1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Solid States More Popular Now

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ch willie, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. ch willie

    ch willie

    Sep 2, 2012
    I recently bought a Fender Combo 350, and though it's not the heavenly tone of an Ampeg tube amp, it seems to do a pretty good job.

    Years ago, there seemed to be a lot more tube amps available. I've noticed thought that now a lot of people are using either hybrids or full on solid states.

    What happened to the world of bass amps while I was busy playing guitar through my tube amp?
  2. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Fellow recovering guitarist here. Might be because many bassists want clean headroom compared to many guitarists who search for the sweetest overdriven tube sound available.

    Bassists who do like growl don't need it in the amounts that guitar rockers need their high-gain, so I also think SS amps do a better job emulating that than they can a highly pushed pair of EL84s.
  3. Yes, they are. +1 to FourBanger, I don't like tube bass amps, and IMO growl is in the bass, not the amp. My MVR is like seven pounds, puts out a sweeeet tone that I love. Why go for tubes? (Even my guitar amp is SS, though tubes there would be nice.)

  4. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    I'd add, my favorite tube guitar amp was 22 watts and still rather pricey and loud when driven. The bassist used 350 watts to be heard. If he had paid watt-to-dollar what I did for my tube amp it would've cost him five figures.
  5. I'd like to add that SS amps' tone doesn't change a lot during the warm-up period, unlike vavles. Handy for rehearsals and gigs when you can't sit around waiting for your amp to warm up, and especially good for gigs that are so short, you're only playing for 5-10 minutes after your amp's warmed up. Less control-tweaking as the tone settles in too, which is also convenient.
  6. IntrepidCellist


    Sep 10, 2009
    I prefer all-tube bass amps in terms of sound and feel, but the realities are expensive, temperamental, heavy, huge, and not super efficient.

    With my Aguilar, I get 500 watts at 4 lbs and a fair emulation of a tubey overdrive circuit. Can't argue... and it costs a third of what an SVT does.
  7. Mehve


    Jun 2, 2012
    Kitchener, ON
    I think we're just getting newer bassists coming into the scene with no preconceived notions on what the holy grail of tone is "supposed" to be.

    For better or for worse, I suppose. On one hand, you get all kinds who simply take whatever's cheapest and lightest and cludge along, and drag the overall market quality down with them. But you also get a lot of people who aren't anchored down by comparing every single amp/cab to an SVT/810 setup they heard three decades ago.

    There's a recent thread floating around about someone looking for an "Anti-Streamliner". We've progressed far enough that we can actually use a Class-D amp as a tone reference. Awesome.
  8. PrairieDogma


    Jul 11, 2012
    Hamilton, ON
    +1. Solid state bass amps sound much better than they used to. Maybe not good enough for some, but the advantages tilt the scale for most.
  9. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    Still, there is more choices in tube amp now than 10 years ago.

    And solid states were not all bad back in the days, I would not trade my 1989 GK 400RB for anything else.
  10. the growl can also be in the amp, depends on how you drive them, plus some amps, specifically Gallien Krueger, are well known for their growl.

    Tube amps are still alive and well in bass-land, but as others have pointed out, they're big and heavy esp compared to tubed guitar amps because you need more power for bass. And that means more tubes and bigger power and output transformers.

    I see more than a fair amount of people out there gigging the big SVTs, Mesa 400s, Traynors, and the rest. There is a certain something about them that works for a lot of people.

    I've gigged both for about 40 years and I largely rely on SS amps because that's what works for me most of the time.

    I still, however, use a blackface Showman through a modded 2-15 Showman cab to get that sound when required. You can get almost there w/the hybrids, but IMHO and IME, you need both the preamp and amp sections in glass to get the whole enchilada. If you have the appetite for enchilada, that is :D
  11. mech

    mech Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    When stereos, tvs, radios and organs changed from tube technology in the 1970s, the need for vacuum tubes diminished greatly. For bass/guitar amps, solid state offered more power in lighter and less expensive packages.Domestic tube manf sold their equipment overseas where there was still a demand and that equipment eventually wore out. Tube manufacturing has only recently been revived with new plants opening or being refurbished in Russia and China. Guitar amps were and still are about the last holdout. Audiophile audio equipment is a small demand but is a drop in the bucket.

  12. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    I have 5w, 30w, 50w, 200w, and 300w tube bass amps. The 5w amp is run into a dummy load internally so my 850w power amp handles like a tube amp on the edge of clean. Seems like I like a little tube OD.
  13. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I love a good all tube bass amp, but frankly, I can get 90% of that tone and feel with a good hybrid head, at 1/10th the weight. That makes it a no-brainer for me, and many others.
  14. yes, I'll admit 90% of the way is usually enough and the weight (and space) savings is very attractive. I'm definitely not against them, you can't argue with 500 or more watts in 4 lbs that sounds great.

    I use a Showman occasionally (partly) because it's about 45 lbs as opposed to the SVT's 80 or so lbs and the gigs I use them for aren't high vol, or I'll have mic'd PA support. Plus I like the Fender sound. I would not rule out a good hybrid if somewhere down the line I need to gig the tube sound more, but I can't justify it now.

    That said, I do like the ss sound for bass most of the time. For me. We do live in a golden age for bass amplification, all these great solutions and choices :cool:
  15. ch willie

    ch willie

    Sep 2, 2012
    Thanks for the replies. I think the ss amps have improved. I had an ss Peavey stack in the early 80s. It was a Mark IV and it was reliable, but it sounded terrible. This Rumble 350 I have now sounds pretty good in comparison to my dusty old memory.

    The greatest bass experience I ever had was playing through an old Ampeg SVT stack--it was a religious experience. The Rumble 350 can't serve up those bowel-rumbling SVT tones, but it sounds good to my ears.
  16. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    And that is knowledge that many guitarist refuse to embrace.
  17. Even some of the old SS amps were really good. Case in point: Acoustic. I really want an old 140, but can't justify buying one :p

  18. EmpireBass


    Sep 16, 2012
    i tour with my solid state svt7pro because i dont have to pay for more tubes at the end of the tour. i have an svt classic but it doesnt leave the studio. the tubes are way expensive for it. in the solid state pro only one tube and and it like $20.
  19. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    There's a massive world of "Solid State" Amplifiers. And they are very popular.
    It's not just one SS design, there are many. Many pre-amp designs hidden in heads.

    The world has become smarter. wiser, and is listening with objectivity and buying less of the marketing spew.
  20. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    There are big pluses to all three (tube, solid state, and Class D). That's why I own all three!

    I think Mehve really nailed it though. Young bass players are into guys who never played an SVT in their whole life. It is not the gold standard for every single player that it was at one point a few decades ago. I love a good tube amp. But my Mesa Walkabout gets close enough for rock n roll and weighs less for the whole combo than the SVT head alone does. I can walk into a club with the combo in one hand, the extension cab in the other, and my double gig bag on my shoulder. And it will vibrate your pants off.

    If I had to pinpoint it though (from a historical standpoint) I would have to say the GK 400RB really turned the corner for solid state stuff back in the 80's. It probably had as much to do with marketing as it did a really well built and efficient amp (which it was). But everyone from Stu Hamm to Jack Bruce played them back then. I'm sure someone will chime in with others, but that one really put SS on the map to me. After that, it was cool to be solid state for bass.

    Interesting thread!