Best hybrid amp for warm, vintage tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jacoby75, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. jacoby75


    Mar 11, 2010
    Detroit, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    Hey guys,

    What hybrid amp would you recommend I look into? I'm currently playing in a modern country project, and am looking for something that can give me that vintage tube warmth and body, and maybe a little grit, but in a hybrid package (hybrid mostly because of weight and $). I don't like the sterile sound of an all solid-state amp. I like the Ampeg SVT sound, but haven't been a fan of their hybrid amps that I've tried. FWIW, I play a Lull P5, Lakland 55-60, and G&L 2500.

    I recently played a Fender Bassman 250 combo at a casino gig, and while I know it's not a hybrid amp - or a great amp for that matter - I did really like what I perceived to be a more "vintage" tone that I was able to get out of it than the tone I get from my current Demeter pre/Carvin power amp setup (into an Epifani UL2-410). Maybe it's their EQ setup, or something about the pre. I don't know. It got me looking into Fender amps, which I haven't looked into in quite some time, and I landed on the TB600 and TB1200, which have gotten pretty good reviews. I'm very strongly leaning towards picking up a TB1200, even though I'm not able to try one out before I do, hoping to find what I'm looking for. Before I pulled the trigger, though, I thought I'd ask for your guys' opinions. Would you recommend the TB1200 over another brand for producing a "vintage" tube tone? Is there something else you'd recommend over the Fender amps?

  2. jschwalls


    Sep 4, 2007
    Savannah GA
    I was able to dial in a VERY nice vintage sound from my Hartke LH500, which is my backup amp. (bass 1..... mids 7.... and highs 1.... limiter/on and bright/on.) I spent about 45 minutes or so trying to match as close as possible to my main rig which is a custom made amp from Swamp Works Amplifiers.. I was very pleased with the results. LH500 is powerful and VERY affordable.

    I use D.Allen p-bass pickups through a Swamp Works 4x10 loaded with Sica Neo 10's.
  3. babebambi


    Jan 7, 2008
    what kinda SVT sound?

    no one amp emulates the SVT exactly
    and a lot of the SVT sound has to do with the Ampeg 810 sealed cab

    but there are amps/effects that crop SOME aspects of the SVT sound reasonably well
  4. Genz Streamliner
  5. Mesa Walkabout!
  6. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Whoo boy! You appear to be having some success with your pre / power config although I feel the Demeter has more of a modern vibe. SS is sterile sounding? I can think of several which possess some tube-esque warmth, including the Sansamp, Yamaha PB-1, etc.....more to come courtesy of my TB brethren. Don't resign yourself to a hybrid amp at the risk of forsaking all others. The inclusion of a single glowing tube doesn't necessarily mean it will be a tone monster.

  7. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    Or you could go with any amp you fancy with a VT Bass Pedal ....
  8. The VT bass pedal is a good suggestion, but if you didn't like the ampeg hybrids then you might not like the VT... The Fenders TB600/1200 are great amps with a very nice vintage tube tone from that pre, but they are rather heavy. I find most of the Markbass amps to be quite warm for SS and they are very lightweight. The Genz Streamliner is also getting rave reviews here for it's tube warmth (haven't tried it though)

    An Eden head should also get you that kind of warmth you are after, maybe look at their older WT550 or WT800 heads if you can find one...

    although the nice thing about a pre/power setup like you have is the ability to just change the preamp - look for a fender TBP-1 or an eden Navigator or even some of the older ampeg units...
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Have you tried the SVT 7 Pro yet?
  10. I have! It's a real beauty too. Ime, the Walkabout (especially in it's Scout combo) is a little more 'vintage-ey' , but the Ampeg 7 PRO is a real ripper. THE MOST like an all tube SVT I've ever had.
  11. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    You could consider a non- hybrid amp, the Ampeg PF350/ 500 gives nice Ampeg tone, and then there is the TC amps which many raves about the vintage tone. You do not have to have a tube to obtain a vintage tone.
  12. eyeballkid


