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High power micros featuring multi-tube pre with class D power

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bobcruz, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. bobcruz


    Mar 10, 2004
    Alameda, CA
    Two questions: (1) Are the only choices in this class the discontinued Streamliner 900, the MBFusion 800 and the Ampeg 7 Pro? (2) Has anyone A/B'ed two or all three and can you comment on the different voicing and feature sets? Peace, Bob
  2. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    MBFusion 500 is, more or less high power.

    Had the Streamliner for one gig. Huge power, futz eq, overall too dark and vintagey for me.
    I have the MBF500; plenty of power at 4 ohms; a little weak at 8 ohms, which is why I also have the MBF800.

    I've not played the ampeg.
  3. Have not played the Ampeg. Questionable reliability on that one.

    Per Chef's comments, the MBF800 is big down low, punchy in the mids, and bright up top. More similar than different compared to the MB800. The tubes in the MBF800 are very subtle, and I would definitely go with the MB800 myself... smaller, less expensive, quite similar in tone (and the differences, for me, are positive in the direction of the MB800.

    The Streamliner is totally different... very round and warm down low, relaxed in the midrange, and the most tubey, crystal clear but warm treble I've heard in a hybrid. It is not particularly punchy, and sounds better with vintage instruments than modern (I feel the same way about many all tube amps).

    While the MBF800 sounds like a GK for the most part, and is only very subtly different from the other GK amps (especially the non tube micro's), the Streamliner is an entirely different thing from the Shuttle line, and quite frankly, most other hybrid amps out there (which gives it its kind of 'love hate' reputation around here... you either love it or literally hate it). The MBF800 is voiced to work well with pretty much any cab, while the Streamliner does best with cabs that you would choose for an all tube power section (fridge type sealed cabs or 'modern' cabs that have good low end control and a nice dose of midrange).

    Absolute volume... kind of a moot point, since the MBF800 and the Streamliner900 would push any 4ohm 212 or 410 to its limits. However, the MBF800 will get louder in an absolute sense with multiple large cabs, and also at 8ohms.

  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Love the 7 Pro but it only has one tube. However, it's a very functional tube and not just a starved plate glory tube.
  5. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Love this!

  6. +1 To be clear, the tubes in the GK and Streamliner run at high voltage also, compared to the old 'marketing tubes' like in the Eden, etc.

    Shame on all the problems with the 7Pro, since it gets very good tonal reviews from most. Much larger than the other two, but still relatively lightweight.

    I guess if we are considering the 7Pro (i.e., lightweight, but not micro), and if the OP has some cash, the ultimate (IMO and now IME) lightweight 'multi-tube' amp would be the Jule DeMonique. Old school 'point to point' (or whatever that is called) wired, transformer based multitube pre, with a Demeter 800 watt power section installed in the lightweight aluminum case (by James Demeter himself, from what I understand). Very 'B15ish', but massively louder. Interesting amp if you have a spare $2K laying around. Nothing else like it on the market. It is about the size of a typical 2 space rack mount head (a bit smaller) but only around 11 pounds or so.
  7. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Don't forget the Orange Terror Bass 1000 (and 500).

    I've played both the Streamliner 900 and the TB1000. Both are excellent amps. The Streamliner is a very vintage tubey tone, the amp is transformed with a 5751 in the V1 position -- the low end (which you love or hate) is more tightly focused. Loved the Streamliner but sold it because I didn't need another amp laying around.

    The Terror Bass line is more limited in tonality options than the Streamliner, but it does "amp" very well. Plenty of clean headroom by going with the 1000 option. Plenty of grit once you turn up the pre. Tubey sounding as well -- very responsive to tube rolling in the preamp. I found a magic combination by dropping a TungSol gold pin in V1 and a JJ gold pin in V2. Musical and warm sounding, until I turn up the grit and it just rocks. :bassist:
  8. Always forget about that one. Can't quite come to terms with the look of the things (purely IMO there).

    Interesting feature of switchable impedance that acts kind of like a tube amp's different impedance power outputs. Full power at 8ohms and 4ohms. Makes that Terror500 great for an 8ohm cab. With the stock tubes, that amp 'crunches' pretty easily when pushed (at least when I played it), which is not my thing, but definitely tubey as heck!
  9. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I really did not care for the 7 Pro I used at my last band's practice space, but who knows, maybe it had to do with the Classic HLF 410 I was going through. Decent enough, but it just sounded flat and sterile to my ears.
  10. bobcruz


    Mar 10, 2004
    Alameda, CA
    I didn't know about the Orange (or had forgotten, which happens too easily for me these days :rollno:) and also didn't know the Ampeg only had a single tube. Very informative comments so far--thanks and keep them coming. :)
  11. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    I've played all three extensively. All have ~roughly the same power output all other things being equal.

    I use the Ampeg almost exclusively now. It's more flexible in terms of EQ than the Streamliner, has a great compressor and just sounds downright MEAN. Love that amp. Reliability concerns seem mostly centered around earlier versions, as long as your unit says "Revision C" next to the serial number, you're good!
  12. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    I feel compelled to note that preamp tube sections on Class D amps are kind of like cute toes on a supermodel - a nifty feature, but they don't have a big impact on the overall results.
  13. Totally disagree.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, I disagree, too. It all depends on the design of the amp and how much voltage the tube(s) get fed.
  15. tubenutq5


    Mar 27, 2013
    Corvallis, OR
    I disagree also. For me the hybrid scenario works the best.
    The hybrid makes a great place to be between hi-fi and classic tube tone.

    My current set-up is a old Ampeg chiclet SVT 2 pre-amp with Sovteks that are at least 20 years old in a rack with a Carvin 1100 watt class D power amp. Hasn't failed me yet but you never know with a Carvin amp. I have had a couple that have gone belly up during a gig. I recently purchased a GK MB800 Fusion as back up. (It may be my go to if it is all it is cracked up to be).

    I have had both an Eden all-tube 300 watter and the MB Prodigy and I sent them both back because I could not get the openness and clarity that I get from a hybrid set-up.

    Go figure.
  16. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA

    Yes and no. Yes, if we're talking about a "marketing" tube. No, if we're talking about a full voltage tube(s) used for something other than a simple gain stage. The MBF800 and STL900 are definitely using the tubes to so something rather than just being a marketing gimmick.
  17. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    In my experience, a tube preamp into a ss power amp is not inherently better, or more "tubey" sounding than a ss preamp, even when those 12AX7's are getting 300 volts. To my ears, the power tubes make the real difference. Different brands, models, and circuits certainly sound different - and, as several folks have pointed out here, we all have different ears and tastes.

    I didn't mean to stir up a big argument, or to totally derail the thread. However, I think that any number of tube-laden preamps don't necessarily sound better than great ss preamps, and that power sections and transformers really do matter a LOT. Consider the Music Man amps, for example.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, the MusicMan amps were hot. But I'd still take a Fender Twin over them. The more tubes, the better as far as I'm concerned, though the power section is very important as well.
  19. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    James Demeter also offers this power section incorporated into his VTBP-201s and HBP-1 single rack-space preamps, making them 800-watt head versions of these pres.
  20. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Have you played a Streamliner???

    - georgestrings