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Anyone use the Fender Rumble 200 Combo live? Is it enough?

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  • Anyone use the Fender Rumble 200 Combo live? Is it enough?

    Edit: This was a poorly written post. See my update below.
    Last edited by phaeton; 02-23-2016, 04:20 PM.
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    It's funny how nowadays the only decent metal around is the theme music for a cartoon that makes fun of metal bands.

  • #2
    What is your live gig?

    Three piece? Five piece? Loud drummer? Good PA? Bass in the PA?
    As a human being, you come with the whole range of inner possibilities
    from the deepest hell to the highest states.

    It is up to you which one you choose to explore
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    • #3
      It would be OK as a practice amp but underpowered for most club work unless you mic it. The way they come up with RMS power on Transistor amps isn't the same as with tubes. RMS is based on an undistorted sine wave test frequency, usually at 1000 Hz. A Tube amp may produce a clean wave up to about 1/2 volume. It may have an additional 50% gain with driven signal.

      Transistor amps are often clean turned up to max with a signal stronger then a passive pickup can produce. This is how they get the high wattage ratings, but it doesn't come close to how the amp actually responds in the real world. As a rule of thumb, I look at a 200w head as being no more then 100 Real/usable watts. Noone runs the volumes at 100% unless you just don't care about overheating the head and blowing it.

      The Class D amps are likely closer to 1/3 of tube watts. I have a 350W Class D Portaflex head and My old Ampeg V4B which was a 100W tube head would blow the doors off it.

      If you want 200W real watts for playing out, buy a 500W head and it will allow you to run the knobs around 50%.


      If you get the 200 you might have enough for practice but a strong drummer can easily bury you. Add a couple of guitars and vocals and you may as well pack up and go home. Micing bass needs a really good PA which means you're hauling an extra thousand watts of sound gear. If you use a powered mixer and a couple of cabs then you'll be dealing with bass causing garbled vocals trying to sing over the bass frequencies.

      How well the amp does will depend on the speaker too but Fender's stock speakers aren't anything to rave about. The amp will do fine for studio recording. If your guitar players use like 15W amps and the drummer uses and undersized kick/set then you may be OK. If he uses a 24" and kicks hard you'll be a ghost in the background in front of an audience.

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      • #4
        I'd strongly consider the 500. Buy once. Cry once.
        HCBF Mesa Brigade Member #2

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        • #5
          Originally posted by onelife View Post
          What is your live gig?

          Three piece? Five piece? Loud drummer? Good PA? Bass in the PA?

          Sorry folks, I didn't word my post very well. I was trying to slam it in during break at work. Here's what I'm trying to figure out:

          1) If the Rumble 200 is going to be loud enough for jamming and gigs if there's no PA support (and it sounds like no)

          2) If the Rumble 500 is going to be too much for anything OTHER than jamming and gigs. I.e., if I could still use it at home with the volume turned down. I know that sounds silly, but I've owned and played plenty of guitar amps that go from no output to "blow your damn head off" with the slightest turn of the volume knob- there is no useable "home practice level" in between.

          I'm not in a band right now, but my goal and intent is to get some adequate gear and get setup so that I can legitimately start auditioning for rock bands of the British Invasion variety.

          I suppose it is no skin off Guitar Center's nose if I don't even open the box and say "I want to return this and get the bigger one. Here's more money.".
          __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

          It's funny how nowadays the only decent metal around is the theme music for a cartoon that makes fun of metal bands.

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          • #6
            Let me clear up some of the usual misinformation about "tube Watts" vs. "SS Watts" vs. "Class D Watts." A Watt is a Watt. Period. All amps are rated in terms of how much continuous power they can produce, whether they're tube or SS or powered by dilithium crystals. The FTC says they have to be. The difference comes in terms of headroom. A SS amp typically can't go much above rated power before it starts to distort badly. A tube amp will distort too but it takes longer for things to get really bad so you have another 3dB or so of useful output.
            Amp pots are usually audio taper, which means turning the volume knob down to halfway up or 12 o'clock (from full on) reduces the volume by about 90% or -10dB. "Half power" is typically about 2 o'clock and results in about a 50% reduction or -3dB. "Running the knobs at 50%" sounds like 12 o'clock to me.
            That said, the 200 probably won't do it for you unless you play smaller venues or run your amp through the PA.
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            • #7
              A friend of mine has a 100 Watt Roland Cube bass amp (aka portable earthquake) and it is a great bedroom/practice/recording amp. We have used it at gigs with drums, electric guitar, keyboards and vocals but it had to go through the PA and the drummer's monitor.

