#1
Okay, I have a couple questions that I can't seem to get answers for, and I was wondering if anyone here can help me out, some of these might be stupid questions.

1) Are tube heads louder than solid state heads?

2) If so, when a cab says it can handle say, 100 watts, does that mean 100 watts tube?

3) If a head outputs 400 watts into two cabs, does that make it 200 watts per cab, or 400 watts per cab?

4) Would the Ampeg Portaflex 350 running into 2 Ampeg Portaflex cabs be ideal? The Ampeg Portaflex 350 is a solid state at 350 watts, the 2 Ampeg cabs can each handle 450 watts.

5) If not, would it be more ideal to run an Ampeg Portaflex 500 into those 2 cabs, or either an Ampeg SVT2PRO 300 watt or an Ampeg SVTCL Classic 300 watt?

6) What would be, in your opinion, the best half stack to pair with my Fender Classic 50s Precision under $2000? For gigging purposes.

I'd love the help!
#2
Eech lot of questions that have a lot of variables. Firstly Ampeg is not a god company, not everything they make is a winner or worth the money, especially buying new.

Those SS portaflexes are supposed to be kind of crummy, and Ampeg is really only known as the holy grail of bass for their 300 watt SVT, and their flip top amps b-15 etc.

That said, most of your questions could easily be googled or found in the FAQ section. Most people here will direct you to the same places for elementary amp knowledge.

Just make sure your cab matches impedences and is higher wattage than the head you buy. Which I am curious are you new to playing bass in general? I don't mean to doubt you, it's just usually someone who needs answers to that many questions tends to be new, and I'd never recommend a guy just starting to throw down on a top of the line pro rig especially at new prices. That said if your have a ton of money to throw around and the time, I recant that statement.
#3
1. Tube amps aren't technically louder than solid state but they are perceived louder to our ears but some tube amps give out more wattage when fully cranked than listed so if you like cranking it try to get a cabinet that is rated higher than your head

3. 200 watts per cab and watch out for the impedance on the cabs if you have two 8 ohm cabs in parallel it becomes a total of 4 ohms if the ohms for the cabs don't match the math is a little harder

The rest is up to your personal taste as long as the wattage and impedance are good than its all up to you and how much power you want and the tone you want
Last edited by killerkev321 at Jan 5, 2012,
#4
Quote by killerkev321
1. Tube amps aren't technically louder than solid state but they are perceived louder to our ears but some tube amps give out more wattage when fully cranked than listed so if you like cranking it try to get a cabinet that is rated higher than your head


Really they are not louder, it's just turning a SS amp to 11 sounds shittier than a tube amp at 11 so people don't turn them up as loud. This really becomes apparent with guitar amps which are usually expected to be overdriven. No one buys a GK head expecting it to grind like an SVT so they need more headroom to maintain the SS clean.

You don't want a 200 watt cab for a 200 watt head if you plan on it last a long time at live volume levels, you want like 300+ watts for the cab for a 200 watt amp.

Also to the guy asking the questions, gigging and running an SVT hard will run the tubes out, and a full power tube replacement by yourself runs probably well into the $200 range for the cheapest brand tubes you could find, add in a tech and JJ or NOS tubes (if you find yourself being that picky guy) and expect it to go to $300-$400. Also I wouldn't go less than a 4x10 if I was running a SVT.
#5
As already stated, tube amps are not louder than solid state amps. 100 watts RMS is 100 watts RMS regardless of how it is generated. Agreed, tubes can be pushed beyond their rating; sometimes to a considerable degree. But they can't keep it up, It is never constant, and doing so is a great way to burn out your expensive tubes.

Now, as KillerKev said, tube amps seem to be louder (sometimes). This is because tube amps tend to emphasize the even harmonics, while solid-state amps tend to emphasize the odd harmonics. The human ear perceives the even harmonics more prominently. But as you increase the volume on a solid-state amp, the harmonics tend to even out. This is probably why solid-state amps sound better when they are played at louder volumes. Crank a good hybrid guitar amplifier and you will understand this.

