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Experience with Class D Bass Heads

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Jeru, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Jeru

    Jeru Tele-Holic

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    I'm primarily a guitar player, but am getting myself into a situation where I'll need
    a workable live bass rig. Looking for recommendations on a Class-D bass head.
    Already have a great cab.

    Looking for the ideal combination of small / light / power / inexpensive.
    (Yes, a tall order).

    The contenders are:

    - MarkBass Nano Mark 300 http://www.markbass.it/product-detail/nano-mark-300/
    - TC Electronic BH250 https://www.tcelectronic.com/product.html?modelCode=P0BRP
    - TC Electronic BQ500 https://www.tcelectronic.com/product.html?modelCode=P0CQS
    - Ampeg Portaflex PF350 https://ampeg.com/products/portaflex/pf-350/

    Please let me know your thoughts and recommendations.

    THANKS..!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
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  2. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    I haven’t tried any of those, but I liked the Trace Elliot ELF that I tried, and it was really tiny. As a plus, it could do interesting light crunch on guitar too...maybe useful as a rhythm sound on some things. It had a pretty slick arrangement where more compression was engaged as you raised the gain knob; I liked how that was implemented but some might object to it as too heavy-handed or baked-in. EQ points seemed appropriate for what I do (fingerstyle P-bass).

    I think those are 200 watts at 4 ohms, 130 or 140 watts at 8 ohms...not sure if that’s enough power based on your included suggestions.
     
  3. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    I have a PF350. It's perfect for my bass needs, which are minimal. It has a limiter, but not compression like the bigger versions. I use a Mojo Mojo for drive that adds plenty of compression, so I'm ok with that.
     
  4. ctmullins

    ctmullins Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    For a “workable live bass rig”, I wouldn’t use anything less than 500W.

    I loved my GK MB500. I sold it to save up for a new GK Legacy 800, but then live gigs dried up....


    (Also - duplicate thread???)
     
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  5. Jeru

    Jeru Tele-Holic

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    This is helpful. Not a duplicate thread, but a similar one. I started this one
    to ask a more specific question to hopefully get more specific responses.
     
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  6. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    Regarding watts...band context and speaker area has a lot to do with that. If you are asking about compact class-D bass heads you probably are going compact on the cab too, so that 500-watt recommendation seems reasonable to me. But I used to play with a guy who had the crushing amp of doom, a 350-watt Hartke...but that was using a 4 x 10, or 2 x 15, or both. Other, much quieter bands I’ve been in did fine onstage with a 150-watt Peavey TNT 1 x 15 combo, or a 120-watt Hartke 1 x 12 kickback combo.

    I play bass in a loud 3-piece with a
    4 x 8 cab, and my 210-watt power amp is great in the basement for practice but struggles in a larger space. Right before band stuff **** down in March I’d gotten a power amp with 750 watts and at the one live set I played with it, I could tell an improvement in how hard the lows hit even at a similar level to what my smaller power amp could attain. But that’s a little cab.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
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  7. Jeru

    Jeru Tele-Holic

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    I actually HAD a variation on that crushing amp of doom -- Hartke 3500 / 210 Combo..!

    IMGP2661.jpg
     
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  8. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I had a class D Carvin BX1500. It was awesome. Toured it everywhere and never had a single hiccup. Used it as a direct recording solution as well. Great head.

    I’ve also had several Markbass heads and combos and thought they were all fantastic.

    I haven’t tried the Ampeg PF350. I did have a PF500 that I returned because it kept cutting out when it was pushed hard. Seemed to be a common problem with the 500s early on. I’ve heard it’s been fixed.

    My very favorite head I’ve ever had was not class D, but it was a ridiculous bang for the buck. Best sounding bass amp I’ve ever had. It was the Hartke LH500. I want another one of those.
     
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  9. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, @Jeru! Those controls look familiar! This guy had the head version, a 4 x 10 cab with a 5” in the middle, and a 2 x 15. Usually indoors it was just the 4 x 10, but that thing was loud. It was fully capable of flapping everyone’s pants and holding its own against my 100-watt 4 x 12 guitar rig, the singer’s 80-watt 1 x 12 combo and a loud drummer with the loudest, ringiest piccolo snare in the world.

    What cab do you propose to use with the compact head you end up with, and what kind of playing situation?
     
  10. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I've got a 7000, bi-amping a 410 and a 215..boom...

    There are better and worse class D. You can fairly reliably use cost as a measure. Peavey's are good, but Mesa's are better. I've got a Peavey 200w 12" combo, that has done it all. But everyone loves the Hartke stack, it just has a cleaner, deeper, farther throw.
     
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  11. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    I’d like to try a LH500/1000 sometime to see if I could get along with those mega-simple controls. Another interestingly simple amp layout—class D, as well—is the Quilter Bass Block 800; I’d like to try one of those too.
     
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  12. Call Me Al

    Call Me Al Tele-Meister

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    On your list, I’d pick Markbass. I’m running a CMD 12 + NY 12 now, and I love it. Loud , punchy , pretty clean flat and I can warm it up nicely with the filters.

    I love the Ampeg tone, but read too many underpowered and reliability reports to buy a PF head. TC seems too sterile for my taste, and underpowered (for their ratings.)

    Peavey Minimax is definitely worth a look
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MiniMaxV2--peavey-minimax-v2-500-watt-lightweight-bass-head

    Or look for a used Rumble 500 head.

    What’s the cab? IMHO speaker quantity and quality are more important than watts.
     
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  13. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think the controls are perfect in an “everything you really need, and nothing you don’t” kind of way.

    It was a gamble for me when I bought it, but five minutes after I unboxed it I knew I’d made a great decision. I don’t currently have a bass rig. But when I get another one I want to replace that one. I had the LH500, running into a GK Neo 212 cab. Sickest rig I’ve ever had. I liked it better than the full blown SVT and Hartke rigs I had back in the day. I liked it better than my old “Duff” rig, too.
     
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  14. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Also, you can spend MORE on a class D than a traditional class AB, and you can tell the difference. And, it may be larger and heavier than what you associate with class D. But the point of class D, is to a) be more profitable for the maker, b) be lighter and c) be smaller. And a) controls, always. So in a way, its an unfair comparison.
     
  15. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    I have played through a number of Class D amps, and have heard many players use them. I prefer the sound of a class AB amp. Used Trace Elliot for years and now have an Eden WT 500. 2 rack spaces. Lighter than an SVT :), plenty of power.
     
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  16. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    My G/K Backline 600 is a 300w head and It was more than enough for a live group I played in featuring a loud drummer and guitarist who sometimes used a Marshall stack. I was running it through a 4x10 cab though.
     
  17. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    There was a sidebar in Bass player magazine few years ago and ‘pointed out’ that Class D has some rating shenanigans goin’ on...most Class D amps are rated for something like “max power that can be sustained for 1/2 a second”, the practical translation being that a Class D amp will be able to sustain about 1/4 of their rated power full time...so a 200 watt Class D will be able to crank about 50 watts dependably.

    Now, I know that there’s tons of arguments about tube watts vs solid state watts, but I feel like a decent 200 watts is enough for me under any circumstances, so I’m in the market for something in the 600-watt range as Class D is concerned.
     
  18. Twang-ineer

    Twang-ineer Tele-Meister

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    I love my PF350.... simple and effective. If you need more power use the preamp out into a FRFR monitor. I'd rather have a main rig that is small and can grow as needed. I'm done with a huge rig, back can't take it!
     
  19. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

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    Markbass Nano 300 user, here. It's portable, and built to last. Look at their line of products and choose one!
     
  20. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    Our bass player had to return his Ampeg Class D twice... so I know that might warrant a check to see if still issues.

    I still use my old Trace Elliot stack. But Neodymium speakers i put in shaved a lot of weight off.

    I’d be going Class D and neo speakers next time my bass gigs pick up. 500w minimum. Probably mesa.
     
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