Good Amp Head for a Decent Price?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SplinteredSkull, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. I mainly play in a metal band and I'd like to save up for a nice head. I've never actually played through a tube amp but I've heard that the sound quality is far superior. I'm wondering what kind of amp heads should i be on the lookout for and what prices i can expect to pay. I've heard that an Ampeg SVT is a good head for what i am doing. Something that i can turn up the gain on and give a warm overdriven sound to my bass would be awesome. What are some good "metal heads" out there?
  2. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    Buy used and you'll get a great amp for a decent price. What is your budget?
  3. There's actually no doubt in my mind I'll have to buy used, and i think by the end of the year I'll have a $600 pool saved up. I guess i should also ask what to look out for when buying a used tube amp head
  4. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    I'll bet you can get an RB 400 or 800 head used cheap. They're heavey, compared to todays amps.

    But looking around a class D micro is only a few bucks more. And light.
  5. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Make sure there's no funny noises. And if there are know what they are. If you are sure don't buy.

    Smell the amp. The smell of death shouldn't be there. Look at he tubes. Any funny lighten patterns inside?

    Play it. And remember the mere presence of tubes is not the decider of tone.

    I'm a tube nut BTW. For guitar. I do use my Univalve for bass but not where people can see me.
  6. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    Neither of those are tube heads. That is what the OP is asking about. The only Tube heads that I can think of that would fall into your price range would be Ampeg V4B, Peavey VB-2 And Peavey Alphabass . There are a lot more but not at the 600.00 price range. You might be able to find something cheaper but it will cost you in the end in repairs.
  7. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    Also Look at the tubes for (milky ) color could indicate loss of seal/ Vacuum in the tube and could lead to catastrophic failure upon power up. Other wise what Bawana Rik said holds true. But dark spots on the tube do not always Indicate a bad tube.
  8. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    What are you planning on running for a cab?

    For an all tube SVT, you're looking at roughly $1000 for a used head. But you'd still need a cab to play it through.
  9. As noted above, Buy Used.
    Bass players are a fickle lot, and change partners frequently.

    My criteria is, pay no more than 66% of the new-discount price for production gear.
    Collector's items, esoteric gear, etc, do not follow this guideline.
    For example, I find Rane pro-audio gear selling far below the 66% line.

    If you want a bargain, you will have to wait for it, and scan constantly for it.
    There are seasonal times when bargains appear, i.e. back to school, graduation, etc.
  10. TC.65


    Dec 20, 2008
    Carbondale IL
    You can find used Traynor YBA200-2 heads used in that price range. They are good quality all tube heads.

  11. Right now I'll be running it through a Hartke 4x10 cabinet
  12. Keep in mind with the SVT you need a 4 ohm speaker load. If your cab is 8 ohms they won't match up.
  13. Searching used and local will obviously limit my options. And i might be able to get more into the $1000 range. Besides sound and tube condition, are there any universal indicators or brands that i should look out for? To give me more of an idea of what to look at. Say if i find a good deal on an obscure brand. And if it would lower cost: does anyone know of any solid state or hybrid heads give you a sound very similar to tube?
  14. I didn't actually looked at the specs on it; but yes i do know things should match up. Basically for our band I'm actually using my friend's cabinet, which is the 4x10, because i just have a smaller combo amp. I see used cabinets all the time for decent prices so i know i can get one of those. I want to build a good rig of my own starting with a good head. And hopefully the head i would get would match up, because then i can use it with his cab until i get mine and we'd all be winners
  15. Keep an eye out Fender bassman 300 or obscure Sunn 300T. Mesa 400 and 400+ G-K Fusion hybrids can really do the nasty overdrive tube thing with the full tube preamp. Peavey VB2 or VB3.
  16. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    I don't think this is correct. Tube amps produce the same wattage at their minimum supported ohms & everything above. An 8 ohm cab will work fine with the SVT & will receive the SVT's full watts.

    Don't know if SVTs support 2 ohms. If they don't, then two 4 ohm boxes would be a problem.
  17. So, you want loud, cheap, and good sounding. Here is what comes to mind as far as good bulletproof used heads goes.

    GK 800RB -- Great Tone, Big and Loud, I see them going for $400-500

    Carvin B1500 -- Really Great Tone, Big Loud and Heavy, $400-600

    Ampeg SVT 4 Pro -- Typical Ampeg Tone, Big, Loud, Powerful, and heavy. These are everywhere and not as popular as they used to be so you can pick them up used for under $500 if you shop around.

    Tube head are a whole other story, your not gonna get something all that powerful for the amount you want to spend...but you can find some really great deals on used tube heads if your not afraid to buy something that may need a trip to the tech to get back to full working condition. I have a bunch of tube heads and I didn't pay more than $400 for any of them.
  18. SVT's DO NOT support an 8 ohm load. The output transformers are ONLY tapped for 4 ohms and 2 ohms! After repairing those amps for decades that is why I posted the warning. ;)
  19. That's great - good luck with your search. A great amp is something to love and cherish.

    In my opinion, speakers and cabinets are too often overlooked. They are equally important to your overall tone, some would say more so. Make sure to include some good research in this matter in your overall goal.
  20. squidtastic

    squidtastic Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2013

    Also, I encourage you not to let yourself get sucked into the idea of something without actually experiencing it. Don't assume that tube is necessarily what's right for you. With the wide variety of amp-cab combinations, you might end up preferring the sound of a solid state given your particular gear. If I were you, I'd take my bass to a music store and try out a variety of things in my price range, then I'd respond to some craigslist ads and do the same.