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Tube Warmth & Growl from a Thunderfunk TF-550?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by funkysurfer, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. Hello all. I am in the market for a new amp and I have read nothing but great reviews on this one. I was looking to get a "tube" amp because I want that warm, low end growl which my bass sound lacks. However, I also want versatility.

    I listened to sound clips from basstasters.com & thunderfunks website and I think my headphones or the clips are only given me a slight taste of what I'm looking for. I heard awesome slap tones: very punchy, clear and bright. This definitely meets part of my criteria, but I didn't hear anything that really "growled".

    Can this amp produce this extra sound feature I am seeking?

    And if not, I am open for suggestions. My budget is $1000 but I would be willing to stretch it to buy a TF-550.

    I will be combining my future amp with a Peavy 410 TX cab and a Carvin LB75 5 string bass, with plans on replacing/upgrading to another cab in the future.

    All feedback is greatly appreciated.

  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    it depends on what you mean by warn tube amp sound.

    will the t-funk have a lot of low end and sound "warm" and "fat"? yes, especially if you bump up the bass a little bit.

    will it sound just like an SVT? no.

    what kind of amp and cabinets are you using now that have you dissapointed?

    oh ok, if you're using the carvin head i can see that a t-funk would be a bit warmer sounding. However, my guess is that the peavey 410 cabinet may be more at fault for giving you a less than "Warm" tone. go try your head and cabinet (WITH YOUR BASS!!!!) with other heads and cabinets at various stores and find out if you can determine the weak link in your signal chain, and what out there you like better.
  3. Hi IvanMike. I am using the same setup you mentioned. I know one weak link is within my amp. It doesn't have enough power. It's rated 160 watts @ 8 ohms. The Peavey is 8 ohms and can handle 500 watts RMS, I think. :confused: When I dial in a decent sound and turn the volume past 5 or so, it sounds muddy and the highs are too high.

    I also believe my bass may be a weak factor as well. It has a woody, high midrangy sound. Feel free to check out the recordings I did with the last band I was in since my words may not be well described. The Carvin was recorded direct for those songs. Here's the link:


    As far as the cab goes, I bought it based off reviews (which were excellent) back when I started playing. I lacked knowledge then and sought out opinions.

    I know I must truly test all my gear at a store. But the bottom line, as far as my amp goes, is that I don't have enough wattage. It's a good place to start.

    Again, all feedback is appreciated!

  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 If you really want a full out tube sound in a small amp, the closest I've ever heard is the new Mesa line (the Walkabout and the MPluse600, and especially the BB750). The BB750 is very warm, growly and 'old school tubey'..... the Mpulse and Walkabout are a little more refined.

    PS I love my TF, and it does have some tube-like warmth... but it doesn't sound like a tube amp at all... the Mesa stuff does IMO
  5. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    If you are looking for growl you might want to look at a new/different bass. Or maybe play with the eq on yours and dial out the high mids and dial in the low mids. If you still don't hear a difference in growl I think your bass is the culprit. While some amps and cabs naturally help to enhance it, growl generally comes from the bass.

    Unless we are talking about two different things?

    But I would definitely look for something with more power if you are having trouble being heard.



  6. Joe,

    I think you're right about the bass, and it may be the wood choice. It's ALL mahagony w/ an ebony fretboard. The tone, to me, is a woody high midrangy sound. I posted a link above in response to IvanMikes thread. The recordings were done direct and I was never satisfied with my tone.

    I have played my bass unplugged and it sounds flat and woody.

    I think we're on the same page with the growl factor. And, you're probably right about it coming from the bass itself. For example, I LOVE the tones and sound of Oteil Burbridge (w/ Aquarium Rescue Unit) and Alphonso Johnson's (w/ Jazz is Dead). Both use different soundgear, however, both play Modulous basses! Overwhelming growl.
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    well, all basses sound a bit midrangey unplugged.

    a good deal of the lack of a full sound with warmth can be attributed to a lack of power. IME, more wattage can cause a cab to produce a fuller sound, and a lower wattage amp will have trouble with too much bass bost as it will eventually clip.

    i say try a bunch of amps. people come on here and talk about wanting a "tube sound" all the time, but very few of them really know what an all tube amp really sounds like. The "tube sound" comes from an amp with a tube power section, and not even all of those amps sound alike. many cats are surprised to find that the sound they're after is available from an all solid state amp or an amp with a tube preamp and SS power amp (or a rack setup with a SS poweramp). In many cases the preamp voicing makes a big difference, and a healthy dose of power can work wonders.

    go try as manyu amps as you can (with your cab and your bass) and bring your current amp along for comparison. you may be surprised. FWIW, i think the t-funk is a wonderful amp. If it's not warm enough for you you might want to look at an eden wt-550. they don't really "growl" in an all tube sense, but they are very warm sounding.
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Like IvanMike wrote, if you buy ANY solid state amp expecting it to sound like a tube amp you will be disappointed. If you want the tube sound, get a tube amp...seriously.

    It seems that many players want (or THINK they want) the tube amp sound but are unwilling to pony up the $$ and deal with the weight.

    $1000 will easily get you a used SVT or Mesa head.
  9. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    I was one of those cats. I've dealing for years with SWR amps and the lack of warmth at a certain time convinced me to consider tube amps. Then I decided to give the Thunderfunk a try and since I heard the first note played through this amp I found myself at home.
    As far as "growl" if I were in Funkysurfer's shoes I'll go bass shopping.
  10. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Hmmmm... for what it's worth I spent the 90s with...

    Carvin LB75 (stock alder winged with stainless rounds tuned E-A-D-G-B)
    AMP BH-260 (littler version of the thunderfunk)
    BagEnd S12
    BagEnd S15 (both pre current red stuff, but similar)
    Plenty of warmth to be found IMO

    Here are some recordings...

    (bridge J soloed)
    Pride (Age of Fable -live rehearsal circa 1992, few SM57 in the room)
    Strange Place (Age of Fable -live rehearsal circa 1992, few SM57 in the room) ...yes we sped up on purpose... us hippy stoners thought it was a cool frenzy at the end
    The Storm (Age of Fable -live rehearsal circa 1992, few SM57 in the room)

    (both J pickups on full)
    Feel About You (Bebop Gypsies -studio demo 1995, close on the 12" + room mic)
    Better Way (Bebop Gypsies -studio demo 1995, close on the 12" + room mic)

    and since SWR was mentioned...

    Carvin LB75 -> Grand Prix -> PA
    Only Dreaming
    once again an old rehearsal recording with a couple SM57 dangled about the room... this time in 94

    Sorry for all the links, I haven't listened to the old stuff in a while and I'm sitting here, listening and reliving ;)

    That all said, I went 100% tube myself.