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Choosing New Amp Setup - Looking for Low Cost Tube/Half Tube Head?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sebpayne, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Evening all,

    I've decided that for the upcoming gigs my band has, I'm going to beef up my bass amplification. At the moment, I've got an Ashdown Electric Blue 12" 180W combo that's served me well but I played a friend's Ashdown MAG 4x10 cab with Hartke 500W head and it was amazing. The Ashdown sounded muddy - I find it tends to colour the bass sound and make all things sounds quite similar.

    So I've done some research and did some playing in a local guitar shop today. I tried an Ampeg 15" (BA110 maybe?) and it was quite rubbish. I tried the MAG C210T-300 combo, which was pretty good also. I spoke to my friend and he defiantly recommended getting the 4x10 for the range of tones and for getting a good punch.

    I've managed to find the 4x10 online for £249 which isn't that expensive, however I'm going to need a head of sorts. I tried the Ashdown Little Giant 350W today and that seemed pretty cool but I fancy trying something tube or part-tube but haven't had much luck. The main ones I can see are Ampeg that cost £1,000+ - does such a thing as a cheap tube head exist?

    Either way, any recommendations on equipment? I'm going to be playing a Rickenbacker 4003 in small-to-medium venues in a band with guitartist and a whole lotta keyboards ;)
  2. I'd be thinking rackmount to solve your issues..
  3. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    It might be tough to find a cheap tube head (unless it's used).

    There are plenty of solid state heads out there that will give you the power you need, and tone you can live with for the money.

    You just have try different things out to see what suits you well.
  4. sk8


    May 10, 2007
    United Kingdom
    unfortunatley the Hartke LH500 had a major price hike. Whats your budget for an amp?
  5. Knifedge


    Jan 24, 2009
    You could try getting an Ampeg SVT 3 Pro.. tube/tran hybrid... loads of power, great tone, and definitely roadworthy. I have seen a few of them on EBay for good bit less than your price range.
  6. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    GK might be an option. I don't have any experience with them, but they are generally regarded as good equipment at a reasonable price. You can catch combo deals sometimes with the online stores pairing heads and cabs together.
  7. faceman


    Jan 10, 2009
    My budget for the whole thing is really £500-600 as I really can't afford for than that. The Ashdown MAG cab is £249 as I said, which leaves up to around £300 for a head, which isn't a lot. I might be able to get the cab cheaper on eBay, as I've seen them go for £100-150 at times.

    If you were going to recommend a solid state, what would you recommend? As I said, I've looked at the Ashdown Little Giant and that's it so far, I'm not an expert on amps!

    Just for those who don't know, sound wise is going for New Wave-style such as Talking Heads and The Cars as we cover both of these as our own material in a similar style. I usually go for fingerstyle, looking for plenty of definition from the Ric!
  8. faceman


    Jan 10, 2009
    And I should point out that for some reason, I posted the original post in my old username - i.e. sebpayne and faceman are both me, the same person!
  9. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    ok...i was confused there for a moment

    I don't know what that translates to american $$$, but on a SS budget I would check out:

    Hartke (I'm a hartke fan boy)

    I would stay away from the budget ampeg stuff. It does not have a good rep these days.
  10. faceman


    Jan 10, 2009
    Yeah sorry about that! What's Hartke like, I don't know much about them. As I said, I've owned an Ashdown combo for around two years and have been quite happy with it, hence why I'll probably get the MAG cab, I'm just exploring other head options to see what I can. This is probably a stupid question but does the amp or cab make the most difference to what sound you get?
  11. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    That's kind of ones of those chicken or egg questions. I'll say this though:

    The cabinet is a "fixed" sound, while the head is "adjustable" if that makes sense. IMO the head is what is going to give you versatility down the road.

    You really need to just try different combinations in your price range and find what works. There's no magic formula to decide what cab will pair best with what head. It's really up to your ears to decide.
  12. Xechs


    Mar 16, 2009
    Northern VA
    If you're looking for all tube maybe look at a used Traynor YBA200 or a Peavey VB-2. They are on the "cheaper" side of all tube amps and are 200W & 225W respectively.
  13. faceman


    Jan 10, 2009
    Thanks Xechs, I don't think Traynors are available in the UK but am taking a look at the Peavey. I did a search for my mate's Hartke LH500 which seems very good value, seems to be partial tube and this might be a good compromise. Any thoughts on this amp, and any suggestions for other partial-tube amps?

    Thanks again guys :)
  14. lame(B)ass


    Jun 18, 2004
    The Peavey VB-2 might fit the bill. :) :bassist:
  15. if your price range is about 700, definitely look for used gear. some of it is in great condition. look all over craigslist, ebay, various internet sites. i was recently looking for a cheap tube head, (though, in US.) and i was planning on getting the traynor yba200, and found one used, less than a year old, in perfect condition, for 400. it was an amazing score.

    keep an eye out!!

    but, in terms of cheap, i suggest getting a hybrid, or a separate preamp, and a power amp, or a cheap amp that you can use for just power. a classic combo is just a sansamp and some random amp. i had a behringer 450 watt head which was quite loud, but lacked character, so a good preamp/effect unit going into it was necessary.

    in terms of cab: go with a 4X10. way more flexibility in terms of sound.

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