              Personally, I much prefer the sounds of the Roland amp over the Rumble amps that I have heard - and it's much easier to carry around.
              Last edited by onelife; 02-23-2016, 04:52 PM.
              As a human being, you come with the whole range of inner possibilities
              from the deepest hell to the highest states.

              It is up to you which one you choose to explore
              .

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
                The difference comes in terms of headroom. A SS amp typically can't go much above rated power before it starts to distort badly. A tube amp will distort too but it takes longer for things to get really bad so you have another 3dB or so of useful output.
                Two Questions for you, Deep End:

                1) in the case of both types distorting, are we talking about the active parts of the output stage (transistors or tubes) hitting the power supply rails, or is there a different (internal) limitation that they're reaching?

                2) In the case of bass amps, is this distortion injurious to the speaker's voice coil?


                Thanks for the rest of that post, btw. It was informing and enjoyable.
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                It's funny how nowadays the only decent metal around is the theme music for a cartoon that makes fun of metal bands.

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                • #9
                  Basically, the amp can only deliver so much juice. When it reaches its limit, it begins to distort. Here's a chart that might help:
                  Click image for larger version

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                  You'll notice that the amp keeps delivering more and more power with less and less distortion until the distortion increases rapidly. The amp is beginning to "clip." Here's what's happening to the waveform:
                  Click image for larger version

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                  The tops and bottoms of the waves are "clipped" off. Keep going and you'll get something similar to what's called a "square wave," so called because the shape of the wave is square or rectangular. The red wave represents what happens with a SS amp. With tube amps, the same thing happens but it's more "gentle" for want of a better word. Instead of being clipped off, the waves are rounded like in the yellow wave. The increase of distortion at the right end of the first graph is less pronounced. Push it hard enough and you'll get the same sort of wave but it takes more. As far as what's coming out of the amp, distortion takes the form of higher frequencies that don't belong in the signal. "Harmonic distortion," the "HD" in "THD," means harmonics or multiples of the original signal that shouldn't be there, like 220Hz and 330Hz mixed with what should be a pure 110Hz tone. The extra harmonics won't hurt a well designed speaker but they're not pleasant to hear.
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                  Last edited by DeepEnd; 02-24-2016, 04:12 PM.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
                    Let me clear up some of the usual misinformation about "tube Watts" vs. "SS Watts" vs. "Class D Watts." A Watt is a Watt. Period. All amps are rated in terms of how much continuous power they can produce, whether they're tube or SS or powered by dilithium crystals. The FTC says they have to be. The difference comes in terms of headroom. A SS amp typically can't go much above rated power before it starts to distort badly. A tube amp will distort too but it takes longer for things to get really bad so you have another 3dB or so of useful output.
                    Amp pots are usually audio taper, which means turning the volume knob down to halfway up or 12 o'clock (from full on) reduces the volume by about 90% or -10dB. "Half power" is typically about 2 o'clock and results in about a 50% reduction or -3dB. "Running the knobs at 50%" sounds like 12 o'clock to me.
                    That said, the 200 probably won't do it for you unless you play smaller venues or run your amp through the PA.
                    Thank you, DeepEnd.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by phaeton View Post


                      Sorry folks, I didn't word my post very well. I was trying to slam it in during break at work. Here's what I'm trying to figure out:

                      1) If the Rumble 200 is going to be loud enough for jamming and gigs if there's no PA support (and it sounds like no)

                      2) If the Rumble 500 is going to be too much for anything OTHER than jamming and gigs. I.e., if I could still use it at home with the volume turned down. I know that sounds silly, but I've owned and played plenty of guitar amps that go from no output to "blow your damn head off" with the slightest turn of the volume knob- there is no useable "home practice level" in between.

                      I'm not in a band right now, but my goal and intent is to get some adequate gear and get setup so that I can legitimately start auditioning for rock bands of the British Invasion variety.

                      I suppose it is no skin off Guitar Center's nose if I don't even open the box and say "I want to return this and get the bigger one. Here's more money.".
                      The 500 will do fine at home. Its got a master volume so you'll have no problem dialing back the volume while turning up the preamp. Its even got a headphone jack for personal use too.

