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Looking to change up my tone: Tube vs. Solid State

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kdogg, Dec 23, 2006.


  1. kdogg

    kdogg

    Nov 13, 2005
    Ohio
    Okay, so I've been a die hard solid state guy since a started playing bass, but all this talk of tubes has got me curious. I currently run an ampeg svt 4-pro head into an ampeg svt 610 cabinet, imho just a great setup. But, in large part due to this place, I'm gas'n to try an ampeg svt cl head with this cab. So, my question is, for those of you who have made the switch, what were your biggest joys and your biggest disappointments, if any? I know this head will sound great in my three piece rock group, but how will it do for funk or jazz? Will it be as versatile as the 4-pro?

    I want to add, that I really like the 4-pro, just lookin' to change up my tone a little.

    Thanks Guys :bassist:
     
  2. I have a D-180/1x15- a kinda hot-rod B-15, if you will. A really cool aspect of this rig is the tonal details that pop out- harmonics all over the strings, finger noise that actually sounds good, & that oh-so-pretty & present only if you really want it(once you dial in your sweet spot between clean & OD)grind.
    Dissapointments- hmmm... it's a given these things are heavy, so I can't really gripe there- that's about it.
    I like the real old funk stuff, w/flats & only the occasional slap riff here & there, which to me sounds great through tubes. Same thing I think, for jazz, but you might try to keep a SS head around for that gig. I also have an Eden WT-400, so I have both ends of the hi-fi/OD spectrum pretty well covered. An SVT should be pretty versatile, though; w/the headroom provided by 300 watts, you should be able to clean it up when neccesary(there's certainly lots of info on these heads, too).
     
  3. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    I used to have a Aguilar DB680 ( all-tube preamp) with a QSC poweramp - I traded them in for a 2 PRO (300 watts all tube).

    The 2 PRO (same as the Classic, just more tone controls and more tube growl control) is a very versatile amp. The overdrive produced from it gives finger playing a very "lively" sound. The tube drive adds a "clunk" type of sound to the bass tone - it basically makes the bass tone stick out and punch you in the face.

    As for versatility, the 2 PRO can do anything. Sure, the bass tone is not clean and pretty - its punchy, thick and, growls very musically. The 2 PRO can be clean sounding - it's Ampeg clean and it will have a little growl to it. The growl is not obnoxious - it's not to the point of people saying "This amp can only do a rock bass tone". It sounds great.

    The SVT Classic - IMHO - just does not have a lot of versatility. I always felt that I could not control enough of the 200-2khz very well. Nor could I do much with the 80-150hz range. Some people don't care about tone control like I do, and that's why they will go for the SVT CL - more power to them. Any tone I want, I can get with the 2 PRO.

    Solid State amps are not bad, if you want clean all the time, go solid state. If you want that growly, in your face punch - I think tube is the only way to go.

    I should add, try out a tube amp with a good cab and you will see exactly what tubes can do. A lot of what I am telling you is based on my experience with tube amps. What I said is a good reference point to keep in mind - try out the equipment and see if I am correct.
     
  4. 8mmOD

    8mmOD

    Mar 20, 2005
    USA
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    I am not a huge fan of the 4 pro, but the best I have heard it sound is with a Sansamp BDDI on front end. That combination sounds better than an SVT CL, IMO. Since you do like the 4 pro, this is a good solution since you can keep the amp settings you like & then stomp on the BDDI when you want some added "tubey-ness". Even better, a BDDI is pretty cheap.

    My personal rig is 100% solid state, but I get compliments my "tube amp's tone" all the time. I stopped using my '74 SVT about a year ago in favor of the BDDI into a power amp, or direct to the PA. But If you can get ahold of an all tube head, definately try it out for yourself & see what you like best. :bassist:
     
  5. kdogg

    kdogg

    Nov 13, 2005
    Ohio
    It's amazing that you brought up the sansamp. I picked one up a few months back and it really added that extra punch I always felt was missing from my 4-pro. I never play without it now. I don't really use the tube overdrive on the sansamp. I use it more as a preamp boost and it shines in this role.
     
