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Sunn 1200s appreciation thread

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bovine mind, Mar 12, 2010.


  1. bovine mind

    bovine mind

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Francisco
    Just picked up this lovely beast for $375. Running it @ 1200w/2ohms with an Ampeg 810e and a Sunn 215BH w/ upgraded EV speakers. Really, really impressed.

    I was planning on using this amp as a replacement for my Sunn Coliseum that recently gave up the ghost as part of my pseudo Moog Taurus rig, but decided to give it a go with my bass. Can't believe how much better it sounds compared to my SVT-CL, which i'll sell.

    Considerably louder in clean power and bass response, even the on board compressor sounds good! The EQ is very intuitive and I had my dream tone dialed in with a Gibson Ripper tuned to drop C right away. The tone of the amp is clearer and tighter than my SVT-CL. The only weak point of the amp is the distortion channel when used alone with the gain up high, sounds like a blurry cheap low gain fuzz, but with it blended in, the results are a very convincing overdriven tube sound.

    My only real criticism about the amp is it's almost too powerful! Even with the 400w each EV speakers I installed in the Sunn 215BH I almost cooked the drivers and had to pull down the lowest hz slider after noticing the distinct smell of frying cones.

    What other TB members have anything to say about this amp?
     
  2. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Great amp! I traded mine out, but I miss it sometimes...
     
  3. jastacey

    jastacey

    Feb 8, 2009
    Houston,Tx
    I have the Fender Bassman 1200 and it is basically the same thing ...every thing you've said is true to the Bassman 1200 ... Channel 2 is used as a blended signal to add the grit/overdrive to the clean channel, these amps are very good in what they do .... enjoy
     
  4. bovine mind

    bovine mind

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Francisco
    Glad you both think so.

    Otherwise, wow, no other love/experience with the 1200s? This amp solved my volume and tone gripes after going through quite a few others.
     
  5. Ron Now

    Ron Now

    Sep 3, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Endorsing Artist: Fuzzrocious Pedals
    I've actually owned 2. The first one blew up a week after I got it (both used) the second I bought broken after it had supposedly blown up...but took it to one of my tech's and he had it up and running within 2 days.

    I love it, super clean headroom, tons of bass and power on tap. I've actually switched down from 2 heads to 1 and I'm still louder.

    RE:1200s's blowing up. There is a design flaw in the amp that a heatsink gets too hot and close to the PCB board in the amp...potentinally could fry it. I know you're not in Chicago but this dude "Radar" at Deltronics knows all about it. If you want to give him a call or email I'm sure he'll explain the whole problem and what can be done to fix it so it'll never happen to your amp.
     
    Maluku and vigor&kandor like this.
  6. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    This is true! I had a 1200s go down as well & Fender retrofitted it with the heat sink kit. I believe all current production models have already been re-designed.
     
  7. I love my Sunn 1200s, it's really the only amp I can ever see myself using. I'm thinking about getting another Schroeder 410 just so I can unleash the 2 ohm power of this beast, even if it is more than I could ever possibly need.
     
  8. bovine mind

    bovine mind

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Francisco

    Woah, thanks much for the link. Definitely going to have my local tech mod the amp before I go on tour this summer. Did your amps blow after extended use during a long session?

    What cabs are you using yours with and which heads did you get rid of?
     
  9. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    To be fair... my head did stop functioning properly- but- it was after it had been stolen and I later recovered it. :rollno:

    Long story, but basically the 1200s I had received from Fender was stolen along with a bunch of other gear. About 5-6 years went by when, lo & behold, I found my stuff on eBay. I had filed a police report at the time of the theft & recovering my gear was a snap! Except, the 1200s and one of my Mesa tube amps weren't working properly. I suspect they were abused.

    I dropped the 1200s at a local tech & he told me about the heat-sink kit. I ended up just getting an entirely brand new set of "guts" (everything but the chassis & transformers), just to be 100% sure, and was back off to the races!


    I was using my 1200s with a Sunn 2x15 and/or 4x10. I had already gotten the 300pro tube amp from Fender as a replacement (identical pre section, but with a 6x6550 output), so I turned in the 1200s. Sometimes, I wish I still had it as a backup...
     
  10. Ron Now

    Ron Now

    Sep 3, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Endorsing Artist: Fuzzrocious Pedals

    Like I said, I got both of mine used. Niether of them really gave me much warning, one just blew a puff a black smoke when I turned it on one morning (granted I got it used from guitar center...so who knows how much abuse it took there) and the other I got from my friend who noticed a funny smell one day and took it to a tech where it did the same thing when they were sending a test signal through it.

    I am using mine with a Bergantino NV610 and NV215

    I was using a rewired Orange AD200 (puts out over 200 watts with mods) and an aguilar AG500

    I love the Orange so I might try to see if I can still make it work with the 1200s and the Orange...but so far the Sunn alone is louder.
     
  11. I appreciate the 1200s. Don't own one. Can't afford one... but man... i appreciate them :D
     
  12. Doug1as

    Doug1as

    Mar 3, 2010
    I have had a 1200S for five years, and agree with everything positive that's been said here. The panel let's you really micro-tweak your sound in a way no other panel does. Beware of 4 ohm (or even more - 2 ohm!) loads. If you're driving a cab not rated to 1200W the 1200S will piston out your voice coil in one slap.

    A problem I've had is finding an off-the-shelf case for it. With the rear rackmount pieces it's a full 21" deep.
     
  13. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I used an old SKB roto-mold rack for it. Fit perfectly...
     
  14. FYI There are a couple on ebay right now that look like they're in decent condition...

    ...if only i didn't waste my tax return on frivolous things like... rent... and... food. :scowl:
     
  15. bovine mind

    bovine mind

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Francisco
    Saw those as well, seems like they're actually dropping in price compared to what they used to go for used a few years ago. Thinking about adding a second one for my psuedo Taurus rig,
     
  16. bovine mind

    bovine mind

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Francisco
    Definitely agree to watch your speakers with this amp. Currently pushing 10 drivers with 1600w power handling to even the ballance.
     
  17. bovine mind

    bovine mind

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Francisco

    Great rig, thanks for the back story. I'm sure your Bongripper rig is thundering with those Berg cabs, and nice to hear the Sunn can hold it own on tonality vs the Orange.

    Why did you swap the Emperor cabs for the Bergs if you dont mind me asking? I'm thinking about swapping my Ampeg 810e for an Emperor 612.
     
  18. bovine mind

    bovine mind

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Francisco
    I hear you on the Fender 300Pro. At this point the only other amp I'd own and tour with would be the Sunn 300t, but those are so awfully rare. I've had my fill of retubing the SVT-CL and find the tone to be pretty vanilla. Amazed you recovered your gear after almost 6 years!

    How complicated is the heat sink kit? As in, how long did it take your tech to mod the amp?
     
  19. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Once he got the parts, minutes. It was just a few screws and clips, as I recall.

    But, like I said, after the heatsink kit installation, we decided to go full-monty & replace everything as I was concerned about the beating the amp had taken while it was in "limbo". It took a while to get all of those parts in...
     
  20. protoz

    protoz

    Nov 30, 2000
    Iowa
    I had one and sold it to but the tube version 300T. Some days I really miss that little amp when I'm lugging my 70+lbs tube amp up and down stairs.

    Get heavy gauge speaker cables and you should be alright.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Nov 26, 2020

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