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Polytone

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by JAS, Apr 6, 2004.


  1. JAS

    JAS

    Jul 3, 2001
    California
    Does anyone know how much a pollytone mini brute sells for new and used (on average)? How do these sound for upright and electric basses?
     
  2. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    I had a new Polytone for a very short while two years ago and was very deceived.
    See http://www.murchmusic.com/polytone.htm
    Boomy tone, the air from the "sealed" cabinet was flowing through the jacks of the amp on he top, making an annoying noise.
    My advice is that you stay away from that!
    The guitarist I play with tried it and hated it too.
     
  3. I've been using Polytone amps ( I have a 12" and A 10") The twelver has been around the world maybe three times. I bought it in about 1976.
    I used the 10 incher with a Gil Evans type orchestra, about 20 players including tuba! sounded great!!
    I love polytone amps for DB!!
    By the way, I also have the Mini-Brain, which is just the head itself in a shoulder carry on.
    Sorry that you had a bad experience, but in all the years i've been using poytone, yours may be one of or even the only complaint i've heard.
     
  4. Francois, checking your profile I notice that you seem to be more into EUBs (Azola, etc.)
    Polytone is known for NOT being the amp for solid body instruments. Their reputation stands on mostly Jazz double bassists (including Ray Brown) and guitarists. They are NOT power amps.
    I know the ad you linked gives you the impression that Polytone is the amp for everyone...that's not true, but I don't think that ad is a Polytone ad anyway. People will say anything when they're trying to sell something!
     
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    New MiniBrutes are in the $600 range these days. Used ones go for $3-400.

    There are 5 versions:
    I: 12" speaker, for bass
    II: 12" speaker for guitar or bass (has distortion, reverb, etc.)
    III: 15" speaker for bass
    IV: 15" speaker, for guitar or bass
    V: 15" plus tweeter, for guitar or bass
     
  6. I had one for a while.
    Stay away from it. Could be good for guitar but what Francois said is absolutely right.
     
  7. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Paul, that's true, but I've played on the EUB for years with a Roland Cube 60 and it sounded great.
    I don't play louder with the EUB as I was playing with the AUB.
    If you noticed my first message, I said I bought a new Polytone. (it was a Mini-Brute I by the way)
    The model they released two or three years ago doesn't have much to do with the amp they used to make. (and the amps Ray and you had)
    I heard other negative stories about them too.
     
  8. grovest

    grovest

    Feb 26, 2002
    Oregon
    I've put a lot of hours on a newer model minibrute and I was never impressed. Mine also whoosed air through the other jacks... always seemed a little odd. As others have said the amp was a better match with a smaller group than with something like a jazz band.

    Also, I don't give much weight to the fact that certain famous jazzers use them.
     
  9. Like my good friend PW, I've owned several Polytones going back to the late 1960's. They were were probably the very first amp designed for the DB. I've still got one Mini-Brute I down in the shop that I now use with a sine wave generator for A0/B0 matching. IMO, there are several amps now that are far better than the old Polytones (My main amp today is an AI Contra), but for several decades, they were hard to beat. A small, rugged, light weight package with power enough for most DB jobs. The first time I heard Ray Brown playing through one was the day before I ordered my first one. When they first came out, there wasn't anything like it on the market.

    You have to appreciate the air pulsing out of the jack holes. That was their idea of porting the cabinet ;)
     
  10. I have an SWR Workingman's 10 which avoids that problem by having small rubber plugs inserted in the sockets which are not being used. They work fine until they fall out or get lost…

    - Wil
     
  11. To me, you guys are still apple and oranging it here.
    Woody, the fact that you don't give much weight to the fact that certain famous jazzers use them is obvious to me when I checked your profile..... you apparentely don't own a double bass. I'm talking about double bass! If I didn't play double bass, I would be shopping around!
    And Jas, i wouldn't recomend a Poly for electric bass.
     
  12. I have an old Polytone teenybrute with a 10" speaker, I love it! I have had good and bad experiences with it, but once I figured out how to get "my sound" out of it (or as close to it as possible) I'm not looking for an amp anymore. I knew a guitarist who used a new Poly and he hated it, guitarists have used mine and love it. I have no real experience with the new ones.
     
