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Old 11-30-2013, 02:03 PM   #1
KingJustinian25
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Bass Head/Cabinet Size/Power

I'm a guitar player who's looking to buy a bass. I use a combo, so I haven't had to deal with buying a head/cabinets before. I'm looking for something that can handle playing with a drummer and bars eventually (which might be outdoor). I'm looking to start with something like a head + 2x10 combo. And then buy another cabinet (1x15 maybe) later on.

I'm confused at what wattage I should be looking at, and what OHM handling I should get. For example, I looked at the Markbass Little Mark 250. I could run it at 8 OHM into a 8 OHM cab at first, then at 4 OHM into two 8 OHM cabs later on. The thing is it runs at 150W at 8 OHMS and 250W at 4 OHM. What wattage should I get my first cab to be then so that it will sound good at both output settings?

For actual suggestions, I play rock and reggae/rock (RHCP, Sublime) and the budget isn't super strict, but I'd prefer to not break the bank.

Thanks.
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Old 11-30-2013, 05:58 PM   #2
Dave_Mc
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I can't help you with the gigging stuff (i've only recently taken up bass the way you have, from guitar), but I can (I think) help you with the cabinets/ohms/wattage thing.

The wattage of the cab shouldn't actually matter all that much for the two different impedance settings, because if you're running the cab alone with the little mark, 150 watts would be going into it, but if you were running it alongside another 8 ohm cab, while 250 watts total would now be output by the amp, that'd be split evenly among your two cabinets (so 125 watts into each, which is less than the 8 ohm cabinet sees alone).

In other words, if the cabinet can handle the 150 watts at 8 ohms, it'll be able to handle the output at 4 ohms too, as you'd be running it alongside a second cabinet and it'd only be getting 125 watts.

So yeah 150 watts handling should be fine for either situation. Though a bit more wattage handling is normally a sensible precaution, just in case.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:11 PM   #3
FatalGear41
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The standard formula for bass gigs is this: you need three (3) times the RMS output power of whatever your guitarists are using. If your guitarist is playing through a 100-watt Marshall and a 4x12 cabinet, then you are going to need at least 300 watts and a 4x10 cabinet or bigger. It also depends on what kind of music you play. If you are into the heavy stuff, then you may have to go even bigger.

A solid-state amp like the Markbass will work best when running at 4 ohms. That way, you get all of the available output power it has to offer.

Now; if you mic you bass cabinet and run it through your P.A., then you might not need as much firepower. But depending on where you gig and the P.A. you use, this might not be an option. A 250-watt head (running at 250 watts) with a GOOD 2x10" cabinet should handle small gigs well. Add another 2x10" cabinet for the larger gigs. But if you are in a Heavy Metal band, then you want to look at something with at least 300 watts and at least one 4x10" cabinet - and probably more.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
prof_fate
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Sound is waves - the more air you can move the louder you will be.
You can move more air in several ways - more watts (move the speaker cones farther, more speakers (of a given size) or more AREA of speakers (the old PI*Rsquared)

Some amps (and speakers) are more 'efficient' than others. Tube amps watts are not the 'same' as SS amps. Some are cleaner sounding than others at a given volume.

My PA system amp can run 250w into 8ohm speakers, more into 4ohm, more yet into 2ohm and if bridges (L and R into one channel) 1400w into 2 ohms. Not all amps are this versatile.

A good amp/speaker combo of 100w should keep up with a drummer - but as has been said it depends on many factors. And active pickup in your guitar will be louder with the same amp as a passive pickup guitar would be.
And you don't want to be running your rig at full volume all the time, yet running it too low won't get you the best sound either.
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Old 12-24-2013, 06:17 PM   #5
dspellman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingJustinian25
I'm a guitar player who's looking to buy a bass. I use a combo, so I haven't had to deal with buying a head/cabinets before. I'm looking for something that can handle playing with a drummer and bars eventually (which might be outdoor). I'm looking to start with something like a head + 2x10 combo. And then buy another cabinet (1x15 maybe) later on.

I'm confused at what wattage I should be looking at, and what OHM handling I should get. For example, I looked at the Markbass Little Mark 250. I could run it at 8 OHM into a 8 OHM cab at first, then at 4 OHM into two 8 OHM cabs later on. The thing is it runs at 150W at 8 OHMS and 250W at 4 OHM. What wattage should I get my first cab to be then so that it will sound good at both output settings?



I didn't notice an actual budget beyond which I should not go...

I did the same thing -- I'm a guitar/keyboard player who was asked to play bass ("..and no, you can't play bass on your keyboard..."). Rats.

I snagged a very cheap bass (around $100, as I recall) in black with a silly skull and crossbones on both the body and as the 12-fret inlay. So probably not the first choice for a worship band, questionable for wedding gigs <G>.

I assumed that I'd have to be snagging a 4x10 (auugh, the weight and bulk!) and an amp at some point, and since I've been around these guys for a long time, I knew it had to have some serious power.

So I did a little homework. I found that a Bass Pod XT (used; they're no longer made) would cost me about $80. Headphone practice, direct recording, direct to a PA mixer and a raft of amp and cabinet models. Foot pedals available...cool.

A 1500W solid state power amp from Carvin (the HD1500) would be $279. That plus the Bass Pod gave me a really versatile "amp head." And light -- the Carvin weighs 9 lbs! Puts out about 800W bridged mono into 8 ohms, 1500 bridged, mono, into 4 ohms.

The 4x10s are several dimes a dozen used. You never know what's near blowing out on them, however, and they're beasts to cart around.

After devouring Talkbass.com, I discovered the fEARful 15/6/1.

A single 15" speaker-based cabinet with a 6" mids and a 1" tweeter, it could handle 900W at 8 ohms easily and output monster sound. Hmm. A single one of those would really work well with that Carvin power amp.

Better yet, the thing could be done DIY, and speakerhardware.com has a cut-sheet kit that includes everything, including crossovers, drivers, the proper glue and the finishing supplies!

Not cheap (the Eminence Kappalite 3015LF driver is neo-based and prices on those had been going up). But if you order it in the right plywood (ask the folks at speakerhardware), you can put one together in the 40-50 lb range, and it will easily outdo a 4x10 all over the place. If you get rich and put TWO of them together, you now have a 4-ohm system that's absolutely perfect for that Carvin power amp (and now it's putting out 1500W into two speaker cabinets). Arena stuff.

But here's the thing -- carting this system, with the bass in a gig bag, the Pod and the power amp in a rack bag and the fEARful speaker in one hand (yup! I've got pictures of a *girl* one-handing it into a gig), you've got all you need for nearly any normal gig. Add just that second cabinet, and you've got stunning (literally, if you can get them close enough to the front of the stack) power with no farting out. Awesome rig. And it fits in a Honda FIT.
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Old 12-25-2013, 11:11 AM   #6
Phil Starr
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It's only a little complex because volume is affected by power, the efficiency of the speakers and also the tone you use. I've explained it all here http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/colu...ng_it_loud.html

No reason you shouldn't choose a combo if that is what you are used to either.

good luck.
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:10 PM   #7
John Swift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatalGear41
Now; if you mic you bass cabinet and run it through your P.A., then you might not need as much firepower. .


Better to D.I. bass, micing up bass is rarely as successful as D.I.ing.
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