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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by woody357, May 16, 2021.
In your opinion which D class amp sounds closest to a tube amp.
I'll share my two options.
Mesa WD800 sounds mighty close to its older sibling, the Mesa Walkabout (SS, not class D) ... which does a great all tube impression for an amp with a non-tube power section.
The Ampeg PF500 does not have a single tube in it but will do a very good impression of an Ampeg tube amp. Not perfect, but very respectable.
IMO/IME, it's such a personal taste thing, that you will really have to try and listen to the various options with your own ears and with your own playing situation in mind to get to something that works for you.
good luck on your search, if that's what this is.
Aguilar Tonehammer 350/500/700
Mesa TT-800 through the Boogie channel gets real close. Similar to a Fender Showman when you dial it in.
Tech21 VT500. Or not.
My Ampeg PF500 sounds like a tube Ampeg but, it doesn't feel like a tube amp. I've never played a SS amp of any class AB or D that responded like a tube amp. However, now that I've played SS for many years, I prefer it.
Personally, the thought of re-tubing a full-on tube amp (both the expense of good tubes, and a proper tech to perform it) renders this a non-question for me personally. I want loud and clean and consistent, and if it weighs five pounds and goes in a shoulder bag, I'm good. I can't hear whether it's Class D, Sunday School Class, or Late for Dinner.
80 pound heads and a pile of tubes is not a life I want to lead, no matter how good it may (or may not) sound. I do like the tube preamp in front, solid-state power in back rigs I've heard, but that would be as far as I'm willing to commit to that technology / topography, with a single preamp tube that lasts a long time.
I've never found tubes / no tubes a red line I can't cross, in fact, I've never seen the line.
I'm quite sure your results may vary, but that's this one man's opinion.
Closest to which tube amp?
Orange Terror Bass and Mesa TT800 for me. Genz Benz Streamliner does a good job also.
I don’t know about tubes, but I had a TC Electronics RH450 that was very vintage-voiced, for lack of a better term. Super warm with a very baked-in tonal profile that was decidedly old-school. It had a knob labeled “Tubetone” (iirc). I guess that made it sound more like a tube amp? Dunno… but I loved that knob.
I’ve never owned anything with a tube power section, so take this with a grain of salt.
Hartke TX600 with the compressor engaged a bit sounds very "tubey" (in a silverface Bassman sort of way...)
I don’t know that it sounds the MOST like a tube amp as I haven’t heard more than a few highly regarded amps in person, but another vote for the tone hammer series. Has a nice tube vibe you can easily dial in.
Mesa TT800. Of the ones I have tried, it reacts to your playing more like a MOSFET amp.... which is the closest thing to tubes you'll ever get in a solid state head.
I've tried a lot. But the TT is something special. Oddly enough, being q Walkabout owner, I haven't been able to try a WD800 yet. But if it even gets in the ballpark of the Walkabout (as most owners say it does) its a superb piece as well.
The two-channel versatility of the TT is what made me go with that and I'm glad I did.
Mesa WD 800 and TT 800 both have tubes in the preamp section and power tube emulation built-in to the power amp section. These amps have the warmth, harmonics, and compression and associated with tube amps without the weight, and also have a lot of other features that most full tube amps don’t offer.
Vote for my PF500. Sounds dammed close to me. Just not quite a punchy.
The Streamliner does .
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