#1
I've decided when I get a bass, a 5-string is a good move for range. The problem is, I've realized I'm quickly getting over my head when it comes to what amp I should look at that will work reasonably well with the low B, at least as speaker size is concerned. I'm eyeballing a used Ampeg BA115 to pair with a Yamaha TRBX305, but may consider a Sterling Ray5 or Ibanez SR305.

The BA115 is appealing because of the used price, Ampeg's reputation, the headphone jack, and XLR output. I realize a gig setting is going to require a little more kick, but that's not my main concern right now. I'm getting the impression 8" and 10" aren't enough to accomodate the low B, so looking at the 12"-15" range would be valuable there.
Guitars:
Squire Bullet Strat, Schecter Damien 6, Washburn WG-587 & RX10
Amp/Effects:
Peavy Vypyr 30, ISP Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.
#2
It isn't the speaker size. rather; it is the frequency at which the speaker is designed to operate. If you want punch from your bass - even a five-string - you go with 10" speakers. 15" speakers are for that low-end "boom," and a lot of bassists use a combination of the two for gigs and recording. The BA115 would be a fine amp for playing around the house, and as long as your band (or venue) has a good P.A. system, you can stick a microphone in front of it and gig with it.

The main thing to remember is that you need power to amplify that low "B" string. Something in the 200-watt RMS range would be fine.
"Drinking is a skill and should be recognized as such!"

Quote by gregs1020
FatalGear41 knows the ways of the obscure. I hear it's just not with Gibsons. Beware, Halloween approaches...


Quote by Spaz91
DAMNIT FATALGEAR YOU RUINED MUH FLOW!
#3
Thanks!
Guitars:
Squire Bullet Strat, Schecter Damien 6, Washburn WG-587 & RX10
Amp/Effects:
Peavy Vypyr 30, ISP Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.
#4
Any modern speaker that's 10" or above will handle the low end just fine; speaker size is more about volume, tone and weight these days, rather than necessity.

Yamaha TRBs and Ampeg BA115s both get pretty perfect reviews but just a few warnings:
Combos are heavy, 15" speaker combos even moreso. Look at TC Electronic or maybe Hartke if you want something on the lighter side.
The price range and style of bass guitar you're going for is probably the most varied there is at the moment. If you want an active five string then you want to look at pretty much everything by Yamaha, Ibanez, Schecter, Warwick Rockbass, Squier, Peavey, etc, etc. Personally I'd recommend 2nd hand basses for that budget (so you can get one with a decent preamp) and maybe look for something with noiseless single coils or tappable humbuckers. I've never liked the sound of a low B through a humbucker.
Wood doesn't affect tone. Grow up.
#5
Yeah, I've been trying out various basses, and the Yamaha TRBX\RBX series feels really good. I'm not so hot on the Squier or Fender necks and don't have Peavey's to check out. I'm basically looking between Yamaha 305, Ibanez 305 or Sterling Ray5 and those are pretty easy to come by 2nd hand. I like Schecter guitars, but I didn't care for the sound of the Stilettos I've tried, but they do feel nice. I'm not buying anything until January/February, so I'm in research mode right now.

I know of Hartke since my brother had a 4 x 10 cab and head when he was in high school, and the HyDrive 75 I played with sounded pretty good. I'll have to see about TC Electric.
Guitars:
Squire Bullet Strat, Schecter Damien 6, Washburn WG-587 & RX10
Amp/Effects:
Peavy Vypyr 30, ISP Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.
#6
Speaker cone size isn't the issue when it comes to reproducing the low B of a 5-string (mine is a Carvin LB75 with active preamp). Check out the Crazy 8 and Crazy 88 cabinets: http://www.barryaudiodesign.com/crazy-8s.html

I'm using both fEARful 15/6/1's and fEARless F115s (you can also find these at Barry Audio Design, because they're custom builders for these cabinet designs). Both have a 15" speaker as the LF driver and either a 6.5" or 5" driver (by 18Sound or Faital, as I recall) for the mids, with a 1" tweeter setup for the top end. But you can also get these same cabinets with 12" and 10" LF drivers, and they sound identical. What's different is the volume, the power handling and the cabinet size. All will reproduce the low end identically. All of these cabinets use the Eminence Kappalite 3015/3012/3010 LF drivers (http://www.parts-express.com/eminence-kappalite-3015lf-neo-15-speaker-driver--290-598 ) and take advantage of the extended Xmax of these speakers.

As Spaz91 put it, "speaker size is more about volume, tone and weight these days, rather than necessity."

Don't put a 15" cabinet with a 4x10 cabinet assuming that one will do mids and the other bass -- very often you can end up blowing the single 15", which often can't handle as much power as the 4x10. I know that manufacturers show stacks that way, but the 4x10's usually have more volume output and will even do better with the low end than the 15" cabinet.
#7
What I've never quite understood is how hi-fi speakers can do full range, yet everything but a Tannoy Westminster is smaller than a bass cab.
#8
Quote by bjgrifter
Yeah, I've been trying out various basses, and the Yamaha TRBX\RBX series feels really good. I'm not so hot on the Squier or Fender necks and don't have Peavey's to check out. I'm basically looking between Yamaha 305, Ibanez 305 or Sterling Ray5 and those are pretty easy to come by 2nd hand. I like Schecter guitars, but I didn't care for the sound of the Stilettos I've tried, but they do feel nice. I'm not buying anything until January/February, so I'm in research mode right now.

I know of Hartke since my brother had a 4 x 10 cab and head when he was in high school, and the HyDrive 75 I played with sounded pretty good. I'll have to see about TC Electric.


+1 to the Yamaha basses. They are grossly underrated instruments. I just wish Yamaha would start focusing on their bass lineup again.

I was not a fan of the HyDrive series of amplifiers. They were delayed in their release to the public for over a year after they started advertising them, and when I finally got to play a 2x10 combo, it buzzed like hell from speaker vibrations. There was simply too much metal on the chassis. I hate those steel cage grilles that so many amplifier manufacturers are using.
"Drinking is a skill and should be recognized as such!"

Quote by gregs1020
FatalGear41 knows the ways of the obscure. I hear it's just not with Gibsons. Beware, Halloween approaches...


Quote by Spaz91
DAMNIT FATALGEAR YOU RUINED MUH FLOW!
#9
I've had a Warwick 5-string and I couldn't get on with it at all.
I've got a Status Graphite (actually wooden neck, maybe with some graphite in it) and it plays really well.
#10
Quote by FatalGear41
+1 to the Yamaha basses. They are grossly underrated instruments. I just wish Yamaha would start focusing on their bass lineup again.

I was not a fan of the HyDrive series of amplifiers. They were delayed in their release to the public for over a year after they started advertising them, and when I finally got to play a 2x10 combo, it buzzed like hell from speaker vibrations. There was simply too much metal on the chassis. I hate those steel cage grilles that so many amplifier manufacturers are using.


I'm still listening to various amps. I mean, I don't need some 8x10 cab right now, but looking at the cost of some stuff, getting into a decent head with a 4x10 could be reasonably had for $400-500 easy if I look used. Not saying I'm going that route...at least, right now. Hartke just comes to mind because one of my brothers had a head and 4x10 cab from them when we were high school. I think my wife would lose her shit if I snagged that right now. She's given the okay, but that would push it.

I failed to mention it earlier, but I am going to be difficult because of the inclusion of a headphone jack...unless I can run and XLR output into my DI box and use headphones through that (Presonus iOne) for silent practice. I don't want to wake my kids up at 2AM while I rock out.

So, yeah, to be clear, I'm trying to get some 5-string friendly bass amp with a headphone jack or way to listen to it silently.
Guitars:
Squire Bullet Strat, Schecter Damien 6, Washburn WG-587 & RX10
Amp/Effects:
Peavy Vypyr 30, ISP Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.
#12
Assuming you have access to them, take a look at the amps, cabinets, and combos from Acoustic. They sound great and the new models all come with a headphone jack. They also get very loud, so they must be doing something right.
"Drinking is a skill and should be recognized as such!"

Quote by gregs1020
FatalGear41 knows the ways of the obscure. I hear it's just not with Gibsons. Beware, Halloween approaches...


Quote by Spaz91
DAMNIT FATALGEAR YOU RUINED MUH FLOW!
#13
Quote by prowla
What I've never quite understood is how hi-fi speakers can do full range, yet everything but a Tannoy Westminster is smaller than a bass cab.


They can and they can't. Frequency range is almost a useless figure on it's own. Frequency response, maximum SPL, and others are what you need to look at. The Westminster, whilst it can reach down to 18Hz (iirc, may be 15) that 18Hz is probably 6dB lower than the reference. Frequency response should show the frequency range where the response falls within +/-3dB of the reference signal (flat). 3dB is widely considered where differences become noticeable from the reference. 6dB is a HUGE difference. Hence why some hiring speaker manufacturers will give the overall frequency range, and then a frequency response, which is the range where their speakers deviate from the reference signal by a maximum of 3dB.
#14
Quote by FatalGear41
Assuming you have access to them, take a look at the amps, cabinets, and combos from Acoustic. They sound great and the new models all come with a headphone jack. They also get very loud, so they must be doing something right.


