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Quest for loud B-15N-like sound

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by morebass!, Dec 5, 2004.

  1. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I have a 1965 Ampeg B-15N that I love the sound of. I'm sure there are many who know it, full and tight but not very loud. They are cherished in the studio but rarely seen live. I figure I'd need 3 or 4 of them to give me the stage volume I need these days. So does anyone know how to get that tone in a louder format? I've tried lots of stuff: Mesa, SWR, Bag End, Acme, Sunn, GK... and have to admit utter failure. I guess the closest was a GK 800RB into a Sunn 2x15 but it wasn't really it. Any thoughts old-school warriors?
  2. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Depends on how much you want to chase tonal purity. Hutch Hutchinson gets his "fliptop" sound live with a Bass POD into an Ampeg power section through Ampeg cabs. Sounds like his recorded tones.

    Or you could carry a mic, a mic pre, a power amp, and a full range PA speaker cab so once you got the sound you want with the B-15 you just mic it and amplify that sound. A pain, and expensive, but it would be the sound you want, only much louder.
  3. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    Thanks Lyle. By "ampeg power section" do you mean tubes or mosfet? If I can pull this off with my Crest V900 that would be cool. I'm thinking that the speaker cabinets are key but the tubes might be essential too.
  4. Flat Bass

    Flat Bass

    Dec 8, 2002
    What about the ampeg B-15 reissue? It is twice as loud and has a tweeter as yours. Check into it.
  5. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I guess that I didn't mention that I'm a tightwad. The B15Rs go for $2k new! And I'd probably need two of them :crying:
  6. These things are what you want. But the bummer is that they just raised the prise by 400 dollars. The trend is to downsize your stage volume and put the horsepower into your PA-subwoofers and all.

    This thing is engineered to have the DI to the board sound like your amp. It is suppossed to be louder than the reissue ampeg. You may not like it because it is lightweight.

  7. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    He uses the power stage of an Ampeg SVT Pro, which is tube. But the speakers make more of a difference than tube/SS power sections.

    I usually use a Fulltone Bass-Drive pedal in comp-cut mode with overdrive at about 9:00 when I want to transform a "modern" sounding bass amp into something "old school." Works very well.

    Between that and the SansAmp RBI, a QSC PLX1602, and an Avatar SB112, I get really close to what you're after. I don't know if it's close enough for your needs. I'm sure it doesn't sound exactly like a B15, but it sounds like what I "remember" a B15 sounding like.
  8. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    Cool amp angelopb! Definitely out of my range now though. My main gig has a makeshift PA that can't handle my bass. But that flite rig might work if miked and put through my existing rig.

    Thanks again Lyle. I'll look into the Fulltone. I wonder if the single speaker has something to do with it. I remember reading the Aguilar 1x15 review in BP and they said something about the single driver sounding clearer than a 4x10. That would explain the problem of scaling up the portaflex sound.

    The fulltone might help. I just came into a Aquilar 924 preampo that fattens things up a bit so that might help to0.

    More suggestions - particularly cabinetwise - would be appreciated. There's a 410HE for sale that is tempting me.
  9. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    It's the slight grit and compression the Bass-Drive adds that I haven't found with any other bass preamps. It also does some neat second-order harmonics mojo that's just wonderful to hear. I set it for that sound, clean until you really dig in, and rarely turn it off, and then it has a boost as well, if you want to add some SVT tones.

    You won't get a B-15 kinda sound out of any 4x10. Dunno if it's affordable for you (about $800), but the Schroeder 1212 would be my first choice for a dedicated B15-chasing rig (search for The Low End and Brian Barrett). Their 1012 is very good, too, at about $600. Or you could pick up an Avatar SB112 or 212 for $250-300 and turn the tweeter way down. Not nearly as good as the Schroeder, but still very good.

    Notice I'm recommending 12" speakers. They have similar low end to the B15 (today's 15" speakers are bass monsters in comparison) and they have enough upper mids to make them speak well on stage, where many 15" speakers are missing something.
  10. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi morebass! Have you tried any of the old Acoustic amps? Some of them can create a remarkably warm sound. Dunno if it'll get you as close as you need, but definitely worth a checkout.

