1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Is it necessary to have a Full tube amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mhandley16, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. mhandley16


    Jan 27, 2013
    What I mean by this is a full tube preamp and full tube power section. I will be upgrading my current set up soon to a better amp and cab to get more power and a bigger/better sound. A friend of mine plays through an Ampeg SVT-CL and I know that this is one of the best amps out there. But he pretty much told me that full tube amps are the only way to go. I know that I have to try them myself to see how they go with my sound but sometimes it's as if people think Ampeg is the only way to go and that amps that aren't full tube just plain suck. Maybe I just haven't owned one yet. What are your opinions?
  2. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Total nonsense. How much bass in the studio is recorded with a tube power section? Answer: Probably less than half.

    I can count the number of all tube bass rigs I've seen on stage here in Phoenix on one hand excepting myself. Definitely the exception rather than the rule.
  3. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    The amp is important, and people will have their preferences. IMHO the cab is actually more important, but opinions will vary there too.
  4. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I have a full tube amp. I like it until I have to move it.

    There's a lot to be said about having a power tube section running hard for tone, but there's also a lot to be said about being able to carry your own gear without needing a spotter.
  5. BassKitty101


    Jun 28, 2012
    Endorsing Artist: Luna Guitars, Ashdown Engineering, Cactus Picks
    I personally like having a solid state head over 450 watts with a tube preamp.
    Sounds good man.
  6. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Really. Anyone who says that tubes are the only way to go doesn't know anything about amps. Some people like tube warmth and some don't. But to say its the only way to go is just ridiculous.
  7. mhandley16


    Jan 27, 2013
    Thank you I was hoping I wasn't the only one that thought it was ridiculous haha
  8. Your question being is it "necessary," the answer is no.

    If your question were is it better from some people's viewpoint, the answer would be yes.

    Personally, I don't think the weight differential is worth it. But I do own one all tube amp in case I change my mind.

    As noted the cabs are very important too.
  9. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Well, first off, kudos to you for using that last word, as all you will get are opinions...and there are plenty to be found on Talkbass! There is no right or wrong, just personal preference when it comes to this subject.

    I presume you have already done searches and read the plethora of threads on tube amps versus SS.

    Okay, here is my opinion: I have been playing bass for 40 years, and I have tried so many different bass rigs that it borders on ridiculousness. And I have found that even though there is some real nice SS gear available to bassists, nothing provides the tone and the feel of an all tube amp.

    And believe me, I tried.....I really tried......to find a lighter rig that would give me that tone and feel, but to no avail.

    I wanted to find such a rig because I didn't want to have to schlep such heavy gear (all-tube amps are typically quite heavy).

    But I finally came to the realization that I had to go with the weight if I really wanted that tone and feel.

    Btw, don't get too hung up on the SVT-CL. I had that amp, and I also had the SVT-VR. IMO, the VR sounded waaaaay better than the CL.

    I now have a '91 Ampeg SVT-II non-pro. It sounds just like the SVT-VR. Tone heaven. The SVT-II weighs a whopping 85 pounds (which I know would make Ken Jung cringe at the thought), but it's the choice I make for the tone and feel that that amp gives me. I play that amp through a Bergantino NV610 cab, and it is pure bliss. Absolute pure bliss.

    And please note my comment about tone and feel. Lots of people just talk about tone. For me, there is also a certain "feel" that I get from an all-tube amp that I just don't get from a SS amp. Again, personal opinion.

    Whatever you do, don't let anyone tell you what you should (or shouldn't) like. I suggest you try a bunch of different amp types, and go with the one that YOU like best!