Guitar Center has them, but I haven't tried one out yet. Thanks for the tip.
Guitars:
Squire Bullet Strat, Schecter Damien 6, Washburn WG-587 & RX10
Amp/Effects:
Peavy Vypyr 30, ISP Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.
#15
Quote by Deliriumbassist
They can and they can't. Frequency range is almost a useless figure on it's own. Frequency response, maximum SPL, and others are what you need to look at. The Westminster, whilst it can reach down to 18Hz (iirc, may be 15) that 18Hz is probably 6dB lower than the reference. Frequency response should show the frequency range where the response falls within +/-3dB of the reference signal (flat). 3dB is widely considered where differences become noticeable from the reference. 6dB is a HUGE difference. Hence why some hiring speaker manufacturers will give the overall frequency range, and then a frequency response, which is the range where their speakers deviate from the reference signal by a maximum of 3dB.

Well, I just mentioned the tannoy as a large speaker.
But a decent hi-fi can do deep bass.
#17
Quote by Deliriumbassist
prowla

On their own, and without vast swathes of power, not as much deep bass as you seem to think.

OK - it may be an illusion then.
#18
Choose your illusion?
Guitars:
Squire Bullet Strat, Schecter Damien 6, Washburn WG-587 & RX10
Amp/Effects:
Peavy Vypyr 30, ISP Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.
#20
Quote by Deliriumbassist
I've been in hifi sales before, and negotiating a job offer with one of the world's top ten speaker manufacturers on Wednesday, I have a bit of experience

That's nice.
I've got a Hi-Fi.
#21
A few basics:
Low "E" on a 4 string bass is 41hz. Low "B" on a 5 string is 31 hz. Guess what... very few bass amps really reproduce either bottom string at full volume but most all of them will reproduce the 2nd harmonic well which is 82 or 62 hz respectively. What does that mean? Buy a bass amp for the tonal qualities and SPL output you will need and mostly ignore absolute bottom frequency, speaker size, and watts. A very rough tonal guide: 15" tends to give a full rounded bottom while a 4x10 gives a tight punchy bottom.

Most hi-fi speakers/studio monitors won't reproduce much clean bass below 40 hz either unless you have dedicated powered subs. A 40hz high pass filter eliminates a lot of non-musical rumble and will often clean up the bottom of a bass track a lot.

http://www.contrabass.com/pages/frequency.html
"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
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Nov 28, 2016,
#22
Quote by Cajundaddy
A few basics:
Low "E" on a 4 string bass is 41hz. Low "B" on a 5 string is 31 hz. Guess what... very few bass amps really reproduce either bottom string at full volume but most all of them will reproduce the 2nd harmonic well which is 82 or 62 hz respectively. What does that mean? Buy a bass amp for the tonal qualities and SPL output you will need and mostly ignore absolute bottom frequency, speaker size, and watts. A very rough tonal guide: 15" tends to give a full rounded bottom while a 4x10 gives a tight punchy bottom.

Most hi-fi speakers/studio monitors won't reproduce much clean bass below 40 hz either unless you have dedicated powered subs. A 40hz high pass filter eliminates a lot of non-musical rumble and will often clean up the bottom of a bass track a lot.

http://www.contrabass.com/pages/frequency.html

Thanks, yes.
Hence my "illusion" comment. :-)
I've got a set of bass pedals which go down low too; apparently a 32' organ pipe can do 16.4 Hz and there are "dangerous" ones on youtube with 128' pipes.
#23
Quote by prowla
What I've never quite understood is how hi-fi speakers can do full range, yet everything but a Tannoy Westminster is smaller than a bass cab.


I had a set of those Tannoys ("Please take them. We don't have the room for them"). The single 15" versions are 300 lbs of (mostly) wood, and they're huge. Like a lot of 70-year-old designs, they're horn-loaded (the Tannoy's folded horn is actually about 11' long) and that's what's theoretically responsible for lows (and I never actually heard anything below about 32Hz on them and I honestly can't confirm that). The folded horn speaker cabinets are efficient (relatively speaking) compared to a standard speaker mounted on a board, which is mostly what you'll see these days. The fact that you can buy a LOT of power cheap and that speaker tech has advanced to the point of providing large XMaX is responsible for the demise of most folded/ported horn setups.
Last edited by dspellman at Nov 29, 2016,
#24
Quote by prowla
Thanks, yes.
Hence my "illusion" comment. :-)
I've got a set of bass pedals which go down low too; apparently a 32' organ pipe can do 16.4 Hz and there are "dangerous" ones on youtube with 128' pipes.


