Sunn Beta Bass Head

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassizac, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. Hey I'm new to bass (it's hard to be a guitarist) and to the forum. My first question. So here goes.
    Ok does anyone knw anything about the Sunn Beta Bass head? Any users? Ex users? love, hate, heard a story about it? There's little info online and it's been mixed.
    I kept checking ebay for it just to see the average (maybe) going price. Found one for $149.00, now I can get one from a pawn shop near me for $99. Is that price even worth it?
    Right now I play through an ampeg V50H (it's mostly for guitar) so a dedicated bass amp would be a nice change as I am really liking the bass (I think it suits me).
    Thanks for any help or insults.
    Hope to have a good relationship with this site since there seems to be a higher ratio of guitar to bass sites out there.
    Take it easy all
  2. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
  3. yeah I've definately read that, it's just that harmony central always leaves me wanting more info. Or maybe I just make bad instrument choices and that's why they're always rated low or have few posts. Thanks though I will read it again maybe a little deeper.
  4. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    IIRC, the Beta Bass amps were made in the late '70s, early '80s. I don't know that they enjoyed the popularity of the Concert Bass, Colliseum Bass and the earlier tube amps.

    If it works, looks like it's in good condition, sounds good to your ears and does all that you want it to do, it should be fine.
  5. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    I looked on and found a couple...they're priced higher than what you mentioned. Music Go Round's prices seem to be creaping up, but on most stuff I've found that they're about right...becoming less right every day though...
  6. I used a Sunn Beta Bass combo back in the late '70s/early '80s, and at the time, I liked it a lot. I had had a few different Sunn amps. The thing about this amp I didn't like was that it was pretty noisy (high-end hiss), and it was designed for channel switching (if you can still find one with a footswitch), which isn't really all that necessary for bass. The thing has only 100 watts RMS at 4 ohms, which isn't a heck of a lot these days. It's be good for practice, I guess. One of the features touted by the ad hype of the time was its distortion sound, provided by "C-MOS" solid state devices (a type of FET transistor). Basically you'd adjust the drive gain into the post gain. But distortion for bass? Not a primary consideration for me at the time. I had a guitar playing buddy who used the guitar version of this amp, and it did a pretty good job; the distortion was convincing, for a solid state amp. For combo amp users, there was a powered speaker version you could slave to the main unit, so you'd have a 200 watt setup. I saw one of these pairs of units for sale here in Chicago a few years ago. Still, kind of under powered. But good for practice, if the band isn't too loud.
  7. Yeah thanks for the info and resources. It's mostly just added reinforcement to my beliefs so far (that it's a good but underpowered amp.) Looks as though my old amp is out of commission (for 300 bucks I ain't fixing it) so seems I'll be in need of an amp, and quick. Should do good for now with just practices in the near future, every one else is running less than a hundred watts so I hope it'll do. Thanks for the help so far and if there is any info hidden out there in somones brain let me know all I've heard of mostly is combo amp useage.
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I use to own an Alpha, which was a single channel 50 watt version of the Beta. For $99 a Beta head would be a good buy as long as it's in good shape. It's over 20 years old at this point so check it over carefully.

    Keep in mind that for similar money there are many used Peavey bass heads in the 200-300 watt range out there like the "series 400 Bass", "MkIII Bass" and "MkIV Bass" heads which might be more useful due to the higher power.
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