1. Welcome to TalkBass 2014! If you're new here, we just went through a major site upgrade. Please post all concerns and bugs to the Forum Usage Issues forum. We will be monitoring that forum. Thank you for all of your feedback.

    The TB Android app is working, you may need to uninstall/reinstall. The iPhone app is now updated and should work after you upgrade. TalkBass is responsive to any screen size, so we recommend using your mobile browser for full functionality.

    Please read the TalkBass 2014 FAQ for lots of great info on the new software.

Marshall VBA 400

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by Fishheadjoe, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Fishheadjoe

    Fishheadjoe

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    May be taking a look at a Marshall VBA400 to match up with my Berg NV610.
    My question is this... does this head "play nice" with active basses? Typically I use my Pedulla Rapture for gigging, which is obviously an active bass. In my admittedly limited research, I have read that they "don't play nice" with active basses.
    Can anyone comment on this? Sure would appreciate some first hand experience before I lay out what will likely be a ton o cash!
    Thanks TB...
    Fishheadjoe
  2. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2002
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can't imagine why it wouldn't work fine with an active bass. That amp has 2 inputs, one designed for passive and one for active basses.

    The only difference the amp is going to "see" between a passive and an active bass is maybe the signal level. Inputs marked "active" have some type of attenuation added to the circuit to "turn down" a higher signal level by a certain amount. Some are -10db, some -20db, just depends on what the manufacturer wants to build in.

    The thing to keep in mind is that even though you may have an active bass, you might not need to use an "active" input on any particular amp. Many active basses do not have particularly high output signals, and there's no need to pad down the level.

    I've got an EMG equipped bass that's pretty loud, an Aguilar OBP-3 equipped bass that's average, an Audere equipped bass that's average, and a bone-stock 77 Precision that's louder than all of them.

    So just try both inputs with any bass, active or passive, try adjusting the preamp gain on the amp, and use what sounds best to you.
  3. Fishheadjoe

    Fishheadjoe

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you Bruce, much appreciated!
    Fishheadjoe
  4. nysbob

    nysbob

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Likes Received:
    1
    That would be a pretty sweet rig IMO.
  5. higain617

    higain617

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Likes Received:
    0
    ^x2. That will be totally massive.
  6. Clammy

    Clammy

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Likes Received:
    1
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Neal Moser Guitars, DR Strings
    I don't think the VBA 400 will have ANY issues with an active bass. I have a +15 dB booster on my main bass, and when I kick it on it just drives my VBAs into pleasant distortion. I have my amps set up pretty crunchy to begin with, but you can dial in a 100% clean tone if you like that.

    Cheers!
    :bassist::bassist::bassist:
  7. tooley

    tooley

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Likes Received:
    0
    It say's somewhere in the manual that you can plug an active bass into the passive input. If you want the amp to break up. Or something like that. So I'm sure you'll be fine
  8. carbonfold

    carbonfold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Likes Received:
    0
    VBA is a nice sounding amp but it (IMO) has a certain "VBA" tone to it... It is bit different than a SVT or AD200B. Although it has ample amout of power, I felt that there really wasn't much benefit over a 200w or 300w when using 4 or more drivers (I hated the service cost of replacing all the tubes on that).

    Again, not a bad sounding amp, but I felt the mid voicing and a certain darkness wasn't exactly my tone. Also, I don't recall having any issues running my active or passives basses.

    My opinion of that amp was a love / hate for some reason. I'm sure that was clear as mud ha...
  9. Fishheadjoe

    Fishheadjoe

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    So as noted in the thread starter, I found this amp advertised on Craig's List. After some back and forth with the seller, we reached an agreement on price and he offered to deliver it to my house.
    I keep my NV610 in my garage, makes loading and unloading much easier as I can back my truck right up to the cab, tilt and load in. I gave the VBA400 a once over, ensuring that everything worked and it did. Quite a monster from a power perspective and it does, based on my limited time so far, seem the manage a number of workable tones.
    I have been gasing for an all tube head for quite some time. Intil now, I have been using a Hartke 3500TA for gigging and althought it has not let me down and it's a decent sounding amp, tubes is what I have been hearing in my head for some time.
    The tolex has seen better days and I will be dropping it off at my tech's for a once over; a little insurance is what I am looking for.
    So, I now have too many amps and will be listing my RH450 and foot switch locally as that amp has not seen a cab in some time...
    Lookin forward to our next gig early October to put the Marshall through it's paces...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Fishheadjoe
  10. Clammy

    Clammy

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Likes Received:
    1
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Neal Moser Guitars, DR Strings
    If you need to retube the amp, I can tell you that Tung-Sol reissue 6550A tubes sound awesome in it. Also, get some good NOS preamp glass to really wake her up. I run NOS Mullard preamp tubes across the board in mine, and it was an almost night/day difference from the stock tubes.

