Bass amp that doesn’t ‘need’ a preamp pedal that costs as much as a bass amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by J-phatt, Apr 16, 2024.

  1. J-phatt

    J-phatt

    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    My title says it all. I understand pros like the Noble tube preamp and pay as much as the pice of a whole head+combo rig for one because it’s a perfect DI and can be substituted for any house backline’s amp preamp section, etc.
    Coming from the guitar world I have learned that flexible, musical tone shaping and gain are often expensive. My last amp purchase was a Soldano SLO 30 at nearly $2000 used. When I played surf guitar I sold half a dozen amps to fund purchase of a period-correct Fender Bandmaster combo because nothing else nailed that sound.
    So, is there a bass amp I could purchase which is as satisfactory to my (guitar-trained but bass-learning) ear, that will obviate the necessity of preamps that cost as much? Metal guitarists will plunk down $3000 every day for a 100w high-gain tube head that ‘brings teh brootalz’. Is there a bass amp equivalent you players recommend that will quell the endless toan cravings?
     
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  2. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Lots of options. What’s a bass tone you like?

    Also, my objective and science backed opinion is the reason I’d use a bass preamp is the same I’d use my guitar preamps. The world has gone pillow soft and it hurts people’s tummies when the volume is at rock-appropriate levels. A preamp helps simulate the sound I’m after without making people whine and screech about volume. Not perfect but close. Similar to why you might use an attenuator.

    If you name a song or bassist whose sound you prefer I’m sure folks can help get you there.
     
  3. J-phatt

    J-phatt

    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    Well, I like Paul McCartney (mid-60s Beatles records), Jack Bruce, Jack Cassidy, John Entwistle, John Paul Jones, Chris Squire, Jah Wobble. The sound of rock I grew up on that formatted my ear’s expectations. I like the very deep sounds of Jamaican dub that Wobble copped. I saw a photo him sitting in front of an SVT fridge recently.
    I already have a perfectly serviceable 350w Hartke amp. But seeing the prices of popular preamps it just seems uneconomic not to combine preamp and amp purchase. I own a Carver PM 1.5 that apparently was played by Billy Sheehan when he was in Mr. Big, if I want to go down the rack route. Maybe a tube rack preamp?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2024
  4. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    What does the Hartke not deliver for you? That might help advisors.
     
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  5. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    There are LOTS of very good choices, it's up to you to try a few and see what works for your tone.
     
  6. J-phatt

    J-phatt

    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    Not enough o what I think of as preamp gain. The parallel preamps don’t overdrive in a way I can discern.They soften and compress but there is no hair there. Maybe I need something that sounds like an Ampeg.
     
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  7. gtirard

    gtirard

    Feb 22, 2020
    Paris, France
    I understand, because after going the route "several good preamps + one amp used for its power section only", I came back to a simpler setting: one amp that has a great preamp.

    There are many options, any Mesa Subway for example (including the WD800 and TT800 with tube preamps), it depends a lot on what tone you are after.

    The Ampeg SVT is one the most famous rock amps legends. If you like that sound but not the weight, you have several alternatives: Ampeg Venture (tubeless emulation), or Fuchs FBT-300 and FBT-700 amps (with a tube preamp)

    I choose the Jad Freer Sisma and I love it, but I would have bought a Mesa Subway amp if I was American.
     
  8. bftbassman

    bftbassman

    Aug 23, 2014
    Ephrata PA
    SVT PRO 2
     
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  9. KellyC

    KellyC Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2023
    Scottsdale AZ
    I have a Mesa D 800+ and a Sisma.

    Neither of them needs a pre-amp, but if I wanted the "dirty pbass" tone out of the D800+ I would have to use one (the WD800, however wouldn't need one to get dirty), and the Sisma is a dirty pbass machine.

    If I wanted a cleaner tone, the D800+ has a huge palette of voicings that don't require a preamp. The Sisma, not so much (not to say it doesn't sound good clean, just that it was designed for more driven tones).

    For me, the pre-amp pedals are more about having some control over the tone you are sending to FOH via DI than they are about needing them to make your amp sound good.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2024
  10. gmarcus

    gmarcus Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2003
    Aguilar Tone Hammer heads can get very dirty and as you turn up the drive they tighten up the bass and shave off some highs. I find that they work really well in a rock band.
     
  11. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Then maybe look at Ampeg amps, that's kind of an obvious first step I would think?
     
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  12. J-phatt

    J-phatt

    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    I would think, yes. Is there a strong similarity between most of them, with outliers that ought to be avoided because of their blandness or unreliability? I see a lot of SVT 350 heads for cheap. Do they suck?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2024
  13. J-phatt

    J-phatt

    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    Are those old solid state SVT 350 heads good and reliable? I don’t particularly mind the weight of an old-fashioned amp if it delivers the goods. I see many of them for sale here on cl.
     
  14. gtirard

    gtirard

    Feb 22, 2020
    Paris, France
    S
    SVT 350 are solid state amps, not the real tube thing
     
  15. J-phatt

    J-phatt

    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    But do they sound like an SVT? I’m not a purist. Real SVTs are expensive as hell.
     
  16. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    I played through the Ampeg B2R a bunch of times, it's the same amp as the 350 without the big box to make it look more argh. I didn't like it, felt like it gassed out too easy and the tone wasn't that great.

    Since you have a power amp already, why not get the SGT pedal? That should cover your SVT/vintage voice needs for not that much $$.
     
  17. KenSmithFan

    KenSmithFan

    Feb 14, 2024
    It looks like you are in the DC area. You have Chuck Levins in Wheaton, MD, Atomic Music in Beltsville, MD,Bills Music in Catonsville, MD all in easy driving distance where you could go to hear a lot of different amps with your own ears.

    I've used primarily Ampeg - V-4B, SVT, PF-800 and Genz Benz (forget which model) and I've never had to use a preamp with any of them.
     
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  18. gtirard

    gtirard

    Feb 22, 2020
    Paris, France
    I don't know, try one.
    But I would rather buy an Ampeg Venture (modern, lightweight and reliable, with great SVT emulation) or Fuchs (this guy is a legend and the FBT-700 has a tube preamp). But that's just me. Try as many as you can.
     
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  19. J-phatt

    J-phatt

    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    Naw, I’m in LA. There is a bass shop in the Valley run by a Slavic guy who is very busy. I will steel myself up to the withering indifference typically shown a noob. Not today though.
     
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  20. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    In my limited universe, Hartke always sounded better with a real-tube or emulator character pedal on the front side…it’s also the least expensive route. Then, in order: SS rackmount, tube rackmount, full-blown new integrated amp.

    Riis
     
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