  6. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    I'm a tube freak. Let's get that out of the way first. That said, if your only 2 choices are to keep the 4 pro that you really like or sell it for a CL that you haven't tried with your cab, I'd keep the 4. Honestly, after trying both, I prefer the 4. Much more flexible, more useable in the real world. I have not been impressed with the CL at all, though I have been unable to crank one up. That said, even if they do sound great at full volume, how often is that going to be possible?

    If you're curious, try out any tube head you come across. IMO the SVT2 is more flexible and can get a killer tone - clean or distorted - at reasonable volumes, plus being able to rattle the building if need be. As an extra bonus, you won't give yourself a hernia picking it up.
     
  7. 8mmOD

    8mmOD

    Mar 20, 2005
    USA
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    Well... the sansamp BDDI is amazing pedal, IMO. I swear by mine & it was after hearing one paired with the 4 pro that made me go back and spend more time with my own. And you nailed the explination... "that extra punch I always felt was missing from my 4-pro"

    Anyway kdogg, you should give the tubes amps a listen, but IMO, what you have right now (BDDI/4 pro) IMO is much more versatile and when it is dialed in right, sounds better & is louder than the CL.

    You want to change your tone without changing your amp? Try a different bass. :bassist:
     
  8. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    You really have to play each in A BAND situation to decide. I have been going back and fourth for many years. I remember when I was in high school (30+yrs back), and had an Acoustic 370 setup. Then I tried an all tube amp and it sounded great in the store, but got too mushy in a band setting. The same has happened recently last 10 years). I went from an SVT4 pro to a SVT2 pro, to a 1972 SVT vintage to a Mesa 400+ and now I'm back to a G-K 200RB. I still have (and love) an older V-4 and Sunn 2000S head, but I seldom take them out of the house. My feelings are if you need big thump with a 5 string with a loud band, go SS. If you are in a more intimate setting or use a 4 string, you may like a tube head. Like I said, there is no true answer off the cuff. Then there is speaker efficiency, multi cabs, small cabs, etc, etc. They all play a part in your sound. Are you more confused yet?
     
  9. brothernewt

    brothernewt Some people call me the stormtrooper of love...

    Apr 13, 2004
    Happyrock, OR
    I've always felt something was missing with every ss or hybrid amp I've ever played.... and over the years, there's been a ton. Going back to all-tube heads is the only thing that solved it for me. You might also consider that the SVT-CL is generally considered kind of "blah" as far as all-tube heads goes.

    Gentle disclaimer: even as far a ss/hybrid rigs go, I didn't like the SVT-4 or Sansamp, so my input/opinion might be too biased to be completely valuable.
     
  10. 8mmOD

    8mmOD

    Mar 20, 2005
    USA
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    brothernewt- I am curious as to how much time you actually spent with either the 4 pro or sansamp, or both together? I really disliked the 4 pro on its own, but it has so d@mn many options that it took awhile, but i finally got it to sound decent... although still not my cup of tea.

    As far as the sansamp, I bought mine and thought it was "ok". I used it for awhile then shelved it until I heard it with the 4 pro and checked out the guys settings. I dialed mine in like his & I must say there is a small window of settings that I like on the Sansamp... but within that window it sounds fantastic, IMO. However, if I stray too far from those settings it doesnt sound good to me... but honestly I am that way with pretty much all of my amps.
     
  11. brothernewt

    brothernewt Some people call me the stormtrooper of love...

    Apr 13, 2004
    Happyrock, OR
    I didn't spend much with the SVT-4. I tried it a few times in the store... and as a backline at a few shows, but I didn't like the sound as much as the SVT-3. I wound up with a SVP-Pro and a seperate larger poweramp for a while, but still didn't do the trick. Much happier with my all tube amps now.

    I actually bought a Sansamp and used it for a while. Did some direct recordings with it, both as a seperate track to blend with and in front of the SVP and an Eden WT-550. The guitar players liked it, but it didn't do the trick for me so I sold it quickly.

    I never did use the two together, and admittedly the OP seems to like both, so like I said... my opinion/advice may be too biased.