Bass tube head under 100w for home

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by BluesyCat, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Member

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    +1 on the Ampeg b25, and Traynor bassmate suggestion.

    also check into a Guild Thunderbass, sounds like a B15 and an SVT together!

    Also a good old Ampeg B15 is a cool low wattage recording home amp
     
  2. jamesie

    jamesie Member

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    ebs classic t90
     
  3. BluesyCat

    BluesyCat Supporting Member

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    Alrighty....you guys sparked my curiousity! Hubby hooked up his Tone King Metropolitan to my Ampeg 410HLF. With some adjustments, it actually sounded pretty killer and tight!

    I would have never even attempted the guitar amp thing had you not suggested it. It sounded best scaled back at 20W and some adjustments with the bass volume, and both passive or active worked fine. Passive was sufficient though!


    Still, I'd like to have my own bass tube head! :p

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  4. BluesyCat

    BluesyCat Supporting Member

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    I found a good preowned Ashdown Little Bastard.... Just might get it.
     
  5. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Member

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    Cool, if you do let us know how you like it! It's a fun amp for a good price.
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    there you go, that ashdown sounds like it's designed specifically for what you're talking about, tube bass tone at home/recording volumes.

    as far as cabs to go with it, conventional wisdom is that tube bass heads sound best with sealed cabs; something about the impedance curves with vented boxes changing how they react against the output transformer.
     
  7. Rick N Boogie

    Rick N Boogie Member

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    Yes, so long as you want "clean" bass tones. That wooly overdriven sound would require the volume to be turned way up.
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    which was my original point, normal "clean" bass tones can be best had with bigger amps turned down so they aren't being "pushed".

    if you want a clear, deep low end, this is usually the way to go.
     
  9. BluesyCat

    BluesyCat Supporting Member

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    I'm female...I can change my mind....so I did. I think I'll wait to get a chance to play the Fender 100T locally at a shop and then make up my mind. But I think I'd rather have the 100T.
     
  10. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Member

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    I don't know what tube amps you're playing, but all of the tube amps I play don't have simply two settings, "clean" and "dirty". There's a whole range of tones. The low end is deeper once you get the power tubes working because the tone doesn't fill out until you do. I think you're confusing getting the amp working with getting it dirty. You can have pristine clean tones with deeper bottom end by turning the amp up more than having it "turned down".

    For example, sure I can play my 2061X at 1 and it's clean, but the sound is thin and lackluster compared to when I play it at noon, and with the bass I'm playing today it's still pristine clean, but is a lot more full in the low end, has a lot more sparkle, character, dimension, and other qualities generally desired for good tone, which is what the OP is looking for. And I can't turn that amp up above 1 in my apartment without shaking the crap out of everything, so in my particular living situation it's too big to get the best tone. In a house, more isolated, it's about the right volume for home playing at noon, pristine clean, but with great tone, and loud enough to feel the rumble to get your rocking on.

    Tube amps tend to sound their best at a particular volume setting which is a lot less than turned way down, whether it be for anything from pristine clean to raging distortion. This is very different from most solid state amps. With tube amps having too much headroom available leads to lackluster tone.
     
  11. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Member

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    If you get one of those you HAVE to write up a review. Those look very cool and are priced very nice for the feature set they offer. Very tempting.
     
  12. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    well yeah, pushing the amp gets you some harmonic fatness, some compression, and definitely more perceived lows from ol' fletcher-munson. it's a great sound (i gigged with a '70s SVT head for years).

    i'm just saying that a 100-200 watt tube head turned down to "just coasting" is a great bass sound too, so the OP shouldn't be scared of a head like that. bass can sound good when it's still totally clean, and the amp with unused reserve power can get more real low end at a given volume level.

    it's not like guitar, where playing a twin reverb on "2" is sterile and plinky.
     
  13. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Member

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    To me it is sterile and plinky, but I'm probably more picky about my tone that you are about yours, but it is tone that is the bottom line here.
     
  14. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    Oh, I'm picky too; my only point is that unlike guitar, a clean uncompressed sound can be good for bass, especially if you want a deep low end.

    also, even if said tube amp is not working hard, I still hear a certain "naturalness" with bass that isn't often there with the solid state amps.
     
  15. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Member

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    Yeah, I'm not arguing that a turned down tube amp won't sound better than a solid state amp. I don't play solid state amps. But I'd still say you'll always sound better with an appropriate sized tube amp vs. a tube amp that's larger than what you really need. The low end is deeper when the sound fills out on the power amp, and that's apart from all of the other positive characteristics you get when you get the power amp working. Turning your amp down does NOT give you deeper low end, that makes no sense at all.
     
  16. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    Right, of course, turning down the tube amp won't give it more lows than the same amp turned up;

    I'm referring instead to the idea of a 100w amp on "3" vs. a 20 watt amp on "6"; at the same volume, the bigger amp that's not compressing will likely have a deeper, clearer low end.
     
  17. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Member

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    It'll have more low end IF AND ONLY IF you're actually running it at more wattage than the smaller amp, which if you're not turning it up louder, you're not. Tube amp compression only fattens tone, I don't know where you're getting this notion that it cuts lows from. That's false.

    I've done lots of gigs with 100 watt vs. 50 watt vs. 20 watt amps, used different amps on the same gig. The appropriate wattage amp for the gig always sounds better than one with too much headroom. Fatter, richer, more dimension and character. A larger amp turned down sounds sterile and plinky in comparison, maybe not compared to a solid state amp, but compared to the right size tube amp.
     
  18. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Member

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    Moreover if clean, clear, uncompressed low end is your goal, you're best served by some high wattage solid state power amp anyways, obviously. OP is looking for tube tone, already has a GK. Why would you spend so much more on a tube amp just to try to get a tone out of it that a solid state amp that costs much less would do better? That makes no sense.
     
  19. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    on bass? interesting.

    there is a technical argument that a tube amp pushed hard will indeed have narrower bandwidth as the power tubes and transformer begin to max out and saturate, but that might be more about "fuzz bass" volume levels.

    a bigger amp with a bigger transformer and more reserve power can have more low end at the same apparent volume, as it will be able to translate the more demanding bass frequencies without running out of juice.

    it may in fact be producing more watts, but if they're in the service of genuine bass frequencies, it comes across as being the same volume, just "deeper" sounding.

    (that's another thing, too; guitar tube amps are often rolled off above the real bass frequencies, and turning up their "bass" knobs just boosts "guitar lows", which might be above real bass lows.)



    to the original point, the right 30-watt amp might indeed be all the OP needs for bass at home, but she shouldn't be scared to try a higher-powered amp should one come across her way (like that reeves 225 she was asking about).

    the reeves is probably pricey, but there's old 50 and 100 watt bassman heads out there for fairly cheap, maybe cheaper than the 30-watt ashdown.

    i suggested "vintage" because it seems like the only low-powered tube bass amp with any kind of collector value is the ampeg portaflex stuff. that means there's lots of 50-100w tube bass heads to be had for a decent price if you can find one. even the dreaded 135-watt bassman can sound good for bass, and probably wouldn't be that spendy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  20. BluesyCat

    BluesyCat Supporting Member

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