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Underwhelmed By Current Generation Class D Amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Berniez40, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. I've been a big fan of The Class D technology ever since the first time I saw and heard a Walter Woods. Sadly, I've owned several of these last generation class D's built for us commoners, and everyone of them has ended up being returned, or back on the trading room floor within a year. Admittedly, I play both upright and electric, so finding ANY amp that does both is a very tough deal. Now my trusty GK 700RB 2 × 10 has been by my side pumping out the tone throuthroughout this entire debacle. I started with an Ampeg PF 500. Actually it was pretty good, but even with 2×10s instead of a 15 it sounded Boomy on the upright. Next came The Fender Rumble. Wow what a great one trick pony. Great Old school sound on electric, but supremely boxy on upright. No way to dial the phony mids out. Finally all 85 pounds of my GK just became too much for my aging and aching back to haul around all the time....even with wheels and a handle. So why not try the new GK MB' s went the theory. Always loved the GO sound. WOW...WAS I EVER UNDERWHELMED. I tried the 2×10 version, and it simply had no oomph. I tried the 2x12 and the electric sounded fabulous through it. Took it home, hooked up the upright, and no matter how I EQ d the sound it was either Boxy, Boomy, or Farting out on every note below the G on the E string. Took it back and picked up an Acoustic B1000 HD. At least this thing has the blue juice to handle those ultra low frequencies you can get from a 5 string upright. The Graphic EQ is helpful in the sense I can set it super flat and let my upright speak with her own voice. This amp has zero flavour, and a poorypoor located fan, but at least my upright sounds like my upright, and my electrics can be tweaked to get a good sound on their own thanks to Bartolini Electronics in one and Alembics in the other. A word to the wise as far as the manufacturers are concerned. Bump up the wattage, and stop chintzing on the speakers. Thank goodness I have some good speakers lying about from back in the day. Waiting for the next gen Neos to lose some of that jagged Edge
    bdplaid and mikewalker like this.
  2. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Have you tried any other amps? Maybe you just simply don't care for the flavor of the amp regardless of the class or type? I think your generalizations do not apply to all manufacturers, or even most manufacturers... maybe just the amps & speakers that you have tried.
  3. Perhaps you should post this in the DB forum and ask what some of those guys are using with uprights and electric.
    Only trying out what you might typically find at the local guitar store or the usual catalog suspects is limiting your search. You clearly have needs that many of us who only play electric don't have.
    Good luck.
    mbelue, bdplaid, Bunk McNulty and 7 others like this.
  4. BlueMINI


    Sep 10, 2013
    Olympia, WA
    Allow me to suggest the following:


    It may be just what you're looking for ;)

    P.S. Mesa offers another ("800+") with more knobs if you're into that sort of thing :D

    Best of luck!
    klejst, dukeorock, Max and 5 others like this.
  5. Wicked G

    Wicked G

    Jan 19, 2017
    Far West Texas
    So are you still using the Acoustic B1000HD?

    Have you ever tried a Genz Benz Shuttlemax? Although I don't play upright I have read others that do liking the Shuttle. I say Shuttle Max because you can set up one channel for electric and the other for upright. Just a thought you might be interested in.
    Aqualung60, jnewmark, smogg and 4 others like this.
  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You may want to aim for a higher range of products. Uprights tend to belong well with Glockenklang, Hevos, Bergantino... and 12" cabs.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  7. I would think the Bergantino B-Amp would be superb for upright bass. .. notch filter and variable hpf built it. .. not to mention all the other built ins... comp n drive eg.....
    Another vote for the older Genz Benz Shuttles &/or Shuttlemax too.
    As @agedhorse states. .. some ppl like the Genz Benz Shuttles and some liked the Streamliner (I'm firmly on the Shuttle side here) they're great sounding and quality amps that are very versatile. Heck. ...I like using my all tube amps - Fender Super Bassman or Ampeg V4B with my upright. . But I sure found it easy to get a great tone for my upright using my Shuttle 6.0/6.2
    Relsom, jnewmark, smogg and 2 others like this.
  8. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello Bernie. Jazz Ad is correct. You have to do more research and spend more money. Though the new never will sound quite like the old, the best of the new bass amplification sounds very, very good indeed. And the better examples, among speaker cabinets particularly, have capabilities that we could only dream of in the old days.

    For neo cabinets, check out Acme, AudioKinesis, Baer, Barefaced, Bergantino, Greenboy/Fearless, MA Soundworks. For integrated or standalone Class D amps, try Acoustic Image, Bergantino, DNA, Glockenklang, Jule, Reiner, Sonic Farm/MAS.

