#1
Right now I have a Peavey Tour TNT115, and it's not super great. It gets the job done fine, but I want a tone that I love. I've looked at a lot of amps, the main ones that I keep coming back to as possible options are the Ampeg SVT7Pro, Markbass Little Mark 800, Carvin B2000, and in a different vein, the Sun 300T.

I'm concerned about wattage. Wattage needed for bass is a foreign world to me (I am more of a guitarist). I have a 600W 1x15 combo, and I have to crank it way up to keep up with my band. Same story with my 1000W Electro-Voice 1x15 PA. This really concerns me. I hate having to crank my amp to sit well in the mix. I like having a lot of headroom left over to play with and not have to run the amp so hard. Will a 4x10 make a notable difference over a 1x15 in this regard?

Now for the fun stuff, onto tone. This is some of the stuff that I want to be able to sound like:

Between the Buried and Me - Viridian (skip to 0:45)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbb2AvqmhLQ

[Coheed and Cambria - Delirium Trigger
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTYzLPdLN5k

Coheed and Cambria - Domino the Destitute (Riff at 7:08)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRoN4_kG6XM

Haken - The Cockroach King
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQiF1NZMPEE


Something I'm not sure about is that I'm afraid I'm attributing to tone what is really just playing I like.

I'd like to keep the budget around something I can get for $500 used (for just the head. I'll get whatever cab matches it).

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#2
Your amps have more than enough power to keep up, if anything it's your EQ that's keeping you buried in the mix.

PS - Hakens The Mountain is my favourite album of 2013, absolutely love it.
Gear:
EBMM Bongo HS 4
EBMM Sting Ray 5
Eden D410T
Tech 21 Sansamp RBI
Tech 21 Sansamp RPM
Art 341 Dual Channel EQ
QSC GX5 Power Amp
#3
I have heard that the Tour TNT115 is lying about its power so it's not really 600 watts.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#4
Yeah, EQ is an issue. Cutting through gets easier when it's dialed in to a real spanky funk type tone. Problem is I hate that tone.


I'm reading that speakers make a really big difference for bass - that a 410 will be a vast improvement over a 115. Thoughts on that?
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#5
I've never been a fan of 15" cabs. When I did use cabs I would use a 2x12. Now everything I do is just DI anyways no more use for cabs.

4x10 would sound better in my opinion.
Gear:
EBMM Bongo HS 4
EBMM Sting Ray 5
Eden D410T
Tech 21 Sansamp RBI
Tech 21 Sansamp RPM
Art 341 Dual Channel EQ
QSC GX5 Power Amp
#6
A lot of bassists run into this problem; particularly when they go from home practice and garage jams to playing gigs. Fear not; for there are solutions! First things first: You will get more bass "punch" from two or four 10" speakers than from a 15" speaker. You seem to be into some heavy music, and you will need that "punch" to be heard in the mix. You mentioned the Carvin B2000. Unless you are a diehard tube amp junkie, you would be hard-pressed to find a better bass amp for heavy music at any price. That thing is a monster, and it has a sub-bass control in the EQ that can - through the right cabinet - cause the audience to lose control of their bowels with a single low "B" note. Of the amps you mentioned, I recommend that one. Just put it with a cabinet that can get the most out of it - a 4x10" cabinet at least.

Figuring out how much bass amplifier power you require is not as mysterious as some people would have you believe. First, there is the old "Rock and Roll Bass Formula:" you need three (3) times the RMS power of your guitarist(s). If your guitarist is playing through a dimed-out 100 watt Marshall and a 4x12 cabinet, you are going to need to push at least 300 watts RMS through your bass amp to be heard in the mix - and you will need at least a 4x10 cabinet to generate enough "sound" to be competitive.

Now; there is something else to consider that is very important: all watts are not created equal. How can that be, you say? 300 watts RMS is 300 watts RMS! Well; this is true - on a decibel meter. But the human ear does not perceive all sounds in exactly the same fashion. This is where the guitarist who swears that his tube amp is "louder" has a point: his 100 watt tube amp is going to seem louder to the listener than a 100 watt solid-state amp cranked to the same volume level. This is because the tube amplifiers accentuate the even harmonics, whereas solid-state amplifiers accentuate the odd harmonics. The human ear perceives even harmonics better than it perceives odd harmonics, so the tube amp seems to be louder than the equally-powered solid-state amplifier. It is not actually any louder, but to a human ear, it sure seems like it is.

