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swill1971

Amp Head and Cab minefield

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Would really like some advice if possible, been playing in a covers band for 2 years and hoping to upgrade my equipment as playing bigger venues and festivals. 
 

im currently using the GK Mb 210ii combo and looking to replace with amp and cab . I’ve been searching around for past 6 months and it’s a bit of a minefield trying to make the right choice. 
 

I’m keen on the Orange Ob1 and the mark bass little mark 3 and then there’s the cab options ?? 
 

I know it’s a bit of a million dollar question, but not having a massive experience I’m hoping there could be some good advice out there before making the right choice . Thanks for any help/advice that you can pass on 

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If weight/size isn’t an issue then I’d look at 2nd hand Peavey, Hartke, Ashdown. You’ll get a lot for your money. That said how do you feel about your current GK and its sound - if you like it then I’d look at staying with the brand, GK does have its own sound.

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Do you have a budget in mind? That would be a useful steer on any recommendations. And are you ok buying used or want to get something new?

As Lozz mentioned if you have an idea on the sound eg warm valvey / vintage / modern / more hifi or a mixture of the above, that's also useful to know and do you want any on-board bells and whistles - I guess drive is the most common. 

Great that the covers band is doing so well! Are you guys focused on a particular genre? 

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Cheers for your replies , the band play mainly indie covers , roses , smiths, Courteeners etc budget wise I was looking at around 1k for amp and cab(s) I like the Orange clean sound but not sure I’d have much use for the dirtier sound that the OB1 can give . The Gk combo is very lightweight for what it is so don’t want to go too heavy as I tend to use the car for practices/gigs 

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You should be able to get a really good rig on a £1k budget, particularly if you're buying used. The nice thing about buying a piece of quality used kit is that, provided you look after it but decide to move it on 'cos it's not quite what you're looking for, you won't take too much of a hit to your pocket.

Bear in mind festivals should be providing a PA that is going to be appropriate for their needs (otherwise you really are going to need to tool up!) so we're really thinking about larger venues without in-house PA. I'd recommend getting a cab capable of handling 500W RMS, with a similar output for the amp.

My key tip is not to skimp on the cab: for me it's perhaps the single most important part of the signal chain and therefore to budget at least as much on your cab as your amp.

Top end ranges for cabs where you won't go wrong include Bergantino, Barefaced, Fearless, TKS and Vanderkley. Mid range: Ashdown and Markbass.

Amps - if you want lightweight you're really looking at D class and there is such a great choice of D class heads these days! 

FWIW my gigging cabs for both my covers bands are a Fearless F112 and a Barefaced SC and I'm currently pairing them with a Darkglass AO900 (previously had the M900 Mk1). I've had a Bergantino CN212, which is an absolutely awesome cab but a bit bigger / heavier (at around 50 lbs) than I wanted to be carting around. My BF SC is a ridiculously light 21 lbs and I've not found a better overall combination of sound quality and portability.

Edited by Al Krow

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There is no point in being louder than the drummer. If you do have to go louder than that to fill the venue then so will the drums, and without a volume control that means mic'ing the drums and going through the PA. That means you should go through the PA as well.  If your current combo is loud enough to do that and you like the way it sounds then there is no need to change. That doesn't stop us wanting to change though does it :)

Your choice should be based on how it sounds to you, we can only tell you what we like, so take any advice as a steer as to what to listen to, but take it all with a pinch of salt. It's how it sounds that really matters so don't buy without trying. Fortunately nowadays there is little really bad stuff out there and most gear is pretty reliable so that is less of a concern.

If you get the chance then get out to hear other local covers bands and see what they are using if you like their bass sound.

I value practicality, I want to sound OK and I want enough power to do the job in any circumstance. The sweet spot for me is a couple of 1x12's with a 300/500W amplifier (that's 500 into both) Most gigs and rehearsals I take one speaker, for bigger venues both. This gives me all I want and is easy to pack and carry. 

For your budget you have a really wide range of options, have fun choosing

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If you like your GK sound, than stick to GK, because it a special one. Go and try some head(s) and cab(s) at your local retailer or the ones of fellow bass players.