    Also, if it's flavor that you require, then be willing to mix and match preamps and amps. But you have to do your homework, as well as play enough amps and cabinets to get a representative sample of the state of the art.

    Again: the state of the art is impressive. This is a fantastic time to be a bass string instrument player who uses amplification. I'm glad I lived long enough to experience it. I myself am all for big iron, tubes, and such. I collect and play vintage tubes. But I know that all the best work from bygone days was thanks to innovation. And I observe that the innovation never ceased; only the form of its expression changed, just as it always has done.

    My daily driver bass amp is 1. a Kern IP-777, a turret board wired tube preamp; tubes, trannies, caps, resistors... old school, into 2. the front of a Glockenklang Blue Rock, a class AB preamp with superfine EQ into a custom Class D power amp. The Blue Rock sounds so good by itself that I had to work to find new baseline settings on the Kern, simply to justify continuing to use it as standard.

    My main alternative bass amp is a Baer Amplification Valkyrie, with a fascinating hybrid tube/solid state front end and a Class AB amp section. Since you probably never will get to play a Valkyrie (there are only eight in the wild), take my word for it that it is as fine an instrument amp as you'll ever play, and one of the most special bass guitar amps ever produced. Consider, then, that I even bother to play the Kern/Blue Rock rack as well. It sounds completely different from the Valkyrie, but in its way it sounds just as good.

    Anyway... happy hunting. Once you play some proper modern bass cabinets, it will blow your mind. You're a doubler: start with MA Soundworks or AudioKinesis. :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  9. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Look for Mike Arnopol of MAS Soundworks here. He makes cabs for upright (and electric) and has some custom Class D amps as well. Very innovative designs.
    kesslari, Pbassmanca and Berniez40 like this.
  10. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    So the OP doesn't like some D class amps. That's par for the course and I don't like the amps he's listed either.

    But me, Sherlock Holmes that I am, looked a little further and found several fantastic D class amps and cabs.
  11. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    My thought is that you should concentrate on finding a really good cab as that is more important than the amp IMHO. Try a Bergantino 12" or a Barefaced if you can.
  12. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Are those the only 3 amps you've tried?? If so, that's your problem. I'd consider all of those to be low end starter amps. Just get a Mesa D800+ and be done with it.
  13. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    I wasn't impressed by the GK or Ampeg offerning in class D Itried a few years ago. I ended up with a Traynor SB-200. Its not perfect but it works well for electric and upright. I have found that the eq works very diferently than from a more traditional amp but once you have spent a little time with it you can get a good sound. Expand your horizenens. Having a head you can pick up and put in a gig bag and have to check it is there before you go because it is so light is a real plus to me.
    quickfix likes this.
  14. Stu_Bass

    Stu_Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2006
    dood, MHT75, Munjibunga and 2 others like this.
  15. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I understand where the OP is coming from. I've tried Tiesco, Tokai and Guyatone and discovered that Japanese guitars are all junk.
  16. :thumbsdown:
  17. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Jule-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    You literally only tried three amps, and one was a combo.

    There are scores of incredibly different sounding class D amps that you'll likely enjoy much more, but most importantly you'll likely need a more modern designed and naturally voiced cab (Barefaced, Greenboy, LED, Audookenesis, Berg, etc.) to get the sounds for DB that You're looking for.

    Happy hunting!
    BrBss likes this.
  18. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    I recently got a Markbass on a trade and was blown away. Worth looking into.
    pappabass and LoTone like this.
  19. Jefenator


    Aug 22, 2008
    For 9 years I was in a state of blissful ignorance with the Markbass LMII for most upright gigs and many electric gigs. Then last winter I got the crazy notion to try using tube amps for all these lower volume gigs I do and now everything has gone all topsy turvy. I can't just go back - I'm hooked on a certain "response" I get now and the old LMII almost feels like a digital playback by comparison for the upright.
    But the tube heads have their own issues so I'm trying to keep the door open for the higher end class D options. (When the dust finally settles, I certainly wouldn't mind having my new Holy Grail be something in the 6 pound, cigar box form factor.)
    Bergantino has my eye for current state of the art but I'd also be keen to try one of the Demeter hybrids or the Quilter Bass Block 800.
    Rocksolid likes this.
  20. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I'm not going to presume to tell the OP what he should get (my upright days are over) but man, you've tried only four amps! And all pretty cheap ones to boot.

    My back wouldn't let me go back but even if it wasn't an issue, I would not be trading in my amps for anything. They sound REALLY good.
    The Diaper Geni likes this.