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moleboy

Walkabout Scout - one last chance?

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Hi All,

I'm after a bit of advice.  Here's the situation ...

I used to play an Ampeg SVT2-Pro through Ampeg 4x10 and Ampeg 1x15 cabinets. Loved the sound. Hated the weight.  I'm sure a lot of you can relate to that. 

I traded it all in some time ago for a Mesa Walkabout Scout combo (12" version) for the promise of the valve warmth and the fact it was loud in a small package.  I play rock/blues and like a bit of grit to my tone occasionally (the Ampeg used to give me the bite without resorting to drive pedals). I play vintage Fender Jazz and Precision basses.

I've never really loved the Walkabout combo. The EQ has too many knobs for my liking (I don't like to faff too long to find my sound) and it always seems to sound a bit boomy.

I thought about investigating the Orange OB1-500 but wonder if I'm being too hasty. I've read that pairing the Walkabout amp with the right cabinet could bring it to life.

So I started reading up and there seems to be a lot of love for Barefaced and Bergantino on here.  I was thinking a 2x12 might be the best/most portable solution.

Do you think it is worth sticking with the Walkabout and giving this a shot?  If not what setup would you recommend?  

As a side note, I don't mind colouration of sound if it gives that vintage warmth but equally if I got a decent clean setup and could achieve the bite using pre-amp/pedals that would work too.

Thanks MB

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I have been a life long Mesa user. 

When I got my first amp (a Bass 400) in 1988 I actually stopped using it because I wasn't happy with the sound. After a while I decided to persevere and finally managed to crack the eq after a good deal of trial and error.

I have found all Mesa amps to be the same. The sound you want is in there, it's just down to getting to grips with the eq, which is very sensitive to even small changes.

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2 hours ago, moleboy said:

The EQ has too many knobs for my liking (I don't like to faff too long to find my sound) and it always seems to sound a bit boomy.

Simplify it by ignoring some of the knobs...

Set the bass and treble at 12 o'clock - add or subtract to taste...
Set the mid at either 10 o'clock  (flat) or around 2 o'clock if you're playing something with two pickups or want a bit more mid bite.
So a nice three band Eq... simpler

Set all the paramentrics bang on the middle. But set the frequency for the left hand one at 30Hz. Then ignore it. You've now got a 3 band eq amp that's way simpler to use right... 
But if too boomy, just tweak down the 30Hz parametric to control the boom.

 

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3 hours ago, Steve Browning said:

I have been a life long Mesa user. 

When I got my first amp (a Bass 400) in 1988 I actually stopped using it because I wasn't happy with the sound. After a while I decided to persevere and finally managed to crack the eq after a good deal of trial and error.

I have found all Mesa amps to be the same. The sound you want is in there, it's just down to getting to grips with the eq, which is very sensitive to even small changes.

Interesting....

I played a Mesa at a Bass show back in the 80s - absolutely blew my mind.

Ever since I've been trying to find a Mesa which blew my mind in the same way but despite many hundreds of pounds spent I haven't been able to. I've owned three in the past few years and all disappointed but to be fair I didn't persevere as much as i should have as I couldn't emulate my beloved TE palette.

Realistically, I should stop looking for something which I already get from my Trace gear.

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1. If you think a small combo will ever get you close to an SVT-2 & 4x10 & 1x15, give up now, you're never going to be happy

2. If you find there are two many knobs, don't use them, set it flat, that's where the core tone of the amp is to be found

3. If you don't like the amp, you don't like the amp. I spent years trying to like gear because other people liked it. It means nothing. The only gear that you should like is the gear that you actually like. 

But....... to be more constructive. The Walkabout combo is boomy, the radiator sees to that. Don't buy new cabs, just try the same head through a few different cabs - there'll be folks on here happy to oblige - and see if things change. I loved my Walkabout through a Mesa 2x10, way tighter than through the Scout cab and no boominess at all. 

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57 minutes ago, Beedster said:

1. If you think a small combo will ever get you close to an SVT-2 & 4x10 & 1x15, give up now, you're never going to be happy

2. If you find there are two many knobs, don't use them, set it flat, that's where the core tone of the amp is to be found

3. If you don't like the amp, you don't like the amp. I spent years trying to like gear because other people liked it. It means nothing. The only gear that you should like is the gear that you actually like. 

But....... to be more constructive. The Walkabout combo is boomy, the radiator sees to that. Don't buy new cabs, just try the same head through a few different cabs - there'll be folks on here happy to oblige - and see if things change. I loved my Walkabout through a Mesa 2x10, way tighter than through the Scout cab and no boominess at all. 

This absolutely.

The Scout combo (especially the 1x15 I have) is very boomy. The semi parametric EQ is great at notching that out. 1x15 has been my main rig for ten years and has covered all manner of blues/rock/indie/metal. In ten years of owning the amp I have never even touched the 4 semi parametric EQ controls for the mids and treble!

Saying that though I wouldn’t expect the combo to compare to an SVT full stack being driven to the point of overdrive. There is usually going to be a heft/practicality trade off when going to a more modular set up. The trade off isn’t so great now with more modern high powered class d amps and high powered lightweight cabs. However the Walkabout design is pretty old and dates from the days of when heavy valve and MOSFET amps were the main options for bassists. 

My Walkabout through a 2x10 or my 6x10 is very much not boomy and to me is a far better pairing for the amp. A 4x10 would be my optimal cab but I got a great deal on a 6x10 when I was last looking for a cab last year so it is either that or the combo for me. 

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Thanks for all the feedback everyone.  I will persevere with it and see how I fair. 

I never ever expected it to sound just like the SVT - I was realistic in that nothing could ever replace that sound but I was hoping it might meet me some of the way there in terms of tube warmth and drive. 

As I've only ever tried it in the combo I'll give it a go paired to another cab.  I liked the idea of a 2 x 12 for portability but will try different variations when opportunity arises.

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The Walkabout is a remarkable head. I used one for years with a number of cabs. I'd try different cabs first.

If you find you want something in a similar ballpark but with more present mids and more headroom, I recommend the Handbox R-400 -  IMO it's a 'Walkabout Plus'.

 

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I run my Walkabout with a Barefaced 2x12, and it's very, very loud (as in 'keep up with a loud drummer' loud, which is all anyone needs before PA and monitoring pop into the mix*), and not inherently boomy at all - I'd concur with the 'set it flat and just use the bass, mid and treble' controls. The only thing I do with the Para (unless I'm in a truly horrible room) is dial the two left hand knobs fully anticlockwise, to cut 30Hz. I then add this back in if the room/stage can cope.

Oh, and with the 212 it's also very portable - I bought a padded plastic toolbox thing from the now-defunct Maplin, and it's a very easy safe carry, especially with a 38lb cab (with wheels 😀)

 

* Although I also have a BF 115 to pop under the 212 when I'm feeling I need a stack, and then it's even louder...stooopid loud...

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As a big Mesa M6 fan who has been tempted to get the WA Scout combo on several occasions, the above "candid" posts have been really helpful. Much appreciated, thanks. 

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