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Plush bass amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TC.65, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. TC.65


    Dec 20, 2008
    Carbondale IL
    Does anyone here know anything about these amps? Do they have good tone? Will they hold up in a loud rock band? Any info on these amps will be greatly appreciated.
  2. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    It's been a while since I've seen or heard one one, but I recall them as being decent all-tube amps. Whether it would hold up for a loud band largely depends on what your definition of "loud" is. With enough speaker area, it should be OK for a normal rock outfit.
  3. John D

    John D Guest

    Dec 27, 2009
    I've only used/heard one Plush amp. It was a guitar amp with four 6L6s in the output. IMO, if you like the sound of a Fender Dual Showman, you'll like the sound of a Plush. I couldn't tell the difference between the volume of he two amps, each through its 2X15 cabinet. The Plush cabinet was factory original, while the Showman was through a DIY cabinet with D140Fs.

    Edit: With a reasonably loud band of guitar, bass, drums, and B-3, I never had a volume problem with the Showman or the Plush. YMMV
  4. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    I have an old Plush 100 watt bass head. It is a clone/copy of a Showman circuit; the guitar version had reverb and tremolo, while the bass version was simpler. I turned it into a tweed Twin circuit, and it it cool for guitar. They really only put out around 80 watts, and their construction quality was, let's say, "uneven". Mine had the tagboard screwed onto a piece of rough wood, which was then screwed to the chassis. Great transformers, though!

    I believe Andy Fuchs, builder of Fuchs amps, got his start at Plush. He now owns the name, and sells Plush pedals.
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    ...And he is coming out with a new bass amp head! There was a thread about it a few months ago. It's a hybrid, interestingly, quite a divergence from their guitar amps.
  6. TC.65


    Dec 20, 2008
    Carbondale IL
    Thanks for the input guys here is what I have found. One of my local music stores has a Plush Royal 1060-S sitting on a 3X15 cabinet all original. I spotted it a couple of weeks ago but I was with someone else and didn't have time to really check it out. I can't get this rig off my mind so I now have a bad case of GAS. Anyone else with any info or experience with these amps?
  7. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
  8. TC.65


    Dec 20, 2008
    Carbondale IL
  9. ESI


    Apr 20, 2012
    Plush made a variety of products during their very brief, 5 year existence. Basically, all of their amps can be used as bass amps. The Plush history is very interesting. Plush was the brainchild of Ron Lipsky who was the son of Maurice Lipsky, a wealthy and successful musical instrument merchandiser in NYC. Ron felt that there was an opportunity to compete with the then and now dominant Fender company in the amp business. While CBS was busy ruining their perfectly fantastic product offering, he felt that with their established distributor relationships they could come up with an all tube product line that would steal market share in droves. The concept was to meld the then popular cosmetics of the Kustom line with the sonic qualities of the Fender line.

    To get rolling, they hired Saul Marantz as a consultant. In 1968, Saul was freshly retired from his duties at the company he started and sold. He and a small team of former Marantz engineers helped Plush get off the ground. The first amp they designed for Plush was not well received by the test players as it was too Hi-Fi like (read, too clean, too sterile). Lipsky requested they take a look at the industry standard (Blackface Fender Twin) so Saul and his team reverse engineered the amp, studied it on a spectrum analyzer and essentially designed a Plush version of this existing amp. Instead of copying the Fender transformers, Marantz came up with unique trannies for the Plush amp as he saw an opportunity for improvements.

    Most of what you will find today are the P1000S, PRB1000S, Congress IV and PRB1060S amps. These are indeed based heavily on the Fender Blackface Era AB763 circuit though they are not identical as some might suggest. Plush claimed 110 watts RMS out of these amps though in truth, like a Fender AB763, they produce between 80-85 watts RMS. So what is different? A few component values in the circuit are different though they are minor enough that the amp will sound very Fender-Like. The Plush chassis is stamped steel and sits on the bottom of the cabinet which is very un-Fender-like and very Sunn or Marshall-like.

