There's a tube in my future?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by michele, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    After 15 years I've realized that I've never been REALLY satisfied by any amp I've had or tried so I'm on the market for a new one. Unfortunately I live in Italy, not a paradise for instruments, amps and prices so I need your help, lucky guys exposed to tons of great gear!

    What I plug in: Sadowsky NYC 4 strung with TI Jazz Flats.

    What I've experienced: My first rig was an SWR Studio 220 head + SWR 2x12 cab. After a year I traded it for an SWR RedHead combo (the old one): I played (and struggle with) it for years until I finally realized SWR it's not my cup of tea. In various band settings (even on power trios) I was always buried by other instruments. SWR sound somewhat "thin" and "sterile" to my ears. I've also tried:
    Hartke 3500 - not impressed.
    Eden WT400 - A/B it with the RedHead ... I found the Eden a lot warmer.
    At the moment I play a Little Mark 1x12 Mini combo: I bought it for the weight (38 lbs.) and because it smoked the Red Head. A real good sounding amp but ... a little voice tell me I still haven't found the tone I'm looking for.

    The sound I dream of: Instead of adjectives I'd rather use examples but, sorry, no Jaco or Stanley or Marcus or Vic here. Don't misunderstand me: they're all great players but my heart beats faster for a couple of little-known cats:
    1. Have you ever listen to Lounge Lizards Live in Berlin 1991? A guy named Oren Bloedow (Elysian Fields anyone?) really shines throughout the whole record: his tone on that album is stellar (not to mention his groove and musical taste). My favourite bass playing (and tone) EVER!
    2. Erik Sanko - on various Lounge Lizards records and John Lurie projects (Marvin Pontiac).
    3. Chris Wood of MMW - Anything!
    Need words? Warm, groove, growl.

    What I need:
    1. I play almost exclusively in little clubs so I'd like a head+1x12" cabinet rig.
    2. I live at 4th floor, no elevator: I'd prefer to travel light!

    I realized I've always played SS: maybe there's a tube in my future?
  2. Jmaginnis


    Mar 15, 2005
    Well if portability is what you are looking for there is definately not a tube amp in your future. They all weigh a ton. Usually 50+ pounds.

    Though if you want as close to a tube sound you can get, with great portability, definately go for the Mesa Boogie walkabout. Pair that with a Aguilar GS112, or wait for Jorg to put up his Mini 12's and you should be good to go.
  3. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    ever thought about light power amp (stewart power amp) and a one rack space amp such as a demeter or an aguilar db659. I don't know how easy it is for you to get one, but you would have the tube warmth and something easy to manage. The 112 cab of choice like the aguilar or epifani would make a great portable setup
  4. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I'll throw in another vote for the Mesa/Boogie Walkabout. Maybe the Walkabout Scout combo would be perfect for you. If you need a bit more "oomph" than the Mesa/Boogie M-Pulse Venture combo series would be the next logical step up. That is, provided you like the Mesa/Boogie flavor.
  5. I got the impression that the initial poster is looking for an amp with a tube pre...
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Based upon your criteria, I will also recommend the Walkabout, but I would pair it with an EA Wizzy 1x12. The Wizzy is warm, yet articulate, and very full sounding for its size. It totally kills in the tone per pound category (as does the Walkabout). Plus, being 4 ohm, you will get the full 300w out of the Walkabout going into the Wizzy.
  7. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    The Traynor YBA200 is only 41 pounds. Pretty damn good weight per watt ratio, as my 60 watt Sunn is 45-55 lbs and my 135 watt bassman is 60-70 lbs. (interestingly enough the Sunn is louder :eyebrow: )
  8. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    Thanks guys.
    As far as portability I have to say I go giggin' by car so the real problem are just those damned stairs: in this perspective the cabinet dimension worries me more than the head weight. A 1x12" such as an Aguilar GS112 or Epifani UL112 will solve the problem and, as far as the head, a compact one like a DB359 with a shoulder bag should work fine.
    Sure 18 lbs. heads are wet dreams but I have the suspect that only tubes could give that "warm growl" ...
  9. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    If you feel up to lugging a DB 359 in a shoulder bag, then by all means go for it! Your chiropractor will thank you! ;) I'd be very careful about what type of "shoulder bag" you use though. That's a 50 lb head!

    The Wizzy, BTW, is quite compact, and a breeze to carry.
  10. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Sounds good.
    But I guess money is not a problem.
    Is the DB-359 a $3000.00 head?
  11. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Maybe an ashdown abm head a 300 would probably do you fine.

    They are very warm sounding and I've never really been able to get a brittle sound out of mine.

    Hope this help
  12. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    Oh yeah, about $3000 new but I'll eventually search for a used one. But I'm confused ... again, all those new light heads (AG500, TF, Walkabout etc.) have its appeal and a lot of guys here swear to get warm "tubey" sound out of them ... the real problem is that I can't catch a flight to USA everytime I need gear (oh yeah, I prefere stay married :D !) ...
  13. Mika

    Mika Guest

    Nov 29, 2002
  14. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    You certainly did get my attention with that one! Yes, that combo looks strangely similar, yet oddly dissimilar, to my recent purchase:


    I'll have to ask Steve Azola if mine has the original grill, or not.

    Well, on the one hand, this is a fantastic sounding combo. While it does have tube warmth, musicality, and some growl, unlike many tube amps I have tried, it is articulate, clear, and precise. Almost like a best of both worlds amalgamation of tube and SS. Truly, an impressive sounding combo.

    The downside is, that amp is a monster! That'a a 1x15, all tube amp, and it weighs a ton! But, it does have handles on both sides, the top and the bottom, so if you have a buddy with a free hand, it's not too bad.

    Interesting find!

  15. jvtwin

    jvtwin What it needs is a little more cowbell

    Jan 26, 2001
    LA Calif.
    ..Or just a nice Hand truck (Dolley)

    By the way, Does that TA sound as cool as it looks? I would love to have something that!!:cool: :D
  16. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    Thanks Mika,
    I know the amp. I once tried one of this TE monsters. I sign every word Tombowlus said as far as the tone, but this combo really weights a ton!