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Ampeg B15 vs SB12

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by dkziemann, Nov 3, 2010.


  1. dkziemann

    dkziemann

    Dec 13, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    Endorsed by D'Addario
    Hey Everyone!

    I'm in the market for an Ampeg Fliptop tube amp. I played my teacher's b15 a few weeks ago and immediately loved how my upright sounded through it. I've been scouring Craigslist everyday along with ebay, this forum, and some other places but haven't seen too many B15s. I have, however, seen a lot more SB12's (and at a more affordable price, around $600).

    I've never played one and was wondering how they compare overall to the B15. Please don't try and convince me to buy something besides an Ampeg, I'm strictly looking for a comparison of these two amps (or the fliptops in general). Thanks!
     
  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    The SB12 would be a viable amp for close-miked, low volume recording and not much else. The B15 will be heavy and awkward to move around, especially with a double bass as part of the schlep. I know-I did it in Rochester for seven years, rain, sleet, snow or sunshine.
    I know you're set on a fliptop, but here's my 2 cents: my Acoustic Image/Euphonic Audio rig sounds and feels enough like my old B15 that I don't miss it. Best of luck to ya.
     
  3. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Dkziemann,
    I have personally, used and played through both of these amps. These days they are used mostly by studios, oh sure there are a lot of affecinadios on Talkbass and I do know that Jeff Campbell at Eastman loves the amp. It only puts out 35 watts and weighs 85 lbs. IMHO much of the tone quality of the B-15 comes from the Double Baffel Portaflex Cabinet. The SB-12 is a one channel amplifier with less power and although it has a Portafllex Cabinet it dosen't project as well as the B-15. If you're dead set on getting one there are always amps on ebay. Loud Technologies is building 50 B-15's this year as part of the Ampeg Heritage Series, but the price for this amp is has been rumored to be somewhere around $5,000.00.

    Ric

    P.S. The Euphonic Audio Wizzy 12 M line sounds great and weighs a lot less
     
  4. stiles72

    stiles72

    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    Never played through a SB-12, but can't say enough good about my B15. It's a timeless classic. The "SB" in the SB-12 model number originally indicated "string bass", and Jess Oliver the inventor of the Portaflex line prefered the SB-12 for upright, and the B-15 more for electric bass. Depending on which version of the B15 your teacher has, the SB12 may not be that much less in wattage. SB12's were 22 watts, early B15's were 25. And as far as transporting - I have no problems with mine. No, its certainly not a 5 lb micro head but it is not any more difficult than any other combo amp.

    If you haven't done so already, check out the Portaflex Club thread. Lot's of great info and resources from folks who collect and use the old Portaflexes to gig with:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=689384&page=17&highlight=portaflex

    babybassportaflex.
     
  5. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    The B-15 an SB 12 are great amps. Outside of the fact that they are both tube amps made by Ampeg, they have very different components and sounds. For example, the B-15 uses octal tubes in the preamp, and the SB 12 uses the more common 12ax7 type. Some of the SB 12's use an exotic power tube set. I've owned and gigged several B-15's. One 12 inch style portaflex as well. They all sound a little different, all great in their own way. Just find one you like, and never let it go! Oh yea and be sure to locate a good tube tech as well.
     
  6. joshwilkesbooth

    joshwilkesbooth

    Jul 17, 2009
    I'm selling a bt15, which is a solid state version of the b15n. I think it pushes around 70 watts?

    Just saying...
     
  7. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Interesting amplifier, there's actually a picture of Charles Mingus with one in Ampeg The Story Behind The Sound. Personally, I've never seen one or played one, but I gather they quite different than the B-15N(C) I own.

    Ric
     
  8. joshwilkesbooth

    joshwilkesbooth

    Jul 17, 2009
    Honestly, it is pretty close, and I'm pretty snobby. I mean... it's solid state and all, but it breaks up almost the same way the b15 does. It's not quite as awesome, but it has almost the same "mojo" I'd be willing to bet that most people couldn't tell the difference with a blindfold on.

    Only reason I'm selling it is because I recently tracked down another one with the 1960's aesthetics... :O
     
  9. dkziemann

    dkziemann

    Dec 13, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    Endorsed by D'Addario
    I think I'm going to spring for the B15... now it's just trying to find them for a good price. I've seen them range from 600 bucks to 1800 for the same model.
     
  10. stiles72

    stiles72

    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    $500 - $800 in todays market is what I would expect to pay for one in decent shape. GC and other places will list them between $1200 - $1400 but you should be able to work them down if you have cash to spend. Also keep an eye out for orphaned B15 heads. They do show up occasionally, and you can always pair it up with a Vintage Blue cab. Mark puts a lot of attention to detail in his work, and was even consulted on the new Heritage B15 that will be coming out.
     

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