Flavor and non-Flavor Amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Doctor Intrepid, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    I want to draw on the expertise of the TB community. Specifically I'm interested in whether all bass amps have their own unique tones - something Ampeg is famous for - or are there some amps that are neutral and simply facilitate the tone of the bass? I think I'm more interested in the latter to generate my tone, but I'm curious about this information in general. More specifically, a list of bass amps that provide their own unique tone and a list of bass amps that are neutral.

  2. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    This is a tough call; if one knows how to manipulate EQ well enough, I'd wager most (not all) amps could be turned into decent chameleons.

    With that being said, generating that list would be mighty difficult.

    I take it you're in the market for an amp now? What are you currently using, if anything, and what's your budget? What music style are you itching to play?

    Ever play an amp that just struck a chord with you, so to speak?
  3. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Amps run the wide range between neutral and colored/voiced.

    Play a bunch and choose one that works for you.
  4. I like Orange flavored amps....
    Just kidding...I couldn’t resist...;)

    I’m really a Markbass guy.
    diegom, rtav, ObsessiveArcher and 4 others like this.
  5. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    I can't play a bunch, since I live in a remote location.

    I'm mostly just a hobbyist at this point, so I'm not looking for anything specific.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  6. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    I may buy a new amp, but maybe not. I play mostly as a hobby. I currently have a Peavey Max 115.
  7. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    You have to consider both the amp and the speakers.

    IMHO as far as tube heads go, the Ampeg SVT is actually pretty neutral and has a very functional and easy to use EQ. The Ampeg 810E speaker is heavily voiced to roll off highs and sub bass, and to provide strong low mids.

    The Ashdown CTM 300 is a heavily voiced tube head and has an EQ with controls that are designed to be highly interactive with one another. With this sort of EQ I think it's possible to dial in a variety of interesting tones; but, the EQ is not very useful for dealing with acoustic problems in the room. Basically with this sort of tone controls, I think it is best to set-it-and-forget-it. IMHO the natural voice of the CTM300 through a fairly transparent speaker is kind off in the same tonal universe as an SVT through an 810E....somewhat muted highs and strong low mids.
  8. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Doesn't seem like a bad amp for your uses. Until you're ready to start gigging, pedal pre-amps might be a good and relatively inexpensive way to test out a few different tone flavors, and help you hone in on what your preferences really are. :)

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    The most neutral rig would be the same as if you plug in a flat pa system. Not sure you'd prefer that or not.
    alesreaper9 and somebrains like this.
  10. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Fender's new Rumble Studio 40 or Stage 800 can do it all for you. A totally colorless solid state studio pre amp gives you all the transparency you could ever hope for. Digital modeling of 13 iconic amps (many well known tube heads) and an additional studio grade tube pre-amp (also modeled). You really have to live with one for a month or so to really dig into all the meat & potatoes available to the bass player. It's just insane how good it is. Not for everyone, but if you're open to wildly versatile tone possibilities, this is the amp for you. NAD = Lightning In A Box!
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
  11. somebrains


    Feb 7, 2017
    I love the guys that chase big $$$ "sound of my bass" setups and then realize that's like eating unflavored shaved ice in a sugar free waffle cone.
    Dr Gero, christopantz, JRMK and 10 others like this.
  12. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    Not my experience at all...I bought a new Ampeg SVT with the matching 810E around 1984 and hated it. I hooked the SVT up to a pair of Yamaha PA speakers like the ones below and thought is sounded fab!

    Doctor Intrepid likes this.
  13. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Hint... your SVT is quite flavored.
  14. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Is it though without the cab? Legitimately asking - I've been under the impression that the tech consensus was that the SVT head is essentially flat with all EQ at noon and none of the boost filters engaged... :bag:
    johnpbass likes this.
  15. somebrains


    Feb 7, 2017
    Dude, one of my uncles used to roll around Berkeley and Oakland in the late 70's with a pair of Klipsch Horns he scored from a movie theater remodel.
    He powered them with McIntosh monoblocks bc those were cheap back then.
    Tower of Power and disco was what he spun.

    You basically have the bass version of what he hauled around in the bungied trunk of a 70 Monte Carlo SS.

    Literally 1 cab in the trunk and 1 on the roof with a cargo strap like a ghetto super star.

    Dark blue with a white vinyl top bc that's classy AF.
  16. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    I played a Dingwall After Burner 5 today, (a ridiculously nice bass I might add), through a Markbass "Alain Caron" 3 way combo today and for some reason that amp, (which really had a lot of volume and lows on tap for a single 12" combo) sounded less "Markbass" to me than some of their other products. Markbass products are often described as transparent or colourless, but I actually find that that dry tone has a sound of its own, that I'm usually not that into. Maybe it was a three-way speaker setup allowing more of the sound of the bass come through, but it was really nice. Really, I like amps and cabs that have a sound of their own. This is why I'm a pretty big fan of Mesa bass amps and cabs, because they have musical colour and yet can be very transparent all at the same time. My 2 cents....:smug:
    SactoBass and Doctor Intrepid like this.
  17. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Yeah, there's plenty of baseline Ampeg flavor IMO.
  18. Acoustic Image, and AER are pricey, but uncoloured solutions.
    Gizmot, Pbassmanca and triode6L6a like this.
  19. darkinners


    Oct 4, 2006
    I like amps that has unique voice with suitable pairing bass, something like SVT Classic plug in with a Stingray or Tone hammer with a Pbass

    If I want a neutral sounding amp I can always plug my bass into a clean DI and amplify that signal..
    Aqualung60 and Pbassmanca like this.
  20. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    I haven't had that many amps but: My Acoustic 370/408 is a beast but not so useful at small venues where you don't need to be turned up to 11. The Eden WT400/XLT 410 is great at all volumes but will not get to the max volume that the Acoustic combo can (don't think I need that volume anymore anyway). My old Kustom 100/212 set up sounds so good to me but it has no cut thru umph. My Fender Bassman can't touch the other three it's just there for looks. I have a Line 6 that blows me away with power and tone I will have to say. I played thru a few other small Fender bassmans and didn't like them, I wanted to but couldn't (If you want a bassy sound that doesn't cut thru they are good). Someday I'd like to try a large (500) Fender Bassman, I'm sure it would be nice. I bought an Ampeg 15 years ago and hated it, gave it away in fact. We are all different...
    mikewalker and Doctor Intrepid like this.
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