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 Post subject: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 5th, 2015, 4:34 am 
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So I'm back playing bass in a new band that's going to be gigging regularly (Finally! A band that actually gigs), and realizing I'm getting too old and weak to be haulin' my 90lb Eden 4x10" cabinet around. I just sold off my Genz Benz head, so all I have left is my Eden Navigator preamp, which requires a power source, which I plan on using with whatever my next setup will be.

I can go a few routes: either get a power amp + cabinet (2x10, 1x15, etc), a lightweight bass head + cab (Which I had with the Genz Benz, but it just never seemed to have enough power when used with the Eden Navigator. Maybe there was an impedance issue?), or just get a complete portable combo. Suggestions? Looking for something durable yet affordable. I've played through the Fender Rumble 500 2x10" combo and liked it, but wondering if there's something better out there. Plan on hitting the Super stores this week to audition stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 5th, 2015, 5:22 am 
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I have a Fender Rumble V3 200 and, for me, it is just awesome. With my Zon Sonus it gives me such a MEAN jazz bass tone. Very open, throaty, aggressive, but still very clear. And they are light. Mine weighs less than 40 pounds, I think.

The MarkBass combos are pretty light, too. The CMD102P in particular got really good reviews, but apparently they have a very modern tone that is not for everyone. I have to think they would be worth a demo at a local shop.

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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 5th, 2015, 10:31 am 
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PJ, what are your tone goals? Are you looking for vintage or modern tones? What bass will you be using primarily?


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 5th, 2015, 1:08 pm 
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AzWhoFan wrote:
PJ, what are your tone goals? Are you looking for vintage or modern tones? What bass will you be using primarily?


...and what's your budget?

Pairing a nice lightweight power amp with your navigator pre is a good idea insofar as you know the Navigator and know you like it's tone.

If you want to go lightweight amp head I'd look at the Aguilar Tonehammer 500 and G-K MB Fusion 800 first.
I find some of the class D heads have an airy quality to their lows, a real lack of meaty bass response, but I like the lows in those two amps.

Cab wise there are some great options. If you're thinking a single cab check out the lightweight cabs from Bergantino and Barefaced. Neither are cheap but can be found used. A 212 from either would sound great and likely give you the volume you need.

The new Fender Rumble 500 combo is very nice to move around and I believe you can run an extension cab with it if you want more volume. Fender also just put out a 210 extension that fits perfectly under the 210 combo. I really like the clean tones from the Rumble 500 combo and love the classic looks. I'm not a fan of the built in distortion but there's plenty of pedals for that need. Also, there's a thread on TB where member there Kringle77 upgraded the neo speakers in his Rumble 500 with nice results.

There's some good options out there but I know the pain you'll have replacing the Eden 410; I love the 410XLT and few 410 cabs sound as good to my ears. That's why I'd look at Bergantino first, they were the company that I went to from Eden for cabs. At least as far as lighter options with some of the Eden 410 thump.


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 5th, 2015, 7:34 pm 
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Location: West Orange, NJ
Thanks for the suggestions.

The new band I'm working with is primarily an old school, groove-oriented, R&B/funk cover band, so leave that slappin' and poppin' nonsense at home kiddies.;) Big band with horns and percussion. Lots of Jamerson, Motown, Average White Band, Santana, etc. I'm loving every minute of it. :D About 90% of the material we're playing I'm finding either my P or J basses the perfect weapons of choice. Both are strung with flats.

I'm looking for a versatile amp, however, as to not restrict my future needs, with plenty of headroom that can comfortably fill a typical 100-300 capacity bar/restaurant/wedding gig, etc. but NOT something that ends up coloring the true tone(s) of my basses too much. (Which is why I almost always shy away from Ampeg. I get the appeal, but there's a definite signature sound there and every bass I ever ran through an Ampeg sounded like, well, an Ampeg, instead of my bass).

andrew wrote:
If you want to go lightweight amp head I'd look at the Aguilar Tonehammer 500 and G-K MB Fusion 800 first.
I find some of the class D heads have an airy quality to their lows, a real lack of meaty bass response, but I like the lows in those two amps.


