Noob Here: Massive Amp Overhaul

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by steers b-c, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. steers b-c

    steers b-c

    Aug 23, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Hey, I'm new here. Hopefully asking a question of this length isn't too obnoxious. Anyway, through some stroke of luck, I've managed to score about $2500 to be spent (total, no bending) on amplification and speaker equipment, something desperately needed given the demands I place upon gear.

    I need to admit right up front that I absolutely rip through most standard gear because of all sorts of dropped tunings, noise loops, distortion, and volume. I currently have an American Standard Jazz, an Ampeg HLF 4x10, a GK 400RB, a Yorkville XS-400 H, a Bass Drive, a Line 6 DL-4, a Whammy 4, and a TU 2. I used to have an old Traynor YBA series amp, but I somehow fried it...and I actually blew out ALL the speakers on the Ampeg with some of the nutty stuff I've done, and I'm not at all happy with my tone at this point.

    That said, my technical know-how is pretty limited, my experience with top notch gear practically none, and my understand of things like racks non-existant. Hence, I come to you, the knowledgable public, for assistance in what I should perhaps purchase. I know three things I want.

    1) Tubes: the more, the better. I've tried hybrids, but I haven't found a balance that makes me content. That said, this cash influx is a one time deal, and I don't know that I can keep up with the type of maintainance required for a Mesa 400+ or SVT-CL despite my love of both these amps.

    2) Bi-amp: looking at 1x15 or 1x18 that can handle extreme lows and loops and, if at all possible, to retain my Ampeg for the highs, if only to save cash on getting a different cab.

    3) Tone: Reference points include Lightning Bolt, Jesus Lizard, Trevor Dunn, Isis. I play in an extremely chaotic noise/metal band (myspace linked in sig), so I want to be able to get an aggresive pick tone as well as a massive thump when I hit that drop D.

    1) I'd prefer new, in case I need to use a warantee.
    2) I need something I can actually find, rather than something I have to wait 6 months for to appear on ebay.

    If I can spend less, that would be great. That said, I'm willing to blow the dough if it means I can get what I need. Thanks in advance for your assistance and have a wonderful day.
  2. steers b-c

    steers b-c

    Aug 23, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    I looked at the rules and didn't see anything against it, so...



    Thanks again.
  3. My advice, if you like tube sound, get a tube preamp. One with a crossover is convenient, probably hard to find an independent crossover for what you need without extra bells and whistles (4 way stereo, 5 way mono, etc). You just need 2 way mono xover.

    That'll give you the tube sound, now you need plenty of power without any expensive power tubes to replace periodically, get a really big solid state power amp that won't struggle to keep up with your needs. If it isn't stressed, it virtually puts out exactly what comes in, so would preserve the tube sound from the preamp. If you run it too hard, it starts clipping here and there, that nasty solid state clipping, so ruins the tube warmth. Get one that bridges into 4 ohms in case you decide you don't like to biamp and want to run full range with both cabs, and make sure you get an 8 ohm cab for the lows, and make sure the Ampeg is 8 ohms not 4.

    With all that power available (stereo amp) you could then biamp and still use the Ampeg 4x10, it should survive better in biamp mode without handling the deep lows. Then get something for the bottom end.

    You can probably do that for less than $2500.
  4. steers b-c

    steers b-c

    Aug 23, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Hey Steve, thanks for the reply. Good point about pushing the power amp, because I didn't think about it, but it makes perfect sense. I unfortunately have two problems. 1) The Ampeg is indeed 4 ohm and 2) I know basically nothing about brands, options, and all that in terms of rack gear...I had no idea some of these things had built in crossovers. Any specific suggestions would be excellent, because from there hopefully I can start to piece it all together. Thanks again.
  5. Just some ideas:

    - Demeter VTBP-201S - very sparkly/modern sounding ($600 or so new)
    - Kern IP777 - great tube preamp
    Note: neither of these have crossovers - I use a Peavey 2/3 way crossover in my P.A. - cost less than 100 dollars and works like a champ

    Power amps:
    - QSC PLX 3402 (as you seem to need power). This amp will bridge into 4-ohms fine. However, in my opinion, if you run it in parallel (one channel powers your 4x10, another will power your 1x15 or 1x18), the amp will be capable of putting 1100 watts into each channel at 4 ohms per channel - just can't see you needing much more headroom than that. This amp only weighs 21 pounds. New it will run you about 1200 dollars (or try Northern Light and Sound...might be 100 or so less there).

    As I figure it, even if you buy a crossover and a rack case (get at least a 6-space rack case to give you room for a power strip and something else in the future) for the gear above, you'll still have 500 dollars left in your budget for the 1x15 or 1x18 cabinet. There are LOTS of options for decent cabinets in that price range that will fill out the sound of all your 10's.

