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Going from SS to Tube

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dbase, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    My gui**** player just bought a $3000 Mesa Boogie tube rig with 2 12's. I must say I was quite impressed. Enough in fact I would like to replace my Hartke LH500 with a comparable tube bass amp and give it a try because.. Life is short. They say that there is a difference between tube watts and solid state watts. What tube head would you suggest for two Hartke Hydrive 12 cabs.
  2. vbchaos


    Sep 5, 2011
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    Uncompensated endorsing user: fEARful
    If you ask me, it is the wrong reason to look into any different amp.
    Anyhow, looking into full-tubes? I guess the Ampeg SVT is not the worst point to start with if you look into "we need more power" fulltube amps.
    Go further and look into Marshalls VBA400, Ashdown has some new all-tube amps which are worth a look. traynor has some, too.
    Mesa just introduced two (or three) new all-tube heads. Pricey, but if that's your cup of tea, go for it :)

    And there's so much more out there. HiWatt comes up - old trace Elliot V/V4/V6/V8 heads. Heck, even Bugera makes full-tube heads
  3. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    I say everyone should put their big girl panties on, and track down a Peavey Classic 400... And a hand truck.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    They would be wrong. Watts are watts

    Do you want it to fit on top or does it not matter?

    If you do: Mesa Prodigy
    If you don't: Prodigy, Strategy, SVT, Bassman 100T, Super Bassman, V4 if you don't need a ton of clean headroom
  5. I am Soma

    I am Soma Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2013
    Fender Bassman Pro 100T
  6. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Both Mesa and Ampeg tube amps are worth considering.

    Whatever amp you go with, take your Hartke speakers with you to a local retailer and audition them with the amp. Don't limit yourself, try other speakers as well. You could always upgrade the speaker cabinets later but it would allow you to think about what would be best.
  7. Another idea is to try the Tech 21 VT Bass stompbox or DI and see if that turns your crank rather than buying a full tube amp.
  8. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Mesa WalkAbout
  9. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    They say that because, GENERALLY, people don't crank a SS amp past the point where it starts to clip, but people commonly crank tube amps past the point where it starts to clip.

    The result is that tube amps of the same power can sound louder because the transient spikes are clipped in a pleasant-sounding (if you like tube distortion) way and the rest of the sound IS actually louder.

    Some SS amps are designed with "tube-style" soft clipping and may actually sound good when driven past the onset of clipping. And SOME tube amps may be wired in such a way that driving past the onset of clipping actually produces unpleasant harmonics. But, both of these are exception cases to a somewhat general rule.

    Personally, I don't foresee ever needing anything louder than one of my 300W all-tube amps. But then, I like the old school, "classic" rock sound. It would actually be very rare for me to need anything louder than my Traynor YBA-3 (which is all tube and rated at 130W) through my NV610.

    Based on what you said, it sounds like you owe it to yourself to try one. In which case, any of the suggestions already given would be a good start. I think the Hydrive cabs are sealed (vs ported) right? That's good. A number of people here on TB, including me, definitely prefer the sound of a tube amp mated to a sealed cab. I never had a sealed cab until I got my Ampeg V4 and then discovered that playing it through a ported cab sounded way too boomy for my tastes - unlike the sound I was getting playing my Class D SS amp through it.
  10. The peavey vb-2 is a good one to look at.

  11. Exactly. Plug it into the effects return on your LH500. And don't sell your Hartke because you will still use that one after your guitarist stops helping you lug your all tube amp around.

  12. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Its funny how this SS vs tube debate/inquiries always get derailed to comparing apples to oranges. An op wonders is there is a tone benefit from an all tube power amp section/head and instead of getting back tone comparisons between the two it always goes to "yeah they sound better....BUT man they are heavy!"" I dont recall the op asking if tube heads were heavy or hard to transport. If your all about light weight and ease of transportation then the market is flooded with new micro class D stuff that has high wattage and can virtually be carried around in your pocket and are fine amps but id like these threads to stick to the topic of different comparable tube heads vs people's opinions on why no one in their right mind should get one because they are such a burden to transport.
  13. Someone please buy one of these 120 Watt amplifiers and give us a review.


  14. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I've heard one of the guitar combos, it's fabulous. Mr. Sundholm also builds a rack bass preamp that I'd love to hear.
  15. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    It's already been mentioned that "watts are watts", and from a physics perspective it's true.

    From a musical perspective, there's about a 1 to 3 ratio tube watts to solid state watts (in my humble opinion and experience blah blah).

    Therefore the Dogbone "tube watts" equivalent of a 500 watt solid state amp would be about 166 "tube watts".

    Of course whether you only turn your Hartke up to 3 or run it full blast obviously should be taken into account. You may just need to start with a good proven 100 watter like an Ampeg V4B or the seemingly well received Fender 100T and go from there.

    The trick, and I'm still learning this stuff myself, is to size your tube head AND cabinet so that you are in that sweet spot goldilocks zone where the preamp tubes (front end) AND power section tubes (back end) are just in that breakup zone...not far enough in the zone will be too clean, too far in the zone will be too distorted. Get too far off either way and you'll be lugging around about 80 pounds of dissapointment.

    Finding that sweet spot, which depends on the sound you're after AND the volume you play at, is the trick.

    Good luck. :bassist:
  16. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    I don't see why you have to change your existing equipment. Jus cuz your guitar player is using a tube amp does not signify that you should too. I would hazard a guess that most of us are working with a tube amp somewhere on stage.

  17. He already has hybrid. And a damn fine one at that!
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    A lot of people don't know this but I like Ampeg tube stuff like the V4B and SVT ;) The closest in spirit to your Hartke head would be a Fender of some sort, since they both have the Fender tone stack. Some folks like the way they work. I do for guitar, that's for sure. I can use the Fender tone stack and get a sound out of it on bass, but it's harder for me to get it popping than the SVT or V4B because the SVT and B-15 tone stacks have ability to add mids or take away treble and bass.
  19. I agree. This amp has two channels. One with the passive ' Fender' tone stack (flat= 2-10-2) and the other modern channel that flat is 5-5-5, so lots of ability to manipulate the mids! Also can do 100 watt to 1/4 power 25 watts, which is cool for power tube ' grunt' at lower volume. I really like it with my Hartke Hydrive 410 cab. :hyper: