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Your favorite tube poweramp and why....

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by IvanMike, Jul 21, 2004.


  1. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    I've been considering getting a tube poweramp for a while
    my stewart 2.1 sounds great and clean and transparent but every time i have tried out a demeter or aguilar poweramp i have been knocked out by the tone
    unfortunately i've never been in a place where i could try more than one brand so direct comparisons have been impossible
    of course i'll figure out a way to do that before i shell out that kind of cash, but in the meantime, gimme your thoughts and experiences with tube poweramps, demeter and aguilar comparisons tone wise would be great, but feel free to include any other brands
    thanx
     
  2. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    Guess no one has an opinion ;)
    the only thing i remember is calling demeter some time ago and speaking with a rather brash individual who claimed that the aguilar amp had "no mids"
    my local dealer sells both but they are special order so no chance of a comparison - however he states that demeter's customer service has been a bit subpar as of late, not to mention that aguilar is much closer to me if i should need assistance in the future
    the other thing that seems to tip the scales in favor of the agulair is that is 400 watts vs 300 watts (how could more watts be wrong? :p ), not to mention that the aggie can drive a 2 ohm load while the demeter cannot
    still, any input would be neat
    i think it's a shame ampeg d/c'd their 300 watt poweramp, i would have like to tried that as well
     
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    My favorite is the Mesa/Boogie Strategy 400. There's some kind of musical magic in there. It just... breathes. The dynamics are incredible, and it's got a warmth that is just incredible. Hard to describe the sheer brilliance of this amp. Paul McCartney, Sting, Metallica... I consider myself to be in good company. :D
     
  4. Tim__x

    Tim__x

    Aug 13, 2002
    Alberta, Canada
    There, fixed your typo :D
     
  5. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    :D
     
  6. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    wow, imagine mr strange praising mesa :p
    do they make a poweramp or just the head?
     
  7. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    a TBer had it for sale this week, now it''s on the bay. a Mesa Strategy 400.
     
  8. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    The Strategy 400 is just a power amp. It was made between 1984 and 1989 (I think).

    I praise it because I really like it. It just happens to say Mesa on the front. ;)
     
  9. mgmadian

    mgmadian

    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I recently sold my old Boogie M-180, it was a very impressive tube mono power amp that Boogie made in the early 90s, IIRC. It was the power amp section of the D-180 all-tube head.

    Somewhat on the small side (supposedly 180 Watts RMS) but that sucker was LOUD. 12AX7 + 12AU7 + six 6L6s. Great tone, not too heavy (about 35 lbs) , and are relatively inexpensive on eBay ($300-400), where they appear from time to time. Combine it with a good preamp (I used a Kern), and you'll be quite happy...
     
  10. If I am not mistaken the Strategy 400 has 6L6 and 6550's in it, so that is probably one good reason that it sounds so good.
     
  11. I better pipe up lest this turn into a M/B thread. I am extremely pleased with the Aggie DB728. If you ever pop the lid on one, you'll see one of the best-engineered no-compomise tube amps currently made. That's to say nothing of how great it sounds, at least to my ears.

    I know that a fortunate few love the Trace Elliot VR400. PBG? You there? Good lucking finding one of these however.
     
  12. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Agreed. That Aguilar is pretty sweet. I guess M/B has made more tube amps that work well for bass, so it's easy to turn this into a M/B thread. I wish more companies made tube power amps, but sadly, those days are gone.
     
  13. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    They're just too darn expensive (by "they" I mean the db728. :) ).
     
  14. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    yes they are expensive
    but man do they sound good
    it's really hard to go back to ss after hearing one of those
    and i used to think all that guitar player tube stuff ws pure voodoo ;)
     
  15. I've got the Aguilar DB728 and the very rare Trace Elliot VR400. They sound quite similar: great. I've never heard the Demeter power amp, but their tube studio gear has never impressed me. I know you might find this hard to believe, but vintage SVT power sections are actually VERY clean; the grit is almost all preamp driven. You also ought to check eBay for old industrial tube amps.
     
  16. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    industrial tube amps????????
    wth is that?
     
  17. Nightbass

    Nightbass

    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    A question for Messrs. Psycho and Strange:

    Of the Strat 400 and the Bass 400+, which one has the greater full-bandwidth power? That is, one has bigger trannies than the other and one can do a low B better. Any opinions/facts on this matter?
     
  18. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    As far as I know, both use very similar transformers, if not the same design. They are both rated at 300 watts. Both habdle a low B just fine. My standard tuning is CGDA, and they seem to handle my extended range quite well.
     
  19. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Addendum: which is better, a Strat 400, Boogie 400+ or the DB728?

    I.e., is the DB728 worth the extra dough? Or is it the "Aguilar" that you're paying for?

    ("better" is such a fuzzy word.... Maybe I should be asking, "Why should I pay so much extra for the aguilar?")
     
  20. Lost track of the thread....


    Old paging amps for factories, gyms, schools, and ballparks used to be tube. Bogen made several models, one even a dual 200 watter (I've got three) along with a whole host of other manufacturers. The best thing to do is simply to search eBay for item descriptions of higher powered older tube types. Look for 8417, 6550, and 6CA7. One note of caution: ANYTHING using 8417's is going to break your heart. They were never that prevalent, can't be easily subbed, and even most NOS examples are to be avoided, but they sound SO awesome, shrug off plate voltage that would melt most other tubes and don't require a lot of drive voltage. You can get nearly 200 watts out of a pair of them.

    Altec made an INSANE amp rated VERY conservatively at 170 watts running off TWO big tetrodes, the 1570, but good luck getting a tech to work on them. With 1000-1200 volts on their plates, they're out of the range of most small-time tech equipment. A dealer had a PAIR of them on eBay awhile back for $1600 and got no bids. If you want a link to the closed auction, just email me.

    Lemme put it this way: My DB728 is built better than most old Navy tube radios. I see why they don't want to make that many to sell. They are electronic works of art and HAVE to be beyond labor intensive to produce.