Tube heads good for DB

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by BassGreaser, Nov 9, 2003.

  1. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Are tube heads good for DB? I have a TE 300watt all tube head, and I have always wondered is tubes work well with DB. I know they do for BG. If not, who makes a great head for DB? I'll need enough power to drive my VL210, or two Accugroove Tri 112..I'll be playing my DB in a ska/pop band so volume is a good thing:D
  2. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Greazer Mon...

    Tube heads can work GREAT with DBs. Some suggest they are not the best, but I've known plenty of guys who've played through SVTs that have sounded phenominal.

    Personally, when it comes to guitar work, for example, I believe there is absolutely, positively NO substitute for all-tube amps. However, I think it can be quite a different story for bass. For many, the mark of a good bass amp is CLEAN headroom, while the guitarist looks for that natural tube saturation or overdrive. Now, a high-powered tube bass amp (like an SVT, Sunn, Marshall 400 and likely your TE and others) can provide plenty of that clean headroom at rediculous volume levels, there are so many great solid state products out there today that do the same in far lighter packages and with drastically lower maintenence costs (have you had to retube 6x6550's lately??).

    The bottom line is that if what you've got works for YOU, that's ALL that matters. If you decide it's not giving you the kind of tone, headroom and response you're hearing in your head, I'm sure the TalkBassers will have plenty of great suggestions to consider.

  3. I just started playing upright this summer and recently bought a K & K Double Big Twin pickup from AH Bob Gollihur(Which I love btw). I've been a fretless BG player in a jazz band for a while now. I switched from solid state amps to tube amps years ago and haven't looked back but I wasn't sure about tube amps with uprights especially after reading some of the postings here. I was pleasantly suprised that my Ampeg B15 sounds incredible with my upright. Very warm and clean with plenty of headroom (for jazz anyway.) It did require a preamp to match the impedance of the pickup to the amp so I built a homebrew JFET preamp circuit with tone controls that seems to work pretty well. I suggest trying as many amps as possible and see what you like. If you can't trust your ears who can you trust :p

  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The biggest drawback to tube heads for DB is most have limited EQ and are voiced to sound good with bass guitar.

    Depending on the pickup you use, the preamp you use (if any) and outboard EQ you use (if any) already, a tube amp could work OK.

    Personally I have never been able to get a good DB sound out of the two Fender Bassman amps I've owned.
  5. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    this is me TE tube head...
  6. JonB


    May 27, 2003
    I've always felt that there is something inherently right about tubes for bass amplification, as long as you don't need very loud levels.
    What I'm currently using is a new Ampeg V4, which is only rated at 100 watts. It's paired with an EA CX112, a very efficient cab. The pickup is a K & K double bass max/trinity mic combination running through a Raven Labs PMBII preamp.
    This works for all gigs, unless it's a very big room, and then it's usually through a PA anyway.
    I've used solid state amps for years and they sound great too... but that tube sound is just what I want to hear.
  7. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    I would say yes but it depends on your taste. I like hi-fi for my double bass so solid state amps are what I use but there is definitely something to be said about upright through a tube amp. I personally always use a high impedance DI (countryman 10 Mohm input) between my upright and any amp. This is because the underwood pickup I use has a high output impedance (in the range of 4 Mohm) and plugging straight into the amp will load the signal some.

    I think the biggest drawback about using a tube amp would be feedback because tube amps can be so loud and the speakers are big. One thing I would not do is use a tube amp with a hi-fi speaker like Acme (major ugly sound I tried it) or EA, Bergantino, Epifani and the like. IMO you need a very efficient speaker for tube amps and those brands are suited best for high power solid state amps.