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Amp choice - which way would you go?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Misty Mountain, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. So, it looks like I have my current head sold, so it's time to upgrade. I'm looking at two possible choices which I'll lay out below. This is the gear I'm interested in, so don't bother to dump on particular pieces, just which way overall you would go.

    The basics:
    Gig once or twice a month
    Blues, Rock
    Either choice will be driving my SWR Bigfoot

    Option 1:
    Peavey VB-2
    Pros: Tube goodness
    Cons: Maintenance/weight

    Option 2:
    Peavey Max Bass preamp
    Crest Pro-Lite 2.0

    Pros: Light, easy to upgrade individual components

    Is it worth giving up the tube tone for the lighter weight and more power? I figure this will be a fun thread!
  2. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Between that amp, and that pre amp, I say go VB-2.
  3. LowEZ


    Mar 29, 2011
    Central NJ
    I use a MAX pre into an IPR-1600 and I can tell you that it sounds NOTHING like a tube amp. That said, if the VB-2 puts out enough power for your needs and you're looking for real tube tone, that's the way to go.
  4. I'm running a pre/power setup rig now, it's my first as I've always used integrated bass heads..

    It's a prolite 2.0 into two Sansamp RBI's, one clean, one dirty, and it's the best bass tone I've ever been able to achieve with the amount of gear I've owned over the years. I can't say that it sounds like a tube amp or not, I've never owned an all tube amp, but I'm liking the tone more then I was getting out of my Mesa M Pulse 360.. Super powerful, very light, sounds killer..

    Though I am waiting for the Mesa Strategy and Prodigy amps to hit the market, I may then reconsider.

    Just saying that I've been loving my Prolite since I bought it, not many have one to my knowledge.
  5. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Tube amps are not that big of a deal re: maintenence. Preamp tubes can last for decades, and power tubes for over a year, sometimes more, depending on how much care you give your gear, (ie: using the stand-by switch as intended). ANY amp can break down, and tube amps are no exception, but the myth that they're expensive to maintain is bogus.
  6. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    VB2 through the big foot 2x12. Schweet. Perfect for RR and Blues.
  7. I'm definitely leaning VB-2, but the almost 40 lb. weight difference keeps making me think twice. I probably wouldn't care if I also didn't have our PA to haul around in addition to my bass rig. I'm a Max pre/T-Max fan from way back (I know they don't sound like a full-on tube amp), always loved the tones you could get out of them. But I'll probably just suck it up and go VB-2.
  8. LowEZ


    Mar 29, 2011
    Central NJ
    Why? Because a few strangers on the Internet told you to? If you like the MAX/T-MAX, there's nothing wrong with going that route especially if weight is an issue. The MAX + Class-D power amp was my lightweight solution and it works very well.
  9. The VB-2 would be my preference except for the weight, and I'm a little worried about having enough clean headroom. The last gig we did I had to turn up more than usual (that room ate bass) and I was starting to get some distortion through the amp. It's only 210 watts and solid state, so I know I'll get more grunt out of the VB, and being tubes I won't mind some break up when pushing it. But it's still only 225 watts, which I think will be enough, but it's certainly not overkill. I've had all-tube guitar amps, but this would be the first tube bass amp for me.
    The Max pre has a nice tone with the tube channel, and when pushed adds a nice little growl. Obviously the Crest would provide plenty of headroom, and the amp/preamp/rack would weigh about 20 lbs., and be smaller in size as well. And there are always other preamps out there if I want to explore more tonal options easily.
    It may well come down to which one I find first, a Max pre or the VB-2 as I'm looking for both used. I'll buy the Crest new if I go that route. Anyone wish they had more power out of their VB-2?
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Honestly, how could anyone ever answer that question for you? Or even give you any significant guidance?

    Clearly, you've already spelled out all the salient issues, so you obviously know them. All that remains is to make a value judgment - something that is inherently personal & subjective.

    Which set of attributes is more important to you??? :eyebrow:

  11. Oh, this is mostly theoretical as I'll do what I feel like at the appropriate time, regardless of anyone's opinion. I'm like that. But, I do enjoy seeing what the members here have to say. Almost always some interesting responses that can give a viewpoint that I may not have considered.
  12. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    40 pounds? Heavy for a tube head? Get real! :D

    I have a few amps ranging in weight from 11 pounds to about 100 for my Cl400. I do end up grabbing something less than 50 for practices, but I do usually end up going with the tube head, as there is nothing else like that for a gig.
  13. The VB-2 is 57.8 lbs., you're thinking VB-3 I'm guessing, which is a little out of my price range. This will be my only bass rig aside from a small practice amp, so the weight is a factor. It wouldn't have been as much of an issue until I swapped out my old CS800X for an IPR1600 and finally started to drink the Class D Kool-Aid.
  14. Due to the scarcity of the Max preamps, and also VB-2s on the second hand market, I'm thinking of maybe the Crest with an ART Pro Channel. Seems like most have positive things to say, and I like my little ART tube pre's a lot.
  15. Jeff Scott

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

    Yep, suck it up, dude! VB-2 is the way to go. :cool:

    That particular PeeVee preamp I would never ever consider, for many reasons, one of which you would never understand, I'm afraid.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Tube before anything else unless light weight is the utmost concern. Always.
  17. Honkycat


    Sep 18, 2012
    I would say the VB-2 as well..that would put a bigger smile on your face as compared to the alternative.
  18. Well, I just can't find a used VB-2, and since I just got another bass I have less to spend at the moment - at least until I sell some more guitar gear - so I found a Max pre and I'm going to power my rig with my CS800X. Not light weight in the least, but at least I'll have plenty of headroom. The added plus is I can start a collection of preamps to play around with.
  19. I used a Mesa Boogie D-180 for 30 years and never had problems with not enough volume. It was always more than enough. If tube sound is what you want, go for it.
  20. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    The valve head.