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Amp tone? Warm and full vs. modern hifi?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AJClone, Apr 3, 2003.

  1. AJClone


    Mar 11, 2002
    These terms get tossed around fairly often around here but I'm trying to get a good grip on warm and wooly vs. modern hifi when used to describe amp tone. Can someone give me (musical, song, etc.) of the warm, tube sound (mesa, Ashdown) vs. modern hifi (EA type)?

    Thanks so much
  2. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear

    Aug 14, 2000
    IMO a good example of a great warm tone can be heard on Sir Paul's new live recording.

    For a great modern hi-fi sound listen to Matthew Garrison on Herbie Hancock's Future2Future DVD.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Warm: no treble
    Hi-fi: no mids
  4. Warm: tubes
    Hi Fi: solid state
  5. basss


    Aug 27, 2001
    John Paul Jones's tone on Zep's "Ramblin" seems to me to be a classic warm tone that is still out front in the mix. Also check out anything with James Jamerson on it. Warm to me means pronounced lower mids and rolled off upper mids an highs.

    Hi fi tone depends on the bass sound and the bass player. It means that the full range of the bass sound, whatever that sound may be, is being reproduced with no exagerated or attenuated frequencies. The sound might be shaped in a pleasing way, but there are no large peaks or valleys in the frequecy response. Matt Garrison, Gary Willis, John Pattitucci are good examples. Jazz guys tend to favor this approach. Of course there are a multitude of exceptions and huge gray areas when talking about tone...
  6. AJClone


    Mar 11, 2002
    Thanks guys. This info has been helpful.
  7. Amoilbasso


    Apr 22, 2000
    Hi Fi:SWR;Eden;EBS
  8. WARM = Ampeg, Aguilar, Eden
    Hi Fi = SWR, GK(?), Solid State others
  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hm, for me a good hifi (linear) sound also has warmth.
  10. Bonafide

    Bonafide Rodney Gene Junior Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2002
    Artist for: Nick Silver Pickups, Free The Tone Effects, Carr Amplifiers, PG Music BIAB, Ethos OD +
    I found the best of both worlds in a Hi-Fi Ampeg rig (oxymoron?)

    Seriously I chose between the EA iamp350 combo and the Ampeg Porta bass. I was looking for an amp for both upright and electric. The Porta Bass gives you both and extreme transparent hi-fi tone AND a great thick warmth, all depending on the EQ.
    I bought the PB210 cab for electric and the PB110 cab for upright. Both of those cabs are Hi-Fi as well, similiar to the EA line.
    Quite a departure for Ampeg and a little steep in price but damn that rig sounds nice. Hi-Fi AND warm.

    I have heard a Demeter / Stewart / Epifani rig sound very 'old school' motown warm. I think it depends on all of the variables. Even an old Ampeg can saound really clean at low volumes, depends on the tubes being used and the bias.
  11. BassPulsar


    Oct 16, 2002

    Altought I cannot really help in this discussion (I don't have the right knowledge ... :( ), I just would like to give my thumb up to this thread.

    Please continue...

  12. I prefer hi-fi.

    Although my GK does both.
  13. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I find that playing a hi-fi bass (like my Peavey B-quad 4 w/ graphite neck) through a lo-fi amp (like my tube Mesas) works well for me. The bass adds clarity, while the amp reduces cut-yer-head-off-laser-beam treble.

    Many solid state amps have tube pre amps in them now. If you keep the tube gain low, you get more headroom and hi-fi sound, whereas if you turn the gain up, you get a slower attack and more old school, warm tone.
  14. bollefen


    Mar 13, 2003
    very interesting thread.

    after years of not playing i got a warwick bass and swr combo. i put thomastik round jazz to calm the treble some but am looking for a combo or head / cabinet. the swr is not warm or particularly low (my setup) but is articulate.

    as an audiophile and electrical engineer who runs class A tube preamp and amps as well as solid state gear for home theater, with theile phase aligned speakers i do not think that hi-fi should exclude warm when eq'd appropriately.

    it is tough to find a warm setup with good low frequency extension but clarity and presence and articulation.

    playing for enjoyment so don't need scads of volume or watts, only sufficient for headroom (which is not insignificant! even at home volumes)

    would like more people to describe their "warm" systems.

    still looking and would love people with small setups deemed warm to list their equip

  15. I'm an EE and a tube nut. Tube bass amps got me into EE! If you like tubes for HiFi, you'll love them for bass. They usually don't do the modern hifi sound, but what they give is total warmth. The sound works best when mixed with a band. By itself, the warm tube sound is kind of lackluster and unimpressive since it doesn't have the extended highs. But when you put it in a band setting, it is exactly the right ingredient.


  16. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    I dont feel that warmth is a function of EQ. If your amp doest have it to begin with you cant dial it in.

    IMO if you want warmth you go with tubes. I dont feel that preamps with a token tube or tube emulators do anything but add to the price of most preamps and very few do it right. (not saying if you just have one tube its not good, but am saying that most do nothing but add to the price)

    A while back I saw a chart that compared a given signal after being run through a SS amp an a Tube amp. It was funny because the difference in the signal was (to me) the difference in the way they sound in the real world. The SS signal was sharp and pointed at the crest and the body of the signal was a bit more narrow as compared to the tube signal. The tube signal on the other hand as said earlier had a wider signal body but interestingly enough the crest was rounded and no sharp edges. Which to me explains the "softness" and less harshness of tubes and to me why they are easier on the ear. They looked exactly like they sounded.

    The funny this is the SS was the more accurate of the 2 signals (read less distortion). So in fact the audiophiles spend great deals of money on tube amps for more or a "certain" kind of distortion. Oh and they really sound for musical instruments.
  17. bollefen


    Mar 13, 2003
    actually most discrete solid state devices exagerate odd order harmonics in a typical negative feedback loop design complicated by the poorly executed a/b switching and under powered (solidstate clips square while tubes don't) typical solid state designs.

    a zero or near zero feedback class A solid state amp with enough headroom is nearly impossible to differentiate from clean tube designs in blind tests, i'm a wine writer as well and taste all wines blind, we are ever tricked by other senses when we know what we are looking for.

    i am looking for something small. when i played out years ago i played ampeg b15, v4B and svts with varioius cabinets 18 inch floded horns to the 8pack. i'm dating myself as this was obviously pre PA system. not as happy with ampeg now. instead of loud hard rock and bues rock i'm playing more smooth jazz.

    net net is i'm looking for small convenient and light but thank you all for your comments.

    looking at aggie 1x12 and acme, 1x12 or 2x10 most likely but was hoping to see more ideas and combinations.

  18. B,

    I think you'll probably come back to the B15, especially for Jazz.

    Do like I do and build your own. :D A 50 Watt tube amp and a JBL or Altec Lansing 15" speaker is the pinnacle of bass sound as far as I'm concerned.

  19. I like both.
  20. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    My warm rig : Aguilar DB 680 with Demeter VTHF
    {all Tube] andAmpeg SVT 2
    My Hi Fi [but still warm too] : Glockenklang Bass Art Pre with Cret Pro 4801 [ all SS]

    In between: WT 400, Demeter plus Crown CS 1000

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