Do amps ever come back in style?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JazzyJacuzzi, Oct 13, 2021 at 12:18 AM.

  1. JazzyJacuzzi


    Sep 17, 2021
    Some amps never seem to go out of style (Ampeg SVTs, for example), while others that were once ubiquitous have gone the way of Chorus pedals. I’m thinking here of Acoustic, Trace Elliot, Eden, SWR, Sunn and Vox. You could arguably add GK and Markbass to that list as well. But while some basses and effects do come back in style, I can’t think of any examples with regard to amps (B15, maybe?). I’m aware most of the aforementioned brands no longer exist, but that’s never stopped anyone. Why is that, do you think?
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  2. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    From where I sit, GK and MarkBass are doing just fine. The others, as you've aptly mentioned are either out of business or no longer the product of their original pedigree.
  3. Look at all the love for the old Acoustic Control Corporation gear. Personally I think that much of this older gear has been over-inflated into a cult-like status, for many believe it has to be better simply because it's old. I personally own one, and I don't find anything special about it in particular.
  4. Ampeg Rocket bass combos?
    Iristone, DJ Bebop, lbbc and 4 others like this.
  5. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    Good you said most are no longer what the were in their heyday. At least that is the perception.
    I still think my Eden is very relevant but you can't go to David and have him (or his crew) build another. So it's old hat.

    My Acoustic 370/408 was the sh!! in it's day but you can't get a new one now so it is old hat as well. Top that off with being way, way heavy plus it has a huge foot print.

    Class D and Neo are the team to beat now. Light, smaller and loud. People are willing to go this route even if it means giving up some soul (warmth).

    I remember when folks were going from tube to solid state. The purist/audiophiles ballyhooed it all for the sake of warmth. Now we are going another step down in warmth. Or are we? Although many claim (and are probably able to) capture that old sound with better, lighter, smaller, louder, more reliable, etc...gear. It's just the evolution of things. With the exception of Harley and Fender guitars...HA!
  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO the SVT sort of fell out of favor in the 80s and then became massively popular again in the 90s.
  7. foal30


    Dec 3, 2007
    New Zealand
    No matter the Amp or Decade, if I'm playing through it then it's out of fashion

    Both of my friends have told me this.
  8. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    I couldn't care less if an amp is not "in style" anymore. The RB series GK and the WT series Eden are still being used because THEY SOUND GOOD. This kind of trivial B.S. irks the crap out of me.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    Go have some coffee and get back to us. No need to mini rant. OP joined recently and was curious about something. No harm in that.

    @JazzyJacuzzi I would say that specific models come and go rather than brands (in my experience). As our grumpy friend

    @Jaco who? stated, the GK RB400/800 amps specifically seem to maintain a dedicated following (with good reason). But they do trend upward and downward with regard to talk around here and market price.

    As you said, the B15 seems to be the amp of the month from time to time (although it never totally falls out of favor).

    The Sunn/Fender 300W all/tube amp (various models and names) trends to a higher ranking from time to time as well. They have their fans who have stayed the course. But they tend to pop up more in conversation from time to time.

    The Mesa Walkabout seems to be the most recent "instant classic" I can think of. I'm certain one or more of the Mesa Subway amps will do this as well. I'm curious to see which one will rise to the top.

    So, again, in my view, these trends are specific to models, not brands (to me).
  10. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Attention, controversial opinion:
    I think amps in general are on the way out.

    The future will hold a lot more pedalboard / modeler setups straight into FOH, with FRFR monitor systems in the rehearsal room for those who don't want to go down the IEM route.
  11. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    you're talking about amps going in and out of style, but is this really about tone going in and out of style?
    CallMeAl, smogg, DJ Bebop and 4 others like this.
  12. burgerdj


    Dec 4, 2006
    How old is old? I just picked up a hand-built Eden from the mid-90s. As long as you don’t tweak the “enhance” knob, the amp has tone in spades. Chock full of features, too. Honestly I think the amp was ahead of its time.
  13. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan

    Jun 14, 2014
    Midland, TX
    Great tone never goes out of style, regardless. Our ability to lift it as we..ripen…does. Moving my Acoustic 371/301 was easy in 1974, just looking at one now makes my back hurt
  14. I think they may for some; for a lot of us, though, who played them when they were new items for sale, the memories . . . . can be less than pleasant, and as others have pointed out, a lot of them are simply out of business and gone, never to come back, or are purchased names that have no connection whatsoever to the original company, say like the 'Acoustic' amps they sell today that are totally removed from the Steve Rabe era Acoustic Control Corporation.

