do i really need valves?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 6 string demon, Jun 2, 2003.

  1. 6 string demon

    6 string demon

    Mar 23, 2003
    ok, ive been looking at getting anew amp. ive always used this laney combo that got a 15"speaker, and a horn good sound but now i feel its time to upgrade. i have been looking at a warwick pro fet iv with a 2x10 cab and a 1x15 cab. i really like the sound of this set up. but being new to the whole amp thing as ive never thought about it, im not sure if this is good. i know its a solid state head. i have been told that i need valves, is this completly true. are transistors just for ppl who cant afford valves? or are they just different? i was also looking at a swr black beauty. this is 15" witha horn and a valve preamp. ive never played it butas it had valves so? i was also looking at the gailen kruger 700rb's which ive played for a short time. the comment that i need valves has thrown me completly. i realise i should play these amps and find which i like but id like a bit of back ground knowledge of what to look for. and any info on bass amp to check out would be gi realise this seems to be reat. i play a 6 string thru neck thumb. along with fretless. and i play in a few jazz bands, a funk rock band and a ska band. and bog venure i play there is PA which i am either miced or DI'd into. so i guess how loud it is, will be less of an issue. nd all the speaker sizes confuse me as well. im going to have £1000 - £1300 at most if you are suggesting any equipment. i realise this seem slike best amp for * thread, but i am conused as to what i should be looking at and i feel i could benifit from all your experience. thanx to anyone whho helps me out. many thanx ben
  2. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    It just depends on which you think sounds better, and what you can afford. Many players love the sound of their solid state amps, while some swear by their tubes. In the end it is all a matter of personal taste.
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Mr Demon-take a deep breath and relax.

    There are three type of amps, solid state, valve and hybrid. A hybrid amp will have a mixture of solid state and valve circuitry. The common format is to use a valve preamp and a solid state power amp. Some bass amps have two preamps, valve and ss and a way to blend these to taste.

    If 'someone' is telling you that you need valves then they either have a certain sound in mind or are uninformed. The whole valve deal is the way in which they distort. Many players use a valve preamp to add 'grit' to the sound.

    From the music styles you list I personally think that a ss or hybrid amp will be fine.

    Back to what Zon bass said, it's a matter of personal taste. The only way of knowing this is to try some stuff. Ann example of why is that I was with two other bassists in the Gallery recently trying an Eden amp with various cabs. We all had different ideas on what was 'good' 'bad' and indifferent.

    Get yourself to a Bass Centre (London Manchester or Birmingham) or to the Gallery if you are near London or Overwater if you are near Carlisle and try a load of stuff. With your budget should will struggle to find something of poor quality, the trick is to find something that suits you (sir).

    EDIT-here's a useful site if you don't already know of it. the reviews are by punters. Tips ignore SHOUTY types, ignore bedroom players and try it in the shop types, look for well written reveiws with gear and styles similar to your own. And then try the stuff. Having read a lot of reviews there appears to be a quality problem with Gallien Kruger.
  4. rok51


    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    By all means, trust your own ears. Many will tell you that they have tried ss, tube and hybrid and they have all sounded good. It depends on what you want and the context in which you are playing. Good suggestion to visit your local bass emporium and bring your owm bass. Make a day of it. If they are the friendly sorts, they may let you take several rigs (one at a time, of course) home or to gigs to see how they do in your "real world setting". Take your time. Getting a rig is an important purchase. Time taken now may avoid regrets later.

  5. If you want a little "tubey" flavor, you can always add on later, maybe a TubeWorks Blue Tube 903, or if you want a solid state solution, maybe a Dredgetone Angler (bass version) turned down below the distortion range or any of a dozen other solid state solutions. It's no big thing. If you want the total tube sound (in the power stage too) you'd have to go all-tube. But any of a number of devices can add "tubey" flavor as well as most preamps with tubes built in.
  6. 6 string demon

    6 string demon

    Mar 23, 2003
    thanx alot guys, yeah i love the gallery thats where i got the thumb from. hopefully i'll make it down in a few days. thanx for all the info and advice. ive really got no idea about amp and not things seem to be less confusing now. hopefully i can get down there and get martin to give me a few pointers. thanx to everyone and if you have any pointers of particularly good gear i should look at that i can purchase from or anothr uk shop, but i can only really get to the gallery the bass cente and machinehead music i realise machinehead is a bit pants for bass but i like the warwick amps. many thanx for all the info.
  7. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    RE the gallery Martin does not work every Saturday. Alex was extremely helpful.

