Switching from Tube pre to SS pre?!?!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mcrelly, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I've owned several bass combos and one 'head' and cab rig, although several cab senarios. my head is the SWR bass 350. I always thought that I really liked the head because of the tube pre. it seemed to have a more pleasing sound to me. after giving a friend a hard time about his going SS I finally tested SS with my own gear. I also own Tech21 RBI and two Aguilar GS-112 cabs. out of curiosity I hooked up my guitar to the RBI running into the power amp section of the SWR using the effects return, thus bypassing the tube in the SWR.

    Although I did NOT like the solo sound of the SS set up I have to admit that the SS sound combined with a band sound was much more useable. it seemed slightly more compressed, yet cutting through better than running through the tube, into the RBI and back to the power amp section.

    Has anyone else noticed things like this?

    Has anyone switched away from tubes? Why?

    Which SS Heads or power amps do you feel are most pleasant to listen to?
  2. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    I found it the other way..but hey its all in your ear

  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I think that this will get more replies in Amps, so I am moving it over.
  4. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    I personally like the sound of a solid state preamp better...

    I had a '73 SVT head and later owned a SVT-350H solid state amp (B2R in a box as it were). I preferred the tone of the solid state amp better.

    I presently have two bass preamps, a Pearce BC-1 and an AMP SL-1 (btw, the SL-1 is essentially the forefather of your SWR's preamp). I recently compared these to a friend's Alembic F1-X. I really prefer the tone of my solid state preamps better...and the Pearce and AMP preamps couldn't sound more different from one another.

    So IMO you gotta listen with your ears...if the solid state preamp does a better job, don't fight it. There may be a tube preamp out there that sounds better than my solid state gear, but I'm happy with what I have.

    Also, if your bass has an on-board preamp or are using a wireless transmitter, your signal is already hitting transistors before it gets close to a tube...
  5. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I've never been a tube purist in any sense of the word, but I guess I believed and thought I 'heard' with my ears that having at least one tube somewher in your system is more pleasing, at least to my ear. now it seems that SS signal is more useful on stage.

    I guess early on I didn't like the sound of the cheaper basses I had going through SS stuff. Then I got the SWR and later added the RBI. For quite a while I played with the blend all the way on sansamp signal. for a while I was even bypassing the preamp section back then! I've had three different cabs and two sounded better, solo, WITH the tube. Ironically, my SWR cabs sounded better bypassing the tube pre??
  6. bassjigga


    Aug 6, 2003
    I was never really a believer in solid state stuff until I heard Glockenklang. Those amps sound amazing....if you can afford them.

  7. Mcrelly,

    If the preamp section of your SWR is not as clean and clear as a SS preamp, it needs repair or a new tube. Unless you swap out the stock 12AX7 for a exceptionally fuzzy tube, the preamp section normally only adds a touch of warmth (if the Aural Enhance knob if fully counter clockwise).

    Turning up the AE knob will add some more warmth and as you reach the 2-3 o'clock position, a smiley face EQ. So best bet is to only run a little or no AE if you want to cut.

    All this being said, I believe you need some repair on your your pre. You've already mentioned that it's acting flakey in another thread.
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