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Ampeg B15S: Anyone have one? Any comments?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DanGouge, Sep 14, 2002.

  1. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I've been checking out a couple these and I find I really like them. The B15S is the one with the "bass-flat-guitar" knob in channel one, they were made in the 1970's at least the ones I've seen. Anyone have any experience with them? I really like that classic Ampeg tone...
  2. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    I have one, it's pretty neato, I do need to get it re tubed and capped though.
  3. X Wolf

    X Wolf Guest

    I bought one new in '71 and it was one of my all time favorite amps. It was larger than the B-15N and mine had the optional Altec 421A speaker. The amp was all tube except for an ss rectifier. In my humble opinion this was one of the 3 best sounding amps I have ever used, the other 2 being my '70 SVT with 2 V4B 215 Bottoms and my '68 Sunn 200S with 2-Sunn 215 cabs. I should add that I never had any problems with any of these amps. I used my B-15S in the studio on many recordings and in smaller venues for about 15 years and then sold it only becase of its' roughly 117 pound weight which is just too heavy for a combo but now I regret having sold it because I should have kept it just for the studio. Hope that helps!

    Bass 45 likes this.
  4. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    I owned and used a B15S from Jan 1975-spring 2005


    I used all sortsa different speakers
    1. Stock CTS 15G54B(?)
    2. Golleon
    3. JBL K140

    and ext cab configs.
    1. 1-18" pYLE (100oz magnet) in a 360 cab.
    2. Kustom 2x15 (cts maybe)
    3. Unknown 18" in an EV spec cab
    4. EV 18 in an EV spec cab
    5. Eden 15+ horn+ bullet tweeter cab

    We succesfully played VFW's, cowboy bars, Legions, big weddings, High School dances, supper clubs, Holiday Inns and some outdoor gigs, biker bars. It will work well, you can get beat in a volume war.
    Sometimes, I placed it on top of the flight case.

    The JBL lacked note definition and sounded way barky.
    The Golleon (sp) sounded woody and worked well with an Ampeg Baby Bass
    The CTS was deep and smooth
  5. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
  6. Tronographic

    Tronographic Commercial User

    Nov 2, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Owner, Tronographic
    I have one. Love it.

    I sold it to a friend some years ago... but he sold it back to me for what he paid because he knew how much I regreted it... And he's pretty happy with his V4/Bag-End combo.

    I've recapped it and made a small mod to the heater supply. They have the heaters of the tubes seeing some negative voltage... this is, I think, to lower the heater noise. BUT 1/2 of the 12DW7 is arranged as a cathode follower and is seeing a high voltage on one of the cathodes (100+ volts). This negative reference on the heaters creates too great a voltage difference between the cathode and heaters on the 12DW7 and they go bad and noisey or fail.... I just removed the negative voltage from the heater supply and wired it like the V4/B25 supplies are. it's still pretty low hum. I think some of the older 12DW7s could stand up to this abuse... but none of the new productions are able to.

    I also added a varible adjustment for the bias supply to the grids of the 7027s.

    Great sounding amps. I gigged with it in a loud post-hardcore/mathrock band for years. loud and clean.
  7. Flumigator


    May 9, 2010
    Akron, Ohio
    I purchased a 1976 B-15S about a month ago. The unit is pristine...it had been in storage for more than 30 years. The 7027As may not be original, but are period-correct (GE). All of the preamp tubes are Magnavox, so they're probably original. The tolex is nearly perfect. The bottom of the grill frame is slightly bowed..no big deal. It has the original speaker! People can say what they want about the '60s B-15N being the Holy Grail of studio bass amps, but it's a one-trick pony. Can it handle the low B of a 5? The S certainly can. Using the "bass" response setting and the passive pup setting on my G&L L2500, I can get the warm, thumpy sound of the "N". Using the flat setting on the amp and one of the active settings on my G&L, I can get the clear, clean tone that I prefer for most of my work. I absolutely LOVE my S!!
  8. biobass


    Sep 16, 2007
    Princeton NJ area
    I have one which I bought used in probably 1976 or so. I used it extensively for years doing rock, pop, banquet and show bands, theater, jazz, you name it. It works and sounds fine, but as a previous post said it is very heavy and unweildy. I haven't gigged with it for 20 years because, frankly, the newer amps and cabs work just as well, if not better, and are much more powerful and lighter to boot. It still gets played at home on occasion. I have the square magnet speaker on mine.

    I heard a bassist at a festival using one for his "punk-grass" band a couple of years ago, it and he sounded great.

    Hope this helps,
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    of course the 60's b-15n can handle a low b. at least my 64 can. it's far from a one trick pony, dude. that said, the bigger cabs do have more low end.
    Ric Vice likes this.
  10. Flumigator


    May 9, 2010
    Akron, Ohio
    Hi Jimmy - Thank you for the reply...I saw the pix of your amps...they're SWEET! I try to learn something every day. I did today. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to play through a good N like yours someday. I've been a fliptop fan for a long time...now I finally have one. I'll have to post a pic when I get a chance. It's the one that was on Craig's List in Cleveland in March-April.
  11. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    PM Pedro. He's got a nice one.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    hey, you ain't hurtin' ;) there's no such thing as a bad b-15. and i think your cab would be a little better suited to the 5, too. good score!
  13. Flumigator


    May 9, 2010
    Akron, Ohio
    According to the site, the maximum picture file size that can be attached is 150KB. Any ideas on how to "shrink" a file to fit?
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    with jpeg's you should be able to save them in a lower quality with any picture viewer. however, the best thing is to upload it to a free file hosting service, then link it using img tags. then you can post it in normal size.
  15. Flumigator


    May 9, 2010
    Akron, Ohio
    Thanks, Jimmy...For me, it'll be trial and error.....mostly error. I'll give it a shot when I get some time. Haven't had much lately.
  16. Brayton


    Mar 17, 2011
    Orange County CA
    Have the 70's version and love it. Goes low nicely on the 5 string and no real hot spots, frequency response-wise. Simply superb but a bit delicate from many, many miles. Needs latches and dolly is home-brew....

    Attached Files:

    AstroSonic likes this.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Welcome to Fliptops -- Parts for Ampeg and other Vintage Amp Lovers has the latches and can make you a dolly like the old ones if you want it.
  18. WHOMAN


    Jun 26, 2008
    Bought new in 1971 or 1972
    Anyone know how to find exact manufacture date?:hyper:
  19. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Pot, transformer, capacitor, or speaker date codes are your best bet. The serial numbers for the 70s amps don't easily translate to a date. Depending on the graphics on the front panel we may be able to give you a round-about date as well.

    If you look at the back of the pots you should see a 137YYWW code, the first three digits being the manufacturer code, the last four digits being year and week of manufacture. Same for the speaker and capacitors though they will have different numbers for the manufacturer. The speaker in that amp should be a CTS speaker if stock (or altec if a factory upgrade) and the CTS code is 137 (same for the pots). You could also check the capacitors against the manufactures on this list. Find the most recent date and you've probably found the approximate date your amp was assembled. They can sometimes span a few weeks to a few months or more depending on if they were bought in bulk and/or how fast the components were used up in manufacturing.
  20. soaf


    Jul 27, 2013
    What is the wattage of an Ampeg B15N?

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