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Other Amps in the SA200 range?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bates, Apr 10, 2006.


  1. Bates

    Bates

    Aug 10, 2005
    Austin, TX
    The Sadowsky SA200 looks great.

    Are there any other amps in its class that I should look at before jumping ship?
     
  2. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Arkansas
    Maybe the Orange tube head?
     
  3. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Tonally, the only thing that I have heard that I like close to as much is the Trace Elliot V8. Some other amps which kinda do some of the things that I hear my SA200 doing would be the Eden VT-300 (which was also designed by Dolf Koch) and the Aguilar DB 359. The Eden is not nearly as refined sounding, though, and I find the Sadowsky's EQ to work much better, but the Eden was designed to let you dial in some snarling overdrive at almost any volume, which is cool. The DB 359 has a very pretty clean tone, and I hear a good bit of mid-scoop going on. It really sounds great until you compare it to the SA200, which is just as pristine and pretty, but also big, full, warm, and just more powerful sounding. I love my vintage Trace Elliot tube gear, and the VR350 tube amp - with a bass plugged straight into it - gets sort of close to the clean tone of the SA200.

    I have not heard an Orange head, but I would love to give one a try sometime.

    Tom.
     
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    If you aren't totally set on a 100% Tube amp, the MesaMPulse600 can get very modern and clean sounding, and surprisingly tube-like (it has multiple preamp tubes). It's kind of like a 'cleaner more modern' AgDB750 to my ear.

    I didn't hear the V8 sounding very similar the the SA200... much more grindy and SVT-like to me. I would guess that's the same with the Orange.

    However, from the short time I spent playing through and listening to the SA200, I found the sound very clean and somewhat refined and modern for an all tube head. While the Mesa won't get you 100% there by any means, from my indirect comparison it might get you close for half the cost, and half the size and weight... especially once the band kicks in on the gig.

    That being said, the SA200 is a wonderful head... if you are looking to go totally tube and don't mind the price and size, it's very, very, very cool!
     
  5. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Actually, at the GTG, I spent more time with the V8 doing it's "SVT thing" than I did trying to dial in a killer clean tone, but it can do that, too. And I should be clear, it's not that it really sounds a lot like the SA200, but more that it can do an exceptionally good clean tone that is almost as good - IMHO - as the SA200's.

    Tom.
     
  6. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    They are both 200 watts, that's all I know so far. I need to try the SA200... Atlanta Bass Gallery has one, I'll have to check one out my next time in Jim's shop.

    hmm, maybe I'll have to bring an AD200B to your next Bass Borg. :D
     
  7. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Hey Tom,

    Where would you put the Hexa in this space?

    BTW, I re-tubed with Sovtek 6550WE's and cleaned up the sound a lot. Those GE knock-offs sounded a lot furrier to me.

    I mentioned the Hexa to Roger when I just ordered an instrument. He didn't seem too impressed.

    I think it sounds great, but what do I know.

    Paul
     
  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    That does it! You are officially invited! :D
     
  9. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The Hexa is one of the very, very all-tube good amps, IMHO. I'd say that the Valve line is equally full sounding, relative to the SA200, but not quite as clear - though the Valves are no slouch in this regard. The SA200 is a little more open and airy, and very fast. The Valve series is a bit more warm and round. But the Twin, Quatra, and Hexa Valve, as well as the VA350/400 are right up there - just not quite SA200 or V8 level, in my book.

    Great! I wish I would have had more time to try different tubes in that Hexa. If I didn't have the substantially similar VA400, I'm sure I would have gotten around to it! ;)

    Tom.
     
  10. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Have you tried KT-88's in either the SA200 or your Trace tube heads?

    I've heard very cool things from one of our amp techs that popped a quartet of KT-88's in his SVT and he loves what they did for him.
     
  11. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, my V8 has Ruby KT-88's in it, and I have them in several of my other amps and like them very well. I have not tried them in the SA200 just yet. That sucker sounds so good with EL-34's! :D
     
  12. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    whoa, wait... el34's!?! Man, That must have totally slipped by me. I bet that sounds killer... :bassist:
     
  13. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    It does, and it is far louder than you would expect! :bassist:
     
  14. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    For the Trace Hexavalve, I actually just bought 2 of them (yikes). I ordered 6 matched Sovtek 6550WE's and 6 matched Sovtek KT-88's from Tube Depot and retubed with a set of each kind in the two heads. I should note that the plate bias is not adjustable in these heads, so I can not claim these results reflect what could be gotten from each kind of tube.

    My overall impressions are:

    The 6550WE's are really clean with a ton of spatial shimmer in the tone. This is exactly what I was looking for.

    The KT-88's are a good bit huskier, but give up some of the shimmer. They seem to give a thicker sound, but don't seem to have as much spatial flavor.

    I think it really depends what you are looking for. Both sound good, but there does seem to be a perceivable difference.
     
  15. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Very interesting! I would have actually expected the opposite. I think that the only 6550WE's I have are the four in my YBA200, but I have some Sovtek KT-88's that I could try in the Traynor. Hmmm....

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tom.
     
  16. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Well, again, the plate bias in these heads is set at -42 V, and the schematic specifically calls for the 6550. I understand the KT-88 is supposed to run to similar specs, but, don't know if there are any bias refinements required or what tonal consequences that might have.
     
  17. throw_this_away

    throw_this_away

    Mar 30, 2006
    I also have a YBA200 that had sovtec 6550WE's that I swapped for JJ KT88's.

    I really liked the 6550's but I found the KT88's gave a tighter bottom (less boomy) and more mids. The 6550's tended to sound a little mid scooped at lower volumes... not so with the KT88's. Both had great sounding highs.
     
  18. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    I would agree with that assessment, except I didn't get the "boomy" thing. However, the Hexa has a VERY effective EQ, and I may have had the "boominess" EQ'd out. I did not do my evaluations with the EQ out of the circuit. I can try that. It might be interesting.
     
  19. ... and to reinforce what has already been stated, you can't make any accurate tonal claims until the amps are biased properly for their output tubes. The performance of the output stage depends VERY heavily on the way the output devices are run, which is what the bias determines. Otherwise, you're throwing darts blindfolded if you say one kind of output tube sounds like "X" and another sounds like "Y."
     
  20. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Cool, thanks!
     

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