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80s-90s passive cooled amps w/ compressor?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bedroommuso, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. I was just wondering if there were any early modern amps (e.g. 80s-90s) that are still passively cooled and have a built in compressor? I'm not thinking micro heads (too new).. the idea is finding something cheap, old and quote "out of fashion" etc. on the second hand market. [I also don't want to get into the fan vs passive cooled argument.. I realise there are pros and cons of both. Passive just seems to suit my needs at the moment. Also I say 80s-90 because that just seems to be the era when some things were made a bit more solidly, and you could find non-Chinese amps a lot easier..]

    I have a GK 400RB (first series) and know that is one of the greats in terms of tone, reliability and value.. but I just couldn't help but wonder if there was something out with similar great reliability that had an onboard compressor.. if there was then that might be a good backup amp and I could forget worrying about carrying external effects sometimes.

    I saw an Eden nemesis NC200 2x10" combo from the 90s, which looks pretty interesting, passive cooled, compressor etc. However, I do wonder if there was a 90s head version of this? Also I have no idea in regards to the tone it puts out compared to the GK. I also noted the SWR Workingman as an amp that might fit the bill in terms of specs..?

    Are there any amps out there that might fit the bill (if not these two)?
  2. I think all the Trace SMX went to fan cooled, very nice compression though, split between highs and lows.
  3. Thanks for the tip.. sticking to passive cooling for the moment, though.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Is the compression absolutely essential? If it's just a backup amp, why not skip the comp all together?

    As for passive cooled, GK is all I can think at the moment.
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The compressors built into amp heads tend to suck abominably. I mean they are generally garbage. So I'd suggest taking the comp out of the equation of your amp search--that should help you meet the rest of your criteria.
  6. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Peavey Mark VIII xp.
  7. I agree with Bongo in that you should just look to getting a pedal for your compression needs and forget about the on board amp ones. Most passive cooled amps from that era were not high power but you can get great deals on used SWR's like the 220 or 350. They also have a decent limiter circuit in them that I rather like and I'm mostly a low ratio soft compression user.
  8. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    In 1979 Marshall used to make a 100 watt all tube combo, no fan, with an interesting almost useable diode compressor built in.:bassist:
    They sounded quite good but It's still not going to give you world class studio outboard bass compression.
  9. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Just out of curiosity, why are you opposed to a fan-cooled SS head? How does passive cooling suit your needs more?
  10. OP might like to comment on another thread if you start one.
  11. Well, I was thinking of just having something more of a grab and go amp... I currently have a head + 1x15" cab rig, and a boss GT-6B for effects. This rig, is also my only amp, so a practice amp type thing/combo (with enough power) might be a good alternative. Even something I could leave at friends places would be desirable.. it doesn't have to be GK 400RB standard, that's why I thought the nemesis nc200 looked interesting.
  12. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    No compressor (to me, not necessary except for recording, really) but all Walter Woods amps are passively cooled..........and MICRO, long before such was fashionable; they've been around since the mid '70s. :cool: