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VB-2 vs. HD-130 vs. ???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ragoo, Jun 20, 2014.


  1. Ragoo

    Ragoo

    Oct 14, 2011
    Richardson, Texas
    I'm looking to buy my first tube amp and at this point I've narrowed it down to a used Peavey VB-2 or a used Musicman HD-130, though I'm more than willing to consider other options that may suit my needs better. The kicked is that it has to be less than $600, because cash is short. Right now I'm playing through an Acoustic B600 and a 4x10 cab. The B600 does perfectly fine volume wise for where I play right now but I'd like a bit more of that fabled tube warmth. I switch fairly evenly between an old-school thumpy sound to a more grindy low-mid oriented sound to a deep purr and I'd like an amp that can accomplish those three well. I'm probably going to stick to the single 4x10 cab or possibly a 2x12 in the future

    What I'm looking for: Enough headroom to stay clean at loud volumes, "tube sound", an XLR out for PA purposes, capability for the aforementioned sounds, and a pretty good amount of tweakability, cost <$600.

    What I don't care about: Weight, aesthetics, physical size, whether or not it's a pure tube amp or hybrid.

    What I DON'T want: High gain amps (again, I need a relatively clean sound), low volume.

    I'm willing to scour the 'bay for used amps since I know I won't get the things I need for less than $600 new, and I can dig on vintage stuff too. But if you think there's an amp that'll do what I need that I didn't mention, please let me know. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    Of those two, I would go for the Peavey. The Peavey is all tube. I believe that MM is a "reverse" hybrid, in having a solid state preamp and tube power amp. The Peavey is more power. And last, but maybe most important, I believe you'll have a much easier time getting the Peavey worked on if it ever needs it.

    I almost bought a MM 130 once, but it had a minor problem. So I consulted with two different local techs that worked on my tube amps. Neither one would touch the MM because it's such an oddball.
     
  3. hdracer

    hdracer

    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    The VB-2 comes close to what you may want.
    If you want pure clean a 410 or 212 probably will not be enough be enough cab if you want really loud. I used 412's or a 610 with mine and ran it a little dirty with a loud band.

    Tube heads do not sound the same just because they have tubes in them.
    The EL34's in the VB-2 do not sound like a amp with 6L6's, and they will not sound like one with 6550's.

    A VB-2 will never sound like a Ampeg V4B or SVT or a Fender.

    The VB-2 has it's own sound. Some like it, some don't.
    I sold mine to buy a Fender.
     
  4. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Another vote for the Peavey between those two choices. I owned and loved an HD-130, but it's not particularly warm or "tube-like" in the way most people think of that term. They are popular for steel slide-guitar players if that gives you a good idea of the tone (tight, bright, and clean- also SUPER loud in the high-mid and treble range).

    For other options, I would recommend keeping an eye out for other 100-200 watt tube heads on the used market- specifically an Ampeg V4 or occasionally old Sunn stuff will still pop up on the cheap.
     
  5. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    The MusicMan HD 130 is a very clean Head . It is very difficult to get it to break up. The main Issues with it are . In high power mode 130 watts RMS the voltage to the tubes is in excess of 700v Nere most tube amos are in the 400-600 range. Because of that you have to use tubes that can handle the voltage JJ E34L's are the ones most recommended for that because they are well made and can handle the high voltage. The other Issue would be finding a tech that can find prints for this Head. I just recently bought one and love the sound. I play it mostly in low power mode. It sounds the same just less power. It is a very clean sounding amp But not Bland or HiFi It can get very thumpy just real clean thumpy.

    I have not played the VB-2 But if it is built anything like my AlphaBass or Cclassic 400 quality wise I would Give it a +1 to giving it a try. Peavey amps are built like tanks and sound good.
     
  6. Ragoo

    Ragoo

    Oct 14, 2011
    Richardson, Texas
    What exactly are the characteristics of specific tubes (EL34s vs 6L6s vs whatever other power tube)? Are different types of tubes easily interchangable without damaging the amp? I've heard EL34s are more midrangey than others, though I wouldn't really have a frame of reference.
     

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