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hybrid vs all-tube vs solid state

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by supeRad, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. supeRad


    Nov 23, 2004
    right now im liquidating my rig for this wreck i was involved. either way.. im already trying to figure out what it is i might want to buy when i recoup some funds.

    so ive owned, primarily, an svt-classic and my current (but almost sold) db359, both great all tube heads, but as much as i like the tube pre/power amp setup, i was wondering.. what in fact is more important, tube wise that is. is it better to have a tube power section or a tube preamp section? in the end, watts are watts concerning power (i assume), but for the preamp section what exactly is the difference between tube and solidstate.

    at the moment, im leaning towards a hybrid amp similar to a db750 style, solid state power with a tube preamp, but i havent totally ruled out a solidstate amp. in the end, i think the all tube setup was too much for me.. and i constantly dread having to change tubes out because of the cost it would entail as well as keeping spare tubes since i have no backup head.

    so as of now i just want to take in some advice and see what other TB'ers come at me with so i can come up with a price range and see what setupds i might want to demo. i hope i came off pretty clear, if there is something i mightve left out, dont hesitate to ask me to clarify.
  2. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    "tube warmth" comes from both, but the power section provides all the smooth tone, natural compression, and natural overdrive. To me, the tube power section is more important.
  3. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    I'm using a hybrid right now and saving to go back to tubes. Tube power amps generate tons of tone and tube overdrive sounds awesome.
  4. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I'm actually getting an amp that has a solid state preamp and tube power amp (4xEL34/6CA7), a Music Man HD130. Should be arriving from Ben Clarke by the beginning of next week. :hyper:
  5. supeRad


    Nov 23, 2004
    hmm.. anyone want to give me a heads-up on any standalone tube power amps and tube preamps that are pretty popular, other than the aguilar series im already pretty familiar with?

    if anything, i could always go with that setup rather than buying a normal bass amp.. id also like more input for my initial question.. so ill be patient.

    sooner i know i can narrow my search, the sooner i can start saving up the cash
  6. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Heres a list of tube power amps made for bass:
    Aggie DB 728 (going out of production)
    Demeter some odd model not sure which
    Ampeg SVT-300 has gone out of production a while ago
    I think thats about it... You can use any tube head as just a power amp.
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    My personal choice, Mesa 400+.

    All in one head...all tube. It's about 300w RMS and 500w peak.

    It's precieved volume is much louder than a similarly powered solid state or hybrid.

    They sell on the used market for between 700-1000.

    I know you dread the upkeep, but they've got a record of being pretty hardy...and they will run a few tubes short if necessary. The only spares I keep are a pair of 6L6's and a few 12AX7's in the trunk of my car.
  8. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    If your current geography applies I would recommend taking your bass into some shops and scope out some different options. Many players(including me)find that playing through a SS power amp to be most acceptable. Don't get me wrong..tubes are tubes and provide what only they can provide but I have become content w/ SS power amp as long as I have am acceptable amount of headroom. It works for me but you have to be the judge...the Mesa 400+ kicks if you need the tubes, a good suggestion if you really "need" the tubes...let your ears and budget be the guide. A used 400+ may be less than an acceptable hybrid, either a seperate pre, or stand alone unit....follow your instincts(ears)here.....
  9. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    If necessary, you may have to follow your back as well... :p
  10. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    I had a real good play through a Mesa BB750 yesterday. That's an amazingly warm amp with a nice o/d. Sure it's no Bass 400+, but i think it's on of the better hybrids if you want warmth, cleaness and punch.
  11. i´d say the poweramp being more important being tubes(smoother).
    when trying different solid-state preamps into my V4 it tightens up the sound but still has that varm and slightly overdriven bottom.
    i havent found that with SS-amps. at least not in bigger power-amps.
  12. supeRad


    Nov 23, 2004
    im only 24 but ive had a lumbar laminectomy to fix a herniated disc problem.. so carrying a heavy rack/rig isnt too much of a bother.. anymore at least. then again, i can always add wheels to a rack.. :) nothing like a built-in dolly to help move things along
  13. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    nothing touches the saggy, tubey, fat feel a player gets from an all tube power section. to my ear, its literally the meat of the all tube tone. preamp tube sections, to my ear at least, sound more like a gloss coating of tubiness.

    still, i prefer the tighter, faster, quicker feel of an SS power section, especially for my low B stuff.

    but the great thing is that these days, there are lots of great sounding all tube preamps. they dont quite give you that saggy weighty seductive feel, but you do get that warmth and fatness only a properly designed all tube preamp can give you.

    for me, that preamp is the Kern IP777. with my Stewart World 1.2, i get a LOUD, fat, and gloriously tube tone every gig. another great preamp in the Kern vein is the Alembic F-1X, which IMHO, epitomizes the phrase "creamy tube sweetness". and tho i love my Kern, another cool preamp that's really piqued my interest is the Read Purity, which seems like a close cousin, if not mutated in-law. :p

    try Vanselus' & Josh's site Bass Tasters to listen to a huge array of all tube preamps to find the preamp that'll best complement your bass and speaker cabs.

    with a nice 15 lbs. Stewart or 22 lbs. QSC power amp with any of these cool preamps would make a terrific yet no less great alternative. and yes, your back will more than thank you. :)

    if you're still on the all tube front, you could check out an Aggie's DB359. its 50 lbs. lighter than the ol' SVT, and yet ALL tube in every way. its my fav amp, and always gets me in ways only it can. :cool:

    or of course, if you're nuts like me, you can always take a small nice all tube head like a Fender Bassman, or in my case, an Alessandro Basset Hound, run it into the "speaker in" of an Avalon U5, use a THD Hotplate as a "dummy load", and run the whole shabang into an SS power amp. and VOILA! you get that saggy gloriously tubey feel, and yet with massive wattage and headroom that makes your sound super tight and punchie.

    if any designer is listening, i'd LOVE to see a head that incorporates all this... :help:

    btw, soon, i'll be getting in a Demeter VTHF-300M all tube power amp to compare with my Aggie DB728. stay tuned...
  14. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    looking up at the top of the amps forum you'll find the faq sticky which contains links to many threads, including some on tube poweramps (there are several not mentioned here such as several mesas), tube heads (like peavey and trace), which is better - ss or tube, etc.

    so far the comments here are right on the $, joker hit it especially well. My big revelation the past few years has been to ignore what the amp has inside, and try it out. often you end up being very surprised by what you like.
  15. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL