Best bass amp for under $500? - (read-only)
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Best bass amp for under $500?


Tue, 26 Nov 2002 13:32:29 -0800
What would you guys recommend as the best bass amps (new or used) for under $500? Would you recommend a combo, or a head/cabinet deal? Are tubes as popular with bass amps as they are with guitar amps? Thanks for the input, I'm pretty clueless on this subject.  :;):


Tue, 26 Nov 2002 15:12:36 -0800
How much power do you need, Z-Man? Do you see yourself using this amp in a live situation? What type of music do you play, and do you have a four or five string? For under 500, I'd stick to combo amps, it'll be hard to find a decent stack for that much. A lot of bass amps use hybrid set-ups, with a tube pre-amp and solid state power amp portion. The few all-tube bass amps are pretty expensive as well, more of a "botique" item in my opinion, and not worth the price jump.


Wed, 27 Nov 2002 06:35:37 -0800
Hey, thanks neo! I'm really asking for my bass player who needs a new amp. We plan on doing some club gigs sooner or later... any recs on particular brands or whatnot? We play mostly a jazz/rock/blues mix.


Wed, 27 Nov 2002 06:46:39 -0800
swr makes cool combos in the range, not sure of models as i play guitar.  they have a lot of punch and clarity with strong lows.


Wed, 27 Nov 2002 13:07:54 -0800
$500 would probably just barely cover a rig to do small clubs with, if you won't have any pa support. If your band is serious at all, I'd suggest your bassist open up his options a little bit more. SWR does indeed make excellent amps. I know Gordo was using their Redhead combo for practice for a while. They are a bit pricey, though. For $500, the best your bassist could do in SWR gear is probably a used Workingman's 15- 200W into a 15" speaker. Ampeg has a newer 2x10 combo, around 225 watts I think, that sounds pretty nice. Comes with some digital effects, too, although the quality is meh..Lists for about a grand, so a used one is within your realm. You might also want to check out Nemesis combos- while I've never had a chance to play them, they're a busget line for Eden, which makes absolutely top of the line equipment. I play an Eden right now, in fact. They have both a 2x10 and 2x12 combo listing for $850 and $950 respectively.

Since you'll likely be sacrificing a little bit of quality for power at $500, a word of warning going along with why most bass amps don't use tubes exclusively.. You'll probably hear stories from people (read: salespeople) about how 200W from a tube amp is as loud as up to 800W (or some other rediculous number) fom a solid state amp. Don't listen to them. The reason why guitar players like tubes so much, as you may know, is because of the way they distort when pushed. You get that grinding distortion that just about every guitar player utilizes to some degree. The same thing happens on bass with a tube amp, when pushed hard you'll get that same, easy on the ears distortion. When a solid state amp is pushed, however, you get what is called square wave distortion, which sounds more like an amplified fart than anything else, and can be damaging to the speakers. It is simply the tube amp's ability to be pushed and still sound decent that makes it able to go slightly louder.


Wed, 27 Nov 2002 19:55:29 -0800
Man, I'll bet you can find a used Carvin RL6815 in that range. It's got the RL600 head, and a cab with 2 8s', and a 15. The head is rated at 600 watts @ 2 ohms, bridged mono, so you're not getting 600 watts out of it at all. But, it does have a lot of features that you would see on some higher end amps. For instance, a very nice sounding compressor, a variable X-over, noise gate, parametric, and graphic eq, tube preamp, Balanced XLR DI, and gain controls for the low, and high freq. outputs. It's really a gig-worthy amp. I own one. It will do club gigs with ease. I've had mine for about two, and a half years. It's been abused severely. I've had it on 3-4 day runs where it's bouncing around in the back of a truck all day, only to be pushed to it's limit at some smokey little club every night plenty of times. I run it into another 1x15 for larger gigs. I've never had a problem with it. If I were to sell mine, I'd probably ask about 500-600 for it. Look into them. I'm buying a new rig soon, so mine will be for sale in the near future. :;):