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Jonnyboy Rotten

Battery Powered Bass Amps

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Hi Guys,

Recently me and some friends took our guitars up to a field one evening and they were playing acoustic guitar and electric guitar via my mate's very cool Yamaha TH10 battery powered amp with guitar mode.

It does have a bass mode but only one input so I could plug my bass in but one of us had to be left out for a bit.

I think the Yamaha unit is about £250 and has far too many electric guitar focused features which I would never use and I am looking for an affordable alternative that I can play my bass through.

It doesn't need to be massively loud but should hold its own against an acoustic guitar and electric playing through the Yamaha (10 watts).

There seems to be loads of electric guitar or general purpose battery powered amps but hardly any bass ones.

I have seen three battery powered bass amps and wondered if anyone had any experience of them.

The Roland Micro Cube RX is the highest price and to be honest too high at £200 although it does seem like the best one.

The other options are:

The Vox AC1 RhythmVOX Bass which is £50 but only 1watt so probably underpowered for playing outdoors with other people(?)

The Roland Mobile Cube at £130 which is a general purpose one but says it can do bass guitar.

What do people think?!

The other option is I get a 240v outlet battery pack for £70-£100 and use it with my Ashdown Tourbus 10. [url="http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_productId_180794_langId_-1_categoryId_255206#tab1"]http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_productId_180794_langId_-1_categoryId_255206#tab1[/url]

If I wanted to work out approx how long it would last, should I assume the Ashdown uses about 10watts and then say the power pack has about 20Ah battery?

Is there an easy calculation to do?

Would I be likely to get a buzzing or whistling in the speaker because of the poor quality power?

Any help would be appreciated! :scratch_one-s_head:

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get a second hand petrol generator* /cheap bass combo / mixer / 4 way extension.

*if you have a car then just a power inverter gig from your boot.

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I have used a Phil Jones Bass Briefcase combo for years and it has an option to fit a rechargeable battery in it or run off a car battery. I've used it on many gigs and it's very good even on a 5 string bass.
Plus point is it's also great on electric/acoustic guitars.
http://www.philjonespuresound.com/products/?id=8


Jazyvee

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http://basschat.co.uk/topic/212137-portable-solution-for-busking-on-bass-new-amp-or-batteryinverter/page__pid__2142216__st__20#entry2142216

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[quote name='Jonnyboy Rotten' timestamp='1373913554' post='2143094']
Hi Guys,

Recently me and some friends took our guitars up to a field one evening and they were playing acoustic guitar and electric guitar via my mate's very cool Yamaha TH10 battery powered amp with guitar mode.

It does have a bass mode but only one input so I could plug my bass in but one of us had to be left out for a bit.

I think the Yamaha unit is about £250 and has far too many electric guitar focused features which I would never use and I am looking for an affordable alternative that I can play my bass through.

It doesn't need to be massively loud but should hold its own against an acoustic guitar and electric playing through the Yamaha (10 watts).

There seems to be loads of electric guitar or general purpose battery powered amps but hardly any bass ones.

I have seen three battery powered bass amps and wondered if anyone had any experience of them.

The Roland Micro Cube RX is the highest price and to be honest too high at £200 although it does seem like the best one.

The other options are:

The Vox AC1 RhythmVOX Bass which is £50 but only 1watt so probably underpowered for playing outdoors with other people(?)

The Roland Mobile Cube at £130 which is a general purpose one but says it can do bass guitar.

What do people think?!

The other option is I get a 240v outlet battery pack for £70-£100 and use it with my Ashdown Tourbus 10. [url="http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_productId_180794_langId_-1_categoryId_255206#tab1"]http://www.halfords....yId_255206#tab1[/url]

If I wanted to work out approx how long it would last, should I assume the Ashdown uses about 10watts and then say the power pack has about 20Ah battery?

Is there an easy calculation to do?

Would I be likely to get a buzzing or whistling in the speaker because of the poor quality power?

Any help would be appreciated! :scratch_one-s_head:
[/quote]

The Phil Jones briefcase is rated at 100 Watts, and the recommended battery is a 12V 7Ah (84 watts for 1 hour or 1 watt for 84 hours). The instruction book suggests that this will last about an hour, depending on your playing style.

I've used a 150 W invertor with a Hartke 300 watt head, with no problems other than a slight buzz when you let go of the strings. I tried mains filters, separate earths, etc, but could not get rid of the buzz, so I assume it is caused in part by the hi-z input of the amp. Turning the treble down, and keeping one hand on the strings gave a workable solution.

