Best tube amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Daffy Funk, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. Daffy Funk

    Daffy Funk

    Nov 10, 2005
    Hi,I've been looking into getting an all tube amp head;and
    wanted to know what the members of talkbass think is the
    "best of the best"tube amp head,and why you think so.
    I know there is no such thing as "the" best,because sound
    is all personal taste;that's why I want everyones personal
    opinion.I'll be going over to Tokyo(I live in Japan)to check
    out amps,and wanted to hear everyones opinion,before
    checking stuff out.
  2. I like my Mesa 400+. Trace Elliot tube amps are also highly regarded. The Fender Bassman Pro 300 is a good amp. The new Sadowsky is supposed to be completely awesome. Demeter makes a very nice tube power amp. Traynor makes the YBA-200. Ampeg makes the SVT 2-Pro, but don't bother messing with the -CL. The list is endless.
  3. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    Well if you're looking for opinions, Ampeg made thier name off of their Tube Heads and 810 Cabs.
  4. Back in the day at least; I wish they would make em like they used to :meh:
  5. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'd say the Mesa 400+, tube preamp and tube power amp or go with something less heavy and try an Aguilar DB750, it's a hydrid amp but it will really really surprise you. I love mine.

    I owned an STV-2 pro and didn't like it. So I would advise you to stay away from ampeg amps unless you can find a vintage origianl 70's SVT.

    Take care.
  6. el_Kabong


    Jul 11, 2005
    I'll give the opposite opinion, my svt-cl is the best sounding amp I've ever plugged into, cleaner than the svt2-pro I tried. It's all personal preference. :)
  7. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The Sadowsky SA200 is the best sounding (clean) all tube head that I have had the pleasure of hearing. It is head and shoulders above everything I have compared it to other than my Trace Elliot V8 and perhaps my Trace Elliot VR350 (which is a tube power amp with an instrument input). The only downside is that it is not stupidly powerful (rated at 210 watts using EL34's). But it is a thing of beauty, both sonically and esthetically.

    The only amp that I might be inclined to give a higher overall rating to would be the Trace Elliot V8. It has my second favorite clean tone, as well as one of my favorite overdriven tones. Combine this with an all tube head that is rated for 400 watts but sounds even louder, and you've got one serious contender on your hands! :bassist:

    So, for me it's a toss up between the SA200 and the V8. Of course, the V8 is no longer in production, and it appears that only about 75 of them were ever produced.

    Other very good tube heads that I have tried include pretty much any other all-tube Trace Elliot head, the Mesa Boogie Bass 400, the Eden VT-300A and a combination of seperates using a tube preamp and a killer tube amp like the aforementioned VR350, Aguilar DB 728, or Demeter VTHF-300M.

  8. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    I like my Marshall VBA400... :D
  9. I still want to find one to try out!

    I also like my Peavey Classic 400 though it is no longer in production. I'll assume subjective is more than right, Tom owns one (or a couple) of them but it rarely (if ever) gets mentioned in this type of thread ;)

    I've got my 'regular' tube head... now I'm looking for a lower wattage, dual purpose head (guitar and bass). Orange is at the top of my list to try.
  10. +1 on the V8. Good luck with finding one!
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    My 60's Ampeg B-15N. But for amps that are available now, I like both the SVT and the Mesa 400+ about equally.
  12. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    Yup! I know what you mean... 'das why I just went with my gut feeling and got one anyway. I know of only one other that was here in the islands, and that guy had it up for sale on ebay. It's a beast, 'das for sure, but I got no complaints...
  13. on the easy to find list of amps that are well worth their price, check out the Mesa 400+, the Fender 300 Pro and the Ampegs (CL and & 2 PRO).

    From there , you will at least have a tube sound direction (each brand has a slightly different tone) and you should be able to find all of those amps at dealers...

    Then if you still like tube heads, but want something more rare or exotic, we can point you in the right direction....
  14. I agree about not liking the SVT-2 Pro, i dont like the SVT-CL either, but, SVT-II non-pro's sound a hell of alot better to my ear, and alot of people seem to agree with that :) , plus they go for a fair bit cheaper than a vintage SVT
  15. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    Holland, MI
    I'm alone here, but I really like my 1970's Fender Bassman 100 head. I just put some NOS GE 5751s in the preamp, and it really cleaned up the tone. Put a NOS Mullard 12AT7 for the driver, too. Sounds wonderful through some efficient cabs, and it is pretty readily found and pretty cheap.
  16. MrBonex


    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Eric, you are not alone! I love vintage 4-6L6 Fender amps for bass!!!!

    They may not go super loud, but the tone is muy bueno. Matched with an efficient cab, they can cover a LOT of gigs.
  17. Yes Eric and Sir Bonex - That fender tone is sweet. I just picked up a Fender Studio Bass (6 6l6gc's) and it has more than enough power for moderate volume gigs. I almost wish I had a Bassman 50 for the quieter moments! Needless to say, I sold my 1500 watt power amp/ almebic pre and am much happier with the volume and tone!
  18. I say Ampeg 350 but it really depends on what your doing.. I've heard good things about the Mesaboogie 400 too but with me and I'm here in the states I like Ampegs cause for me theres a dealer right down the street if I have any issues.
  19. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    Holland, MI
    Ampeg 350? Never heard of it, but if you're talking about the SVT-350 (or whatever it is called), it isn't tube.
  20. Rickenbackerman


    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    One of these:

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