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What's the most reliable cheaper head these days?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Greevus, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    Been playing SVTs and GK MB2-500 lately, and have had some bad experiences with both. Had to have them both repaired and had some less than stellar live gigs with them. Anyways, been reading about Carvin BX500, Hartke 3500 and LH500s, Little Mark IIs, Ibanez Promethean, and even Bugeras. I need something that isn't too pricey, has some good punch, and is rock solid. I'm all ears. Had a Carvin long time ago and wasn't bad, just sounded sorta plasticy and boxy. I switched to GK 400RBs for years, but I need more watts nowadays. One thing I like about the SVT is that it's a loud 300 watts for sure. But I am becoming a non-fan due to all sorts of issues with mine. I'll just go with too damn heavy so I don't hate too bad. When it runs, it sounds good for sure. It doesn't like working for long though.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    all companiess will have examples where some units work flawlessly and some don't. some have more than others, but you're better off just getting something you like and worry about it if and when it breaks.
  3. grifff


    Jan 5, 2009
    Towson, Maryland
    What about a higher wattage GK? A 1001 or 2001? I don't have experience with GK so I can't comment on the similarities/differences in tone between the 400 and the 1001/2001.
  4. shaolinwhat


    Jun 5, 2005
  5. SpamBot


    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    My first suggestion also. Built like tanks.
  6. shaolinwhat


    Jun 5, 2005
    Yup. I mean if you like your 400RB but want more power...1+1 is 2, bro!
  7. +1 on the 800RB, only thing is, it sounds like you really like the sound of your SVT. You're not going to get the same kind of earth moving thunder out of an 800RB. A great amp, but a different beast from the SVT.

    You may have already done this, but I'll share some ideas with you. The trick with keeping an SVT working is to find a really good tech and invest a some money into a proper and thorough repair if it ever goes down. It's not a good idea to try to do patchwork repairs. Find someone with a solid rep and then give that person the latitude to do their job right when it comes time to fix it. The other thing to worry about is tube reliability. I've found that Winged C power tubes are really reliable, but my experiences with other brands has been hit and miss. And remember that any really heavy piece of gear is going to take a bit more of abuse than something light weight. Factor that in to your decision.
  8. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    I've got an 800RB. Good suggestion, but it's only 300 watts at 4 ohms. It's great and punchy, but I was thinking maybe a hybrid this time. The SVT is a love/hate thing. When it's working, it's great. Man I've invested quite a bit into the top recommended tech around. He's done a good job to me. I do have Winged C power tubes in it also. My SVT clipped out Sat night and wouldn't come back on quickly enough, so I grabbed the GK and went with it. I'm just thinking of trying something different than GKs, I've blew up 2 400RBs and currently have an 800RB, a 400RB-III, and the MB2-500. I will admit I'm loud as hell. I heard that again Sat night and I thought we were a bit anemic really! I've never played a hybrid, but am interested after reading many posts. I agree with Jimmy, sure there are good and bad of everything. I was hoping someone would share some experience with a recent model that would fall somewhere in the $300-500 price range and that was solid. I'm not a wuss at all, but I will admit I freaking hate moving that SOB SVT. Just awkward.
    My experience with the GK micro is that it's decent enough for the price, but it doesn't like to be super loud and clips easily to me. Seems like every amp I play these days clips rather easily. The 400RBs didn't clip, they just caught on fire after decades of hellish volume.

    I do run the Ampeg and GK together, and that is my fave tone currently. Just a lot of gear to move to smaller clubs.
  9. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    I'm in a similar situation, except I'm still using my 400rb. Love the tone, but sometimes it's just not quite enough for the low B. I'm thinking of the 700rb...
  10. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    I hear ya Shiro. The older 400RBs had the best tones to me. Even back in the day when the 800RB was the rage, I preferred the 400s. My only thing with the 700 is that the MB2-500 has 500 watts at 4 ohms. I'm thinking about a 1001RB possibly. I think my 810 fridge could handle it. It really sounds great no matter what's run through it. I'm tuned BEAD, so I agree with you on the B. I go from the 85 lb SVT to the 4 lb micro and it seems nuts. I'm a bit eager to try the Fusion GK, but I'm a cheapskate really. The SVT has been my most pricey purchase ever for a head. GKs are great bang for buck.
  11. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Banned

