worth the price jump to tube?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Son of Bovril, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. Here's the thing - I need a new amp and cabs. I play live hard rock gigs (clubs and open stages) every weekend.

    Unfortunately there aren't a wide selection of amps available for testing in music shops here in South Africa...

    I've been looking at the Ampeg SVT3-Pro and the Fender 400 PRO HD - Both solid state amps

    Or I can get an Eden 550 Traveler or Fender 300 Pro (all tube) if I lay out the extra cash

    Here's the Question: Is the difference between the two ranges of amps worth the price difference (Ie. should I lay out the cash) and secondly if I lay out the extra cash, should I go for the Fender or Eden?

    Please Advise! :bassist:
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    1st off, the eden is not all tube, just a tube in the preamp. not sure about the fender. i say try them all out, side by side if you can with your bass and your cab(s). some people like tube amps, some don't.
  3. Yeah, sorry, I did actually know that about the Eden (neglected to mention it - oops!) and the Fender is "all Tube"
  4. Virus


    Apr 16, 2004
    If you're playing hard rock, is it worth it NOT to get tubes?

    Spend the extra cash and get tubes IMHO.

    I would go with the Fender 300 tube head.
  5. yeah, but the ampeg has a tube preamp (same one as the all tube SVT2-Pro), will the all tube power section of the Fender really make that much difference to the sound? The price difference is quite substantial...

    and can anyone coment on the sound difference between the eden and the Fender?
  6. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I can speak for the Fender. I have an old 300PS, which is an all tube amp with a 6550 output stage. It's a killer amp, although it probably doesn't do justice to the full potential of 6550's. One of the best 6550 amps of all time, IMO, is the Marshall Major (I have a 1969 model, that I just recapped, and the "only" problem I can think of is the weight of the amp, it's kinda hard to carry around a lot). :) There's a bass version, and a guitar version. In both, they have those output tubes driven just to the point of implosion, and they sound absolutely fantastic. You can pick up a used Major on eBay for somewhere in the 1200-1500 dollar range. Such kick, and punch, it's unbelievable. Very few tube amps I've ever heard come close to that level of dynamics. The Fender is "not bad". They're definitely on the right track, they had the right idea when they designed it. There's probably more "junk" in the circuit than there needs to be, in fact that's one of the big advantages of "vintage" amps IMO, is their simplicity. When it comes to tubes, the simpler the circuit, the better. Less parts, means less alteration in the sound, and more of the natural tube "kick". 6550's are absolutely the best bass power tubes of all time, IMO. Don't even waste your time with 6L6's, IMO, once you hear the "thump" of a 6550 you'll never go back. :)
  7. At low bedroom volumes there wont be a diffrence, but once u start driving and saturating the power tubes....thats when you will be glad you went all tube.
  8. Thanks for the advice.
    Anyone out there that can compare the eden 550 sound to that of the Fender 300 Pro (old Sunn 300t)?
  9. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    You had to say that, didn't you! :p And right after I bought an amp with 12 6L6's... :crying:
  10. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    Or find a used Sunn 300T. Exact same amp.

    Luv mine.

  11. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, that was my first effort too. My first tube bass amp was a 6L6 amp, a 100 watt deal (4x6L6) that I used mainly for practice and coffee house type situations. It was definitely a great amp, light years beyond any solid state thing that was available at the time (except maybe for an Acoustic 370). :D