    Most Plush amps use tag board construction much like a Fender though the circuit board is made of a high grade fiberglass material which is superior to what Fender and Traynor used (Vulcanized Fiber-Forbon). The cap’s, resistors, switches and pots are all good stuff…the best of the best available at that time in most cases. Some amps have PCB’s…all made my Nelco, a company that made and still makes extremely nice PCB’s. Unfortunately, many of these PCB’s were poorly engineered and were prone to failure. They can be fixed by bypassing the problematic traces with PTP wiring…any competent tech can do this with ease. They did get their act together with the PCB’s as you can see a clear evolution of designs. The circuit doesn’t change too much but the PCB’s have a better layout.

    Where Plush really got things right was with the transformers and chokes. They are all of superb quality and made by Northlake Engineering who was and still is a high end supplier to the military and medical fields. It is very hard to fault the Plush iron…as it is as good as or even better than that used by anyone else in the industry at that time and even today. All Plush transformers and chokes are wound in an interleaved manner using paper insulation layers.

    The 85 watt heads and combo’s are decent for most bass players and they will produce sounds very similar to playing through an old blackface twin or dual showman. Many bass players are going to want an amp with more balls…more specifically, a stronger B+ (Higher Plate Voltage). Plush made some other models that were rated at 160 watts RMS (Actually they are good for 130-135 watts RMS) called the 3000B, 3000G and Super 550 Combo. These amps use substantially larger transformers and consequently, the B+ is much higher…in the 530-535 VDC range at idle. There were many tweaks and changes to these amps over the years but the pre-amp is very similar to the Fender AB763, it is not identical…there are definite changes and this impacts the voice of the amp quite a bit. Also, Fender never used iron of this size or quality nor did they have a 6 x 6L6GC power section. The clean headroom on any of these amps is quite impressive and all of them are outstanding bass amps.

    Plush also had another big tube amp in the line. It was called the 4000G. It started out as a copy of the Traynor YBA-3 with tweaks. It uses the same power and output transformers as the 3000/550 series amps but a substantially larger choke. The power section was originally 4 x EL34’s and these amps are generally good for about 100 watts RMS…maybe a bit more. Traynor claimed 120 watts RMS out of the YBA-3 and since the internal voltages are basically the same as is the circuit, that’s about right.

    The 4KG got upgraded to a quad of 6550’s by 1971. The problem was that the 6550’s had reliability problems with the combination of high plate and screen voltages so Plush instituted a OC3 screen voltage regulator for reliability sake. Plush claimed 200 watts RMS but 150 watts RMS is more realistic. This version lasted through 1971 but was soon replaced with a totally different power transformer design which used a bridge style full-wave rectifier, in place of the original Traynor style full-wave rectifier. This was clearly a cost cutting measure move for Plush, but really, a good change. The power transformer requires less secondary winding and you don’t need the OC3 as you can provide a lower screen voltage without the OC3 tube.

    All the 4KG’s are also excellent bass amps. Personally, I’m the least fond of the EL34 version for bass as they do not have the same level of clean headroom compared to the 6550 amps. That said, all of them are great sounding amps assuming they are in a healthy state of tune. Of course, all of these amps are now 40+ years old which means they will require some work. Also, Plush quality control could be a bit on the sketchy side so there are many opportunities to clean up lead dress issues as well as replace incorrectly valued components.

    We repair/restore old Plush amps. We can repair/restore any Plush amp that was ever produced. Even a dead transformer won’t stop us though due to the size of some, a rewind can get a bit expensive. We can build replacement cabinets (of higher quality) and reupholster existing cabinets. The upholstery work is not inexpensive. It is much more time consuming and difficult to execute compared to your typical tolex or tweed job.

