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Rumble 500 V3 Combo - Revisited

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Rumble 500 V3 Combo - Revisited

There have been a number of threads about gear you miss, gear you should never have sold, and gear you got back or re-bought... such is the GAS carousel. I bought a Fender Rumble 500 V3 Combo in February of 2016 and reviewed it on this board. I was very pleased with it in every way, but sold it - as the band I was in, and the number of small gigs it was doing, needed an even smaller and more portable set-up... yes, it is just about possible. A G-K MB200 and a BF One10 cab.

However... I missed the Rumble ever since it went, so when one came up for sale here, I bought it. I'm a little further down the road and possibly more able to appreciate the subtleties of gear that I may have once missed. Or maybe not. :D Anyway, here are my impressions second time around. Now read on...

  • Model: Fender Rumble™ 500 (V3) Combo
  • Amplifier: SS/Class-D
  • Colour: Black and Silver
  • Controls: Gain, Bright/Contour/Vintage Presets, Drive/Level, Bass, Low-Mid, High-Mid, Treble, Master
  • Effects Loop: 1/4" - (Send/Return)
  • Inputs: 1/4" Jack;  3.5mm Stereo; 1/4" Overdrive Footswitch (not included)
  • Outputs: XLR with Ground Lift; Headphones 3.5mm Stereo
  • Voltage: 230V UK/EUR
  • Wattage: 500W RMS @ 4 ohms (with Ext Cab), 350W RMS @ 8 ohms (Internal)
  • Speakers: 2 X 10" Eminence Ceramic Magnet, Compression Tweeter, Twin Ports, Cloth Grille (removable)
  • Cab Material: 12mm Baltic Ply, Black Tolex, Chrome-Nickel Corner Protectors
  • Handle: Moulded Plastic Strap with Chrome-Nickel Plated Caps
  • Controls: Vintage-Style Radio, Cream
  • Dimensions: 23" X 19" X 14" (59 X 49 X 36cm) HWD
  • Weight: 36lbs (16.3kg)

NewRumble.jpg

I've been using a venerable Trace Elliot Combo for a while (which is really very good) and looked forward to comparing it with the Rumble. I imagined the Rumble would be far superior tone-wise, but this was not the case. They both do the same sort of job, just in different ways. Both the Rumble and the Trace sound best in a band situation, both are powerful and punchy, both have lots of headroom and both are true gigging amps.

But their Gain controls work entirely differently. On the Trace you need it high, to work the preamp and EQ. On the Rumble it's more about pushing the Vintage and Drive circuits, which add harmonics, depth, warmth and, er... drive. It also progressively adds compression, which is very cool indeed. But it brings little or no volume or grit to the table when used in isolation... and you don't want it at more than 9 o'clock if you're looking for a super-clean sound. Just push the master a bit more.

Dispersion is really excellent and the tone is smooth and consistent. Sounds very lush, professional and 'right'.  :) The combo is small, light and it can get very loud. It's sold as a 500-watt amp, but you need an extension cab to get full beans - thus negating the purpose of a combo in my opinion, but there it is. In practise, the 350 watts on tap without an extension are more than enough in most situations. And of course there is a DI out should you need to go front of house.

It's not 'better' than my Trace combo. The Trace has a lot going for it. But the Rumble is much easier to use and is less than half the weight, making it a one-hand lift. You still wouldn't want to carry it very far with that one hand, but at just over 16kg it's just about the smallest and lightest you can go down to, yet still plausibly vibrate the floorboards, annoy guitarists and compete with the most shed-building of drummers. And if you're inclined, a Rumble and P-Bass wearing a set of flats will get you into B15 territory on the cheap. Fantastic with a pick, too - you can really nail that Joe Osborn 'Wrecking Crew' vibe. 

You can pick one up second-hand between £325 and £350 (they are circa £510 new), so there's not much stopping you from owning one. What's not to like? :)

Edited by discreet
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I'm very pleased with the Fender Rumble 100 V3 I bought, secondhand, for £165. I bought it for the quieter gigs I play and it keeps up with a sensible drummer no problem.

I thought about buying a One 10 but now I have the Fender Rumble there's no point.

I've got a friend who uses the 500 watt version and it's great as well. 

Edited by gjones
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I too went from a Rumble 500 combo to GK MB200 & Barefaced One 10. I soon changed the amp to an MB500.

The main reason for the change was that I wanted something smaller, lighter and that I could attach to a speaker stand to have it at ear level.

The Rumble did sound really good when using both my Yamaha BB1025 and SR5 but my sound has revolved around Gallien Krueger and Musicman for a good few years now. I've gone in different directions with both bass and amp/cab but keep coming back to this combination

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Big fan of the Rumble 200 combo bought back in January 2015, see no reason to change it anytime soon love the sound through the 15" speaker.

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February 2016? Is that when I took leave of my senses and sold you that Rumble

😎 

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5 minutes ago, Marvin said:

February 2016? Is that when I took leave of my senses and sold you that Rumble? 😎 

Yep. Or at least that's roughly when it appeared at my atelier... doesn't seem like 2 years. Lots of gear (and cash) under the bridge. :)

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Best combo I have owned and my band loves the vintage look. Perfect for home use as well, just hook it up to the laptop and use the headphones.