  13. McBass

    McBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    It seems to me the polytones have always been marketed as a guitar/bass crossover amp. They lend themselves to a midrangey sound because the speaker and cabinet combo can't reproduce the absolute high and low frequencies in the proportion to the signal they receive. I've allways felt the same about the GK mb combos. Again because of the speaker and cabinet configuration. This sound was very popular for a while and I can remember when I would've killed for a ca. 1985 polytone. Now I prefer a full range speaker that can reproduce the frequency spectrum fully. Something with a 10 or 12 inch woofer and a hi range driver in a suitably tuned cabinet.
    P.S.
    With neodymium speaker magnets becoming more popular, I see great gains in sound quality and portability in our future.
     
  14. I agree with Paul on the Polytone Amps. I have had a new version Minbrute Two with reverb which sound pretty good in the trio settings. After a couple of years I sold it to a guitartist and purchased a vintage 1970 MB model Polytone 12"( without reverb) and that unit coupled with the
    Rick Razor 2 x 6" cabinet make for a very good sound. On trio super club gigs I just use the PT.

    I still have a AI and GK, but prefer the sound of the PT over them all. Downside with Polytone is service, when you reach them on the phone you usally get a recording, with" leave a message".If they return your call you can't get a firm turn around time for repairs, so I have mine serviced locally.

    Of course, in addition to the amp it come down to the sound of the instrument,the pick-up and the players ability to make the DB speak, which is always the true test of the your sound.
     
  15. I found this PT amp on a swedish website. It's up for quite a good price, but it would be nice to know what it is!

    Can anyone tell age and model by just the image below? There's hardly anything on the website other than the speaker being an Altec Lansing 15"

    [​IMG]
     
  16. grovest

    grovest

    Feb 26, 2002
    Oregon
    Looks like a Minibrute III. Some info on it around the web including here:

    http://users.rcn.com/jdreyer/polytone/

    Also, I didn't mean to come across as though I don't value the contributions to music made by the greats that do use Polytones. My only point was that the logic 'it's good enough for this great player- he uses it and sounds wonderful' is the same as 'Jamerson only used 1 finger' or 'Jaco only needed 4 strings'. All of which are true, but nevertheless...
     
  17. June 25th, 2004. So now that I know my polytone mini brute 12 was built for bass - which pick-up matches well? - I may need to amp up during the next year - usually I'm one of 4 or 5 orchestra basses, so I rarely plug in. Thanks for any of YHO's !

    Al
     
  18. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    I bought my first Polytone in 1979, a model 101. It had 1-15" and 2-8" speakers and 120 watts. It sounded great. I sold it in 1983 and bought what was supposed to be a new improved model and hated it. I've bought several Polytones since and never was happy. Don't know if I'd like the old 101 today with such good gear I own now, but if I found one in good shape I'd sure buy it to find out.
     
  19. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    My 101 was stolen from my van in the early eighties; while it was unpleasant, it wasn't a big loss once put in perspective. It was a lot of amp for its modest size and weight, but tonally it didn't have much depth, good mids but sloppy lows. They used pretty lightweight speakers (lightweight in more than one way) and the cabinet was too small, it was very shallow, for all those drivers. While I don't recall trying it as one, it seems that it could have made a good guitar amp.

    But at the time it was quite revolutionary given its speaker complement.
     
  20. bassgeek

    bassgeek

    Oct 19, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    I've used and abused my Minibrute III since '93. It's still in good shape. Although, I did open it up and install some insulation which deadened a lot of the wooshing sound out of the jacks. I've even played a 5 string Music Man slab bass through it with some pretty loud drummers and it was OK. I've tried to kill that amp and it won't die. I don't know how the newer ones are.

    I think a lot of success with the Polytone depends on what you're putting into it (as is the case with all amps). One bass/pickup combination might be a lot better than others.

    Every time I saw Ray Brown, he was using a Polytone, and he sounded like Ray Brown.

    P.S. I think the 10 or 12 inch Polytones might be better for upright. I have a 15 and my bass and pickup always sounded tighter through a 12 Polytone.