    We actually have a Plush 3000B on E-Bay right now. It is a fantastic amp and best of all, the repair work is completed so the amp is good to go for another 30 or so years! The reserve is quite modest. An amp like this is an absolute bargain. A vintage Ampeg, Fender, Sunn or Orange amp in a healthy state like this amp would cost considerably more though likely would not perform nearly as well (The Ampeg SVT being an obvious exception!).

    Hope this helps.
    sonic 7, RSBBass, BadExample and 2 others like this.
  10. TC.65


    Dec 20, 2008
    Carbondale IL
    Thanks ESI that was very interesting and helpful. I think I might go back to the store and plug into this rig tomorrow and see how it sounds. I would really like to hear some clips of this amp with a bass. Everything I have found is people playing guitar through these amps. What do you think of the 3X15 cab?
  11. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    Oh my! I haven't heard that name in some time. As for the amp itself, ESI has it covered.

    Back in the day, Kustom amps covered with the buttoned and puffed naugahyde (blue metalflake was my favorite) were quite desirable to us and a head sitting on a 3-15" cabinet (complete with aluminum domed speakers - usually CTS but I think JBL's were available) sent us all into rapture. Unfortunately, they were not inexpensive. Plush got into that act and were more affordable.

    So the pecking order was a padded Kustom, then Plush if you couldn't manage that, and lastly, Earth amps when the Plush were out of reach. They all had that look that made us all drool.
  12. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    there's a name I also haven't heard for a long time. I had the 1060s but the 2x15 cab with the 3 chrome port covers built into the front grill.
    I sold it many, many years ago but still have the cabinet with whatever alum domed speakers it had and still works. ( never took it apart to see who made em )

    I'll have to find a picture of it and edit it into this thread.
  13. ESI


    Apr 20, 2012
    One Day I'll get around to getting some quality recordings of the various Plush amps up on the web. I'll probably not bother with YouTube, I'd rather host them on my own site. I own pretty much all models so this is certainly within the realm of possibilities.

    When you find an old Plush, and plug into it, don't be too quick to judge it based on what you hear right out of the gate. First, remember it is going to be 40+ years old with questionable electrolytics and tubes at a minimum. It will likely be noisy though when in a good state of tune they are very quiet.

    The next issue will be the cabinet you plug it into. If it is an original Plush cab, odds are it has either CTS (junk) or Eminence (more junk) built drivers in it. Some had alnico horseshoe magnets while others had ceramic magnets but it doesn't really matter in either case. The cones are going to be frail and the voice coils aged. They were not great when they were new and all these years later, they are surely not going to demonstrate the sonic qualities of the amp itself. While Plush would install Altec, EV, JBL and Cerwin Vega drivers as an option in their cabinets, this was rarely the case. Remember, Plush amps were not cheap...they were actually one of the more expensive amps available at that time.

    The 3 x 15" Cabinets were impressive to look at in person. It was obviously a concept stolen from Kustom. Any Plush cabinet will sound find depending on what drivers are in it. They had a "Deluxe" 2 x 15" that sounds really nice...each section of the cabinet has a Thiele ported setup...they sound really nice for bass. Of course, why limit yourself to a Plush cabinet? There are lots of options out there and hell, a SVT cabinet is going to sound just killer with any of these amps.

    Be careful of the impedance matching. the 85 watt guitar and bass heads typically have a single-tap 8 ohm secondary on the Output Transformer. The PA head had a 4 ohm tap (usually). The 3000 & 4000 series amps could have either a single tap 8 ohm output or a multi-tap setup (8/4/2 ohm) wired to switch between 8 and 4 ohms usually. It all really depends on the amp.

    You obviously want to drive the right load for optimal performance and reliability sakes. It will be tough to assess the capabilities of the amp until it is in a healthy state but this is true of any 40+ year old tube amplifier.

