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To heck with this tube stuff. SS power amp recommendations?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Destructobot, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Destructobot


    Jul 22, 2008
    I'm running a Sunn 1500s (vintage late 60's, not the new fender thing) through an Avatar 2x12. It has awesome tone, but isn't nearly loud enough. It can't even keep up with my friend's 50w marshall and 4x12, gets totally drowned out.

    Instead of throwing more $ at tube wattage, I figure my best bet is to get a second cab (probably an Avatar 4x10 to match) and just go with a big SS power amp. I have an Ampeg V2 that has a preamp out, which will probably give me a kickass bass sound a lot like an SVT, I just need some good clean, durable wattage to push it.

    So, what are the good deals out there on used SS power amps? I really don't need anything with a preamp, I'm happy to sort that out separately.
  2. bassforce

    bassforce Guest

    Feb 7, 2007
    I see three options

    1) Buy 4x12 to your Sunn
    2) Buy SS power amp and 4x10 and use Sunn to create sound, and second power amp just to add more oomph.
    3) Run stereo with V2
  3. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
  4. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Your Avatar cab is what impedance?
    You have the stock 1500's switched jack socket system for 16 ohm or 8 ohm total load with an extension cab?.
    You need to make sure you are running the cab at sixteen ohms IE a four ohm Avatar 2 X 12 wired in series then buy another and wire it the same and when you plug it in the extenshion socket your amp will be
    A) Not wasting any of the expensive tube watts as heat in the output transformer.
    B) You have picked up about three dB in coupling (Twice the power) and have the same speaker area as your guitarist.
    Why would you want to mix speaker sizes and introduce further mis matches and power distribution anomalltes and the possibilities of comb
    filtering between phase alignments?:meh:
    You see at the moment the ideal way of wiring your current system is if its two eight ohm drivers in parallel
    making four ohms in the avatar cab is to wire them in series and plug into the sixteen ohm main speaker out socket of your amp if its eight ohm total you need to plug a pair of speaker cables into the cab without alteration
    then and into both the amps sockets which switches the transformer windings for a total of eight ohms load.
    I think unless you have both sockets populated in the amps output the amp is still looking for a sixteen ohm load. Therefore unless you have an eight ohm cab cabled twice or a sixteen ohm cab cabled to the amps main out. You are chucking half your power away in mismatch and heat.
    Before you think about adding speakers or amps is it right now?
  5. Destructobot


    Jul 22, 2008
    My cab is 8 ohm.
    The 1500s has the stock output wiring with the 16/8 jacks.

    I was told that a single 8 ohm cab plugged into the ext. speaker jack was OK. Actually, it was Conrad Sundholm who told me that. I think he would know.

    I really wish the amp just had a 4/8/16 jack. I've gotten lots of conflicting info about how those jacks are actually set up.
  6. Destructobot


    Jul 22, 2008
  7. edbass


    Nov 8, 2004
    Your amp does in fact have 4/8/16 ohm capability. Here's how the jacks are "actually set up".
    You have taps for 4, 8, and 16 ohms from the output transformer. The two jacks are wired in parallel, and are either connected to the 16 and 8, or the 8 and 4 ohm taps, and it's real easy to switch them. When you plug in two cabs, the jacks default to the lower impedence. In the case of your amp; if you plug in two cabs you are running the cabs parallel to the 8 ohm tap, it's looking for two 16 ohm cabs paralleled. You can use either jack solo for a single cab, in your case a 8 ohm cab to the "extention" cab jack or a 16 ohm cab to the main jack. Just as Conrad told you, and as Bassmec posted.
    As Bassmec also posted, you need more cone area. You're dealing with 120 watts (150 if you have the later SS rectified model). With the proper cab(s), and if your amp is healthy, you can melt a Marshall 50 watt half stack with headroom to spare, but I don't think you can push enough air with a compact 2X12 cab. As I posted, it's real easy to make your amp 8 and 4 ohm, you could then plug in a pair of 8 ohm cabs.
    Have you done a cap job on your amp? If not, it needs it. The filter caps have a finite life span, and it isn't 40 years. If they are weak, your amp won't make anywhere near the power it should.
    If you have the GZ34 rectified model, an upgrade to a SS rectifier will pick up an additional 30 watts or so. Here's an easy way to do it;
    BUT... make sure your filter caps are up to spec, or over spec even. I just upgraded one of my 2000S's with a SDS board;
    With a K140 loaded 2000S cabinet, I can easily bury a 50 watt half stack. I personally don't see the need for anywhere near that kind of stage volume, but with the proper cab(s) the old Sunn's are certainly capable of it if the need arises, if they are up to spec electronically.

