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Budget Gigging Amps/Rigs


TheoC

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This is my second post so I'm really not sure how to start it off so I'll just jump right in.

I'm looking for a decent, but cheap, gigging amp as my band are just about ready to start gigging (Hopefully). The amps i have currently are just for the bedroom practice kinda level, they are a Marlin Bass 15 and a Gear4Music 25 Watt (Both combos). I'm very inexperienced when it comes to amps, but what I've gathered from looking at other threads is that I should be aiming to get a head and a cab rather than a combo.

A thread i looked at talked about the Peavey Headliner 210, this seems like a decent option but I'm a student so if possible I would rather spend a little less, I'm also not sure about the longevity  of gigging, which is another reason I wouldn't want to break the bank, so I began looking around and found a Wharfedale WHB210, which is a 2x10 200W cab with an 8 Ohm impedance (not sure if any of this is decent for gigging), the price is at £89 which seems as good a price as I could get for something like this, at least that's what t seems like. Does anyone have experience with this cab? If so, what are your thoughts on it as a introduction to gigging amps? Does anyone have any other cheap cab recommendations?

No matter what cab i get I'm guessing I'll still need a head, so what budget options are best? Will I need anything else? A PA? A DI? I'm really unsure about all this so any help is beyond appreciated!

If you need any more information about anything then just ask!

Apologies for terrible formatting, I'm new to forums.

Thanks for reading/helping!

 

Side Note:

I'm hoping to get a Bass VI in the future (The Revelation RJT-60B), I'm not sure if this would change what amp would work best or not

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IMHO only...

It depends on what sort of venue you intend to be playing live - pubs & small venues, maybe 200 - 300 Watts of power, either in a combo with a 12", 2x 10" or 15" speaker. Same for a separate head and speakers - 200 - 300 Watts of power and speaker cab/s as for the combo.

Power and speakers will increase as you play larger venues.

However...

...if the venue has a PA system, you could take a DI box or a DI/ Pre Amp and skip the amp & speakers altogether - then as long as the PA is up to the job, you can travel light & let the venue PA provide the noise!

I'm sure others will be along shortly to recommend particular equipment.

Good luck smiley

Edited by Teebs
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I think @Teebs has hit it pretty spot on there re power. My additional thoughts would be look at second hand on here/Ebay/Gumtree for Ashdown MAG/Hartke/Peavey gear, you’ll get decent giggable gear at reasonable prices, and very importantly you’ll be able to move it on again without significant loss should you decide to upgrade.

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There's no hard and fast rule as to which is better, but generally separate units give you more flexibility to chop and change components - or even to bring more or fewer speakers with you for bigger gigs, whereas combos have an element of convenience about them, and can often be acquired at very reasonable rates second-hand.

It's also worth noting that a lot of gigging-size combos often have a socket on the back to connect an additional speaker cab, if the need should arise.

Still, speaking of second-hand, I have just seen that you might get your hands on a Laney RB9 head (300W) for as little as £100: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Laney-RB9-Richer-Bass-Head/173913574026?hash=item287e0e8a8a:g:OeQAAOSwIoNdMXi5

...or there's a Laney HCM160 combo (160W) currently going for just £60: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Laney-HCM160b-Hardcore-Max/323323137071?_trkparms=aid%3D555018%26algo%3DPL.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D57923%26meid%3D7d12849bd92144c8809b48d474f9afba%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dpf%26sd%3D173913574026%26itm%3D323323137071%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851 - 160W will probably be fine for most pub gigs (I once gigged its 120W little brother at Covent Garden Arts Theatre without PA support, for reference)

My first instinct was to search for Laney, as I used various models myself for twelve or thirteen years, and I generally found them to be pretty reliable and versatile. Because they've never been an especially fashionable or sought-after brand, prices tend to stay on the lower side. But it's also worth seeing what you could get from, say, Ashdown, Hartke, Trace Elliot or Orange in a similar price range.

Afraid I can't comment on the Wharfedale cab; hopefully someone else has some experience with them.