    But hey, there's always room for growth, right? If the amp does what you need, that's the bottom line, isn't it? I regularly use 6L6 amps in the studio, f'r instance I have a modified Fender Twin Reverb (a guitar amp) that I love to mic up. It has "the sound". It has a couple of Weber speakers in it, but I don't use them for bass, I go outboard into a couple of Bag End S-12's. Absolutely killer sound. I definitely didn't mean to suggest that 6L6's were "bad". In fact, they're pretty darn good. It's just that 6550's are "better". They're incomparable, really. The trick these days is, to find the right set of tubes. I use the Svetlana "Winged-C's", they have excellent behavior "right at the point of distortion", there's a really smooth crossover between the clean sound and the gritty sound. And some of the vintage tubes are not bad either, like the GE 6550A's, although they cost an arm and a leg, "if" you can find them. But the "Winged-C's" are the closest thing I've found to the sound and response I want. Anyway, 12x6L6's sounds like a pretty killer rig. What's that, around 300 watts? 300 watts of tube power is earth shaking. That's enough to make your pant legs vibrate at twenty yards. Now, the next goal is, "fifty" yards. :D:D:D
  12. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The amp in question is a Mesa Strategy 400, which is a stereo amp, so that would be 2x150 watts. But, I use two or more cabs most of the time, so it is effectively a 300 watt amp for me. I haven't taken possession of it yet (it's on the way from RockBobby), but I look forward to twiddling around with it. Any suggestions on 6L6 bottles?
  13. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    For modern production, I like the JJ 6L6's. They sound great, they're really easy to bias, and they have a great distortion-point behavior. I'd easily choose them over any other modern production tube. For vintage tubes, the RCA's are the bomb. No question there. Most of the old amps were "designed" around the RCA's, that's the way they sound good, and they certainly do sound good that way. NOS RCA's are getting increasingly hard to find though, and they're getting more expenisve by the minute. JJ's are the closest modern substitute I've found. They can be biased a little cold too, which extends tube life, and they sound just as good (if not better) that way. :)
  14. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
  15. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    +1 for the Bassman 300 Pro That is looking to be my first modern tube head. Still have my heart set on some vitage Sunn though (Sunn 300T is the same as the Bassman 300 Pro btw)

    No contest in my book. The Bassman 300 Pro has so much tone shaping it's obsurd. Graphic and Parametric EQ plus overdrive. You can go all the way down to 2Ohms as well witht he Ohms switcher on the back.
  16. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    is it worth it....

    I started out on an Ampeg B15n (I think that was the model)... all tube 1x15 flip top combo. IT WAS THE WORST AMP I'D EVER KNOWN! All I got from it was degrees of mud and thud. I ended up upgrading quickly to a 100% solid state biamped rig and life was grand.

    Fast forward 25 years and in my love of music and gear, I've realised most ALL the players I love most are playing P basses through tubes (some just tube pre amps... but a lot are all tube amps).

    Go figure :smug:

    Well, in hind sight, I think the Ampeg just needed a desperate tube and cap job, and I've ended up with an all tube head that houses 8 KT88 power tubes :bassist: Mine is a Peavey Classic 400. There are a few out there and they come up for sale now and again. I got mine for a steal @ $350 without tubes (seller kept them for his SVT... I paid $250 for the replacements), a perfect one is for sale here on TB in the classifieds for $750 (I'd buy it if I had the cash to keep as a spare!).


    I'm never going back :bassist:
  17. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I just made the jump to tube. I can tell you that it is definately worthwhile to go tube.

    Yea nonsqtr, 6550's have "thump"!!! :D
  18. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Low Down has a Peavy Classic 400, looks brand new, I'm not sure they'd ship to South Africa though. There asking 799 I believe, I love all tube amps but can't carry 90 lb. cofins to gigs anymore (47 years old) If I was a rock star I'd have roadies an SVT and Groupies (well thats a different story). Anyway I'm playing thru an Eden now, great compromise if you can't handle the weight and very reliable.
  19. I play a CIJ '51 p bass reissue and a CIJ '62 Jazz. I'm an "old and in the way" newbie to bass with seven months of weekly lessons under my belt. I do practice a couple hours everyday. Geeze, do any of us have any feeling left in our fretting fingertips?

    My instructor (Phd Berkley School of Music and accomplished jazz guitarist) asked me if I wanted to play some small shows (some outdoor, some in small bars) with him this summer and suggested I get a tube amp. I kind of like what I've seen and heard from the Fender 300 Pro. He'll likely want to play some Jazz standards and some fusion/blues type stuff....I'm guessing though. I have a 10W practice amp.

    I'm considering a 2x10 and single 15, probably 8 ohm each. Is this head serious overkill for two smallish cabs? Any recommendation on brand/model of cabs for this head?

    I realize that the cost for the head and two cabs will be in the 2k+ US range.

    Lastly, I am an electrical engineer. Should I byte :D the bullet and build my own tube amp?

  20. yeah, does anyone have any eperience with the fender/sunn 300t combined with a 4x10 and maybe a 1x15 that could shed some light on the sound, cause everyone just seems to talk about using this amp with a 2x15 cab?