Ok UG bass players, I'm in need of some education. Here's some background:

I'm a "guitar player" with a bass fetish. Guitar player is in quotes because I don't think i'm very good at it, mostly because between job/family life I never have time to properly practice. That being said, I was playing guitar in my church band until one day they asked if I could play bass since the bass player is moving. Since I actually started out on bass I naturally said yes. So i'm a mediocre bass player, but enjoy playing bass in the church band and on Rocksmith when i'm tired of playing guitar. So, I bought an Ibanez SR 1400E. I was playing with my bass plugged directly to a DI box to the mixer. I've since replaced the DI box with an EDEN WTDI, which has vastly improved the tone but doesn't solve the problem of being able to play at home or hopefully someday with a band.

Therefore I do believe I need an amp. Problem is that I don't even know where to start. I'm so unfamiliar with bass amps that I don't even know what to look for or what brand to start with. Also, being a guitarist, tube amps always seem to be the way to go, however most bass amps seem to be solid state.

I don't need to break the bank on an amp but I would like the possibility to maybe use the amp(head preferably) to plug direct to the PA/mixer. As far as tone, i'm not a Slapper and would fancy myself a Rock bassist more than anything.

any help you could give on a decent starter amp(willing to go used of course) would certainly narrow down where to start. So what's good these days, last bass amp I had was a Crate BX 80 and that was almost 20 years ago.

Look forward to your replies, Thanks!!
Well my church's bassist uses a Ampeg PF-350 head which I think he runs through the P.A. It seems pretty powerful and isn't too expensive.
if you get an amp but don't have a cab, it's sort of pointless since you will then just use it as a DI box, and you already have one. so would you want to get a combo or a head/cab? and btw, do you have a budget?
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
SS v Tube - SS provides a faster and harder attack than tubes for bass, in the Preamp stage.

Combo v. Head - Tube amps or all Bass Amps must remain away from the cabinets if you like your amp.

The absolutely best sounding bass amp I have ever heard is a Genz Benz NeoX 400-112t. The mix of the Tube and SS pre is second to none to most everyone who has heard me.

Non Combo - The Pre circuit of the NeoX is also found in the GBE 600, shame it was not used in the 750 or 1200.

The Richness of Copper - John Epstein at Gearslutz.com has mentioned the tonal attack lacking in digital amps. I tested the Benz ShuttleMax 12.2 and 12,0 against one another, and the Digital Tubey .2 was not a happy sound for me. the 12.0 was close to SS and the big copper coil power transformer but not quite there.

It is clear that the copper coil is integral to the tone that inspires me. A 40% tube is also necessary.

Presently I am making due with the SS Yamaha PB-1 to emulate some tube warmth stage one and stage 2 is the FET Pre on a GBE1200, then it is off to the power section and the NeoX Cabinets.

The Arena Rig is where I presently get everything I want as I use a GBE600 Pre with the signal shaping circuit that feeds from the effects send to the power sections of 2 GBE1200's driving 8 GB NeoX 12's.

What fun that was in the local 10K seat arena.

Since you have already explored DI's, then there no sense getting into the SansAmp and Yamaha PB-1 options.
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
Sliide90027: Thanks for the input, Genz Benz is not easy to find especialy the COMBO you mentioned, nothing on ebay and it doesn't seem the company makes it anymore. Any idea what in their current lineup adequately replaced that amp?
Most modern bass amps are solid state. There are still folks who cart around the big old 8x10 refrigerator size (and weight) cabinets and the 300W tube amps that go with them (expect to cart 300 lbs into a venue), but there aren't a lot of current bass players who consider that an advantage.

Bass does well with lots of power, and you can easily find bass amps in the 1500W range. The Carvin BX1500 is fairly typical, with a stereo pair of amps that will provide anything from 300W/channel@8 ohms up to 1500W (bridged, mono) at 4 ohms. Most notably, the whole thing weighs just 10 lbs and can live in a rack if you prefer.

At $499, this is likely going to be out of your budget for now (Carvin has less expensive models), but it's a good marker point for the direction that most bass gear is going, and is pretty well respected.

Cabinets have traditionally been big boxes full of 10", 12" or 15" speakers, usually with a tweeter to extend the range. A typical 4x10 or 1x15 will weigh 60-75 lbs. A 2x10 will only save you about 10 lbs of that. Newer cabinets have made use of better internal bracing schemes, newer neodymium-based drivers and thinner-wall plywood, along with some driver products from the Pro Audio world to produce 40-lb cabinets that are smaller, lighter, stronger and that have a flatter but wider frequency response and that are capable of handling prodigious amounts of power and of moving prodigious amounts of air. For these, however, you need to move away from folks like Genz Benz, Mark Bass, etc., and check out cabinets from designers like Alex Claber (barefacedbass.com), David Green (fEARful/fEARless cabinets), etc. Bass players are also turning to cabinets from folks who traditionally build for arena-type sound reinforcement, like Meyer Sound (these, however, are HEAVY).

