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Graham56

Lightweight 800w choices?

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Hi all, 

I'm after some opinions on lightweight heads in the 800w area.

I currently play a P-bass with flats through a Little Mark II into a Barefaced Super Compact.  When the amp has to work hard it gets a bit snarky and unpleasant.

I don't want to add another cab as I want to keep to a single, lightweight load-in . I don't really need more volume either, but I'd like a bit more headroom to keep the amp relaxed.  So I'm considering one of the following:

- Little Mark 800

- Quilter Bass Block 800

- TC BH 800

Any thoughts on these - or anything else in the same space? Lightweight is important, and keeping it under £600 would be good. 

Cheers, 

Graham

 

 

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Find a used Ashdown RM800 or Retroglide.

Miss my RM800 badly. Still have the 500 which is ace.

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I use a Rootmaster 800 through a Super Compact, they work well together. Nice small & light rig that has plenty of punch when needed.

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A third vote on the Ashdown RM800, though to be honest I`d be shocked if anyone needed more than what the 500 watt version offers. If I`m correct that`s the reason why Ashdown discontinued the 800.

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For the last 4 years or so I used a Quilter Bassblock 800 through a Supercompact or two.  I recently discovered that I prefer the slightly coloured sound of the BF Two10 to the Supercompact but the Quilter is my main head nowadays, replacing my beloved but heavy Trace Elliot.

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Tecamp Puma 900 or the newer version of the same amp, the Eich T900. The Eich is over your budget but if you can find a used Puma 900 you’ll be well under budget and laughing. I used to own a Puma 900 - it was absurdly light and absurdly powerful. You won’t find smaller and lighter elsewhere with that kind of horsepower.

I also used to own a TC Electronic BH800 and frankly it was also excellent. Not as small or light as the Tecamp but the upside was the incredibly well thought-out EQ in which each knob operates at a different frequency depending on if you’re boosting or cutting. Very very clever and a great clean sounding head. Some dismissed TonePrint feature as a gimmick but I found it genuinely useful to have several versions of (for example) a compressor and maybe some drive, easily changed via the Toneprint app.

Ive never personally used a Quilter but I’ve heard nothing but good things so I’m sure you’d enjoy it. Seems to have a pretty unique EQ layout which is cool but may not necessarily be for everyone.

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With an 8ohm cab (like the Super Compact), the Rootmaster 800 is only putting out about 500w, but the 500 would be down to about 300. Probably enough, mine has never been past has way on the volume.

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I know someone using a Little Mark 800 through a single SC. He goes pretty loud and sounds good too.

Edited by chris_b

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Genzler Magellan

Darkglass M900 v1 second hand

Aguilar TH700

EBS Reidmar 750

GK MB 800

Peavey mini mega 

Hartke LH1000 (not the lightest)

4 X TE Elf’s 

 

and a partridge in a pear tree

Edited by Cuzzie

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For £600 you could pick up an used DG M900 v1 (there are a couple in the FS right now). I only moved mine on because I've replaced it with a mk2 model (the AO900).

450W+ on tap at 8ohms (900W+ at 4ohms) and nice touch of tonal richness can be added by engaging the DG Microtubes preamp.

Hopefully @dave_bass5 will be along shortly: he's owned two of the three models you mentioned in your OP you're thinking about getting and has another of the MB range in his stable.

Oh and I should perhaps have mentioned that I play a PJ bass also through a BF SC, so not a million miles from your own set up.

Edited by Al Krow

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Fender 800HD , inside your budget great tone with vintage & contour switched voicing, foot switchable distortion, 800w, simple and straightforward. 

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I'd also look at the Fender Rumble 800HD. Ive not read anything bad about it, although ive never played one. I do have one coming this week,. Costs less than most of the above, and thats new. Not the smallest 'small' head, but still a small head. 

I had the BH800 and its a lovely head. I didn't find it particularly pokey,  but i love the EQ. The Tone print feature is also cool, although you can only use one at a time, and for me i wanted a comp at the start of the signal chain, not at the end, so didnt really use it much. It's also a bit bulky compared to some small heads, but i don't think thats really a problem.. 

I have (until tomorrow) the Quilter. It's a very powerful head, especially with the gain above half way, where the compression starts to kick in. I liked it at first, but found I couldn't quite coax the tone i wanted out of it. I think it has a subtractive EQ system. Very powerful and easy to use, but I found the amp to be too flat and neutral for me, 

 

EDIT. Ah, got pipped at the post by John. 

