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Favorite All-Tube Heads

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by J-Dub, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. J-Dub

    J-Dub Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin, TX
    So I like the sound and power I get out of my Ashdown ABM 500 EVO II very, very much.

    But whenever I can scrape up the cash, I would really like to get an all-tube head, instead of a preamp tube/solidstate power hybrid.

    What are some of your favorite all-tube heads? I know the Ampeg SVT is really popular, but I know there is more out there. What is your experience with whatever all-tube head you have used? I'm open to everything, but I tend to lean toward a vintage, warm, smooth, growly sound as opposed to a hi-fi, active sound. But my impression is that all-tube usually gives more warmth and growl (when driven) naturally.
  2. Try a D-180 if you can.
  3. 95svtcobra


    Sep 20, 2007
    Windham, NH
    Mesa Boogie 400+....just bring a cart and a back brace....
  4. ()smoke()


    Feb 25, 2006
    ^ the 400+ is a relative lightweight (literally, not sonically) compared to my favorite, the older SVTII (non-pro version) :)
  5. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    +1... the Mesa's are lightweight compared to a SVT. Although, I prefer the Bass 400 with 6550's to a 400+ with 6L6's.
  6. FenderBassman001.
  7. michael_atw


    Feb 28, 2009
    Jamestown, NY
    Yes! I was gonna go with my unconventional choice - my '68 Bassman. Excellent old-school tone for both my basses and guitars. Not alot of guts behind it but for smallish venues and recordings it makes me proud.
  8. The older lower watt tube bass heads are pretty neat. Ampeg V4b, Traynor YBA1a and YBA3. They may only be 100 watts or so but with the right speaker box that is pretty loud. Also, IMO tube amps distinguish themselves when they are sweating.
  9. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    My favorites are 70s SVTs, later non-pro SVT-II's, and V4s.
  10. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Mesa Buster is my personal favorite, although it is more on the hi-fi end of the tube amp spectrum. Super quick and amazingly articulate. The highs are so very glassy and the lows are nice and tight. It sounds cool when cranked too, although it's not a typical SVT type grind, it's more of a snarl.

    Something to consider is that tube heads sound way sweeter when paired with a nice big sealed cab. The berg NV610 sounds so awesome with any tube head.
  11. I love my Fender Bassman 300 Pro. I've also owned a Traynor YBA200. Awesome tone but not enough headroom for loud rock.
  12. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    SVTs and B-15s!
  13. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    i actually loved my v4b much more than my svt in mid 70's. Would usually use the v4 unless it was an outdoor gig. But i would tend to use the 8-10 cab from the svt with the v4 and use both with the svt head.....

    currently my b15s ring my bell for the smaller gigs i now play (with extra cab)


  14. No Malarky

    No Malarky

    May 27, 2010
    A Mesa/Boogie D-180 and 400+ is just alright with me.
    This opinion is mine, there are many like it, but this one is mine.
  15. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010

    That and the old Traynor YBA-3.
  16. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    sunn 2000s, mesa d180
  17. I've only ever owned an '80 Bassman 135 and a '76 SVT.

    The SVT is my gig amp and I sold the Bassman a while back. If only the Bassman had about twice the power it'd have been my gig amp. Those things take to pedals so well and have such awesome tone paired up with the Bassman 215. Loved it, but it wasn't enough for the volumes we play.
  18. J-Dub

    J-Dub Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin, TX
    what is the difference between 6550's and 6L6's?
  19. Output and current draw, from what I hear. 6L6s draw less current and have lower output than 6550s and EL34s
  20. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    6L6 top out at around 25W per tube, 6550s go around 40W per.

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