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Muzz

Is the Walkabout really underpowered for the real world?

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OK, so I read quite a lot in various threads about the Walkabout being underpowered, but it always mystifies me. I use mine mostly in a Rawk covers band with two traditional (read unreconstructed) 80s Geetards, both terrific players, both using JCM100s and 412s, and a drummer who makes Cosy Powell look and sound like he was in a cocktail lounge jazz trio using brushes... We rehearse way too loud, and we gig loud, too (it kinda goes with the territory) with vocals, kick and overhead through the PA in everything but very big pubs, then maybe a bit of bass and guitar in there too.

I run my Walkabout through a BF Super Twin for rehearsals and smaller gigs, and I have a Compact to stick under it for bigger gigs for the whole Bass Stack look... 😀

And here's the thing: it's ridiculously loud. Drummer-flatteningly, ear-ringingly, room-fillingly loud. I wear ear protection when we rehearse, we're that loud. Even without the second cab.

I EQ the very bottom end out - I use the left hand parametric set to -15db at 40hz, as I find it clears the mud, but there's still plenty bottom end present. I play mostly with a pick, and use (mostly) a pretty aggressive P-bass kinda tone, with juuuust a little drive (not into yer actual distortion - say midday on the Gain), and I'm not scared of mids - well, not on the Walkabout; it's really, really good at them... 🙂

Is it my EQing, my choice of cab(s), or just my ears that's making me think I can't imagine needing a louder amp*?

 

* Actually, I doubt it's my ears, because the other chaps in the band don't have any problems hearing me - unfortunately, instead of asking me to turn down, they just turn up (see '...we rehearse way too loud...' above)...I suspect it's a Guitarist Thing... 😕

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I play in a band that has keys, sax, and guitar. We aren't quiet. 
Play mostly weddings. And i play with a MarkBass LM2 and a single TKS S112.
I'm the only part of the band that doesn't go through our RCF PA, and i'm fine. I don't need to go louder.
I don't think the issue is the Walkabout isn't loud enough. I think the issue is everyone wants to be too loud, and/or are probably too high in the mix
*runs before he gets lynched*
 

Edited by FuNkShUi

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I had no volume issues with the WA - if you have sensitive enough cabs, it'll handle whatever you throw at it.

I did yearn for more mid definition at higher volumes, hence why I switched to the Handbox R-400 (which I still see as a Walkabout Plus). 

Both are exceptional heads.

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@Muzz

I think you've hit the nail on the head:

300W WA + great cabs = just fine

300W WA + run of the mill cabs = may struggle

If I had to choose between a great cab and a run of the mill amp and vice versa, I'd go for the great cab option every time.

Any shortcomings on the amp can often be dealt with by a quality preamp pedal. Shortcomings on the cab can't so easily be fixed.

 

Edited by Al Krow
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2 minutes ago, wateroftyne said:

I had no volume issues with the WA - if you have sensitive enough cabs, it'll handle whatever you throw at it.

I did yearn for more mid definition at higher volumes, hence why I switched to the Handbox R-400 (which I still see as a Walkabout Plus). 

Both are exceptional heads.

I think I may be getting around higher volume definition issues with my EQ/technique, plus up against two Rawk Geetars you can get away with moider...🙂

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Just now, Muzz said:

I think I may be getting around higher volume definition issues with my EQ/technique

Not sure what you're suggesting, but - after many years of using the WA - I found the mids 'gave' a little sooner than I'd like. IMO, of course.

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2 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

@Muzz

I think you've hit the nail on the head:

300W WA + great cabs = just fine

300W WA + run of the mill cabs = may struggle

The quality of our cabs matters a lot.

If I had to choose between a great cab and a run of the mill amp and vice versa, I'd go for the great cab option every time.

Any shortcomings on the amp can often be dealt with a quality preamp pedal. Shortcomings on the cab can't so easily be fixed.

 

It's been so long since I used anything other than BF cabs (apart from a lovely holiday with Berg AE112s, but then I was using three of them, which kinda gets around the sensitivity issue) that I might be spoilt for sensitivity, if that makes sense... 😀

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3 minutes ago, wateroftyne said:

Not sure what you're suggesting, but - after many years of using the WA - I found the mids 'gave' a little sooner than I'd like. IMO, of course.

I think what I'm getting at is the differences in EQ/sound we have mean that the more aggressive, more trebly sound I use might well mean I don't notice, or it isn't such an issue for me...

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I've never  had problems with volume using mine whether I'm using it in addition to monitors on a big stage with FOH PA or when it's been used in a smaller venue and not using the PA. My only gripe with it is that it is not particularly clean in terms of hiss if you turn either the input gain or the master up. Other than that it's been a good workhorse for me and though I have it serviced fairly regularly it still has the original tubes. ( Don't know if that's a good or bad thing though).