As mentioned in other threads, a car battery is designed to be used almost fully charged all the time, and will deteriorate rapidly if discharged and recharged repeatedly. You will need to get a battery designed for lawn-mowers/golf carts etc, if you want it to work for more than a few gigs.

Also mentioned in another thread is that car srereo booster amplifiers can be bridged, and contain their own invertor power supply. A 400w peak stereo amp usually translates into about 80-100 w RMS into 8 ohms, so if you have a separate head and cab, you should be able to pick up a suitable 12v amplifier on ebay or equivalent.

David

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I was having a similar thought as the OP on Saturday as my ukulele band fancied busking in Liverpool and my Marshal MS-2 guitar amp was really not up to task. Asked in Maplin but became very confused after much mention of 'inverters' and being sure about the right voltage of the amp... ended up going to Dawsons and picking up a Roland Micro Cube Bass for £195. Silly amount of money to spend on something for busking, but it don't half do the job well- went out on Sunday night in Liverpool ONE for about 40 mins and made £50 back. Nice to have the amp simulations/effects too, it sounds absolutely massive!

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[quote name='bumnote' timestamp='1373915350' post='2143132']
another vote for phil jones briefcase
[/quote]
[quote name='jazzyvee' timestamp='1373914145' post='2143106']
I have used a Phil Jones Bass Briefcase combo for years and it has an option to fit a rechargeable battery in it or run off a car battery. I've used it on many gigs and it's very good even on a 5 string bass.
Plus point is it's also great on electric/acoustic guitars.
[url="http://www.philjonespuresound.com/products/?id=8"]http://www.philjones.../products/?id=8[/url]


Jazyvee
[/quote]

Thanks for the advice although the phil jones is waaaaaaaaaay over what I want to pay. The Roland Micro cube seems the best option but I will have to spend ages saving for it by which time the summer will be over and it will sit in a cupboard until next summer :(

I am looking to pay ideally less than £100 to allow me to use my existing ashdown tourbus 10 or possible trade that in for something around £150.

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Use a leisure battery (visit a caravan supplier) rather than a car battery. LBs are designed to allow deep discharge. Get the biggest one you can afford.

Steve

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Either of your combos could be used with an invertor, but your 10 watt amp is going to struggle unless you turn the bass control way down and just amplify the low mids. People talk about using 60-100 watts for a 'coffee-house' gig, and out-doors will be worse, so your Hartke A100 would be a better option, but it is heavy.

I have a Hartke Kickback 10 (120w) , and have just checked it with my invertor and caravan battery. With no input cable, there is no buzz. With a good quality input cable and a solid body bass with hum-bucking pick-ups, there is a buzz which disappears as soon as you touch the bridge or the strings. With a good quality input cable and an acoustic bass, which has a piezo pick-up, there is no buzz.

I have also used the invertor with a Hartke 300 watt amp, and if I remember correctly, the invertor drew about 5 Amps average from the battery. This ties in with the PJB handbook which suggests an average current draw of 4.5 Amps. So, a 20 Ah battery would give you 3-4 hours of use. Maplins, Halfords and Screwfix all do similar invertors, and are happy to give refunds for gear that is not suitable. On that basis, I suggest you buy an invertor, try it, running your rig from a car power socket, and see if you can live with whatever buzz leaks through your amp. If not, take it back and have a rethink.

Assuming that you do decide to go with the battery / invertor / existing combo, the next problem you have is that the kickback shape does not fit easily on a trolley. I tend to transport it on its side, with the battery in a box strapped on top of it. This means that you have to unpack and connect it all together when you reach your destination - not a problem if it is one-off, but a pain if you are are trundling the rig around various busking spots in a town centre.

If, as suggested, you go for the biggest leisure battery available, it too will be heavy, and it will have exposed terminals, so you will need to buy / knock together a ventilated box to put it in - preferably one that will sit under your combo amp on a trolley. Your cheapest option is to reuse the gear you already have, but your best option is a rectangular battery box under a rectangular combo amp.

Prices
Decent flatpack trolley - Maplin / Aldi / etc, occasional special offer - £20
Invertor - Malpin / Screwfix / Halfords - £35
Caravan leisure battery 75Ah - Amazon - £60
Golf trolley battery 20AH internet - £35

David

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Thanks for your help David. This is really just to jam with friends rather than gig so I reckon the ashdown might be ok....a quick way to test is to jam in the garden with an extension lead and my mates' acoustics and battery guitar amps I guess!

