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Funky Dunky

Trace Elliot - talk to me

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Maybe I'm willing to put up with the weight to get the heft.

What's a good place to start in the 2nd hand TE market? 100w minimum. If any TE afficianados can recommend a model and give me an example of a fair price range, that would be a great starting point. At the moment I'm just a bedroom bassist. If there's a bargain to be had, I'm all ears. If there's a bargain to be had in a giggable bass amp, even better.

Who loves Trace? Why? Which models bear consideration?

Just looking for info and recommendations ahead of a possible purchase in the new year. Budgetwise, I'll look into anything that can be had for under £300, be it separates or a combo.

Edited by Funky Dunky

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The GP7 300W 1x15 combo I had was just the thing. Should come in well under budget. I bought and sold mine for £180 in good nick.
Certainly gig-worthy.

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The SMX is the pick of the heads in my opinion. Cabs and combos generally feel like they're full of concrete so I'd go for a head and a different make of cab.

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For me the the built in SMX compressor is the star of the Trace Elliot show so I'd be looking at something in that range (What am I saying? I actually have one in that range :D)

As far as the weight goes, the combos are often a bit of a back breaker but my AH350SMX head is perfectly manageable and if it's a short walk into the venue from my car I'll often take it in one hand with a bass in the other so not that bad at all (and I'm not a big guy).
The weight is definitely worth it for that Trace sound IMHO.

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If you can get hold of a SMX head, snap it up. The 250 (also often listed as 280) is the most manageable version but has all of the key bells and whistles that the range is renowned for. Louder than you will ever need and as versatile as any head available.

If you can’t get a SMX, the SMC heads come a close second. Failing that, the majority of old school TE heads will genuinely p**s all over modern competitors.

Do I sound a little biased?

Edited by Deedee

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Another vote for the SMX 250. Awesome. @DeeDee got me hooked! It sounds fantastic, very very flexible and as DeeDee says, there is so much power there. Don't be put off by the Watts figure , these are hugely loud amps.

The cabs also sound amazing but are heavy.

There's an SMX head or two for sale on BC at the moment. Moving them around the country with couriers is a hassle but not impossible!

Edited by funkydoug

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I've never played a bad trace combo or head at over 150 watts output. They're all over the marketplace and gumtree etc for excellent prices because of the weight. I've never had a better sounding amp and when we have a trace in our rehearsal room I don't bring my rig out the car, I just love the tone with any bass playing any style, though I don't like trace pre set eq shape but luckily you can turn that on or off. A trace is definitely giggable. If you get a 300 watt combo you will likely never need more output than that for a gig, but you might struggle to get it down low enough for bedroom playing. Do not underestimate the weight though! O can shift some weight but the size and weight of old trace really did for my back and led it to be sold, sadly.

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I played a gig,through one of these a while ago. It sounded epc with my Precision and they are cheap as chips secondhand. I didn't attempt to pick it up but I suspect it's very heavy.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqBXH8pWct4

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Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply - some food for thought here, so I'll scoot over to YouTube and listen to some demos. Judging by your comments, I may be underestimating just how heavy these bad boys actually are!

gjones - I listened to your video with earphones, and I must say, that is a helluva sound. Very deep and rich. That's what I'm after!

Edited by Funky Dunky

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[quote name='MoonBassAlpha' timestamp='1508970873' post='3395782']
The GP7 300W 1x15 combo I had was just the thing. Should come in well under budget. I bought and sold mine for £180 in good nick.
Certainly gig-worthy.
[/quote]
I have the 250w version with extension cab, I have played in a big pub room (120 people at the event and plenty of space for more) and mine was set on 3 input and one click over three output, a theatre which seated 260 people only had it on 4 output. Not sure what sort of place we would need to,p,at to get it up to the big numbers. Mine was £170 with a 2x10 cab.

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[quote name='Funky Dunky' timestamp='1509003384' post='3395863']
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply - some food for thought here, so I'll scoot over to YouTube and listen to some demos. Judging by your comments, I may be underestimating just how heavy these bad boys actually are!
[/quote]

The weight is only part of the equation, it's the size that means you're stretching to lift it (for a small to medium height chap like myself) and if you need to go up and down stairs with one you really need a mate at the other side of it. I lived in a second floor flat when I had my trace 300 watt 1x15 combo and 2x10 speaker, and rehearsed in an upstairs room!

If I did more recording I'd probably get one. But for gigs I have ashdown lightweight stuff, not as good a sound but light, portable and it's not old electronics.

Edited by uk_lefty

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[quote name='uk_lefty' timestamp='1509002583' post='3395857']
I've never played a bad trace combo or head at over 150 watts output. They're all over the marketplace and gumtree etc for excellent prices because of the weight. I've never had a better sounding amp and when we have a trace in our rehearsal room I don't bring my rig out the car, I just love the tone with any bass playing any style, though I don't like trace pre set eq shape but luckily you can turn that on or off. A trace is definitely giggable. If you get a 300 watt combo you will likely never need more output than that for a gig, but you might struggle to get it down low enough for bedroom playing. Do not underestimate the weight though! O can shift some weight but the size and weight of old trace really did for my back and led it to be sold, sadly.
[/quote]


Got to agree with this...I've had several and still have a 200w head and a GP7 combo. I love the traditional TE - I still think they can't be beat.