Audio techs will tell you that once you reach the near-maximum output level of the amplifier, both the even and the odd harmonics pretty much even out. This is true, but unless your band seeks to be the second coming of KISS, you are not going to be playing constantly at ear-shattering volumes. So even with a solid-state bass amplifier that is rated at 300 watts RMS, you might have trouble cutting through the mix if your guitarist is rocking his 100 watt Marshall tube amp at Heavy Metal volume levels. This is why so many bass amps have what seem to be ridiculous power amp capabilities. For example, the Carvin B2000 will put out 2,000 watts RMS all day long. So your best bet with a bass amplifier is to get one with more RMS power than you will ever really need. Fortunately, this describes just about all of the serious gigging bass amps on the market today.

You may be wondering if you should just get a tube bass amplifier? Well; you can, and there are some great ones on the market - most notably the Ampeg SVT. But there are real drawbacks to tube bass amps. First; they are very expensive. Second; they require a veritable forest of expensive power tubes to function (six 6550 power tubes for the Ampeg SVT to generate 320 watts RMS). On the day that you need to perform a re-tube, you are going to freak out when you see the bill. Third; tube amplifiers are very heavy, and tube bass amplifiers are freakishly heavy. The Ampeg SVT bass head weighs eighty-five pounds! And don't get me started on Hiwatt's DR-405, which is rated at 400 watts RMS. Hauling those back-breakers to gigs and practice sessions gets old (and painful) very quickly. If you absolutely want a tube bass amp and are willing to live with those three major drawbacks, then by all means, go for it. They do sound remarkably good.

As others have stated, setting the EQ on a bass amp is sometimes a major pain, because bass frequencies are not as distinct to the human ear as are guitar frequencies. Then there is the legendary strangeness of bass tones and proximity. You may be playing through a monster bass rig with an 8x10" 'fridge cabinet, and up on stage, you can barely hear yourself even though you've really cranked it. Then you look fifty feet out in front of the stage and see three dead bodies laying on the floor because at that distance, your bass rig at that volume level has become a weapon of mass destruction. This weirdness has a lot to do with a specific room's particular acoustics, but it happens. This is why the bassist always fights hardest for a good sound check before performing a gig. You need to know how your bass rig is going to sound throughout the room; not just onstage.

Cabinet efficiency is also a major factor in the equation. The better cabinets are more efficient, and this translates into more and better sound coming out of them. This is the main reason why some cabinets can be had for low prices, whereas other cabinets with the same speaker size and arrangement cost three or four times as much. Crafting a very efficient speaker cabinet for any instrument is no easy feat, and you get what you pay for.

I hope this information is of some use to you. Try some bass amplifiers in the 500 watts or more range, and this includes the new Class "D" micro amps. I played a 500 watt GK micro amp a while back and it was actually difficult to get a bad tone out of it. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Good luck to you! You'll find your sound. Just stick with it until you achieve what you really want.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Last edited by FatalGear41 at Apr 21, 2014,
#7
Thank you so much for typing all of that! I really appreciate it.

No, I am not really concerned about tube or solid state. I would prefer SS actually to simply avoid those insane retube costs altogether, and the weight factor is another good point. I mentioned the Sunn 300T because two bands whose bass tones I happen to love (Between the Buried and Me & Born of Osiris) both happen to use that particular map. But if I can get in the ballpark with something SS, I'm a happy camper.

I was looking at Carvin amps again today, and they don't seem to actually have a model that is ideal for me. I would get the BR410 cab, which has 800W continuous handling in a 8O or 4O option. So I'd like a head that puts out 800W @ 4O with the 4O cab f0r the most flexibility and future proofing with other heads, but the closest thing they offer is the B1000 which puts out 600W @ 4O. And it's not a rackmount head which I was hoping to be able to get. And it doesn't have a graphic EQ, which is a feature I was also hoping to have.

Do you think the B1000 with a BR410 cab would be up to snuff in terms of headroom and volume capability?

There's also the BR1500, which IS rackmount and DOES have a graphic EQ - it puts out 900W @ 8O & 1500W @ 4O. I can't really afford, nor do I want the space or hassle of 2 cabs right now. From playing guitar, having an amp that overpowers the cab is something that terrifies me. Should I be equally terrified here if I paired this guy with the 8O BR410? Can I pair them without freaking out as long as I don't dime the amp? Not worth risking at all?

Thanks.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
Last edited by Offworld92 at Apr 22, 2014,
#8
Quote by FatalGear41
This is because the tube amplifiers accentuate the even harmonics, whereas solid-state amplifiers accentuate the odd harmonics. The human ear perceives even harmonics better than it perceives odd harmonics, so the tube amp seems to be louder than the equally-powered solid-state amplifier. It is not actually any louder, but to a human ear, it sure seems like it is.


I was under the impression that that was a myth, but I could be wrong.
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?
#9
Quote by Dave_Mc
I was under the impression that that was a myth, but I could be wrong.

