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Rikki_Sixx

Home practice combo amps?

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Posted (edited)

My trusty 30W Laney Hardcore practice amp sounds to be sadly on it's way out. I've had it for probably 10+ years now but it went mostly untouched for a year or two after I moved in with my other half. There's always a quiet hum and it crackles when you so much as look at the pots. I think it's time to bite the bullet and replace it.

I only really play at home, so I'm still looking for something small - I could even get away with downsizing a bit as I never turned the volume on my Laney up past 4 or 5. In fact I almost exclusively play with headphones these days where I can crank it without irritating (or embarassing) anyone with my noodling.

I was going to ask for recommendations for a small home practise amp, but with  that in mind does it really matter what I replace it with? I know I don't want a tinny 1W pocket piece, but there seem to be plenty of entry-level home combos. Loads of older used gear too. Should I be avoiding that kind of thing? I've never really immersed myself in amps and that kind of stuff.

Edit: Budgeting probably around £100 - for now!

Edited by Rikki_Sixx
Added budget

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I'll probably be in the market for a new practice combo soon too. My 27 year old Carlsbro Viper 30W is doing the same as yours - crackling pots, even cutting out altogether. I've been looking at the Fender Rumble 25 V3 and the Laney Richter RB2 30W, but might even look at the Fender Rumble 15 as I doubt I'll ever be playing outside the bedroom.

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Lots of excellent ones on FB Marketplace, Gumtree, even eBay. Small combos are good used as most never see a hard life. I have one eye open for an SWR Workingmans 10 (or maybe 12) - the 10 is supposed to sound better but both really good. Seen them go around £100. But really worth a look on FB, a lot to choose from £50 upwards.

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There looks to be plenty of choice even under £60 on eBay, including a 20W Stagg right around the corner from me. For some reason always had a soft spot for Stagg (never owned one, but liked the [unrelated] Stagg chilli ads).

I forgot about Facebook Marketplace, might be worth re-activating my account for a few weeks to browse!

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4 minutes ago, Rikki_Sixx said:

There looks to be plenty of choice even under £60 on eBay, including a 20W Stagg right around the corner from me. For some reason always had a soft spot for Stagg (never owned one, but liked the [unrelated] Stagg chilli ads).

I've got a 20W Stagg bass amp. In fact it was my first bass amp, and is now over 21 years old! I'm afraid I can't really recommend it - that tiny little 8" speaker doesn't generate much low end at all, and while I concede that it's an improvement over not having an amp at all, it's no fun at all to play through.

S.P.

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There are a load of great “practice” amps out there at the moment and an increasing range of features to help with practise. Do you want something with an aux input? Or a built in rhythm machine? Onboard effects? Headphone out, sure but what about footswitch control?

i use a Fender G-Dec 15w guitar amp as my “quiet” practice amp. I never play loud enough to risk overwhelming the speaker with too much low end so I don’t really care that it’s meant to be for guitars - it goes plenty loud enough for me. it has an SD slot that allows you to load your own tracks to jam to, you can slow them down and alter pitch, play along with the supplied tracks as well as your own, play to the suppler drum MIDI or load your own, plus it has a bunch of onboard effects, a built in looper and an optional footswitch to control it all.

They might even do a bass version now but I’d happily buy another one as it does everything I want a practise amp to do.

There are others, of course - Roland, Vox and Line6 come to mind - so enjoy checking out the market!

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2 hours ago, Rikki_Sixx said:

 

I only really play at home, so I'm still looking for something small - I could even get away with downsizing a bit as I never turned the volume on my Laney up past 4 or 5. In fact I almost exclusively play with headphones these days where I can crank it without irritating (or embarassing) anyone with my noodling.

 

How about a small mixer - handy if you fancy playing along with stuff through the same speakers or phones. 👍

53 minutes ago, Skinnyman said:

There are a load of great “practice” amps out there at the moment and an increasing range of features to help with practise. Do you want something with an aux input? Or a built in rhythm machine? Onboard effects? Headphone out, sure but what about footswitch control?

 

Just to say - I am a ****ing rhythm machine! 😃

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I use an Ampeg micro CL stack for home use, particularly handy are the headphone out and aux in

the rig with cab MAY be a bit loud for home use but i find it great for the smaller gig plus the head can be used safely without the cab which is where the headphone in becomes extremely useful

if you shop around, they can be picked up for not much money too, i paid less than £200 for mine as an ex demo unit

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3 hours ago, Ricky 4000 said:

How about a small mixer - handy if you fancy playing along with stuff through the same speakers or phones.

I hadn't thought about this kind of thing! Do they just connect to a computer? I'll have a look into it, they look really affordable and I've got really good PC speakers so could be an option

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Rikki_Sixx said:

I hadn't thought about this kind of thing! Do they just connect to a computer? I'll have a look into it, they look really affordable and I've got really good PC speakers so could be an option

This kind of thing - yep, connects via USB.

