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Switching to a new 300 watt tube amp need advice!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by LukeMan970, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. LukeMan970


    Jun 22, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    I currently have a Mesa 400+ that I bought used but I think it's time to sell. I do like the amp overall but there are too many problems with it currently. I have it paired with a Ampeg 410HE and it always seems to be a bit muddy when I start playing anything comlicated. Reliability has been the MAJOR issue in the past two years so I think it's time to move on, however I don't want to give up that awesome all tube tone and power :bassist:

    I'm looking for a very punchy tone that keeps it's definition well within a mix, similar to CAKE's I will survive cover or Juan Alderete of the Mars Volta. So I've narrowed down my choices to three amps that will be within my price range and was wondering what everyone's experiences would be with them.

    First up is the Fender Super bassman 300. I really like the look and power of the amp as well as the foot switchable channels and it seems it still has the vintage tone that I'm after. The second channel really intrigues me as I go back and forth a lot between clean and dirty signals in the band I'm playing in but it's been with a darkglass b3k rather than using the amp to overdrive

    The second one is an Ampeg SVT-VR. I've heard mixed reviews on the SVT classic but overall people seem very pleased with the VR's. I'd most likely buy used as they're pretty pricey but they definitely cover the vintage sound category. I just don't know how well they overdrive or how flexible they are tone wise. Is it a one trick vintage pony or can you get a broad range of tones out of these?

    My last option would be to sell my current 400+ and by one that is in better condition. I do like the Mesa but the retube costs keep me a little wary about picking up another on of these. Also in the two years I've had mine it's been to the tech twice and both times they haven't been able to get it 100% up to snuff as far as I'm concerned.

    I realize there are some other threads similar to this but I'm really only concerned about these couple amps and not sure how they stack up against one another. I've looked at an Orange AD200 but it seems like too much of a 1 trick amp and a Matamp or Reeves is out of my price range right now.
  2. Aguilar DB751?

    I haven't played one but it's just another option. Supposed to be an awesome high end all tube amp.

    Might be worth checking into.
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Maybe you have the 400+ dialed in funky. Your starting point should be something like this-

    Mids: 8-10, Bass- 2, Treble- 2; graphic to taste.

    The 400/400+ is the boldest most burly midrange head that I've ever come across. I find it to be very articulate. Your cab might be to blame! I find Ampegs to be a little dark and muddy, voiced great for rock but not super hi fi.
  4. spector_boogie

    spector_boogie No Limit Honky

    Apr 15, 2012
    The Woodlands, TX
    With that amp, it's probably the cab. My ex 400+ wasn't anything like that and was very clear.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you are going to try an SVT and you want distortion at low volumes, I would get an SVT-CL. The only way to get distortion out of the VR is by turning it up insanely loud, whereas you can use the gain to get preamp distortion on the CL. Not quite as glorious as power tube distortion but won't get you fired. And yes, you can get an insanely broad range of tones out of either of them.

    Also, you'll need a 4 ohm load for it, and your 410he is 8 ohms. Will work for low volume stuff, but using an 8 ohm cab with an SVT with any significant volume can cause reduced tube life and possible problems with the output transformer.
  6. Yup, flat on the 400's are 2-10-2, start from there and CUT the frequencies you don't want, not boost the ones you do. See where that gets you.
  7. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I do love Ampeg but those new Fender Super Bassman amps are unreal.
  8. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    On the Mesa, put the mid dial to 10. That's the way it's designed. Bass and treble should be around 2 or 3. The treble pot is the one to watch. Be careful w it. Then dial in the graphic from there. Nothing muddy should come of that

  9. LukeMan970


    Jun 22, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    I have the amp set at mid-10 bass-3 and treble-3 but pulled with the graphic eq bumping at 250hz and 625hz so I don't necessarily think it's the eq. I know it needs a retube pretty soon I just haven't had the cash to go through with it yet :rolleyes: I've been thinking for a while that this cab is a bit muddy and VERY boomy so I have considered changing that out to a new fEARful dually but haven't decided if I want to switch to a new amp or a new cab first :D
  10. sirpug


    May 8, 2008
    Everett Wa
    Not sure if you've looked at them but I really LOVE my VB-2 from Peavey. Only had to replace the tubes in it once in about 3 years of bi weekly practices and about 15 gigs. I normally run it about 3 on the volume (with clean channel gain at 10) which is plenty loud enough and, paired with an Ampeg 8x10, I get complemented on my "tone" at almost every gig. Just a thought.
  11. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    I would pairing your head with different cabs, and see if that helps. IMHO the cab matters more than the amp as far as tone goes.

    The greenboy Dually would be a killer cab with that head.
  12. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    If you feel that your sound is being too muddy and you don't want to worry about retubing alot I'm going to admit to being biased and suggest a Carvin product. I don't work for Carvin or have an endorsement or anything like that, I have just had great experiences with their gear.

    I know Carvin is NOT one of the big names out there, but personally I'm okay with not having the industry standards. Their amps are definitely more of a modern sound, however it felt like taking the big wooly blanket off my rig when I switched to Carvin. For me it simply works great, sounds awesome, and I didn't have to go into a second mortgage to get it.

    I use the BX1500 head through the BRX10.4 Neo cab, and have no complaints with this rig what so ever. Plenty of EQ options and headroom with a built in compressor (that actually works!), DI, footswitchable graphic and FX loop, etc.. 2 rackspaces at 10 lbs all for around $500 at the moment. If you're looking for something more straight forward with a ton of power on tap check out the B2000. No frlls just knobs and horsepower. 2000w in a 2 space rack at 13 lbs for around $600.

    Here's a link to check these out a little further if you're interested. http://www.carvinguitars.com/bassamps/bassheads.php

    Again I am simply a fan of the gear and the company and it makes me sad when I see fellow musicians spend more on their gear than they really have to just to get that decal or plastic logo. Just trying to help.
  13. LukeMan970


    Jun 22, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah I never have the tweeter going on this cab so the Dually seems like the natural way for me to go if I choose do to the custom route. The crazy thing is at practice last night I had to have my amp set with the master and channel 2 volume both set at 7 to compete with my guitarist fender deville combo :help: I'm thinking I need to retube the whole thing and see if that solves my problems. The only thing is I'm into this amp for quite a bit money just from fixing it. Wonder if it's worth it just to sell this one and get one that might be a bit more reliable?
  14. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    A few thoughts:
    1. The Mesa tube amps are just too bright for me - they go from too-bright to too-muddy in an instant, given my playing style. I am happily in love with an Ampeg SVT II non-pro. It nails the tone you are describing.

    2. The Aguilar DB750/751 are awesome, and can cop the same tone as the Ampeg. However - they are not all-tube, as mentioned above, and they need to be turned up louder than is generally useful in order to get That Tone.

    3. And yes, cabs matter hugely.
  15. Thought they were all tube, thanks for the correction.

    I'd still love to play thru on!
  16. LukeMan970


    Jun 22, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah I've heard the Aguilar amps are fantastic but I don't have access to play through one right now otherwise I might be looking a bit closer at those. I've heard the Aguilar is punchy as all get out though.

    I've heard a lot of good things about the Ampeg SVT II non pro but I played through one with a Mesa 410 and it really didn't sound that great. It was someone else's rig so I didn't change up to many of there settings but it was way too bright and over accentuated my clanky playing :smug: I'm really trying to figure this out in the near future just because my 400+ cut out on power last night too and I don't want to get left stranded at practice or at a gig anytime soon.
  17. D.M.N.

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

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Fender Bassman 300pro. Crazy tone shaping, massive headroom, seperate clean and drive channels, and you can find them used for around the $800 mark if you keep an eye out.
  18. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    FWIW, It's been my experience that tube heads sound best with sealed cabinets. I've found that ported cabs produce to much muddy bottom end if not carefull when used with a tube head.

    Do yourself a favour and check out a Traynor YBA300. It's a single channel amp that brings great old school tone.

    Plus the auto lockout tube protection system is great especially combined with the on the fly do it yourself tube bias adjustment system. It uses 6L6GC tubes, but you can mix EL34's and KT88's in any configuration you want to achieve specific tone with the bias adjustment dials.

  19. i posted about this in the hot deals section

    apparently Verellen is having a sale and you can pick up a new 300 watt meatsmoke for like 1800
  20. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Ports can work with tubes but not always these old tree ported Eden LXT cabinets are great with big tube amps:
    Very loud efficient and clear, especially good with ultra linear output stages like the Marshall Major and similar heads.:bassist: