Clean amp vs Dirty amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sapatown, Aug 20, 2021.

  1. Sapatown


    Sep 16, 2016

    Is a clean amp better to run with distortion or fuzz pedals than a dirty amp?

    I am asking because I basically have an Matamp GT200 MK1 on the way (which is supposed to be cleaner than MK2). I was considering an Orange AD200B, but went Matamp GT200, and since its my first tube amp I am really curious to know.

    In my mind a BASS amp that overdrives easily, would just be overkill to throw lots of fuzz at.

    While cleaner but LOUD bass amp will makr the dirt pedals more prominent, right? So the sounds of the pedals are more obvious than mixed with the amps personal overdrive.

    So the clean amp functions more like a blank canvas for the pedals to show their individual sounds.

    I love dirt and distortion, but I have a limit to my taste aswell, so I don't want it to be overkill.

    I am used to play Ampeg PF800, which is a really clean SS amp. But can go crazy loud through my Ampeg 810e. And I love how the pedals work there.

    I understand that for guitarists its the opposite. If they have a really dirty amp, the dirt pedals go hand in hand. But for bass too?

    Hope I don't will regret the Matamp GT200 regarding its cleaness. Oh, I play loud metal/stoner rock in a threepiece.

    DrThumpenstein likes this.
  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    IMHO there is no right or wrong answer here. It depends on the sound you want.

    I am not aware of the MKII necessarily being cleaner than the MKI. Actually when Matamp introduced the MKII, they claimed it made more clean power. It's possible the MKII may have a higher gain preamp though, as the MKI preamp is very low gain.

    @bassboysam has posted quite a few videos of his MKI in action. Here's a post with a working video link: Matamp GT200 In Action

    I have not played a GT200, but I own a vintage GT120 and AFAIK the GT200 is very similar. My GT120 was designed to be clean, but it's one of the best amps in my collection for output drive.

    I doubt you have anything to worry about with the incoming GT200. The only potential problem is it may be necessary to play really loud to get the sound you want without some sort of drive pedal. Of course whether it's a problem depends somewhat on your cabs and how loud you like to play.

    I usually don't like hitting one gain stage with a massive amount of gain. This tends to produce more of a one dimensional, fizzy sound. Instead I find it's usually better to push multiple gain stages into gentle OD.
    The idea with an OD pedal is actually to push the amp in distortion. So the distortion of the pedal is mixed with the distortion of the amp and results in a richer, more complex sound. If you stack enough stages pushed to gentle OD, you actually get fuzz.
  3. the preamp on the MKI is quite clean i find, even with the gain at max,i only get a bit of dirt from tje preamp. the power amp distorts beautifully, but you're going to be quite loud at that point. i've always set the master on full and adjusted the gain to taste. It takes pedals really well, it never gets mushy or loose. my GT200 is almost 12 years old now I think and still going strong. great amps
    Sapatown and Wasnex like this.
  4. Sapatown


    Sep 16, 2016
    The one Im waiting for is also 12 years old, from August 2009. Got it used, and confirmed by Jeff at Matamp the serial number is the real deal.

    Thanks for info !

    Have never tried an Orange AD200B, it probably take pedals really well. But since its famous for its dirty preamp, I would use it as my main dirt sound and skip the pedal dirt I think, just to get it from the amp instead.

    Im gonna pair the GT200 with Ampeg 810 at rehearsals, and the Barefaced 610 at gigs. Pretty stoked. I have been drooling over Matamps for a long time.

    I also have a Matamp GT2, its voiced more for guitar, but it works well, just not much lows, and distorts really easy when pushing some gain.
    bassboysam and Wasnex like this.
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I realize that Orange has historic ties with Matamp that are still reflected in the way they look. But IMHO the AD200B does not sound like a Matamp. It sounds and behaves more like a big blackface Fender. Max out the Volume control, and set the power level with the Gain control for max clean volume. Expect about 165W of clean power. In comparison, you will probably get about 225W clean from your GT200.

    The one thing that sets the AD200B apart an old Fender is it does have a fairly high gain preamp, so it's relatively easy to get preamp drive. Most of the all-tube aficionados strongly prefer pushing the output section, rather than the preamp. I don't really feel the AD200B excels with output drive as it tends to loose focus and mushes out fairly early, especially if you run the Bass control very high.

    I believe the GT200 output section will sound way better pushed hard with heavy bass. In my experience, you can actually crank the lows on a Matamp and push the amp deeper in the saturation without having the lows fall apart.

    Don't get me wrong. I think the AD200B is a fabulous amp, but IMHO it does not sound are respond like a Matamp.

    I suggest you stop limiting your ideas based on the reputation of an amp. Try your amp with pedals and without. Develop your own sounds and form your own opinion. The more you experiment, the you learn about how to create cool sounds.

    The GT2 and GT200 are great candidates from multi-amping if you are into that sort of craziness. I suggest starting with the GT200 setup for max clean volume or pushed just over the edge. The tighter you want the lows, the cleaner you want to run the amp.

    Run the GT2 deeper into saturation and experiment with mixing preamp drive with output drive. Also experiment with the levels of Bass you run on the GT2. Don't hesitate to try your favorite drive pedals (with both amps) as well.
    Sapatown likes this.
  6. Sapatown


    Sep 16, 2016
    Great tips! I have never owned tubes before, and are just starting. I know I can do the multi amping.

    But then I need one cab for the GT2, and one for the GT200 right? At thesame time, I really can't decide if that is necessary for me. You know, its just getting more complex. One rig to rule them all is basically the dream.

    Hooking up another amp is just another thing to tweak. But I bet it sounds awesome done well.

    Many of my fav bassists do this.
    Wasnex likes this.
  7. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Yes you normally use one cab for each amp.

    Depending on the Ampeg 810, you may be able to use one cab for both amps. Recent 810Es can be configured for dual mono operations. From page 3 of the attached OM.


    Attached Files:

    Sapatown likes this.
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 20, 2022

Share This Page