#1
This might be a long post, I apologise if so.

For some back story, I'm primarily a guitarist with a guitar set up that I consider decent enough to record with and play live. It cost me little over a grand (UK prices), excluding guitars. I delved into the low end about 3 years ago and have really taken bass quite seriously the past year or two so I could get it on par with my guitar playing. The problem is I'm still using a 15 watt Fender Rumble and I'm starting up a band in which I'm the bass player so I need a bass rig I can play live with.

I've read this thread, and has certainly given me some pointers, but I need help on what sort of bass tone to look for. I have no idea how to get certain bass tones and where you'd typically (I know it's subjective) use overdrive, for example. I know that I probably want a head and a 2x10 which I can later add a 1x15 if I want the extra oomph, or the other way round if that's your suggestion.

Budget? Probably £500 though £600 could be plausible too. That's for head and cab total cost. I'm willing to buy used if the products are out there on gumtree/eBay.

Styles that I play? Not really sure. I come from a metal background on the guitar, but delved into more progressive metal recently and the band I'm starting is going to be a blues/rock 3-piece. I prefer to use fingers on the bass too.

Not the longest thread I've seen, but thanks for reading and give me your recommendations, please!

Ask away anything else you need to know, I'm still new to the bass in the grand scheme of things! Cheers!
"Air created the greenness. And once you've got something, that leads to otherness." - Karl Pilkington.
#3
You can't really pick them by the flip of a coin. You should scope in thru the budget you are willing to spend, and then, pick the best suited to your gear. Most people have trouble choosing the right one as they have limited budget. For you, with that budget, you could find some decent brands like Hartke or Behringer. For heads, the higher watts, the better.
Last edited by Corexotic at Mar 19, 2014,
#4
Avoid Behringer amplifiers like the plague. Their quality control is the absolute pits, and they break down in no time at all.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#5
From my guitar background I know to stay the hell away from Behringer and Bugera. We don't like them either.

That Hartke bundle looks VERY promising and very tempting too. I know that bassists rate Hartke very highly, as well as Ashdown and Ampeg to my knowledge. I'm just totally blind going into amp searching in the bass department.
"Air created the greenness. And once you've got something, that leads to otherness." - Karl Pilkington.
#6
Ashdown is not as readily available in the U.S.A. as it is in the U.K., but they make fine amplifiers. Ampeg makes good stuff, but I can recommend only their more expensive models. Hartke is highly underrated in some circles, but if Victor Wooten is using their amps, then you know they must be first rate bass amps.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#7
Okay, great! Victor Wooten using them is a better reason than any. Though I have questions with the design of these cabs.

With 2 or 3-way PA speakers, you'll use a crossover to not get speakers to play frequencies they can't do well. Do bass amps have these too? Is there some sort of crossover on the cabinets themselves, or do you need to buy one separately? Do bassists even use crossovers when running 15" alongside 10"?
"Air created the greenness. And once you've got something, that leads to otherness." - Karl Pilkington.
#8
Quote by Lavatain
Okay, great! Victor Wooten using them is a better reason than any. Though I have questions with the design of these cabs.

With 2 or 3-way PA speakers, you'll use a crossover to not get speakers to play frequencies they can't do well. Do bass amps have these too? Is there some sort of crossover on the cabinets themselves, or do you need to buy one separately? Do bassists even use crossovers when running 15" alongside 10"?


Bass cabs do have internal crossovers between the tweeters and woofers yes. Really, you should avoid mixing speaker types. If you like the sound of 15" speakers, get 2 15" cabs. If you like the sound of 10" speakers, get 2 2x10" cabs.
EH


"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
#9
Quote by eddiehimself
Bass cabs do have internal crossovers between the tweeters and woofers yes. Really, you should avoid mixing speaker types. If you like the sound of 15" speakers, get 2 15" cabs. If you like the sound of 10" speakers, get 2 2x10" cabs.

Any reason behind this train of thought, just curious. I used a Hartke 4x10 and 15 together and liked the combo better than either one alone. Having to pick one I'd of gone with the 10's but liked the combo better.

Quote by Lavatain

With 2 or 3-way PA speakers, you'll use a crossover to not get speakers to play frequencies they can't do well. Do bass amps have these too? Is there some sort of crossover on the cabinets themselves, or do you need to buy one separately? Do bassists even use crossovers when running 15" alongside 10"?

No you don't need a crossover to run 10's and a 15 together, they are both being used for essentially the same frequencies just each is better at producing different ones, you could run crossovers to feed the 15 only the lowest frequencies and the 10's the higher end but it's not necessary
Last edited by jaymz9350 at Mar 12, 2014,
#10
Quote by FatalGear41
Since you are in the U.K., I suggest you take a look at Hartke amplifiers:

http://www.thomann.de/gb/hartke_2500_bass_head_bundle.htm


You know better than me about bass stuff (that goes without saying!), but there are some good deals on the genz benz stuff at the moment in the UK- would it be better? It's pushing the top end of the budget (and is way above if he needs the two speaker cabinets), but with one speaker cab would be just about doable.