    A health 1060 will be fine for most bassists though if you want more grunt, the 3000 series will be better as will the 4KG.
  14. TC.65


    Dec 20, 2008
    Carbondale IL
    Yeah i'm really only interested in the head but I don't think the store will split the rig so if I get it it's all or nothing. I'll see how it goes tomorrow when I check it out.
  15. slavestate


    Dec 20, 2011
    I just purchased a 1970 PLUSH 4000G. This amplifier is incredible. It was covered with a bit of corrosion soot, but with a bit of wiping around it's nice and clean now. Mine has EL 34's in the power section and I am actually quite pleased with the tone coming from the tubes, so I just picked up a new seat of EL 34's to replace the old ones with to have a nice fresh start. Eventually I will pick up a set of 6550's to plug and play.

    I have played this with both my bass and guitar, in all of the channels, and I am VERY pleased at all of the different settings I can achieve. The output transformer is gigantic and alone seems to weigh 25 pounds. I am going to build a new head cabinet because this one is a bit rickety. It will be nice to not have that tuck 'n roll on there anymore too.

    I poked around in the chassis and tightened all of the transformer hardware and cleaned the potentiometers and switches. I didn't notice any blatant problems or issues as everything looks pretty clean. A nice feature is the removable paneling on the bottom of the cabinet. I am going to install a master volume potentiometer I think, as well as a 3 prong power chord.

    A nice feature is on the rear there is what looks like a bias potentiometer. Just turning that around achieves a nice warm tone to extreme overdrive. It was missing its knob, so I put on a similar looking one I had in my parts box.

    I'm very pleased with this amplifier, and hopefully it'll be cranking for years to come. The serial number in the chassis is under 70. It makes me wonder how many of these were produced. Pretty cool stuff.

    Here's what it looks like:





  16. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    I had a 1060 and wasn't crazy about it, tubes or no tubes. Heavy with ineffective tone knobs.

    Another thing, you might want to take a tall (SED =C= size) 6L6GC and see if you can change it without chassis removal. Seems like that amp took short 6L6's.
  17. rapidfirerob

    rapidfirerob Fusion rules!

    My first quality amp was the Plush 4000G with four 6550s. Smoke came out at one point. One of my parents drove me to the factory as I lived on Long Island and they gave me a new one. I remember the guy explaining that they drop tested them! I left it at a rehearsal and some other bassist blew the transformer and never admitted it. I had the 4X12 cabinet. I loved the amp, just wanted a change at some point in the 80s. I bought a GK 800RB, which is also gone. My mom shipped both the head and cab out to Fresno when I was in grad school. Thanks mom! Tuck and roll! Great memories. I sold the head and cab for $200, absolutely nothing wrong with it. T.P.S.= The Plush Sound. Thanks for this thread.
  18. slavestate


    Dec 20, 2011
    Can you elaborate on this? Thank you.

    I actually managed to break one of the EL 34's that was in it, I hastily dropped it on the floor... So the first tube is a 6L6GC in the photo. I fired it up and wah lah.
  19. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Ha! 70's flashback! I remember bass players either had Acoustic, Sunn, Kustom or Plush amps/cabs! I had a Traynor rig myself.
  20. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    I had two fake Fender amps, an ERS B2000 and the Plush 1060; they were very similar, so I might be confusing the two.

    A SED =C= is about 4.25" overall, that includes the 1/2" for the guide pin and pins; iow, 3.75" above the bottom of the base, and 1/2" below the bottom of the base (for the pins).

    RCA BP is 1/2" shorter; 3.25" above the bottom of the base, 1/2" below the base for the pins, about 3.75" overall.

    At a minimum you need enough room between the top of the tube sockets and the cab to fit the whole tube (without removing the chassis). IIRC, that wasn't happening with one or both of those amps with the taller tubes. I think that in order to use the tall tubes, the chassis had to be pulled back, tubes installed, and even after all that I didn't like how close the top of the tube was to the top of the cab...or maybe it was possible, but such I tight squeeze I was afraid of screwing something up.