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Picker Jon
09-24-2015, 03:41 AM
I've always wanted rumble away on the bass and a U-bass just looks too tempting! I have one or two questions though and I'd like to hear your opinions.

Do you need a bass amp to play a U-bass into? And how about speaker size? I understand 15" is a standard bass speaker. I play electric guitar through a Blackstar HT-1 and a 4x8" cab. Would it be OK to play U-bass through that at low volume at home? And is there a compact combo, preferably battery powered, that could allow it to be played in a pub setting?

Thanks PJ

Jon Moody
09-24-2015, 04:05 AM
I'll try to answer each one separately. I'd also encourage you to check out the BASS forum on this site, as there is a lot of good information availa


Do you need a bass amp to play a U-bass into?

Absolutely. The acoustic U-Bass by itself is pretty quiet. Good for practicing by yourself unplugged, but amplification is a MUST.



And how about speaker size? I understand 15" is a standard bass speaker.

15" hasn't really been the "standard" for many years. 10s and 12s are more the norm for the modern bass player, as they cover a more full-range sound than just a 15" by itself.

Personally, a small combo amp that is either a 1x12 or 2x10 would probably do quite well.



I play electric guitar through a Blackstar HT-1 and a 4x8" cab. Would it be OK to play U-bass through that at low volume at home?

It'll probably be fine for that purpose, although it may not sound as good as you'd like.



And is there a compact combo, preferably battery powered, that could allow it to be played in a pub setting?

It wholly depends on your budget and gigging needs, but there aren't that many battery powered options out there that 1. are affordable, 2. can keep up at large volumes or 3. sound good.

katysax
09-24-2015, 05:07 AM
Regarding amps:

You can play U-Bass (or any bass) at low volumes through almost any amp. However, an amp designed for bass will handle the low frequencies better and allow the bass to sound like a bass.

There are many excellent inexpensive bass amps that are reasonably lightweight. Ampeg B108 and a Fender Rumble 30 sell for around $100. In a pub setting you'd probably want more like a 1x12 so I'd look for something little bigger. There are an incredible number of Bass Heads available in Class D that are both light weight and inexpensive. Similarly for Bass cabs. I have a couple of heads and a 1x10 speaker. You could try a bass head on your 4x8 speaker. Some guitar cabs sound fine with a bass head.

If you want battery powered there are many fewer options. Roland sells the Bass RX that I don't recommend. I just don't care for the sound of it and it wasn't loud enough for me. Probably the cream of the U-Bass amps and one which is great with a battery is the Phil Jones Double Four. Those sell for around $440 so they aren't cheap. You also need to buy the battery separately. It is 70 Watts and gives you just enough volume for a pub setting. Phil Jones Briefcase with more power can be run on battery but is much bigger and heavier.

bassballz
09-24-2015, 07:13 AM
Depends on your venue and budget. I use this: Gallien Krueger MB150. It's a little gem for pub/small venue/practice sessions. Great sound and plenty to keep up with light percussion and amplified acoustic guitars. Small, light and portable, it has never let me down in 15 years of use.
Here's a link for description/specs.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MB150S112

Jon Moody
09-24-2015, 07:18 AM
If you want battery powered there are many fewer options. Roland sells the Bass RX that I don't recommend. I just don't care for the sound of it and it wasn't loud enough for me. Probably the cream of the U-Bass amps and one which is great with a battery is the Roland Double Four. Those sell for around $440 so they aren't cheap. You also need to buy the battery separately. It is 70 Watts and gives you just enough volume for a pub setting. Phil Jones Briefcase with more power can be run on battery but is much bigger and heavier.

In regard to the PJB Double Four, kohanmike found out that relying on the battery for the Double Four limited the headroom; it was clipping a lot more than with the dedicated power supply. The Briefcase is a different story, because it was designed with a battery option in mind, first and foremost. But yes, it's heavy on its own before you put a battery in it.



Depends on your venue and budget. I use this: Gallien Krueger MB150. It's a little gem for pub/small venue/practice sessions. Great sound and plenty to keep up with light percussion and amplified acoustic guitars. Small, light and portable, it has never let me down in 15 years of use.
Here's a link for description/specs.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MB150S112

That's one of the best small combo amps I've ever used. There's a reason that amp design has been left unchanged for 20+ years.

pbagley
09-24-2015, 08:55 AM
I've always wanted rumble away on the bass and a U-bass just looks too tempting! I have one or two questions though and I'd like to hear your opinions.

Do you need a bass amp to play a U-bass into? And how about speaker size? I understand 15" is a standard bass speaker. I play electric guitar through a Blackstar HT-1 and a 4x8" cab. Would it be OK to play U-bass through that at low volume at home? And is there a compact combo, preferably battery powered, that could allow it to be played in a pub setting?

Thanks PJ

A few good replies already on this thread so I will restrict myself to the battery powered amp question.

I have a U-Bass and I chose the Roland bass micro cube as my battery powered amp. In my opinion it is overpriced, but it is also the only battery amp that does what it does as well as it does. So far it has been great fun and plenty loud enough for the jam sessions I've brought it to (outdoor at music fests, coffee shops, living-room jams) and it has sounded good enough.

kohanmike
09-24-2015, 08:11 PM
I picked the wrong battery for my Double Four, it apparently had a very sensitive cutoff circuit that was not made for a bass amp situation. Steve at Phil Jones Bass only recommends the Lenmar 5500 mAh (correction, not 8000) model PPU916RS, for which he says they've never had a complaint.

Patrick Madsen
09-24-2015, 08:30 PM
Thanks Mike for the suggestion of the Lenmar battery. My friend and I both ordered one from the link you sent me. The price was reduced from 139 dollars to 49.95 free shipping. He received his and said it works great. It took some time to figure out the instructions as the English translation seems not to be the best.

Looking forward to seeing what it can do with the D4 and Baggs Preamp.

katysax
09-25-2015, 06:03 AM
I have used the Lenmar for quite a while with no issues at all. I have never noticed that it limits the head room.

The problem with the Phil Jones Briefcase is that it has a very limited internal battery - good for about an hour. Otherwise you need to get an external battery about the size of a motorcycle battery. Also the Briefcase is heavier. Of course it depends on your needs. A Double Four will fill a restaurant and work fine in that context. If you are are indoors and need something bigger then plugging in is an alternative. I will say though that if you are indoors with people who are plugged in and there is a drummer you might find the Double Four a bit weak. In an acoustic context the Double Four in a restaurant is more than enough.

Jon Moody
09-25-2015, 06:15 AM
I have used the Lenmar for quite a while with no issues at all. I have never noticed that it limits the head room.

The problem with the Phil Jones Briefcase is that it has a very limited internal battery - good for about an hour. Otherwise you need to get an external battery about the size of a motorcycle battery. Also the Briefcase is heavier. Of course it depends on your needs. A Double Four will fill a restaurant and work fine in that context. If you are are indoors and need something bigger then plugging in is an alternative. I will say though that if you are indoors with people who are plugged in and there is a drummer you might find the Double Four a bit weak. In an acoustic context the Double Four in a restaurant is more than enough.

I thought the rechargeable battery for the Briefcase WAS a motorcycle battery? I think the initial thought behind it was that an hour is probably plenty for someone that's going to be busking on a corner, or doing a little set. At the time, anything more than that was not needed (honestly, I don't see why you'd use a battery powered amp for a full set, especially if you're in a restaurant, pub or any indoor venue, but that's me). Besides, it's old tech at this point, since the Briefcase is around 15 years old now.

But yeah, my Briefcase is very heavy and that's without the option of the battery.

kohanmike
09-25-2015, 10:58 AM
I've seen buskers on at the Santa Monica Promenade spend hours there, moving from place to place, so having a long lasting compact battery would be very useful. The battery I originally bought is rated 23,000 mAh, which is what attracted me to it, but for the time being I'm going to use a/c, until we play in a venue where that will not be available and I'll buy the Lenmar battery. Come to think of it, I'll buy it now and have it ready... off to Amazon.

bnolsen
09-25-2015, 12:51 PM
I have an ampeg ba108 and the ubass has a lot of fundamental that kicks it pretty hard, harder than a normal electric. I would suggest something with a speaker 10 inches or more.

Patrick Madsen
09-25-2015, 02:48 PM
Good idea to buy the battery now Mike. They're going for 50 bucks free shipping. I've got one on the way myself.

katysax
09-25-2015, 08:04 PM
I thought the rechargeable battery for the Briefcase WAS a motorcycle battery? I think the initial thought behind it was that an hour is probably plenty for someone that's going to be busking on a corner, or doing a little set. At the time, anything more than that was not needed (honestly, I don't see why you'd use a battery powered amp for a full set, especially if you're in a restaurant, pub or any indoor venue, but that's me). Besides, it's old tech at this point, since the Briefcase is around 15 years old now.

But yeah, my Briefcase is very heavy and that's without the option of the battery.

Sometimes in a restaurant the location that you are playing in is restricted or unusual. Having the option of battery power gives you the freedom of amp placement and also reduces the possibility of someone tripping over the chord.

kohanmike
09-25-2015, 08:17 PM
And to add to the idea of portability, I have a Sony DWZ B30 wireless system with both the receiver and transmitter on battery. I really like not being tethered to the amp. For rehearsal, I'll place my D4 on a table at the front of the room and I'll play about half way down the 40 foot room to one side. I even had a custom short cable made and attach the transmitter with Velcro™ to the bottom edge of my base near the output jack, very convenient.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Sony DWZ B30.jpg