Quote by eddiehimself
Bass cabs do have internal crossovers between the tweeters and woofers yes. Really, you should avoid mixing speaker types. If you like the sound of 15" speakers, get 2 15" cabs. If you like the sound of 10" speakers, get 2 2x10" cabs.


iI that true? I don't know anything about bass, but I've frequently heard of people mixing 10s with 15s because they like the mix.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
Quote by jaymz9350
Any reason behind this train of thought, just curious. I used a Hartke 4x10 and 15 together and liked the combo better than either one alone. Having to pick one I'd of gone with the 10's but liked the combo better.


Well I think a lot of bass players get into this idea that you perhaps need to mix the 10 and 15" speakers to "fill in" all the frequencies, which is not really necessary. Both will give you the frequency response you need. The difference between the 2 is more to do with the attack than anything.
EH


"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
#12
Quote by eddiehimself
Well I think a lot of bass players get into this idea that you perhaps need to mix the 10 and 15" speakers to "fill in" all the frequencies, which is not really necessary. Both will give you the frequency response you need. The difference between the 2 is more to do with the attack than anything.

I can see that point, as preference I prefer both but as stated before having to choose one 10's win for me.
#13
Quote by Dave_Mc
You know better than me about bass stuff (that goes without saying!), but there are some good deals on the genz benz stuff at the moment in the UK- would it be better? It's pushing the top end of the budget (and is way above if he needs the two speaker cabinets), but with one speaker cab would be just about doable.


Genz Benz makes good stuff. One does not hear much about them these days because the company is in a state of flux, so to speak, since Fender bought them out. Genz Benz used to make some monstrous bass amps - the GBE series - but they have gone almost completely over to the Class D micro-amps - massive power in a box the size of a car stereo. If you can find them at a price you can afford, then by all means, check them out.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#14
Quote by eddiehimself
Bass cabs do have internal crossovers between the tweeters and woofers yes. Really, you should avoid mixing speaker types. If you like the sound of 15" speakers, get 2 15" cabs. If you like the sound of 10" speakers, get 2 2x10" cabs.


As an extension of this, the size of the speaker doesn't really havethat much bearing on the sound of the cabinet, for the most part. At least when we compare 10's, 12's, 15's etc, they're all much of a muchness. Other factors at play (material of the cone, cone material of the enclosure, design of the enclosure, etc) will all have a much bigger impact on the sound of a cabinet.
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#15
Quote by FatalGear41
Genz Benz makes good stuff. One does not hear much about them these days because the company is in a state of flux, so to speak, since Fender bought them out. Genz Benz used to make some monstrous bass amps - the GBE series - but they have gone almost completely over to the Class D micro-amps - massive power in a box the size of a car stereo. If you can find them at a price you can afford, then by all means, check them out.


Yeah. As I said, I have nothing to compare it to, but normally when something is being blown out (as long as it's not being blown out because it sucks and no-one's buying it) it's normally good value compared to other stuff at normal prices- as long as it's suitable for the tones you want.

I just thought I'd mention it since I'm in the UK and you non-UKers might not be aware of the deals on here currently. I just checked though and they seem to be out of the 600 watters so it'd probably be pushing the budget a bit as the 900 watters are £100 more...

Though it's entirely probable there are other deals I'm unaware of- I'm guessing Ziphoblat has his finger on the pulse when it comes to bass deals here
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#16
Hi.

There's as much mythology about bass speakers as there is about guitar gear and the UK debate is being shaped by the claims of one or two manufacturers who post regularly on Basschat, the uk version of Talkbass both of which you ought to check out, not least because basschat is a good place to find used gear.

You can mix speakers, it's a bit hit and miss because you lose a bit of the character of both when you mix them, if you want the same sound with a 'bit more xxx' it doesn't work well because you get a new sound. It isn't really true about speaker size not mattering, bigger speakers are usually bassier though it doesn't have to be so, you can have a bassy ten or a toppy 15. Bigger speakers are going to be louder unless the little speaker has a huge expensive magnet.

That's my first advice, go used. You are unlikely to stick with your first purchase as you learn more about what sort of bassist you are and what tone you like. If you buy used then you can trade up and not lose anything in the trading.

If you just want something that works then Peavey is worth looking at used, it's un trendy and reliable. I started with a 2x15 and a 300W amp which you can pick up for not much over £200. Hartke Genz Benz, Ashdown are all good.

As a minimum you probably want about 300W worth of amp and a 1x15 or a 2x10. That'll take you louder than the drummer. If you have more speaker area then the extra efficiency would mean you could get away with a bit less amp power. Above this you would be better going through your PA as the drums would have to use the PA to match you. The trend in bass amplification is to go for smaller and lighter because more capable designs are coming out which let us do that. this does mean big heavy stuff is cheaper though as people trade up.

the best test of any amp and speaker is your own ears, not the advice on the internet. Buy something secondhand from a good manufacturer, live with it and then you'll decide your own direction.
#17
This is all amazing advice, I knew I could count on the bass forum knowing previous needs from the GG&A and EG sections.