If your cabinet handles 100 watts RMS, then it does not matter if you are driving a 100-watt tube amp or a 100-watt solid-state amp. If you drive your tube amp much past its rating for an extended period of time, you could encounter trouble. But you aren't going to do that, so don't worry.

The power is distributed equally between the speakers that are connected to the amplifier. A 4x10 cabinet rated at 100 watts RMS is loaded with four 25-watt speakers. Each one gets 25 watts at maximum output power from the amplifier.

As for what would be the best amplifier rig for your price range, we need to know where you are located, if there are only certain brands available to you or if you can get just about anything, and whether you are willing to go used. For US$2,000.00, you can get some fantastic rigs. Look at the offerings from Carvin, Ampeg, SWR, Markbass, Trace Elliot, Eden and the higher-end GK stuff. What kind of music are you playing? As for how many watts and how much power you'll need for a gig, what is your guitarist(s) playing through? How big are the venues you plan to play? How loud is your drummer? How loud is your band?
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#7
Quote by FatalGear41

Now, as KillerKev said, tube amps seem to be louder (sometimes). This is because tube amps tend to emphasize the even harmonics, while solid-state amps tend to emphasize the odd harmonics. The human ear perceives the even harmonics more prominently. But as you increase the volume on a solid-state amp, the harmonics tend to even out. This is probably why solid-state amps sound better when they are played at louder volumes. Crank a good hybrid guitar amplifier and you will understand this.


This is actually false, although I don't have the study that shows this to hand. The harmonics that get emphasised are exactly the same (or as random) in both types of amps. The reason it sounds louder is because RMS is rated at something like 1% distortion. At this limit, SS sounds like poo, but tube amps can sometimes get up to around 20% distortion, without any noticeable distortion (just the tube compression, hence sounding louder, yet still clean).
Current Gear:

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Markbass LittleMark II
AccuGroove Tri12l
Sansamp VT Bass
Line6 BassPodXT Live

CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL!
#8
Quote by Killerfridge
This is actually false, although I don't have the study that shows this to hand. The harmonics that get emphasised are exactly the same (or as random) in both types of amps. The reason it sounds louder is because RMS is rated at something like 1% distortion. At this limit, SS sounds like poo, but tube amps can sometimes get up to around 20% distortion, without any noticeable distortion (just the tube compression, hence sounding louder, yet still clean).


According to the accepted study, the differences in harmonic emphasis between tube amps and solid-state amps (below maximum output, at least) are demonstrable:

http://milbert.com/articles/tubes_vs_transistors

It is s sad state of affairs when the accepted study was written back in 1972

Of course, you can tweak tubes and transistors to emphasize odd or even harmonics, and as I said, the more you push a solid-state amp, the more evenly all of the harmonics are emphasized. Pritchard has made a moderately successful career out of doing it with solid-state guitar amps (they cost a fortune, though). Frankly, there are so many myths flying around in the tube vs. solid-state debate that I don't pay much attention to any of it anymore. Right now, I'd love to have a Fender Bassman 300 amp, but not because it has tubes in it. I like it because of how it sounds. I'd rather have a Glockenclang heart Rock (solid-state), but I'd probably have to sell a kidney to get one.

But with respect to loudness, wattage is wattage. 100 db of bad sound is no more or less loud than 100 db of good sound. Perceived loudness has to do with what the human ear perceives as dominant within the audio spectrum. My dogs might perceive my solid-state amps as louder than my tube amps (though they can't tell me so) because of how their ears work.

In the end, the technical details of what makes one seem louder than the other are largely irrelevant since you can get a solid-state amp of such power that it will easily drown out a tube amplifier. I've collected a few citations from the local police over the years to prove it. As for how it sounds, that winds up being entirely subjective. Some people love the sound of tube amps and others don't find anything special about them. And a lot of self-professed "tone freaks" can't tell the difference between the two. Back in the early 1980s, I used to hang out at a recording studio where we'd do A/B comparisons with expensive tube amps and good solid-state amps (or preamps and power amps), and most of the time people couldn't accurately choose the tube amp over the solid-state one. Some of them became mentally unhinged when they flunked the test, as if we'd challenged their religious beliefs. It was absurd, and it showed just how crazy the debate had become.

