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Question on Sunn Heads

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DaveFame, Jan 3, 2006.


  1. DaveFame

    DaveFame

    Jan 3, 2006
    Currently I have a GK 800rb that I play through an ampeg 4x10 classic. I have been researching early 70's Sunn heads. What is the best model and an expected price to pay? Cheers.
     
  2. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    The 880 at 320 watts in nice condition goes for $750 to $1250. Next is the Coliseum Bass with 300 watts, in nice condition at $500 to $750. Then the Concert Bass with 200 watts at $400 to $600. "Nice Condition" means nearly cosmetically perfect and flawless function. Don't confuse these Sunns with the post-buyout models which came later. These can be identified by the red knobs and the red Sunn emblem next to the power switch. On the back it will say, "Sunn, a division of Hartzell". If it has any red on the face plate it is a Hartzell and can generally be had for $150 to $350 depending on condition. I used to use an 880 with a Coliseum Slave into two 2x15 cabinets which I bought new. I wish I still had them but I traded them for a '65 Malibu SS about 1973. Good Luck.
     
  3. DaveFame

    DaveFame

    Jan 3, 2006
    Thanks for good info. Are all of those SS or tubed amps?
     
  4. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    Those are all solid state. The tube heads like the 200S sounded great but didn't have enough poop. Most bassists went to the Ampeg SVT or the SS Sunns. I knew a guy that used an Acoustic 470, they seemed to put out very well also.
     
  5. DaveFame

    DaveFame

    Jan 3, 2006
    So if I found a 1973 Sunn Coliseum 300W. with an 18" cab for $650, should I go for it?
     
  6. edbass

    edbass

    Nov 8, 2004
    As far as pre-Fender Sunn tube amps go... The Sunn 2000S models with 4 X KT88's, or 6550's was made in the late 60's and early 70's, and have a fair amount of grunt. The 2nd version with SS rectification was rated at 150 watts, probably closer to 200 in reality, a little light by modern standards but came with a huge folded horn cab loaded with a pair of JBL D140's and makes a ton of sound. Most pro players used them with an additional 2 X 15.

    And the whole rig only weighs about 2500 lbs!

    Seriously though, excellent tube sound, great growl, but a real beast to move. Noel Redding, Felix Pappalardi, and almost everyone at Woodstock used them so you can kind of figure out the sound, sort of a toned down "Live at Leeds" type roar. Fairly reasonable if you shop around, but they have been climbing in value lately. Almost all 2000S rigs were bought by pro players, partially because roadies were very helpful when it was time to load them, but mostly because they cost $2000 in 1968 dollars. The 200S rigs (60 watts out of a pair of KT88's) were much more common and are easier to find, but as stated in the earlier post, great tone but not really loud enough to keep up in a rock band setting.
     
  7. nysbob

    nysbob

    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I had a 2000S head back in the day...it sounded good, but frankly no SVT. That's why you see so many more of the latter now - players back then realized which was the better amp and they bought a lot of SVTs. The 2000S cabinet was awesome, but even worse to move than the Ampeg fridge.
     
  8. DaveFame

    DaveFame

    Jan 3, 2006
    In what city were the original Sunn heads manufactured?
     
  9. protoz

    protoz

    Nov 30, 2000
    Iowa
    I love my Sunn amps. I have a Sorado (similar to the 200S), Coliseum 300 (mid-80s) and a Fender made Sunn 1200S.

    Great amps and I almost kept up with a halfstack and a drummer in a medium gig with my Sorado which is only 65 watts and a Sunn 2x15 cab.

    Coliseum 880s are kinda rare and I keep trying to find a good one so I have a 70s Sunn to complete my through the years Sunn collection :)
     
  10. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    There is an 880 on Ebay today, starting bid is $400. Not good enough condition for me, but might make a nice gigging amp for somebody.
     
  11. mksolid

    mksolid

    Jan 4, 2005
    Brooklyn
    What kind of venues/music are you guys playing that require such big stacks and what not? Maybe I'm lucky/unlucky, but every venue near me, NEPA, can be played using just a 100-150 watt combo mic'd or DI'd and the guitarist with maybe something like a blues deville. Are you guys playing theaters with lousy house systems or something?
     
  12. mksolid

    mksolid

    Jan 4, 2005
    Brooklyn
    So is that Soldaro on ebay that's going for 405 not worth it?
     
  13. edbass

    edbass

    Nov 8, 2004
    They were made in Portland Oregon.
    The SVT is a great amp, arguably the king of tube bass amps. I wouldn't call it better than a 2000S, although it's definitely a couple of octal tube more powerful, and has more tonal control options. Based largely on dates of manufacture for both amps, I would say the SVT is probably the next generation of bass amp beyond the 2000S. Sort of the last hurrah for valves and bass before the SS takeover. They are both dinosaurs (like some of us), but the old tube amps sure are cool, and they have a vibe you just can't seem to get with transistors.
     
  14. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I got both of my Sunn tube heads for roughly 200 bucks each. And I like them better than any Ampeg. :spit:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. protoz

    protoz

    Nov 30, 2000
    Iowa
    Two of my 3 heads were had for under $250. Early Sunn heads like the 2000S, The Ox's amps and my Sorado were hand made so each one has it's own personality. Sunn amps are hard to describe without being heard as they can blow you away with less power than other amps.

    More Sunn pr0n
    [​IMG]

    Pick one up because they are cheap enough to check out and resell with little risk, but I bet you won't want to after you try one.
     
  16. matrok

    matrok

    Jan 10, 2005
    Ferndale, Michigan
    Just saw this on eBay

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7386444646&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:US:1

    Seems pretty steep compared to the prices you all paid. I'm getting my Concert back this week from the repair shop. I haven't used this amp in over 10 years and am eager to hear it with my Reverend. I've never heard the distortion on it before as I didn't have a footswitch for it. Anyone got an opinion on the sound of it?
     
  17. edbass

    edbass

    Nov 8, 2004
    That 200S looks like a clean piece but waaaay over priced, it would be a deal at $300, maybe $350 with fresh caps. Notice the number of bids, I'll bet it won't get any at all for $500. Sundholm era Sunns are appreciating, the day of the nice 60 watter for $200 is probably gone forever, but they aren't worth $500 (without a matching cab) yet.