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Ampeg Heritage B-15

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by curt basner, Jan 26, 2012.


  1. curt basner

    curt basner

    May 11, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    Hey all,

    I KNOW these are STUPID expensive, and hugely limited, but wondering if anyone has experienced one of these, and what your thoughts might be. If you HAVE experienced one (or an original one, for that matter), what would you suggest as a modern, less expensive equivalent in terms of sound?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated! I'm a big fan of the 60s Motown/Jamerson bass sound.
     
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Well, it's certainly not modern...but a less expensive equivalent would be a B15 :)

    The most expensive B15 I ran into was $2600 which I though was insanely priced, and that's a 2nd normal/higher priced B15 away from the Heritage.
     
  3. I was determined to find a great B-15 back in '07. The best condition one I found was a '66, in perfect condition for $1900. Tried the current offerings from Ampeg and the whole Loud Technologies, particle board construction cabs turned me off. Acoustic (GC house brand) less than excited for same construction/ long term durability issue.

    Then I plugged into a Markbass 2 10 combo. Getting there. Plugged into the Jeff Berlin Combo and was as close to a vintage B-15 I've been able to get. YMMV but I love mine and hope to add a NY151 soon to unleash the full potential.(with the tweeter turned down, of course)
     
  4. Footnote to above post-the current portaflexi were not available when I bought my Berlin. Not sure they would have won out, as I 've yet to test them, but I would give them a shot as well.
     
  5. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    The Heritage B15 is pretty special. I don't know if there's a modern equivalent, but you can get a really nice Jamerson tone out of a B25 head through the tweeterless cab of your choice. The heads sell for around $500 - $600, so it's a steal compared to all the B15's in various states of disrepair on Craigslist.
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Disrepair...that's part of the appeal of the Heritage B-15, no doubt...the fact that it's new and it's not going to rattle and drive you nuts, or you're going to get it home and discover that a transformer's on its last legs or something like that. Of course, you can fix all that, but it's time consuming and has varying degrees of costs associated with it. But the Heritage B-15 is a rock. It doesn't rattle and everything's new on it. Plus it's hand built with like 90% American parts. And you get two different circuits instead of one like all the rest. Not everyone will want to pay $4000 for one but 50 of them sold in fairly short order last year and they have 100 more coming out soon.

    You can find stuff that mimics that sound. Ampeg's PF heads and cabs sound a whole lot like B-15's and aren't too expensive at all. But all their tube rigs are awesome, and that sound of a great Ampeg tube amp just can't be duplicated. Most of their heads that are 100w or less can be had for bargain prices if you're patient and wait for deals. And there's always the SVT, which is really just a supercharged B-15 ;)
     
  7. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Then you should know, most of those hits your hear were recorded not using a bass amp.
     
  8. curt basner

    curt basner

    May 11, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    Which one(s) then?
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That's still the sound they were going for. Take a B-15 and crank it a bit and compare it to the Jamerson soloed stuff on Youtube. Is not a whole lot of difference.
     
  10. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    JJ went for a sound, Babbitt did the same thing. The motown sound did not hinge on an amp...it was a state of mind. Live JJ sometimes used a B15, and sometimes he used a Kustom 2x15. Either way he sounded the same...and so does Babbitt in whatever he plays.
    Just saying the amp doesn't matter.

    Curt,
    The Detroit recordings before '72 were done direct.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The earliest Detroit recordings weren't. The earliest ones were, indeed, done on a B-15. I might have the time wrong when they went DI, but I believe it was sometime in 1964. Anyway though, you're right that it is most definitely not nearly as related to the gear as much as the state of mind.
     
  12. curt basner

    curt basner

    May 11, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    Caca/Jimmy, thanks for the info. Shows how much I know...I guess I didn't realize they did direct recording in those days. Sad that I didn't know that; and I was even alive back then :rollno:
     
  13. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The tone of a good B-15 is pure heaven.

    I imagine if they could put strings on a washing machine, Jamerson would have made it sound good. Despite that, he went with a B-15.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    Motown started DI'ing the bass exclusively in January 1965, but a B15 will get you closer to the Jamerson sound because the way it breaks up is similar to the Motown DI. No modern DI will sound like that.
     
  15. stiles72

    stiles72

    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    Nothing quite compares to a real B15, so I would keep your eyes open for a vintage one from the '60's. There are some variations in the heads and cabs throughout the years, but they all sound good and each has their own disticnt flavor. Since the Heritage came out, prices have bumped slightly on good working B15's. But even if you find a really rough one, or even just an orphaned head- there are many resources to help restore and rebuild them. If you are looking for a low cost modern alternative in the meantime - I would try to locate a good used Ampeg B-100R. It's solid state, but definitely has the voice and vibe of a B15. I gig one right alongside my B15 and it certainly holds it's own. Just be sure you get a curly cord... ;)
     
  16. Alex1984

    Alex1984

    Jan 16, 2010
    Vancouver
    Yeah, Motown went direct mostly, and it depends more on the player than the gear. What was that whole thing someone said about LOUD's particle board construction? Particle board construction started and ended while SLM was still in charge. LOUD's current overseas stuff has been reliable from what I've read.
     
  17. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    That's about what I thought one should go for until about a week ago. Their was a mint condition B-15N(C) that went for, hold on to your hats $3,599.00. Not all that common, but it was a sight to behold.:eek: The seller even had the original hang tag.

    Ric
     

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  18. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    There's a '67 blue diam tolex a short distance from me in extremely nice condition for $1800. It even has the diam tolex cover.
    (non original dolly tho..)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. curt basner

    curt basner

    May 11, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    Wow, Caca, that looks NICE! Who has it? Is it advertised (craigslist, ebay, etc.)? How can I get in touch with the seller? Oh, and what is the difference between a '67 vintage versus the '64/'66 models that the Heritage models?
     

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