On the PA/DI question: most of these amps have a DI Out socket, so you can run your signal from the amp to the PA system for extra support. Though, as Teebs rightly points out, if you can depend on a good PA system at your gigs, you might prefer to dispense with your own amp altogether. There are plenty of preamp+DI combination pedals which can help to buffer your signal and shape your tone on the way to the mixing desk. Behringer BDI21 pedals frequently go for peanuts, on here and on eBay (I recently sold my own for £12...), and plenty of people swear by theirs.

The choice of pedal may be determined by who you want to sound like, however - more so than if you're choosing an amp, I'd argue.

Hope that long ramble was of some help - happy to answer any questions!

 

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@Teebs @Lozz196 @EliasMooseblaster

Thank you all for the responses, 

I think a local(ish) music shop has a fair few Ashdown amps that I could check out, the prices in that shop are normally really good so that may be my best bet.

Depending on how that goes I might decide to get a combo alongside a cheap Preamp/DI pedal just in case the venue has a decent PA, seems like that would cover most fronts.

As for the kinda sound I would be going for, my band has a sort of Post Punk/New Wave inspired, so main inspirations would be Peter Hook, Simon Gallup (Or Robert Smith for the Bass VI sound) although that being said, I would like to incorporate some of my other, more Punk inspirations, i.e, Matt Freeman, Mike Dirnt. I know the bass of these genres has a similar mid range punch I would be looking to get an almost atmospheric New Wave sound. I also tend to change the tone between songs (which probably isn't the smartest for establishing a sound, but if i had the same tone for all the songs it would sound muddy for a few of them)

 

Again, thank you all for your help!

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6 minutes ago, TheoC said:

 

Depending on how that goes I might decide to get a combo alongside a cheap Preamp/DI pedal just in case the venue has a decent PA, seems like that would cover most fronts.

If you're after a budget bass DI/ Preamp, you can't go far wrong with this:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behringer-Modeler-Guitar-Effects-Pedal/dp/B000KIPUQG/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=behringer+bass+di&qid=1573571483&sr=8-1

Ridiculously cheap, but very usable! I have one & it's very good for the money.

Ashdown amps & speakers are very good.

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5 minutes ago, Teebs said:

If you're after a budget bass DI/ Preamp, you can't go far wrong with this:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behringer-Modeler-Guitar-Effects-Pedal/dp/B000KIPUQG/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=behringer+bass+di&qid=1573571483&sr=8-1

Ridiculously cheap, but very usable! I have one & it's very good for the money.

Ashdown amps & speakers are very good.

That pedal seems like it would cover all my bases (Or should I say "basses") I might end up getting it and even if i end up not liking it for some reason then it'll be useful to use as a jumping off point for fine tuning my rig.

I'll have a look at the online shop for the local store and see what Ashdown amps they have, or if they have other bass amps

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I couldn't find the Ashdown amps on that music stores page, but i did have a look on eBay and found a Laney HCM160b Hardcore Max combo listed for £60 (Excluding Postage). The reviews of this seem mixed, mostly positive, but I figure at £60 it should be worth it. 

I think I'm going to contact the seller to find out about postage then think about it until I get paid.

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5 hours ago, Teebs said:

However...

...if the venue has a PA system, you could take a DI box or a DI/ Pre Amp and skip the amp & speakers altogether - then as long as the PA is up to the job, you can travel light & let the venue PA provide the noise!

I'd agree, but add that the PA would need to provide good monitoring so you can hear not only yourself, but everyone else as well (and more importantly, they can hear you!).

Some smaller venues PA systems are less than adequate for this unfortunately, so having your own amp is a must (IME).

Keep an eye on the local Gumtree, as well as the local Music Buy/Swap/Sell groups on FB (as you're a student, both at home and where you're staying during term time - assuming you live away of course!). Even watch the For Sale section on here.

There are plenty of half decent rigs available for not much money (Ashdown/Hartke/Laney/etc.), so a bit of shopping around can dig up some bargains.

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6 hours ago, EliasMooseblaster said:

Afraid I can't comment on the Wharfedale cab; hopefully someone else has some experience with them.

All i know about them is that they may or may not have been last produced some 10 years ago and they may or may not have found some stock in a damp warehouse and may or may not been sold to PMT for a pittance to flog on. 

 

However, for the money, they make some incredible cabs for the money. We have a cabinet in our service department at work that was a pre production unit that i have tried and failed on numerous occasions to buy from our service engineer. That thing is stupendously good.  