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It's not really a minefield. These days you have to try really hard to make choices that end up not sounding good.

If you're too quiet for the band you'll have to start catching up with unnecessary upgrades. Also you don't want to be pushing either amp or cab hard enough to sound bad or break something.

I'd start by looking at 500 watt amps and good cabs, either 2 112's, a 212 or a 210.

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Where are you based? Really, you need to find a decent shop that stocks a good range and try out some options. If you're in the Midlands, Bass Direct in Warwick is the obvious choice. Go during the day midweek and you can try stuff to your heart's content. That's what I did and I'm very happy with what I have.

Edited by Dan Dare

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9 hours ago, swill1971 said:

im currently using the GK Mb 210ii combo and looking to replace with amp and cab . I’ve been searching around for past 6 months and it’s a bit of a minefield trying to make the right choice. 
 


 

 

If you want a bit more volume, if I were you, I would buy a cab first. You can then pair it with the combo you already have. That will allow your amp to use it's full wattage (500 watts rather than the 350 watts it will be putting through it's internal speakers),  that and the extra speaker/speakers in your new cab will enable you to drown out your drummer, if you ever feel the urge.

 

Edited by gjones

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There's a good selection of Laney, Markbass and Ampeg heads in the classifieds around 500W+, match these with one of the Barefaced cabs in the same threads and you'll have a good rig for well under your £1k budget.

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16 hours ago, gjones said:

If you want a bit more volume, if I were you, I would buy a cab first. You can then pair it with the combo you already have. That will allow your amp to use it's full wattage (500 watts rather than the 350 watts it will be putting through it's internal speakers),  that and the extra speaker/speakers in your new cab will enable you to drown out your drummer, if you ever feel the urge.

 

Add a power amp (plenty of decent cheap used ones about) to run the extra cabs and you're home and dry for much less than your budget.

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No Minefield really. This is all just my opinion but a 500W solid state head is really max you need, probably lower wattage for Valve heads. As long as your cab is rated to about 1.5 times the power of your amp or more and the impedance is matched you should be flying. I know people crib about the weight of them but I prefer a good bit of weight in a  head, hence I tend to prefer ones with AB MOSFET over Class D. I just think they're less prone to problems from vibrations etc.

Oh and if you get one with a valve preamp, these are nice. 

My personal favourite is Ashdown hybrid into Barefaced.    

Edited by Quilly

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23 hours ago, swill1971 said:

Sounds great, north west bound if they are planning another 

There you go. A weekend gear fest in Manchester.

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1 hour ago, Quilly said:

No Minefield really. This is all just my opinion but a 500W solid state head is really max you need, probably lower wattage for Valve heads. As long as your cab is rated to about 1.5 times the power of your amp or more and the impedance is matched you should be flying. I know people crib about the weight of them but I prefer a good bit of weight in a  head, hence I tend to prefer ones with AB MOSFET over Class D. I just think they're less prone to problems from vibrations etc.

Oh and if you get one with a valve preamp, these are nice. 

My personal favourite is Ashdown hybrid into Barefaced.    

I totally agree.  Recently switched to a lovely s/h Ashdown ABM 500 chrome rack mounted (SKB case) for £160 and a s/h Barefaced SuperTwin 2x12 cab for £660.

Really happy. Wonderful combination.

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Lots of good, practical advice here. It might be an idea to use the Basschat for sale sections to take a punt on some used gear that you fancy. Try it for a while, maybe sell it on at a small loss later and try something else. I think a lot of people, including me, have gone that route to find out what they need and what sounds good to them.

It used to be that you could go to your local music shop to try out a good range of gear, but those shops are a bit few and far between nowadays.

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The only questions left to mull over are

If you are doing larger venues will your band also have decent PA to give you PA support. so you don't need two 8X10 with 2kw amp

Headroom is often mentioned and is important so factor in extra dB so you don't run out of steam on those transient attacks, and damage your cabs. is often best to buy good efficient speakers, Loads out there, then 500 amps may well be enough.

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