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Little Mark Tube 800 vs Puma 900

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by funkometer, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. funkometer

    funkometer Supporting Member

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    Was curious on the differences in the general tone, and tone shaping of these two heads. Puma has the taste knob and the Markbass has the two filter knobs. I also use a BX500, was wondering how similar the tone of the BX500 compares to the Puma 900, obviously there is a power difference. Thanks!
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    The EQ of the Puma is very similar to the fixed frequency Markbass models. The bass, upper mid and treble are similar designs and similar center/shelving start points. The big difference is the low mid control, which is centered way too high on the Markbass amps to provide that big, low mid, meaty sort of burpy tone. On the Puma, the low mid control is right where it should be, and it is the FAT knob.

    The filter design on the Markbass and Puma is quite different. On the Puma, the taste control is quite powerful (so powerful that I never used it, since I liked the inherent, neutral tone of that amp). Turned one way, it rolls off the top and, and eventually rolls off the mids for a more Motown or dub vibe. Turned in that direction, it is somewhat similar to the VLE filter on the Markbass. Turned the other way, the taste filter is kind of the opposite of the Markbass VPF (scoop)... it rolls off low end and top end for a very midrange-focused tone, and is meant for fretless players to bring out the woody mwaw of that kind of tone (of course, you can also use it in low settings to tighten up the tone a bit using any bass).

    Tonally, the current Puma's are more similar to the Markbass F1/F500 than the LMTube800, which is voiced deeper than the Puma, and MUCH brighter to my ear, a bit clacky in the upper mids. You can control this somewhat with the upper mid control, but I never could get the warm, mid present punch of the F1/F500 or the Puma from my LMTube800 (which was one of the only amps I ever returned for a refund... the day after I bought it..IMO and personal taste there). I also heard virtually no impact of the tube in that amp when comparing the 100% tube tone to the 100% solid state tone.

    Set neutral, the Puma will be much fatter than the Carvin. It is really a wonderful 'plug and play' amp (like the F1/F500) and I never felt the need to vary the EQ on either of these amps except to control for room acoustics. Of course, the Carvin has a zillion knobs and tone controls, and you can probably get it relatively close. Much less expensive, and quite a bit larger. Nice 'budget priced' unit.

    The only reason I don't own a Puma is that the Puma500 sounds relatively similar to my F500 (I served as one of the field testers on the updated version). If I used a large 8ohm cab, or played very loudly and used two large 8ohm cabs, I'd buy a Puma900 in a minute!
  3. IronLung1986

    IronLung1986

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    Kjung it seems like a year or more since I've seen a post from you man. Have you been off tb or do you just stick to the amps section? I never come over here anymore - your advice helped cure my amp GAS a while back! Anyway just sayin hey.
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    I pretty much keep to the amp section. I did take a rest for a while, but in the Winter up North, I tend to dip back in.

    Since we moved from Detroit, I don't have that constant stream of gear and wonderful players through my house, and all those GTG's to post about:p Also, as seen by this year's NAMM show, the pace of new product introductions has really slowed. Not much of interest (for me anyway) out there at the moment that is new.

    That being said, I served as a field tester in December/early January for a cab I'm VERY excited about. I'll definitely post up about that one when it is announced next week:bassist: Sorry for the teaser on that one, but I'm pretty giddy about it.:bassist:
  5. funkometer

    funkometer Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the input Ken. Im sure there's not not many people on TB that have experience with all 3 of these heads. I'd like to get a few more opinions, maybe Mr. Bowlus will chime in as well.
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Ken's pretty much discussed this already, but I'll add that those heads have very different means of dialing in the tone you want. Yes, the EQ points of the Puma and the LM Tube are probably fairly similar, but the Taste and VLE/VPF get their jobs done in very different fashion. And of course, the BX500 has an entirely different EQ setup. FWIW, I found that turning the Bass to about 1 o'clock and leaving the rest alone is pretty close to "flat" on the BX500.
  7. B String

    B String Supporting Member

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    Just to add a note. The surprising thing for me about the F500 was that I didn't realize how much low end it actually has till I used it with a box that has great low end is. It seems to have some real extension that I don't get hear using smaller boxes. Great head but I'm still jonesing for a Puma 900.
    In my opinion the Carvin and Markbass LMtube aren't in the same playpen as the Puma. jmho
  8. funkometer

    funkometer Supporting Member

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    In my experience the BX500 is a slightly bright head set flat. Is the tube 800 brighter than the BX500?
  9. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

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    Nope.
  10. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

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    Puma 900 interest suddenly. Are ya happy now?

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