My feeling has always been "Who cares what is inside your amp?" If it sounds good to you, then that is all that matters. As far as bass is concerned, I despise the sound of an overdriven tube amp. They always sounded like muffled elephant farts to me. It was one of the reasons I dumped my SVT so many years ago. The best bass distortion I've ever achieved is with a SansAmp RPM rackmount solid-state preamp into a P.A. power amp.

Loud is loud. If you want a weapon of mass destruction, just pile on the wattage! It works. But be warned: those noise violation citations are expensive!
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Last edited by FatalGear41 at Jan 6, 2012,
#9
Thanks, this was actually a lot of help, I've been playing for over 5 years but I've never really had my own amp, I've just rented amps or used amps provided at venues and been told "This works well, use this!" or people have been ****ing around with the EQ for me.

I had an old Fender BXR115B laying around so I decided to just get a cheap head for it so I got the Ampeg Portaflex 350 and as I found out, it didn't sound all that great :P but it's loud, and that's all that really matters to me at the moment for I'm on a budget, no job, just been saving money over the years (I'm 15).

That being said, I realized I should have looked more into amplifiers before buying this. I really need to understand how amplifiers work and what sounds good, I've never figured anything out on my own, just been given something good to use and used it and that was that.

So now that I own this Ampeg head, I think I may as well get the Portaflex 210 and 115 cabs to match. Thoughts?

- I can connect two 8 ohm cabs to this head in parallel. The rated power output is 250 watts rms into 8 ohms or 350 watts rms into 4 ohms. The two Ampeg cabs are both rated 450 watts at 8 ohms. So does Ampeg Portaflex 350 head + Ampeg Portaflex 210 cab + Ampeg Portaflex 115 cab = 350 watts? (175 watts per cab?)

I know I may be "wasting money" but I have to work with what I got, and I got that head so :P

Also, I play pretty much a combination of RHCP and RATM (Including the effect pedals [Boss ODB-3 & Dunlop 105Q]). Often play at a venue like The Vogue in Vancouver, BC. Band is really dynamic, guitarist plays out of a vintage Fender tube amp, one channel (clean) but uses a Boss Blues Driver and some sort of Marshall distortion pedal.
#10
Quote by FatalGear41
According to the accepted study, the differences in harmonic emphasis between tube amps and solid-state amps (below maximum output, at least) are demonstrable:

http://milbert.com/articles/tubes_vs_transistors

It is s sad state of affairs when the accepted study was written back in 1972

Of course, you can tweak tubes and transistors to emphasize odd or even harmonics, and as I said, the more you push a solid-state amp, the more evenly all of the harmonics are emphasized. Pritchard has made a moderately successful career out of doing it with solid-state guitar amps (they cost a fortune, though). Frankly, there are so many myths flying around in the tube vs. solid-state debate that I don't pay much attention to any of it anymore. Right now, I'd love to have a Fender Bassman 300 amp, but not because it has tubes in it. I like it because of how it sounds. I'd rather have a Glockenclang heart Rock (solid-state), but I'd probably have to sell a kidney to get one.

But with respect to loudness, wattage is wattage. 100 db of bad sound is no more or less loud than 100 db of good sound. Perceived loudness has to do with what the human ear perceives as dominant within the audio spectrum. My dogs might perceive my solid-state amps as louder than my tube amps (though they can't tell me so) because of how their ears work.

In the end, the technical details of what makes one seem louder than the other are largely irrelevant since you can get a solid-state amp of such power that it will easily drown out a tube amplifier. I've collected a few citations from the local police over the years to prove it. As for how it sounds, that winds up being entirely subjective. Some people love the sound of tube amps and others don't find anything special about them. And a lot of self-professed "tone freaks" can't tell the difference between the two. Back in the early 1980s, I used to hang out at a recording studio where we'd do A/B comparisons with expensive tube amps and good solid-state amps (or preamps and power amps), and most of the time people couldn't accurately choose the tube amp over the solid-state one. Some of them became mentally unhinged when they flunked the test, as if we'd challenged their religious beliefs. It was absurd, and it showed just how crazy the debate had become.

