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Why Solid State?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by legacygone, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. legacygone


    Feb 25, 2005
    Hey Everybody -

    Over the years I owned/played through a bunch of amps including: Eden WT 800 with Eden 4x10 and 1x15, hartke 3500 with hartke 410 and 1x15, ampeg svt 4pro with ampeg 810 classic, ampeg BA500 combo, swr 350 and Aguilar db750 with GB cabs.

    I've played many styles ranging from latin to heavy rock.

    All the amps mentioned above have one thing in common. Solid state power section.

    And my problem was that I could never get the sound I really wanted, I tried effects, compressors, eqs, active basses, etc.

    And then I got an early 90's ampeg SVT classic. 300 watts of tube power. Suddenly I couldn't get a sound I DIDN'T like.

    Since then I've tried a lot of all-tube amps (SUNN, fender, Sound City, etc,) and though none I like as much as the SVTclassic, anyone one of them would have blow away the list of amps above. Tone and Volume.

    Now I know sound is a matter of opinion and such. But there is a fine line between good bass and bad bass sound.

    Am I missing something? Why Solid state?
  2. because what you like someone else might not like.
  3. I like the sound of both, they are both different and hold different charms.

    In a band situation cant beat an SVT through an 810 tho, in my opinion.
  4. Well... you probably aren't missing something... you just like the sound of classic tube amps. I find them slow to react, too growly and distorted, and lacking tight low end and shimmery highs... EXACTLY what a high quality SS amp will give you (I don't even like tubes in the pre's). There are 'clean sounding' tube amps... I really don't get that... all weight and not that different sounding from a good SS power section like the Glock HR, for example... which is very warm.

    The point I'm making is that you are talking about a tone preference, not a 'better or worse'.
  5. legacygone


    Feb 25, 2005
    I agree that its all an opinion. But for example with the svt4 pro (which claims 1200!!!!!watts at 4ohms) I could not get a sound I like at the right volume. It would start clacking and making farty sounds and such. This isn't a taste thing, no body likes crackling in their sound.
  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I use what I like regardless off Solid State vs. Analog Tube goodness. I love my GK's but still have a place in my heart for those big, heavy Ampegs.
  7. Clean
    As much or as little volume as you want without changing the tone.
    Can get more volume out of a single unit (Other than the 10,000 dollar PJB head, the biggest tube heads are 400w, mine is 2300w)
    Can save a lot of weight.
    Don't need to replace tubes/easier maintenance.

    I don't see the appeal of tubes, they aren't for me. I REALLY dislike them for guitar, and only like them for certain players for bass, I like the Peavey Classic 400 and wouldn't mind one.

    Also you said you hated Ampegs SS stuff, that's because their "1200w" head is really more like 400w and Ampeg has pretty low quality gear nowadays.
  8. disenchant

    disenchant You can't plagiarize yourself.

    Aug 9, 2006
    Elgin, IL
    I'm a bass newbie so I'll go straight from a listener's perspective.

    I seriously never paid attention to the equipment a bass player had. I didn't know the difference between solid state and tube, all I knew was if the bass sounded good with the rest of the band.

    The guitar player in our band was obsessed with sound. He was CONVINCED that every little minute detail mattered. When he recorded he used a 2" long, very high-quality cable to connect his guitar to his amp. He had decided that having a short distance between the guitar and the amp was what was going to make the sound better. Did it sound better? Probably, but not anything the average listener could discern. 2" cables don't sell records, songs sell records.

    I believe that the sound we all work so hard to cultivate (and I did it too as soon as I got into bass. Bought me a Mesa Boogie 400+ all tube and 2 SWR speakers) is for OUR EARS ALONE, and our own personal satisfaction.

    When I'm in the audience, I'm not thinking "oh my god, this band would be soooo much better if the bassist had a tube amp." I'm busy enjoying the music--the collective sound of ALL the instruments. The cables, the instruments, the amp settings are probably noticed far less than we imagine. A crappy sound is a crappy sound, so of course that is never good. But IMHO playing a Warwick vs. a Fender or a Solid State vs a Tube is all for the bassist's ears, and it makes the bassist feel good to sound the way they want and it lends more passion to playing.

    My BF plays all solid state and I play all tube and we have the same cabinet. He sounds amazing with his band, and I like the way I sound with mine. I hate playing solid state, but I'm positive that if I played bass in his band, with his bass and amp I'd sound just fine.
  9. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    Great post.

