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tube love shut down by transistor hate

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nil, Aug 12, 2001.

  1. My poor V4 blew a fuse the other day, second song into our gig. I ended up borrowing another band's bass head to finish - a GK800RB.

    This thing blew the V4 so far out of the water volume and bass-wise i'm wondering what the hell happened! Now, the tone sucked (IMO - remember, the V4's where it's at tone-wise for me), but the power was quite impressive.

    Which makes me think I need new tubes for the V4 or something! It just didn't seem right...

    Has anyone else ever had this happen to them? - your pride and joy being p!$$ed on by something you normally p!$$ on yourself?
  2. Mr. Grieves

    Mr. Grieves

    Jul 16, 2001
    chicago, il
    Well, the G-K 800RB is 400 watts SS [or 300 watts + 100 watts, in GKspeak], and a V4 is 100 watts tube, which is a large difference on paper. But a V4 should be able to hang with a 300 to 350 watt SS head with no problem, so maybe you do have something going on. When's the last time you had it retubed or biased?
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Modern solid state amps can deliver more and tighter low end than older tube amp designs (assuming your V4 is not one of the recent "reissues"). The limitation in the tube amp is usually the output transformer.

    As far as volume, more midrange and treble in the sound will make it seem louder to the ear even if SPL is the same.
  4. Yeah, it was really only on the bass front that the GK killed me.

    The V4's an old 70's number, I swapped the original 7027A's for a mis-matched double-pair of 6L6's and seemed to get alot more tighter headroom, so i'll run those tonite at practise and see if she sings.

    It definitely needs a good service, rebias and probably cap job.

    Heck, if I didn't dislike the GK tone so much one of those lightweights would do me so fine...
  5. The 6L6 tubes (albiet a mismatched dog's breakfast collection of 4) kicked heiner last night...the 7027A's must be half-dead.

    HEAPS more tighter bass, with much more headroom. Methinks a new quad of 6L6 or 6550's is the go!
  6. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I hate tubes. i hate them i hate them i hate them. unrealiable. i have one, but only got it because it was a great deal, and i didnt have that much money. but id take a soildstate over a tube anyday. IMO
  7. I used to think the same way about tube amps until I really started using them - i've never really had any reliability issues with any (and i'm not anal enough to get everything serviced to within an inch of it's life).

    Now, it's the sound that they give that I crave - and I don't really care about the weight of them and servicing cost, etc if they give that sound... :)

    Do people consider tube amps to be unreliable from personal experience, or is alot of negative jolly about them mainly from second-hand horror stories or the fact that people find it hard to trust old technology?
  8. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I like them... But I like convinience too. I had a 60s Fender Bassman, Peavey Century 200 and an old Radio Shack (if you can believe it) 100 watt tube amp and I liked them all. But I like things that are light and portable.

    I replaced these with a Carvin Cyclops for a while. It was cool but a pain to move. I now use a Carvin RC210 and 1x18 ext cab. I like the sound, and it's much easier to transport.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Well, tube amps in general MUST be reliable, why else would forty year oild Fenders still be gracing stages?

    My own experiences having gigged extensively with both tube and solid state amps is that the ONLY times I have an amp fail on me on a gig, it was a tube amp.

    One case was pure cockpit error, some idiot turned my Bassman head on before connecting the speaker (smoke city), the other was a Traynor bass amp that I had just retubed. 15 minutes into the first gig on the new tubes, a power tube failed. I put back the OLD power tubes the next day and used the amp for another years before selling it :eek: go figure.

    Other than tube failure, they are just as reliable than solid state. You do have to ask yourself if you're willing to carry spare tubes (and fuses of course, since blowing a tube will almost always also blow the fuse) or even a spare amp head to every gig in addition to that heavy head.
  10. Mr. Grieves

    Mr. Grieves

    Jul 16, 2001
    chicago, il
    I've only had a few problems with tubes in about a decade of using both guitar and bass tube amps, and like brianrost, the problems were usually attributable to my own bonehead moves, or those of my bandmates. And these are amps that have been hauled around the US in a stinky van, kicked, thrown, knocked over, drenched in beer, etc. None of my amps has ever been treated like a Little Princess.

    Once a tube amp has been properly serviced, tubed, and biased, it can be every bit as reliable as a solid-state unit. I think the occasional hassle with the tubes is worth it for the sound.

    I think the old Ampeg V4s are some of the best small/medium bass amps out there. They're fantastic. I have a similar '70s tube beast, a Music Man HD 130, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I was playing through a solid state Ampeg until recently, and while it was durable and workmanlike [certainly not bad], it didn't have that inspiring tube warmth. I want an amp that makes me want to play ...
  11. You don't have a tube amp, unless you have something else besides the SWR that you didn't put in your profile.

    You have what is called a hybrid amp, with a solid state power section and a tube in the preamp. Preamp tubes are not prone to failure or wear, and should last longer than the solid state output transformers.

    When people talk about tube amps, they mean an amplifier that has both tube preamp and power amp stages. No power transistors.
  12. Just like me - went from an Ampeg B2R to the V4, for exactly the same reason.
    I was considering a MusicMan head at one stage. One of our guitarists uses a 212 RD130 combo which is damn loud, but I don't dig the SS preamp section. What are they like for bass - does the preamp let it down in any way? (just that I used to have an old SS pre- and tube power amp that sounded kinda ugly until I had the preamp converted to tube).
  13. Mr. Grieves

    Mr. Grieves

    Jul 16, 2001
    chicago, il
    Nil: the early HD 130s have a 12AX7 tube [or equivalent] preamp [or is it a phase inverter? Or is that the same thing? I'm somewhat confused about this point]. This is the version I have. Later models replaced the 12AX7 tube with a solid state equivalent. I have a friend who owns the later version, and though I've never played through it, I always liked his bass tone.

    I think it's a great sounding amp for bass, but by most accounts these are slightly disappointing guitar amps. It has a good amount of clean-ish headroom for its size, way more than the Fender Dual Showman Reverb I used to own. I haven't bothered to play guitar through it — I use a '62 Ampeg Rocket for that.

    I was originally looking for a '70s V4B, but I couldn't find one in decent shape for a decent price. They are so underrated.

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