Trace Elliot SAH350 GP12SMX or Ampeg B2R

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by eljohn, Dec 25, 2004.

  1. eljohn


    Dec 18, 2004
    I am just starting to play bass (played guitar for 20 years). I was going to buy a Ampeg B2R head when I heard a Trace Elliot SAH350 GP12SMX. I really liked the Trace with the Preshapes; EQ and Solid State / Tube preamp blender. Both are the same price. The info on Harmony Central is sparce on this Trace amp. Anyone with experience on it?

    My bass is G&L LB100 (Precision style) and cab is Ampeg PR with 2-8s and a 15.
  2. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I have never heard of the SAH350. Could it have been RAH350? I have the RAH350SMX and love it. The Ampeg is IMO more "low" bass biased than the Trace. Ampeg is kinda like the standard bass amp used by more bands than you could count.

    OK, there are some definite pros and cons to these two amps and the rest is purely subjective.

    Extremely well built
    Conservatively rated on power
    Classic Trace (British?) sound - pro or con???
    Awesome preamp
    Can only get used therefore no warranty
    No factory support - Gibson killed them off :mad:
    The "being different" factor

    #1 Bass amp brand on the market
    Decent tone shaping capabilities
    Can buy new which = warranty
    Factory support
    Service for Ampeg alot easier to get
    B2R over rated in power
    IMO all Ampegs have a low frequency bias
    The "hey, I'm just like everybody else" factor ;)

    Remember some is my opinion and some are pure facts. All things considered I will always choose Trace over Ampeg. When I purchased my current Trace head it came down between the Trace and an Ampeg SVT3-PRO. I really liked the pro but there is just something about Trace (tone wise) that has always drawn me in.

    BTW, if you need a .pdf manual on the Trace, let me know. :)

    I forgot to add, the Trace will put out way more volume than the B2R.
  3. eljohn


    Dec 18, 2004
    Your correct. It is an SAH350 GP12SMX

    That was great info and it fit what I heard. I did think that one of the preshapes on the GP12 gave me a good "low" bass sound that I liked in the Ampeg. The SS / Valve blend was easy to mess with and cool.

    I started of with a Mesa Walkabout M pulse. Nice warm tone but that was it. And it lacked Clarity. I don't want to make the same mistake. :(

    Do you think the cab matters that much. I have a Ampeg PR 1528 (squatty 4 ohm cab with a 15", 2- 8"s, and a horn).

    The price for the Trace is $385 and in very good condition.
    Thanks Again :D
  4. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Man, that is a good price for a Trace head.

    I think cabs play a big part in your sound. I run a Trace 2x15 cab and it still gives me great clarity and punch without losing my lows. I think the cab you have is a good starting point. Hell, it will probably kick some butt as you will be putting all 350 watts of that amp into it!

    If it doesn't give you the sound you like, take the head to several music stores and play through as many different cabs as you can. Take your time and find whats right for you.

    I think I must be the resident Trace freak here at TB as I'm a fanatic when it comes to their bass equipment. :D
  5. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    I've never heard the Trace, or ANY Trace Elliot Products for the matter... but I do own a B2R.

    UNDERPOWERED!!!!...... for certain types of music. I play loud punkrock in one band, and Metal in another... and the B2R just didnt hold up. It's now serving its purpose as a preamp for a QSC RMX1450. I guess it sounds pretty decent, I guess... but you get what you pay for.

    Personally, I'd go for something with more power than either the Trace or the Ampeg... but if your keeping it to these two options, then I'd go out on a limb and yoink the Trace.

    Good luck.
  6. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I will add something about the volume of my Trace.

    My Trace runs all 350 watts at 4 ohms into my 2x15 cab. I have played against two guitarist with Marshall halfstacks (one 8100/4x12 and one JCM900/4x12) in a thrash metal band and could be heard with no problem. My gain is normally set at about 5.5 and my output level just under 4 at rehearsal and a little above that live.

    Ofcourse they both were not typical guitarist in the fact that they didn't believe their amps had to be turned up to 11 to sound good.
  7. Not had the 350SMX but did have the 300SMX and later the 600SMX... They are a winner, very flexible, plenty of power and in my experience rather reliable. I had less greif with these two put together compared to my Trace V4s addiction to fuses (all though it has behaved recently). Id buy the SMX... Ive tried the B2R and aslo a friends SVT3 and as good as they both are, i prefer the trace elliot camp...
  8. hammer2748


    Feb 22, 2002
    Hartford, CT
    Hi Mr. Lee. I am currently borrowing my nephews Trace rig, I think it's the 250 watt amp with the GP12SMX Pre-Amp. Nice sounding rig. I have it with a separate compressor, digitech chorus, and a BBE 362 all in one rack with a single-space to spare for ventilation. Nephew is considering letting this package go for $600.00. I'm not intimately familiar with Trace stuff except to say that I've had the pleasure of running this rig for the last 3 weeks through an old Acoustic 406 cab (2x15). It really kicks serious butt.

    2 questions: 1) Does the .pdf manual you have cover this amplifier? 2) How does this rig stack up in terms of dollars and cents? It's got some serious hours on it, but still seems to be good as new in appearance and performance. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks and take care.

    Best regards,
  9. 43% burnt

    43% burnt an actor who wants to run the whole show

    May 4, 2004
    Bridgeport, CT
    I'd go with the Trace. Compared to the ampeg, your getting more power/volume, more versatility, and better tone IMO. Thats a good deal too.

    Heres a link where you can get .pdf manuals for lots of Trace Elliot amps. Sounds like the amp your looking at (or something very similar) would be covered in the smx manual. British Audio Service
  10. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Hammer, the manual that British Audio Service has doesn't specifically cover the AH250SMX head. Its also the same one I have. However, other than the power ratings, all SMX series heads shared the same features so the manual is still useful. Here is a direct link to the manual: SMX pdf manual

    Personally, Trace gear is built rock solid and I wouldn't worry about gigging with one made in 1980. The old Acoustic cab, with which I have no personal experience, from what I have heard was top quality stuff at the time.

    On if its worth it or not, thats pretty much up to you. I think the quality is there for many more years of reliable service. IMO, with all the stuff you listed, for $600 its a good deal. Not a great deal but a good one. If you are really digging the tone, can handle dealing with moving the 215 for shows, I say GO FOR IT! :D
  11. is there a trace elliot forum that would be a good please to post a for sale add?
  12. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Unfortunately there are not any Trace specific forums that I know of.

    To sell your amp, check into Ebay, Harmony Central, or pay for membership here and post it in the Gear-For-Sale section. Matter of fact, the last one is my recommendation! :D