At the lower (smaller) end, check out amps like the Carvin MB15 and MB10 Micro Bass amps (around $399). The MB12 is an amazing little 200W amp that weighs in at 30 lbs and that has a 12" LF driver, a 6.5" mids driver and a titanium tweeter and that offers a separate DI output *and* level so that you can run direct to a board and still monitor yourself onstage (or carry the thing home and work in a bedroom).

The 12" LF driver is tilted forward (down).
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 28, 2015,
The TC Electronic BG250-115 bass combo is a great choice as I've been using this for the past 6 months now and has not let me down, it comes with a headphone port, DI input jack and you can use the tone print to put any effect on your amp, it costs £263
DSPELLMAN: Thanks for the answer. I think i'm looking for a head and maybe a 1x15 cab. I'll check out the Carvin amps, always been interested in carvin stuff, in fact I have a 4x12 cab at home for my Marshall TSL. It has "carvin" speakers in it, but they are just rebranded Eminence Red Coats. A combo would be cool if I can carry it, but the head option gives me the option to just take a small head and DI it straight into the PA at church.

Again, thanks for the input, definitely helps me to refine my search.
genz benz is out of business, but jeff genzler is back in business, currently selling cabs but amps are to come in the future

for years i played carvin - a stack and a combo. they don't have my favorite tone, but they're pretty good and very cost effective, too.

if you want that tube sound, the hartke LH500 and LH1000 have a tube preamp, and man, these sound great. they're heavy compared to all solid state, though. i'm spoiled by the amps out there that put out plenty of watts and all weigh 5 to 10 pounds each.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
Acoustic B200H or B600H are good bass amp heads, I don't need more than 200watts so i naturally got the B200H bass amp head

Some demos:
Acoustic B200H bass amp head

Fender Bassman 100T

Fender Rumble bass amp combo
I have Washburn guitars 'Maverick Series' and bass 'Bantam Series' and a few pedals and amps, but man I wish to have more patience and drive practicing my playing, if it's equal to the modding itch, then I'm golden.
Grim - thanks for the shoutback.

Yes the NeoX 400 112t is a hard find. The last one seen on ebay went for $650.

The Company that handles my gear acquisitions picked up one slightly used and a NeoX 112t cab on that other forum, that keeps banning me and anyone associated with me, back in July for $850 shipped.

There is and was nothing created by Genz Benz that I have found to be as inspiring in tone as this amp. The GBE600 is the same circuit, and yet, when comparing amp to amp and type to type, even with different tubes (some not marked) the choice GBE600 that got close to the NeoX400 was not running a Ruby 12AX7, but something unmarked.

That amp has been sent to Andy Fuchs of Fuchs Audio Technologies who is presently extracting the preamp section to lighten the weight of the arena rack.

Having the support of this acquisition and holding company, I have had the opportunity to take on a few different amps from Genz as I sought to duplicate the effect of the NeoX 400.

I have my opinions on the ShuttleMax line on how the 12.2 is clearly different in tone JUST IN THE POWER AMP SECTION ALONE, from the 12.0, and how the Digital of the 12.0 is not quite the tone of the GBE1200.

They are just not the same, and the stated design intent of the 12.2 is admitted to not be the same as it is supposed to be emulating a tube amp.

Tube Amps still do not do it for me at all. That is just me. Give me the S/S punch.

Reading some posts by John Epstien at Gearslutz proved my perceptions of Digital Power v. S/S, and proved the Kool-aid Nazis on that bass site to be full of themselves and their propaganda.

Thus, all of the lightweight amps in the world might not make you happy. They all can suffer the issue that I found John address on that site, as there is a low mid that he points out the digital amps cannot seem to deliver on time. I would stage 12.0's when they could be found otherwise, but the truth is that my ear and mind is inspired by the Copper Transformers that the lightweight digitals lack.

Yes, GB is presently out of business, Kaman is threatening to bring them back, but without Jeff apparently. So, I see doubt that the GBE line will return,

Always keep your eyes peeled for a NeoX400. For now you might find a GBE600 to put in a rack and a NeoX112.

Later you might find a GBE1200 to use for greater power. Nice thing about using a bass amp as a power amp is that the Volume knob is not a mere attenuater, but actual power regulation.

There are others out there who share my opinion on the NeoX400, just like there are people who love Neve pres over API and Trident, the LA2A over the 1176.

The fact is that after a circuit design is settled, your sound is also dictated by your components like tubes. Mike a Lightning Boy went all the way and in his LA2A copies used Silver wiring and hand rolled capacitors.....crazy... but incredible sound.

For me the NeoX400 is the Neuman/Neve/LA2A of the Bass Amp world, and I and those with the company have been banned from that other forum for sharing our efforts to duplicate the tone from employment of similar amps.

Acoustic never did anything for me. Same with Mesa, SWR, GK, Ampeg. Inspiring sound is not common.
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
I own and love a Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 bass head. You can get these used for a good price. Not sure if they are available new anymore after Fender bought the company.

You can't go wrong with GK gear either.

My 2 cents