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Tubes, SS Monsters, and fEarfuls

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Wolffgang, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. Now, bear with me, I'm going to hit a trifecta of taboos; Tube vs SS volume, watts in relation to volume, and anything to do with fEarful (not so much a taboo, but can evoke some strong reactions).

    I have a fEarful 15/6/1 and 15 sub that I'm using with a GB Streamliner 900, and I'd just like a little more volume. I LOVE having a cab that can take as much as I want to give it, and I don't like having to back off on the low frequencies to get volume.

    I'm torn between just getting a nice big Crown and being running the Streamliner as a preamp, or getting tube amp. I *want* the tube amp, but not if it's not going to give me the extra headroom I want (doesn't have to be squeaky clean headroom). Looking at something in a Traynor YBA300 or Ashdown CTM300 (I live in Australia, and things tend to be either impossible to find, or massively overpriced, so it limits my options)

    I play in a band with 2 other guitarists, and we use drum tracks, no FOH support for the bass, if that's relevent. Is that enough information to help me make a decision? I guess what I'm essentially asking is will a 300-watt tube amp beat out my streamliner and give me more volume, or should I just be looking at a power amp?
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Can't comment on the tube amp, but if you want MASSIVE wump with your fEARful stack, the Mesa M9 will get you there. Massive low end, massive headroom. It is a brighter and more modern sounding than the Streamliner, but the low end is WAY bigger, and the absolute slam seems about double.

    There have been problem issues reported with the M9, so do your homework on which version, etc., but it is a stunning match with the fEARful.

    The M9 is VERY conservatively rated at 900 watts into 4ohms, and has hi passing set very low, so it just slams.

    Much lighter than a 300 watt tube amp. It won't break up and grind like a tube amp, so if that is what you want, have at it! (edit: Just put a VT pedal in front of the M9, and there you go for that).

    IMO, and a bit of IME!

  3. Are you running into volume limitations with your streamliner 900? And if so, where do you have the gain, volume, and master set at?

    I have played a few amps through a few fEARfuls. I tried the M9, but didnt have enough time to play with the eq. I like a warmer sound from my amp, and didnt get that directly from the M9.

    As far as other big power SS amps, I would look at the Carvin B1500. Warmer than the M9, even more slam too. I really like the EQ points on the Carvin as well. Its not a light amp, but it makes up for its clean power, and it takes pedals on the front end very well.

    I have also recommend a pre/power rig. Your choice of power amp and pre amp. I recommend something like the Auilar Tone Hammer, and a peavey ipr or crest prolite.

    As far as tube amps go, I dont know if a 300 watt tube amp is going to get your were you want to be volume wise cleanly. I use a 400 watt amp, so there is a bit more head room, and it does get stunningly loud. You also have to be reasonable with the availability of amps in your location.

    If you can find a B1500 snag it, otherwise go out and look at other high power amps that may be available to you. If all else fails, pre/power is the way to go.
  4. Wow, getting responses from the heavyweights, I'm honoured :)

    Yes, I meant volume issues. I run the gain almost maxed with the button in (but with a nos Philips 5751 in v1), the level and master change; I'm not always dissatisfied with volume, I just feel like I run out sometimes.

    Thanks for the M9 suggestion, but I think if not tubes, I'd rather get a power amp and use the streamliner as a pre. I'm sure it's a great amp, but would be a lot more expensive than a power amp, and might be a bit too 'modern' for me.

    I know this is a bastard of a question, but can a 300- watt tube power section take a streamliner, allowing for a moderate level of breakup? I'm guessing from CL400s response, you're leaning towards no?
  5. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    How much do you love the Streamliner? personally, I like 'em, but that's very subjective stuff.

    Assuming you're happy with the Streamliner, I'd consider adding a power amp. I did that for my ShuttleMax 12.0...for small shows and practices I can just take the lightweight amp and add the poweramp for the bigger shows :)
  6. JimmyM was talking of a gb600 being equivalent loudness in the latest tube vs ss stoush.

    This might sound crazy but have you checked polarity on your cabs? I can't imagine wanting for volume with 900w and two 3015lf in play.

    The other gotcha is minding your location relative to walls and corners. Easy to cause huge loss of bass by setting up in the wrong spot.
  7. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Something does seem to be wrong with the Streamliner 900
    Try a pre-amp into the effects return and see if it is louder.
    Maybe one of pre-amp tubes is bad - it can happen
    And the reason why Carvin has a By-pass switch around the tube so people can easily check this.:bag:
  8. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Power amp should work fine. I'm not that familiar with various power amps, but make sure you check into the input level of a given power amp versus the effects out or whatever of the Streamliner. That can be an issue (i.e., the effects out of the Streamliner not having enough output to push some power amps to full power).

    Lots of expertise on that issue, and Agedhorse (Genz engineer) can probably help you with some numbers regarding optimum power amp input design with the output of the Streamliner.

    Should work great for you, and as Duke said above, you will still have the lightweight Streamliner for all but your loudest gigs.
  9. I don't think a 300w tube amp's gonna give u any more clean headroom. I use a YBA300 & have used SVT's & I think I get more clean headroom from my TH500.
    OVERDRIVEN headroom maybe, but even then......
    Big power amp would be my suggestion & earplugs
  10. Yep input sensitivity is something to watch. The Peavey IPR and Crest ProLite I mentioned are some of the most sensitive power amps on the market right now.
  11. The Shuttlemax isnt enough?
    Isnt that 1200 watts?
  12. Thanks for all the great responses, guys, I appreciate it. Sounds like I still have a justifiable reason to buy a tube amp :p

    But from what seamonkey and downunder were saying, sounds like I may also not need to buy anything, if I'm ignoring some simple tech issues. I don't think it's a pre tube, I've done a little tube rolling, and haven't noticed any configuration to get noticeably quieter, but I'll definitely pay attention to it. But what was that about the speakon polarity? I always thought that if they were reversed or something you'd just get no output, could it be causing the issue? I think they're 4-pole speakon heads, and it looks like the the blue and red cables are both mirroring each other at each end in both cables. Is that how it should be? I've got a gig tonight, I'll try out some different cables, see if I notice a difference.
  13. Yeah, it should be blindingly obvious if cabs have bad polarity, it's just crazy to me that it doesn't blow you away with the 900w. Better sounding by itself with the 15/6 is the giveaway.

    If suspicious link the cabs and take an input panel off so you can zap them with 9v and see that both subs jump out together. That will prove either both a cab and that link cable are reverse wired or both are correct. Repeat for other cables in use. So long as you use single cable out of amp you're good.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Actually it was an LMII vs an SVT. I could get slightly louder with the LMII clean, but it was nothing that could really be noticed unless you sat there ABing them obsessively like a nut.

    I love the tube amps and they will have a lot more in the tank available to you past their clean power, but a watt is a watt, and if it's sheer terror volume you want, then a big honkin' SS amp with an iron power transformer is probably what you want.
  15. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    Yeah, but I guess I should clarify...

    The ShuttleMax 12.0 is two power amps that put out 600 watts at 4 ohms...the cabs I was using were either a 15/6/1 with a 15sub (aprox 750 watts), or FEARLESS F215, which is a 4 ohm cab. If I were running two 4 ohm cabs it would've been a little different...I also never really thought the SM 12.0 'felt' like it was a 1,200 watt amp either. Lately I'm using a ShuttleMax 9.2, which feels more substancial for whatever reason
  16. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    Don't do anything until you have borrowed a power amp out of someone's PA rack that'll do at least 1.5 kw [the excursion limit of your stack] into 4 ohms without distortion [a bit of headroom above that wattage will help] and slapped it on top of your rig so you are at least aware of the repercussions of compromise.

    It isn't about volume - you've got a cab stack that is capable of PA level output - at least expose yourself to the concept of feeding it a signal chain that is as clean and powerful as a decent PA would be given similar drivers as are loaded in your cab.

    One of these will do...

  17. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio

    Clean headroom is a beautiful thing
  18. Yeah I guess everyone has a different concept of 'not enough', I think it maybe be as much an issue of not liking the amp's 'pushed' sound as volume.

    I'm hearing a lot of well-reasoned support for a nice big power amp.

    JimmyM, was that volume test with both clean, or letting the svt power section overdrive? (Feel free to just direct me to the thread, of you prefer)
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Clean on both. And there really wasn't a thread with recordings or anything. And it's hardly scientific or anything, just how I gauged it by ear.
  20. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    In a band mix, depending on how dense the mix is, a lot of time a tube amp's overdrive won't become apparent until it is quite distorted.

    As far as tube amps with the most power... pretty much you have the Ashdown 427 Small Block (if they're still making it), the Trace Elliot V8 (discontinued), that monstrous 400 watt Reeves, I would guess the Marshall VBA 400, the Peavey Classic 400, the Fender Bassman 300pro/Sunn 300T, and, of course, the Ampeg SVT.

    Still, that's weird that the SL900 isn't loud enough. 900 watts through two 3015LF drivers plus a 6" midrange should be ridiculously, awesomely loud.

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