decent, powerful amp for reggae/dub?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Thermo, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Thermo


    Jul 23, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    It's about time I upgraded to my first decent amp setup. I sold my crappy practice amp a while back and I currently just have my washburn rb-2002. I'm interested almost exclusively in getting a great roots reggae/dub tone as this kind of style is pretty much all I tend to play. Preferably I'm after an all-tube amp for warmth and bucketloads of power, i.e. it has to be loud enough to fill a small to medium sized venue. At the moment cost happily isn't a huge issue for me, so I'm tossing up between the ad200b and the svt-vr, though perhaps leaning towards the former.

    I have read the threads here relating to amp setups for reggae, as well as comparisons between the ad200b and the svt-vr (not to mention posts on the importance of flatwounds and reggae bass technique), but I'm still unsure as to what might be the best option for me. Can anyone please lend their 2 cents and guide me in one direction or another?

    Cheers in advance.
  2. both of those would be imports for you,and if money is no big thing add reeves to your short list.....the guys that are testing them out with the 15's say they pretty much eat svts/orange for breakfast
  3. Thermo


    Jul 23, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Nice, I'll check out reeves, thank you.
  4. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    I prefer the lows out of the AD200b over Ampeg's 300-watters, but it's gonna break up pretty early if you drop tune at all.
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Also consider the old Mesa 400+. Its out of production now, but there are plenty on the secondary market. I used one for several years as my primary amp in a reggae band before downsizing to a lightweight head.
  6. get in touch with matamp and get them to build you a 400watter!
  7. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    I get a pretty amazing dub/reggae tone out of my mesa m-pulse 600/PH 212 rig. The mp600 has a lot of head room and produces a very nice clean tube tone.
  8. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    It depends on the drummers you play with but reggae generally gives the bass lots of room in the music. The bass drum is usually not walking over what you're playing. And the bass needs to be solid and low. So consider adding a powered sub to your setup. You can get a smaller, lower powered amp for the mids and highs, plug in the powered-sub and overall have bucketloads of volume and depth over a typical bass rig.
    Unless you typically go through the PA, and there's already subs there.
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    IMO - unless you're going for grit, you can get great reggae / dub from a good solid state or hybrid head. In my case an Eden WT-800 and 2 15's works well. Adding in a sub-octave and low pass filter would be a nice move as well. What you do get from tubes is that power tube compresion thing when they are wound up - in fairly narrow band volume wise it's a wonderful thing. It's a real narrow window though. IMO - best experiences at low volume, in a studio setting - note my playing experience is in small to medium clubs, some with FOH support, some without and occaisionally outside where the will be FOH available if it's a high voume setting.

    I sure do like the look of 3 SVT stacks behind the guy form Tom Petty though ...

    If I were going tube, it would be with an older SVT or SVT II (not the pro) and with the 8x10 sealed bin. A boutique 200 watt tube amp, is still 200 watts and for my uses 200 watts doesn't cut it ... YMMV and all that
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars

    Both of these posts are pretty dead on. First off, with the boosted lows of reggae, you really do need more than 200w of power. And you want to keep it clean. I used a 400+ because it's reputedly the 'cleanest' of tube sounds, and everyone swears at its volume. But I found that I could never get it clean enough for what I wanted to hear. Playing an old SVT is fun too, but again, too much grit and not solid enough on the lows.

    If you're boosting your lows like most reggae players, then we're talking about the 35-100hz range, and having significant boost also means that you'll run out of headroom very quickly. If you play a 5 string, then even more so. I've been using a 500w amp and every time I'm E or below, I can FEEL the carpet being pulled out from under me. My next step is to look at a 800-1000w rig.

    Of course that makes for two strikes against tube: Keeping the amp clean and also having enough power. Solid state is really the way to head (don't pay that much attention to the 'traditionalist' reggae neophyte that tells you it's an SVT, 18's and a Jazz bass or nothing). I've seen players use plenty of modern technology for great reggae sound.

    Also, pay attention to your speakers. If you're boosting lows, you need speakers that can handle it and you need MORE speaker realestate than many folks want to carry these days.
  11. Thermo


    Jul 23, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks everyone, I appreciate your opinions. I see that there are a number of options to consider, and it looks like I was somewhat misinformed to favor an all-tube amp over solid states or hybrids to achieve both the volume and the clean tone that I'm looking for.

    To revise my original question then: to BurningSkies and others, if you were to go about building an earth-shakingly low and clean rig in the kW range geared for reggae/dub, and you had the funds, AND you weren't afraid to hump around around all the gear, what would be your ideal setup? :)
  12. Not to Stray Away From Your Current Amp Choices, But, Have You Tried The Fender Bassman 300?
  13. Anthbass


    Jul 24, 2006
    Regarding possible SS heads for you to look at, the Carvin B1500 has the goods in a package that is about half the weight of the tube heads mentioned. If you give it lots of big speakers, a generous twist of the 'sub' knob will bring the bottom, and then some. Good luck in your search.
  14. lorenk


    Apr 8, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    So true...Best reggae tone/feel I ever saw was with some reggae band that played at my college. Bassist lugs in oen 18 and a 2 ten and was using some solid state amp with a Warwick. Just amazing tone and feel (as a tech that night I were going crazy cuz we hadn't mic'ed his set up and it was waaaay loud). Up til that point I always thought a P-bass or Jazz was needed for reggae tone, boy was I wrong :)

    As for an amp, I have no experience with it but it seems like the Carvin B1500 would be a good option (on paper), with huge power and a sub bass control at 30 hz to boot - and its relatively cheap at $650.00.
  15. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I have to be honest and say that I don't really know the 1K+ amp head world that well. As I said, I've been using a LMII at 500w and really like the overall tone of the amp but need more power. I had hoped that the LM Tube 800 would be the answer, but now I'm not terribly sure, since it's had some very mediocre reviews. I've eyeballed the GB Shuttle 12.0, but there are a number of design 'features' that really turn me off on it. I've played a Shuttle 6 and it was OK but I don't think it has enough relative power. I'm casting about for that answer myself!

    For cabs, if I could... I'd spring for 2 of Greenboy's fEARful 15/6 (with the second one maybe just being a 15. In fact, I'm currently building one right now. I would bet that two of them would completely destroy at providing clean clear lows.

    I'd also consider the Genz Benz Uber 2x12 and 4x10 as a stack. I'm pretty sure it would also be a loud clear and low setup. I haven't played one, but DO feel from looking at the size of the box and what published specs are there that it would be a great set up.
  16. Thermo


    Jul 23, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks again guys. I like what I've read in various reviews of the Carvin b1500 and it sounds like it might be the amp for me. I can get one pretty easily in my hometown too, which is a bonus. I also like the idea of matching it with an oen 18 and a 210 or 212 perhaps. Your input's pointed me in the right direction anyway, much appreciated :)