Edited by dave_bass5

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IMO the best amp I've used in a long time is my Aguilar AG700.

There was one in the classifieds a couple of weeks ago.

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1 minute ago, chris_b said:

IMO the best amp I've used in a long time is my Aguilar AG700.

There was one in the classifieds a couple of weeks ago.

I'd love to own one of those. They always seem to come up when I'm not looking for a head, or don’t have the money for it.

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Warwick LWA1000, Pascal 1000 Watts power amp module (considered the best ones to date) and twin preamp derived from the fantastic Warwick Hellborg JH PR40... A true versatile beast with lots of current and plenty of power, 1.9 kg and is smaller than a shoebox.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/warwick_lwa_1000_blk.htm

There's also the bundle with the gigbag.

From all the new class D heads I've heard, it's the best one money can buy for around £500 GBP new.

 

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Another Ashdown RM800 vote - through a Super Compact you can pretty much do anything you want tonally :)

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1 hour ago, Hellzero said:

Warwick LWA1000, Pascal 1000 Watts power amp module (considered the best ones to date) and twin preamp derived from the fantastic Warwick Hellborg JH PR40... A true versatile beast with lots of current and plenty of power, 1.9 kg and is smaller than a shoebox.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/warwick_lwa_1000_blk.htm

There's also the bundle with the gigbag.

From all the new class D heads I've heard, it's the best one money can buy for around £500 GBP new.

 

Heard one the other night - Yep they sound nice

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4 hours ago, Graham56 said:

Hi all, 

I'm after some opinions on lightweight heads in the 800w area.

I currently play a P-bass with flats through a Little Mark II into a Barefaced Super Compact.  When the amp has to work hard it gets a bit snarky and unpleasant.

I don't want to add another cab as I want to keep to a single, lightweight load-in . I don't really need more volume either, but I'd like a bit more headroom to keep the amp relaxed.  So I'm considering one of the following:

- Little Mark 800

- Quilter Bass Block 800

- TC BH 800

Any thoughts on these - or anything else in the same space? Lightweight is important, and keeping it under £600 would be good. 

Cheers, 

Graham

 

 

 

Not sure that you're going to get a huge increase in volume by putting more power through a single speaker like that. As efficient as BF cabs may be, they're not magic. I'd be worried about being tempted to push too hard.

I was using a LMIII into a single BB2, and bought a LM800 because at times I needed more. I barely noticed the difference. Ended up with two BB2 for that reason.

Adding another cab is the surest way to get a noticeable increase, I'm afraid.

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15 minutes ago, mcnach said:

Not sure that you're going to get a huge increase in volume by putting more power through a single speaker like that. As efficient as BF cabs may be, they're not magic. I'd be worried about being tempted to push too hard.

I was using a LMIII into a single BB2, and bought a LM800 because at times I needed more. I barely noticed the difference. Ended up with two BB2 for that reason.

Adding another cab is the surest way to get a noticeable increase, I'm afraid.

Entirely fair about 2 cabs.

But the OP mentioned he was keen to stick to a lightweight 1 cab solution. For portability he's going to be hard pressed to improve on his BF SC. His LM2 puts out 300W at 8 ohms (which the BF SC is rated at) and the LM2 is more likely only putting out nearer 150W to 200W if it's not being 'pushed' which can mean "the amp ...gets a bit snarky and unpleasant". 

Given that the BF SC can handle up to 600W at 8 ohms, IMO he and the audience will hear a volume difference with a punchier amp which provides him with greater headroom, and there have been some great suggestions on the amp front above.

Edited by Al Krow

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3 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Entirely fair about 2 cabs.

But the OP mentioned he was keen to stick to a 1 cab solution. His LM2 puts out 300W at 8 ohms (which the BF SC is rated at) and LM2 is more likely only putting out 200W to 250W if it's not being 'pushed' which can result in the "the amp ...gets a bit snarky and unpleasant". 

Given that the BF SC can handle up to 600W at 8 ohms, IMO he and the audience will hear a volume difference with a punchier amp which provides him with greater headroom, and there have been some great suggestions on the amp front above.

 

I was also keen to keep  to a 1-cab solution, just like the OP. With the same amp essentially and a not very different cab (if anything the BB2 is a bit louder). Moving to an 800W version didn't really do the job for me. That's why I mentioned two cabs, not because I can't read ;). I felt I was where the OP is, and I tried and failed, wasting money in the process. I thought the OP might find my experience something to consider too.

A cab may handle X watts, it doesn't mean it keeps getting louder as you feed it more power until that limit. BF do a good job designing their cabs and more recently their speakers, but while more efficient than many, they're still not magic.

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Hi Graham.

You really aren't going to find much difference you know. Moving from 500-800W is only a 2dB shift in volume, the same for a 300-500W change which is what you'd get at 8ohms. Doubling up your speaker with the same amp would give you 5dB increase in volume. 

To make sense of this 1db is a just noticeable increase in volume. That is you'd notice it if you suddenly switched up that amount but in normal use you probably wouldn't notice. 3db is about where you would notice in practice and you need to double the power to get that using the same speaker and just changing the amp.

Barefaced claim 97db/W sensitivity for the SC so with 300W that is a max of 122db with your amp. That's loud enough to match just about any drummer and to permanently damage your hearing. If your amp/speaker combination is distorting then you might find it worthwhile to find out why. I know with my MB amp it is relatively easy to get the input stages to overload, turning down the input volume and turning up the master will clear this problem. Using an HPF will reduce subsonics getting into the amp/speaker and overloading things and using a lot of bass boost make that worse, what does your eq look like? Then you could also use a limiter or some compression, that would enable you to raise the average volume but just cut out those millisecond peaks that cause the problems. 

When the sound reaches a certain level the pursuit of more power just stops looking like a good idea, there may be a cheaper and more convenient solution.

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@mcnach @Phil Starr you are both of course absolutely right in terms of the difference that 300W to 500W at 8 ohms might make and that 2 cabs are going to better than one etc. No debate from me on that score.

But we also need to factor in the age and efficiency of the OP's  LM2 head which is going to be (I'm guessing) a decade old now and the fact that he can't push it to full without it getting 'cranky'. So I'm guessing we're more likely talking about 150W / 200W of his current head --> 400W / 500W at 8 ohm here as the better comparison.

There is also a  "practical experience" flip side to this which is that there are plenty of folk on here (me included) using a one cab solution with decent power output amp which is very adequately meeting our needs with a full rock band. 

I have never found my BF SC and DG M900 amp lacking in volume on any of our gigs, even without PA support.

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Thanks to everyone for contributing, and there's a lot of food for thought.

As I said, I don't actually need more volume as such, but I would like a better sound quality. The current head is over 10 years old  and when I push it, the sound gets 'tight', kinda like someone speaking between clenched teeth (is this making any sense???)

I tend to set the EQ with a bit of a treble drop to make the most of the P-Bass mid-range hump. It sounds great at low volumes but not once the master goes past about 1 o'clock.

I know nothing about compression, but maybe a decent compressor would help as well?

I don't play in terribly loud bands, but the two I'm working with at the moment have lots of instruments that fill up the sonic space.

I do get the points about extra cab, but if I have to trade sound quality for portability I'm leaning towards portability. There are a couple of venues I play where I often have to park some distance away, so a single trip is really important to me. To misquote Al Krow: "But we also need to factor in the age and efficiency of the OP..."

I'm tempted by the Ashdown. I had a Mag 300 head before which had a great sound, but couldn't keep up (this was with an inefficient 210 cab). I do keep seeing comments about Ashdown output not being as loud as the wattage suggests but other people love them.

I didn't know anything about the Fender, although a friend has a Rumble combo and that sounds great to me.

I was very interested in the Quilter, although a couple of people (including Dave_bass 5) have commented on their 'flatness'. I guess I have to go up to Wembley to hear one.

Some tests in retailers may be called for!

Cheers, 

Graham

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Dont get me wrong about the Quilter, its a very capable, musical head. The way the gain stage has been designed gives it a very nice compression when the gain is up over the half way point, but it never gives a nasty dirt tone. It gets very smooth, like you are using a tube compressor (sort of). Just enough break up to add harmonics. Well worth tying first if you can.

The 'flat' comment can be taken both ways. Flat and Bland, or a blank uncoloured canvas. For me it was the former, not helped by using a fairly neutral cab, and still getting used to my Helix. I wanted more colour, and the Quilter wasnt quite doing it for me, but i couldnt spend much time playing with it. The band loved it though. Others swear by it, and its certainly a slight step up above a lot of other class D heads. Quilter use their own power stage, and it does seem to give the higher notes a bit more punch. This was why i got mine, as i play with a pick and do struggle sometimes with the D and G string. 

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