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Ampeg B-15N and its relatives

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jneil, Jun 28, 2000.


  1. jneil

    jneil

    Jun 28, 2000
    Hi,

    I'm new here, came across this board while doing some web searches looking for a small Ampeg bass amp for recording purposes...

    I've been trying to track down a B-15N (hey, if you have one to sell, please get in touch), but in the meantime I've come across a couple of B-15S models. From what I've been able to figure out, these are bigger, louder, and use different circuitry than the B-15N. I haven't decided if these are good points or bad, and was hoping that someone who had used both might be able to compare the two. Are they voiced more or less the same, or are they more like their SVT brethren?

    Also, I know the B-15Ns changed a bit over the years -- are there years that are more desirable than others (or more to the point, are there years that should be avoided)?

    Thanks for any insight you all can offer,
    John
     
  2. MrGump

    MrGump

    Apr 20, 2000
    I am a reformed Ampeg junkie.If I remember correctly,the B-15s is Solid State,or the B-18 type head with two 7027 power tubes and 55watts.Yes they sound different!The"S"is probably covered in black vinyl,which denotes what I call the later,cheaper cabinet.I have owned about 40 different variants of this amp over the years.If you have any questions specifically for me,feel free to use my email address.MrGump06@aol.com
     
  3. jneil

    jneil

    Jun 28, 2000
    Thanks for the info!

    From poking around I've figured out that it's about 60 watts out of a pair of 7027s (the B-15T is the "transistor" model). I like the idea that it's got a little more power and a better (Altec?) speaker, but the one I'm checking into is out of state, so I won't be able to listen to it right away.

    From the Unofficial Ampeg Pages it looks like the amp is about 40 pounds heavier than a B-15N, so I'm a little surprised that you say the cabinet is cheaper. Can you give me a little more info?

     
  4. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jneil:
    Thanks for the info!

    From poking around I've figured out that it's about 60 watts out of a pair of 7027s (the B-15T is the "transistor" model). I like the idea that it's got a little more power and a better (Altec?) speaker, but the one I'm checking into is out of state, so I won't be able to listen to it right away.

    From the Unofficial Ampeg Pages it looks like the amp is about 40 pounds heavier than a B-15N, so I'm a little surprised that you say the cabinet is cheaper. Can you give me a little more info?

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I owned a B15N head-only for a few years, and it was rad. 3-6SL7's and a pair of 6L6's, plus the elusive 5AR4. The power transformer had been replaced when I bought it, and I had to replace it again since it had been spec'd wrong and was putting 600V on the tubes instead of the original 450V. It had an unbelievable thick and rich sound. I did not have the cabinet. I would not have sold it if it had been complete.

    I pulled the transformers from a B15S that had melted down. I will eventually use them to build a copy. I am now playing through a B25B, which is a head only, and uses a pair of 7027A's, 2-12Ax7's and a 7199. It sounds good. You pretty much can't go wrong with those old Ampegs.

    Chris
     
  5. Doug

    Doug

    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Where are you guys getting the 7027's? Are you using the new Sovteks or Tesla's? Or the originals with the amp?

    [This message has been edited by Doug (edited June 30, 2000).]
     
  6. jneil

    jneil

    Jun 28, 2000
  7. Doug

    Doug

    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Yeah, I'm aware of that site. Just wondering if you were using the originals, NOS, or new production.
     
  8. danhei

    danhei

    Jan 21, 2000
    From what I've heard, the new sovtek 7027 is just one of their 6L6 tubes, slightly modified and twice the price!
    I have a v4b that had these new sovtek's put in by the previous owner. But whenever it's time for new power tubes, I'll probably go with the svetlana 6L6GC's. Much cheaper and probably a better tube than the sovteks.
    I've seen a few places that have NOS 7027's but those are REALLY expensive (and probably great sounding).
    Dan
     
  9. Doug

    Doug

    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    7027's and 6L6GC's are basically the same. The 7027's have two extra pinouts which Ampegs don't use. You end up paying $10-$15 extra for the 7027's, made by Sovtek and Tesla/JJ.
     
  10. danhei

    danhei

    Jan 21, 2000
    Doug, I think we're saying the same thing! I would recommend not using the sovtek 7027's.
    Dan
     
  11. MrGump

    MrGump

    Apr 20, 2000
    The black cabinets were thinner wood and higher wider and shallower.Except for one year early on(I think 67)where the old cabs were covered in black with silver piping.The cabs were changed to be more Fender-like,and cheaper to build.I have on several occasions ABd amps with 7027s and ones converted to 6l6s.You will hear a difference.Pay the money for NOS 7027s!There is a thread about a month ago where this is discussed extensively.I personally prefer the sound of the 7027 type head,to the 6l6 head.Have you ever heard an Oliver Powerflex?
     
  12. jneil

    jneil

    Jun 28, 2000

    Thanks! That's very useful. I assume these B-15S's don't sound Bad, just Different, at least partly from the different resonance of the cabinet?

    I had thought about having one shipped to me, but it sounds like it's worth a bit of a drive to go check it out first!

    John
     
  13. jneil

    jneil

    Jun 28, 2000
    Did a little more checking, and it looks like the B-15S is more like a 60-watt V4 than it is like a B-15N. This is not a bad thing, I wouldn't think, though it might be overkill as a small studio recording amp.

    On the other hand, I came across an old B-18N for a little less money, so now I'm considering that instead. I'm very tempted, but I'm a little concerned about the availability of good-quality 18" speakers (I think the one it comes with is a CTS). Does Celestion make 18"s?

    Anyone have much experience with these? The one I saw is getting retubed this week, so I should be able to hear it soon...

    John
     
  14. JerryH

    JerryH

    Dec 13, 1999
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hi JNEIL,
    I have one B-15S from the early 70's and it has a lot variety of sounds. I have tried to combine the two channels in parallel and it gives a little bit growly muddy sound (not bad at all), but the channels alone one(normal/bright) and two (normal/bright) have a lot to say in the quest for THE SOUND.
    If you still have a change to get one of these - it will not let you down. I still have the original speaker and when cranked up it farts a bit - I recommend to change the orig element and to keep the value of that!
    Hope this helps - thanks,
    JerryH
     
  15. jneil

    jneil

    Jun 28, 2000

    Thanks for the info!

    The one I'm tracking down has an Altec 15", which I guess was the premium upgrade. Is your farty speaker the Altec or some other brand?
     
  16. JerryH

    JerryH

    Dec 13, 1999
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hey JNeil and PsychoBassGuy!
    Welcome back Psycho - you have been missed!
    Just wanted to add that in one of the Tube Amp Books the article mentioned the B-15S to be "one of the most wanted and desirable Portaflex" - I don't know if that is true, but haven't seen these here in Finland before nor the SB12's that is also a very nice small Portaflex amp by AMPEG!
    OK, the B-15R (reissue) is another thing?!
    Thanks,
    JerryH
     
  17. jneil

    jneil

    Jun 28, 2000
    I've heard good things about CTS, too -- especially their alnico speakers -- but I was more concerned about blowing one and then having very few replacement options. Plenty of folks make 15"s, but the few 18"s I see all look to be heavy PA-type or dubious brands. And CTS isn't still around, is it?

    JerryH -- what book did you get that from? That isn't from the AMPEG book, is it?


     
  18. JerryH

    JerryH

    Dec 13, 1999
    Helsinki, Finland
    Well the book is mainly for guitar amps, but -
    The Tube Amp Book, 4th edition
    by Pittman
    Hope this helps,
    - JerryH -
     
  19. MrGump

    MrGump

    Apr 20, 2000
    A B-18 is one of my all time favorites.They came with the CTS(Chicago Telephone Service) speaker,or a Goodman and a third type whose name escapes me at the moment.One type was french,one was green(I think the Goodman),and one had"handles"in the frame.I always preferred the green one.They did get a little farty with an active bass,if you crank the bass on the amp.The absolutely coolest amp was the B-18X.This was a keyboard/accordian amp,with an 18,and a Jensen horn.It also had that ultra deep Ampeg reverb, and tremolo that was extreme.The reverb was "assignable"to either or both channels,for the Accordianists right and left hands.Guitar players flipped for this amp!You would think it was too bassy with the 18.But the horn brightened it up.I had it in being seviced once in about 1996,and had three standing offers for it.From guitar players.I eventually sold it in 1997 or so for $1000.It had a very cool sound for bass.The horn made it clearer sounding than the usual B-15 or B-18.Just enough to be articulate,without sounding too modern.But the B-18N put out a little more bass.Sorry to ramble guys.
     
  20. jneil

    jneil

    Jun 28, 2000
    Thanks again for all the pointers. I ended up taking a little road trip today and picking up a B-15S. It's a hefty li'l thing, that's for sure. It sounds great, of course, and yet it sounds different enough from either the B-15N or the B-18 that I still have a little B.A.S.S. (bass amp salivation syndrome) that could come back to haunt me.

    I did go back and re-read the Ampeg stuff in the THE TUBE AMP BOOK and one of Gerald Weber's books. It's amazing that Ken "Trainwreck" Fischer and Aspen Pittman contradict each other about nearly everything, yet both seem to be championing each other's taste, so go figure.

    John