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Tube Power Amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by xax712, Nov 19, 2002.

  1. xax712


    Dec 25, 2001
    Northwest Arkansas
    Ok I'm working on putting together a new rig, and since I'[m always mic-ed I figured that mega wattage isn't a need. So I have an Ampeg SVP-Pro pre and the Cabinet is still to be decided upon, but will be a 210. But the other night I had this brain fart. I was gonna get like an Rmx 850 or something of the like and just run one channel, but then I thought what about a TUBE POWER AMP. I know these things are rare and the ones by Eden and Aguilar are way out of my price range. So now I'm hear wondering what I can do and what I can use. I've found a few on e-bay and they all say they are for guitars, but could I bridge the 2 channels on say a Peavey 60/60 and run that and have plenty of power or are there other power amps out there that could suit my needs. Just give me some insight into this, I just had the idea and felt it was worth looking into.

  2. xax712


    Dec 25, 2001
    Northwest Arkansas
  3. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    Find a Tube P.A. amp, it'll be pretty cheap and do everything you need!
  4. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Though it sounds like you're putting together a rack situation and this might not work aesthetically, what about something like an old Traynor Mono block? That way you could combine modern tone-shaping capabilities with a super warm old-school power section. Those are a lot lighter than an Ampeg head or something similar.
  5. Tube amps for bass are getting fewer and fewer, and the ones that are around are getting more and more expensive. I've used tubes and I'm using SS now and I can tell you that it is all in what you get use to. I'd get the RMX and bridge it into your cab. Forget about the tube amp unless you are willing to pay some serious bucks. jmho
  6. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    There is 3 on ebay right now!!
    You'll get one for under a grand.
    I think you can bypass the preamp stage, BUT...., you may find the internal preamp to your liking.
    Yea, you may be overlapping, but you won't find anything comparable for that cash.
    Are you all the way with the Ampeg pre?
  7. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Greybeard says: " I've used tubes and I'm using SS now and I can tell you that it is all in what you get use to."

    well, now, there are definite tonal differences between tube and solid state output stages. A lot of people can't really hear the difference, but I would think that anyone with relatively developed ears would pick it up immediately and, generally speaking, consider the tube amp "superior". Superior being defined by warmth, 3rd harmonic distortion, low range resonance. That doesn't mean that there aren't some great sounding solid state amps, but I'm getting ready to get rid of my Ashdown 'cuz i'm dying to hear tubes again. I'm not so much looking forward to carrying the giant amp around again, but I've been really missing the "true" bass tone we get with vaccum tubes. I think it's a matter of preference (of course) and a great deal of rationalization, but most solid state amp manufacturers advertise how close they are to sounding like a tube amp. I say get the tube amp if you can.
  8. I was playing tube amps when there were no SS amps. I never said I couldn't hear the difference, on the contrary I think there is a big difference. I am just as happy with SS as I am with tube. One question. If tubes are so great for bass, why arn't there more of them? The advantage for electric guitar is apparant and the catalogs are full of them. If they were so much better than SS one would think manuf. would be tripping over themselves to produce them. I don't think they sound any better than SS, just different. A tube is to amplification what a soft focus lense is to a camera. They soften the edges and make everything sound smoother. They, in fact process the signal to a degree. I've gotten use to the sound of a big SS amp with tons of head room and have grown to appreciate it. Believe me, I can hear the difference. :D
  9. Tube amps and SS amps only start sounding appreciably different when they are operated outside their linear ranges. The only sonic differences in the linear range can be attributed to the output transformer in the tube amp. It has been shown in double blind tests that people cannot conclusively tell tube amps from SS ones when both amps are operated in their linear ranges. Now, start running them hard and the differences become spectacular.

    xax712: There's a guy selling a 300W Ampeg tube power amp on ebay right now. It's basically the SVT power section.
  10. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    I can tell the difference with my eyes closed between tube power amp and SS power amp.
    The tube amp is definetely FATTER and WARMER than SS , now I use Tube power amp 90 pct of the time , even sometimes while I am practising . I use SS power 100pct for practising.
    Now I use pre amps [ Glock, DB 680 and Dem VTDB], with the Power section of SVT 2. Really fat,
    the low is deep [ I cannot get this depth from my Crest 4001 or QSC 3402].
    The only draw back is the weight
    :( , that is why my new DEMETER VTHF is on the way:D from Dem factory, cos it is 10 kgs lighter.
    Just try Tube power amp with a pair of Wayne Jones 2 x 10 , you do not want anything else!
  11. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    Why not just get an SVT?

