Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Davygravy3, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Davygravy3


    Sep 21, 2000
    Alright, I am getting ready to get a new rig (head and cabinet) and I know that I want tubes because I like the warmer sound. My style of play is more jazz, classic rock, etc. I do not play very much funk, while I may play a little of it I prefer the warmer, almost more double bass sound, I use nylons or flatwounds...just emphasizing the point.

    So what tube amps are in the 500-700 dollar range? Anything good at all? What do you guys recommend? I want as much power as possible, I want to be able to play in big auditoriums and outside, I am thinking probably something like 300 or more watts?

    Please help! My dad used to make speakers and what not. If I could show him a list of amp heads with their specifications he may be able to help me figure out what has more power...or what not. but please help me get started!
  2. If you are talking about 300 tube watts you would be looking at an Ampeg SVT (Vintage or Classic) or a Mesa Boogie (400 or 400+) or a Trace Elliot (V6 or V8) and also a Peavey Classic 400. But all of these amps usually go for more than $700 US. Oh someone on talkbass (Greybeard, I think) has an Eden VT300A for sale for about $1000. 300 tube watts is more like 1000 watts solid state. The Traynor YBA-3 is in that price range and is about 130 watts RMS. An 810 or a 215 will probably be the cabinet you want to go with.
  3. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
  4. If you go used you might be able to find a Mesa 400+ or a Peavey Classic 400 for around $700. The Mesa will be easier to find than the Peavey. The Eden WT heads are nice but it's a hybrid design with a single 12AX7/7025 in the preamp section and a solid state power section. They are pretty versatile soundwise but if you have your heart set on that classic all-tube sound you might fall short.

  5. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    The new Traynor YBA200 is listing for $995.00 Cdn but will be selling for approx $649.00 Cdn.
    It's a 200 watt RMS tube bass amp with 4 x 6550WE Sovtek power tubes along with 3 pre-amp tubes. The impedance is switchable between 4 and 8 ohms.
    It should be in stores before the end of March. If it's anything like the previous YBA amps, it will be great!
  6. Davygravy3


    Sep 21, 2000
    I did not realize a tube amps 300 watts is more powerful then a solid state at 300 watts. Why would one be louder? They are still pushing the same amount of air....doesn't make sense.
  7. Tube amps just seem louder it has something to do how they sound when they are clipping (I am sure that someone will speak up to clarify the point as I am not an electrical engineer). I also forgot to mention the Fender/Sunn 300T bass amp.
  8. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    You're not going to find much in the $500-700 range, brand new.

    However, you should be able to easily find something like a Trace Elliot V-Type/V4 (220W) or V6 (400W) in that range, used. Also look out for Mesa/Boogie Buster Bass and Bass 400/400+ heads in that price range. I actually prefer the 400 to the 400+ due to the tube complement (12 power tubes in the 400+, vs. 6 in the 400--makes retubeing extremely expensive, though I *would* like to hear a 400+ loaded with KT66's).

    There's a guy out in CA selling a few V4's and V6's on eBay right now...I think the V4's are going for $700. I recently sold my backup V-Type on eBay for $500. BTW, the original version of the V-Type head was simply called the "V-Type Head"--later on, after the V6 was released, it came to be known as the V4...

    Bottom line? Find your self a nice 200W or so tube amp used, first. If you like the sound, then maybe you can think of looking for something bigger/more expensive/more esoteric (read: Aguilar, Demeter, etc). 200W is big enough for anything. Large venues will have a PA.

    Believe me, tube bass amps are the shiz, but they're not for everyone. I'll never sell my remaining V-Type head or my V-Type preamp, but my main rig is now an SWR Interstellar Overdrive/Power 750 rig--the damping factors and slew rates of solid-state amps are much higher (generally) than those of tube amps--which gives you a tighter low freq response. So, try it before you jump in with both feet. Tube power amps, especially the bigger bass amps, can be a lot of money to maintain n the long term...
  9. There is a 220 watt V-type (4-KT88's) Trace Elliot on Ebay right now with a $700 buy it now price. There is also a 200 watt Hiwatt but it is a vintage 1970's and will go for a lot more than $700 and probably closer to $1000.
  10. I was looking for the same thing 2 years ago. My got a Sunn 300T off ebay for 750$. I couldn't be happier with it. Very warm and powerful. It can do both clean and dirty and can blow out a Marshall. I use it with either 1 or 2 15's. I also have a Traynor YBA-1.
  11. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi DavyGravy3, if you're looking for a tube amp for bass, I'd suggest something with 6550 output tubes. Those tubes slam, they're punchy and dynamic and they give up plenty of power. 6L6's would be the second choice. EL-34's would probably be the last choice for bass, they're good for guitar but (generally speaking) they break up too early for bass, and they're not nearly as punchy as the bigger tubes.

    That being said, the second question is how much power you'll need. It's true that 300 honest tube watts generally sound louder than 300 solid state watts (the reason is somewhat intricate, but in a nutshell it has to do with the way the amp responds when it's driven hard, in a tube amp the extra drive goes into "tube overdrive", meaning the average power tends to stay higher over time, while in a solid state amp the extra drive goes into "clean headroom", meaning the peak power is higher but the average power tends to stay down low).

    If it were me, I'd be looking for something in the 200-300 watt range. That would be good for most indoor club situations. If you're doing outdoor gigs, you might need a little more power, in that case 400 honest tube watts wouldn't be unreasonable. Of course, the downside here is that any big tube amp like that is going to be HEAVY. Figure 80 pounds at least. Definitely watch your back. :)

    You can probably get a used vintage SVT in the thousand dollar range. At that price, it won't be in "mint" condition, but if you're patient and you find the right one, it'll be functional (if maybe a little ragged looking). Another thought would be a Marshall Major, I've seen those on eBay in the thousand dollar range. Either one of these will most likely use the 6550 tubes (or some variant thereof, like KT88's, which are kind of the "hi-fi" equivalent of 6550's). Either of those will give you the nice slammin' tube bass sound.

    In the 500-700 dollar range, you might look for a component rig, like for instance a rack mount tube power amp and a separate tube preamp. If you're good with electronics and handy with a soldering iron, you can build a tube preamp for less than a hundred bucks, and you can make it sound just as good as an Alembic F1-X or a Kern or something like that. Building a good high power tube amp would be a little more difficult (and time consuming), but a preamp would be a piece of cake (relatively speaking).

    Another thought would be something in the military surplus arena. If you search eBay under "vintage tube amp", you can find 200-300 watt military surplus amps that are well within your price range, or maybe even less than 500 bucks. You'll have to be patient, and jump on it when you see one (use "Buy It Now" if you can).

    Good luck, and let us know what you decide on!