Old school amps/cabs versus new school

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by chris stopa, Oct 31, 2011.


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  1. chris stopa

    chris stopa

    Feb 8, 2011
    I am a 60 year old bassplayer. I started playing in bands in the mid sixties and continued into the 70s playing in the later years 4-6 nights a week every week around CT-New York .In 68' heard the Jimmy Hendrix Experience play out in the middle of a local football field and even though I was in the bleachers far away - I could feel my chest vibrate from the 6 Sunn 200s bass amps that Noel Redding was using. They contained 2 JBL 1 5 inch speakers each in a unique enclosure. I ran out and bought a Sunn 200s for $685 (list around $850) and my whole world changed. When I played small to medium clubs in New York people said that they could feel the bass in their chest even at the bar in the other room. Some club owners told me that they noticed the front windows of their club shaking with my bass. Unfortunately I gave the Sunn to a friend when I left Connecticut. I now miss it like a lost family member. I recently bought into the current idea of a good 4 10 enclosure with high end speakers and a powerful amp with a tube in the preamp. Not the same. Sounds great but the 4 10 enclosure does not shake your chest. I know that the popular focus now is on hearing the bass leads and a more treble register but I honestly think many bass players now do not realize what it was like to shake the audience's bones . The Sunn had a bass boast button and when pushed down( which for me was always ) it shook the walls without being too loud. I never ran the amp over 4.5 on the volume. Tubes and a good enclosure with JBL 15s was the key. The JBL 15s are unique. They were like a giant piston pushing air at the audience in very powerful way. The 10 inch speaker thing started to became popular in the early 70s with Traynor amps but I never heard them move air and push the chest vibration like the JBL 15s in the Sunn Ampeg in those days were mostly the type that made good studio amps but I used them and they did not project well in a live situation. Accoustic had a weird speaker that was turning backwards to the front and was loud but again no powerful vibes. The Sunn amps were the amps of the day and were used by Noel Redding ( Hendrix Experience ), John Enwistle in the Who, and at times by Jack Cassady of the Jefferson Airplane. The 200s was only about 65 watts but the 2 JBLs made the difference. I hate to see that JBL stopped making the D140 15 inch just recently due to lack of demand. You younger bass players really do not know what you are missing.
     
  2. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    This should be awesome. Sub'd.
     
  3. IntrepidCellist

    IntrepidCellist Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Manhattan
    The K140s are pretty sweet. Never used the D140s. However, I've gotten "gut punched" with a little 500w micro head into an Ampeg 8x10, or a beat-up old SWR 6x10, or a pair of Eden D212XLTs. :shrug:
     
  4. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    Chris, I have to agree with you. I miss the feeling of my pants flapping in front of a couple of dual 15 cabs! I don't get the same feeling with my 10 & 12 in speaker cabs. Thanks for the trip back!

    Cheers,
    Jim
     
  5. While I agree that there ain't no sub for tubes, some modern amps will still flap my flares when using a couple of 15"s.
    SVT 7 PRO for a good eg. of a 'modern' powerhouse.
    My 1st amp was an all tube 100w head into a 215 -C'78
     
  6. chris stopa

    chris stopa

    Feb 8, 2011
    Thanks guys for the agreement/support. Yea some solid state amps through a tech 21 VT and using good 15s might do but I somehow feel that the combination of that SUNN amp and it's enclosure plus the JBLs was unique.
     
  7. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    i think that i know exactly what the OP means: ;)

    IMG_0004-2-3.jpg

    67-200S-1.jpg
     
  8. paganjack

    paganjack

    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Honestly, most of the clubs I play at don't allow for cranking the crap out of my amp. I kind of wish I didn't have PA support at the bigger shows sometimes.
     
  9. chris stopa

    chris stopa

    Feb 8, 2011
    God. Its almost shocking seeing the Sunn amps especially the 200s head. How did you keep them so clean? Are they remanufactured?
     
  10. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    they're just old original Sunns that i was fortunate enough to find in very good condition.

    and i agrre with you. IMO, they still sound better than anything made today.
     
  11. what are the dimensions of a Sunn 200s? would anyone be so nice as to measure one for me? thanks.
     
  12. If someone ever came up to me and asked if I could be someone else for a day, my answer would be JohnK. You just have the coolest stuff dude. This, your custom RIC's, and your ampeg collection are just amazing. Some times I really think about leaving this sight, just because of all the GAS.:D
     
  13. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    The good news is old amp sound is totally archived in software modelers today. Not everyone can have an original, but technology allows anybody to reproduce the sound. Technology moves on.

    $685 in 1968 dollars is like $4300 today and nobody is paying near those prices for stable high sound quality, and powerful gear.

    Carriage return is still available on your keyboard as it was on typewriters. It may say "Enter" but it works the same. :)
     
  14. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    Those are beautiful! JohnK, I tip my hat sir.

    Cheers,
    Jim
     
  15. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    ...and the bad news is that the modelers don't even come close to the real thing, but it's cool if you want to pretend that they do. ;)
     
  16. edbass

    edbass

    Nov 8, 2004
    Just because YOU can't hear the difference between the two doesn't mean that there is no difference. Get some real world experience and you may someday be able to tell the differences for yourself.
    Then again, maybe not...
    Some people just don't possess the ability to discern tonal nuances.

    Anyway, here's one of my favorite pant leg flappers;

    DSC00114-1-1.jpg
     
  17. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    that's a real beauty you have there Ed!
     
  18. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    aw shucks......thanks.
    well. if you ever come out to socal, you're more than welcome to come visit and play them. :)
     
  19. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    The Acoustics also? :hyper: :D
     
  20. JdoubleH

    JdoubleH Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ellerslie, Georgia
    Do these things emulate the smell of warm tubes too?
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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