With your budget you should be able to pick up a good size head and cabs. Keep your eye on the For Sale section here, Ebay and Gumtree. Shipping through Interparcel and Parcels2Go should be around £15 for a combo.

They are ideal if you don't have to move them...get some beefy friends or a trolley if you do.

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[quote name='Painy' timestamp='1508972360' post='3395799']
For me the the built in SMX compressor is the star of the Trace Elliot show so I'd be looking at something in that range (What am I saying? I actually have one in that range :D)

As far as the weight goes, the combos are often a bit of a back breaker but my AH350SMX head is perfectly manageable and if it's a short walk into the venue from my car I'll often take it in one hand with a bass in the other so not that bad at all (and I'm not a big guy).
The weight is definitely worth it for that Trace sound IMHO.
[/quote]I've got an SMX GP12 head, and compressor hardly does anything at all (and the valve preamp) beginning to think it must be faulty, great amps though, I've also got a series 6 GP12 and there's not a lot of difference between that and the SMX with the presets not engaged

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Scrumpy Mike is - or was - selling a pretty good TE set-up on here, tale a look, decently priced.

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[quote name='PaulWarning' timestamp='1509028123' post='3396155']
I've got an SMX GP12 head, and compressor hardly does anything at all (and the valve preamp) beginning to think it must be faulty, great amps though, I've also got a series 6 GP12 and there's not a lot of difference between that and the SMX with the presets not engaged
[/quote]

I find the compressor on mine gives a lovely punch to the lows (I only use the compressor on the highs very sparingly) and the EQ control in the SMX is really handy to adjust the sound to the room without messing up your carefully crafted graphic.
The valve preamp though I have to agree appears to do bugger all :lol:

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They are heavy, but not any heavier than most of the other gear released at the time.

I know that it a legitimate question, but sometimes I find the 'how much does does it weigh?' discussions to be as ubiquitous as the 'is it good for metal?' discussion.

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[quote name='thodrik' timestamp='1509182920' post='3397156']
They are heavy, but not any heavier than most of the other gear released at the time.

I know that it a legitimate question, but sometimes I find the 'how much does does it weigh?' discussions to be as ubiquitous as the 'is it good for metal?' discussion.
[/quote] had a Trace combo, SMC GP7 1 x 15, I soon got fed up with carting it around, not only heavy but cumbersome as well, now a Trace head (mines about 13KG, a one handed lift) with lightweight cabs is a nice compromise IMO, but yes the race to get the smallest lightest head possible (Trace Elliot with their Elf being the latest extreme example) does seem a bit silly to me

Edited by PaulWarning

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[quote name='PaulWarning' timestamp='1509186210' post='3397188']
had a Trace combo, SMC GP7 1 x 15, I soon got fed up with carting it around, not only heavy but cumbersome as well, now a Trace head (mines about 13KG, a one handed lift) with lightweight cabs is a nice compromise IMO
[/quote]

Yep...if you want to avoid the excessive weight from a combo get yourself a good TE head and use lightweight cabs.

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Even I will admit that the Trace Elliot 4x10 combo was just silly, unless they designed it as part of a training regimen for bass players who wanted to compete in World's Strongest Man.

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The weediest bloke I know had the 4x10 combo in his upstairs flat. I'm pretty sure the only time it went up and down those stairs is when he bought and sold it!
TBH, the 1x15 combo isn't all that heavy. I carried it in from the street, through the crowded Jericho Tavern (Oxford) and up the stairs to the venue without putting it down, and I'm tiny! I'd have been about 50, so no spring chicken either...

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[quote name='Lozz196' timestamp='1509035870' post='3396230']
Scrumpy Mike is - or was - selling a pretty good TE set-up on here, tale a look, decently priced.
[/quote]

Thanks for the plug Lozz. Yep, still up - with a price reduction even! Never played an SMX head but my SMC300 GP7 sounds damn good. Also, the 1 x 15 cab it comes with is what TE described at the time as their new 'compact' design; it isn't by today's standards but its size and weight make it a manageable one-man lift compared to the other cabs around then.

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Who loves Trace? Me. My first 'serious amp' from around 1994 was a GP7 715 combo ~ a good all rounder to start with. It had built in sprung handles and wasn't that difficult to move around. When the opportunity came up to acquire a TE 1048 cab (which I still have today - but in storage and not used much), that led to a life-long search to find the right head, which not only sounded good with the cab, but with my Basses too. In the end, I've settled on a vintage GP11 AH-250. Lovely sound and plenty of power.

Why? One factor for me was the range - stand alone heads, rack mounted amps, pre-amps, pedals, solid state, valves, and cabs in different sizes and configurations. Brilliant (and British!)

Which models bear consideration? Don't muck about with the GP7 ~ spend a little bit more on the GP12 range; With/without all the bells and whistles. I think the 1x15 cabinets sound a little 'boomy' but that might just be me? Personally, I like the 10 inch speakers.

This. There are plenty of considerably lighter weight cabs around these days - I have one myself. Good luck :)
[quote name='Japhet' timestamp='1508971334' post='3395786']
The SMX is the pick of the heads in my opinion. Cabs and combos generally feel like they're full of concrete so I'd go for a head and a different make of cab.
[/quote]

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