With the example above, the only extra things you'd need would be some cable adapters to run your PC speakers, because the speaker outs on that mixer are 1/4" jack sockets.

 

Edited by Ricky 4000
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Actually, this one would probably work just as well for me, as I don't need the extra line inputs:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_xenyx_q502_usb.htm

Line #1 has preamp gain control (handy for a passive bass), a couple of EQs, and a compressor.

£39. plus post.

Amazing value for money really...

Other brands and retailers are available. 👍

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18 hours ago, Teebs said:

I got an Ibanez Promethean P20 a couple of months ago to replace the rather rattly Blackstar Fly 3 with Extension 'cab'.

How did you find the Blackstar Fly 3 Teebs? My mate's brother is a guitar teacher (he kept that quiet) who recommends them to his students. Quite tempted to try some, but from a shop with a good returns policy just in case they're crap! :lol: That said, my little bluetooth speaker has great sound quality and it's a very similar size.

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11 hours ago, Ricky 4000 said:

Actually, this one would probably work just as well for me, as I don't need the extra line inputs:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_xenyx_q502_usb.htm

Line #1 has preamp gain control (handy for a passive bass), a couple of EQs, and a compressor.

I did wonder about inputs with these. I have to admit I don't fully understand how they work, and YouTube didn't help! Would I need a pre-amp / DI? £39 sounds too good to be true, and if I had to have a £200 pre-amp then it would rule them out really.

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The market is full of choice these days. Over the last few years I had a Belcat tweed amp and a Vox Pathfinder which were great but for reasons unknown only lasted a few years each. The tone and volume were most impressive, especially thinking back to the bad old days of the 80s.

Now I have the Ampeg BA108 which sounds fantastic but with the addition of both a headphone socket and an input to play either YouTube videos or MP3s, my practice has improved massively.

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7 minutes ago, Rikki_Sixx said:

How did you find the Blackstar Fly 3 Teebs? My mate's brother is a guitar teacher (he kept that quiet) who recommends them to his students. Quite tempted to try some, but from a shop with a good returns policy just in case they're crap! :lol: That said, my little bluetooth speaker has great sound quality and it's a very similar size.

They're okay - mine is the bass version of the Fly 3 & I bought the extension 'cab' to take it up to a whopping 6 Watts!

The amp takes batteries (6 x AA IIRC) as well as PSU that comes with the unit, so it's portable & good for taking outside.

It has the usual controls (Gain, Volume and EQ) plus variable Compressor, Overdrive and Sub, which are okay to a degree.

It has headphone output & line-in, so its good for jamming along to music from your 'phone.

Overall, it's quite useful, but the tones aren't great & I found that it rattles a bit with lower frequencies. I think I paid about £75 for the amp & extension cab, which I think is fair enough.

 

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Admittedly I got mine a way back in the mid 2000's when it was much cheaper than now but I can highly recommend a PJB Briefcase if you want to stretch that far price wise or look for a used one. I do use a headphone amp setup too sometimes but much prefer to hear the bass coming to me from the room rather than headphones.

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6 minutes ago, jazzyvee said:

 I can highly recommend a PJB Briefcase

That is a thing of beauty! :x

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You could always subscribe to Bass Guitar magazine as they are offering a Blackstar Fly 3 as an incentive to new subscribers. The Fly 3 has an mp3/line  input which you could feed from the headphone socket of your computer.

I use a Vox Pathfinder Bass 10, put my bass through a Tascam GB10 and feed the output from that into the amp.

I have used a Peavey 20w Minimax? with an 8" speaker which I liked and then regretted selling it.

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On 10/04/2019 at 10:24, Rikki_Sixx said:

I did wonder about inputs with these. I have to admit I don't fully understand how they work, and YouTube didn't help! Would I need a pre-amp / DI? £39 sounds too good to be true, and if I had to have a £200 pre-amp then it would rule them out really.

I use a Soundcraft Notepad 5 for practice, small gigs and most of all as a PC interface. You'll need a Hi-Z input to take a bass guitar straight in, some mixers have one and some don't. The beauty of something like the soundcraft is that it connects to the PC via USB, which is two way so you can play along to youtube or whatever and also record if you ever want to.

 

Bass into channel 1

PC into USB socket

Headphones into headphone socket

 

Bass and music come out of either headphones or pc speakers.

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On 10/04/2019 at 12:06, naxos10 said:

I have used a Peavey 20w Minimax? with an 8" speaker which I liked and then regretted selling it.

Microbass, maybe? I've still got one of these from the 90s - it's loud enough to rehearse with a drummer. They don't make 'em like they used to!

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I don't know why people bother with home practice combos - I've never been happy with the sound of them or even if I like the sound I don't like playing them loudly for fear of annoying people, rattling everything in the room or someone hearing me!

Also at low volumes I don't like hearing the bass itself (as in acoustically) over the amplified sound.

Much better isolation and immersive experience in complete privacy when using a headphone setup. 

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