Lookin for the 5150 of bass amps?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by Gmork, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. Gmork

    Gmork SS.org Regular

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    Lookin for a bass equivalent of the 5150, NOT in tone but more like, what is the classic affordable, reliable GO TO bass amp?
    Something cheap ($500-$700ish), high powered for metal and super tough and reliable.
    Im mainly a guitarist and am pretty clueless when it comes to bass gear but would like a decent bass amp for the times i dust off my old 6 string bass.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    You could just use a 5150...
     
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  3. Gmork

    Gmork SS.org Regular

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    But... Im looking for a bass amp.
    I dont mean to say im looking for a bass amp that SOUNDS like a 5150, Im just asking what the go to amp is in the bass world?
     
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  4. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    SVT3? GK MB500? GK RB800?
     
  5. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    The Ampeg SVT is the one, but they’re not cheap. I have seen a lot of Gallien Kreuger and Trace Elliot stuff at shows, but I’d say that mass majority run a Tech 21 Sansamp or Darkglass pedal as their main tone shaper.
     
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  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Lots of bass players use a 5150, though.

    There really isn't an equivalent, in terms of popularity in metal.

    Bass gear is super cheap and there is a lot less variety in terms of options. That Ampeg SVT Classic all tube bass head that weighs 100 pounds (yes the head weighs as much as a guitar cab) and costs 4x as much as a 5150 is really nice, but, IMO, also unnecessary, for heavy music at least.

    For a while SWR was the goto amp and cab for metal, but they are long gone.

    You can get a whole Behringer rig for under your budget, and it'll do pretty much what you need for metal.

    Are you using distortion or playing cleanish? Is this for playing on the road in a band? If so, what is the guitarist using?
     
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  7. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands greg rulz ok

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    Gallien Krueger 700RB or 1001RB. 800RB if you can find one, too. PROBABLY The Aguilar Tonehammer series as well. I think Mesa bass amps pop up in that price range as well used.

    I've also seen people rock Sansamps (RPM, RBI, VT bass, or just the standard BDDI) or Darkglass into power amps and then that into their bass cabs.

    EDIT: You bring up Peavey. They have a SHIIIIT TON of bass amps they made that pop up under $700. :lol:
     
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  8. Avedas

    Avedas SS.org Regular

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    How can a head possibly be so heavy? Do they put an 80 lb dumbbell inside of it?
     
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  9. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Mine weighs just over 75lbs. The power amp on these things (and associated transformers) is massive and the headshell is pretty substantial, needing the space for six 6550 tubes.

    That's why I usually use the V4B, which is nearly identical, but 100 watts. It weighs half as much, so similar to most tube guitar heads of the same size.

    For reference, a 5150, Triple Rec, and JCM800 all weigh between 45lbs and 50lbs.

    But, luckily, the classic "SVT sound" has been pretty much broken down into a pedal for decades: the SansAmp. So that's what I always recommend for folks on a budget and don't want a monster rig. They're cheap, readily available, and they make a variant for just about any use case, from the bare bones classic or smaller character series, to the giant deluxe models. Put it through whatever cheap, big power amp and cab setup you feel like buying.
     
  10. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    Ampeg SVT II or SVT II Pro. Maybe Gallien Kruger 800rb. But probably either Ampeg.
     
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  11. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    My dad had an older one. The two transformers in it are massive, about 20-25 lbs each. Maybe they've gotten lighter recently (google "ampeg svt classic weight" - i found resuls 80-85 pounds), but part of the appeal of it was how overbuilt it was, probably...

    He had a homemade cab with two custom ordered 24" subs, too. I would volunteer to help carry the cab with three other guys to avoid having to try to lug that head with one other person.

    If anybody wants "that bass tone," the SVT Classic and the 8x10" cab were traditionally how you got there. Nowadays, I see (not metal) bands that plug the bass into a DI box and then right into the mixing board, and the bass sounds great. Meanwhile, metal bands are showing up to gigs where I'm doing sound, and they're almost alway lugging either:
    1. A guitar head and 4x12" cab
    2. Super heavy vintage gear, or
    3. Something super compact by a brand I never paid attention to.

    But these are 90% bands from northern New England, who don't make much money and either had to pawn their girlfriend's jewelry (probably) for an amp or inherited gear from a dead relative in MA or CT.
     
  12. olejason

    olejason SS.org Regular

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    Darkglass, Aguilar, Mesa, & GK are all very popular at the moment among bassists. You'll see a lot of Orange, SUNN, Peavey, etc. in the doom metal world.
     
  13. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    My SVT-II feels every bit the 90 pounds the manual said it weighs. It's nearly as hard to move as the 8x10 cab. I assume all the weight is in the transformers.