    Amps sound different, but it may not be a huge issue, since your material (songs) are the most impoertant thing, as well as your musical ability (IMO). A great player can make average equipment irrelevant.

    Also, different strokes for different folks. A new wave band might sound wrong with a fuzzy tube bass amp. Etc.

    Solid state amps are durable. You can drop them, and an accident that would wreck a tube amp would be 'oh well, plug and play' with a solid state head. If you're on tour or playing lots of shows, that might be important.
  10. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA


    to my ears, both tube and solid state sound good (though i believe tubes need to really cook to sound their best [ie play it loud!!]). i'm happy with my hybrid (mostly SS with one tube) Ashdown head. it gives me tubey character and warmth with SS tight bottom... and i really like tight bottom. ;)
  11. legacygone


    Feb 25, 2005
    Though I can't fully disagree with the above. Because musicians do get obssesed with their (our LOL) gear. And pay more attention to it then they should.
    However, with the above logic this whole forum shouldn't exist. We should all play the same amp and not even worry about it. We shouldn't worry about getting great recordings because its the songs that matter......

    I tend to play better when I have "my sound." I find that the response and "feel" of the bass is better.

    The tube vs. SS debate is important. Everyone is making SS amps. And its getting harder and harder to find a great tube amp. The options are getting more and more limited.

    I understand the convience factor of SS amps being lighter and such. But I am not willing to sacrifice my sound for ease of transport.
  12. Agree with almost every post. I had played many amp heads, but I found my voice into only 2 amp heads, and guess what? They are both solid state, even the pre amp too!
  13. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    I used to have an Ampeg classic and it was one of the worst sounding amps I have ever owned. The sound was muddy, midrangey, and the highs were not crispy. I'm sure if I was playing classic rock with a P-bass, Ampeg fridge and Classic head I would be styling. But I am more into jam-band, funky kind of stuff. My Modulus sounds better through solid state heads, go figure. It's all about what sounds most pleasant to our ears.

    Right now I am using an Eden Nav with a QSC 1602. This setup weighs about 25 lbs. and is 1600 watts. Soon I will mate this setup with my Eden 6x10 XLT (hurry up and build it Eden!) which is on order.
    It shouldn't be such a mystery to you as to why anyone in their right mind would use a solid state head.

    1)They weigh less

    2)No maintenance (which I'm sure any minute now a tube user will pop on and claim they have a tube head that hasn't required maintenance in 10 years)

    3)More Clarity (perceived as sterile to tube users);)

    4)Can fit in a bread box.

    So there you have it.
  14. I'm a SS amp lover (as posted above)... and I think that amp sucks also! Be careful to judge SS amps by Ampeg standards:bag:
  15. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    You beat me to it Ken, I prefer solid state and I had an SVT 4 pro. I could never get a good sound out of that thing.
  16. IvanMike

    IvanMike TTRPG enthusiast, Happy, Joyous, & Free. Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    just kjung and others said, it's all personal opinon, and yes, some amps are not as good as others. oh well. I like both sounds for bass, in some contexts one sounds "better" than the other.

    OTOH, Guitar amps? SS? no way. IMHO
  17. To be fair to Ampeg, my impression is that instead of designing 'good sounding' hybrid or complete SS heads, they are trying to emulate a tube amp sound with SS technology (i.e., trying to keep true to the 'classic' Ampeg tone. That usually doesn't work, and you get the 'worst of both worlds'.
  18. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    A lot also depends on the bass you use. I LOVE my Ric through something like an Ampeg tube amp. I LOVE my G&L through a very clean amp like an SWR. My compromise ia an Ampeg pre though a SS power section. :D
  19. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    If I ever won the lottery... I'd have two rigs: an Ampeg SVT-CL and an 810E; and a Gallien-Krueger 2001RB with a Neo 412.

    Both are awesome rigs in their own right.

    But... if I had to choose only one... it'd be the GK rig. It's far more flexible, matches the sound in my head, and is dual-channel (one clean, one overdrive). I can get sparkling slap-bass highs, bluesy lows, or growly rock mids, all in the same rig, and without having to worry about tubes or excessive weight.

    It's tough to beat a classic like the Ampeg SVT, but in my mind, a GK rig does, in price, weight, reliability, style, and flexibility :smug:
  20. BigMac5


    Nov 26, 2005
    San Diego, CA

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