My feeling has always been "Who cares what is inside your amp?" If it sounds good to you, then that is all that matters. As far as bass is concerned, I despise the sound of an overdriven tube amp. They always sounded like muffled elephant farts to me. It was one of the reasons I dumped my SVT so many years ago. The best bass distortion I've ever achieved is with a SansAmp RPM rackmount solid-state preamp into a P.A. power amp.

Loud is loud. If you want a weapon of mass destruction, just pile on the wattage! It works. But be warned: those noise violation citations are expensive!


Interesting study, I'm surprised I didn't find that one when I was researching!

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you've written there though.
Current Gear:

Warwick Thumb BO 4
Musicman "StatusRay" Stingray 4 - Carbon Fibre Neck
Musicman Stingray 5 HH
Sadowsky MV4 Jazz

Markbass LittleMark II
AccuGroove Tri12l
Sansamp VT Bass
Line6 BassPodXT Live

CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL!
#11
My recently aquired Ha3500 has a Tube section and a Solid state section with the option to blend the two. I noticed, by ear, that the tube section on 10, solid state on 0 is the same volume to my ear as the tube section on 0 and the solid state on 10.

Now, whether Hartke made sure that 8 on one is the same as 8 on the other or they just are (because they are the same watt amp) i dont know. So i guess that possibility alone sort of throws out all that effort i put into typing. Damnit.

What i can say is that it is more about tone then anything when it comes to tubes Vs Solid state. They have their strong points.

Im sure if you got stuck with an amp that you cant seem to get a good eq, you could take a gamble and try get an EQ pedal. With an EQ pedal combined with the amps eq, you could sculpt your tone further.

As for aquiring a second cab, you May not need it. 240watts should surfice for most small gigs. Also, you can always DI at most gigs, if you either use a DI box of some sort or use a DI on your amp (my Hartke has one).

I hope i was somewhat helpful. Probably not, but i can still always hope.
Quote by thunderbritches
I would still call him a regular musician...just a very irregular person lol

Warwick Pro Series Corvette
Hartke HA 3500
Genz Benz LS410
#12
Peanut, your amp I'm pretty sure just has a 12ax7 preamp tube or two in it for adding some drive, tube's volume comes from big power tubes like 6L6, EL-34, El-84, KT88.

As for the guy making this thread, Did you buy your amp used or new?? Can you return it?
I don't mean to knock you, but it's always best to buy at a store with a warranty or time to try. In America guitar center does this so you can try an amp or product for 30 days and turn it back it for full money. That's why I hate mom and pop stores around here, unless they have a used item or cables other small things etc. I want, they never interest me as they don't haggle well, and have bad warranties. If you're going new I recommend fully you go big box and order it from them.

That saidm don't go new! If you've saved from the day you started playing bass, and still haven't scrapped enough together for an amp, don't waste it on new stuff especially without reading online reviews and testing it first. I think I said earlier, Ampeg isn't a golden god, You can find much better deals or better cabs even for less, going used and looking at different companies. If your worried about it all matching even if it sounds bad already to your ears though you have to live with that OCD.

A lot of my friends have a used complex and won't buy used, they save forever, and end up compromising on what they really want cause they can't afford it new. Further still a lot of people around here don't realize they have warranties on new items, then they hate them and ditch them on craigslist like they are getting away with something and end up passing on great gear at half price...

Lastly, is this a canadian thing to be able to rent an amp for extended periods? I know you can rent or borrow for a performance, but it seems in no way economical to rent a practice amp for your home.
#13
Quote by askrere
Peanut, your amp I'm pretty sure just has a 12ax7 preamp tube or two in it for adding some drive, tube's volume comes from big power tubes like 6L6, EL-34, El-84, KT88.


I dont know how tube amps work apposed to Solid state lol...
Quote by thunderbritches
I would still call him a regular musician...just a very irregular person lol

Warwick Pro Series Corvette
Hartke HA 3500
Genz Benz LS410