Anyone still prefer Class A/B amps over Class D?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by FingerDub, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. FingerDub

    FingerDub Inactive

    Jan 8, 2016
    I just noticed that when I go to Sweetwater, the most expensive bass amps are still Class A/B and seem to be highly desired here on TB. High end tube amps followed by solid state amps such as an Aguilar DB751, GK 2001RB, Mesa Carbine, TC Blacksmith, SVT 3/4, GK Fusion etc. Only after those, do Class D heads come up.

    Does anyone one still prefer the tone or some other aspect of a class A/B amp over a class D head?

    Personally, I have 2 amps, one of each. A TC BH250 and a Hartke HA4000 which I recently bought to have a good solid amp at my rehearsal space and for gigs, which allows my TC to be a backup, which I needed. I'm questioning my purchase however. Not because of the tone or the amp it's self, which are both great, but why did I buy a heavier class A/B amp instead of a class D? I got the Hartke for reliability, tone and power, and it delivers in all 3 categories.

    But, it is also hard for me to question class D tone, power or reliability. I guess it seems class D is now preferred, but if you still prefer Class A/B/ amps, why?
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I'm sure a lot of people do.
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  3. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    I have a Hartke LH500 and an Ampeg PF500.

    Much prefer the tone of the Hartke, but the Ampeg makes a great backup. It comes to every gig, and is ready to go into action by plugging in one cord, and powering it up.

    As a backup, I wanted the same power delivery and light weight.
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  4. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    I personally favor all-tube amps over hybrids and class D's, but it's sure hard to argue against the nice tone of modern micro amps and low weight/watts ratio. Not sure if I'm keeping my all-tube monsters yet as I take my class D out far more, but I thought that as soon as I do sell them I'll get The Call from a higher-profile artist who insists on tubes...maybe I should sell them then?

    Edit: I'm sure that there are some styles of music where the amp choice MIGHT help the bassist feel the notes and groove a bit more than others; while the cleanest class D amp may sound just fine to some players on an R&B/Spul gig, a good all-tube amp may sit better with those tube overtones and vibe just a bit for some players...and that may creatively push said player more into "the zone" for that style.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  5. Interceptor


    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    My current favorite is an all tube amp, but that's not the question.

    I like the way a good class A/B hits at the front of the note. Staccato or those little ghost note thumps better communicate for me through A/B. The difference to my ears is not subtle. But, and this is a big but, I really don't care if it takes me several trips to drag my gear to a stage or if it weighs a bit. I'm a small old guy who is ornery enough to carry what ever will make the noise I want.
    MarkA, Zenbassie, Revv and 18 others like this.
  6. FingerDub

    FingerDub Inactive

    Jan 8, 2016
    Thanks for actually paying attention to the question!
  7. BogeyBass

    BogeyBass Inactive

    Sep 14, 2010
    the " led sleds" are actually not that heavy and majority id say go for weight/ size benefits with class d. i find good old bjt transistors or mosfet class A/B amplifiers affordable and very powerful in used market. some known for breaking some known for being well known work horses. then there is absolutely ancient quasi complementary amplifiers using incredible ancient transistors that sound absolutely lovely, incredible reliable and have amazing tone, clean and being pushed. AB all day
    rtav, Revv, son_of_mogh and 5 others like this.
  8. Thummel


    Jun 24, 2007
    West Texas
    Definitely prefer A/B. While I really enjoy the portability of my GK MB212 II and it does sound pretty darn good, I still prefer my SVT 4PRO through a 4x10 or better yet two 4x10's. Of course in a small room the GK is the best choice.
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  9. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    different tools for different jobs.
    I have full tube (Fender Studio), tube pre into mosfet power (Mesa Walkabout) tube pre into class D power (Demeter VTBP-M-800D) and all SS (Ampeg PF500). They all have the juice but they bring it in different and great ways. They all hit very hard when called on to do so. I tend to favor the lightest amp (Demeter) because it's just easy to roll in with a 10lb 800w head (with a Berg CN212 or NV610) and get going. OTOH, the Fender Studio is truly a thing to behold when it's running on top of the NV610.
    so, do I prefer A/B over others, not at all, but I sure do like it when I use it.
  10. Kun2112


    Nov 2, 2013
    I gig with a TC BH250, light, cheap (got it slightly used for $150), sounds great with a flat EQ, and has plenty of power for my 4ohm GK Neo 212 in any venue I play.
    That said, my absolute favorites are the GK 700RB/1001RB-II. Why? The biamp for the tweeter, the boost control, the level adjustment for the DI, and the "riding the rails" sound you can get from a RB series. The 400RB-IV would be perfect if you could adjust the DI level via knob and it had a biamp. I don't need the extra headroom the larger heads offer.
    Want to make me the happiest bass player on the face of the planet? Give me a class D GK head that has the biamp, the front panel controls of a 700/1001 (DI and biamp), and a serperate "rails" switch that simulates the sound of a RB series pushed. drool
  11. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Not me.
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  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I prefer good sounding amps over bad sounding amps. There are class AB amps I wouldn't give you a plugged nickel for, and class D amps that I would pay double for. OK, well maybe not double :D but I am quite happy with my micros. But none make me as happy as my tube amps do, except during the schlep.
  13. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    A/B class amps (particularly the vintage tube heads) produce a wee bit o' magic in the tone, and reactive quality (lively feel, for lack of better descriptions) that are missing in most SS and D class heads. Although I tend to use the TC RH750 (class D) head the most due to light weight and it has one of the best fake tube sounds and feel of any I've tried. But this is what my ear hears. "When" I can crank up a tube head, and actually hit the "sweet spot," there is nothing better! My A/B heads of choice for the last 25 years are early 70s Traynors, for bass AND guitar!
  14. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    While I enjoy the "effortless-ness", lower residual noise floor and lower distortion of class A/B or H amplifiers, those factors will not make up for a bad preamp or ill-chosen EQ-points etc.
    So... "It depends..."
    Using the LMII preamp through an external PA amp (A/B or H) is great, and a cleaner and less compressed presentation than its built in SMPS + class A/B amp.
  15. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Listen to the whole package before you decide or criticise.

    I've heard guys who can make tube amps sound bad and others who can make D class amps sound great.
  16. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  17. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I'm still gigging a Thunderfunk 750 but my go to is a TH500. Both sound great and warrant stage time.

    IME both sound better than my 400+. YMMV
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  18. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    Do I like heavier or lighter? Hm...What does Boris have to say......
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  19. I don't see the paper you're talking about anywhere on the QSC site. Where did you find it?
  20. gelinas666

    gelinas666 Guest

    Sep 8, 2009
    Depends on the tone I'm looking for.. Have both.. I put a nice transparent Compressor on in front of a Class D amp and I can get some nice tube warmth with that.. A/B heads are my favorite for plug and play applications ... Usually have a Class D as my backup to my All Tube Class A/B heads, not the other way around though!:thumbsup:
    Dp1363 and son_of_mogh like this.