Amplifier Identity Crisis (Class D, A/B, Tube?!)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Grapevine921, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. Grapevine921

    Grapevine921 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Lafayette, Indiana
    A bit of a foreword: I’ve slowly been changing around my bass rig as of late by moving from an Eden 410xlt to a fEarful 15/6. While I love this cabinet, I have been struggling finding the perfect amp head to match.

    I have an Eden WT-330 that I have used for years and really like the sound of but the head isn’t really powerful enough to push the fEarful to the levels I would like. I considered checking out a WT800 for gobs of power and Eden goodness but got side tracked with an itch to hop on the class D bandwagon with the Genzler Magellan 800. I tried to love the Genzler but it has this thin artificial sound to it that I can’t get on board with. It got me close(r) to the volume I was looking for out of the 15/6 but does not get me near a tone I am inspired by. I know it gets a lot of love as being one of the better class D offerings but I couldn’t help from feeling like it was too 1-dimensional sounding.

    I was going to bite the bullet and get the WT800 like I had planned and a trip to Sweetwater threw yet another wrench in the works. I had an opportunity to play an Ampeg SVT-VR through an Ampeg 212 and the clarity and warmth blew my mind! I’ve tried out many Ampegs and the only ones I have ever gotten excited about were the PF-50T, V-4B, and SVT-VR (all tube offerings).

    Onto the question:

    I don’t know what amp will best satisfy both me and my 15/6. Do you think I need to finally give in to the mighty tube amps or are there solid state sleepers I don’t know about? Will I be satisfied with the WT800 hybrid or do I need to search the tube world? What tube amps can give me the power I need at 8 ohms without turning into a ripping fuzz monster? Am I crazy for giving up on class d so quickly?

    I’ve read every thread on relevant subjects and would appreciate some input :)
  2. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    I'd go all tube, personally. I like ripping fuzz monsters, but you should be able to get a lot of clean headroom out of an SVT (either VR, CL, or original). Depending on your volume needs, even a V-4B should be pretty loud through a fEarful cab.

    There's also the Traynor YBA-200 and YBA-300, as well as the Peavey VB-3, Mesa Prodigy and Strategy, Fender Super Bassman 300, and a whole bunch more.
    HolmeBass and Grapevine921 like this.
  3. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    Mesa 400/400+. Why not try a RB series GK? An 800rb will make a SWR Goliath iii 410 cry for mercy.

    SunnBass likes this.
  4. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Yup, my 1001RB-ii is my amp of choice for my Greenboy (single Fearless F115). Full rig is in my sig, but with the VTDI I feel like I have the best of all the worlds. I have no tube envy whatsoever, though the fact that I use a tube amp emulator should tell you I appreciate what they bring to the table.
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    +1 Fender Super Bassman
    Crowd crusher likes this.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Tube amps move me. Light SS amps are what I prefer to move :D

    I like all of my gear, whether it's solid state or tube, but there's no question that the all-tube stuff is the very best of the lot.
  7. BogeyBass

    BogeyBass Inactive

    Sep 14, 2010
    but but toobs mom, tubes sound better though.

    maybe the Eden did you well all these years and you just needed to hear a V4B into 2 SVT- 15E or 2 SVT- 212AV
    for the most part a fearful is a single speaker application and yes can handle lots of power but you need lots of power and your still asking one speaker to cover the ground you need.

    I use tube heads for years but gave up at the reasonable limit of 300 watts years ago. 100 to 180 watts is more managable but you need speaker sensitivity to make it work. there is alot of tube sleepers but most guys are looking for grind with tube head. clean tone is still the ruler with a tube though. and a cleaner amp is a ultra linear output section not many guys make them but they stay clean to the tippy top.

    Sunn Model T , Fender Bassman 135 and Fender studio Bass are a few i can think of. nothing new production though all vintage.
    all would need more speaker area all range from 130 to 180 watts.

    Likewise you could just add another 15/6 to chop your wattage needs in half reverse the baffle on the second and stack them so the mids line up and the Eden you know so well will work fine. more speaker needs less wattage.

    Late at night the tube amps are out there calling your name...join us join us all you need is a wall of low cost 38 ounce speakers and we can party in the tone zone all night lol ;) we have more tone than those little feathers and we dont overheat and shutdown at 2 ohms. join us join us we will show you the way..
    Grapevine921 likes this.
  8. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    At the prices Sunn Model Ts go for these days, you may as well just go custom.
    deathness likes this.
  9. +5 :D

    It'll do 8/4/2 ohms. .. give all that a SVT-VR will do. ..weigh 20lbs lighter & give ya 2 footswitchable channels. .
    If all tube is floating yr boat. .. and it does mine. . I've got & am happy with the Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 and the Fender Super Bassman - obvs. ..the SUPER BASSMAN is king. ..but the Aggy does a good impression
    The Bergantino B-Amp is up there too.
    I also HAD a Magellan 800... nice but no cigar imo. Shame coz I like GB/Genzler gear a lot. I liked their -now discontinued - Shuttles 6.0, 9.0 & 6.2, 9.2 too.... not a lotta difference in the .0 to .2's imo all good. Didn't like their Streamliner. Found the Magellan as you described.
    My fave amp of all time is the Fender Super Bassman. .. but in lightweight the Aggy TH500 & Berg B-amp are the ones I like.
    Grapevine921, bucephylus and Stumbo like this.
  10. jjmf

    jjmf Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2012
    Edmonton AB Canada
    Would love to hear how you felt the TH500 sounded vs B Amp? I can't get my hands on th500 here but had a B Amp & found it great but a bit too clinical/middy

