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I need some help with picking a tube amp.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by yoss, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. yoss


    Oct 1, 2003
    Hello! Got some questions about tube amps. For a while I was planning on going the pre-amp/power amp route, but I'm thinking I might just bite the bullet, save up some cash, and invest in an all-tube amp. I'm curious about the different brands and models out there. I might also consider hybrids as well, but I want to try to narrow down some tube choices and see how it looks once I have an idea of how much they'll set me back. If it's just too much to bear financially, then I might consider some hybrids.

    So, my first question is what tube amps should I consider in the $750 and under range? Is it even possible to find a good one with that amount? I'd like something reliable, with nice ballsy, fat tone, but with good clarity, and that will hold it's own against two full 100watt guitar stacks and a very hard hitting drummer.

    So far I dig the tone that the Mastodon bassist uses. I also really like the tone in the song below. I think this bassist uses a Mesa 400+, so any info on that amp would be nice.

    Mystick Crewe of Clearlight - Swamp Jam (realplayer file, sorry)

    Also, if anyone can give some quick descriptions of the individual characteristics (reliability, tone, power, etc.) of the different tube amps I should check out, like Ampegs, Mesa, Sunn, Fender, etc., then I would be eternally grateful, as I'm pretty ignorant about tube amps and a search of the forum hasn't turned up much help.

    Oh yeah, and any hybrid-amp suggestions would be great too!

  2. If you finally decide to go hybrid and preamp/power stage you should consider either Warwick Quadruplet or SWR Interstellar overdrive.

    What sets this preamps apart from the others is that they have small EL84 power tubes in adittion to 12AX7 preamp tubes, so with both of them you will get the most full tube-like sound even using a solid state power amp.

    I hope it helps.
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Spend the few extra $$, and buy the Mesa 400+. It is as loud an anything out there, can power any cab you hook into it, and sounds like butter...sweet, and smooth.

  4. Don't waste your time and get the best tube amp for bass ever made, a vintage Ampeg SVT (or atleast try one). But be warned it weighs a whopping 85lbs.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Well the Mesa and the Ampeg SVT are 2 complete different sounding amps. The ampeg is mean and growly sounding while the Mesa is smooth and warm. I would go for the Mesa. Kills most amps in volume, and has one of the sweetest tube sounds out there.
  6. MrBonex


    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Trace Elliot V6 (used, of course).

    400 watts
    6-KT88 power tubes
    Reliable/well made

    SVT and Mesa are also excellent choices. Eden (Koch) also has a 300 watt rack mountable that I also love. Very clean and phat. I've only tried the Eden in a store, but I was impressed.
  7. yoss


    Oct 1, 2003
    Thanks for the replies so far guys! I've been reading reviews on the various amps and so far the Mesa 400+ seems like it might be what I'm looking for, especially hearing it on that song I posted in my original thread. Next step is to try to find one to check out myself. I'd love to hear some more testimony on the Mesa 400 or 400+, and any other tube amps for that matter! Keep it coming! Thanks!
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I rent an Ampeg SVT for gigs that are way out of town and they sound quite fine.....but I wish that a Mesa 400+ was up for rent. The only thing better I ever used was another guy's all-Aguilar rig.

    We had a professional sound guy on TB, (user name, "Spacegoat"), who ran the board for Heart and other major Canadian/European bands. He said that the Mesa 400+ rocked harder than any amp he had to deal with. I'm not talking about just sheer volume, but also the fine tone that rig produces.

    If you don't mind the weight and the upkeep associated with a tube amp, that Mesa is one fine choice.

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