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Beginner / low cost amp heads

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The offspring of a friend wants to learn bass. Already got a bass and has got hold of a cab. No idea what the cab is other than it being 8 ohm.

Needs a head.

I am really out of the loop for beginner kit. What is good? Cheap and cheerful, with a Line in to connect an iPod or similar and headphone option would be good too.

I saw the sub £200 TC Electronic Thrust and BH models - anyone actually used them? Anything better for the money?

 

ta

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There's a virtually new Peavey MiniMax in the for sale section.

You honestly could not go wrong with that. They punch way above their weight and sound epic. Eminently gigable as well. 

The fir sale thread is nothing to do with me btw.

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For a beginner basically anything should be fine as long as it works. There's always lots of second hand gear that's good if it doesn't need to be lightweight.

I just bought a TC Electronic BAM200 and it's great for the £130 I spent brand new though I'm on my second after having problems with the fan on the first. No aux in on it though.

That Peavey in the for sale section is a lot of amp for the money also.

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What's he going to use it for - just home practice or does he want to gig with it too?

 

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In that case, he could do a lot worse than https://www.andertons.co.uk/bass-dept/bass-amps/bass-amp-heads/solid-state-bass-amp-heads/hotone-thunder-bass-5w-mini-amp

Works both as a practice head at home volumes, and with headphones whilst listening to mp3s / YouTube / whatever. Takes up virtually no space, and way cheaper than even the cheapest pukka bass head.

 

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Posted (edited)

Those very low wattage amps are novelty items - imho of course. If he takes to the instrument, he'll need to replace it with something suitable for gigs (or just rehearsals at reasonable volumes). If he doesn't take to it, it will be wasted money. in either event, he'll have to move it on and re-sale value on those little amps is pretty well zilch. Better to put the £80 odd towards a reasonable used head that will do for gigs and/or can be sold on easily if necessary

Edited by Dan Dare
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29 minutes ago, Dan Dare said:

Those very low wattage amps are novelty times - imho of course. If he takes to the instrument, he'll need to replace it with something suitable for gigs (or just rehearsals at reasonable volumes). If he doesn't take to it, it will be wasted money. in either event, he'll have to move it on and re-sale value on those little amps is pretty well zilch. Better to put the £80 odd towards a reasonable used head that will do for gigs and/or can be sold on easily if necessary

This.

 

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The markbass little mark 250 is a nice amp for home practice and they are quite reasonably priced , and an irig2 would allow him to use his phone or iPod 🙂

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15 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

The markbass little mark 250 is a nice amp for home practice and they are quite reasonably priced , and an irig2 would allow him to use his phone or iPod 🙂

I bought a Little Mark 250 around 2006 and it's still my main gigging amp to this day. Second hand they're cheap too. 

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The MiniMax is great for the cash. The in built tuner would be a help and there’d be no need to upgrade any time soon. The downside I’ve found with them though is the fan is bloody noisy so not ideal for home use for that reason.

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19 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

In that case, he could do a lot worse than https://www.andertons.co.uk/bass-dept/bass-amps/bass-amp-heads/solid-state-bass-amp-heads/hotone-thunder-bass-5w-mini-amp

Works both as a practice head at home volumes, and with headphones whilst listening to mp3s / YouTube / whatever. Takes up virtually no space, and way cheaper than even the cheapest pukka bass head.

 

I've actually got one of them. It's great fun but a bit gutless at 8ohm. Amazing for it's size into 4ohms though.

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On 13/08/2020 at 15:18, fretmeister said:

The offspring of a friend wants to learn bass. Already got a bass and has got hold of a cab. No idea what the cab is other than it being 8 ohm.

Needs a head.

I am really out of the loop for beginner kit. What is good? Cheap and cheerful, with a Line in to connect an iPod or similar and headphone option would be good too.

I saw the sub £200 TC Electronic Thrust and BH models - anyone actually used them? Anything better for the money?

 

ta

 

I would consider a TCE BAM200.

