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$800 and under amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tubaman2, May 21, 2011.

  1. tubaman2


    Nov 18, 2010
    I've come to you today with a question.
    I'm wondering what my best option for an amp would be if I wanted these characteristics.

    *Capacity for slight natural grit
    *$800 or under new or used.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. Must be more specific

    Amp only, amp + speakers, combo?

    How much power? For what kind of music? etc. etc.
  3. tubaman2


    Nov 18, 2010
    I'm looking at least 500 watts, 300 can be acceptable if the amp is great. Mostly looking for a head, but a combo can work as well.

    Mostly playing alternative rock. So it needs to have rock grit and warmth, but enough clarity for when I'm doing non-rock type things.

    Hope that clears it up.
  4. Lots of micro heads with tubes in the gain stage these days, most around the 500W mark at 4 ohms. I'm a fan of the Markbass stuff myself.
  5. tubaman2


    Nov 18, 2010
    I've been looking at those. It seemed like they may be a bit...I guess "sterile"? Is this a truth? I don't know because I've only ever briefly tried one out at a guitar center, and that is obviously not prime listening space. How do they do in a band setting? In your opinion, what were the warmest/least boring sounding markbass heads?

    Sorry for all the questions.
  6. Tube? Solid state? Micro/Class D?

    Problem is at $800 new/used you can buy just about anything.

    The Genz Benz stuff might be up your alley. Probably a good bet for clarity but having the ability to dial in some warmth.

    TC Classic 450?

    Markbass Little Mark tube 800?

    Amp in the mesa scout, surely some other mesa options.

    And the list goes on and on....
  7. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Carvin B1500, it's not small, it's not light but for warmth and tone there is not much like it.
  8. No tube pre is really going to sound like a tube amp. But if you're looking for reliability I'd stay solid state.

    VT Bass into just about anything.

    VT Bass 1969, but that may be a bit underpowered/overpriced.

    I'm currently using the VT Bass into a very transparent EA head. Turn the VT on for warmth, off for clarity. Genz Benz stuff is interesting, I have a love/hate thing with them in a weird way just based on the tone. The Mesa Scout is pretty cool.
  9. tubaman2


    Nov 18, 2010
    The more tubes the better. I know in my price range, all I'm probably gonna get is a tube preamp. It just seems like tubes sound more natural.

    Weight and size are no matter. A small class D that sounds great would be awesome, but if a big amp sounds better, I'll go with it.
  10. And nothing says rock like Ampeg.

    What amps have you played and liked? What players do you think have the best tone?
  11. tubaman2


    Nov 18, 2010
    That's the problem. I've never been totally happy with my tone, or anybody else's really. There are very few people I've heard and said, that is a pretty good tone.

    I guess if i had to choose it would bizarrely be Tim Foreman of Switchfoot. They aren't my favorite band by far, but his tone has this round warm quality to it that maintains clarity while still being able to drive the band well.

    I know he uses the GK Fusion 550. That's slightly above my price range though, so I've looked at the MB Fusion. But wasn't sure if that was a viable option. I live in the middle of nowhere so trying out these amps isn't really an option.
  12. TheMutt

    TheMutt Guest

    Apr 28, 2007
    Here's a list to get you started... All of these amps are under or around $800 new (used would be less... don't forget to scour your local Craigslist and the amp classifieds here as well for other amps that cost more than $800 that you can get a deal on), and at least 300 watts power rating:

    Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 = 500 watts @ 4ohms

    Ampeg Portaflex PF-500 = 500 watts @ 4ohms
    Ampeg SVT450H = 450 watts @ 4ohms

    Ashdown Little Giant 350 = 350 watts @ 4ohms
    Ashdown Little Giant 1000 = 2x 500 watts @ 4ohms
    Ashdown MAG 600H EVO II = 575 watts @ 4ohms

    Eden WTB400 = 400 watts @ 4ohms
    Eden WTB700 = 700 watts @ 4ohms
    Eden WTX500 = 500 watts @ 4ohms

    Epifani PS400 = 400 watts @ 4ohms

    Genz-Benz Shuttle 3.0 = 300 watts @ 4ohms
    Genz-Benz Shuttle 6.0 = 600 watts @ 4ohms

    Gallien-Krueger 700RB-II = 480 Watts @ 4ohms
    Gallien-Krueger 800RB = 300 Watts @ 4ohms
    Gallien-Krueger 1001RB-II = 700 watts @ 4ohms
    Gallien-Krueger MB500/MBFusion = 500 watts @ 4ohms
    Gallien-Krueger MB800 = 800 watts @ 4 ohms