I don't ever play with loud guitarists though sometimes the drum monitor speakers are way way too loud but even when I had my mesa boogie 4x10 8 ohm cab I could still hear my bass clearly. Now I use a 4 ohm bt2 and that works great.

Edited by jazzyvee

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I sometimes find it (mildly) amusing that the same people who claim the importance of having a quiet on stage sound are also claiming that they need an 800 watt amp, as anything less than that won't deliver the clean headroom that they desperately 'need'. 

I have owned a Walkabout for ten years now. The Walkabout 1x15 combo has been my main gigging rig for most of that period. It has only struggled on obscenely loud stages where there is little to no monitoring available, very loud drums and guitars and the PA is only just strong enough to carry vocals over the drums. You know, the type of gigs where everybody would say that the stage volume is too loud, but your mate at the back of the audience will tell you that it was too quiet! On those types of gigs the Walkabout could sometimes struggle. I have played many a gig with  the gain at 12 o'clock (semi clean tone) and have had the master cranked at 75% or higher. With a quieter stage and better monitoring, the Walkabout 1x15 can cover just about any type of gig for my purposes.

The cab makes all the difference though. I did two outdoor festivals last year, using an Ampeg 8x10 on one and my Mesa 6x10 for the other. During those gigs the master volume on the Walkabout wasn't even 40% turned up. It was bloody loud and clean and I was playing in a heavy rock band in drop C. 

I totally see the reason why Mesa have developed the WD 800. At very low volume levels, the Walkabout has a lovely bloomy clean tone, which disappears as the tone gets a bit more raucous and furry as you turn the master volume up. I love the slightly driven sound of the Walkabout and think that it is the true magic of the amp rather than the clean tone. However, some players want the low volume 'bloom' of the Walkabout at much higher volumes without the need to pair the Walkabout with a very large cabinet. I think that this sentiment is the reason behind the WD-800. From what I have read on the usual forums, it very difficult/not possible to 'scale up' the furry character of a 'pushed' original Walkabout to 800 watts, so the new WD-800 is not really a scaled up Walkabout, but rather using the Walkabout pre-amp as the basis for a new amp. 

I'll still be keeping the Walkabout.
 

Edited by thodrik
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It's why I went for a 6x10. You can gig anywhere indoor and outdoors with any amp and not have to worry about volume. I'd be happy gigging anywhere with a 610 and my backup trace elf.

When people write amps off because they're "not loud enough" etc it's completely wrong. Find the amp you love then match your speakers to it's use / venue.

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On ‎27‎/‎02‎/‎2019 at 12:38, thodrik said:

I sometimes find it (mildly) amusing that the same people who claim the importance of having a quiet on stage sound are also claiming that they need an 800 watt amp, as anything less than that won't deliver the clean headroom that they desperately 'need'. 

I have owned a Walkabout for ten years now. The Walkabout 1x15 combo has been my main gigging rig for most of that period. It has only struggled on obscenely loud stages where there is little to no monitoring available, very loud drums and guitars and the PA is only just strong enough to carry vocals over the drums. You know, the type of gigs where everybody would say that the stage volume is too loud, but your mate at the back of the audience will tell you that it was too quiet! On those types of gigs the Walkabout could sometimes struggle. I have played many a gig with  the gain at 12 o'clock (semi clean tone) and have had the master cranked at 75% or higher. With a quieter stage and better monitoring, the Walkabout 1x15 can cover just about any type of gig for my purposes.

The cab makes all the difference though. I did two outdoor festivals last year, using an Ampeg 8x10 on one and my Mesa 6x10 for the other. During those gigs the master volume on the Walkabout wasn't even 40% turned up. It was bloody loud and clean and I was playing in a heavy rock band in drop C. 

I totally see the reason why Mesa have developed the WD 800. At very low volume levels, the Walkabout has a lovely bloomy clean tone, which disappears as the tone gets a bit more raucous and furry as you turn the master volume up. I love the slightly driven sound of the Walkabout and think that it is the true magic of the amp rather than the clean tone. However, some players want the low volume 'bloom' of the Walkabout at much higher volumes without the need to pair the Walkabout with a very large cabinet. I think that this sentiment is the reason behind the WD-800. From what I have read on the usual forums, it very difficult/not possible to 'scale up' the furry character of a 'pushed' original Walkabout to 800 watts, so the new WD-800 is not really a scaled up Walkabout, but rather using the Walkabout pre-amp as the basis for a new amp. 

I'll still be keeping the Walkabout.
 

I've kept mine.

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