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Polytone Mini-Brute

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ii7-V7, Dec 10, 2005.


  1. ii7-V7

    ii7-V7

    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Any one ever use these as a bass amp?

    What about other Polytone amps?

    Chad
     
  2. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I bought a Mini Brute II in the 70s when it first came out. Wonderful little amp. That old model had 60 watts I believe and a 12" speaker. I used it for everything-backstage practice amp on the road, home practice amp, small trio gigs and recording for over 10 years. I wish I still had it. It was a great amp for recording with just a mic.

    They're not for the slap and tap crowd or screaming rock and roll-just a good bass sound.

    The newer models are even better with more power and a bit more comprehensive eq. I tried a Mini Brute III-110 watts and a 15" and it had a very good sound. But the one to get now is the new Sonic II for bass. Carol Kaye uses one for bass and has the mini Brute II for guitar.

    That'll be my next amp. It's not a heavy rock amp but my favourite for just good sound.
     
  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    A warning about the old Polytone amps: They used some specialized components that are now nearly impossible to get. Also, the speakers are really low impedance -- 3 Ohms or something like that.

    I have one sitting in pieces in my garage. It belongs to a friend, and I have written it off as unrepairable.

    Of course I would expect the newer Polytone amps to be based on more modern designs.
     
  4. SGT. Pepper

    SGT. Pepper Banned

    Nov 20, 2005
    Phila,Pa.
    My buddy has one. It's not a real old one, probably about early to mid 90's. It's a loud little amp! It has a 1X15 in it and a pre-amp section for bass and one for guitar. That thing moves more air than some 200watt combos! I like it. :D
     
  5. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    I've got a 2001 Poly V 1x15w/switchable tweeter/Roland reverb. 2 channel with 2 and 3 band active eq's respectively. Combine and seperate channel switch. Also something they call "the edge" which I have found no use for. 4 ohm and will run 2 with extension. 120 watts RMS or there abouts. Preamp out, headphone, extension cab jack. Compact at about 40 lbs.

    Pretty midrange amp and I seriously don't it goes down to low E, nothing unusual about that in the bass world. No specs available. Nice, warm, old school tone though with good output.

    Tons of flexibility in controls. Only amp I played through for some time at a couple hours a day. Tried a GK MB150 and and Fender Bassman 20 and sent them both packing within a month (to me they actually sounded very similar). Never got around to trying a Ampeg b50r and Roland bass cube 30 which I was also thinking of checking out. Recently picked up a THD tube Univalve and it's working out well so not much motivation to look eslewhere.

    The company itself has got to be one of the most bizarre around. To my knowledge, the guy that started it is actually an accordian player. In business since the 70's, made a myriad of amps and I'm constantly seeing something they've make I've never seen before. The last was some kind of Leslie like speaker affect gizmo. They've made heads, accordians, basses, URB pickups, PA's, and other stuff that evades me at the moment. They had this horrible distortion control (that I call "The Red Knob") that totally sucked and everybody bitched about but it but they kept it on their amps for like 30 years. Located in Hollywood, Ca. they have no web site and they basically really don't care what you think. Take 'em or leave 'em.

    Typically they're fairly expensive and maintain their resale value but I've seen some great deals on them cause they're mostly only known to the Jazz players.
     
  6. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    They do have a website:
    www.polytoneamps.com

    And every time I've called them they do seem to care what I think!
     
  7. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    You beat me to it Reefer!

    Yes, the owner was a famous jazz accordionist. Ray Brown played their first bass amps and Joe Pass the guitar amps.

    They're hard to find in stores. Only two stores in Canada sell them that I've been able to find, and they seldom show up used.

    My Mini Brute II was a great recording amp. Just stick a mic in front of the speaker, no DI, and instant classic bass sound. It replaced my Ampeg for recording. Very durable amp too and I think well worth the money.

    You do have to check out the very old ones carefully as they can be difficult to get repaired.
     
  8. lefty

    lefty

    Sep 25, 2004
    yes they are a good little amp. my uncle has one (jazz cat) and i was fixing it for him last week and ended up using it for my church gig outside. it worked really good.
     
  9. ii7-V7

    ii7-V7

    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Well, the reason I asked is because i bought one a few years ago for guitar and wondered if it would be good for Bass. I had some trepidation, considering the recent thread saying that Guitars amp speakers will blow if lower registers are played on them. But I'd heard of bass players using these amps.

    I'm currently.......its sad to say.....bassless.....that is without a bass.....But I'm getting one for Christmas and I wanted to make sure that I could use the polytone without fear.

    I love it for jazz guitar...simultaneously warm and clear. I have figured out what the edge knob does on mine, but I just think that it is a very subtle effect. It seems to give a small amount of gain, and a bit of upper mids to the sound. Its useful if you want to crank the edge and channel volume, but lower the master volume....or do I have that the other way around.