    Ibanez Promethian = 500 watts @ 4ohms

    MarkBass F1/F500 = 500 watts @ 4ohms
    MarkBass LM-III/LMTube = 500 watts @ 4ohms
    MarkBass LM800 = 800 watts @ 4ohms
    MarkBass SA450 = 500 watts @ 4ohms

    Marshall MB450H = 300 watts @ 4ohms, 450 watts @ 2ohms

    SWR Headlite = 400 watts @ 4ohms
    SWR WorkingPro 400 = 400 Watts @ 4ohms

    Tech21 Landmark 300 = 300 watts @ 4ohms

    TC Electronic BH500 = 500 watts @ 4ohms
    TC Electronic Classic 450 = 450 watts @ 4ohms
    TC Electronic RH450 = 450 watts @ 4ohms

    There's much much more than a wealth of information, lovers, and haters of just about all of these amps (if there is an amp listed here that isn't even mentioned in another thread I'd be really really surprised... but if that happened, stay the heck away from that amp...).

    Personally, I have owned/own:
    GK 700RB-II
    GK 1001RB-II
    Genz Shuttle 6.0
    MarkBass LMTube
    TC RH450

    All of those amps can definitely get some grit going in one way or another (GK "G.I.V.E." technology, Genz tube preamp, Markbass Tube Preamp, TC "Tubetone") and all are very versatile in the EQ sections. My personal favorite, and the amp I still currently own, is the RH450. The three separate programmable channels give you great flexibility on stage without having to reach back and fiddle with the amp to get a different tone.
  13. tubaman2


    Nov 18, 2010
    Well thank you sir, this was very helpful.
  14. tubaman2


    Nov 18, 2010
    Also, did the tubetone sound "natural"? I've seen youtube vids but could never get a feel for if it really sounded like a natural tube amp would.
  15. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Genz Benz Streamliner 900. Do your homework and you will realize that this is exactly what you are looking for.
  16. I play either a vintage tube rig or my VT + Class D rig. The VT Bass pedal is getting a lot of love around here for a reason. I find it gets more convincing tube amp tone than any amp I've played with a tube pre. Even high end tube preamps, while sounding cool in their own way, just don't sound very much like a tube power stage to me. It's worth thinking about grabbing a VT along with any reasonably transparent head.

    Based on your preferences, it sounds like you should certainly consider GK. Since you said warm I didn't mention their stuff -- I find it grindy, but not warm.

    Lot's of options. You'll need to do some research and narrow them down a bit.
  17. TheMutt

    TheMutt Guest

    Apr 28, 2007
    The short answer is no, it doesn't sound like a real tube amp, but it does have a unique sound that is reminiscent of a tube amp. IMO, in a full mix, that's all that really matters. It can get up into fuzz or angry SVT type tones at the upper 1/4 of the knob.

    Plus, pairing it with my RS210 cab has made load-in/load-out a breeze. Bass in one hand, cab in the other, amp bag on one shoulder, effects board on the other. Grab, load in the trunk, help everyone else load up, and roll out.
  18. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    Try GK if you can. I find my 700RB-II to be really warm and "tubey" when EQ'ed properly.
  19. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    I have a tendency to lean in the same tonal directions as the OP and play a lot of alternative and grunge along with vintage hard rock and some mellow stuff (no country or rap).
    After a long search and a lot of gear swapping the best low cost, high power, rock solid, max flex rig I've been able to put together is a Thunderfunk/Bergantino stack. I went with the first run of Thunderfunks (TFB420 I think, not at home right now so cant verify) and mated it to a Bergantino HT322 (1x12 + 2x10 + horn) and put a VT pedal in front of it. I can get any tone from crystal clear piano to screaming marshall half stack to pure ampeg SVT grit. The amp loves my active and passive Jazz and P bass as well as my Stingrays but didn't mate well to my G&L 2500 (pickups were too hot, kept bumping against the amp clip at high volumes).
    For the type of music you're playing you might be able to pick up a good 2x15 cab for less cost than a berg. If you buy used you should be able to get the total rig in the $800 ballpark ($500 for TF and $300 for cab). Look in the TB classifides for a used first model Thunderfunk if interested.
    PS - I will probably upgrade the VT pedal I have to the deluxe model since it looks like it allows channel (with effect) switching which would be handy to have vs the original on/off VT.
  20. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    Mesa walkabout. Or something huge and used like an svt 2 pro.

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