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Most neutral (least coloration or sonic signature) Bass amp out there?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by L. L. Elwood, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood

    Jan 22, 2004
    Hi All,

    Wondered if anyone out there could comment on this? I'm looking for opinions on the most neutral sounding (when set flat) bass amp available.

  2. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Really too many variables for me (at least) to be able to answer this. Are we talking about tube vs. solid state? Tube amps, in general, have their own character, depending on the tubes (power or preamp).

    There are some reputed transparent preamps out there that you could couple with a power amp and perhaps get the best results.

    It really is largely subjective (in my subjective opinion). I mean, I consider my G-K stuff to be pretty transparent, but it still has its own "character". I'd offer up my Eden WT-800, but it has a preamp tube.

    For me, it's probably easier to think of brands which are the *least* transparent, such as SWR and Trace Elliot.

    JMO, which is most likely wrong. ;)
  3. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood

    Jan 22, 2004
    Yes thanks for helping narrow this down a little. So restated, Any opinions on or preferences on Bass amps with the least amount of coloration or Signature in a solid state head, and least amount of coloration or signature in a tube head.

    Thanks for your help!
  4. Carvin bx500, bx1200

    Markbass LM series or f series

    Tecamp puma
  5. R Baer

    R Baer Commercial User

    Jun 5, 2008
    President, Baer Amplification
    All depends on your idea of "flat". If you are talking about "knobs at noon" flat, then you need to look at amps that don't engineer a preset EQ into the preamp, of which there aren't many. The other option is to not worry about your knobs and instead look for an amp that will let you achieve an optimally flat response by dialing out the built in EQ. Always difficult IMO, due to the fact that the controls on the front panel are usually not designed with the exact same frequency centers and bandwidths used to create the built in EQ in the first place. My preference is to use a flat preamp with a flexible EQ section. Bass Gear Magazine is a great resource, as they are the only magazine I know that even bothers to take a few measurements and show you what the preamp looks like with everything set at noon.
  6. jibreel

    jibreel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Acoustic image hands down. However, as others say, no necessarily a good thing.
  7. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member


    And definitely the Glockenklang Heart Rock.
  8. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    If you dont mind the Pre/Power rig a channel strip can be very uncolored.
  9. Sixgunn


    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    +1 on the BX1200!!
  10. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    another +1`
  11. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Carvin amps.

    Loads of eq control but really no baked in signature sound of their own. Some would consider that sterile or lifeless. Others see it as a blank canvas on which to paint.
  12. Jarrett


    Jan 19, 2004
    Waxahachie, Tx
    The BX500 is the most truly flat amp I've playing in 20+ years. If you turn the contour knob to the flat setting, it's pretty much flat. I dig mine.
  13. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan

    I really love how neutral my B1500 is, but I also really like how warm it feels/sounds when I start pushing the drive way up there.
  14. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    6 mo. old thread. OP, did you find what you were looking for?

    Not to derail (although probably inevitable) what is your tonal goal, or reasoning behind seeking a "neutral sounding" amp? Are you trying to get the sound of your bass as if it was plugged directly into a FOH system that has been analyzed to its room, or just into something that sounds like you are direct into a power amp? Just curious as to how you define 'neutral' and why.

  15. Virgil

    Virgil She's My Inspiration Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2005
    Dresher, Pa.
    TecAmp Black Jag 900.
  16. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Your bass in the case, latches latched, gets you the most pristine sound. :)
  17. eyeballkid


    Jul 19, 2009
    wes virginny
    my JGR pre, thru the Pre-EQ out, is about as close to the naked sound of any bass Ive ever had, and I can get real real close with the EQ engaged.
  18. reddavid


    Oct 11, 2001
    Wayne, PA
    Euphonic Audio iAmp is very clean.
  19. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Do you mean neutral as far as frequency response, signal to noise, dynamic response, distortion rating, or...? Those aspects are typically not all achievable at the same time, and the frequency response is highly affected by the room too.

    Just for the heck of it I went out of my way to build a tube preamp with the flattest response possible, and it had no tone controls at all. Here is an actual measurement of frequency response:


    Frankly, it didn't sound completely neutral to me, even with that curve. My old Carvin BX-500's curve, measured at the EFX send with all EQ at noon and contour all the way down, is below. Definitely didn't sound completely neutral to me either, nor did my old EA or AI amps. That's not to say any of them sounded highly colored or bad in any way either though. ;)

  20. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Millennia TD-1 Preamp/DI into any good quality power amp.

    Pristine & transparent would be the adjectives I'd use for their sound (just ask tombowlus).