    The other thought is, you can tap a "line out" from your B-15N's speaker connections, and run it into a PA or power amp of your choice. With judicious EQ, it'll probably sound a lot like a louder B-15. That's a very easy procedure, it's just two resistors and five minutes with a soldering iron. In fact, now that I think of it, that's probably the first thing I'd try. If I want to get a sound "just like what's coming out of my speaker, but louder", that sounds like a logical starting point.
  11. You mean the V4BH combo? That's all it is. It has nearly nothing sonically in common with a real B15N. I think the speaker cabinet is key. A vintage SVT through a bassy 2x15 gets pretty close so long as you don't push it for grind.
  12. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
  13. superfly


    Aug 4, 2004
    I just started using a 2 yr old Ampeg V-4BH head, all tube. I just went through it with new tubes, fuses etc.better than new. I run it through a new SVT15E. Single 15" no horn. This setup thumps, is smooth, plenty of voume, and you can grind it out when needed. I had a Ampeg b100R for a day or 2. It sounded nice and smooth, but the combo thing didn't cut it for me. My new setup sounds like a B100R on steroids.
  14. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Absolutely! I play an '87 Warwick with EMGs and OBP-3 into an SWR GP, PLX 3002 and Acme Low-B2 cabs which is about as transparent (and modern?) as you can get. (Ok, the preamp's not as transparent as the latest high-end stuff but it's pretty damn good when set flat). But stomp on my BassDrive in comp-cut with the overdrive low and tone rolled off a fair way and it's straight back to the '60s!

  15. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I just heard a guy using a new Traynor 200 watt all-tube bass amp last week. It's got that warm slightly gritty Ampeg all tube tone. Kind of like a loud B-15 or a mini SVT. I'm not sure if the 200 watts rms would give you enough headroom for your applications. The cool thing about this head, beside being able to control the amount of drive/growl, is that it also has a control for speaker damping. so, you supposedly can get a tight sound or a deep / slower response bass tone.
  16. Yeah I think all you nailed it: The traynor head, which could be had for less than 600 plus a EA Whizzy. What is the street price for the whizzy? This think the whole rig is easily under 1,000. And if the DI or mic method didn't work, then he could ad another powered whizzy.
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    How about a modeling unit into a loud amp.
  18. Elliott


    Mar 20, 2000
    I love my B-15, especially with a Precision. Makes me feel so old-school.

    Here is an idea to get the sound louder - run the preamp out from the B-15 into a power amp, or the power amp section of another amp, and a Schroeder 1212, or the Wizzy, or maybe a Bag End 15. (I have only personal experience with the Schroeder, but the others should work also). This can give you a good approximation of a really big B-15.

    I use a WT-400 and a Schroeder 1212 and I would compare it favorably to the B-15N. Warm and solid. Makes those root-5 grooves come alive!! :bassist:

    [Mine has a line out on the amp, so I don't have to solder anything - I thought all the B-15-Ns had the line out, but I may be wrong]
  19. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I think I'd have to do the solder job ala nonsqtr because there is no preamp out on mine. Not sure how to do that though. I guess I'd prefer not lugging the old girl along on the gig just for the preamp though I've thought about bringing it along to use in addition to my stage rig. Maybe putting it on top so I can hear it. I kind of hate to risk it in the dives we sometimes play as it is not easily replaced. In that light the Schroeder or EA might be good alternatives though expensive. I'd likely need two.

    I haven't played an old Acoustic lately or the Traynor or the V4B lately. I'll have to check them out when I get the chance. The Traynor sounds interesting with the speaker control.

    Interesting to hear people recommend 12s. I just traded my Avatar B212 for a Tubeworks 4x10. The 410 is louder and has more low mids. The B212 sounded great with the P-bass but weak with the jazz (my main gig bass). I'm currently using the Yamaha PB-1 through a Crest V900 into the 4x10 plus a frankenpeavy 2x10. No one has suggested a Berg NV cab, maybe because they are pricey, but I was expecting that.

    Thanks to all for the ideas. I'm really enjoying this thread.
  20. Is the distortion from the Fulltone really noticeable at this setting or does it just "tube up" the sound?