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Shopping for a tube head???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sebastian, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. Ladies and gentlemen I am missing having a tube head. I play small to large sized venues.
    I am currently beating the bushes for a 200-300 watt tube head. I am not too concerned with weight because that is the penalty for playing valve heads. Budget is approx around $1300.00.......

    Currently I am stuck between two current offerings which are a Aguilar DB359 and a Eden VT300 head. Both heads I have not played through. I am asking for some assistance from the TB bretheren to ease this conundrum.

    I play rock, on occasion metal, some dub and dabble with some funk every once in awhile.

    EQ tweakability, can the heads get dirty OD tone if required etc.

    I am eye balling or searching for:
    Mesa 400
    Mesa D180
    Bass Buster 200
    Aggie DB 359;
    Peavey VB2
    Fender Bassman 300

    Not really interested in SVT VR, CL or Pro. Just a preference..
    Please if you select other or mention others which others and why you made that suggstion would be appreciated?
  2. bassman 300 all the way.

    you will not look back.
  3. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Eden E300T looks interesting.

    They are all over ebay for ~ $800 - free shipping.

    From Eden:
    "Wouldn’t it be cool if you could replace a single tube if it failed or broke, instead of the entire set? And wouldn’t it be even cooler if you could fine-tune your bias setting for each tube quickly and easily every time you played? So you could have your perfect bias setting every time you turned the amp on? With the E300T, you can do both without the huge service bill."
  4. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    Reeves 225.
    Meat Smoke
    Markbass 300
  5. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    I know others hold a different view (& watch, some will probably react semi-violently to this, lol), but IMHO, the Eden E300T is a poor choice. It's a rebadged Fame, Ashton, Smarvo with possibly some very minor differences. Get anything other than the Eden.
  6. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    The Fender is my favorite on that list. Followed closely by a 400+ (not tried a 400).
  7. bassermaniac


    Jun 30, 2007
    choice is easy.bassman 300.
  8. I would seriously consider checking out a Ampeg SVT. It may be heavy but there's a reason why its so popular, it's just a simple amp that sounds absolutely incredible with any bass.
  9. MrBonex


    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Or you could look for a Trace Elliot V6 or V8.

    The creme de la creme.

  10. maevinj


    Feb 10, 2008
    Traynor yba200-2.
    It's made in Canada, You could get 2 for cheap, Other than that I'd go with the Fender
  11. Xechs


    Mar 16, 2009
    Northern VA
    I love my Peavey VB-2. Haven't had it that long though and I haven't heard the other amps, but I think it's a solid value and sounds great. Also MIA if you care. It's 225W, the engineer who built the prototype is on the forums and said the power section is beefy enough that you can retube it and run up to 300W. Here's the thread:

  12. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    None of those will fall in your budget. Of the amps you've listed, I've played the Fender, and I've played a 400+ (but not a 400) and have always preferred Ampegs to either. However, I respect that you don't want one, so I'll vote for the Bassman. I was looking into the aggie 359 for a while, and while every review I read said it was a great amp, they all came to the same conclusion - It lacked the balls that you expect from a tube amp.
  13. BassJunkie730


    Feb 3, 2005
    In my experience the only head on that list that can get great OD AND clean and have them switchable at useable gigging applications - would be the 300 pro because of the independent tone stacks.

    Even though the OD is footswitchable on my VB-2 - I find that you really can't get the best clean AND OD tone without going back to the amp and changing settings. So I ever treat the OD channel as essentially a different amp OR I use it as a boost.
  14. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    +1, or more, for the Fender. It's a really nice amp, and Fender knows clean.
  15. Or you could get a custom built amp head made by an electronics whizz kid.
  16. OK then someone sell me a Fender Bass man 300 all tube head!!!
    I have heard the same about the DB359 a tad on the short side for power.
  17. I had a Sunn 300T (Bassman 300 Pro) and really liked the tone and power but too many knobs for me. I now have an Eden VT300 and a Sadowsky SA200. Both are made by the same manufacturer, Koch, but sound different. The Eden has active EQ and sounds like an Eden even though it has six 6550 tubes. The newer Eden 300T has some cool features, like individual biasing, but I think the VT300 is a much higher quality amp. The Sadowsky is also clean but can be very FAT with passive EQ and six EL34 tubes. They are both very good sounding amps but I prefer the Sadowsky which is difficult to find and EXPENSIVE.
  18. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    i take regular naps w/ my sadowsky sa200, but other amps to consider is the reeves 225 and the orange ad200. both seem to have their own cult following here on TB.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'd be happy to play any of those amps except the Edens. Always hated the Eden sound. If I could have any of them and money is no object I'd pick the Reeves. But the Fender and the Mesas are probably your best bet in your budget. That is, seeing how you don't want an Ampeg. Otherwise I'd recommend a vintage SVT ;)
  20. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    I'll stick to the OP's list. My own preferences run to the harder to find amps, and that won't be much help.

    I have no experience with the Peavey. I have owned the others except the Buster, which I have played through in music stores. Skipping the Peavey, my personal preference would be the D180. Bearing in mind you're looking for versatility and (I'd imagine controllable) dirt, my $0.02:

    D180--Set clean, great warm classic rock tone. Getting used to the controls takes some time, but once you do it's versatile and has some of the best sounding dirt you'll ever hear. Not as loud as the Bassman 300 (not much is) but plenty loud for the real world. On the down side, though it's very versatile you'll need to manually adjust the knobs to go from clean to dirty - only the graphic EQ is footswitchable, on models that have the graphic option. I still own this one.

    400--similar tone to the D180, but cleaner, more powerful, and less versatile. Distorts nicely, but you'll need to get it quite loud to get good sounding distortion out of it. Uses 6L6 or 6550 tubes, 6L6 more prone to distortion while 6550 cleaner. Probably not the best choice if you need access to both kinds of tones in one gig, unless you're using pedals. Sold this and my 400+ in favor of the D180.

    Buster--I wasn't terribly impressed with this one in the store. Good enough clean sound, in the ballpark of the other Mesa heads, but it didn't quite "grab me" like the other 2. Good chance it sounds great when it gets too loud.

    DB359--Beautiful, clear clean tone, a bit of a sparkle to the highs. This morphed when turned up into a big fat fuzzy tone that was smooth and nice. Sadly, I couldn't get that clean tone at high volumes or that fuzzy tone at lower volumes. I sold this one.

    Bassman 300--I owned a Sunn 300T, the same amp with a different name before Fender killed Sunn. Impressively loud, tons of features, powerful EQ and compressor. Switchable/mixable clean and dirty channels. The clean sounded to me like a solid state amp, no breakup at the volumes I was able to push it to (just short of earth shattering). It lacked the "sparkle" the DB359 had, and the character the Mesas had. A good sound though, but easy enough to get that sound from a solid state amp. The dirty channel sounded rather like running a $20 guitar "heavy metal" type distortion box into a solid state amp. When mixed with the clean channel it sounded OK, but on its own it wasn't my cup of tea. Liked the compressor and the EQ options made it very flexible. I figured I could what I liked about this amp in a hybrid amp, so I sold it and got a Genz Benz.

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