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Soundcity 120B or Fender Bassman 135

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TaySte_2000, May 12, 2010.

  1. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    So basically these are the same money, the Soundcity looks brand new, comes with the original mullard tubes and a full complement of reasonably new JJ's

    The Fender is in good condition, few nicks and such as you'd expect but all in all a clean example, it's the same price as the Soundcity but doesn't have any valves but I do have lots of 6l6's lying around so not really an issue.

    I currently own
    Mesa 400+
    Mesa Strategy 400
    Alembic F-1X
    2 x Simms Watt 100w all tube 70's PA amps

    I do seem to favour the Bassman type setup hence the Mesas and the Alembic but the Soundcity is louder and would give me something new with its near Hiwatt sound.

    So open to opinions

  2. I would go the SoundCity every time. I't's a better build and has tapped Partridge output transformer (4,8 & 16Ω IIRC) thus cabinet selection will be easier. With six EL34s in the output stage the 120w is conservative.

  3. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O)))) Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Personally, I'd say the Sound City. They're so sick, and to get one that's super clean and has the original Mullard's is amazing. I've only ever heard great things about the Sound City's, kind of a poor mans Hiwatt.

    Can't say I have any experience with the Bassman 135, but I've heard they're fairly good too.
  4. Not really - as Hiwatt grew out of Sound City it's more a parent. :)

  5. +1 on all this, the fender wont use as high quality stuff and i really doubt it'll get to the stated 135watts
  6. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Sound City was made out of the same parts as Hiwatt originally in the same factory by many of the same good old boys and are much better amps than people seem to realize these days. I have a roost which is a very close cousin also made in southend on sea in the same era.
    That amp has more power than the 135 fender and can do the classic "who live at leads" sound with real authority.:D
    PS they are also like hiwatt, staggeringly reliable.
  7. KramerBassFan


    Jan 3, 2009
    I also want to say the SoundCity has a Better (read: better LIKED) Preamp than the Fender.

    All that said... I love my Marshall Superbass Preamp! :bassist:

    I say Sound City all the way.
  8. Saying you prefer something that you built with yer own two hands ain't allowed. Your biased! ;)

  9. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Get the Sound City !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. The SC 120 used an EQ section very much like an active graphic EQ implemented with rotary controls. Very unusual.

  11. KramerBassFan


    Jan 3, 2009

    Well i do like it more than my Sunn Coliseum 300 Pre amp... but the fact the Sunn is fully transistorized, and loaded with effects may be why :ninja:

    Biased? Only thing biased here is my Superbass! :)
  12. KramerBassFan


    Jan 3, 2009
    Which i'm sure is more usable to most people who are not familiar with the typical FENDER tone stack... and its british derivatives :bag:
  13. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    I had a Sound City Bass 150 about 1972 vintage. I let it go because it was: ready for some major work, heavy @ 70 lbs, and getting unreliable.

    It fetched a lot of money even like that.

    I miss it.

    But then I don't have to worry about it or carry it around anymore.

    When it was running right, it was super thick and juicy.

    I vote Sound City.
  14. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i'd definitely rather have the sound city.
    (i have an SC Bass 150 and i love it).
  15. partridge transformers and mustard caps are all pretty good!

    Roost amps are in a different class lead dress and wiring is up there with hiwatt standard, wiring in soundcitys is normally a bit of a rats nest type experience.

    I wouldn't compare soundcitys to hiwatts, there two very different amps using very different circuits on average and the soundcitys are more powerful than your average hiwatt.
  16. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O)))) Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA

    I find it rather strnage that they'd have very different circuits given that Hiwatts, are, as Paul stated earlier, a descendant of Sound City. The Who were using Sound City gear which was modified to the CP103 circuit of the Hiwatts. Mr. Reeves had designed the Sound City amps, and built them for the Sound City store, and then later started his own company to make the Hiwatts. The Hiwatts are probably a bit of a refinement over their predecessors, but I don't believe their incredibly distinct.

    Now, when you start talking about later Sound City, there are more differences, such as when they started using active tone circuits and preamps.
  17. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Thanks guys, certainly seems like the Soundcity is the safe bet, I'm just waiting to hear back on something I've seen on ebay. Couldn't believe it I'd made my mind up on the soundcity then something I've wanted for 2 years pops up.

    I'll probably get the Fender at some point down the line as well but we'll see I technically have 2 Fender Bassmans/Bassmen.
  18. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Let me also add that for less than the mint condition SC120b I can get a SC PA200 that needs a service and valves

    Does that shift anyones views?
  19. there similar in the sense that a fender bassman is similar to a marshall. Alot of english companys at that time share common links.

    @taystee - 200PA all the way! If you don't get it pass me on the details.
  20. AwkwardLoudness


    Jan 11, 2010
    MI USA
    Another vote for the Sound City.

    However, Hiwatt is NOT a descendent of Sound City as others have said. Dave Reeves built the first Hiwatt labeled amp in 1964 and formally incorporated the Hylight Electronics company within a couple years after this. His first customer to place large order was the Arbiter owned store, Sound City. Some amps from this early run were labeled 'Arbiter Power 100' and others were labeled 'Sound City One Hundred' which later became known as the Mark I series of SC amps. These amps were similar to the later Hiwatt CP103. Soon after this, Reeves started selling amps directly to customers. Sound City continued to make amps that shared many similarities in the circuit of Reeves' earlier amps through the Mark II and Mark III series in the late 60s. The early 70s SC Mark IV amps had much different circuitry as they had active tone controls and IMO lesser build quality. The insulation on the wires of these particularly don't always hold up well through time.

    The circa '67 Sound City amps were very similar to some of the early Hiwatts. However, there was much divergence after this especially around 1970.

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