Which cab would you get? Paralysis through analysis

Greetings GAS monkeys,

I have read, researched and ruminated about getting an amp head and cab and lost track of what I want. This means I save a lot of money at the expense of reading yet another review. I want something portable and mainly for home use - I don’t see this as a pro rig for competing with drummers. :drum:

So, which cab do I get? Or do I go rogue and get a Phil Jones combo?

My current combo:

  • 112, img 1240, 40 W, ? ohm, 113", 14.0 kg, 460 x 520 x 230 mm, 30 €

Proposed amp

  • BAM 200, 200 W @4 ohm, 130 W @ 8 ohm, 165 € + Cab
  • 110 Trace Elli, 300 W, 8 ohm, 78", 7.35 kg, 305 x 320 x 356 mm, 299 €
  • 208 TC electr, 200 W, 8 ohm, 101", 10.4 kg, 546x 262 x 315 mm, 219 €
  • 208 Warwick, 200 W, 4 ohm, 101", 10.9 kg, 550 x 260 x 310 mm, 249 €
  • 210 Warwick, 300 W, 4 ohm, 160", 16.6 kg, 650 x 305 x 350 mm, 299 €
  • 405 Phil Jones C4, 400 W, 8 ohm, 13.0 kg, 360 x 340 x 320 mm, 499€
0 voters

Vote away!


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I would go for the 210 Warwick unless you want a really portable amp. In that case, a PJB C2 would be my choice. Actually, two of them, to get a C4 equivalent with additional modularity :smile:

Have you considered the Fender Rumble 100 or the Ampeg Rocket Bass 112? Both are light weight, powerful enough for small gigs, 100 watts with a 12" speaker, and would make great practice amps. Plus, both are within the budget you’re looking at.

I’m not a fan of the Warwick cabinets being 4 ohm. You will get the full power from the BAM but their usefulness becomes limited later on since almost all modern cabinets are 8 ohm. Meaning, if you have a head with support for 4 ohm (most of them), you will only be able to use a single 4 ohm speaker cabinet. If you go with 8 ohm speaker cabinets, you will have the potential to combine with an additional 8 ohm cabinet later.

I’m also not a fan of the 8" speaker options for this setup. Particularly since you can find 210’s that are pretty close to what the 208’s cost. So, this option doesn’t seem worth it in the long run. 8" speakers are fine for practice amps but since you’re upgrading your rig, you might as well get something that will be more universally applicable in the future.

300 Euros for a 110 seems like a lot when you can get a 210 for 300-400.


@eric.kiser is correct and his post has some very wise advice.

I have a Rumble 100 amp and when I researched an upgrade I felt that the best bang for my buck would be a Rumble 500. Without the cab you get 350 Watts, and that alone is a lot of power. There are forum members that have the Rumble 500 without the cab and some have said that they did not find a need for the external cab to get the extra 150 Watts. The Rumble 500 is also very reasonably priced and portable.

In my case I found any venue requiring more wattage than my Rumble 100 had a PA I could plug into so so far I have had no need to upgrade. I would never get a 200 Watt amp for larger gigs because for the cost difference of a Rumble 500 it does not seem worth it to me.

There is a lot of information on the forum regarding what you are asking about and I do not think you are going to be happy just upgrading from a 45 watt to 200 watt amp, with the external cab. Maybe someone that has a Rumble 500 can give you their advice regarding this.

These are just my opinions based on experience take from it what you will. YMMV :+1: :+1: :+1:

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Thanks for the input @Celticstar, @paolo.pfm and @eric.kiser! Good points all around. I guess my solution for now is to try and play a few things in real life.

I managed to check out a Darkglass 900 W amp which kinda drove home how ludicrous that wattage is. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test much else, as it was closing time. :slight_smile:

The Rumble 500 indeed seems like a solid option. I’ll certainly make a post should I buy anything. :hugs:


I looked into the Darkglass amp at one point and it looked like they were using a 1200 watt power section. I can only guess they rated it for 900 so no one would ever be able to accuse them of over rating their amp. Yes, that thing is stupid powerful.

I had the Rumble 500 at one point but returned it and got the Rumble 800 head and 115 cabinet. I have zero practical application for all that power. I just have this dream of eventually combining the 115 with a 210. Which was pretty impractical since I could have just kept the Rumble 500 and added the 115 cabinet for a few hundred less than what I ended up paying. Mostly I just wanted what I wanted, because I thought it was cool. I forgot where I was going with this. I’m just nerding out about amps.

Yes, the Rumble 500 is great. When it comes to how much you get for your money, the Rumble line is hard to beat.

I’m not trying to sell you on the Rumble. I’m on a budget, so that’s where my mind goes. The Rocket Bass line are a little more expensive but also pretty great. It’s worth doing a comparison at a guitar store and seeing what appeals to you.