    I could not get the deep deep bass, mid cut & treble boost I was looking for & heard with Markbass
    (But MArkbass is not as tight / articulate & punchy as B amp or darkglass m900 of course)
  11. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    I grew up with tubes and built quite a few of them, actually I still do but for guitar. I left tube output stages behind in the early Eighties. I still love tubes but could not deal with the weight and low output of full tube amps. My solution was a powerful Class D power amp driven by a full tube pre-amp I designed and built. In it’s 4U rack case I can easily pick it up with two fingers. This has served me well for the last several years. :)
    Grapevine921 likes this.
  12. Well the B-Amp has such movable eq you SHOULD be able to get that outta it. You can adjust where each eq point is etc. .. plus it's comp and Drive make it pretty sweet.

    The Aggy just has this something that for me - works. Eg. I'd been playing with a new band for a couple months & had used the B-Amp only. Then last weekend I had different circumstances so took the TH500 and they all commented on how cool the bass sounded.
    But it is pretty middi itself. But it sits in a mix just beautifully. I STILL love it. must've done a couple hundred shows in the 4 or so yrs I've had it. ..n not a one issue. Works 4 me.
  13. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Mesa Boogie D800+. You'll thank me later.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Tubes aren't calling my name. The right hybrid Class D amps with a tube pre-amp do it for me.

    Genzler new or Genz-Benz used are the amps calling my name.
  15. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    As many tubes as I can afford and carry. Usually not enough, so I usually play a hybrid or SS
  16. Grapevine921

    Grapevine921 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Lafayette, Indiana
    I'm sure the 800RB is a great amp but I imagine it will leave me feeling the same way the Magellan did. Do you have a 400+? How does it stack up to other amps you have tried?
  17. Grapevine921

    Grapevine921 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Lafayette, Indiana
    I know you're a passionate Ampeg user, do you have any experience with their 100w or 300w tube offerings with fearful cabs? how do you like the av212 compared to the fearful?
  18. Grapevine921

    Grapevine921 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Thank you for the in depth reply!

    I may be a bit stubborn on my cabs.... I spent a great deal of time and money on making a 15/6/1 this summer and I intend to use it! haha

    I'm willing to sacrifice (some) volume now to get a tone I truly love and just add cabs later. I was very surprised just how quiet the Eden was in this application and I don't want the tubes in my dreams to let me down in the volume department as much as the Eden.
  19. Grapevine921

    Grapevine921 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Lafayette, Indiana
    I have a feeling that the Mesa won't bring much to the table that the Genzler did not.
  20. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    Oh I tend to disagree. I A/B'd a Subway 800 vs. GK Backline 600. The GK absolutely slammed - the Mesa could get loud, but I notice that with all the class-D amps I've tried (including a LWA1000 - but I could have lived with that one) they lack the 'slap' of the initial transient of other topologies. I wouldn't call it compressed, but that's how they seem to 'feel' to me (plenty of threads on this topic, just search for 'class-d' and 'heft'). The Backline 600 had a different sound (brighter) but if you nailed a note (I usually play with a pick, but slappers like them too for this reason) it just hit you. The Subway couldn't match that feel.

    As for the Mesa 400 (non +) it also is a powerful amp, despite it's 180w rating. Caveat: I play in a metal band with it, so I'm not after the uber lows like a country group would go for. If that were the case, 1001rb all day. That said, the more speakers I hooked up to the Mesa, the louder it got.

    My church had an Ampeg SVT6Pro. Great amp, but IMO too many buttons had to be pressed to get the sound we liked (ultra-hi, ultra-low, etc.) It fried due to bad generator power so we got it fixed, but it wasn't the same. I got the Mesa as a backup but it wound up replacing it because it gave us the same volume as the Ampeg did.

    Now with tube amps and GK's, you want to try them if possible to match them to your cab. Many like tube amps for their natural compression and added harmonics (to the point of heavy drive if you want that) and same with GK's for that 'grind' they produce when pushed. You adjust this by adding cabs or picking the right amp.

    For example, I play clean (mostly) and use a pedal for grit, but I love the way the Mesa sounds when pushed. It gets angry and snarly, but super loud through a fridge (or four Hartke cabs). If I used a single 410, or maybe a 115, I could get that same sound but at a lower volume.

    I'd think that the 400 would drive that fEARful just fine and get pretty loud, but allow you to venture into saturation without causing structural damage to your building. A 400rb would do it at a lower volume; if you need more clean, than a 700rb or 1001rb would be a better choice (or the 400+).

    I'm also partial to older Trace Elliots as they seem to produce more power than their ratings would indicate. When our SVT6 went down (and before I got the Mesa) I borrowed a friend's GP12 SMX with the 280 watt power section. It was PLENTY loud! And I owned the same amp in a 410 combo that also powered four 15's. At '2' it would drown out our drummer.

    Grapevine921 likes this.