    Bass amps and cabinets have made tremendous strides with power and clarity and lightness we could only dream of 'back in the day'. I would never go back to lugging underpowered heads, hugely heavy cabinets, or dealing with all-tube amps, but others would certainly have a different outlook. There are some that have a fondness for old JBL speakers, old amp heads and combos and the like. I'm not . . . one of them.

    I'm a huge fan of the old Trace Elliot, but that's long gone, and the idea of lugging that stuff around now would rule it out for me. Hartley Peavey once had a standard rant about brand names that were bought and sold, that they were a ghost of their original builders; I suppose he retired that speech, as the TE he now builds is a vastly different product range. At least it wasn't on 'Undercover Boss' . . . .
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 7:19 AM
  15. dBChad


    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    Trace Elliot and SWR are two amps I really like the sounds of. It doesn't bother me if they're not in style; to the contrary, it means the amps I really enjoy are more affordable.

    Most people I play with wouldn't know the difference if I plugged into an SVT, an RB800, a Redhead, a GP12, a MarkBass, Ashdown, Bassman, Peavey, or Rumble. What matters to them is that I find the down beat and serve the song with a tasteful baseline that holds rhythm when I need to sit behind the mix and adds a little tasteful flair during transitions. Just as I don't care if the guitarist I work with shows up with a Bogner half-stack or a Kustom solid state combo. We serve the song and should each be familiar enough with what we're using to get there.
    DTRN, J-Bassomatic, Iristone and 11 others like this.
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Not only did it fall out of favor, production was stopped entirely twice if I recall correctly. Some SVT experts here may want to clear that up.
    Iristone, DJ Bebop and Wasnex like this.
  17. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    With some exceptions, amps come and go for various reasons. Sometimes they are reissued when another company buys the brand. The time has to be right to market an amp, current trends and what the competition offers plays a roll.

    In the early 70’s companies pushed transistor amps. This new thing became the bandwagon to jump onto. Players moved on from their tube amps in favor of reliability. Some kept them for the studio. To some extent, larger venues and the need for larger PA systems helped drive higher powered transistor amp development in the 70’s. Then tube amps made a resurgence, transistor amps still needed sonic refinement. Nostalgia played a roll in the reintroduction of tube amps. In the mid 80’s class D amps such as the Peavey DECA series started becoming popular. They worked well and opened the door to what we have today.
  18. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    In style or out, I use what works best for me. If it puts anyones shorts in a wad, so be it. When I listen to a band I start w/ their tone and then look at how they achieve it, good or bad.
  19. Benj-jammin

    Benj-jammin Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2020
    North Carolina
    My guess, is that there are a lot of us old time Acoustic Control owners who would respectfully disagree with your premise that these rigs are "over-inflated" into a cult status. There's a reason why so many of us owned them, and there were countless of pro's, in particular, who used the 371 and 360/361 on stage. My personal favorite rig that I played through was a 370 head paired with an SVT 8-10." As much as I liked the 301 bottom, I just found that this combo kicked royal ass. I couldn't afford the SVT head at the time, pus, the 370 head was close to 4X lighter. Now if you want to compare the "old stuff" to todays technology, lighter heads, cabs, circuitry, etc., well, that's another story...…….but, some things never go out of style. Now byacey, I do have a question - you're saying that you own one (I'm assuming an Acoustic?), but you don't find anything special about it. How come you do, in fact, own one? Just curious.
    bradd, shoot-r and mb94952 like this.
  20. Primary

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    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.

    Oct 18, 2021

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