    Just some thoughts,
  6. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    If I can score you a rig for less than that, will you give me the difference. Just kidding. :D

    What about an Aguilar preamp? I like the DB-659 for warm tubey goodness. The DB-680 is even better. One that does not get much attention is the Trace Elliott V-Type. I don't believe you can get one brand new anymore though. The BMax-T from BBE seems to be alright. I liked the one I tried alot. You can also score yourself the SVP-Pro from Ampeg if you dig the Ampeg thing.

    QSC, Crest, Crown all make good power amps. You just need to decide how much power you want.

    I would add an Eden 118 or 115. If you want you cabs to match, the Ampeg 15's do a fine job.

  7. steers b-c

    steers b-c

    Aug 23, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Hey, thanks for the suggestions. Do you know any decent 4 ohm 1x15 or 1x18 that could handle the abusive stuff I do while still pushing out a strong drop-D? Should I consider getting a PA sub for that?
  8. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    10's or 12's would serve you better for drop-d all the way down to the low b, drop-d's arent really that low for modern high-end cabs

    some suggestions:

    eden xst series, acme B4, schroeder....

    check out the schroeder mega thread, one of those bad boys should do you very well from whats been said at nice prices.

    oh and i love my aguilar db659 preamp. i pump 1200 wats into my eden 210xst but you'd probably want a lot more speaker area than me, but it handles my low-b nicely
  9. I would go for a Mesa Boogie 400+ or Ampeg SVT-CL and a Mesa Powerhouse 215 if I were you. I don't think those amps are as much maintenance as you think they are, as longs as their cared for properly.
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY


    There are many here that will tell you that these amps are no more maintainance than any solid state amp.
  11. steers b-c

    steers b-c

    Aug 23, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    I meant in terms of retubing every two years and the like. That gets quite expensive, as I found with my old Traynor. Thanks for all the suggestions! Keep em coming, particularly in terms of cabs!
  12. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    That two year thing is a myth propogated by amp companies who sell their own brands of tubes.
  13. Check out and click on "Products", then MAB18. If you want to check out the reviews, go to and navigate your way through the amp product reviews by manufacturer.

    Also spend a couple of minutes on the "artists" portion of the madison site - VERY impressive.

    Bottom line is that this is a 1x18 that can take a massive amount of abuse - both sonically and physically. It's a 100% hardwood, tolex covered, 500/1000 watt cabinet with casters already installed. It's listed at 8 ohms, but I'm sure Dawn and Co. will make a 4-ohm version for you

    I think you'll find it worth your time.

  14. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
  15. steers b-c

    steers b-c

    Aug 23, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Looks nice. Price is kinda out there for me at the moment, but I might be picking up a Sunn 300T for between $600-$700, which would make it possible. Thanks for the heads up.

    Speaking of which, since I'm not going to get a chance to play this amp before pulling the trigger, what do people think about the Sunn 300T? Thanks. :)
  16. Don't believe the price on the site...give them a call. They list a "MSRP" price (not sure why), but their direct sale prices are much better (like 1/2 of what's listed).

    For example - Steelsound ( sells their products - the MAB18 is listed at $399 direct (costs about 75 more with shipping).

    Take care,
  17. N*Joy


    Nov 30, 2002
    Birmingham, UK
    Have a think about why you've blown speakers. There's too much **** trying to fight its way through to those cones, as in too wide a frequency range - I've done lots of it myself in the past.

    One key fix I think you will need to do is just cut out everything below 40hz (some power amps have this low shelving facility built in) - forget about fundamentals, they don't mean a damn thing seeing as your PA guys cut off everything at 40-60hz anyway. Reason being is you are obviously using up huge portions of power attempting to generate frequencies that you can't hear or your cab can't reproduce (clipping from solid state amps combined with loads of delay/verb on the lows will always spell disaster for speakers).
  18. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    The Sunn 300T is a kickass amp, and will probably suit your needs perfectly. It's also got well placed handles so it's easy to lift the 80 lbs of godliness of it.
  19. steers b-c

    steers b-c

    Aug 23, 2005
    Austin, Texas

    Thanks for the heads up. Once I find out for certain about the Sunn, I'll fire off an email about getting a 2 ohm version.
  20. Just a thought - it would be a 4-ohm cab (not sure I've ever seen a 2-ohm driver).

    Also - not trying to rain on your Sunn idea; however, the rig I originally proposed 10 posts or so ago will only weigh about 40 pounds total (1/2 the Sunn), and you'll have 3400 watts to play with (yes, I know comparing SS watts to tube watts isn't linear, but I'm trying to follow the original post in this thread's desires).

    Again, these are just ideas - go with what you want.