    Chad
     
  10. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Chad, I don't know exactly which model or age your Mini Brute is, but mine was the early model with a 12" and i think 60 watts. I used it pretty hard and never damaged the speaker. Once, when I got caught short without an amp for a gig, I used it loud with a 15"extension cabinet. It sounded great though I had it flat out. It was running hot but nothing blew. I used it for 2 weeks in a club like that.

    But that's abusing the amp and not what it was designed for. Just listen for sounds of speaker distress and cut the volume back if it happens.

    Like I said, it's not an amp for loud rock gigs. They make a bigger model now and have powered extension speakers for those kinds of gigs.
     
  11. jgsbass

    jgsbass

    May 28, 2003
    Floral Park, NY
    Great little amp, pretty powerful. I still have mine. Its only problem is the cabinet is a little too small to move a lot of air. Inside the cabinet sits a preamp on top and a power amp on the bottom leaving even less space in the cabinet. If you get a chance to play one, put your finger over one of the input jacks or the speaker jack and feel how much air wants to escape. They kind of act like ports.The cabinet never really projected sound but most of the time you would use the amp in a small setting. I saw one guy use his by angling it to face a wall, making the room a giant reflex cabinet. It worked!
     
  12. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    hmm, perhaps a changing of the gaurds. That Poly site must be fairly new (6 months or so) cause there was an online distributor that was the "unofficial" Poly site for years cause Poly didn't have one. I watch Poly on ebay periodically just to see what they've made I haven't seen before but I haven't paid attention otherwise.

    Their building was not what I had invisioned. I thought it would be this quonset hut looking thing in the guys backyard. If I ever got back out to California I was going to make a point to stop in and see. Looks like I'd have been surprised.

    Never called Poly in my recall but I've ran across numerous posts by players that had less than cordial experience. Nothing unusual about that though. But the "red knob" is why I concluded they don't much care what anyone thinks.

    No complaints or problems with mine and I've had a couple other amps of theirs and they all had a very Poly tone to them, no problems no complaints. There are LOTS of 70's Poly's still putting out music.

    To my knowledge, any mini-brute can be used for bass. They have made many model amps for guitar though. I'll bet they've put out 50-100 different amps. Every once in a while I see a version of one I haven't seen before. They've always struck me as being a very different music company.
     
  13. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Right Lunknfur-the Polytone web site is about a year old. The "unofficial" site was by Murch Music in Cambridge, Ontario. They are still a Polytone dealer as far as I know.

    They too were unaware of the Polytone site.

    It seems Polytone makes amps their way for a small group of musicians who value that sound. It seems to work for them. Their users are very loyal and they don't do free endorsements. The players who endorse them, such as Carol Kaye, get a slightly reduced price, that's it.

    I bought mine based on the recommendation of a recording engineer in L.A. when I was there recording. Found one at Barney Kessle music in Hollywood and bought it without even trying it. I loved it.
     
  14. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Yeh, I tried to find their site when I ran across the Murch thing, several years ago. I've really just gone to the Murch site since and even that's been 6 months or so. But I'd ran across numerous comments they didn't have a site at the time and a search wouldn't pull one up. So looks like some progress. Too bad they don't don't make their "manuals" available online. All two pages (really one) of them.

    I'm surprised their amps haven't broken out of the Jazz image and aren't more popular in other genres given other amps I've heard and light/compact impetus. Surprised to even see this much imput on TB on them (except in the URB forum). It's almost like nobody's heard of them outside of jazz. Pretty odd for a company that's been around as long as they have and are as proliferous.
     
  15. jgsbass

    jgsbass

    May 28, 2003
    Floral Park, NY
    I own the 12" version. The one amp I still gas for is a Polytone I played through with 4 tens and an astounding ( for the time) 220 watts of power. Greatest combo ever. In the early 80's that is.
     
  16. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    never really tried looking for distributors but I did do some tracking for local repair and they do have a number of at least regional locals for repair. There's one (or was one last check) here in Carolina in Ashville.

    Also the reverb was Hammond not Roland, and ond, whatever. Nice sounding reverb.
     
  17. ii7-V7

    ii7-V7

    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Anyone ever use any extension cabinets with a Polytone?

    if so what kind?

    BTW, mine is a MiniBrute V with the tweeter and "Edge." I'm assuming its a 15" speaker. I bough it new in 2002.

    Chad
     
  18. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I think I mentioned earlier I had used an extension cabinet with my early MiniBrute. It was an 8 ohm 15" made by Traynor. It worked great. I imagine any good 8 ohm cabinet would work with the 2002 model Polytone. That would give you the full output power of the amp.I haven't tried any of Polytone's extension cabinets.

    I think I'd go with a lightweight 12 if I used one these days.
     
  19. ii7-V7

    ii7-V7

    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    OK, heres where I show my ignorance.

    If the Polytone has a 15" speaker, then why bother with a 15" speaker cab....Doesn't plugging in an extension bypass the speaker in the combo?

    See, I need amps for dummies......
     
  20. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    No, the speaker extension jack does not bypass the internal speaker.