    Or... just get a big transistor power amp and send me your old, outdated , weak *ss 1500S! ;)
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Definitely make with more speaker even if you bump up wattage with a SS amp. A 212 can get pretty decently loud, but two of them would kick a good deal more than one. It'd be a shame to lose that great Sunn sound just because of something silly like low wattage ;) I used to play metal way back when with a 100w Ampeg V4 and an 810 cab and never wanted for volume.
  9. JazzbassArt


    Dec 12, 2004
    Andover, MN
    The addition of a QSC PLX1602 made a dramatic difference in my rig. I think something along those lines would do nicely. I purchased mine last fall off ebag for $300. Ever drive a car with over 600hp and 550 lb ft of torque? Same deal, you'll never go back.
  10. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Solid reliable amp. Heavy but solid.
  11. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    You are using two 12" speakers. Your guitar player is using four. How could you ever keep up? He's got twice the cone area you have. Think about it. You see a vintage band on stage using 4x12s. Guitar player has four or six cabs, bass player has six or more cabs. Why? Bass needs more cone movement to get those low frequencies out to the audience. You need more speakers and the power to drive them. That's between five to ten times what your guitar player uses.

  12. Destructobot


    Jul 22, 2008
    I bought the amp last fall from Mojave Amp Works. It had been modded and they rebuilt it to original specs, so the electrolytics and tubes should all be fresh.

    It's the 2xGZ34 model, not SS rectifier.

    I've heard the weber copper caps are just solid state devices meant to emulate the sag and current in-rush characteristics of a tube rectifier. The advantage is that you don't have a heater, thus taking some of the load off the power transformer.

    More speakers sounds like the winning idea. I like the sound of my V2 better for bass anyway, I think the sunn doesn't have as nice of a preamp. I see myself selling the sunn to finance a second cab and a SS power amp in the future, maybe a tube preamp pedal to go with it.

    One last thing: Edbass, you say I can run the 1500s at 4 ohms, but I'm not clear on how to do that. One cab plugged in at a time and I have a 16 ohm or 8 ohm option. Two cabs plugged in and I can run two 16 ohm cabs, running parallel to the 8 ohm tap for 8 ohms total impedance. I don't see where does a 4 ohm setup figures into this.
  13. 4 me at least- TUBE POWER amp is where the magic IS
  14. you should sell ME your sunn!
    i have a 450 watt solid state amp that has a blah preamp, but some solid power, we can trade.

    but, if i were you and still needed more volume after the additional cab, i'd go stereo into the v2 and 1500s. that would sound mighty!
  15. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    So the bottom line is you have the SAME power that your guitar player has - 50 ~ 60W. That's all a GZ34/5AR4 will support. He has twice as many speakers. You are never going to win even with a second cabinet. You simply need both more power and more speakers.

  16. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Never mind the fact that the human ear is FAR more sensitive to guitar frequencies than bass.
  17. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    My apologies to the OP but Jimmy one day please promise me that you'll let me know how you went from metal to Bowser.

    Alright now back to your regularly scheduled thread.
  18. Destructobot


    Jul 22, 2008

    The 1500s has TWO GZ-34's.
  19. rbonner


    Sep 25, 2008
    My local friend's band has two guys playing 50 watt Marshalls and a bassist playing a B1500 carvin to a 410 cab. They play small bar enviroments and dont crank all the way up.

    In my band when I was a youngster (three piece) the guitarist had just stepped up to a 100 Watt Marshall stack from a Dual Showman and a drummer who could still almost outdrum him. Today I wouldn't want to show up for that gig with less than a pair of 810's and a couple SVT heads just to even things out. YMMV

    Thats the nice thing about a volume control. It doesn't sound like the OP has much of a budget to work from. The QSC is OK, but even my local GC has 2450's on the shelf as demos for $600.

    PA power is a very inexpensive way to go and will definately wake up your side of the stage.

    BUT MINIMUM... If you've been paying attention... To play with your buddy and his 50 watt half stack would be in my opinion an SVT and an 810 or equivellent. A SUNN coleseum and a Pair of 215 Sunn cabs would be OK, but I think the SVT would smoke it.

    If your boy decides to upgrade to another cab, you'll be sucking wind with only a 410... You should be playing a pair of 412's at minimum or a couple 415's...

    The 1450 will only power ONE 810 cab. Even a 2450 does not have the right configuration to adaquately power a pair of 810's as you need solid 1200W of Solid State power per cab to light up the 810.

    You aren't going to get that on a $300 dollar budget. However, if you start building a rack fulla 1450's in mono-block you could get the job done.

    Need bigger budget tho.. BOB
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It was gradual. I got really sick of the hairbands dominating the metal scene, and then I got sick of all the atonal sausage fest metal that came out like Death and Cannibal Corpse. Sabbath...now that was metal!

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