                      Its is a 2X10 amp so you shouldn't expect earth quakes playing through it live. Wattage and speaker DB levels are two different things. I've played through single high powerd 15" speakers before which is the bare minimum. 2X10's wouldn't cut it for me. I'd need at least a 4X10' minimum to get a confortable footprint size 10" drivers have gotten much better over the years. The coils can handle more wattage but you still only have 20" paper pushing air. That amp with a 15" extension cab would be good option.

                      I bought a Fender BASS300C BXR combo head awhile back which was the red knob precursor to the Rumble series. I refurbed it and sold it to my old bass player. He runs it with a 15" and 4X10 cab and can keep up with a guitarist using a 4X12 cab and 50/100W head. Its a little underpowered for the hard rock stuff but its way better then the 200W crate head he was using. 500w is ideal for most club work. You don't have to crank the amp to where it farts out and you can compete with a hard rocking drummer.

                      Like I said speakers size and efficiency matter too. Wattage is constantly misused as a substitute for a loudness measurement. Power is the rate at which energy is generated or consumed and is measured in watts. Speakers are rated in Watts because they consume power converting electricity to moving air electromagnetically . Wattage alone does not tell you how loud an amp will be.

                      In order to know how well an amp converts wattage to sound you have to know the speakers SPL sensitivity rating. The higher the sound pressure level rating in DB's the better the speakers convert electrical power to air movement.

                      Speaker cone size does matter with bass frequencies however. Just because a speaker can bark loudly doesn't bean it will produce the frequencies between 80hz and around 2K very well. 10's can scream above 250 hz and sound hollow on the bottom end lacking the sub lows that flap your pant legs and you feel in your chest unless you use enough of them in a larger cab. I have played with several bass players using newer 2X10" cabs and the footprint is just too small for my tastes. Sounds like they are playing through a guitar amp.

                      Like I said, A 2X10 and a 15" Extension with a 500W head will cook pretty good. You wont compete with a Marshall stack doing Metal but You could keep up with a 4X12 and below for most stuff.

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                      • #12
                        It all depends on the band and where you play. My TC Electronic 250 2x10 combo does just fine in a 7 piece band, no problem, but I always run a line from the DI output to the PA anyway. The 600w head and 4x10 cabinet were too much, and I hated lugging it around. Then again, we're not playing metal.

                        Personally, I prefer to use the XLR out rather than mic the amp. I know that probably puts me in the minority, but I just find it easier to deal with. Most sound guys prefer it as well, but there are a few that insist on Mic'ing.

                        If you're not sure whether to get the 200 or 500, then my suggestion is to get the 500. It's not that much more.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by phaeton View Post
                          . . . Here's what I'm trying to figure out: . . .

                          . . . 2) If the Rumble 500 is going to be too much for anything OTHER than jamming and gigs. I.e., if I could still use it at home with the volume turned down. I know that sounds silly, but I've owned and played plenty of guitar amps that go from no output to "blow your damn head off" with the slightest turn of the volume knob- there is no useable "home practice level" in between. . . .
                          I own one of those guitar amps like you're talking about, a Fender FM65R. I built a homemade attenuator that goes in the loop between the pre- and power amps. If you're interested, you can find the design here: http://person2person.faithweb.com/Project.html. WRGKMC was a lot of help with the project. The Rumble 500 has an effects loop and you could do something similar if you needed to but I haven't noticed that phenomenon with bass amps. My design has an unattenuated output that goes to a PA through a DI box. You probably won't need something like that. You can buy a similar box on eBay for around $15. Beyond that, as WRGKMC said, the amp has a master volume and the bass has a volume control, right? You should be fine. And, if necessary, practice amps are cheap. Buy something used, say 15 Watts, for noodling at home, and keep the 500 in reserve.
                          Last edited by DeepEnd; 02-24-2016, 05:13 PM.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
                            I own one of those guitar amps like you're talking about, a Fender FM65R. I built a homemade attenuator that goes in the loop between the pre- and power amps. If you're interested, you can find the design here: http://person2person.faithweb.com/Project.html.
                            Holy crap, why didn't I think of that myself? I even use amps as "satellites" all the time by connecting FX loops. That should have occured to me at some point.
                            Last edited by phaeton; 02-24-2016, 10:03 PM.
                            __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

                            It's funny how nowadays the only decent metal around is the theme music for a cartoon that makes fun of metal bands.

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                            • #15
                              Glad to help. Good luck with the new amp and finding a band. Let us know how you like the 500.
                              Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
                              Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
                              Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
                              Member of the Schecter Society
                              Person-2-Person on the Web

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