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How to choose your bass amp?

Knowing that weight and size are two decisive criteria for a large number of bassists, the choice of a bass amp will not be as questionable as that of a guitar amp. Either way, it's important to make some projections and learn about the various options available before making your purchase.

Lamps or Transistors

It is obvious that if you have the sufficient budget to acquire and maintain an all-tube amplifier (allow a budget to replace them every two years on average), you will be a winner in terms of warmth, depth and expressiveness. . On the other hand, the saturation of a tube amp will always be much more musical and natural than that of a transistor amp pushed to its limits (it will be better for the latter to consider the purchase of an additional saturation pedal ).

AMPEG remains the absolute reference of which all bassists dream, but ORANGE, FENDER or ROLAND are also to be taken into account.

A solid-state bass amp is perfect for beginners. It will not only be less expensive, but also lighter, and will have sufficient performance to play in a group when its power exceeds a hundred watts. For domestic use, it is useless to exceed 30 watts.

Some models are equipped with a tube pre-amplification which significantly warms up the sound. Without being as dynamic as an amp equipped with a tube power stage, they nevertheless have excellent responsiveness.

Some amps take advantage of modeling technology that allows for very realistic reference tube amp simulations. They offer great versatility especially as they are for some embellished with various effects, and interesting features (tuner, USB, Bluetooth). Purists will prefer authentic tube amps but for beginners this is a very good alternative.

Combo or head + cabinet?

The systems two or three bodies (commonly called Stacks) are to be preferred if you play on large stages, because they offer a better sound dispersion, a higher output, and make it possible to obtain with a judicious choice of baffles, a perfect restitution of the spectrum of frequencies, especially the bass.

However, it is not always possible for practical reasons, for urban bassists for example, to travel with a head and a speaker in public transport. In this case a compact combo will be inevitable. It will be powerful enough to amplify you in small rooms, with the advantage of being light and compact.

However, if you have to play on larger stages, this will not necessarily be problematic in the sense that it will be possible to add one or more extension cabinets to it, the majority of combos now being provided with outputs provided for this purpose. effect.

What power ?

It all depends on the technology of the amp (a tube model has a much higher yield than a transistor model), and the framework of use. For clubs and small concert halls a 100 watt transistor / 50 watt tube usually does the trick. On larger outdoor stages consider a minimum of 200 to 400 watts depending on the type of circuit.

Size and number of speakers?

There are different options, the three most popular being 1x15, 4x10 and 8x10. Depending on the needs and possibilities, some bassists like to mix a 15 with an 18 to recover low frequencies, or a 2x10 to obtain more generous highs. Performance will be optimized if the amp has a crossover circuit allowing each frequency band to be distributed to the appropriate cabinet.

When space is tight, a good quality 1x12 or 2x10 will do just fine.

Questions ?

You now have all the basics you need to get started and choose your bass amp. It is obvious that everything is not summarized in this guide and you may have some questions or wish to have additional advice concerning the choice of amp and cabinet for bass players. The Star's Music team is at your disposal to guide you in our stores or by telephone on 01 80 930 900.