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Still in search of the ideal amp...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JayAmel, Jun 1, 2003.

  1. Ampeg SVT-4PRO

    4 vote(s)
  2. Ashdown ABM-900 EVO

    3 vote(s)
  3. SWR SM-900

    0 vote(s)
  4. Other (please specify in the thread)

    0 vote(s)
  1. JayAmel

    JayAmel Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France

    I am planning the purchase of a big rig. After thinking much about it, several things appeared clear to me :

    - solid state amps sound a bit too "flat"
    - all-tube amps sound great but they are fragile and heavy, and their maintenance cost is high

    I figured out I'd take the intermediary, with a tube preamp and MOSFET power section.

    I need an amp that is very versatile, but :

    - I never slap and don't need crispy highs
    - I need solid low-end since I essentially play 5-strings (MM SR5)
    - The amp should suit for many styles : pop, rock, blues, etc. No slappy funk, no jazz.

    At last, I want high wattage, not to play louder, but to have a well definited tone at high level without clipping.

    I selected a few amps for that, and I'd like to have your opinions. Some amps you'd be thinking of may be missing : that's just because they are almost impossible to get here in Europe. Others are also missing because I tried them and didn't like them.

    Thanks in advance !
  2. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    quite searching. Buy a great power amp, I've had great luck and so have my customers with the Crest LT series which weighs 27Lbs. you can get it in the LT1000 - 1200 watts, LT1500 - 1800 watts or the LT2000 - 2400watts. The LT1000 is my biggest seller because of the price.

    Once you have an awesome power amp and Cabinet your set!!! The preamp is an easy and very interchangable part of the setup. You can plug direct into the amp when you don't have a preamp and there are used preamps always popping up you can buy and try and sell with out ever loosing a penny.

    Don't waste your time and money with the purchase of a head, you can get more for your money by buy amp and pre.
    New eden wt800 cost $1600-$1800
    New Crest LT1000 & used Navigator $950-1000

    The biggest part is the Amp and Cabinet. Next two most important things when buying a high dollar bass.

    Hope that helps,
  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Are SansAmp RBI preamps available over there? I've been very happy with mine, with the exception of the weight issue (which is the fault of the poweramp, not the pre). An RBI into the poweramp of your choice may do it for you, and they're quite inexpensive compared to most tube pres.
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    yes, crest makes wonderful poweramps
    but i'm a sissy and dont wanna carry a monster so i got a stewart 2.1
    both stewart and qsc's plx line are awesome
    but definitely, go with the preamp poweramp combo, you'll be glad you did
  5. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    "- all-tube amps sound great but they are fragile and heavy, and their maintenance cost is high"

    I challange that. I think that the tone of an all-tube head is well worth a little grunt work (that and cool guitar straps are the main reason bass players have shoulders) and a well handled tube amp shouldn't really require tons of maintenance. Seriously, you might go 10 years without having to replace your tubes. There are tons of old amps being used with the original tubes still cranking away. I've got a Trace Elliot V6, it weighs about 90 lbs, I put in on my right shoulder and have no problem carrying it (the wussy guitarists complain when they try to lift it, but they're big skirts anyway).

    Aside from all that, I'd say the Ashdown is a great amp for the styles you describe. MOSFET is really just an imitation of the real deal (they are trying to emulate the sound of tubes, why not just get tubes?), but they do a good job of it. Ashdowns have big, big bottom. I commend your lack on interest in crisp highs (that frequency range is for cymbals and Mariah Carey if you ask me).
  6. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com

    Crest makes the LT and ST series which are both light weight.
    The LT series weighs 27 Lbs and the ST us 17 Lbs.

    I personally like the LT series and its a little cheaper.
  7. I am very interested in the Pre-amp power amp combo..

    I currently use an SWR SM900 into a SWR 6x10
    Fantastic sounding amp, but have had some reliability issues with the SWR gear in general...and boy do SWR heads run hot...!!

    The great thing about the SM900 is the twin EQ channel..

    If I could find a single unit pre-amp with twin channel switchable EQ's then I think I would go for the Pre/power amp setup.

    You are quite right about the headroom..You just cant have enough power.

    At the moment My vote is for the SM900..all down to superb Tone, that twin EQ and a pretty good amount of power.

    I think you will struggle to find a good used power amp and top quality pre amp for less money than a used quality head. Certainly in the UK I am struggling to find a good pre amp new or used. Non of the shops tend to stock pre-amps.
    The trend in the UK has moved away from them from what I can see.

  8. zoran


    May 10, 2002
    You cannot miss with any of this heads. I also consider various manufacturers for my 4-string stingray and picked glockenklang preamp. I never played through ashdown, but you may consider gallien-krueger as well. Great amp, too
  9. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I think in Europe there is a fundamental difference in criteria when buying bass gear compared to the US - our houses and particularly our cars are MUCH smaller. Plus, whilst in the US lightweight power amps are getting much cheaper, you still pay through the nose here for QSC and you can't even get Stewart in Europe.


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