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amp advice, combo or stack?


rogo

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so in my short time playing bass I’ve only ever used combos, I started with a small vox 15w practice amp which got me through my first gig, then I had an ashdown 50w combo which was alright but I wasn’t really digging the sound (I use a fender jazz bass mostly), but that made a horrific siren like noise when I used it so I traded it in for an ampeg rocket 50w, which I still have but hardly ever use as I was offered a trace Elliot gp7 300w combo by my drummers neighbour, which I absolutely adore and am a huge fan of, it’s my absolute favourite. Question is, am I better off with my current combo amp it would a head and cab maybe get me a better sound? Trace elliots are my favourite and I’m sure that other TE users will agree, so I’d maybe like a trace stack, but if anyone had any advice on what I should get please let me know! 

here’s my current amp, apologies for the rubbish photo

7DE65850-44E9-47CD-B242-09D114C96C72

 

cheers

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If it wasn't for forum induced GAS I would still be rocking essentially the same Trace rig except in two boxes and my cab is a bit bigger.

 

You can get much lighter stuff but you'll be hard pressed to sound any better.

 

If it's getting too much for the deadlift you could remove the amp and put it in its own case to make it easier. Otherwise, there's loads of gear out there to try. 

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Yup keep the Trace, you'd need to buy something much more expensive to sound any better, also mostly pretty bombproof.

Unless you need lighter eqpt then keep the Trace.

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Posted (edited)

Any Trace stack will be mega heavy if you buy a used one. Can be bought cheap here in UK as a result.

There is a dealer called Amp Broker in Poland who does Trace stuff with apparently reliable shipping. Might be expensive though,have a look on Reverb.

Edited by JottoSW1
Added Reverb dealer
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As you love your TE, I'd stick with it. Their combos were well made with a good sized cab', so nothing really to gain from switching to an amp and cab'. If you want more volume, I'd add a power amp and cab' and feed it from the pre out on your combo (assuming you don't mind the weight, which it appears you don't if you're carrying that combo already).

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If you’re looking to gig regularly it might be worth buying a Trace amp head to have as well as the combo, then at gear share gigs if another bassist has provided a cab you can still get your sound rather than having to find room on a (most likely) cramped stage for your combo. Otherwise I’m in agreement, keep the combo, Trace gear is good and reliable.

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Combos tend to be made with portability as their main goal, which means as small a loudspeaker enclosure as possible. That goes counter to Hoffman's Iron Law. If the size of your combo enclosure section is comparable to freestanding speakers then it's not likely that a separate head and speaker would be any better.

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If there's nothing wrong with it, stick. 

 

You can spend hundreds chasing some indescribable difference that you'll never catch. You have a good amp, you like it, keep it. 

 

Seriously, that's a very good amp. It will sound amazing. If you can manage the weight of it then keep it going. If it weren't for the weight I'd still have one of my old Trace's. Nothing else sounds like them.

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I've always preferred combos, as long as you're happy with the sound of both elements. From a gigging perspective, it's one less thing to account for when packing for the gig, one less thing to account for when packing up afterwards, and one less thing that's easy for someone to walk off with.

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5 hours ago, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

Combos tend to be made with portability as their main goal, which means as small a loudspeaker enclosure as possible. That goes counter to Hoffman's Iron Law. If the size of your combo enclosure section is comparable to freestanding speakers then it's not likely that a separate head and speaker would be any better.

 

If the combo is something like a 7215, then it's equivalent cab, the 1153, is only a couple of litres smaller in terms of volume- it's the same height and width, maybe 50mm shallower.

Same driver (I think), but shorter ports.

 

IF the amp section can do 280/300w into a 4 Ohm load,  a driver swap would liberate more power,  as the original driver is an 8 Ohm item. Means you couldn't use an extension cab,  though. 

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If you don’t mind the weight.  Stick with.

In 100 million years time, a future evolved species will find all these Trace combos in the fossil layer, and they’ll probably still sound good. 

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The lightest rig I have had is the current one, a 500W combo (800W with extension speaker) weighing under 10kg. The heaviest rig I have had was a Trace Elliot 4x10 combo weighing as much as a small neutron star. I had to carry it up a huge flight of stairs at the first gig I did with it. It didn't last long with me.

 

For flexibility, I'd go with separate amp and cab. For convenience, a combo.  If you've got enough volume and the sound you want with the current combo and you don't mind the weight, there doesn't seem any point changing.

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If you’re happy carrying it about, despite the weight, I agree, you should keep it. I had a Trace 715 in the early 90’s, fantastic bottom end and back then and all amps were heavy so no one knew any different. These days I’d opt for a separate amp and cab purely for the weight issue as I’m no longer 25! 

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After many years of using separate amps & cabs, I have recently bought a couple of Ashdown ABM combos - picked them both up for less than the price of a single second hand ABM head. On the heavy side, but sound superb. Easy to set up, too.

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Posted (edited)
On 02/06/2022 at 01:06, tauzero said:

The lightest rig I have had is the current one, a 500W combo (800W with extension speaker) weighing under 10kg. The heaviest rig I have had was a Trace Elliot 4x10 combo weighing as much as a small neutron star. I had to carry it up a huge flight of stairs at the first gig I did with it. It didn't last long with me.

 

For flexibility, I'd go with separate amp and cab. For convenience, a combo.  If you've got enough volume and the sound you want with the current combo and you don't mind the weight, there doesn't seem any point changing.

 

What is the light combo you mention?

Edited by jackreacher193
Mistake
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I always work on the principle that bass amplification can meet two out of three of the following criteria - light, cheap & good sound. If you want light and cheap, then you have to sacrifice sound quality. If you want light & good sound - then it won't be cheap, and if you want cheap and good sound, then it won't be light.

I currently have one light and good sounding rig (Orange LBT & Barefaced Super Compact) and two cheap and good sounding combos (ABM 500 - one 2x10 and one 1x15). The combos sound great, but if there are stairs involved, the lightweight gear is the only choice for me these days. I also used to have a 4x10 Trace combo, and lived on the third floor of a house converted into flats which no lift. I was 40 years younger then than I am now, and it was a struggle even then!

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5 hours ago, Chienmortbb said:

I would worry about putting 800W through a driver in a carbon fibre cab but then I worry about carbon fibre as a material anyway.

 

It's 500W as a combo, 800W with an extension cab. I worry about calcium as a material, at least the calcium that's supporting my body.

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Right behind me as I recline elegantly (!) on the sofa is a stack of Ashdown combos - two ABM 500s, on is a 1x15, the other a 2x10. I've had to stack them to make enough space in the lounge for another one I am going to look at tonight.

 

Everyone's heard about crazy old cat ladies, well, I think I'm turning into a crazy old ABM combo fella! So much amplifier for so little money - I just can't resist rescuing them and putting them back to work.

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