Should I buy a Modelling Amp or start off with a standard amp

Hi everyone, I’m trying to decide on my first bass amp (have been using a VOX headphone bass amp during the first 5 modules)… I’m a total newbie trying to get to grips with bass for the first time and loving every minute of Josh’s course!

Taking advice from Josh’s buying guide the Rumble 40 (standard amp) sounded ideal. However, I can afford the Rumble 100 - so would that be a better option (perhaps more future proof)? However, then there is the modelling amp alternative - Rumble Studio 40 which would provide a whole range of tones… but do I need that as beginner? Would love to hear your thoughts especially if you own any of these amps.

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Just my opinion here but I’d always avoid the modeling amps and go with a larger regular amp. The reason for this is generally you want to get your amp and cab models somewhere other than tied to an amp so that when you eventually upgrade amps, you don’t lose all your cool amp and cab sims and effects.

There’s lots of options out there to get modelling sims and built in to an amp is the last place I would want them. YMMV.

I look at them as nice features on the amps that have them, but for the same price I would always choose a bigger/better amp over a smaller amp with builtin sims, and buy the sims as part of something else - lots of options there ranging from multieffectors to dedicated amp/cabsim pedals.

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Ditto what @howard said above, @peter22robinson . . . :arrow_up:

I have a Rumble 100 and it’s probably the most bang for the buck you can get in an amp. It’s compact, lightweight and is loud enough for practice as well as small gigs.

Cheers
Joe

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I would ask myself first…do I even need an amp?

If you are playing at home with low volume levels or headphones most of the time I really don’t see a point in getting an amp. Getting some nice sims will give you everything you could possibly want in this case.

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Certainly the path I ended up taking.

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Are you going to be using your amp out and about it with a drummer? If so, go for the 100.

Is it just for a bit of playing for others or yourself at home? If so, the Rumble 40 is more than adequate.

Do you want some built-in modelling and a better speaker? The Studio 40 is good for that.

Do you want even more modelling, a better headphone amp than the Vox, and an audio interface? I’d do the Darkglass Element combined with the Rumble 40 for that.

Do you just want a much better headphone amp with modelling and other features? Again, the Darkglass Element

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Hi, so I just did something very similar…

I had a Rumble 40 that I bought to start my bass life.
I know a lot of folks here are very into not having any amp at all at home, but, I did not want to only practice in headphones, etc. I am very aware of risk of hearing loss and worried that I would crank up headphones too loud too often.

Anyway, 1 year in and I was looking at ‘real’ amps, and had no clue what I wanted to sound like. So I liked the idea of modeled amps, but again, did not want to stick to just PC/DAW/etc models. So that is when I ‘discovered’ (yes, it was around, I just didn’t know about it) Rumble Studio 40, which I bought and sold the regular Rumble.

For me, it was a perfect fit…why? I don’t anticipate playing out with anyone, I play for my own enjoyment/hobby. That said, I seriously considered the Stage 800 as a “just in case”, but had no idea if I would like the models features in the amp and there were none locally to try.

If Fender had a Studio/Stage 100 or 300, that is what I would have bought, but alas, they don’t.

I really like all the flexibility in the Studio 40, and connected to a DAW gives you LOADS of amp/cab sims (and effects that I mostly ignore as I have my own pedals I like), and they are able to and do add more features via wifi firmware updates (last update gave the beloved B15N and others).

So if you are going to only be a home player, its a great choice! If I knew all this when i was starting out I would have bought it vs. the 40.
If you think you will enjoy playing on lots of various models of amps/cabs, it is also a great choice for the $. High end modeled amps are not cheap for DAWs. I can go direct into the DAW via XLR or USB, both work great, the XLR you can do pre or post effects if you want clean or modeled, etc. For me, I am very happy wiht the choice.

Of course there are other ways to approach this all, the Zoom B1 Four as a lot of sims, but then you are tied to a pedal.

Lots of ways to do it, need to sort what you want to do and how you want to do it.

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@peter22robinson

You will find many people here that started with a Rumble 40 and upgraded shortly after to the Rumble 100. I am one, but fortunately, discovered the difference between the two immediately and swapped it out with no loss in money. Like @howard said I would stay away from modeling amps. You can add pedals or go through DAW in your computer, but that can be done later.
The 12" speaker in the Rumble 100 also makes a complete difference in the sound and the additional output will enable you to play small venues where the Rumble 40 just won’t cut it… For a $100.00 difference in price of the Rumble 100 it is well worth it.
Again it has to be said that this a personal preference thing. @howard does not even have a stand alone amp and is happy. I jam with others all the time and need one.

Welcome to the confusing world of music gear.

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@peter22robinson

One thing I should have mentioned before is that, as a beginner, you should be careful if decide to get a modeling amp that you do not spend all your practice time playing with the bells and whistles instead of practicing and learning to play Bass.

Hopefully you are signed up for Josh’s Beginner To Badass course.
There is no risk and a money back guarantee and I know he honors it.
I doubt you will find anything better. I know I couldn’t.

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This is an excellent point. I was going to get a Line 6 HX Stomp and then changed my mind for this reason. I knew it would be like learning a whole other thing and I’d probably struggle from analysis paralysis. Maybe someday though, but just not ready for that yet.

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Yup I went from 6.5’’ to 12’’ and now I finally hear what my bass actually sound like.

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For me, if (or when) i want a more powerful amp, I will have a much better idea of my own tone and what I want to do and then buy something vintage etc vs. a step up.

I did find a bit of OMG too many choices at first with the Studio 40, but very quickly found things I like for now, but, can also switch up when to mood strikes me. I don’t like being attached to my computer via DAW all the time.

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My son has a Rumble LT25 and I think it’s a really cool beginner amp. You can just keep it on Rumble for that typical Fender Rumble sound and have some fun playing with other presets. It’s super easy to switch between presets and if you get fed up with the typical Rumble sound you can set it to clean.

I don’t see why a modelling amp is a “bad” thing for beginners. I mean we always talk about the Zoom B1 Four as a beginner multi-fx pedal too? My son prefers the Rumble LT25 instead of using his Zoom with a non-modelling amp. He just likes to have his rig very simple. The interface of the Fender is also easy to use and the studio 40 and stage 800 can connect with the Fender app on your phone. It all boils down to personal preference of course!

You might have some more tonal options with the studio 40. It may help finding your sound before you commit to a bigger watt amp. If you are planning to play gigs then just go for the Rumble 100. Just my 2 cents

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My advice would be to avoid a modelling amp altogether. If you are a beginner to bass you should concentrate on getting a good tone with a clean signal. Effects will just cause a distraction. That said, I understand the attraction of playing with a whole load of effects, particularly if you’ve not explored them before but just be aware that they any such distractions are counter productive to the learning process

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I’m not sure we’ve helped you any. :slightly_smiling_face:

If you ask about gear, you will usually get a mixed response like this. This is because there is no right or wrong in music and so much is subjective. This is why so many different styles of music exist too.

There are pros and cons to almost any piece of gear as you can see from this thread. I say to follow your heart and have fun. That’s the key. We all pretty much trade in stuff and try new things out over our musical experience. For many, this is as enjoyable as playing the bass itself.

By the way, this is also why it’s always good to try out gear in person if you can. Because only YOU know what you like.

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Absolutely right JT. It’s what I call a Jam or Custard question. I could recommend either and it would be correct…or wrong.

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Hi everyone, I really appreciate your thoughtful posts… and whilst naturally there are some divergent views they have actually helped me to decide (…so don’t worry JT!). The key points that resonated include Celticstar’s point that at this stage it’s learning the bass that matters and I agree I don’t want to sacrifice practice time or focus on that by playing around with an amp. I also get Howard’s point - keep the effects separate to the amp because of potential future amp upgrades… and also JT’s point that there other, potentially better? ways to get amp and cab modelling (e.g. Darkglass Element) which I could explore with a standard amp. So I’m convinced I should go for a standard amp for now and keep it all simple until I can play some!

So which amp? I’m going to buy the Rumble 100… I’ve not seen anybody say they regretted the choice and a 12" speaker has got to sound better. Unfortunately, we’re still in lockdown here in the UK so trying first isn’t an option at present… but I don’t think that’s a big deal choosing between say the 40 and the 100.

To Noisembryo’s point… I don’t really need it - fair point - no band or gigs on the immediate horizon for me and I anticipate this will just be used at home for the foreseeable but there comes a time when you just want to hear and feel the thing out loud… that’s why I love the bass!!

So, decision made. Thanks everyone - really appreciate you sharing your experience and thoughts I’ve found it really helpful.

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Good choice. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Glad we could help. :slight_smile:

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Very little about gear on this forum has to do with what people need :joy:

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I thought the basic human needs were food, water, shelter, clothes (optional), bass equipment, and more bass equipment?

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