Best home amp/cab setup money can buy?

@John_E On your original question, what is “best” is different to your ears than my ears. It is a matter of personal taste. Regarding wattage, I have the same amp you do currently and I’ve never had it near max volume, so I don’t think you need a massive wattage amp for a home setting. From the way you are describing what you want, I think you might want more old school analog/tube, but the digital mimics are pretty solid nowadays. If you wanted to stay with the Fender ecosystem, check out the Rumble Studio 40 or the bigger Rumble Stage 800.

That being said, I agree with @kerushlow that going the computer route can be good if you don’t intend to play out anywhere. However, for me personally, I don’t like being tied to a workstation (yeah, I know technically you can carry your gear around with a laptop, but not what I mean). Sometimes I’m happy to use my DAW, but other times I just want to chill on the couch and play. So for me personally, I have both solutions and then I have the choice.

The other thing worth mentioning is that the Rumble Studio 40 and Rumble Stage 800 are similar to having a DAW in terms of flexibility because they have so much digital modelling. If you combined them with something like a Line 6 HX Stomp or multi-effects pedal then you have tons of choices to find the ideal tone for you, though the amp itself is probably enough unless you want specific effects.

Lastly, I wasn’t sure if you mean you don’t play out of your house ever or if you just don’t bring an amp if you go jam with others. If you aren’t playing with others at all, I’d really encourage you to as this brings a whole other level of enjoyment and satisfaction (assuming you gel with the group). And lucky for us, bass players are the most in demand member of a band. If you want to stay the more solo route, then you can use online collaboration like Bandlab or Soundtrap, but I don’t have much experience with random people on those platforms myself as I play with a local group.

Do your own thing though, that’s just my two cents!

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I very much second that playing with others is great, as is performing, but it’s not everyone’s goal. As for equipment, I have a Kustom KXB 500 amp and a 210 Cab (4 ohm, I get all 500 watts) and the master volume on that puppy doesn’t go over 2 even when playing with a band with an acoustic drum set, a 120 watt Peavy tube amp through a 412 cab and a Mesa TC 100 through a Mesa 212 AND Vocals through a QCS PA speaker…given we EQ and none of us are pushing the amps, but the decibel level is just absurd in that room. So I feel that for just home use any type of big boomy rigs are just BEYOND unnecessary. Lol. Sounds great though when I do it. At home I use my Rumble 40 and the master volume on it doesn’t go past 9 o’clock with the gain mostly down too…

Pedals can help get you tone, but really I think the tones from the plugins in a DAW are closer to the real thing than the pedals can get you…it’s weird.

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yeah - honestly amp sims sound as good or better to me than actual amps now, in the context of recording.

Yeah, the digital stuff is just so good nowadays. I think it helps that they kind of have “unlimited” power and as much flexibility as they want to add. Though I still have a mental block on digital to a degree. I find myself looking for analog or tube equipment, but that’s probably just me being a grumpy old man fighting the digital age. :stuck_out_tongue:

I do find that synthetic tube amps sound the same as the real thing for the most part. Maybe you could argue it’s only 95% as good, but that’s enough for me. But my brain still gets drawn to analog…

I think the bigger difference than analog over digital is clearly what the specific sound is. For example, I’m not a fan of Darkglass distortion. Doesn’t matter if it’s analog or digital.

Even the Vintage Microtubes?

about SVT in smaller format, the Ampeg Micro-VR sounds very nice :

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Those are less of an issue for me for sure, but I don’t know. I don’t know what specifically I don’t like about it, but it just sounds too modern to me. Hard to explain. I tend to like more of a 60s fuzz type of sound when it comes to overdrive/distortion/fuzz.

For me, in person, nothing beats straight tube amp from a real amp and a nicely constructed cab when it comes to tone, and personally the classic SVT is just the best tone ever. I can tell the difference amp to amp. But listening to the SVT sim and a recorded SVT…I’d have trouble telling you which is which.

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I’ve eyeballed the hell out of that, but never got to hear in person…if it has that tone though…does it have real tubes, can’t remember.

I like how the Darkglass amps sound, but that’s the clean tone. I like the distortion they make, but it is a modern distortion sound. Clean though it’s a great sounding amp.

no, it’s a full solid state class-D little amp. the really smart thing is that the 2x10" matching cab is the same that one of the four sections of an original 8x10. sounds very close but with way less weight (and necessarily less projection). in theory if you have 4 of those cab it’s identical to an original 8x10.

all that because the original 8x10 and 6x10 are internally separated into 3 or 4 2x10 :

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Thank you this all makes sense, a lot of sense.

Yes, I will be playing with others, jamming, just not out ‘gigging’.
If that happens, I will cross that bridge when it comes.

I played with Amplitube last night for a long while, and, well, I don’t think that is for me overall. Like you said, a good option, but already don’t like being tied to the PC, etc. I have that setup with the Vox plug in amp and focusrite, and although i can add more dimensions to sound with Amplitube, I don’t think this is the route i want. I like the ambient sound of an amp, and would like the ability to move it around more freely than PC + monitors, etc.

I do have a bunch of effects pedals already, which are fun and been enjoying exploring them, and use them all with my saxes too (even more fun!!) but want to explore the cleaner bass+amp tone to start part in more detail.

Too many options!
So what I didn’t mention is…I have a few low end basses, a Squire 70’s Jazz, Yamaha TBRX5, and then a ESP LTD Rocco Prestia model, but…I just splurged for a Fender Custom Shop ‘61 Time Machine P bass, and once it comes next week, want to see how to bring out the best in it via the amp side of things.

