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Active pickups + old tube head + modern 4x10"?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by LowOrbit, Mar 5, 2008.


  1. LowOrbit

    LowOrbit

    Feb 5, 2008
    NYC
    Hi there,

    On a whim (as a guitarist/drummer), I bought a Fender American Deluxe Jazz 4 (Olympic White/Rosewood)
    I couldn't put it down, I love it and with one day to go before the return period expires, I don't think I can free it from my grip.

    OK...
    But, I have no bass amp.

    At a local store I got to try out a Phil Jones Suitcase.
    It was clean... very clean. Surgically clean with gobs of midrange.
    Within minutes, I understood that while surgically-clean is great for those that are in need, I like it messy.
    Swirly, swollen, warm, tube sounds.

    Yet, I only need a practice amp as I don't plan on playing out.
    And, despite buying the bass, I'm not loaded (that was a painful purchase).

    In the past, I've owned several 70's Univox, Traynor and Ampeg (B-25) heads that I sold because the weren't right for my guitar.
    Meaning, too little breakup - they had to be too loud for brownish distorted guitar sounds.
    Now, I wish that I had those back for the bass.

    My questions:
    1) Will the active 18V pickup overload the inputs of those classic tube heads?
    (I want it warm, not distorted)

    2) Will the frequency response of an old tube amp match a modern bass cab?
    All of those amps were so midrangey - but that was a guitar through open or semi-open-backed guitar cabs.
    Now I wonder if they were pumping out a fuller frequency response that one would assume.

    I can't imagine what those amps would've sounded like into a modern bass cab.
    Also, I'm not really considering a 4x10", perhaps an Avatar 2x10" or 2x12".
    I like the Genz Benz Neo cabs, but I think they only sport Speakon connectors.

    Thanks for any help...
    I'm looking for a good amp to write with I guess. (bounce ideas off of)
    I may record mic'd or direct, but I need an amp to play.
     
  2. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    1. Not unless you dime the active controls way past flat. The idea with active is that you leave it flat until you need to boost something, say, if you want a little more treble for a quick slap solo, and then you just add a little.

    2. Yes.
     
  3. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    You might be surprised at some of the Ampeg or Mesa combos, like the Ampeg B100r/B200r and the Mesa Walkabout Scout. They aren't all tube, but unless you find a nice used V4 lying around; all-tube bass amps aren't practical for non-gigging applications. Those can do the nice warm tube-like thing really well. The Ampeg has a 15" speaker w/o a horn and the Mesa has a 12" w/ a down firing passive radiator (an 8" I think?). I have a post up about my experiences using a B100r for recording, and it impressed the hell out of me. I am now gas'ing for one to use as a practice amp.
     
  4. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Huh? You're kidding, right?
     
  5. LowOrbit

    LowOrbit

    Feb 5, 2008
    NYC
    I've also thought about the Fender Silverface amps.

    They're kind of snubbed by guitar players as being too clean.
    And even I (for guitar) have never much liked them.

    But, for bass they may be just the ticket.
    More headroom that the Blackfaces or Tweeds, but still with that warm round-sound.
    And more affordable...
    Well, that is, if they produce enough true bass frequencies in a modern bass cab.

    I guess that comes down to cab-matching too.
    I've heard people say that Brand-X cabs are too-scooped or Brand-Y are too midrange-heavy.
    I suppose you need to be careful to match a cab to a head.
    Aye... what a pain.
     
  6. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon

    Kidding about what? Tube amps being impractical as practice amps? No, I'm not kidding about that. :confused:
     
  7. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    LowOrbit: yeah, it is a pain in the rear. I tried for years to get the right sound out of my two 1x12 setup, tweaking the EQ, etc. Then I finally added a pair of tens to my setup and everything seems to be right as rain nowadays. As far as reading that brand-x is too this or that, it's all poppycock unless you've tried it for yourself unfortunately. One man's hump is another man's scoop (ugh...).
     
  8. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Ah, I thought you meant as studio amps.

    I wouldn't say they're impractical as practice amps, but many times I wanted to commit suicide rather than lug my SVT to a practice ;)
     
  9. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    No, they are great as studio amps, as is seen in tons and tons of studios. I don't even think an all tube amp is impractical as a rehearsal amp. But the OP has said that he wanted an amp mainly to write bass parts on and as an auxillary function, to record either mic'd or DI. My main point is that the amps that make the most sense for the OP aren't tube amps. His requirements can be had without the weight, hassle, or price of tube amps. Now if recording were his primary function (which it may be) then a 100-watt tube amp like a silverface or a v4 might not be a bad idea at all.
     

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