Relating back to my guitar background, I can see why a PA-style crossover would be unnecessary for a bass amp set-up. Probably been done but not needed. 2x10 seems fine for my needs on its own really.

The problem there is I don't see any 2x10s pumping out more than 150 or 200 watts, yet a good minimum is 250-300 watts like said. Is this not an issue for bass amps? I'd imagine it still is and the recommendation is still "get a cab or cabs that match or exceed your head". Or do bassists not really care as long as they don't hit 7 on the master volume control?
"Air created the greenness. And once you've got something, that leads to otherness." - Karl Pilkington.
#18
Quote by Lavatain

The problem there is I don't see any 2x10s pumping out more than 150 or 200 watts, yet a good minimum is 250-300 watts like said. Is this not an issue for bass amps? I'd imagine it still is and the recommendation is still "get a cab or cabs that match or exceed your head". Or do bassists not really care as long as they don't hit 7 on the master volume control?

There are a lot of 2x10 that can handle 300w or more.

http://www.tcelectronic.com/rs210/
http://www.tcelectronic.com/rs210c/
http://www.markbass.it/product_detail.php?id=37
http://www.gallien-krueger.com/products/cabinets/
Damn it! Disable can't use disable to disable Disable's disable because disable's disable has already been disabled by Disable's disable!
#19
Quote by Lavatain
This is all amazing advice, I knew I could count on the bass forum knowing previous needs from the GG&A and EG sections.

Relating back to my guitar background, I can see why a PA-style crossover would be unnecessary for a bass amp set-up. Probably been done but not needed. 2x10 seems fine for my needs on its own really.

The problem there is I don't see any 2x10s pumping out more than 150 or 200 watts, yet a good minimum is 250-300 watts like said. Is this not an issue for bass amps? I'd imagine it still is and the recommendation is still "get a cab or cabs that match or exceed your head". Or do bassists not really care as long as they don't hit 7 on the master volume control?

It's always best to have higher rating on the speakers but if you're not stupid about it you can get away with it. I had a 350 watt head @4 ohms 200 watt @8 ohms, I started with a 150 watt 8 ohm cab and later added a 400 watt 8 ohm cab and never had any issues putting 175-200 into the 15 for years.
#20
Quote by Lavatain
The problem there is I don't see any 2x10s pumping out more than 150 or 200 watts, yet a good minimum is 250-300 watts like said. Is this not an issue for bass amps? I'd imagine it still is and the recommendation is still "get a cab or cabs that match or exceed your head". Or do bassists not really care as long as they don't hit 7 on the master volume control?


You would think so, but this is not the case. Actually, there are plenty of 10" bass speakers with very high wattage ratings, making 2x10" cabinets that handle 400 watts RMS or more very common. If you spend more and get the Neodymium speakers, a 2x10" cabinet that is rated at 600 watts RMS or more is pretty easy to find.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#21
Barefaced make a 1x10 that can take 600 watts. It's certainly possible; ordinary even, for a 2x10 to take high power ratings.
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Last edited by Ziphoblat at Mar 15, 2014,
#22
Again, this is all new to me. Good that there are 2x10s that can handle high wattages though. Just gotta look. Thanks again, guys!
"Air created the greenness. And once you've got something, that leads to otherness." - Karl Pilkington.
#23
I would send you to try out some Bass Preamps, especially a used SansAmp pedal sized unit.

And since you are a Guitarist, I would then direct you to see if you can find a Powered PA Cabinet or two (used as well). (If you do any cabinet modeling and are not addicted to a particular Rig and Cab, you can put them to use on the Guitar.)

Check the idea out at a music store with a SansAmp and a Bass.

When you are with a Band this is what the People are going to hear you through anyway, and if the tone is right, nothing else matters.

Start with your Preamp selection.
Ibanez BTB 1006 Fretless and 405 (no Barts)
456 & 455(w/Barts)
Genz Benz NeoX400 112T & NeoX 112T cab.
Digitech BP-8 (x2)
Yamaha PB-1
Boss: SYB-5, PS-2, OD-20, EQ-20, PH-3,BF-3, CE-20, DD-20
Morely A/B
#24
Cheers for the recommendation there! As a guitarist I much prefer to use amps and cabinets, rather than PODs and stuff just out of preference, so I don't currently have access to any of that as a sort of shortcut for a bass tone.

As it stands I'm eyeing up one of two Hartke 3500s (one of which is in my town) as well as Hartke 2.5 and 115 XL cabs. All going very cheap and very much in budget so far.
"Air created the greenness. And once you've got something, that leads to otherness." - Karl Pilkington.