Both the Ampeg and the Fender have their own sound. The other side is to look at something that’s very clean. The BAM is pretty good example of this, but I found them to be too clean and benefit from using a preamp pedal. There is nothing wrong with using a clean sounding amp. For a lot of people it’s exactly what they want. If you’ve seen any pedal board posts from @John_E , his set up is all about using a clean amp and front ending it with a selection of different preamp pedals.

On the other hand, any amp with an effects loop will let you skip the built in preamp so you’re getting just the sound from your preamp pedal going through the power amp of the amplifier. this gives you options of using the baked in sound of the amp, the sound of your preamp pedal without the baked in sound of the amp, or stacking the two. Stacking is what I do. I use a Tone Hammer into the front of the Rumble head, combining the baked in sounds from both is very satisfying to me. @PamPurrs worked with her setup and found she liked using the VT Bass DI preamp pedal better by itself and skipped the Fender sound altogether by going through the effects loop in.

Finally, if you do want an inexpensive head, and plan to skip the built in preamp, the Harley Benton bass heads use the exact same Class D power section used by virtually every bass amp manufacturer in the industry (Fender, Ampeg, TC Electronic, Mesa Boogie, etc.). @DaveT has one (maybe two?) if your curious about them.

I know this is long but since you’re delving into the amp rabbit hole, I figured I would try to illustrate how all the options fit together.

If you made it this far, thanks for nerding out with me!
And, if you have any more questions, there are plenty of folks here to help with whatever setup you have in mind.

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That is a great piece of info … previously I thought “why even have an effects loop” or “isn’t the pedal chain outside of the amp anyway?” Thanks for clarifying this.

As far as rabbit holes go, I used to be on a really tight budget and thought I had to be entirely self-reliant. This went to the point where I would invent challenges of “can I fix it” or “let’s spend only 5€ a day after leaving the house.” I’m glad those days are over, but remnants of this thought process are still there.

The internet gives you tons of irrelevant info. For example, wattage is not everything. Still, I struggle to understand things like dB SPL. For me, the main takeaway is that I need to go and try these babys. Speaking of which, I once tried a tube amp Fender Bassman (with a guitar, though), and that thing was :kissing_closed_eyes:

My budget isn’t infinite. The fact that it doesn’t matter whether I spend 400 € or 600 € makes it hard for me to gauge what I should get. And portability is another thing to consider. I found lugging around the current 14 kg combo was okay. Getting a big rig would be a no go, I would only do that if I had some preferences and it had to be that speaker.

Add to that that what I really need is a better apartment, and buying a 210 stack or combo seems premature. Because right now, my neighbours never complain when I play. Mind you, I don’t play loudly, and perhaps should even play louder to hear muting noises etc. better. Still, my apartment is 27 m² / 290 square feet… :laughing:

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I wouldn’t worry about dB SPL. If that becomes an issue, you will already be a professional musician and/or work in designing venues where sound is the focus.

As long as you focus on what sounds good to you, you’ll do great.

Maybe this is the perfect time to get it!
[No. Eric stop.]
It’s a one time cost now versus the recurring cost of rent in the future!
[You’ve gone too far, Eric!]
Every time you look at it you’ll admire how cool it is!
[Quit it! This is not the GAS thread!]
:metal: :smiling_imp: :+1:

Seriously though, come back and let us know what you decide.

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The SPL is a rating of the actual sound pressure from the amp+speaker. It’s a direct measurement of how loud it is, regardless of wattage. It’s measured in dB - decibels - and is logarithmic to power (wattage).

If you want a real easy rule of thumb - when you double the wattage applied, everything else being equal, it will increase the output volume by about 3dB SPL. However, to double the apparent volume (i.e. what you hear), you need to increase it by 10dB SPL. In other words, for every 10dB SPL in a rating, an amp will sound twice as loud.

And the corollary for power, a 500W amp going in to a given cab is not 5 times louder than a 100W amp; it’s about twice as loud.


Well you’ll be able to turn it down and still play at a considerate level.

I’m running a 600+watt head into a 2x10 and my practice room is only 9’ x 12’. It barely comes off minimum volume but it sounds superb… and I can turn it up if I want to when the neighbors are away.

I guess what I’m saying is, if you think you’ll want a more powerful rig in the near future then you might be better off just going for it, it’ll still work in your current apartment.


Not that I recommend this, but my current plan is to make an Empress head end Frankenamp. I’m removing the tone controls and compressor from a Harley Benton amp head (using the power stage, connectors, power cord, fan) and replacing them with the Empress ParaEQ and Empress Bass Compressor. The whole thing gets mounted into a new enclosure. It will be a bit big, but comprehensive.


I mean, if I buy a bigger amp and cab, the available room gets smaller. So

f(bigger amp) tends to 0 room. Unless… if the amp blows away the walls :thinking: :wink:


That sounds like a cool project, I’m looking forward to it! :slight_smile:


Walls are overrated. Just ask the Kool-Aid man


The main thing holding it up is that Harley Benton is currently powering the home movie subwoofer. I have to get another.