    (YMMV, IMO, IMHO etc............)
  12. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Greybeard is right. Get the solid state amp, because once you get used to how a tube amp sounds and responds, you will never want anything else. :D
  13. I can guarantee you would not be able to conclusively tell the difference between generic tube power amp "A" and generic SS power amp "B" if both were operated within their linear ranges (i.e no clipping) in a blind test. This has been proven many times in the past. Like I said before, when you start driving them hard the differences really appear. That fat tube sound comes from overdriving the tubes a little.

    All that being said, I wouldn't trade my '76 SVT for anything. It's the holy grail.
  14. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    1) Would it be safe to say that the SVT has more/earlier distortion/compression than the 12 6L6 Mesa?
    I have found the Mesa to have a tube sound with the faster transients like a SS.

    2) For lack of better words. I think a tube amp sounds jucier or more sparkly than a SS, which sounds dryer and has less life to it.
  15. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    one thing to consider is guitar tube amps use el-34 or 6l6 power tubes while bass tube amps usually use 6550's
    the bass power amps are generally much more suited to a clean bass tone
    imho i belive that the amps affered by aguilar (400 watts) and demeter (300 watts) are incredible and will easily compete with a 600 - 800 watt solid state amp
    that being said those monsters are 4 spaces high, at least 50 lbs, expensive, and cost about 300 to re-tube
    even though they are not as exciting, i would rather use a stewart 2.1 or qsc plx amp to save $ and weight
  16. xax712


    Dec 25, 2001
    Northwest Arkansas
    Well guys the actual reason all this started was the fact that I didn't need all the headroom of an SVT or that's what I'd get. And I think that the SVp coupled with a tube amp might even be more versatile. I mean I want a rack to mess with and if I don't go the pre power route I just won't do it. But are there any say 100-200 watt tube amps out there that would work?
  17. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    I'll try not to go too far into obvious subjectivity...

    But, another aspect of the difference in a tube amplifier for bass is how the amp reacts to your playing, aside from any actual sound differences. I can't generalize about all tube amps, but the DB 728 has such a wide dynamic range without grabbing a volume knob that my Stewart (that I love ) doesn't quite match. The transients also feel faster and more powerful.

    ...so much for not going too far...
  18. Nobody cares about your question, we just want to voice our opinion about tube/SS. Seriously, there use to be a few tube power amps around at a reasonable price. Now, I think you will have to look for used to get anywhere. Back in the old days Bogan made a M120 that might do the job for you. Look for a used Bogan m120.
  19. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    Bogen amps are very cool, however the majority of them use the type 8417 output tube. This jewel of a tube has been out of production for a loooong time and the NOS or used ones you can dig up are very costly. There is, AFAIK no current production tube (6550, 6L6GC, etc.) that can be subbed for it without major mods. How do I know this? I have an old amp that has these tubes in it. I don't use it much, only when recording.:cool:
  20. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    "One question. If tubes are so great for bass, why arn't there more of them? The advantage for electric guitar is apparant and the catalogs are full of them. If they were so much better than SS one would think manuf. would be tripping over themselves to produce them"

    You're not laboring under the illusion that manufacturers are primarily concerened with quality, are you? Perfect example: Trace Elliot's V8 and V6 amps: incredibly well made, sound great- but very expensive, very heavy and there is a very limited market for them (and there are tons of reasons for that: people who want a tube head would obviously consider an SVT first, people who are Trace Elliot fans aren't naturally loking for an amp that looks nothing like a Trace Elliot, bass player in general have decided to sacrifice tone for portability). The first thing Gibson did when they purchased Trace was to discontinue those amps.

    Most bass players purchase a SS amp because it's what they can afford, there are a lot more to choose from, they are infinitely lighter and a lot of them can't tell teh difference (although I don't completely believe that you can only tell the difference when they are cranked. I can tell the difference at lower levels and I don't consider myself to have extraordinary ears).

    Manufacturers who concern themselves primarily with getting the ultimate tone cannot stay in business long unless they are a one-man operation. There is a very small percentage of bass players (in the overall scheme of things) who insist on having the very best signal chain.

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