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Simple bass amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Matthew West, Jan 18, 2002.

  1. Does anyone else out there wish that bass amps didn't have so many knobs and features? My current amp, a Mesa Buster, has five knobs (input vol, treble, mid, bass, output vol). That's the simplest amp I could find. Recently, I've found myself longing for a three knob amp. It would have volume, bass, and treble. It would have a 100% tube signal path with military spec PTP wiring, and would run six KT88's.

    Am I just a freak, or does anyone feel the same? Is there a sector of the bass playing population who are not being catered to? If you're a tweaker, you have many options. But if you're a minimalist, good luck.

    Oh well, just rambling.
  2. Rickenbackerman


    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    My amps:
    Mesa 400+
    '72 Ampeg SVT
    '73 Sound City 200+
    Ampeg B-15

    All are all tube, minimal knobbage. I am with you on your line of thinking my brother.
  3. i'm currently using an acoustic 160. there are two channels, and while the reverb channel has a bunch of knobs, channel one has only volume, bass and treble.
  4. good for you, the "keep it simple" philosophy is great.

    i bet there is a steup somewhere that comes close to what you want. (most of my amp's tone controls never leave "noon")

    good luck :cool:
  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    My amp (a Trace Elliot V4) sort of fits, it has gain and volume three band eq and all kinds of switches but its all VALVE and sounds subjectively sweet flat.
  6. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    I was thinking about this the other night: What if someone made an amp that only had a five-position dial and using the dial, you could select one of five preset EQ "shapes." That would be cool, eh? It would be simple, yet provide some degree of customization and it wouldn't really matter if the switch got bumped by someone, cuz you could easily switch it back to where it was before.
  7. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    My amp (for about the last 20 years) is an Alembic F2-b, can't get much simpler.
  8. Alembic F-1X and a power amp.

    Volume, Bass, Mid, Treble, Bright switch, Deep switch. Crossover built in, if you need it.
  9. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    I feel excactly the same way.I bought a Carvin R 1000 a couple of years ago and while it's a great head, it has tons of EQ options and isn't easy to dial in.I found a fix for this when I bought a Sans Amp Bass DI.I set the Carvins EQ flat and set the Sans Amp to the SVT setting.It sounds great with whatever bass I use with it and is very simple to use.Sometime I'll probably get a Sans Amp RBI so I can rack it with my head or just get rid of the head and get a power amp.I like being able to just plug in and have my sound and not have to mess with my EQ in every different venue.The Sans Amp does it for me.
  10. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    Here's a nice all-tube 5-knobber:
    Orange AD200B
    I'm don't know if I'm an all-tube fan, haven't tried or even considered one yet, but I sure would love to try out his sweet amp...

  11. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    You mean something like this?
    Hughes&Kettner BassForce series (featuring 'EQ-matrix')

    What looks nice has not convinced me in a test though - I found this feature to be not very effective.
    I like their 'pro-level' BassBase series (with a 2 band semi-parametric EQ instead of this 'toy') very much though...

  12. Laddieo


    Dec 16, 2001
    In the late 80's / early 90's, I bought a Trace Elliot VA-400, head. I've never seen another one.

    All tube power (presently with 6 KT88's).

    It's got two, separate, preamps, that feed into the power section in parallel. One tube, the other solid state (plus, the tube side automatically "pre-drives" the SS side if you use it). But because they actually feed into the power section in parallel, by simply turning down the SS side, you get absolutely pure, flat response, trio of 12ax7's, running straight into 400W of tube power.

    No tone controls, no shaping, no effects... nada. It was just me, my '68 Jazz, an input level knob, 9 tubes and two 215 cabs...

    The tone was truly, truly incredible.

    I have to admit though, in live situations I found myself needing to compensate for room acoustics, or "boomy" stages, or "shape" things to accommodate the squealing requests of whiney guitarists, or wanting to cut through a mix by pushing certain frequencies rather than simply turning up. I ended up using that graphic quite a bit of the time.

    Something happened to me recently though that got me thinking about this whole simplicity thing again.

    On stage recently, my IOD preamp died, so I plugged directly into my SS poweramp and pulled off the show. It sounded okay too. I was using my Spector NS-2J with it's 18v Aguilar pre, so it had plenty of gain to drive the amp. And the tone controls on the instrument gave me some control. It definitely lacked any "tube" warmth, but the notes were there in the mix, and it didn't sound like nails on a chalkboard or anything.

    I might just have to try out a big tube monster again.
  13. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    my favorite amp is an old EKO Herald III Bass amp.
    all tube, on off switch, volume, bass and high controls. still the best!
  14. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    My main amp, 69 Sunn 2000S, volume, bass, treble, contour (mid sweep), deep switch (I never use it), 4 6550s, my search for the ultimate tone machine ended when I
    scored this baby. :D
  15. I was thinking about this the other night: What if someone made an amp
    that only had a five-position dial and using the dial, you could select one of
    five preset EQ "shapes."

    Hey Bro',

    Check out the Avalon U-5 direct box/pre-amp. It has six presets, or the option of none at all. I bought one because it's SIMPLE (and it sounds great).www.avalondesign.com

    Edited note: this is the web site, I don't know why it's not connecting through this link (I'm not what you'd call a computer wiz!).
  16. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Wouldn't it make more sense to have a simple amp with four controls? Drive, bass, treble, and volume. I think a tube amp without a drive control would be impractical.
  17. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
  18. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    why don't you just buy an all tube head, and then don't turn the knobs?
  19. Hey Matthias, I'd kill for one of those things. I'm a really big fan of Orange gear.

    I reckon that company have got it right. A few controls and a killer sound.

    One day........:D :D


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