I did not know there is a Rumble Studio series vs. what I have, will check that out, thanks (I am a sax player first, bass is the ‘second hobby’…i love it, just still learning all the gear, etc).

RE power, this is my biggest concern. My Rumble 40 never really goes over 30% volume, and it seems like ‘better’ or tube amps etc in general go hand in hand with more power, and I didn’t want to buy better and choke the heck out of it and end up with bad tone (does this make sense?).

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Agree, I am very much in the ‘analog’ camp. I am 54 and grew up in the 70s and 80s when I could understand all of this and recite specs of hi-if equipment up down and backwards. The explosion of digital almost paralyzes me with options, and my ear always leans towards analog. I have a decent vinyl collection and play them whenever I can over my iPhone, and yes, the difference is huge, and makes me smile to be annoyed that i have to flip the record every 20 minutes. I do like the ‘equipment’ itself. The digital stuff, to me is fun to play with, but not the end solution.

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Given all this then, what I would recommend you do instead is just buy a tube bass preamp and then it literally doesn’t matter what amp you use.

I like the EBS ValveDrive; there’s also the Two Notes Le Bass and several others.

Here’s a thread complete with sound samples:

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Yes this is on the list. Finding one is not as easy. I live near NYC and between Covid and weather and general supply chain issues and stores reducing inventory, its a pain in the butt to find anything. Hoping to do some exploring this weekend and see how has what. The local Westchester Guitar Center and Sam Ash (which downsized this year) are really only good for low end gear now if at all and I find even getting strings I want at either is difficult. Will be heading into NYC this weekend to try the bigger stores to try some things, just a big pain.

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Be careful, or you might end up with another bass too. :laughing:

So fun shopping for stuff like that. Enjoy!

I installed the ASIO drivers (https://www.asio4all.org/) on my pc and it minimized a lot of the latency I was experiencing.

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I only use ASIO for sure.

Im going to throw a different perspective from amp experts like @terb or DAW experts like @howard. This might not be popular with lots here but it worked really well for me.

I found out that the sound I loved the most was the Ampeg SVT sound. Not only the weight but also the cost was prohibitive for me.

I also found out that the DAW experience, even though very extensible, really hampers my experience flow. The DAW is awesome (and humbling) to hear the shortcomings in technique/timing. Great learning tool. Highly recommend it.

I also discovered that pedals is really not my thing either as I really did not want to deal with lots of issues (for me) these brought up

  • Cable clutter
  • Hissing noise due to X, Y or Z
  • Very limiting
  • Space

I then went with a multi-effect processor: Zoom B1 Four. Great little thing!

  • Cheap
  • Got the SVT sound I wanted through my Rumble 40
  • Built in drum machine (loved this)
  • Looper. meh
  • Bunch of effects

Granted, Im sure that you will get better sound with dedicated pedals and what not, but for me this was enough.

Then my son said that he wanted to play bass as well and needed a bass and amp. Opportunity to sell it to him and get something else.

Short story, I got a Fender Rumble 800 Stage Modeling amp and I’m loving the thing. (Got a 15% on President Day weekend)

Pros:

  • Has tons of amps models, Ampeg, Orange, Marshal, Fender and more (18+, more added with firmware update)
  • Same with cabs
  • Lots of effect pedals. Chorus, Compressors, Octovers, Fuzz, etc
  • Great sound off 2 10" + 1 horn speakers
  • Bluetooth. Laggy as hell, but still useful for drum/metronome if your not using any visual aids. The Zoom has these moving dots that I was using maybe too much as a crutch. Also works well to stream say from Trasncribe! (slower/Minus bass, etc) from your laptop
  • Mobile app, that allows you to select any of the 100 presets and/or add your own and modify the presets. This is convenient as you can create your Favorites.

I have a limited list of Plain SVT + Cab, RATM, Hooky, Dont Give UP, Tool setups. Only the first one is a preset.

  • App allows you to easily modify/change settings of pedals/amps without using the onboard dials and screen
  • App allows you to download community/artists created models. Cute
  • Great tuner (from the onboard screen).
  • 4 button pedal board for presets or pedals on your setup.
  • Wifi (to upgrade the firmware. Latest one included a few more amps)
  • Not too heavy. Portable by all means.
  • USB. Use is as a DAI. Have not tested this yet.

Cons:

  • Not cheap $900 MSRP. Im sure @terb would find 3 awesome amps for that price and @howard would get all the plugins under the sun.
  • Takes 20-30s to initialize. I got around this, by first turning it on, then grab the bass and connect with no hurry. No sound while its initializing.
  • BT is super laggy. Fender knows this and recommend disconnecting their app if you want to use say DrumBeats on your phone. Still laggy.

But as you can see I have more pros than cons. Do some research, but this solutions really worked for me.

Loving the amp so far. Hope this helps

Sergio

PS. Here is a link to the manual. Amps on page 16. There is addendum manual on Fenders site for latest firmware changes.

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Oohhh, it took a fun turn…now we get to talk gear!

I’d go one tube, one solid state. Ampeg and Kustom both have some great sounding tubes. Is the 80 pound SVT worth it? Yeah, nothing else sounds quite like it in the analog department! It’s a great tone! Pair it with a 410, 610 or 810 cab and you are in analog heaven! I’d look at (and try if possible) Orange, Kustom, Mesa and Ashdown too for tube options.

So why a solid state too? Well, tube amps all have their “baked in” sound. Some Solids do too, but a good neutral sounding amp is good to have. Darkglass and Kustom are good for neutral amps (Darkglass has built in OD too). Hartke has some good ones. Hartke cabs are good with their aluminum cones also!