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Lightweight head, vintage tone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Freez, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Freez


    Nov 8, 2008
    I'll cut to the chase; I like old school tone, but would really LOVE to get a nice lightweight rig. So I am looking for one that can get a decent old school tone while retaining good note definition. Right now I am contemplating both the Aguilar Tone Hammer head, and the Genz Benz Streamliner. Are there other amps I should be considering? Or should I just get a generic amp and a VT pedal? Money is a factor, but not the most important one. If I have to save for a couple extra months to get my best option, I'm prepared to do that. What do you think TB?
  2. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    If you're super knowledgeable and picky with tone like most people on this forum and unlike me, don't listen to me. If you're somewhat picky, but you're generally happy with a good tone, even though it's not perfect, like me, I might be a good person to listen to.

    When people think of Vintage tone, they think of a SVT head. I've tried a lot solid state and hybrid heads, IMO, there is no replacing an all tube head.

    But if you want vintage warmth that is very flexible, like me, the streamliner with get the job done. I would also recommend a good cabinet. I played with streamliner through a genz Uber Bass 410, it was way too funky sounding for me. I play it through a Bergantino NV610, it's perfect.

    I also have a VT pedal, and it puts out great tones. I never used it as just a preamp, I use it for some adjustments and fuzz. I did, however, try it through a GK700rb and I didn't like the sound. But Gk's are known for their power amp making a specific sound, it sounded cool, but wasn't for me.

    Another option is an Ampeg SVT-7. I had one when they were first issued, and it sounded good, but it had issues so I got rid of it. Very similar to the SVT Classic tone. If you choose the SVT-7, do some research here, the Rev-A's are known to be lemons. Mine was.

    The Streamliner isn't for everyone, they often come up for sale. I got mine for $550ish.
  3. hifibass

    hifibass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2008
    Albany, NY
    Actually the original SansAmp DI will really warm things up, especially on a passive bass with a modern S/S head.
  4. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Totally agree on the Streamliner recommendation - I am definitely an old-school sound guy (heck, I even look old-school!) and I love my STL 900.

    I used it initially with a GB Uber 212 but it was too big for me to lug around - now using Low Down Sound nearful cabs (I have a 12/6 and a 15/6) and the combination is great. If you can get your hands on one, any of the GB Uber cabs (particularly the 212 or 15) and dont mind their size and weight, they will give you the sound you want. They are really not that big, but my goal was to get under 50 lbs. My LDS 15/6 and the STL can blow the roof off of just about any venue, with tone for days - with an old Precision bass with flats.

    I also have a VT and as I get more used to the STL, I am using it less and less, as I can get more of an old school sound from the STL's gain. Ironically, I use it more now if I need a more modern sound for a few songs - so that I don't have to change all of my settings on the STL. I dial in the VT for more treble and "clank" and it works great with the push of a button.
  5. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    To many, myself included, the Mesa Walkabout, (head) is about as pure, warm, and vintage sounding as any amp has ever been. Expensive, but if you have the ear, worth every penny. It's important to have a good spkr cab to go with it though, as the combo version is very limited in volume output. A good 4 ohm 2x12 is a great start.
  6. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    The Older Walter Woods MI-100-8's, MI-400-8's and
    MI-600-8's got about as close to a Vintage Tube Amp as I've ever heard. They weighed respectively 7 1/2 lbs., 9 lbs, and 11 lbs. You frequently see MI-100-8's for sale, but usually the price is pretty steep, especially compared to either the Tonehammer or the Streamliner. I've talked to a TB member that had both the Woods and an Aguilar and liked them both equally. Ultimately, tubes is tubes, but those older Woods Amps were very tube like as they were analog amplifiers with a digital power supply. Just my take.

  7. arai

    arai Banned

    Jul 16, 2007
    I am all about old school tone too. The tc electronic RH450 nails old school and has great features too
  8. 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
    Tone Hammer 500. TCE RH750 can do it, too.
  9. Freez


    Nov 8, 2008
    Should have mentioned; I have a Sansamp, and it's just not cutting it for me. Also, I had a GK 800-RB in the eighties, and was never really satisfied with the tone, too modern sounding for me.
  10. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I had a Walkabout
    I have an SVP-CL / power amp that is close
    My SVT still has the BEST tone for me although I rarely carry it
    I'm guessing I too should be headed towards a STL or 7Pro but how about MB500's
  11. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    If the Sansamp isn't getting you to where you want to get, I would consider looking at something with at least a tube preamp. I liked the "Motown" sound I could get with a Markbass LM-Tube. A lot depends on the cab too, but the VLE helps a bit there.
  12. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

    +1(ish) I use a Shuttle with a VT Bass Tech 21.
  13. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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

  14. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Oh no....the MB500 is as far from vintage as you can get, really.

  15. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Mesa Walkabout

  16. LowBSix

    LowBSix Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    818 ~ 805 ~ L.A.
    Endorsing Artist: GHS Strings
    Aguilar TH500 3.75 pounds
    Eden WTX 500 4 pounds
    MESA Walkabout 13 pounds

    I've used them each with a MESA Scout 4 ohm 12 with flat EQ and they all reproduced my P or J bass classic vintage tone.

    I prefer the tighter more controllable bottom and weight of the TH and WTX in that order. Yes the Walkabout sounds great at triple the weight.

    For me the Aguilar sound captures what I like... You'll not be disappointed with either. As I approach my 6th decade, I'm going light weight!

    PS: I owned a Walter Woods 600 for 20 years and it was very classic sounding at four times the price of the other heads. I could open up the gain and master all the way and it was dead silent. I can't say that about any other amp I've ever owned.
  17. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    I'd say the Tone Hammer or one of the TCE heads will get you there. Both seem to have captured it well. When anyone asks me to describe the differences between my GK and TCE combos my initial comment is always that the TCE is more "old school" and "vintage" and the GK is a more modern sound.
  18. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    What he said. The Walkabout is an amazing head imo. I have used it mounted in a Scout 12 combo, running a Mesa Scout 15 extension cab, 2 - GK NEO 112's and an Epifani PS410. It is the one head that I love across all those.

    FYI - There is one in the classifieds right now for $450 even (no connection to seller).
  19. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Streamliner 600 works for me. Very fat, nicely articulate at the same time. Can get wooly if you want that. Great head.
  20. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    I am using a Fulltone Fat Boost pedal in front of a GB Shuttle Max 6.0 to warm up the tone. This is a very versatile set up due to ability to use the foot-switchable channel switching and shelving EQ with the Fat Boost on or off. I also use other pedals to get some overdrive, but the Fat Boost has mojo for bass IMHO.