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"best" way to get tube sound on a low budget?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by melissalmurphy, Mar 24, 2005.


  1. melissalmurphy

    melissalmurphy

    Jul 11, 2001
    dallas, tx
    i'm looking for an inexpensive way to get a tube sound. currently playing an ibanez semi-hollow through a peavey sessionbass, and waiting on an avatar sb112. don't need huge volume.

    after searching tb, it's come down to 3 options.

    best tube option for the money?
    1. tube pre amp (can't afford the U5!)
    2. used tube head (would be low watt due to price range)
    3. hybrid head w/tube pre (ex: hartke 2500)

    let's say $200-$300 is the ceiling for this one. what do you think?
     
  2. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Okay, any minute now, nonsqtr will tell you about the Pignose... ;)
     
  3. melissalmurphy

    melissalmurphy

    Jul 11, 2001
    dallas, tx
    my husband wants one of those for guitar because of the movie "crossroads". (the ralph macchio movie, not the britney spears one!)
     
  4. I would either get a Sansamp for around 200 and change OR get a used Peavey T-Max. It has a tube pre-amp and a little power if you need it. It's indestructable. Do a search for the T-Max in this forum and read the good things others have to say about it. A friend of mine GAVE me one because he didn't think a Peavey was cool enough for his band. I use either a Peavey 210 or a 115 cab (or both), and each configuration works great.
     
  5. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Here's the link to the thread on the Pignose. It is a pretty cheap route to an all-tube combo or head.
     
  6. melissalmurphy

    melissalmurphy

    Jul 11, 2001
    dallas, tx
    i just mentioned the U5 because that seems to be a popular choice for pre...

    i want the "squishy" tubey vibe. i'll check around for the Bmax-t.

    thanks for the suggestion.
     
  7. superfly

    superfly

    Aug 4, 2004
    Keep an eye out for used gear. I recently picked up a Mesa Boogie Buster 200 15" all tube combo recently for $475. I had to drive a few hrs and retube it, but for about $600 with retube its smokin.
     
  8. melissalmurphy

    melissalmurphy

    Jul 11, 2001
    dallas, tx
    hmmm, not bad! a little pricey new, though.
     
  9. melissalmurphy

    melissalmurphy

    Jul 11, 2001
    dallas, tx
    thanks! saw a couple of the peavey's on ebay. i'll keep it in mind!
     
  10. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Don't go by the "list" prices. You can find some deals that are far better prices. If you are really interested, I may have bookmarked some of the better deals. I was all set to get one of the heads when I decided to buy this instead:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. melissalmurphy

    melissalmurphy

    Jul 11, 2001
    dallas, tx
    if it's not too much trouble, some bookmarks would be nice.


    i've seen your combo in a couple of other threads. looks like a nice find.
     
  12. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    First off, here's a nice little shot of the Pignose:

    [​IMG]

    As for prices, Victor Litz has it for $344.88. I thought I had one or two other links to good prices. I will keep looking...
     
  13. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    The Tech21 Sans Amp Bass Driver DI does a pretty decent job of creating a "tubey" sound, either with or without "grit" depending on where you set the drive control. Find one used and give it a spin. You just run it as a stomp box ...
     
  14. firstbassman

    firstbassman Apples & Dirges

    Sep 6, 2004
    NYC/Northern NJ
    I think you can't beat the Sansamp DI. I picked one up on eBay for about 150 bucks and it shocked - shocked! - my bandmates the first time I plugged it in at our rehearsal studio.

    Check out the sound samples at Basstasters: http://www.basstasters.com/preamps/bddi.htm

    Really fattens, enhances, and gives a nice - the best way I can describe it is "spanky" tone. I can't imagine gigging without it now.
     
  15. firstbassman

    firstbassman Apples & Dirges

    Sep 6, 2004
    NYC/Northern NJ
  16. Another vote for a Sansamp DI. They are a nice little floor unit that you can bring with you anywhere to get that "Tube" emulation through any rig you play.
     
  17. I have had my sansamp for about 6 months and I still am amazed every time I turn it on. If you have tons of cash, there are many other ways to acheive real "tube" tone. (Mostly thru tubes)

    But this little box for $180 does one heck of a job. Right now, I rely on it for my tube tone. Hopefully, I will soon get a nice tube preamp. Until then, the Sansamp does a pretty good job of faking it.
     
  18. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    IMO, the sans amp sounds like a sans amp. if you want tube "squish" you're probably looking at getting an all tube amp or at least a tube poweramp as that's where the "squish" comes from.

    the tubes in preamps do provide a "softer" sound sometimes, but that's very dependant upon the preamp itself. Just be aware that tubes aren't the answer to everything when it comes to bass (they are when it comes to electric guitar IMO). plenty of the most revered bass units are entirely solid state (neve preamps, avalon U5, glockenklang, countryman, GK, AMP/Thunderfunk, Crest, etc..........). Tubes can do great things, but IMO, there are a certain % of people that have a knee jerk belief that tube=good, and solid state=bad.

    i would forget about tube and solid state and focus on trying stuff and seeing if you like it. you may be surprised at the items you prefer.
     
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    The SABDDI is the standard for this, but it may be worthwhile to check out their new Para-Driver DI, which has the "Drive" control plus a semi-parametric mid control. I'd probably prefer that over the SABDDI.

    Here's a link: Sansamp PDDI

    And a pic:

    [​IMG]