Music Man HD150

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by jnewmark, Nov 18, 2012.


  1. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    I will be getting one of these heads soon, and was wondering if anybody who has used, or still uses this head would share any thoughts, tips, etc. ? I found the old MusicMan site message board, but it seems to be more about the guitar heads and combos. I found some rather oddball stuff, like, the " Normal " channel is supposed to be for Bass, while the " Bass " channel is for bass guitars with darker sounding pickups, or generally darker tone ( according to some posters ). :meh: Also, each channel has two inputs, which are supposed to be different as far as " tone " goes from each other. One of the techs on the site recommends that the amp be used at " low " power in order to save tube life. He claims there is no discernible difference in volume between the two settings. I could not find a definite answer to whether or not the tone stack is like the Fender type, only that, turning the bass/treble/middle knobs all the way to the left, results in no sound at all ! Anybody care to comment on any of this, or add some other info ? Thanks. Can't wait to try this head out, as it will be my first tube head in about 30 years !
  2. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    You are aware that it is a hybrid amp? SS preamp and tube output.
  3. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    Yup, but it's close enough to tubes for me !
  4. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

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    I had an HD-130 for a few years maybe 6 years ago and it was a unique head for me. It was oddly one of my favorite heads ever for really clean and clear bass, but not really capable of very much (or very pleasing) overdrive, and also not particularly fat sounding (though I liked that tonal profile). I mostly used mine for guitar- it was a punishingly loud clean amp for guitar (I believe it is a very popular amp line for slide guitar players for that reason), but I would use it from time to time for bass when the tone was right (It worked really well in a two bassist + drummer trio I had for a while when I would be the "lead" bassist).

    I can't remember the particulars with the different channels, but I do recall the different inputs for each channel seeming to be slightly different in tone. I think I would usually have the Bass control fairly cranked on mine when using a bass, and don't believe it was a 2-10-2 Fender-style tonestack to my ears- I believe you are right about there not being any sound with all EQ at zero. I know the bias or plate-voltage for these amps was super hot for use with the original fairly heavy-duty power tubes, and I remember being recommended only one or two currently made tubes in this amp to get reasonable tube life. I recall my amp sounded noticeably quieter on the lower power setting.

    A really cool amp, and MUCH different than an Ampeg or Fender tube amp in its power category. I'm pretty sure TB'er Chef had one, and possibly also KJung (could be wrong on that one) if you want to PM them about it!
  5. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the input. I'm reading that the HD150 was different than the 130, something to do with the preamp, and also had different power tubes . Alot of bass users jumped the channels for an even better eq range. I'm glad that from what I'm reading that it has a clean bass tone. Not really into the distorted, grindy tone so many like on a bass amp.
  6. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

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    IIRC the amp has a standard "Fender" tone stack except the resistor values are ten times lower and the caps ten times higher.
  7. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    Seems to be a puzzle. For every Fender tone stack answer I get, there are just as many that say it's different, that 2-10-2 is not really " flat ". :meh:
  8. nashvillebill

    nashvillebill

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    Go to Duncan's Tone Stack Calculator, insert the component values, and turn the knobs to see...

    http://www.duncanamps.com/tsc/
  9. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    Don't really know what the " component values " are for this amp, and I don't see MusicMan tone stack selection there.
  10. nashvillebill

    nashvillebill

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    Get the 2100-150 schematic here: http://www.musicmanamps.com/

    and plug the values in.
  11. koobie

    koobie Supporting Member

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    Interesting. Could you translate that info into how it might sound compared to the traditional Fender tone stack?
  12. Chef

    Chef Moderator Supporting Member

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    Here's what I remember about the two HD150 I had:

    nice power to weight ratio; it's a light head.
    clean power, icky overdrive. that was fine by me
    reasonable power for clubland, given enough cone area
    workable eq; workable range of eq, especially given the deep and bright switches.

    true that they run high plate voltage, and you want high grade power tubes in it.

    I used low power at home/practice, and high power at gigs

    I did sometimes daisy chain channels. Probably cooler for guitar players, but, noticeable.