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    Here's what you do:

    Find a used Mesa Boogie amp. If you want 12AX7 tube preamp qualities, the Carbine M6 is great. If you want all-tube, there are a ton of M/B Bass 400+ heads for sale out there. I've seen a few Big Block 750s too. You should be able to get one for less than $800.
    M/B amps are super-reliable, and the sound will level a building. So much more personality, power, and reliability than any of the other brands mentioned in this thread.
    Plus, you may spend a bit more for the amp, but you'll spend $0.00 in repairs down the road, save for a set of tubes if you go with an all-tube model, but you'll have that with any tube amp.
    Go to a music store and play several of these through a cabinet similar to yours. It will go a long way in helping you make up your mind.
  12. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    I have a few friends who had Mesa 400s and they all loved 'em except that all say the SVT is more powerful. I'm not unhappy with the SVT, just don't like some of the inconveniences and unpredictability. I would try a Mesa, but I've never seen one cheap at all. I feel like I would be getting another SVT practically. I'm sure it's cool, but I am hoping for something not so similar. I honestly only know all tube. I sort of would like to have a hybrid to compare to all SS or all tube. Thanks for the advice though. My guitar-playing brother has a Boogie.
  13. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    The most reliable amps will have the best warranties and best warranty exchange policies included in the price.
    Genz Benz shuttles are using state of the are amplifier modules, wrapped in special GB designed limiters, and they're lightweight. 3 year warranty. Only short coming is no bypass switch for the tube in the pre-amp.
  14. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    Genz Benz sounds really cool. Maybe a tad pricey, but I'm digging what I read.
  15. uhdinator


    Apr 20, 2010
    Peavey MegaBass Amp and 15 - $200 (Castle Rock)
    Date: 2010-04-16, 8:14AM MDT
    Reply to: sale-tzdky-1694830141@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

    VG-EC, digital bass system, 2 space rack mountable, bi-ampable, 200 watts per channel @ 4 ohms, 7-band EQ, built in chorus with rate and depth controls, punch and bright switches, 1/4" and XLR inputs, pre-gain and pre-EQ, controls, post high and low volumes, full range volume, footswitch jack (NO FOOTSWITCH), two 1/4" outputs for high and low (speaker jacks), two balanced XLR preamp outputs (one for high and low), 1/4" preamp out and power amp in jacks, versatile head! built in the U.S.A. The amp is in a road rack... and a 1x15" black widow cabinet. The cover is peeling off the cab, but not bad... I've used this the last year in a band as my bass rig and it works great. just taking up room now, so I'm selling cheap to get rid of it...

    * Location: Castle Rock
    * it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

    PostingID: 1694830141
  16. Lurker79


    Jul 3, 2008
    Hayward, CA
    Yeah, GB is such a great amp, but it's a little more than cheap. It's like that saying, "Everything can be boiled down to being cheap, fast or functional, but the trick is you're only left with two out of three."
  17. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    I played a gig with a guy using some Peavey, and after checking the Megabass, that may have been the one! All I remember is that I was late for an outdoor gig and I jumped onstage and plugged into the 2nd bands rig. It was on 1-2 (0-10)volume and my jaw dropped. That was maybe 3 years ago and I haven't forgotten it. I didn't even catch the model, but I remember thinking "that f*n Peavey is loud as hell!".
  18. uhdinator


    Apr 20, 2010
    Bought my MegaBass new for almost $1000 around 1990-91.
    Still using it running a 115 and a 210 in bi amp mode. 200w hi,
    200w low. Don't think I even turned it up louder than 3 on the master.
    If it ever dies I will send it to peavey and have it repaired.
  19. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    First, don't count out the 700rbII. It's loud, grunty, super reliable, and under 20 lbs. When I run it with my neo 212 and 112 together, I can't imagine needing anymore volume...... I bet it would kill into an 810 or 412. I'll take it over the 1001 anyday of the week. But if more power is still needed, you may want to check out the 2001rb.

    I find myself gassing for a Fusion every now and then...... that may be another one to check into.
  20. Rocky

    Rocky Banned

    Jul 21, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Carvin B1500 if you can find one or the new B2000

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