Yeah, that was kind of the problem I had with the Gens Benz. It sounded "sterile"? for lack of a better word, and was missing that kick and meat.

andrew wrote:
There's some good options out there but I know the pain you'll have replacing the Eden 410; I love the 410XLT and few 410 cabs sound as good to my ears. That's why I'd look at Bergantino first, they were the company that I went to from Eden for cabs. At least as far as lighter options with some of the Eden 410 thump.


Thanks Andrew. I think I'll start with a power amp regardless. It's not like I can't use one anyway. Then I'll do some demoing of heads, combos, speakers, etc. and see if I can find somewhere to try a Bergantino first hand.


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 6th, 2015, 12:37 am 
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Why dont you just grab a nice DI and let the PA do the work?


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 6th, 2015, 5:32 am 
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The new TC BH800 is looking mighty nice...
http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/2 ... 0-review...
combine this with a lightweight neo-type 1x12 cabinet, and you'll be able to play just about anywhere...

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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 7th, 2015, 8:09 am 
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One thing I forgot to mention is that i was previously using my Navigator via effects send/returns on my Genz Benz (and GK 400RB previously). So how exactly would I use it with a power amp or other head without an effects loop?


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 7th, 2015, 10:30 am 
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I'm planning on picking one of these up shortly.
http://www.carvinamplifiers.com/collections/mb-series-bass-combos/products/mb210-micro-bass-amp-2-x-10-inch

at 36 lbs, 2x10, and 250W, it's going to outperform my Acoustic B200 at 75lbs, 1x15, 200W in every respect. The B200 has been totally adequate in terms of volume, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 7th, 2015, 10:57 am 
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PJ I don't know if this would suit your needs but I have a Traynor SB115 I'd be willing to sell. I've used it on gigs with a drummer and it holds its own pretty well. I'm moving in July and need to thin the herd a bit. It's mint and only weighs 31 lbs. PM me if interested. http://traynoramps.com/bass/small_block/product/sb115/


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 7th, 2015, 10:53 pm 
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I have a Markbass LMII but I think it is just alright. Too compressed and harsh sounding IMO.
I agree with Andrew, most of those class D amps lack meat.

For the most part they are a compromise between sound and portability but I look forward the days where you 'll be able to get something sounding like an all tube SVTII and weighing 10 lbs.


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 8th, 2015, 7:18 am 
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So here's my latest update:

Picked up a Crown XLS 1500 power amp yesterday. It's a class D power amp rated at 300w@8ohms, 525w@4ohms, and 1050w@8ohms bridged. My Eden cabinet is rated 700w@8ohms. I tried it a number of ways, both with my Navigator on input and even my bass directly inputted into the Crown, and in all scenarios I had the gain knob maxed on the Crown and still the volume was barely above talking level. :?: The only acceptable level I could get was when I turned the Navigator's gain on max and then the Crown on max as well. Then I bridged the Crown, and there was virtually no discernible difference in volume.

So for shites and giggles I pull out my 30 year old GK 400RB head and run that both directly into the Eden cabinet and then with the Navigator in the loop. The result was clarity and volume that could peel paint and smash your windows in.

I don't know WTF is going on at this point! :x I don't know why my old 280w 400RB head is destroying a 1050w (bridged) Crown amp in performance. If the GK head weren't so unstable I'd use it as my power source in a heartbeat, but it's old and starts crackling after a while. :(

So the Crown's going back. I did have chance to audition a few new heads and amps, including Markbass, GK, Fender Rumble, Ampeg, Acoustic, etc. In terms of size, weight, and overall sound, none had the power or headroom I was looking for. (Unfortunately, I didn't bring my Navigator with me). I liked the Fender Rumble the best, but it was the 200w version and not the higher 500w model (which they didn't have in stock), and I found the low end breaking up when I dialed up the volume. So I don't know where that leaves me at this point. I could order the Rumble 500 with pre-payment and no obligation to keep it, but that won't likely arrive before my first gig on the 16th.


