Solid State Amp With the Best Overdrive/Distortion

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SlugThrower, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. SlugThrower


    Sep 7, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Hey folks,

    I'm currently in the market for a solid state amp with a built in overdrive/distortion channel. I love simple rigs (i.e. limited pedals), so having an amp with a brutal channel would be tops.

    I'm currently running through two ampeg classic 1x15s and an SVT classic, but i'm tired of lugging around the SVT and having to spend money on yearly maintenance.
  2. If you can find one, an Aguilar AG500 dual channel.
    The aggro overdrive channel on it is killer. I really really regret selling mine (and I'm now looking to get another one), you can get just about anything from a light tube-like break up to full out fuzz pedal style gnarly grit.

    I'm using an Orange Bass Terror 500 currently, and the gain dial on it comes in pretty close as well, though it's a bit more "vintage" in it's voicing.
  3. +1 to the TB500. I would also check out the Aguilar TH 500.
  4. bassgod76

    bassgod76 bass turd burglar

    Mar 13, 2003
    South Florida
    GK RB800 has some great grit.
  5. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    Tech 21?
  6. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005
    Mesa Big Block 750 has the best OD sound I've ever heard in anything that wasn't all tube...

    - georgestrings
  7. Balog


    Mar 19, 2009
    Everett, WA
    I really liked my Sunn Beta Bass when I had one, but it wasn't nearly as powerful as an SVT.
  8. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I used a GK1001RB for years, but relied on a Sansamp to get the tone I wanted.

    When that amp died, I got a PF500. I wasn't looking for it, but I get a great "grind" in the tone, reminiscent of my SVT days, but more so. With the right setting of compression and gain, there it is. For a while I didn't think I'd be able to get rid of it if I wanted to, (but I found it's possible.

    Not distortion per se, but a grind, happening in the midrange mostly, and especially when playing aggressively.

    I recently had a reunion with a band I was in 30 years ago, and used the drummer's son's Ampeg Pro7 and a Carvin 2X10 and was able to get the same tone there. When we actually performed I used my rig, which I did prefer.

    I'll likely go to a PF800 someday, to sidestep the reliability/cut out problems some have experienced, because I like the PF500 so much. Also, I use fairly inefficient speakers.

    I may add my old Sansamp set up as a distortion pedal, but so far, I haven't needed it. With my GK I used the Sansamp and on my pedalboard I had three distortion/overdrive pedals on my pedalboard. I don't use any pedals anymore.

    But, I think in your case, re-reading your original post, an amp with a distortion channel may be what you need. I'm just happy to get back to Ampeg tone.

    I have thought since I bought my 72 SVT in 1975 that the secret to Ampeg's bass tone is the inductor based midrange, along with the passive Baxandall bass and treble (the mid being active, and the passive bass and treble acting like active, non-interactive boost and cut). I could hear the quality in my SVT, and in every V-4 I played or heard back in the day. I was so pleased to hear it in the PF500 and the Pro 7. When I first saw the guts of a PF500, there was that inductor.

    I've built amp circuits using an inductor and the same circuit using a simulated op amp inductor. I hear a BIG difference.

    I am happy to have that in my tone again, and I don't think I'll stray from it from now on.
  9. Traynor TS50B
    Peavey Centurion
    Aguilar Ag500
  10. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
  11. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    +1, or the Titan (2 Siamese 750s).
  12. I like the Traynor mentioned above.
  13. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    How would you feel about a pre/power rig?
  14. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Solid State amps are high powered these days. Rarely will the power amp get driven into distortion. And most all have limiters, some very specialized limiters.

    All the distortion/tone is from the pre-amp part of the head. The power amp part just amplify.

    You have another choice besides clean/dirty channels. That is heads the actually can have multiple presets of your favorite tones clean and driven.

    Check out the TC Electronic heads.
  15. steamthief


    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    My Fender TB-600 has an awesome OD channel!
  16. orangejulius3

    orangejulius3 Supporting Member

    May 6, 2013
    La Habra CA
    GK 2001rb
    You can turn up the boost for grit/grind or turn on the OD section either by front panel button or foot pedal.
    Foot pedal comes with it and its not needed for operating amp.
    Only CON is 40 lbs.

    Otherwise, this amp is a beast!
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    The micro Ampegs all have some pretty cool mild-to-medium overdrive if you crank the gain, similar to what you might get out of an SVT-CL. Not switchable but you don't get switchable with the SVT-CL anyway, and the prices on their lightweight stuff are pretty decent ;)
  18. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    GK 700RB II has a nice growl/grind when you push it.
    I'd suggest you grab an amp you like the tone of and add a Darkglass pedal like vmt.
  19. To be quite honest I really enjoy the overdrive feature on my fender rumble 350. With the gain and blend u can get dif levels dis. Obviously cranked not so much but with both on 5 I really like it. It's goin thru a cn 212 so maybe that helps?