Good cab match for Sunn Sonaro

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by comradehoser, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. Posting out of total ignorance since I am a drummer recently converted to bass:

    Currently playing a neighbor's setup: a Sunn Sonaro head into a Marshall Guitar Cab (not loudly), I think I have to probably replace the caps since it is quiet, and the bass/treble knobs do nothing.

    Since I would like to play more loudly, what is a good used or newish cab that would play well with the Sonaro? There's Sunn cabinets, but they seem to be more of a west coast thing apparently.

    Under $500 would be good, under $250 would be most excellent.
  2. Welcome!
    How do caps have anything to do with two knobs not working?
    Find out what is really wrong with the amp before more damage occurs.
  3. I plan to take it into an amp dude. All these things are new to me since drums rarely require soldering and extravagant knowledge of electronics theory. I had read in another thread that old caps could be a cause of no bass/treble knob response, but what do I know? My neighbor put in new tubes, sound comes through, just no change in bass/treble and attenuated volume.
  4. Here are my two current local amp candidates:

    A 2x15 Sunn fridge cab (apparently--no badge, black cloth) reloaded with Eminence Kappa speakers
    A 2x12 Avatar square cab--no idea on the speakers

    Will be playing with a loudish guitarist--mostly doom metal and such--the occasional gig, mostly home rehearsal
  5. Sorry, cabinet candidates
  6. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Why replace the caps? It's actually very seldom that the caps are in any way at fault.
  7. Sunn Sonaro problems

    This thread suggested it could be old filter caps. Like I said i don't really know my way around electronics. I am planning to take it into an amp tech if the new cab does nothing to improve the situation.

    I am also very good at listening to the expertise of others
  8. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    That head is 60 watts from two 6550’s(or KT 88’s, a similar power tube), but as it is an ultralinear design, you should be able to goose a little more volume out of it. It is identical to the 200s, or Sorado. Does it have 8/4 ohms speaker outs, or 16/8? I assume the Marshall cab is 16, but check that, and check the drivers. I’d take the head in to a tech, figure out what’s going on with all the tubes, and as far ad the caps and tone problems are concerned, I’ve owned a number of these heads and have rarely had issues, but there might have been some value drift over 55 years, or a weak preamp tube.
  9. All the tubes were replaced; it's a 16/8; Marshall cab is 8--thank you much for the info, it's very useful. I could run the Marshall, but I'm thinking I will blow it up since it's a guitar cabinet (Lead model, apparently)

    Any advice on a good cab to pair the Sunn with?

    Sunn cab is going for $300
    Avatar for $270

    There is also an SWR Goliath 4x10 and swr 350 head someone is selling for $300--I'm thinking just save myself some repair time and get that (even though I have little idea of how it would sound different--I do know SWR is well-respected as a bass amp and cabinet company--I assume it's solid state).
  10. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O)))) Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    The best cab to pair it with would be a 200s cab with JBL 140s of some variety, that'll allow you to get the most out of it volume wise (or any other efficient speakers in a good enclosure). Of your options, I'd grab the 2x15, and eventually replace the Eminence maybe (not that they're bad, but they aren't my thing, I'd prefer an older style efficient 15" in that cab). Do you know what model 2x15 it is? Side ports, circle ports, large middle slot port?

    You have the right idea, get it serviced ASAP and it should serve you well for years with little maintenance. No sense keeping any old caps in there that may have drifted in spec. If they don't need to be replaced, fine, but if they do, don't hesitate, it's only going to improve reliability and stability. Only one of my Sunns has its original caps, and that's because it has its original everything, and doesn't get gigged. All the others in regular rotation have been appropriately brought up to modern spec.

    Depending on what speakers are in the Marshall, you're probably fine. They aren't efficient cabs, so it won't get as loud as some other cabs, but they can be used. I've used 4x12s with Celestion V30s and a Sunn 2000s before, not a lot of low extension, but sold and not farty until you really start cranking, and that's at double the wattage.