    Jul 19, 2009
    wes virginny
    I had the Fender TBP1 with the 1200 power amp.. basically its the modular version of the TB-1200.. I didnt really jive with it. While it was a good setup, I found that its EQ was kinda limited and had more low end pillow than I liked. I found it to be TOOOO vintage sounding, and yes, that can happen. However, the Ashdown ABM 500 EVO II has a REALLY nice vintage tone to it, but can also be made to be much more aggressive and modern. It is SUCH a good amp and can be found used for real cheap sometimes. The 900 is just as good. The trick is to find a made in the UK version.
  13. BassMonstrum


    Mar 7, 2008
    Ashdown, maybe?
  14. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    If you like the Bassman, you HAVE to try the Hartke LH500. Very Bassman-like sound and feel. Fender tone stack. Not sterile. Big and fat.

    The VT Bass is a good suggestion, too.
  15. jacoby75


    Mar 11, 2010
    Detroit, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    Wow! Thanks for all the responses, guys. I really appreciate it. I'll try to address some of the points you mentioned.

    1. I know it's really hard to have a conversation like this because words like "vintage, tubey, growly, warm," etc., are all relative terms. They might mean something different to you than they do to me. Maybe it's just easier to say, "what would get me the closest to an Ampeg SVT-CL in a hybrid amp?" I just like the character of the all-tube amps. Warm, pillowey tone with a little grit. I don't really know how else to discribe it.

    2. "Sterile" to me means very hi-fi sounding (again, replacing one relative term with another, but there you have it). Just clean tone without a lot of character. Something that might be great for a jazz group or adult contemporary, but not quite the vintage tone I'm looking for for my country/blues/classic rock project.

    3. I'll have to check out the suggestions. I've played a Hartke 1x15 3500 combo at a friend's and I love it, but it's not enough power for live. Maybe the LH1000 could be a good solution. It might bother me that there's no tuner ouput, though. I like my rackmount tuner and being able to mute and tune on stage. I'm really liking what I've heard about the GB streamliner. It helps that there's an Ed Friedland video demoing the amp. He's awesome. So far, the GB looks like the front runner to me.

    4. Regarding my setup, it does sound great. It is a little sterile and hi-fi sounding, but if you crank the tube gain, it can sing. I'm just looking for something different. The only real issue I have is that the Demeter seems to clip out the Carvin at some random times. I added a compressor to the loop and that has helped. I think it's primarily an issue of just having some bright peaks on the jazz bass because it's a maple neck and I tend to play a little hard at times. It gets a little clicky. But this isn't necessarily about me hating my current setup. I just want something different. I've been using the Demeter/Carvin setup for years now, and didn't really know what I was missing until I had a chance to try something else.

    5. Sansamp/VT stuff: I'm not a fan of their stuff because it greatly colors and changes the tone of my bass (at least, that has been my experience). I want my bass to sound more like my bass, just through a great tube amp.

    6. Ampeg SVT 7: Haven't tried it yet. When I was seeking a new amp a couple of years ago at GC, I tried a couple of the rackmount SVT's. I think it was a 3 and a 4, maybe. I was not impressed. They just sounded weak. Haven't tried a 7, though. If I can find one around me, I might give it a whirl.

    7. Ashdown: I may have to look into the UK stuff. I bought a MAG 1x15 combo that I love the tone of, but it was waaaay too quiet for stage. Maybe a more powerful, british-made head might be a better option.

    Thanks, everyone!
  16. AwkwardLoudness


    Jan 11, 2010
    KY USA
    Genz Benz Streamliner 900 hybrid amp + a Bergantino NV610 cab would equate to very pleasant, warm vintage tones.
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    In Ampeg hybrids, you have to crank the gain pretty hard. I usually put them areound 2:00 or 3:00. You can't run the gain low. Turn it up till you hear distortion, then back off until it goes away if you want it clean, or leave it there if you don't.
  18. jacoby75


    Mar 11, 2010
    Detroit, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    Thanks for all of the advice. After all of the reviews I've read and the ed friedland video demo, I'm sold on the streamliner. Just ordered one today. I think it will be just what I'm looking for. We'll see.
  19. Goodluck with it.
  20. flyingfinbar

    flyingfinbar Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Long Island, New York
    I'd love to hear a followup once you get your hands on the Streamliner! Best of luck:)