    Nice enough head, not "really tubey" overall, again, that was fine by me.

    I remember the eq feeling "fender tone stack" to me.
  13. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    Thanks, Chef, that sounds exactly like what I'm hoping this head will be.
  14. Chef

    Chef Moderator Supporting Member

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    Then you should really dig it, I think!
    For a while, I had the MM (RB?) bacs that went with those.
    I think a 115, and 212, in that crazy "kinda folded horn" thing they did.

    They all worked really well together.
  15. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

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    Hey,

    Just bought one of these a few months ago and it now my main amp. I'm came from an SVT Classic and was at first afraid that it wasn't loud enough. However, I just played my first gig and it was actually way too loud for the small stage I was playing.
    Coming off of the SVT, this thing is a dream carry around. I live on the 3rd floor and often have to lug my equipment in and out of my building. The SVT just got to be too much because I was making 4 trips from my car to my apartment (not fun at 2AM).
    Anyway, being a big Ampeg fan, I found that Ampeg, midrange grunt to be a bit lacking at first. I now jump channel 1 into channel 2. I usually run it channel 1: Volume 3, Treble 4, Mids 9, Bass 1 into channel 2: Volume 4, Treble 3, Mids 8, Bass 3 1/2. Then, I adjust the volume with the master. The preamp breaks up in a nasty way right around 4. I like a dirty sound so I keep it just on the edge of that.
    I usually run it in high power mode. There is a very big difference in sound. Low power has some great tube sag and high power has awesome punch.
    At my gig the other night, the sound guy wouldn't let me turn up past 5 (on the master). I'm not complaining since I could hear myself just fine on stage.
    I run it into 2 Ampeg 210 AV's. It's a great match and super portable. My whole rig fits into the trunk of my car!
    Over all, I'm very happy with the amp.
  16. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    ^ Thanks, that's the kinda info I'm looking for. I plan to run it as clean and as loud as needed. I was never into the whole tube distortion/breakup thing, even back in the day when I was using Bassman and Ampeg heads. The channel bridging seems interesting to me-I never knew you could do that, even when I owned tube heads.Plan on running this head into my 212, 3012HO loaded cab, or maybe my 215 loaded with JBL E140's . :bassist:
  17. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

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    It's actually a pretty clean head but still has that "thing" that tube amps have. I always thought it was the dirt that I liked about tube amps but, it's actually the compression and depth. There's some kinda low end depth that's added. You feel it when you're playing. This amp does both. I have pedals to make things dirty anyway.
    You could probably keep it a little cleaner if you run the master on 10 and then just adjust the volume with the channel volume.
    The jumper between the channels seems to add a layer of complexity to the sound. Like, if you run one channel hot and the other kinda low, you get this clean/dirty sound. You can also use it to double boost or double cut the tone. Double boosting the mids seems to bring it back to Ampeg land.
    I used to have a Bassman and this amp is WAY louder and has a much more muscular sound. The low power mode reminds me of the Bassman sound (which I like).
    Also, this amp has forced me to become more aware of my dynamics. I tend to dig in way too much all the time but, with amp I don't want to. I go back and forth during my set now. There are a great range of tones available just by varying your touch.
  18. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    ^Thanks. Do you notice any difference between the two inputs on either channel ? I've read where there is a difference in tone between input one and two. Also, would you happen to know what the dimensions of 150 is ?
  19. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

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    On both channels, input 1 seems to be a bit hotter than 2. I only have passive basses but, it would probably work well for active or passive basses. I always plug into the passive input.
    Channel 1 (normal) seems to be a bit clearer than 2 (bass). It sounds like the bass input is padded or something.
    I'm not quite sure of the dimensions since I'm out of town. I think it's about the size of bassman.
  20. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    Here's some specs I got from a MusicMan catalog archive.

    Input #1-sensitivity is 1mV, while input #2 is 2mV

    Input #1 impedance is 215,000 ohms, while Input#2 is 122,000 ohms.

    Brite Switch Boost is +15db at 3.2hz

    Deep Switch Boost is 6db/oct hpf at 100hz.

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