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I did this with a local kid on a facebook group recently. With his £500 budget we ended up with:

  • Ashdown Mag 300 head, Ashdown Mag 4x10" cabinet - £250 from Gumtree
  • Boss TU-2 - £30 on ebay
  • Sansamp Bass Driver - £120 from here
  • Cheap far-Eastern pedalboard and power supply - from ebay (the only new items)

I have to say, it's cracking rig with more than enough stage volume to do pub gigs, 2 options to get sound to PA, the ability to mix and match with house cabs or supplied backline, etc.

 

 

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Thank you all for the help, it's really appreciated.

Just as an update; I haven't heard back from the eBay seller yet, so if they don't get back to me before December I think I'm going to go with the Wharfedale alongside a cheapish head. @JakeBrownBass Yeah, I thought it would be something like that, it says "Ex-Demo Factory Direct" which was a little off putting but going by your experience it seems like it should be alright.

The amp heads I was looking at were; 

an Albion ABH-180H - https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/albion-abh180h-180-watt-hybrid-bass-head

A Behringer Ultrabass BX2000H - https://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_ultrabass_bx2000h_b_stock.htm

A tc electronic BAM200 - https://www.thomann.de/gb/tc_electronic_bam200.htm

Would these be suitable for a gig? 

 

@BassBunny That would be awesome, 27kg does seem kinda heavy though, but I doubt I would be carrying it around for ages. If it was nearer to me then I think that would be the one I went for.

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On 12/11/2019 at 21:35, JakeBrownBass said:

However, for the money, they make some incredible cabs for the money. We have a cabinet in our service department at work that was a pre production unit that i have tried and failed on numerous occasions to buy from our service engineer. That thing is stupendously good.  

+1 to that. I borrowed a pair of ancient Wharfedale 15" PA cabs from @dave.c and they gave our Peavey Subs + Tops rig a really good run for its money.

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As @JakeBrownBass said, I think these cabs have an interesting history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F42y1EGnXMg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgjpJgfS_2k&t=

 

Out of the heads, I'd have the TC Bam. Not only is it probably the nicest head there, it's the only one that would be useful to keep as a backup or B rig down the line.

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Thanks for the links @Jack !

The Wharfedale + TC BAM is the rig I'm going for as I just heard back from the eBay dealer and the Laney combo has been sold.

Thanks for your input on the TC BAM, the website has a B-Stock one but I'm sure it'll just be cosmetic damage, so oh well. I think I'll get around to ordering either the cab or head over the next few days, as long as I get aid soon.

Thanks again for all the help! 

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There are a couple of Ashdown Mag 300`s on Glasgow gumtree at the moment. The 4 x 10 for £120 is exc for the money and if I had the space for it, I would be all over it. 

I played through one of these last week with an additional 4 x 10 and it was great.

Edited by jezzaboy
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1 hour ago, jezzaboy said:

There are a couple of Ashdown Mag 300`s on Glasgow gumtree at the moment. The 4 x 10 for £120 is exc for the money and if I had the space for it, I would be all over it. 

I played through one of these last week with an additional 4 x 10 and it was great.

Agree with @jezzaboy. That would most certainly be my option to choose.

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Buy once, buy right. IMO you need at least a 300w head for gigging, especially when starting out. The ashdowns will blow the tc bam out of the water in both volume and quality. You dont want to be buying then find it's really underpowered for your band. Without getting too boring its 300 solid state watts vs the reduced class d watts of the bam. There really wouldnt be any comparison.

Any ashdown mag or abm combo would be perfect. 

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I'd back up the love for the Ashdown, my first amp was a MAG and it proved reliable and did just what is said on the tin. I can also vouch for the fantastic after sales that Ashdown offer even on gear bought used, they really couldn't be more helpful.

Having said that I own a Wharfedale PA system and it is nicely made, great sounding and reliable. It is quite old but even so when some idiot sound engineer used an incorrectly wired lead to pump 40+ volts of phantom power into the subs with the volume up full blowing the speaker Wharfedale came up with a replacement speaker, return of post at a very reasonable price. Again an old established company that treat their customers well. I've had a look at the bass speakers in PMT Bristol and they look to be really well made and at a silly price. 

My vote would still be for the used Ashdown though

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