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New (Old) Amp Day: Sound City 100

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by WhiteNinja, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. WhiteNinja


    Jan 20, 2011
    Hey all!

    So, I just required this old Sound City amp for a very nice price. It's an L100 Mark 3 Custom Built from 1969. I originally bought it for guitar, but since I don't have a decent guitar cab to use it on atm (still on the lookout), I thought I'd give it a whirl with my Ampeg 810 cab in the meantime. To my surprise it sounds REALLY good. Loud and raw, very vintagey, goes really loud before it breaks up. It doesn't have the thunderous low-end as the SVT or other all-tube bass amps, but it has it's own character that sounds sweet.

    I really want to try it in a band context now to see how it holds up compared to the SVT. Maybe I could use the Rick-O-Sound on my 4001 to run BOTH amps at the same time, with the SC set to overdrive! :bassist:

    Any other guys here who have a Sound City amp, or use an old guitar amp for bass? Anyone want to share some info about the Sound City amps? I don't know too much about these, other than they are similar to Hiwatt, apparently.

    Here's a pic of it sitting on my 810:

  2. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Congrats on the amp! I recently picked one up as well, a 75 Mk 4 L120 amp. Amazingly loud and clear. Just went through the process of recapping and cleaning mine up (album of pics here). I used mine at a gig the night it arrived and it was pretty awesome, albeit a bit noisy (given the state it was it, no surprise really). Either way, enjoy yours, they're pretty nice little amps!

  3. I require you to send it to me.:D
  4. GreaserMatt


    Sep 4, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    ^^^ LOL!!! I'm not sure which one to drool all over first; the head or the cab! Talk about a dream rig... I love that kind of stuff though...
  5. bertbass666


    Mar 6, 2009
    A MK3 walks all over a MK4 in my opinion. Used them a lot in the late 60s early 70s. Great amps. If you need more bottom end just stick a graphic EQ in front.
  6. WhiteNinja


    Jan 20, 2011
    Awesome, love that cab and the way it looks... it definitely has a story or two to tell! Great stuff! :)

    Aquire, of course, silly me! Your request has been denied, though! :p

    How is a MK3 better than a MK4? Genuine question; I don't know too much about these, other than the association with Hiwatt... and that they sound awesome!

    I don't use a graphic EQ, but I have a Phat Phuk B booster that gives me the bottom end that it lacks by itself, really makes it sound BIG.
  7. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    The Mk3 and older were a simpler design. The Mk4 introduced an active pre-amp that can be a bit noisy and very sensitive to small changes so a lot of people don't like them. Running it clean, I don't feel like there's as much difference as if you're really cranking the amp. The 120's are loud as all get out before you get any distortion, helps that they have 6 EL34s.
  8. WhiteNinja


    Jan 20, 2011
    Tried the amp at the rehearsal room tonight, and it was awesome. Really nice, middy vintage tone, with enough balls to make the whole room shake! :D
    It totally slayed with a fuzz though. Damn, what a sound. Wish I had a recorded it, it was really fun.

    There's just something about those old tube monsters... I don't think I could go back to SS stuff ever again. That view might change with me getting older though, who knows. :p

    Interesting. Didn't know about the active EQ thing. Was that an original design by Sound City?
  9. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    The Mark 4 active eq seems fairly unique to sound Scity as far as musical instrument amps go, like most things it probably came from a book. It is a pretty good eq, you just have to make sure it isn't broken. Because it has tons of gain, but not distortion, some noise gets quite loud, so you need to sort the noise, mostly from degrading carbon composite resistors, replace them with new ones. A full recap is as necessary as it is with any amp of that age too. Once that is done, absolute monsters, but for people used to setting passive valve amp eqs by eye, where you spin the knobs like a safe dial, it causes trouble.
    Edit: thread on sorting a mark 4 http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/sound-city-b120-mkiv-restoration-779426/
  10. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I have a SC 200 Plus great amp paid 149 for it.
  11. WhiteNinja


    Jan 20, 2011
    Nice, how's that working for you? Is it similar to the Hiwatt Custom 200?

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