Most organ pipes end at around 16' -- the amount of air required to push a 32' pipe limits that to maybe 4 or 5 organs on the planet, and there are no "dangerous" 128' ones -- they're hoaxes that exist only on YouTube.
#25
Quote by dspellman
I had a set of those Tannoys ("Please take them. We don't have the room for them"). The single 15" versions are 300 lbs of (mostly) wood, and they're huge. Like a lot of 70-year-old designs, they're horn-loaded (the Tannoy's folded horn is actually about 11' long) and that's what's theoretically responsible for lows (and I never actually heard anything below about 32Hz on them and I honestly can't confirm that). The folded horn speaker cabinets are efficient (relatively speaking) compared to a standard speaker mounted on a board, which is mostly what you'll see these days. The fact that you can buy a LOT of power cheap and that speaker tech has advanced to the point of providing large XMaX is responsible for the demise of most folded/ported horn setups.

I was more pointing out that most speakers are smaller.
I did have a pair of Tannoy Westminsters for a short time and they were a very organic sounding speaker.
I may upgrade my Hi-Fi speakers at some point; at the moment I've got Linn Kabers (they replaced my Linn Kans, which definitely don't reproduce 32ft!).
#26
Quote by prowla
What I've never quite understood is how hi-fi speakers can do full range, yet everything but a Tannoy Westminster is smaller than a bass cab.


It's fairly simple. The bottom frequency of a speaker is determined primarily by it's resonant frequency, though that is modified by the cab it is in. Just like a bass string the heavier the cone the lower the frequency and the tighter the cones suspension the higher the frequency. So you can tune a small cone low by having a sloppy suspension and a thicker cone and a big cone high by making it lighter and having a stiff suspension. Obviously a big cone is easier to tune lower because it is naturally heavier.

The other thing that goes on is that big cones are more efficient at bass and the total amount of bass is a product of the square of the cone area and the distance it can travel.

The 8" driver in my hi fi goes down to 33 Hz and will travel 8mm before leaving the magnet. My 12" bass drivers only go down to 50Hz and will travel 7mm. The main difference in use is that the hi-fi drivers only produce 89dB for a 1W input but the pair of 12's produce 102dB for the same input. That means they are much louder. For the hi fi it doesn't matter as I listen at about 90dB and sit only a few feet away. For the bass speakers I use them in rooms with hundreds of people some of whom are quite a distance away. Hi fi speakers sacrifice volume for low frequencies.
#27
Quote by Phil Starr
It's fairly simple. The bottom frequency of a speaker is determined primarily by it's resonant frequency, though that is modified by the cab it is in. Just like a bass string the heavier the cone the lower the frequency and the tighter the cones suspension the higher the frequency. So you can tune a small cone low by having a sloppy suspension and a thicker cone and a big cone high by making it lighter and having a stiff suspension. Obviously a big cone is easier to tune lower because it is naturally heavier.

The other thing that goes on is that big cones are more efficient at bass and the total amount of bass is a product of the square of the cone area and the distance it can travel.

The 8" driver in my hi fi goes down to 33 Hz and will travel 8mm before leaving the magnet. My 12" bass drivers only go down to 50Hz and will travel 7mm. The main difference in use is that the hi-fi drivers only produce 89dB for a 1W input but the pair of 12's produce 102dB for the same input. That means they are much louder. For the hi fi it doesn't matter as I listen at about 90dB and sit only a few feet away. For the bass speakers I use them in rooms with hundreds of people some of whom are quite a distance away. Hi fi speakers sacrifice volume for low frequencies.

Yes, so guitar speakers don't have the travel - does that mean that they need a bit more development, could they use Isobarik principles to boost them & simulate larger cabs?
Guitar amps tend to be more powerful than Hi-Fi ones (I think my hi-fi is 75Wpc, though I've never cranked it up to find out!), so they could deliver more to the speaker.
#28
Quote by prowla
I was more pointing out that most speakers are smaller.
I did have a pair of Tannoy Westminsters for a short time and they were a very organic sounding speaker.
I may upgrade my Hi-Fi speakers at some point; at the moment I've got Linn Kabers (they replaced my Linn Kans, which definitely don't reproduce 32ft!).


I have no idea what "organic sounding" means. As with most folded horn setups, the speakers themselves aren't bigger; the cabinets are. The cabinets are designed to make up for the lack of efficiency or power handling of the speakers they house, but almost all of them give up something else in the process. The most obvious, of course, is that they take up a LOT of space and weigh a ton. These designs were popular when the most powerful amps of the day were all tube and running 35-60W per cabinet. With the advent of huge amounts of cheap power and the development of speakers with a lot of cone travel, all that carpentry declined in popularity.