Best amp/cab of the Decades

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CROZ, Sep 5, 2000.

  1. What is the best amp/cab from the 60's onward, As in Best of the 60's, best and worst of 70's, best of the 80's, best of the 90's and your pick for best of the new millenium.

    I think best of the 60's is the portaflex, the 70's and 80's would be the SVT/810 combination, the 90's would be an SVT with an SWR or Eden cab, and for 2000 the SVT is still king (with a hi-fi cab)

    It's not like I was playing bass in the 60's, or 70's or 80's but it's still a cool question.
  2. MrGump


    Apr 20, 2000
    I agree on most counts,but you gotta add the Acoustic 360,to the seventies best.And some of the worst are from the sixties,those rolled and pleated Kustom solid state amps.The ones that were rated by peak watts,and came with absurdly big 3x15(vertical)cabs.They were as eye catching as my nominee for worst of the ninties-Hardtke(Sam Ashs brilliant marketing of a cheap Korean amp,by installing shiny aluminum cones,and giving freebies and maybe cash to Will Lee).Some early Standel amps I must nominate for dumbest.They sounded good but alot of the guts was epoxy covered,a nightmare to work on.And I guess youd have to add Trace Elliot to best of the eighties.Enough for now.Im sure the Hardtke fans are gonna love me.Another worst-of the ninties I guess, are any Gorilla amps.
  3. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Hey I own a Hartke 2000 amp...I couldnt agree with you more. I think theyre speakers are prone to blowing all to easily too...i used to have a xl-115 of thiers..they arent very durable. their heads have way too much hiss for my liking too...cant wait to get a differant one!
  4. MrGump


    Apr 20, 2000
    Nice to hear an honest man whose not ashamed to admit he got taken!Most people would fight to the end about how great their stuff is.Kudos to you.How much was it worth to get those shiny cones on the Letterman show every night?
    By the way groove has two O`s.
  5. Those Hartke cabs sound kind of nasily to me. I had a 210XL for a while and it had like a grating high mid. One of my g**tar friends unfortunately bought a 412 hartke. Worst g**tar cab I ever heard. Nasty mids.
    I've never had a chance to play an Acoustic 360;I have played a 370 and a 220 and I wasn't that impressed. Tube tone for me.
  6. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    The only common thing between the Acoustic 360 and 370 was the folded 18" cabinet. I wish I had my 360 back again! What an amp! And, when it's not acting up on me, the old Fender Bassman heads weren't too bad. The truth is, I seem to prefer solid state bass amps.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't think you can say what the best amp is unless you are specifying for what purpose - i.e. for Jazz, for acoustic bass, for reggae dub etc. Also it is only really a question of personal preference - what sounds good to you for that particular situation.

    Among some of the many I have owned, Trace Elliot sounded the worst to me - just hated the sound, while Hartke have been pretty good for cabs, although not amps. Eden heads have been the best sound for me in the 90s, with Euphonic Audio being the best sounding cabs ever by a long way. I wasn't around in the 60s and couldn't afford decent amps in the 70s, but just about every bass amp I tried in bands in the 80s sounded woolly an muddy to me - I always preferred the sound I got by DI'ing into a PA or recording.
  8. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    These are what I perceived as being the most popular during those time periods. But certainly not the best IMO. With the exception of the 60's and 70's.

    60's-Portaflex amps and V4's
    70's-SVT and 810 cab
    80's-Gallien Krueger and Hartke
    90's-Eden, SWR, and Ampeg all seem to be very popular right now. At this time there is so many choices for us bass players. To me it seems there is a much better crop of quality sounding equipment than ever before.
  9. Jazzocaster


    Jan 30, 2008
    Ok, ....where to begin...the Acoustic 360 when used in combination with a second amp to produce highs, had no equal. If I could find a hundred 360's in good shape I'd buy them all. Don't get me wrong, 10's and a bunch of today's amps sound great..BUT if it was bass you wanted and high volume crystal clear open E's or B's, there was the 360 standing all alone without equal. I'm still looking for one in good shape....and three roadies to carry it!
  10. BigOldHarry


    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    What, no love for Sunn? I used to scare the devil out of folks with my 4x12LH / concert bass rig back in '77... Folks at keggers just hadn't seen some guy with a J bass bring that kinda air movement... At the time, Sunn was sold (to me, at least) as the "hi fi" alternative to Ampeg or Acoustic. Of course, I later had an Acoustic that was just dandy, but I'll never forget that Sunn rig.
  11. ninerfan


    May 28, 2006
    North San Diego
    I just noticed that this thread was brought back to life after over 8 years!
  12. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    wow eight years...........darn

    imho, ok not so humble.........;)

    the great cabinets from the old days are few and far between. most of the great ones i wouldn't schlep around. i like not having to buy a car based on my amp. fwiw the ampeg b15, svt head and cab, and the acoustic stuff are great. I'd also vote for a bunch of the 2x15 cabs including the mesa and the peavey 2x15 (with black widows). ditto for the mark 3, mark 4 etc heads from peavey. not the best sounding, but you could drop them off a building and drag them behind your car and use them that night.

    As far as today, we are extremely lucky to live in an era where bass amplification has come into its own. this is true of mass produced stuff and the real high end custom stuff. Most of it sounds pretty good and the array of small portable cabs and amps are mind blowing. just cause i use bag end cabs doesn't mean that i don't think that there are twenty other brands that are just as good depending upon what sound you are after.
  13. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    I do buy cars based on my rigs. :) I'm a musician and am responsible for my own gear whatever size within reason and some PA getting to the gig. I've been able to drive fast sexy cars that look great and carry the big sound. It did take commitment to the first point. Music first for me.

    My buddy, a great drummer, used to drive a beater. It had a 2x4 to hold up the rear hatch. When he decided to buy a VW Golf GTI he took his entire drum set to the dealership and loaded it to be sure. His playing would tell you that he was a musician first. That car was fast sexy and fit his gear.

    Kudos to those Sunn 200s and 2000s. The Acoustic 360, oh my!
    I do dig some of the new stuff because in almost every way it spanks the old stuff.
  14. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    In the late 80's I think Mesa's were extremely popular...
  15. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    70's: I didn't start playing yet (but played a mean trumpet).

    80's: Whatever I could get my hands on and afford (Kustom 200 w/2x15, or a Peavey TNT 130).

    90's (pre-internet): Whatever I could get my hands on and afford taking cues from Bass Player Magazine.

    90's & up (internet age): GAS and the amp of the month (continues to this day).
  16. kelleysdad


    Dec 12, 2007
    :rollno:I doubt that many Hartke bashers have ever owned one. I have had a 5000 since the 90's with no problems. The 2.5XL cab is incredible. And yes, I know what I am comparing it to. I have owned over the years: an SVT, a 200S, a Portaflex, a Bassman, a 371, a Kustom, a Yamaha 100 B, a Peavey and a GK. The 5000 with a 2.5XL and a 15” JBL cab is equal to or better sounding than ANY of the others in a live performance. Go ahead and have your fun with the bashing, I know it gives you joy.
  17. SamanthaCay


    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    Personally my worst ever was a 1968 peavey series 200 with the matching 215 it looked really cool and had that vintage vibe. but the thing always sounded like crap. my best is my mesa boogie 400+ with two custom made 410's. it knock’s paint off walls and destroys small villages!
  18. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    For me
    80's Trace Elliot
    90's Eden
    2000's Bergantino cabs and Markbass amps or seperate pre and poweramps
    Oh and for any era an all SVT rig...but too heavy to own
  19. MrLenny


    Jun 10, 2006
    So. N.H.
    I ran a Hartke 4x10 XL for 8 years and loved it.
    No issues.
    Today I use Bag End , Eden & Accugroove is really nice.
  20. DAcat


    Jun 14, 2005
    Worst gear-well I try not to buy that so Ican't really report on that.

    Best Gear...

    1960s-first I worked my way though all the Fender bass amps thru the Dual Showman, then I discovered the Acoustic 360 ...this Preamp/Powered Cab blew them totally all away. This made touring simple, efficient, set-ups quick, gear that you could count on , and most importantly hear no matter how big the size of the venue( I had 2 of them and was never at a loss). However- I did hook up a 212 cab to each cab's ext. Speaker output so I could hear myself better on stage!!

    1970s-Although I sold my Ampeg SVT with 2 810 cabs right after I got my Acoustic 360s, I think that keeping the Ampeg with my Acoustic 360s, would have been the perfect rig for the 70s.

    1980s-most people got jobs and after going back to college in the mid to late 70s, and sold off alot of their equipment,-but keeping that Ampeg SVT and 810 Cab or downsizing to a 410 would have made sense for playing in the smaller clubs then. (I stored my Acoustic 360 in a basement closet from about 74-2007-I just could'nt let go of it till then).

    1990s-Keeping the Ampeg SVT head would have made the best sense...and a 410 cab. Alot of people started experimenting(out of GAS) to try out the latest from Eden, SWR, Bergantino, Epifani and Mesa.I wish I had been able to get my hands on a great early 212 or 410 Berg back then...but I did'nt have a dealer within a 1000 miles to try one out.

    2000s-Now its really become complicated because there is so much great gear and as someone said earlier, sometheing new comes out every month to drool over. and portability has become more of a factor with smaller cars,smaller stages, and difficulty getting to gigs. I've personally got caught up in this and gone through a lot of gassing this decade...and finally settled on a really nice fretted and fretless basses (Both are MTD Z4s), as well as a power amp/Preamp rig which goes to 2 ohms and allows me to use which ever speakers I prefer...right now I have gone to cabs with a smaller footprint that are easier to transport...a Schroeder 410 R and a Schroeder 212L cab as well as an EarCandy BassBomb 212 cab after going through several other cabs first. So now I have my light , portable 212, another 212 for a darker, deeper tone, extra cabs for different practice sites, and when I really need to make a show of force-I bring all of it. But you can't buy it all...(Even Tom B. realizes that have to have great big sales to buy the next months latest greatest toys!!). You have to carefully research and try out equipment and compare and contrast equipment and then bite the bullet and make a decision and get it and then stop worrying "so much" about the quest for the perfect equipment or you'll be "equipment obsessed", IMHO... spend more time practicing, since, as we've all been told, no matter what bass/amp we use, the final isssue thats never changed thru all these decades that decides tone... is how our fingering interacts with the fretboard!!! Peace...DAcat :cool: