Do amps ever come back in style?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JazzyJacuzzi, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. seang15


    Aug 28, 2008
    Cary NC
    Not sure if it's in "style" or whatever. But, I do believe it's just practicality: Older amps, particularly those no longer being created (and/or the company itself is out of business) are difficult (and potentially pricey) to get repaired. New amps, which tend to be Class D amps, have warranties on them. They're oftentimes easy to get fixed from an authorized repair center, or just by shipping to the originator (the company itself).

    Side note: Acoustic Image not only has lifetime warranty on their amps, the warranty is transferrable from owner to owner! Thought I'd just mention that. I know of nobody else that does this...could be wrong there.

    DJ Bebop likes this.
  2. thmsjordan


    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    On talkbass there are all kinds of members. Some have long professional careers, some are beginners, and some are new members.

    To the OP I would say welcome to talkbass and feel free to ask away. You will get all kinds of responses. You will make friends and learn a thing or two along the way.

    To the poster I quoted here I would say this: You are talking to a new member here and that member has questions and opinions you may not like but that doesn't mean they aren't legitimate question to him/her. We all had to start somewhere, so why not be kind? There are times we need to get out the bottle of whoopass. This doesn't seem like one of them.
  3. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    DJ Bebop and WG Plum like this.
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Full Range Flat Response
    john m and DJ Bebop like this.
  5. thmsjordan


    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    I would say that not all class D amps are a step down in sound quality. I have a Genz Benz shuttle 3.0 that has an incredibly warm sound and works really well with upright bass as well as electric. I don't know of many others that are known for warmth of sound though, so you may have a a point, if I may make that point.
    DJ Bebop, juancaminos and agedhorse like this.
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Fender 100T and Ampeg B15

    These are both reissues and/or reimagination of iconic designs. They aren’t exact reproductions because they comply with today’s safety standards at the very least.

    Sometimes, designers have the opportunity to reinvent their own designs with the benefit of hindsight, history, and parts/components that we could only dream of.

    For example, insulating materials used in modern output transformers have improved the reliability by a factor of 10 compared with the good ‘ol days.
  7. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    This is also a model that remained current and unchanged from the time it was introduced until the time the company was shut down by Fender (~10 years).
  8. Great Tone never goes out of style. For most in the over 60 crowd the large amps like the Acoustic 360/370 and the SVT are still loved but due to age they now get left at home. I just sold my Acoustic360's two years ago, I used them up to that point for large gigs nothing can throw the sound like those amps no monitors needed. One amp that comes to mind is the Orange 200 watt. I remember seeing Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green at a ballroom in Detroit in the late 60's and I first saw Orange amps.Orange was never widely distributed in the U.S. but you could get them and they disappeared I think in the early 80,s then reappeared around 20 years ago and sold a ton of the 200AD amps. One thing is for sure Speaker technology have greatly improved in 50 years. Some of the Fender bassman's of the 60's and 70's become different beasts when the cheap speakers are replaced.
    juancaminos likes this.
  9. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    The plugs in your ears have little speakers in them :)

    You mic the drums or you decide that they are loud enough through the plugs and don't mic them. The lazy version is you just mic snare, hats and kick.
    If you use something like the very popular X-Air 18 digial mixer, you have 18 channels for your band. That's plenty to mic everything. There are 6 AUX channels, so you can have 6 different monitor feeds. The whole thing can be accessed via WiFi and there are apps for Android and iOs as well as software for real computers. Everyone can adjust the levels of everything for their feed with their smartphone on stage. It really is quite convenient.
    Your guitar player can have everything at -30dB and the guitar at +5dB.
  10. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I, for one, am happy that amps in general have gone out of style. Less to haul; less between me, my music and the audience.:thumbsup:

    No knock on anybody who wants/needs the tonnage to get to their tone, I'm just personally glad to be liberated from it.
    juancaminos likes this.
  11. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    I see, you avoid that needless complexity of using a bass amp on stage by micing the drums, or hearing a muffled version of them :)

    Like I said I know conceptually how they work (I have a lot of experience in recording studios so I am not dumb), but for all those bands showing up for a gig in a smallish joint with speakers on a stick for the vocals and the amps/drums filling the venue, micin'g the drums is not very practical.

    Point being "everyone is going ampless" does not apply to all situations.

    Seems like probably the best situation for a church band; a lot of those use E-Drums anyway and the setup is fixed, no need to tear down the drum mics.

    I think that is why a lot of church bands use them.

    agedhorse and shoot-r like this.
  12. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics

    Speakers on sticks typically aren't going to cut it for full bass reinforcement in the house anyway, so that's arguably pretty much moot. ;)
  13. 3bc

    3bc Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    Chicago Burbs
    Instrument technology hasn’t meaningfully changed in decades really. It probably wasn’t until the early 60’s until electric basses really became the alpha dog in the bass world. Since the early 60’s instrument technology has improved very little, in the grand scheme of things. Amp technology on the other hand has improved an incredible amount since then.

    Plenty of people still favor old 60’s or 70’s tube amps for this or for that, but that is rapidly becoming a very niche marketplace. I loved my GK 800rb, but it’s not as good of an amp as my current Aguilar that cost me less in 2020 dollars than the GK did in 1990 dollars, it’s much smaller, lighter, more versatile, the knobs aren’t all wonky, etc.

    Also, instruments generally don’t just break due to wear and tear. Amps will and do.
  14. JazzyJacuzzi

    JazzyJacuzzi Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2021
    That's a good question. The overwhelming response seems to be weight and size. The question came to mind because I was thinking how in the 80s people sold their Fuzz Faces and Tube Screamers for rackmount effects, their Precisions for active basses, their old-school pickups for Lace Sensors and flatwounds for roundwounds (in the 70s). We've come full circle and I couldn't think of examples in the amp world.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
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  15. JazzyJacuzzi

    JazzyJacuzzi Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2021
    I wasn't asking what amps bassists were using or whether or not it mattered if those amps were "in style," whatever your definition of "in style." I wanted to have a discussion as to why we hadn't come full circle with regards to amps as we have with guitars and effects. Why is a much more interesting question than what.
  16. TinIndian

    TinIndian Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    Not quite sure how GK and Mark Bass made the initial list but ok. Truly full on stage rigs could be going the way of the Dodo and with quality inner ear monitors and things like the Line 6 Helix becoming more prevalent if you have a good PA and someone competent to run it I suppose why not. I saw a friends band last weekend and between 2 guitarists and a bassist not an amplifier to be seen. They are a good band and sounded great as usual but there is just something missing with a signal like that. Most in the crowd won't notice at all but we would.

    For me I'm too much of a dinosaur I like a real amplifier and speaker cabinet. I miss my 215 I played thru 30 years ago and the feeling it generated standing in front of it. I wont be moving to an ampless solution anytime soon.
  17. TinIndian

    TinIndian Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    I think a solid answer to why could very well be Class D amplifiers. Some guys still like to lug an SVT or some other heavy tube amp because that is what they like and gives them the sound they want. Most of the amplifiers in your original list are big heavy lead sleds while Class D has come a long way. I mean how many people want to haul around A 95 LB Head when they can use a Class D one that weighs in typically around 6? Class D heads and Neo Speaker cabinets may not sound exactly like the big old iron but they sound good in their own right so you have to decide if that SVT and Fridge is a must for you or not. I can't even think of a stage around here that would support the use of a full SVT rig, that amount of volume is just too much around here unless you're outdoors.

    In any event, I think most people are more than happy to have a lighter weight rig over the old stuff and I think therein lies you're reason why.
    spiritbass and agedhorse like this.
  18. west al

    west al Road Rex (Road King) Supporting Member

    Whether an amp comes back into style or not, it may never show it with the greatness it once had with the music, and the fine players that made them roar in their time.
    agedhorse likes this.
  19. Ihaveshingles

    Ihaveshingles Guest

    Dec 24, 2018
    Nope, he may be curious, but hes also stating things as fact when they are not....time to get this forum back to being about knowledge, not " lets discuss pointless crap because we are bored as f*ck"
  20. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    My band does this already and it’s great. I’m the only knucklehead with an amp on stage, but it’s a combo and not very cumbersome. Singers have IEM, everyone else has FRFR powered monitors.

    If I could find one that has “oomph” of a bass combo AND can handle the monitor mix at the same time I would be all in.
    J-Bassomatic and dannnnn like this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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    Dec 8, 2021

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