    And as for SWR, I played them briefly when I started, very clean but always struck me as very anemic. Just not terribly interesting sounding, polite in a not so good way. YMMV, but I know given the option between the Sunn and SWR, I wouldn't get anywhere near the SWR. Many people like SWR just fine, they have a good reputation for a reason, but it's a bit of apples and oranges between SWR and Sunn (although, coincidentally, both are currently owned by Fender and have been discontinued).
    comradehoser likes this.
  11. Hundred proof

    Hundred proof

    Apr 22, 2018
    The 200s cab has been mentioned and I have one with the matching 200s head, that is the most natural obvious choice, it is to me the “Sunn” sound. Original Music Man bass cabs work well too, got one of those also. Whatever it needs to be very efficient as that amp is a low watt classic.
    Fuzzonaut and comradehoser like this.
  12. Thank you!!! That is some solid advice I can get behind.

  13. 00404_f6D0QFedXgu_0lM0t2_1200x900.jpg
  14. That's what it it looks like--i don't see any obvious porting.

    Thanks all I really appreciate the advice.
  15. Got in contact with the dude, it's side ported, so he says most likely a 215
  16. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    So, here’s the rundown...
    In ‘67/‘68, the ‘Sonaro’ model name was applied to a combo unit, V/T/B controls, treble and bass boost switches, 40 watts from a pair of EL34 power tubes, one 12ax7 preamp, one 6an8 driver, GZ rectifier tube(controls power supply, not in audio path), fed into a single 15”, most likely made by CTS. By 1969 the combo concept was done away with, and the model was then split into a separate head(still 40 watts)and single 15” cab(still CTS/‘Sunn Transducer’)that looked like this(essentially half of a 200s cab in design)...
    By early 1970, the power was upgraded to 60 watts by way of two KT88’s, which, as I mentioned before, made it identical to the 200s and Sorado heads. Why the different names for the same head? It was a quirky marketing move by the company; the model name changed according to what speaker cab it went with. The Sonaro then was the single 15, the 200s had the dual 15”(JBL D140’s) with the center port and unique rear baffle design seen here...
    ...and the Sorado(my first real bass amp)was the middle ground, budget 2x15”(CTS)with the straight forward dual round port baffle, seen below...
    By late 1970, there was a change in head/cab grill cloth, from a grey woven angled pattern to a Fender-like sparkle rectangular pattern, and the tube rectifier was switched to solid state, theoretically goosing the power up to 80 watts. The single 15” cabs were still around, with a D140 option. By 1972, all the various head names were done away with, and that configuration was relabeled the 190B. The company had been sold to a conglomerate(much like Fender), and the 2x15 cab was consolidated/redesigned to the side port style...
    ...with just a Sunn Transducer option, and often paired with the tube Model T and solid state Concert Bass heads. From there, there were variations in cab design and cosmetics, the Model T was dropped and all amps were transistor after that, until the brand fizzled out in the early 80’s. So, if you want to be ‘period correct’, seek out one of those single 15’s(actually not found that often), or an older 2x15 will do, of course, but make sure the ohm rating matches your head.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
    comradehoser likes this.
  17. At the risk of taxing all of y'all's helpfulness, the 215b cab is 4 ohms.

    I ask out of complete ignorance and please forgive me if it's an overly stupid question: since the amp is 8/16 how will the mismatch affect the output and sound?

    I am not wholly devoted to pairing sunn amp and cab (although that that would be really nice) I mostly want to find something that will bring the bottom in definitive fashion.
  18. I'm very appreciative of this post. Thank you for taking the time to educate!

  19. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    If that’s the case, then most likely it’s two 8 ohm 15’s wired in parallel, pretty standard stuff. But that means they can also be wired in series for a 16 ohm load, that would match one of the taps on your head. The earliest Sunn amps featured 16/8 outs, for multiple cab capacity, and then changed to 8/4 ohms around ‘69, I believe. If you, or a tech, pull the chassis out of the case, there will be a manufacture date in marker on the side or underneath with the wiring. Also, the Dynaco output transformer should have a 4 ohm tap(not used), but not a hard and fast rule; if so a tech could install an output for flexibility.
    For more Sunn info, go here:
    The sunn Forum - Index
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
    comradehoser likes this.