It's only £130, it sounds good, it's good enough at home, and powerful enough should they need a bit more oomph down the line. And it's tiny tiny tiny.

It has a headphone out but not aux in, but at the price, I'd consider buying a small mixer (even one of those Yamaha SoundCake units) so you can put an mp3 player through it (which could easily be bluetooth). 

Although the BH250 is not much bigger, not much more expensive, and it has the aux in plus a built-in tuner which it's bound to come handy especially as a beginner.

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Posted (edited)

I've got a Fender Rumble 15 combo that I use for home practice. Plenty of volume, aux input and headphone output. I've got it in the corner of the living room on a small glass table, takes up very little room

Edited by Delberthot

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If he's already got a cab I'd not bother thinking about a practice combo (tbh, I wouldn't anyway, they're more difficult to get rid of than dried in weetabix when you don't need them anymore)

I haven't got a rig at all at the moment and have been looking at buying the TC Electronic Bq500. All the features for home use, but the power to gig with. From what I've learnt they're fairly clean sounding amps and ideal for putting a preamp in front of when you get to that stage. They're about £190.

Currently if I want to play my bass I just use my Zoom B3 with headphones and if I'm playing to a track it's got an aux in.

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Is it just for home practice or for playing with a full band?

A 200w head is a bit overkill for home practice IMO but if he's already got the cab I guess it makes sense rather than buying a small, cheap practice combo.

If it's for a full band I would strongly recommend more than 250w solid state. Around 450-500w minimum, depending on the cab and how loud the band is. If he is a beginner, are you sure it's even a proper bass cab and not just a PA/guitar cab of some kind?

Personally I would avoid any of the Music Tribe/Behringer brands (like TC, Bugera) but that's mostly because I'm not a fan of Behringer's business ethics. Their products seem to be decent quality these days and there's not much else in that price range. Warwick have a couple of heads in the "Behringer price range" but I have never tested them so I have no idea if they're any good.

Markbass is very nice but slightly more expensive. Maybe look for a used Markbass head? Or something else around 4-500w? It could be cheaper in the long run to get a decent quality head with enough wattage. A 250w TC head will probably need to be upgraded the moment he starts playing in a band.

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6 hours ago, S.F.Sorrow said:

 

Markbass is very nice but slightly more expensive. Maybe look for a used Markbass head? Or something else around 4-500w? It could be cheaper in the long run to get a decent quality head with enough wattage. A 250w TC head will probably need to be upgraded the moment he starts playing in a band.

 

It depends entirely on the band and speaker cabs available. I've used 150-200W amplifiers very effectively. But watts are cheap these days, so I'd also prefer at least a 500W, just to be safe although it looks like we'd be increasing cost/complication when the OP is not even sure he'll have that need, and a 500W through a single small cab (I'm assuming, we haven't been told) may not be the best idea, because it can only output so much volume, and there will be the temptation to crank the amp beyond that which will only result in heating it up, not getting louder.

I used the TCE BAM200 (the tiny, cheap, 200W one) with full band (8 piece) using an Orange 410 cab. It won't startle seismograph operators in the vicinity ;) but it can do 'loud enough'. It's surprisingly ballsy. I'd probably choose the BH250 over it, for the OP, 'though. Not because of the additional 50W, which I doubt will make any significant difference, but because it's only £60 more (£189 vs £129) and it's only marginally larger, but it has an aux input, a mute switch, and a built-in tuner, which the BAM200 lack. Also, the BH250 is the amplifier at one of the local open mic places and I've heard it in action many times [*] and it's not bad at all.

[*] It's an open mic, but the evening typically sees a couple of bands playing short sets (40 mins or so), so it's pretty varied. My band has played there many times, BH250 plus a 210 cab or sometimes a 410. It's a pretty cool little amp. 

 

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If Dad has to tune it.... we are talking infant stage. My advice is to not give advice; let Dad  make buying decision; if something goes wrong/awry well you know..... 

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