    Cheers!
    :bassist::bassist::bassist:
  11. Fishheadjoe

    Fishheadjoe

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks so much for the advice... gotta admit that I am total newbie regarding tube amps. I will soak up any and all advice and experience given... thanks again!
    Fishheadjoe
  12. Clammy

    Clammy

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Likes Received:
    1
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Neal Moser Guitars, DR Strings
    Always happy to help. :)

    Cheers!
    :bassist::bassist::bassist:
  13. Fishheadjoe

    Fishheadjoe

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just a side note for a bit of humour... I noticed my truck in the background shot... that makes me officially a member of the "my amp is worth more than my truck" club! LOL
    Fishheadjoe
  14. carbonfold

    carbonfold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Likes Received:
    0
    Also, as I'm sure your tech should do this, but have all the blade connectors cleaned and secured. Marshalls are full of them and they do have a tendency to wiggle loose.
  15. Fishheadjoe

    Fishheadjoe

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    Picked up the head last night from my tech. After re-biasing the power tubes and replacing one of the pre-amp tubes and giving it a thorough cleaning, it's good to go.
    Played around with it last night through my TC RS2x10 and so far I really like this amp! Yes, as always, I am in the honeymoon stages, but I just can't get over the power this head exhibits. I have found that the EQ is actually quite responsive and I can easily go from hard driven to uber clean and tight.
    Next purchase will have to be a small hand cart though! LOL
    My tech, who has been working on tube amps since the 60's had not seen one of these before... my favorite comment on the amp so far..."make sure that when you turn this amp on, not on standby, but engage the power amp, that you have the amp plugged into it's own circuit. The darn thing dimmed the lights in my shop when I was testing it!"
    Yes, I lol'd!
    He also mentioned that should I decide to sell the amp, I would more than make my money back if I was to part it out! No, I have no intention of doing anything but keep it in it's original condition, but it's nice to know that it has value regardless of it's working condition.

    Thanks again to all who provided advice in this thread...

    Fishheadjoe
  16. gumtownbassman

    gumtownbassman Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great to see you have a VBA400, i have one too and still think it's awesum.
    Lots of power, i mentioned in another thread that it is like having a big block V8 that has a twitchy accelerator pedal.

    Hear is a show and tell picture of my setup at the last gig, using both Marshall stacks (because i can with self indulgance).

    [​IMG]
  17. Fishheadjoe

    Fishheadjoe

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great pic!
    I bet you don't much of a problem hearing yourself with that rig!

    I now have a number of rehearsals under my belt with the Marshall. I am making the huge error of using a 2x10 and 1x15 cab configuration at our rehearsal space... 6x10 is for gigs only right now. I love this freakin amp! Such a great break up tone, and yes, it's way louder than I'll ever need... which is nice!
    First gig with the amp is on Friday night and I'll report back my findings... but I expect awesomeness!
    Fishheadjoe
  18. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    10
    Hey Joe, did you employ a serf to carry the thing for you???

    I really hope your new amp exceeds all of your hopes for it! :)

    Now all you need is some decent cabinets like Ampeg! :bag:


    :D
  19. Clammy

    Clammy

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Likes Received:
    1
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Neal Moser Guitars, DR Strings
    If you can get 1 or 2 VBC412 cabs, you'll be in heaven, hehehe...

    This is my "local gig" rig (the cabs are mid-80s era JCM 800 Bass Series - 4x12 top, 2x15 bottom). Not being able to hear myself doesn't even enter my (or anyone else's ) mind. ;) :

    [​IMG]

    Cheers!
    :bassist::bassist::bassist:
  20. Clammy

    Clammy

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Likes Received:
    1
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Neal Moser Guitars, DR Strings
    Believe it or not the handles on the head make it very easy to carry. I usually carry mine one-handed.

    Cheers!
    :bassist::bassist::bassist:

Share This Page