    I have an old Mesa Mark short head that looks so tiny, but the power transformer is absurdly large, and it feels like the darn thing is bolted down when you go to move it. I've never held only a transformer in my hand, but I'm assuming they are quite heavy.

    For a lighter bass amp, but one considered a tried-and-true metal classic, the 800rb would be the way to go IMHO. Sounds fantastic.
     
  14. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Forgot about Acoustic amps! Vintage solid state, not too expensive.
     
  15. hord

    hord SS.org Regular

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    I would argue there isn't really a 5150 of the bass world.

    Some might argue the Ampeg SVT, but those are expensive and no one really owns them. Most of the pre-amps that get close to an SVT are also above your price range so they don't count. The main Ampeg line is pretty good but starts at your upper end unless you want to go used. The Portaflex heads are cheaper and very good but don't have the true SVT vibe. The 4-PRO is probably the closest you'd get but even used they are pretty expensive.

    Outside of that, there are a lot of other tone-stacks in the bass world that work well with metal.

    Aguilar - The AG-500/700 is a good clean choice and would be a good pedal platform for distortion but the Tone Hammer line is a better choice for grittier sounds. Aguilars always seem voiced with more mids, nice lows but not super tight and good even highs. You'll also get more overall tone variation out of the Tone Hammers.

    GK, Genz-Benz, Genzler, Darkglass - These are all voiced to be more "modern" and always sound tighter and punchier overall while starting from a more neutral voicing. They will also offer more variation in tone shaping than many other manufacturers. The Darkglass amps are basically the pedals plus a class-D power section so you could start with those and either get a power amp or use the effects loop on a guitar amp (be careful).

    Mesa - Another Ampeg-class manufacturer in the bass world although with a different voicing and fan bass. Their amps are world-class, generally tubey sounding with a range of modern to classic vibes along with grit. They don't have the deep-bass sparkle of the SVT but offer tons of low-end punch.

    What I personally have been leaning towards lately are just pre-amps going into a dedicated class-D power amp. This is like running a guitar pedal into a PA system and works really well for bass because you can use the pre-amp for practice, recording, live shows with no cabinet, live shows with a cabinet, whatever. I have a Phil Jones BigHead unit and it plugs into my computer via USB so that I can listen to music on it, play bass through it, record to my DAW with it, etc. Plus it fits in my pocket, has rechargeable batteries, and can act as a DI for other pre-amps since it has a dedicate line-in.

    Anyway, lots of great options for bass out there right now and there are new products coming out all the time.
     
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  16. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I'm in the "there's no equivalent" camp. Closest thing is maybe a sansamp into any of those class D type amps, or same thing but replace sansamp with darkglaass.

    I feel like just on the basis of how much more common it is to play bass clean, and how different one bass can sound from another, a how each bassist seems to approach tone differently - it seems like every element in the chain has so much more influence than it would in a guitar context (the cab matters, the pickups matter, etc). There's nothing I can point to and say "that's what I think most bassist are aiming for". Lots of people seem to like "the svt tone" but I'm not sure we all agree on what that even means.
     
  17. Gmork

    Gmork SS.org Regular

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    I typically play very clean with either a very modern scooped type of tone or the super mid "mwah" jaco fretless tone.
    And sometimes either of those with a smooth dist/fuzz slightly mixed in behind the clean tone.
    I prefer solidstate for its articulation and precise cleanliness.
    I was just curious if the bass world had a go to amp.
    Im going to try to buy my friends genz benz shuttle 6 head/combo.
    He gad lent me it for a long while and i thought it was great.
     
  18. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    You'd probably love a GK RB series amp. It does everything you describe and can be found dirt cheap.

    Try for a 700RB or 1001RB, put it through whatever 410 you can grab.

    Here a stupid good deal on a 2000RB if you don't mind it being ugly: https://www.musicgoround.com/product/41106-S000038196/used-gallien-krueger-2000rb-bass-amplifier

    Normally I'd be worried about condition, but MGR has great customer service usually and these things are built like fucking tanks. I've had one fall off a full stack and down the riser and didn't even cut out.

    This 700RB is in better shape and an equally great deal: https://www.musicgoround.com/product/41113-S000022820/used-gallien-krueger-700rb-bass-head-bass-amp
     
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  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    That Genz Benz should get you the modern tone by default. Maybe you can dial in a Jaco tone, but it might be a bit of a challenge, IMO.
     
  20. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    What would the disadvantage to this be? I mean, given the proper cab, is there any reason NOT to use a guitar amp? I know a lot of bass amps are way higher wattage than guitar amps, so I’m guessing headroom is an issue?
     
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