More Volume, Same Tone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Wilson Kessel, Apr 13, 2018.

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  1. I have a 1972 or 1973 V4 that I absolutely love the tone of... but I play in a band that's goal is to be as loud as possible (bluesy/doom metal). I currently run the amp into two separate 4 ohm cabs for a total impedance from the amp at 2 ohms (max output) - which is already pushing a lot by playing bass through a g***** head according to some (even though there's very little difference in wiring between the early model V4s and V4Bs). The cabs I have are a 1974 Sunn 415M and a 2000s Ampeg 810e. I have a few questions, but let me give a disclaimer first: I do not want a hybrid or solid state amp, unless I am using said amp to slave from my current tube head. Also, I don't have the luxury of having PA support at any of the venues I play at, so it needs to be without that in consideration. I also would rather not get a "tube-emulating" pedal.

    1. I have considered getting a more powerful solid state head and running the V4 into the SS and then running into the cabs, but would that even work without damaging the V4? Or would it (mostly) even keep the tone that I currently get out of the V4? (I have tried a Peavey 260 Booster to run the V4 into and then each head feeds one of the cabs, but it was a negligible amount of volume difference because I had to switch my V4 back to 4 ohms.)
    2. If I got a second amp of the same era/series (either another V4 or a V4B), or possibly a Sunn 2000S, and chained them together, would I even gain much volume since I would then have both heads operating at 4 ohms?
    3. If you think 1 & 2 are bad options, which of these 300W all-tube heads would you recommend for my application? I want the overdriven tube tone I get with the V4 as much as possible but with more volume, in other words, I don't want a "clean" tone.
    - Fender-era Sunn 300T / Fender Bassman Pro
    - 70s SVT
    - Traynor YBA300
    - Fender Super Bassman
    4. I could possibly do a similar thing to #2 but with a 300W head from #3... but that seems dangerous. If that's possible, would you need the more-wattage amp at the beginning or the end of the chain?
    5. Carrots

    Sorry for the long post but this has been a dilemma for a few months now and anyone I play with or know personally that plays doesn't have experience with these options and therefore don't have an educated or experienced opinion.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  2. Adding more power to gain volume is very inefficient when compared to adding more speaker cone area.
    And keeping things all tube is going to limit your power considerably compared to SS power amps.

    I find it hard to imagine that even limited to 300-ish watts with tube amps, that with all of that speaker area you have, that you can't get loud enough.

    Suggestion... Research the SPL of the cabs you have now. You may find they are pretty low. Then see if you can find some new cabs that will give you more bang/watt (tech term ;)) than what you have now. It doesn't take but a few db of increase in SPL to make a big difference.

    If your tube amp has an effects loop, you could use that to drive a honking big SS amp. (And you may need more speakers to handle all that power as well.) But since the output of the loop only gives you the tube pre-amp, you aren't going to get the tube, power amp goodness that you may desire.

    You definitely CAN NOT drive the input of an SS amp directly from the power output section of a tube amp. (Unless you go to some extreme form of interface to get levels and impedance correct.) You could end up frying both amps.
  3. Yeah that's what I was thinking, but thought it was worth asking to confirm my assumption of damaging either (or both) amps was correct. Thank you for your thoughts! Right now I cannot afford to replace speakers, but I considered replacing the original Sunn speakers which are probably very inefficient to some modern 15s, but the 810e should be pretty efficient, right?
  4. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I think I would go after this problem from the speaker cab perspective. It's been years since I heard or even saw a Sunn 415, but I don't remember it being as impressive a cab as the Sunn reputation and configuration would suggest. I don't recall off the top of my head (and am not currently an Ampeg user), but I don't think your 810e is as efficient as many newer choices/options.
  5. I wouldn't automatically assume a certain level efficiency in 810 speakers.

    And as far as replacement of anything, I'm talking new, higher SPL cabs, not putting new speakers in the old cabs.
    Speakers and cabs are designed to work together to get the best performance. This is especially important for bass.
    You can put great speakers in a great cab, but unless they were designed to work together, don't count on even good results.
    mbelue, Lvjoebass and Al Kraft like this.
  6. I think you have enough cabs, note enough juice! Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't your amp 100 watts?
    If it were me, I would get the Fender Super Bassman simply because it comes with a warranty.
    pudgychef and Rezdog like this.
  7. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    Important fact I think one of the criticisms of the Sunn 415M was that it seemed like the speakers and cab design were not optimized to get the most our of that set-up.

    As for the Fridge, it can produce some serious volume, but IME sealed cabs often like more power than ported cabs when you start pushing the volume, i.e. they have lower sensitivity/efficiency.
    mbelue likes this.
  8. Ok I see what you mean. Thanks for the input!

    Yes the V4 is 100W. That's what I was leaning towards... upgrading the head, but would rather not have to spend too much money if it isn't necessary and I just am doing something wrong or not ideal.
  9. Your tube amp puts more or less the same power into whatever you plug it into when you use the correct tap. You could double up on the amps for extra badarse credits or go to a SVT for 150w per cab.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah if you sell that V4 it should fetch most or all of the money you keed to get a good SVT-CL or SVT II. I would start there. If that doesn't get you there sell tue Sunn cab amd get another 810.

    Also, try an HPF to help your head and cabs both not wasting evergy trying to produce frequencies you shouldn't need anyway.

    If you have an SVT driving 16 10" speakers using am HPF to tighten things up.... and you STILL aren't loud enough, I want nowhere near your shows!!! :D
    mbelue, Engle, bobyoung53 and 3 others like this.
  11. Actually, the 415M is currently louder than the 810e. What type of HPF would you recommend? I have no experience with any types of filters.
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Broughton and Fdeck both get a lot of love around here.
    mbelue and Wilson Kessel like this.
  13. madbass6

    madbass6 Inactive

    Jan 13, 2009
    I do not give consent to use any of my photos ! please respect that. thank you.
    keep what ever tone you normally use on your bass settings and on your eq on your Bass amp settings, only raise your master volume On your amp!
  14. The amp is turned up to 11 already, but thanks!
  15. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Where is the 5 (carrots) option? :rage:
    Wisebass likes this.
  16. voided3


    Nov 11, 2008
    I would use your V4 into the Sunn cabinet and get an SVT head for your 8x10 rather than run both dissimilar cabs with one head if maximum volume is the goal.
  17. My bad! I don't know how I neglected that... edited.
    Wisebass and mikewalker like this.
  18. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    I gigged a V4B for years. Get an SVT.
    End of thread.
    bobyoung53 and Wisebass like this.
  19. Interesting... and with dissimilar wattage amps, would I plug my bass into the 300W head or the 100W head?
  20. So you're saying that the V4B worked for you or didn't? I'm confused by your train of thought.

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