low and High frequency boost switches

Compressor with EQ balance and Gain trim

FX Loop

Power Amp Pass-Through output jack

Balanced XLR and 1/4 output jacks

Tuner Out jack with Mute switch

 

That being said, here are 2 recommendations:

http://www.kustom.com/products/bass_amps/groovebass_prod.asp

http://www.fender.com/products/show.php?partno=0213300

I own one of these and have extensively played both amps. Plenty of power and you can get any sound you want.

Tenstrum

 

"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Harry Dresden, Storm Front

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Another option, rather than perusing bass head manufacturers, is to get a good generic power amp & a good bass preamp. There are some really good values out there in big watts for the buck. Plus, with separates you can swap & upgrade one part at a time, if GAS should ever reappear. Of course, that's a big "if." ;)
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A search would yield that you must audition or AT A MINIMUM more specifically identify WHAT you are looking for.

 

There are a lot of amps out there, without being more specific, how can we help you?

 

SWR

Eden

Gallien-Kreuger

Hartke

Trace Elliot

Thunderfunk

Aguilar

Epifani

Ampeg

Mesa-Boogie

Carvin

Marshall

Fender

Tech 21 NYC

Peavey

Randall

Euphonic Audio

Acoustic Image

Alembic

Demeter

Kern

BBE

Behringer

Ashdown

Crate

EBS

Warwick

Merlin

Glockenlang

MarkBass

Walter Woods

 

Most (not all) have amps that are under $1,500 that are rated around 600 watts. You could get an "everything imaginable jammed into 2 rack-spaces" Carvin R600 or you could get a "6 knobs and a switch" Carvin B500. Both meet the criteria you have set.

 

However, you can figured all of this out with the.....SEARCH button. ;)

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Originally posted by getz76:

Plus, if your Hartke is working, why the change? The difference between 600- and 350-watts is not that dramatic.

It will be great for the rehersal hall, but its getting very long in the tooth and it sounds very "Solid Statish".

 

I'd love to get a tube solution.

 

I really like the power amp/bass preamp combo suggestion...never even thought of that.

 

That list of Manuf. is sure impressive, i knew not even 1/4 of them...very good information.

 

I did a SEARCH on "hey fellow bass players, what head do u use, why, and what suggestiongs do you have for me with this much $$ to spend", but it yeilded very little. :)

 

I like knowing why people like what they have, what they would get if they could do it all over again, and who is happy with exactly what they got and why. Manu. websites offer that only from sponsored professionals....not really usefull IMHO.

Check out my work in progress.
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Originally posted by chewstermaniac:

It will be great for the rehersal hall, but its getting very long in the tooth and it sounds very "Solid Statish". I'd love to get a tube solution.

Well, I have a couple of amps. In the past I've owned plenty of different models, including a classic Ampeg SVT.

 

Currently, I have a Demeter/Stewart rig, an Eden WT-330, an SWR 350, a Nemesis combo, and an SWR combo.

 

They all sound good. Two of the five don't have ANY tubes. The closest thing I get to the "tube" sound of an Ampeg SVT is my Tech 21 NYC Sansamp BDDI through pretty much anything.

 

So, when you say "tube" sound, I'm really not sure what you're after...

 

Originally posted by chewstermaniac:

I like knowing why people like what they have, what they would get if they could do it all over again, and who is happy with exactly what they got and why. Manu. websites offer that only from sponsored professionals....not really usefull IMHO.

In reality, you'll find user opinions even more skewed than manufacturers.
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I had an all-tube old school Bassman over here last week (again). It was lots of fun. But I'd hate to be stuck with that sound. I definitely prefer the performance of real SR quality power amps over their related brethren in heads. In preamps a tube or three can be a good tone shaper. But I've used tube emulation that was just as good or better than some of these, for what I wanted.

 

One really has to know what they want sonically before worrying too much about what equipment to have.

.
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Well, I've been using a PreSonus Blue Tube Preamp with The Bluemax compressor into a Carvin DCM1000 poweramp into a GK 410SBX cab and all is well. It gives a very flat,clear response - so you really hear the sound of your instrument. The Bluetube has an AX7 tube and you can control the amount of "tube' you want. Cost of just the pre, comp. and amp was about $775.

1974 Fender Jazz

2003 Musicman StingRay

2006 Gibson LP Studio VM

Carvin DCM1000 amp

GK 410 SBX Cab

SansampPBDDI

Ampeg B100R

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What was said about the 350 vs. 600 watts is about right. I'm waiting to replace my big stack (which I had to sell being unemployed), and was looking last night. I'm going for "tube/hybrid" next time. Instead of the Ampeg B2R that I had last...I'm going to get an SVT3Pro. Same wattage to drive a 8x10" cab (4ohms). I was thinking of the other lines but, replacement parts are a factor also (always have them on hand, even the fuses). So I'm going back to Ampeg because I like the classic tone, and you (here in the US)can get parts easy. I was thinking about the SVT4Pro but the price difference will buy a new cab. And 350 watts will run a big cab just fine...You don't have to have 1200 watts, unless your chaining big cabs together. Just be patient and drive before buy.

Vince

 

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." ~ Pablo Picasso

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May I suggest you look into a separate pre-amp and power-amp. I think can get a better sounding, more powerful and versatile rig.

I recently switched from a head to a rack system, and I can not believe the difference; I used to think my old amp sounded great, now I think it sounds like a 5w practice amp!

 

Note:

Names of manufacturer's have been withheld to protect the innocent!

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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Originally posted by 73 Tokai:

May I suggest you look into a separate pre-amp and power-amp. I think can get a better sounding, more powerful and versatile rig.

I recently switched from a head to a rack system, and I can not believe the difference; I used to think my old amp sounded great, now I think it sounds like a 5w practice amp!

 

Note:

Names of manufacturer's have been withheld to protect the innocent!

I really liked my SVT IIP preamp and my Ampeg AP-3550 power amp rackmounted with a Korg tuner and power supply. It made for a quick setup at the gig, and the tone and power was great. I probably had under a grand invested in the whole rack.
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I can endorse the Ampeg SVT-3pro. I own one.

Love it. 450 watts RMS at 4 ohms. Through one Ampeg 6x10 cab with wheels and a handy handlebar to tug it along. oh, what a delight.

If you must, sell your car(if you own one)so you can buy it. Sell your house, sell sell sell!!! Then buy buy Buy!!!!

Then play play play!!!!

 

Then cry

"The world will still be turning when you've gone." - Black Sabbath

 

Band site: www.finespunmusic.com

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For less than $200 you can plug in a SansAmp Bass Driver DI in your effects loop and emulate the classic amps (SVT, Bassman, etc). I did that on my buddy's Hartke head, and IMHO it gets you 90% of the way there and it makes a great DI into a PA or studio board, so it's a good little box to carry around.

 

Once you get closer to "your sound" you can check out the "big boy toy$" and talk to your bank about financing.

:wave:

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Wow thanks for the suggestions some really good ones here.

 

I really am getting jaded now towards the separate power amp/pre amp idea.

 

Sounds like its cheaper, and just as good as a name brand combo head.

 

I like the suggestions listed for this combination, I'll start there and work my way around from there.

 

great stuff, thanks.

Check out my work in progress.
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You say you have considered a GK head...So...

 

I would like to suggest a GK 1001RB II.

 

I have the earlier GK 1001 RB incarnation (540 watts into 4 ohms), and it has been a very powerful, tonally pleasing, cool running, and reliable head. The newer version packs over 700 watts into 4 ohms.

 

Here's a review article from BassPlayer...

 

http://www.bassplayer.com/archive/0204/0204_soundroom1.htm

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In which case, I suggest a QSC PLX (available from 1200W up to 3400W and all weighing a mere 21lbs) with a Sansamp RBI or BBE Bmax.

 

Or if you're willing to step up a few hundred bucks there's the Bmax-T, the Alembic thingumajig, the Demeter VTBP or HBP (with or without extensive EQ), the Kern, the various Aguilars and (what looks like the holy grail at the moment) the Read Custom. And more. Nice.

 

Alex

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Originally posted by chewstermaniac:

Sounds like its cheaper, and just as good as a name brand combo head.

It's not always cheaper, actually... especially when you add in the cabling and the rack.

 

A good power amp is expensive. But you do get a good power amp for the money. I have several, and my favorites are the light-weight, power switching models. My "big rig" has a Stewart Audio World 2.1; 2,100-watts, 17 lbs. Big price tag, but I found a great deal on this one used. Stewart is also very responsive; they sent me a manual and answered my questions even though I purchased the amp used.

 

I have an old QSC; great amp. I have a Carvin power amp that does the job, but nothing spectacular. I have had good experience with Peavey amps. Some on the forum love the stuff that Crest and Crown and Mackie put out.

 

Again, as many options for power amps as there are for integrated heads.

 

Preamps... wow, that's a big list, too. ;)

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