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 8th, 2015, 9:32 am 
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According to the forums on TB, there is an internal jumper switch on the Navigator that can be set to 1.4 or 2.8V. Tweaking this can help to drive tricky power amps. According to the Crown site, your power amp had an input sensitivity of 1.4V rms at 4 ohms. This is a sneaky bit of marketing that amp companies use- they state the best value at one ohm rating, and ignore the others. This will be worse (higher) with an 8 ohm load, so this may be a possible issue for driving your 8 ohm eden cabinet efficiently.

When I had my old Ampeg SVT II-P, it took me a little time to find a power amp that had a low enough input sensitivity to drive the pre properly. I did go a bit OTT with it though, as I used an Ampeg SVP 1600 (this is the power section of the SVT 4-Pro, and will toast furry animals from 1000 yards). Just a few thoughts. The Crest (now owned by Peavey) CA series of power amps always get good reviews, and they have a very low input sensitivity. Not the lightest out there, but built like tanks. For example, the CA4 has a sensitivity of 0.775 V at 8 ohm.

Happy hunting.

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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 8th, 2015, 10:59 am 
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I can't help you with the Eden issue you're having... that's pretty weird.

However, I religiously use two Berg CN112 cabs (28 lbs each) and a TecAmp Puma 900 (approx 4 lbs).

It's NOT a cheap rig, mind you, but it's WAY light, modular, and plenty loud enough for anything I do... which goes from country, to rock, to dance, to R&B, to funk, to polkas.

Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 8th, 2015, 12:05 pm 
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Until you find the amp that's right for you I'd have your G-K 400RB checked and tuned up so it's a reliable back up for you.

I have a glut of newer/more expensive amps but I have and still use an old 800RB occasionally.
The G-K 400RB and 800RB are true classics.


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 8th, 2015, 12:39 pm 
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andrew wrote:
Until you find the amp that's right for you I'd have your G-K 400RB checked and tuned up so it's a reliable back up for you.

I have a glut of newer/more expensive amps but I have and still use an old 800RB occasionally.
The G-K 400RB and 800RB are true classics.


I think I will do that, or at the very least get an estimate. That head along with my Navigator in combo was my main rig throughout the 90's/early 2000's, and if not for the GK crapping out I'd probably still be playing that setup today. Killer combo. The GK isn't light, but the Navigator is, so in my rack it's perfectly manageable. So I'll just look into a lightweight cabinet to go with it for now.

Also, turns out the band has an amp I can borrow for the gig until I find something. It's a...drumroll...

'86 GK 400RB. :lol:

Thanks everyone. Great help. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 8th, 2015, 1:10 pm 
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PJ,
glad things are working out gig-wise.

I'll just add my two cents and reiterate Chris' nod towards Berg CN option. spendy but good. I've been running Berg cabs for years and years, tough rig to beat.


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 8th, 2015, 1:35 pm 
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Looks like we have a few Bergantino fans here.


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 8th, 2015, 5:29 pm 
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andrew wrote:
Looks like we have a few Bergantino fans here.

Not to derail Pete's thread, but for some unknown reason my 'lil inner voice has been saying "go back to 15's, go back to 15's" so this weekend I'm going to demo a Fearless 115/112 rig. If that doesn't turn my crank it'll be a tossup between a Berg NV115 and/or a Fender NEO 115 ... all this to be paired with the Super Bassman 300 ... which in a twisted way is a recommendation for Pete to try one out LOL. If it proves to be unwieldy, go check out the 100T. From what I understand it's great at producing vintage tones.


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 Post subject: Re: Lightweight Portable Amp Suggestion
PostPosted: May 9th, 2015, 6:29 am 
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I'm running a TecAmp Puma with either 1 or 2 M-210 cabs. It's a great set up light and powerful great sound, I'm doing a lot of blues and funk.


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