Either way, one more thing to point out in the SS vs. tube debacle is that the reason for the crazy high wattage on SS heads is to give you headroom. You need to make sure you have enough headroom and can still be heard in the mix. You don't want to be cranking that SS head to kingdom come because when it starts clipping its going to be unpleasant.

Cabs are a whole other, very important part of the equation. A lot of people will tell you the 4x10 vs. 1x15 thing all comes down to personal preference, and it will depend on the cabs in question. Instead of going the 4x10 route you could also stack 2 2x10s on top of one another (vertically, like a tower), that might help you if you feel like you're being drowned out. Also try elevating a 4x10 or even try it with your combo. Stick it on a stand or a chair or something, just get it off the ground a bit.
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
#10
From the Peavey TNT 115 manual, your power amp is 150w RMS @ 4 ohms not the 600w sales BS.
http://assets.peavey.com/literature/manuals/80301901.pdf

Not nearly enough amp to play the heavy stuff live without becoming roadkill. Shop for 400w RMS at 8 ohms (from the actual engineering specs) and get an efficient 100 db SPL 410 NEO cab and you will be golden. Ignore all the salesman puffery talk like "continuous power, music power, peak power" it is all nonsense when shopping for a quality bass amp.

Also tell your guitarist to turn down
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Apr 22, 2014,
#11
How can I find out how powerful an amp or cab actually is if the marketing numbers mean nothing?
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#12
Quote by Offworld92
How can I find out how powerful an amp or cab actually is if the marketing numbers mean nothing?


Look for the RMS (root means squared) wattage. This is the average power, which will give you a better idea than the peak wattage which certain manufacturers display to trick consumers. Of course, even then, it's not completely definitive.
Spare a Cow
Eat a Vegan
#13
Quote by Offworld92
Do you think the B1000 with a BR410 cab would be up to snuff in terms of headroom and volume capability?


Oh, hell yes! I've had the earlier version of the BRX amp - the Carvin Redline R1000 through a 4x10" and a 1x15" setup - for several years, and it is plenty loud and very versatile. The B1000 has a simpler EQ and the sub-bass control, and you can put it in a Carvin head cabinet or a typical rackmount unit. That setup would serve you in anything except a huge outdoor festival, and in that case, you would probably just put a microphone in front of your cabinet and send it through the P.A. system.

You need not worry about the amp having more power than the cabinet is rated to handle, unless you play your amplifier at maximum volume constantly. Your sound will begin to distort through the overloaded speakers long before you reach the damage point, so you will know when you are overdoing it. Carvin's BR-410 cabinets are rated at 800 watts @ 4 ohms, so you have plenty of range with which to play.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#14
Quote by Offworld92
How can I find out how powerful an amp or cab actually is if the marketing numbers mean nothing?


Google it. Every amp has the engineering spec sheet online in their tech support pages. If they don't rate their amp in watts RMS @ 8 ohms... move along.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#15
Quote by Tostitos
Either way, one more thing to point out in the SS vs. tube debacle is that the reason for the crazy high wattage on SS heads is to give you headroom. You need to make sure you have enough headroom and can still be heard in the mix. You don't want to be cranking that SS head to kingdom come because when it starts clipping its going to be unpleasant.


Oh yeah, I'm a total tube fan (for guitar, and I suspect so for bass too though I obviously have far less experience with that), and certainly for guitar (and I assume bass too) you want the headroom on SS stuff for the reason you said, it doesn't sound good when cranked. Just the odd versus even harmonics thing I think I've read is a myth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tube_sound#Harmonic_content_and_distortion

"Push-pull amplifiers use two nominally identical gain devices "back to back". One consequence of this is that all even-order harmonic products cancel, leaving odd order products to dominate.[10] A push-pull amplifier is said to have a symmetric (odd symmetry) transfer characteristic, and accordingly produces only odd harmonics.

A single-ended amplifier has an asymmetric transfer characteristic, and produces both even and odd harmonics.[11][12][13] As tubes are often run single-ended, and semiconductor amplifiers are often push-pull, the types of distortion are incorrectly attributed to the devices (or even the amplifier class) instead of the topology. Push-pull tube amplifiers can be run in class A, AB, or B. "

Now, according to that, if only even order harmonics sound good, that would mean that all push-pull guitar amps would sound bad. So the plexi, JCM800, fender bassman, twin, deluxe reverb, pro reverb, vox ac30, vox ac15, peavey 5150/6505, soldano slo, mesa dual rectifier and mark series should all suck. Yeah I'm pretty sure that's BS.

Quote by Ziphoblat
Look for the RMS (root means squared) wattage.


Yeah

And also the impedance you're running at if it's an SS amp (or power amp). They often claim something is a certain wattage, when they mean it's that wattage at the minimum impedance (and often combos don't have the speaker at the minimum impedance so you can add an extension cabinet).
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?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Apr 23, 2014,