    Do whatever makes you happy! That's what I do!
    fraublugher likes this.
  10. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I have the same rig (not sure on the model year of my SVT II non-pro). It sounds great, but my NV610 sounds great with my GK 700RB-II too and at less than half the weight. Not the same tone, but both sound good.
  11. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA

    Different flavors of goodness!
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm getting another SVT because I agree with your friend ;) That said, I've done and will continue to do gigs with SS equipment sometimes. The schlep is not always fun, and sometimes it's impossible with tube stuff, but when it's possible, I like using tube gear. I hate life for a few minutes during the schlep, but it doesn't last long.
  13. It all depends on each person. Tube amps I have owned: Fender 50 watt Bassman, Fender Dual Showman, early Peavey, Sunn 2000S, two earlier SVT's, V4B. Last tube amp to leave my hands was the V4B. For the last several years it has been a hybrid Fusion 550. I don't miss the all tube amps and the 800RB SS still gets a gig once and a while.
    If all tube was the only answer there would not be so many different great amps out there.
  14. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    It is for me...your mileage may vary.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    No. Why would you think that? They're heavy, temperamental, expensive to maintain and, in a gigging situation, they don't offer any tonal benefits over amps with solid-state power sections. I prefer the sound of a high-powered hybrid or solid-state amp by far over tube amps.
  16. I don't own a tube amp, and I am happy with my amp, but I have to admit the couple of times I got play a gig or jam with an all tube head I could see what all the hype was about. I did a gig with a Mesa 400+ Bass head and really enjoyed that, then I played a jam with an Ampeg SVT II Pro (I think it was the pro version) and that sounded great too. But for reliability, portability, and cost savings, I have always gone with hybrid amp technology myself.
  17. I am a giant fan of the Phil Jones suitcase, which is solid state. However, I generally prefer tube amps, I simply like this amp so much because of its sound. When I want to get that snarl from a little bit of overdriven tubes, I use my sansamp deluxe driver, which sounds amazing an a lot of like a tube amp. Best pedal Ever
  18. TheRealKong


    Mar 17, 2011
    There are lots of amps with lots of ways to amplify the tone in a way amd with a sound you may like. Its the most personal taste - and how much money is available.

    Tube amps are more expensive than Solid State-amps. This is a fact. Don't listen to guys who complain about the costs of maintaining a tube amp. You won't change the poweramp-tubes until it is not neccessary. This may vary. Some people runtheyr CL 20 years and more without changing poweramp tubes.

    I have an Ampeg SVP Pro preamp and a huge poweramp, 2 x 700 Watts @ 4 Ohms. The tubey sound of the pre comes that loud and clear, and no one of the all-tube - guys will be able to name if it is an all-tube or my hybrid solution. It was cheap, too! The used SVP Pro was about $ 500,--, the poweramp about $ 400,--.

    My other amp is a GenzBenz GBE 1200, it has two preamps, one with a tube in the circuit, one completely solid state. Fine sounding amp, too, but it can't give you the full sound of a tube amp. But pushing the tube hard and playing together with the band there is no noticeable difference.

    Next amphead in the stable is an old Peavey Max. This is an animal! Same as the Genz, there is only one tube in the one preamp, and a full solid state in the other preamp. Mixing the two channels and pushing the tube hard, it gives you the best no-ampeg-ampeg-sound you ever have heard!

    If you want to go Ampeg, there are some real fine hybrid amps, as the SVT 4 Pro. Full tube pre section, and a hell of a solid state poweramp! Drive the tubes hard, and it will give you the feel of an all tube amp - preamp-wise...

    Did you notice that I did not talk about weight? The Genz is 42 lbs, the SVP Pro and poweramp is about the same weight, the Peavey is about 3-4 lbs less heavy. The SVT 4 Pro is 39,5 lbs, so says the manual. This is not heavy, compared to an SVT 2 Pro, which is 70 lbs. Or an SVT CL or VR, they are both 85 lbs. So if taking a hybrid amp. you seem to go "lightweight" - in a way.....


  19. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    + a million! I love tube amps (and I also have a lightweight SS amp that I really dig as well), but you don't have to.

    Go out and get what suits ya.
  20. Tim1


    Sep 9, 2005
    New Zealand