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I'd love a Phil Jones briefcase... but I found the QTX QR10PA does the job beautifully at just under £150.
Portable, light, and battery life seems decent. Not had it long enough to really test it yet 'though.
You can put two sources through it, although shared master volume means you'd better have means to balance the volumes in other way (active bass is perfect). I'd view it as a one instrument only solution... but if pushed you could do more. And it has a built-in mp3 player, if that's of interest.

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I reckon I have worked it out. I borrowed a friend's battery pack 240v inverter and this little baby powered my ashdown amp for 2-3 hours without dying. I didn't use it until it died but 2-3 hours has got to be enough eh?

And all this for less than £50 notes!

[url="http://www.maplin.co.uk/portable-power-pack-225153"]http://www.maplin.co.uk/portable-power-pack-225153[/url]

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[quote name='Jonnyboy Rotten' timestamp='1374568975' post='2150126']
I reckon I have worked it out. I borrowed a friend's battery pack 240v inverter and this little baby powered my ashdown amp for 2-3 hours without dying. I didn't use it until it died but 2-3 hours has got to be enough eh?

And all this for less than £50 notes!

[url="http://www.maplin.co.uk/portable-power-pack-225153"]http://www.maplin.co...wer-pack-225153[/url]
[/quote]


I love my micro cube but if that works for that price that has to be the way to go! Might get one and see if it'll run my PA system...

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The Maplin one does not appear to specify the battery size, but a similar looking one on Amazon gives it as 17 Ah, so your 10 W rig should last half a day on that!

One note of caution from the user comments. The battery charger is very unsophisticated, so if you leave it permanently on charge you will fry the battery.

David

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You can pick up a Roland Micro Bass for around £100 on here or other auction site etc. I sold mine a while ago for that. I didn't find it much good for passive bass & only 'reasonable' with active, no idea why 'cos the outputs of my passives are just as high it seems on other amps?

The Roland 0nly takes 6 AA batteries, even high capacity NiMh rechargeable cells ain't going to give you long - not if you're going to try keeping up with a guitar through a 10 Watt. I enquired re running off a 12V car battery but all I got was - "that would invalidate any warranty" - even with a voltage dropper.

The PJB is what you really need, I'd suggest saving for one, maybe next year :rolleyes:

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[quote name='Mottlefeeder' timestamp='1374663570' post='2151419']
The Maplin one does not appear to specify the battery size, but a similar looking one on Amazon gives it as 17 Ah, so your 10 W rig should last half a day on that!


[/quote]

A bit of digging shows the Maplin one as having 2x 6v 5Ah batteries. Quite impressive to get a couple of hours out of that, for comparison the PJB Briefcase recommended fitment is a 12v 7.2 Ah battery, said to be good for approx 1 hour. I'll get one for mine eventually and do a proper test.

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The PJB is 100W, and the Ashdown is 10W, and the two batteries are 2x6x12Ah = 60Wh and 12x7.2 = 84Wh, so you would expect considerably longer life out of the lower-powered rig. Also, one is used to let people close-by hear the OP, and the PJB would be expected to be run considerably louder for a bigger audience.

David

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[quote name='SlapbassSteve' timestamp='1374632737' post='2151172']
I love my micro cube but if that works for that price that has to be the way to go! Might get one and see if it'll run my PA system...
[/quote]

Ditto on the Micro cube. The size and weight factor is also a bonus for me. I have handbags bigger than this amp!

[quote name='KiOgon' timestamp='1374665420' post='2151452']
You can pick up a Roland Micro Bass for around £100 on here or other auction site etc. I sold mine a while ago for that. I didn't find it much good for passive bass & only 'reasonable' with active, no idea why 'cos the outputs of my passives are just as high it seems on other amps?

The Roland 0nly takes 6 AA batteries, even high capacity NiMh rechargeable cells ain't going to give you long - not if you're going to try keeping up with a guitar through a 10 Watt. I enquired re running off a 12V car battery but all I got was - "that would invalidate any warranty" - even with a voltage dropper.

