Do you prefer the tone of lightweight Class D heads over more traditional, heavier designs? A Poll

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jim C, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. I prefer the conventional class AB heads

  2. I prefer the Class D heads

  3. I prefer an all tube amp

  4. I prefer a pre / lead sled

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    First off, this is thread is a potentially loaded gun.
    If you can not responded respectfully, please don't cause a problem here.

    The reason I post is that I was offered an opinion that I had never considered and wonder if it represented a great number of the folks on this board.

    Many (myself included) have often defended the heavier Class AB (and other) styles of heads as having a paticular sound that is not available in most Class D heads.
    Some would use the words "slam; note weight; 3-D; etc."
    This is our opinion and is not the subject of this thread.

    Another viewpoint is that the amp design does not limit the tonality of an amp, meaning that a class D amp "could" sound like any other amp including tube.

    The question presented here is if Class D amps do have a signature sound, are there players who prefer this sound?
    This whole thing was based on a concept that I never considered.

    "Another alternative just might be that many people actually prefer the sound and play feel of some of the lighter amps. Personally, I think that may be exactly what the current market tells us.:

    So the question is, assuming you believe that amp designs do have an inherent voice and that lighweights do sound different, which do you prefer?
    Also, when I say sound or tone, I'm also including the tactile "feel" that some amps offer when playing.

    Let's assume that lightweight is under 10 lbs.
    Conventional class AB is approx. 20-40 lbs.
    Tube amps are all tube
    And lead sleds are over 40 lbs. + the pre-amp
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    tube pre - Class D power
    DrZ, Dave Neal, brbadg and 40 others like this.
  3. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    First, my disclaimer: I'm not faulting anyone for what their favorite types of amps are, and my experience with Class D bass heads is very limited. I also can see why lightweight amp heads and cabinets are very popular.

    I personally prefer the slam, and feeling of endless headroom that my Crest CA9 provides. I've used a Read Custom Purity tube preamp, a Demeter HBP-1 preamp, and now a Tech 21 GED-2112 preamp with it. It's been used on hundreds and hundreds of gigs, and it's been 100% reliable.

    I love the tone of my Aguilar TH500 Class-D head, but it doesn't seem to have the headroom that my CA9 does.

    I'm also a fan of all tube bass heads. I'm soon to pull the trigger on a Fender Super Bassman.
  4. somebrains


    Feb 7, 2017
    I want to hear how the new GK head runs before making any hard and fast decisions.
    Updated 800rb, yes plz.

    Otherwise svt2, electric blue, and 800rb work fine.
  5. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio!

    Jul 3, 2001
    Chester, Connecticut
    Former Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    I prefer great tone in the preamp and then accurate amplification, which is not dependent on the class of amp.
    GregC, Skip Chucker, DrZ and 59 others like this.
  6. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I'm a long time player, 45+ years of steady gigging. I started with tube amps and remain a fan of all tube designs for various reasons.

    I have used hybrid amps for the past 15 years or so .. tube pre's with solid state power, my recent long time favorite being the Mesa Walkabout (multi stage tube pre, tube driven mosfet with torroidial transformer) ... loved that amp.

    More recently I have used class D powered hybrids with tube pre's with mixed satisfaction (Demeter VTBP-M-800D comes to mind) ... but with the advent of the Mesa WD800, I am sold on class D implementations being able to match the sound of other designs.

    so I voted thumbs up for Class D :thumbsup: .... but a more accurate vote would be for any amp that works for the gig I'm doing at the time.
    Jwood, chupacerveza, Coot and 13 others like this.
  7. 92aceshigh


    Feb 11, 2017
    Brighton, UK
    As I said in the other thread, I'd take my Microtubes 900 over any tube amp. I've barely touched my Super Bassman since getting it. Best sounding amp I've ever played through, bar none.
    JohnN, chupacerveza, angelopb and 2 others like this.
  8. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    As a newer player of less than 10 years I'm too 'young' to remember the golden age of all tube all the time, although most of my favorite records from the late 60s-70s were likely recorded using them.

    Overall it's a great time to be a bass player, and I'm really glad there are so many design choices out there ... something for everybody. I just turned 50yo & have terrible arthritis in my spine which is a limiting factor, fortunately I'm more than very happy and satisfied with the sounds those hybrid Class Ds produce for the places my bands play.

    I currently use both all tube (Ampeg v4b) and class D (Genz Benz.) The v4b gets used in the rehearsal space, and the Class Ds get the gig every time and I don't feel like I'm settling or making a trade off at all. They live at home for practice and get taken out a lot weekly for this recording and that jam. The DI is really handy too.

    In fairness, the v4b would probably see more action if it only weighed half as much (that's still almost 30# heavier than the class Ds) and I'd have to say my favorite tone ever (thus far) was when I had the luck to use somebody's all tube Plush brand guitar head w/215 for a few months! (But I never had to move it either.)

    Before I started writing this I was too conflicted to vote, but now I have to vote Class D for the overall win :cool:

    Edited for clarity
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  9. Wicked G

    Wicked G

    Jan 19, 2017
    Hell Paso Texas
    I did not vote. I have been playing for many years and have used way too many amps to count of different topologies and can honestly say that there are certain thing I like in some amps and certain things I like in other amps and no 2 amps sound the same.

    I just don't see the point of limiting myself to just 1 certain topology. While I find myself taking out Class D amps more often than not (TC Electronic, Genz Benz and Genzler), I still really like my GK 700rb II and use that quite a bit as well.

    I'm currently looking at 2 amps right now as I am about to buy one. One is a new American made Class D and the other is a British made class A/B. I can honestly state that the one I end up buying will be based on tone and feel, not topology.
    chupacerveza, Phud, BOOG and 4 others like this.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If we're just talking tone, tubes all day long.
  11. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    If we are talking tone power authrity Class AB all day long .

    If we are talking weight then Class D it is but I mostly gig with my Class AB heavy .GK heads whenever possible. Though I do own three Class D heads .
  12. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    This is exactly where I am. Why not have one (or a couple) of each? I feel each brings something unique to the table, which IMHO none of the others can duplicate 100%.
    GonzoBfiddy, fig and Wicked G like this.
  13. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I've been impressed by Bob Gallien's innovations to the world of bass amplification for a very long time. I really should take the time to check out his latest offerings.
  14. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    I cannot wait to get my grubby little paws on the Legacy 800.
    rickbass1, DrDAV14 and Arthur U. Poon like this.
  15. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses

    Now you just had to say this about the Microtubes 900, right when I'm getting ready to buy a Super Bassman! :D If you don't mind, please let me know how they compare.

    I'm super impressed with the tube emulation that my GED-2112 provides. Same goes for the TH500 head. Both IMO get very close to tube-ishness. (I may have invented a term! ;))

    I also own a Tonehammer Pedal that I haven't really explored, but I definitely will, - but the GED-2112 has been getting all of quality time.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  16. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Oh my! They also make a 1200 watt model! My wife is going to kill me!
    wildman2, ELG60 and Red Planet like this.
  17. somebrains


    Feb 7, 2017
    The 800rb is one of those heads that reminds me of a Checker cab.
    So much $ has been made using them for I think is the same 30-ish year service history.
  18. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones?

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I've never been a big fan of all-tube tone (although I can see why some people would be). I had some hybrid amps that I really liked but my favourite amps have been class D.
    Sixgunn, red_rhino and Arthur U. Poon like this.
  19. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Jim :)

    With all due respect: No "carrots" option - No poll! ;)

    I like the sound of my class D (which btw weighs more than 10 lbs )
    It sounds as good as the solid state lead sled, I used before. (talking about clean sounds)

    When it comes to tube sounds, I use a Hughes & Kettner (BAT/ Bassmaster) in the effect loop.
    It fits in the gigbag, has two tubes and comes very close to the real thing….

    I still prefer all tube amps over that combination.

    A backline with the three magic letters (Hint: The first one is S :D)

    makes me go :hyper::hyper::hyper:


    may the bass be with you