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JvJazz83

How quiet can they be? (500+ watt amps)

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Hi!
I'm considering adding a second amp to my "arsenal", as my 14 year old son is becoming interested in learning the bass. (Yeah, I know most of you consider multiple amps a necessity, but that is not my situation right now.)
I currently have a GK MB 200 going in to a GK MBE 210 Cab, and/ or an old Stage Line 15" PA speaker (which actually sounds quite all right at modest volumes).

With the GK being only 200 watt @ 4ohms (cabs being 8 ohm), i think it would be wise to add a slightly bigger amp. I'm thinking 500 to 800 watts  @ 4 ohms.

I want: Light weight head, warm sound, possibly a tube or three in the pre amp. Budget about £300- 400. (another cab will probably come later on)

Will it be possible for such an amp to produce a nice, warm sound, clean enough to be of value for a learner at livingroom/ bedroom volumes.
The idea is that I can practise together with my son to help him learn, and maybe me to become more concious of my own playing.

Suggestions are welcome, of course. 9_9

 

Best regards
halvor

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I've found getting low volume is more about the speaker cab than the amp, if I run my small amp through my 2x12 cab it's hard to get the volume under control for a quiet jam whereas I can put my 900watt head into my 1x10 and practice upstairs whilst the Mrs watches television in the room below without complaining. 

The GK cab will probably stop you from getting any actual benefit from the bigger wattage head though. 

A Genz Benz Streamliner head sounds ideal if you can find one, paired later with a pair of nice 1x12s will give you a great modular rig, the GK head and one cab for home practice, genz head and one cab for louder practice/rehearsals etc, genz head and both cabs for proper gigs with the GK head as a spare 😁

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Thanks for the reply. I am aware that the "square footage" of speaker cab is also a factor when it comes to how loud things can get.

I got the same response about the GK cab from a guy on "the American site", and I am a little puzzled, as the cab is rated 400 watts @ 8 ohm. (The old Stage line is rated at 500.) I guess that I eventually will get another designated bass cab, possibly another 210, but these will have to do for now.

I have the streamliner on my watch list, but they don't come up that often second hand here I Norway. (I do have a rather right budget.... And I like the thought of utilizing what others don't want or need anymore.😀)

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It's not so much the rating of the cab, it might not break the cab but it won't sound great near breaking point. 

A more efficient cab could be rated at the same wattage but sound nicer and louder even when using a smaller amp. 

Adding another gk cab wouldn't be a bad idea if one crops up, the streamliner into a pair of those will sound great on a gig and just one for home practice. 

Keep searching :)

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I'm currently getting a fantastic sound out of my PJ5 through an 800 watt Thunderfunk and 2 Barefaced One10's. This is in my front room and the neighbours don't hear anything.

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I bought a s/h Ampeg PF500 as a back up amp (but have used at gigs and rehearsals too) just because it has the headphone socket.  The bass sounds really good that way and my crazy neighbour has stopped banging on my door too.  Worth considering as an option.

Edited by pbasspecial

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How about a small mixer and feed both basses out of that into the single amp. At bedroom volume you only want to recognise the notes I would imagine.

Negates the need for the expense of the second amp at all.

Edited by Steve Browning

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I have a TB500 and Super Compact and can happily play at home at low volume with a good tone and not bother the wife (I’ve just asked her btw and she agreed!)

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3 hours ago, chris_b said:

I'm currently getting a fantastic sound out of my PJ5 through an 800 watt Thunderfunk and 2 Barefaced One10's. This is in my front room and the neighbours don't hear anything.

Have you tried switching the amp on? That's your front room rig? Hellfire!!!!!! 🙂

Edited by Mudpup

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19 hours ago, stingrayPete1977 said:

I've found getting low volume is more about the speaker cab than the amp, if I run my small amp through my 2x12 cab it's hard to get the volume under control for a quiet jam whereas I can put my 900watt head into my 1x10 and practice upstairs whilst the Mrs watches television in the room below without complaining.

From the opposite end I used to put a battery powered 1-watt Maplin guitar amp through my 1x12" Marshall cab, just to freak people out. A good way of proving that 10 times the power is only twice as loud, so 10W through a decent properly ported speaker sounds quite loud in a living room!

I also had a mate who wired his quad hifi through a 10kW pa in his living room. With part of the lightshow.

Obviously only ticking over but Dark Side of the moon sounded pretty good... sometimes I could hear it and I lived about 150 metres away.

Edited by Stub Mandrel

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1 hour ago, Stub Mandrel said:

From the opposite end I used to put a battery powered 1-watt Maplin guitar amp through my 1x12" Marshall cab, just to freak people out. A good way of proving that 10 times the power is only twice as loud, so 10W through a decent properly ported speaker sounds quite loud in a living room!

 

Agree, my little Marshall practice valve amp is 5 watts, but has a switch to knock it down to 0.5watts. And that is still too loud for home use at 5 on volume. Half a watt and I can’t even use all of it!

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There’s a markbass tube 500on here at the bottom of your budget. 2 inputs so easy to have two basses plugged in at once. Must admit I love mine and it does quiet no worries. 

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Thanks for the good answers and stories, guys. I guess I will continue my quest for a warm sounding amp in the 500+w. range. I sometimes find the GK a little harsh and sterile sounding. However that may also be caused by other parts of the sound chain. (SquierJV jazz with Dean Markley steels.) I will try some nickles and see if they are a little more mellow in tone.🤪

Edited by JvJazz83

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Its worth checking out the Ashdown RM500, warm, lightweight, great sound. Doesn’t have a valve but it’s the - dare I use the word - heftiest sounding lightweight Class D amp I’ve had.

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If you like warm/old school, an Aguilar has to be worth trying. The Tonehammers are the warmest/thickest sounding. The AG700 (which is what I have, so I'm obviously biased) still does warm, but has more clarity and can do modern, as well. Not really worth bothering about a tube front end, imho. They're largely put in for marketing purposes. A well designed modern solid state pre will give you all the warmth/roundness you want. Do try a few before you buy. If you like the baby GK MB head you have, one of the larger models (they do a 500 and an 800) should be a good bet. They will all be good for at home practice volumes.

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