Love affair with amps begins anew

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JimmyM, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I kind of gave up on amps in the mid-90's. Back in the day, I liked mic'ing my SVT much more than DI'ing my bass. I thought DI's sounded cold and sterile, and nothing sounded better than a mic'ed SVT. Then DI's got better, and my SVT got heavier as I got older. Then it broke, and I didn't get it fixed.

    I bought an SVT 3 Pro and a 4-10". It was OK, but it wasn't the same. A DI always sounded better to me than mic'ing it. And really, I didn't think that the tube preamps made all that much difference in the DI sound, and the sound out of the speakers was good but it was no match at all for that tube SVT, so I gave up mic'ing and I looked for ways to try to get out of bringing an amp at all. But too many drummers complained, so I still brought an amp. Once in a while I played my 66 B-15N through my 4-10" and I'd mic it. That sounded great and put out a fair amount of power. But because the old B was getting delicate and a little fussy for one-nighters, I usually used a hybrid head and my 4-10" and only used it as an onstage monitor. As a result, I got really bored with amps and didn't even really care about them at all except as something I had to have if I wanted to work.

    But now there are a few companies that have really strived to make solid state sound as good as tubes, and they're succeeding at a level and price point I never thought possible. Tell me a year ago that an amp that costs less than $1000 could actually compete with an SVT in any way, shape or form, and I'd have laughed in your face. But as far as clean sounds, I think solid state has just about nailed the tube vibe. And it makes me want to start mic'ing cabs again.

    It also makes me want to play tube amps more and maybe even lug around an SVT occasionally. There's no way I'll ever go back to lugging one full-time because I'm old now, but fortunately, I can finally get that vibe from my new solid state stuff, at least for clean sounds. Clean is all I need for my live work now anyway.

    It's all given me a new appreciation for amps and how important they are for a bassist. I took them for granted for many years because I felt they had become glorified monitors, no better than plugging into a Mackie board and running through the PA. But even though I can still appreciate a good DI, I plan on mic'ing a cab being a much more important ingredient in my sound from here on out. I might even buy me a fancy bass mic, although I still love an old Shure SM-58.

    Hope you all don't mind an old man rambling on a bit, but for the first time in about 12 years, I'm excited about amps again.
  2. There's something magical about plugging my bass into my '75 Traynor YBA-1 head.. there's a sound and feel there that my Eden can't touch. Good tone can come from many things but for great tone (at least great to my ears) you need a simple tube circuit. Unfortunately it only will work for very small gigs as it's 50 watts - but I do get to record it.

    It's the same with guitar amps - nothing beats plugging direct into my Deluxe Reverb and cranking it - and it's an original from '65. I have tried to find amps that could switch between clean and overdrive, but they can't touch a cranked Deluxe Reverb. Not even close. I'm stuck hauling around my beautiful original 65 that should be sitting in the studio. The new re-issues don't even sound like it - maybe it's because I like the sound of the worn-out Oxford in it. Clean it's not so great but cranked it has BALLS. I have a brand new Weber replacement lying around because I had it in for a week and hated it. It was too good, I guess.

    Some day I will locate a Traynor YBA-3 and have enough tube power for most any bass gig. Somewhere along the way in the land of "hi-fi" we have lost the (sweet) sound of an SM57 on a bass cab.
  3. Basshole

    Basshole Inactive

    Jan 28, 2005
    Well, that just happens to be the best sounding bass amp EVER (IMHO), so I'd have to wholeheartedly agree.

    I have two. One totally stock, and one modified by Jim Somma with push-pulls on each channel volume for tone stack boost, and a master volume.
  4. I'd like to just get like six copies of my rig (Traynor head and Bag End 2x12") and that way it wouldn't sound any different, just louder. :smug:

    Actually I bought the head because it was similar to the Bassman/JTM45 circuit and I was going to do some mods and turn it into a killer Plexi amp. Then.. I plugged my bass in. No way am I changing that sound.

    Anyway you like it better than an SVT, etc? If that's what you're saying then I really do have a jem.

    Edit: Just looked at your gear - with that list I bet you know your stuff.. holy **** man!
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I hear ya. I'm more of a 58 fan on bass and a 57 on guitar, but yeah, I really do like them on a cab. Or pretty much anything. Yeah, forget about those large diaphragm overpriced mud-makers. What was I thinking? Of course I'll use a 58!
  6. Actually I have only used a 58 in the past on bass. I always loved it.

    You guys make me happy - I'm not just insane, this stuff does sound great!
  7. A 57 or 58 (or e609) on bass is great, it gets the sound that I want.

    I don't get people saying they don't have enough low end, I find them to make the bass sit perfectly with the kick drum, but its all personal opinion.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    No, it's not all personal opinion. You're right. Those big diaphragm mics are good for bass drums because they handle the SPL's and make it take up that sonic punch to the heart freq range, but for bass they can be too much. I don't dislike them entirely, but a 58 captures the natural range of what it sounds like in the amp better than any mic I've tried. Plus it has an edge to it.

    So yeah, I'm going to try to get my cab mic'ed with a 58 plus a DI from now on. And if they try to give me any lip, I'll make up some story about how I've AB'd the 58 against every mic out there and it always came up the winner. It's kind of true. I've AB'd it against a couple and it always came out the winner ;)
  9. Interceptor


    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    I had an eye opening experience a couple of weeks back.

    We decided we needed to make a quick recording of a handful of songs we're working on. Out of a desire to get things done fast, I put a SM58 on my bass cab, and ran that to the little Mackie to a consumer CD recorder. We mic'd vocals and DI'd an acoustic guitar. Bass gear MTD Heir > Eden WT-400 > EV TL606.

    Shazaam!!!! The tone I've been hunting for. We listend to the tracks in the car on the way home, and the guitar player told me to never change another thing in my sound.
  10. that is really cool jimmy! I really think there is just "something" about a bass amp. I have thought about just buying Subs and going through the PA, but to me that would just take out all the fun and the stage presence.