Help with Vintage Tube Amp Decision

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Exo-Politician, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. Greetings all,

    So i picked up a Sunn 215 recently, still need to pick it up.

    So, I've decided to get yet another head. You can never have too many.

    I've narrowed down to the following all with their own pros and cons. Keep in mind, i already use a Ampeg V4B.

    Sunn 300T - very expensive but trying to barter. Obviously matches the cab. In great condition but priced at $2350. Considering offering $1800 max.

    Mesa Boogie 400+ - Obviously an amazing head but will need a 240v conversion. Including shipping and conversion is around $1400.

    Mesa Boogie D-180 - Top condition, barely used for $1200.

    Ampeg SVT-II - Original, not Pro. A clearly killer vintage tube amp. $2000 but will make an offer

    I'm a Blues player, some classic rock and Blues Rock but predominantly Blues Brothers bass tone is my sound. Thick tube tone with a fair amount of Overdrive.

    Don't need heaps of volume, mostly PA and small venues.

    I have only actually played the Sunn which I loved but keen for opinions.

  2. The D180 is the way I would go.
  3. Just a little background on the "Sunn 300T", it was the testbed for the Fender Bassman 300. Not the original Sunn company if that helps for bargaining.
  4. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Sounds like you've already selected the V4B with your criteria.

    The Blues Brother sound is Duck Dunn and no one is more associated with the sound of Ampeg. If you want OD and your volume needs aren't high that means the SVT will be overkill without pedals.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    The SVT 2 Nonpro is a totally rocking amp with a sizable cult following. But you liking reasonable volumes and a little overdrive, a 300w tube amp with a single volume knob would have to be cranked hard and painfully loud to get overdrive. Been probably 30 years since I played a D-180 so I can't remember how the distortion sounds on it, but I recall enjoying it for clean sounds in the 6 months I played one to placate a band who was into everyone using Mesa for the look. But honestly, I think you already have the perfect amp for what you want. Yeah, it's fun to buy stuff, but with your criteria, I wouldn't go higher than 100w, and the overdrive in a V4B kills.
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  6. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    If you're going to spend so much on a 300T, why not pick up a Bassman 300 Pro? It can probably be had for cheaper.

    Do you get your overdrive from pedals at all? If so, any of them could be a good contender. If not, I'd avoid the 400+ and SVT-II.
  7. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Agree, the V4b sounds ideal. You won't be cable to get good OD from some of those unless you really crank them hard (which is brutal at those power ratings)

    Another option is the Fender Super Bassman. Two channels and you can dial in as much distortion on the second channel as you like. Big, clean fat tube tone.
    Rain Wash Me likes this.
  8. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Have you thought about an old Traynor head?
  9. Actually, i have. I forgot that one. There's also 2 new/almost new YBA-200s for $900 each I am also considering.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Look for a YBA-3/YBA-3A.

    Or, given your new/old SUNN cabinet, a 200S or 2000S.
  11. eyeballkid


    Jul 19, 2009
    actually, it was the first model of the Fender 300 Pro, not the Bassman 300 which is the new vintage looking model.

    From what I have seen and heard, the SUNN 300T is NOT a pleasure to own. There were a number of bugs it had that Fender straightened out by the time they put their own badge on the front. The 300 PRO ROCKS!!! I know, I have two. However, those prices are INSANE.. I know you live down under, but my god!! The Sunn 300T is an $900 amp at best. Is shipping that much?? I mean any of those amps can be had for about 60% of those prices stateside.
  12. I hear you man. The guy originally wanted $3500 for the head and cab. No shipping at all.
  13. eyeballkid


    Jul 19, 2009
    I know, I mean is shipping to Australia sooooooo much that $850 amps go used there for $2300??!!! my god!
    I understand youre buying it from a guy local to you, I just cant believe the mark up.
    I should start an importing business finding amps guys want down under and shipping them from here.. Id be rich.
  14. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    it's not just 'mark up" ... it's the law of supply and demand..

    btw, I'm also a +1 on the D-180, I played thru one at a local store recently and found it's too very vintage... not my taste honestly, but if your wanting that fat blues tone, it seems to deliver.
  15. Thanks for all the feedback gentlemen.

    I have decided that the 300T was the right amp but the wrong price.

    A Fender Super Bassman will be posted tomorrow.

    Might just get the grill changed on the Sunn cab to match the classic look.
  16. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I love every single amp you listed! That said, the one you already own might be the best choice. I was more into the Mesa stuff than Ampeg back in the 80's, but given your personal criterial, that V4b is gonna be tough to beat. Visually, I agree an old Sunn 200 or200S would look boss and sound cool :)