Which amp will respond best to player's attack

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Pierre Bize, May 17, 2018.

  1. Pierre Bize

    Pierre Bize

    May 16, 2018
    Hi there, I am new to this forum and I would like to get some insight on which bass amp would respond best to the player's attack. I play mostly finger style and I like the bass to growl a little when I dig harder into it... Without having to engage some distortion or overdrive pedal. I can get pretty much what I want from the line 6 Helix or other amp simulator but I would like to be sure to hit the right target before buying a new amp head. My short lis is: Darkglass Microtubes 900, Gallien Kruegen MB 800 (or Fusion 800) Quilter Bass Block 800 and Ampeg portaflex 800... Any advice is welcome.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  2. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    My guess, of those amps, is the Darkglass. It’s the only one with dedicated overdrive channels. Just listen to clips and make sure you like those sounds. You can listen to Vintage or B3K/B7K clips too, as those are the two engines that it comes with.

    The ampeg also has some overdrive when you push the gain, and I bet the GK does too. Quilter, I think is designed to be mostly clean. But I haven’t used it.

    The thing is, everyone’s preference and definition of that growl and breakup is different. So really, your best bet is to listen to clips as much as you can to see which sound you prefer. Some people will suggest the Mesa D800, saying that they like the way it sounds with the gain cranked, and to other people it won’t even register as overdriven.
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    I'd probably go Darkglass.

    IMO the best way to do what you want is with a tube power section. Run preamp relatively clean, but run power section strong (most likely around loud stage volume to get it "there") around the threshold of breaking up.
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Mesa Subway D800 does that beautifully.
    petch, AstroSonic, Badwater and 2 others like this.
  5. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    GK or any tube amp.
    Badwater likes this.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    If you put the gain up on the PF800 to where it clips a little when you dig in, that should give you what you want.
    HolmeBass, Aqualung60 and Gatlin like this.
  7. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Out of that list? Darkglass. My personal recommendations? GK 1001RB for that sound all the time, or for a more verstile amp look into the Mesa D800 or D800+.
    AstroSonic and Badwater like this.
  8. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I'd say the first thing you'll need is plenty of headroom. An amp isn't going to respond very well if it is already running flat out. Get your power from the amp and cabs. Get your grit/dirt or any other stuff like that from your pedals.
  9. jackn1202


    Feb 14, 2018
    Austin, TX
    Are there amps encased in steel?

    ...'cuz it could probably withstand a decent attack from the drunkest of audience members...
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
    red_rhino and sigterm like this.
  10. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    The GK MB800 Fusion has a footswitch controlled OD channel as well.

    Here's a decent demo.

    Last edited: May 17, 2018
    PotsdamBass8 likes this.
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Inactive Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver BC
    I don't think any one of those amps will respond to your touch all that much better than any of the others. If I had to pick one it would be the Quilter I guess. He's done something to the voicing of the power section that's kinda magic. If you're looking for the most noticeable difference in an amp responding to your touch try a tube amp without a master volume like an Ampeg B15 or a Fender black or silver face Bassman (not the new ones). Having only one gain stage seems to make the amp respond to touch more like an unamplified acoustic instrument does. The deal breaker for most people is an amp with no master isn't generally functional through a wide range of volumes. It's hard to get away with just one amp....
    HolmeBass and Sixgunn like this.
  12. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I read the original post as wanting an amp that grinds more as you dig in, like a touch responsive overdrive. Some people are taking it to mean an amp that has high headroom and responds to transients with ample volume.
    DrummerwStrings and Wasnex like this.
  13. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar...

    Nov 23, 2010
    I think you found your answer.
    superheavyfunk and Waltsdog like this.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Well they're wrong :D I can do it on my Micro VR or other low wattage amps by cranking the gain to a certain level and putting the master very low. Some amps may not sound very pleasing when you crank the gain, but those that do don't need high headroom.
  15. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO, Touch sensitivity is about how a drive stage transitions from clean to distortion. For good touch sensitivity, the distortion should come on slowly and linearly instead of all at once. With some amps, rolling small signal tubes can greatly improve the touch sensitivity of a preamp drive circuit. A possible catch 22...good touch sensitivity and the best high gain sound are not necessarily achieved with the same tube or circuit setup...it sorta depends upon your priorities and goals for each. So, I think it's entirely possible one amp could have better touch sensitivity, while the other has better high gain sounds.
    Jeff Bonny likes this.
  16. keto


    Mar 3, 2016
    A tube amp (SVT, SuperBassman) master high, pre lower.

    My Mesa D-800+ will do it, the clipping slash overdrive is soft tho, not tough and gnarly. I also have a GK RB400IV that will do, I assume most GK amps will. A touch more rockin and rough (in a good way) than the Mesa.
    arrowsun and Arthur U. Poon like this.
  17. Any TC electronics with the Tubedrive on.
  18. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    I'm with Jimmy. Most modern amps can get there with the right amounts of gain and volume. I have a BB800 and a PF500. They both can achieve a nice bite with the right balance of gain and volume.
    Sixgunn and JimmyM like this.
  19. Waltsdog

    Waltsdog Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Ottawa, ON
    You already have what you want, any amp will do to amplify your Helix. Your cheapest option is to just get a power amp.
    Loring likes this.
  20. Sixgunn


    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.