    RE Machinehead, which one? I live near the Hitchin one.
  8. 6 string demon

    6 string demon

    Mar 23, 2003
    i was only aware of the hitchin one. theres another one? i like machinehead great guys just not to great bass selection, but i did really like the warwick amps but i shouyld try more before i buy. if your in there try out the profet v1 hewad tell me what u think. yeah ive spoken to alex on the phone and at the gallery he seems nice. whats the bass centre like for bass amps? worht a look? ive never been you see. and again any info on what manufacturers (sp?) to look at would be great. i know the big names but dont know how good they are. many thanx
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Try Eden amps - they are a class above everything else you can get in London shops - I spent a morning in the Bass Centre trying them and was hooked instantly!! The best ones are hybrids - tube pre-amps and solid state power amps - best of both worlds!! :)

    Euphonics Audio are also good but they may be a bit too clean and sterile - but EA and Eden are definitely the best gear I have tried in the UK.
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    All good advice so far. You only need tubes if that's the sound you want. The solid state ones can be 'warmed up' using products like the Tech21 Sansamp BDDI pedal which has tube emulation sound available. It won't be exactly the same, but if you only want that sound once in a while then something like that or the Blue Tube pedal is a good compromise.

    If you try the tube / hybrid heads and think you'll want that sound most / all of the time, you should get a tube / hybrid head.

    Warwick have a hybrid head also, the Quad IV and Quad VI

    Here's the Quad IV

    This has a very flexible preamp, which is available separately as a stand alone preamp.

    Quadruplet Preamp

    You could also go for a preamp/poweramp rack combination, where you have a powerful poweramp which you can then match with any preamp of your choosing. It'll probably end up costing you more initially, but you'll have more flexibility.
  11. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Machinehead have or had a shop in Hertford or Harlow forget which.

    Although I don't own one many bass players I know Use Ashdown amplification and I'm impressed. A mate (hello Martin if you are lurking) uses an Ashdown EVO head with an EA CXL 112 cab this an extremely portable and great sounding system. Coda (luton or stevenage, one should be close to you) are an Ashdown dealer and I bought shed loads of gear from em over the years.

    The Gallery is probably the best one stop place IMHO.

    EDIT-forgot some stuff. I have not been to the 'new' basscentre so cannot comment. I last went in November 2002.

    RE the Warwick I don't know when I'll get to Machinehead again I live in Luton and don't have a reason to go to Hitchin other than gear and I've already overspent my budget on an EA VL208
  12. 6 string demon

    6 string demon

    Mar 23, 2003
    how much is that gear likley to set me back as im on quite a limited buget. i.e not over £1300. so what would this get me for eden gear? or is it wishfull thinking? i may be able to stretch a bit over that price but certinly not far. the eden metro seems a bit over my price range but perhaps if i talked them down a little if they would and i came up, obviously ive got to try these things out. yeh i live in biggleswade if you know where that is, so its just up the road really. so what are peoples thoughts on the eden metro. as i guess i could always add a cab on if needed. or should i go the head and cab route?
  13. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I wouldn't call £1300 limited my amp 'rig' cost £1000 over three years. But I did go secondhand.

    I think the Eden Traveller head is £900. I would try an Eden system before you set your heart on it as some people love them (Munji Bruce Embellisher) and others (me) do not. I wanted to like the WT300 (light, pwerful, looks good, comprehensive eq, accepts any voltage, optional shoulder bag) but having plugged one in to some 'boutique' cabs I was not impressed. This not an Eden bash I think its excellent I just prefer the sound of my Trace Elliot V4 head (which btw has it's detractors).