The PJB is what you really need, I'd suggest saving for one, maybe next year :rolleyes:
[/quote]

I find the batteries last a while on my micro cube - and I break the rules, as it were, and use rechargeables (which Roland don't advise you do). Unless you're going to crank it up full and use a lot of effects, battery life is great. I've got 6+ hours out of one set of rechargeables - and that was using fairly high volume and effects. You get much longer if you tone it down a bit. I usually play off mains at home but I've used the rechargeables to test battery life a few times and it's pretty consistent. Love my Micro Cube RX. :heart: Since I got it, my poor Hartke's been sadly neglected.

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Hey Guys, Still not got this one quite sorted.

I tried the battery pack for a while but the missus thought it would be a good idea to plug her hair straighteners into it while camping and I think she blew it - it can't even cope with a mobile phone being plugged into it now!

Anyway.. being on the hunt for a battery powered speaker which will let me play along with some mates in a field somewhere it seems mcnach has the best option with that trolley thing.

One more question (for now). Anyone know much about the Fender Passport Mini - it seems to do what I need and it says "any instrument" but I know that electric bass guitar doesn't always come under the "any instrument" category because of the frequencies.

Bearing in mind this is not for gigging and will just be for playing bass with 3 or 4 people sat in a circle having a jam - do you think this would fit the bill?

Edited by Jonnyboy Rotten

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[quote name='Jonnyboy Rotten' timestamp='1378401114' post='2199810']... I tried the battery pack for a while but the missus thought it would be a good idea to plug her hair straighteners into it while camping and I think she blew it - it can't even cope with a mobile phone being plugged into it now! ...
[/quote]

When I plugged a 900w power drill into my 300w invertor, it ran for a few seconds and then blew the incoming fuse. If you haven't already checked, that may be all that is wrong with yours.

I have no experience of the passport mini.

David

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[quote name='Jonnyboy Rotten' timestamp='1378401114' post='2199810']
Anyway.. being on the hunt for a battery powered speaker which will let me play along with some mates in a field somewhere it seems mcnach has the best option with that trolley thing.
[/quote]

Just to add that I have been using it regularly and I still like it a lot. An EQ pedal in front of it is not necessary, but it helps as the tone controls of the thing are ok for very crude adjustments but not much more. Plenty loud! Last time I used it was last Saturday. There was an annual "big busk" think along Portobello beach, here in Edinburgh, and we went there. Three small guitar amps (two roland microcubes and one minivox), drum kit (yes, although not played very loud), trumpet, saxophone...
I did not push it hard and it was more than enough to keep up. We stopped when two of the guitar amps died. I still had plenty of juice, but I don't know when the guys charged their amps.
I wish mine had a battery charge indicator... I just charge it the night before just in case. Love it.

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[quote name='mcnach' timestamp='1378405268' post='2199896']

Just to add that I have been using it regularly and I still like it a lot. An EQ pedal in front of it is not necessary, but it helps as the tone controls of the thing are ok for very crude adjustments but not much more. Plenty loud! Last time I used it was last Saturday. There was an annual "big busk" think along Portobello beach, here in Edinburgh, and we went there. Three small guitar amps (two roland microcubes and one minivox), drum kit (yes, although not played very loud), trumpet, saxophone...
I did not push it hard and it was more than enough to keep up. We stopped when two of the guitar amps died. I still had plenty of juice, but I don't know when the guys charged their amps.
I wish mine had a battery charge indicator... I just charge it the night before just in case. Love it.
[/quote]
I'm glad it's been holding up OK. I heard from one of the music shops in town that they've had an extremely high return rate on these and stopped carrying them. Although this might have just been a story to help punt the Alesis battery PAs they had in stock!

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I've just had a look at the Fender Passport mini, and it comes without batteries. It takes 6 'C' type cells which will set you back about £12-15 per set of alkalines, or £20-25 for a set of rechargeables. Add to that the cost of a new charger, if you do not already have one that takes that battery size, and you are in the same ball park as the cost of replacing your existing power pack, which will also run your amp more than twice as long - and you still have to buy the Fender kit.

That one-box solution seems an expensive way to go.

David

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Hi, sorry to resurrect such an old thread. I'm on the lookout for a way to battery power a small Genz Benz or medium sized Mark Bass amp, and some of the links here like the Maplin battery pack are no longer active. For people who do this regularly, just wondering is getting a battery amp the way to go or is it better to get a decent battery pack for my regular amps? If the latter, any recommendations please for which is best for this purpose? It's just to play outside with people, busking or little jams for fun with drums. Ideally not looking for a massive generator that could do a full band/PA system, just enough to get a working bass amp.

Thanks,

Caroline 

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