Ampeg BA-210SP
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Ampeg BA-210SP
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MGR/Laurie 09/26/2005

Ampeg BA-210SP : MGR/Laurie's user review

« Ampeg BA210 SP - Digital »
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Okay, so I am really a guitar player who has frequenty found himself in a room with no bass players and too many guitarists. What to do? Pick up a bass. I have played bass in 3 different bands - over the past 12 years and still condsider myself a guitarists first (I sing/play all guitar in a trio). However, after moving beyond "the root note is your friend" kind of bass playing, I have really gotten into playing the bass. The thing about the bass is you can be solid, on time, etc. and sound decent on a bass - but you can also step out of that and really rip - be melodic, etc. LISTEN TO STP or Stanley Clarke. I had a Gibson Grabber, wish I still had it - and am currently playing a 1973 Aria "violin" bass - awesome. My current bass gig is in a cover band "Gin and Sonic" - we do a real variety from current (heavy bass) to classic rock and some stuff that is just crowd pleaser and really not worth mentioning due to the shame factor (we all have to eat - will say no more).

I picked this unit up at Music Stop in New Minas NS for about $800 Canadian (approx. $550USD) - it was a clearance centre item and really showroom worn (you could tell it had some days of play in the stores, maybe even out for a gig or two).

I got this unit in particular because it offered a balanced out for the sound board and was more than adequate to play/be heard on stage or when we get stuffed into smaller gigs (not everything is an arena).

I bought this unit because it had the power to play small venues without going to the board, it was compact and also had wheels. It was a bit punchy with the 2 ten inch speakers - I'd prefer a 15". I also bought this amp because I had an Ampeg flip Top fro the 1960s that I used for guitar and it was great sounding and it never - never let me down.

The unit is a combo and has some pro features as I have already mentioned. (XLR out, casters, velco cable strap, etc.)

It comes with a number of effects which really are not that great. There is a foot switch so you can program 4 seperate effects. I only use the SVT setting - which really doles out the goods - I use it exclusively, the rest of the effects are just too mediocre and a bit of a disappointment. The SVT setting really makes the "dry" sound of the amp seem like the worst thing you ever heard - the SVT effect in this is great.

The amp is a bit of a pig at 90 lbs. Also, as mentioned, only one of the effects is something I'd use (the SVT) - even the no effect sound is unexciting. However, the SVT setting makes this all worth while.

The amp does not have an external speaker jack; which is okay for somethings, but I'd really like to put a cabinet with a 15" or four 10" under this (when I could get away with it - I love the big bass sound and big bass feel on stage).

The jacks for the passive and active controls are not readily "disable" ready - especially considering the damage that may occur if one innocently plugs into the passive or active when they should not - if you are hosting an event there is the chance that other players will be needing to use your gear - I took an old quarter inch and plugged it into the active plug and left it in to avoid any mistakes.

There is a velcro strap to wrap the power cable in - which does not disconnect - so you always have to be careful of it. The strap, if not tucked away neatly, vibrates and sounds like a blown speaker - you really have to tuck it out of the way or listen to that 'farting noise" when you play - not good.

Another thing I do not like about the amp is that you really have no idea how loud it is - it just throws volume - so I stand in front of the amp about 15 feet away to get a good sense of how loud it is and how it sounds. I am so used to hearing a guitar amp and being able to self-regulate volume at close distance - this amp is not like that - it really needs someone to be away from it.

Another thing is that it is really low end - -centric - I used to play through another amp which had a built in EQ and I ran the treble high to pull off bass chords and run in that dynamic - this amp does not like that. There is a 5 position style switch - but I have yet to find an combination that I really feel meets what I want to hear. It also does not like detuning - perhaps I have yet to figure out how it should be EQ'ed for drop D and other tunings - but it really starts to "fart" when the strings get floppy.

Construction, quality - all high marks - this is a seriously built piece of equpiment.

I have not played an active bass through this amp nor have a played a 5/6 string. I would like to hear if there is a difference. I think this amp is tooled for moern rock music with an extremely heavy bottom end - it may be great for that.

Everyone loves this amp but me. Everyone I play with, the people we play for, my bass player in the trio - everyone raves about the sound and how it fills the room, etc, etc. perhaps the greatest problem is that I want it to be more responsive - to have more natrual soudning "mids and highs" - I have that vision because my old Ampeg was just so sweet and full. However, having that many happy people has to stand for something - the other thing is that it has been out to 6 mid-sized gigs to date - has worked fine and really done a great job of delivering the goods and also enabling me to simply plug in an XLR and go straight to the front of the house while supplying plenty of balls for the folks on stage. This counts for quite a bit in my books. Our drummer is very particular about sound, and he even raves about the amp.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com