    I would recommend that you try in an A/B method Ashdown Eden (heads) Euphonic Audio and Epifani (cabs)at the gallery and anything else they have for good measure.

    As rok51 said "Take your time".
  14. 6 string demon

    6 string demon

    Mar 23, 2003
    ok, do you think it would be worht my while finding a head i like then going through a few cabs?
    so i try the heads that i think im going to be able to afford. then run the one i pick through a few cabs? seeing as the head affect the cab in that order i guess. i realise the cab affects the head as well. does this make sense?
  15. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I had a couple of gigs this weekend and was very pleased with my setup - it's getting towards the sort of tone I want, warm and organic but all provided by Solid State gear.

    The setup was:

    * Sei Flamboyant 6 string (Bart pups)

    * Sansamp Bass Driver DI (for simulated tube-like sounds... I love this little box)

    * Ashdown Mag-250 head

    * Ashdown ABM Mini 1x15 cab.

    The other thing I like about this setup is that it's relatively portable. I'm not an expert on tube amps, but I suspect that I'd be looking at something larger, heavier and more prone to damage from accidental knocks...

    As a starting point, I'd suggest trying a SABDDI box into your combo - you can get some great sounds AND have the advantage of your own quality DI for running straight to the PA. It should cost you less than £200, so you'll still have plenty of budget left as you spend suffiencient time checking out the range of amps and cabinets available.

  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well as CS points out - tone is subjective and it's really up to you to decide what you like. I love the Eden sound, but really hate Trace Elliot which to me has a coloured sound only suitable for "Rock" and as I play Jazz and want a cleaner, but still warm sound; I go for Eden and EA.

    I think separate cabs and amps are the best way to go - better quality and easier to upgrade - as well as easier to break down and transport in smaller cars.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that the better the quality of the amplification gear - the more it shows up deficiencies in your bass or even your playing! ;)

    So for me - I want to really hear the sound that my bass makes - but some people seem to like an amp setup that decides the sound - whereas I generally like everything flat and clean and to hear the tone of my bass.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Not at all - my Eden head is small and compact - weighs only 13ilbs and has lasted through all sort of knocks in a light rucksack I use to carry it about! I have used it on loads of gigs/jams etc. over the last 3-4 years and had it opened up recently by a local amp tech, who said it was so well-constructed it would last forever!! ;)

    I also get loads of compliments about how good it sounds with my EA cab(s)- more than about my playing!! ;)
  18. 6 string demon

    6 string demon

    Mar 23, 2003
    how much are the EA cabs? bear in mind if the eden head is going to cost me £900 ish, what eden/ EA gear have u got, as you description of you sound sounds close to what im looking for. i love the sound of my thumb and i like to hear every part of my sound, i dont like things covered up as ive spent alot of time getting my sound to its clean smooth. and i like a nice warm tone. many thanx
  19. The difference between tube and SS is huge to the player but really small to the listener. When I play through tubes ( in my case a tube pre-amp with a SS power-amp) I can hear better without turning up as loud. Tubes just seem to have an inner clarity to the tone that SS doesn't. The listener, especially when they are listening to the whole band probably can't tell any difference at all. In fact most listeners can't even tell what brand of bass you're playing let alone what you're playing it through. To my ears, SS tube emulation circuits can imitate the sound but not the clarity and feel. I've got a $600 Pod Pro that kinda sounds like tubes until you listen to the real thing. So what does it all mean? I think I sound and play better through tubes because I hear what I'm playing better and it feels better when I play it. Does this mean that you need tubes. You'll never know until you try them.
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    There are various EA cabs and you cant buy the one I've got, as they don't make them any more!

    I bought my stuff from Overwater by mail order - they were very easy to deal with and they also do 0% Credit - so I bought both amp and cabs over 12 monthy payments and no interest! :)

    They have a website which details EA gear :

    Look out for used bargains as well - like currently they have an EA iAmp 350 for £695.