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A bassist on the bill last night used a Rumble amp head, sounded great through FOH, really chunky.

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2 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

A bassist on the bill last night used a Rumble amp head, sounded great through FOH, really chunky.

'Chunky' is a good word to describe the Rumble sound. Plenty of h*ft, with good articulation and clarity. :)

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I was amazed the first time I picked up a V3 100w combo. Great tone out of them too. I remember being less than impressed with the earlier Rumble amps.

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After a couple of rehearsals I'm finding this time round I prefer a very clean sound. P bass with flats. Gain at around 9 o'clock, Vintage, Bright and Contour buttons OFF, Drive OFF, EQ at 12 o'clock and Master to taste... very articulate, very punchy, very transparent and very lush. Oo-er.

Edited by discreet

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I sold one of these too, good combo's, light but cumbersome due to their depth and just one handle on the top, could never quite get the sound I wanted, found the EQ section a bit limiting, I now use a Trace SMX GP12 head with two lightweight Fender Rumble V2 cabs (2 x 8 and a 1 x 12), best of both worlds

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34 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

I sold one of these too, good combos, light but cumbersome due to their depth and just one handle on the top, could never quite get the sound I wanted, found the EQ section a bit limiting, I now use a Trace SMX GP12 head with two lightweight Fender Rumble V2 cabs (2 x 8 and a 1 x 12), best of both worlds

Sounds like a plan. I seem to have got round any possible EQ limitation by not using it. Might try my BDI-21 with it at some point, though I'm very happy with the plug-and-play sound I'm getting. Know what you mean about the top handle and depth. I'm already thinking about fitting a side handle.

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Thanks for the review. The comment of 'best in a band situation' was very informative. I have the studio 40 and not in a band. I am really enjoying the 'Rumble' amp sim on it. (Is it weird that a Rumble amp has a Rumble sim on it?) I am pressed between the Rumble 500 and Stage 800 when I upgrade and start looking for bands to join. Thanks again

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The 500 will be loud enough for any pub/club gig when paired with an extension cab to get the full power I reckon. Never tried the 800 but it gets some love on here.

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If you end up using just the Rumble amp sim, may as well save money and just get the Rumble V3! However the SVT and Bassman models sounded pretty damn good to me in the demos.

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2 hours ago, tb4sbp said:

Thanks for the review. The comment of 'best in a band situation' was very informative. I have the studio 40 and not in a band. I am really enjoying the 'Rumble' amp sim on it. (Is it weird that a Rumble amp has a Rumble sim on it?) I am pressed between the Rumble 500 and Stage 800 when I upgrade and start looking for bands to join. Thanks again

You're welcome. I know little yet about the new Studio and Stage amps. As said above, if the V3 would do you for giggjng you could save money, but it would be good to try them out first.

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Hey discreet , I seem to remember you had to replace the Fender Logo on your last 500 combo , could you tell me where you got it from please ? I need to replace the logo on my cab ..

Thanks ,

Mike 

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1 hour ago, mike 110 said:

Hey discreet , I seem to remember you had to replace the Fender Logo on your last 500 combo , could you tell me where you got it from please ? I need to replace the logo on my cab...

Funny you should mention it - the flimsy stock plastic logo has offended me (again) and I ordered a spiffy chrome replacement (again). From eBay.

FenderOLD.jpg

FenderNEW.jpg

Edited by discreet
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I used my Rumble 500 combo for loads of gigs and I was always happy with the sound. I then went on a mad quest to look at Heads + cabs  as I thought that would give me more flexibility and tried / purchased different combinations from supposed high end makes but basically struggled to get the tone that I wanted out of most of them.

I’ve finally decided to go back to the Rumble but tried a Stage 800. I know there’s a couple of hundred quid difference but I’m really happy with it. Key differences I’ve found:

The Stage 800 is much, much louder as a single cab (combo) than the V3 500

The included footswitch is a nice touch and very useful for presets, tuner, etc

I kept the silver cloth speaker cover from my old V3 and it fits the Stage 800 perfectly so matches by 2x10 extn cab (apart from the silver corner protectors)

The modelling is actually quite fun and whilst I’m not sure of how many of those I will use, it’s great to try out the options and load them onto the foot-switch. Plus the compression is quite nice and you can manipulate the effects and sims quite a bit (it’s like having a Zoom B3 built in)

So far, I’m really impressed with it. All the things that I liked about the V3 plus a load of extras.

 

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Just brought a v3 500 combo this week - and it is fab! But did some recording this afternoon with the DI, and the Master Level changes the DI out. This seems a bit weird = what's the logic to this? I tried coming out for the effects loop, but the Master Level controls this too...

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I’ve read about that elsewhere. I use a Sadowsky preamp/DI on my board so it doesn’t bother me, but it does seem to be an odd design choice. 

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