#1
so i recently bought an ibanez soundgear sr500 bass(kinda an impulsive buy to be honest.)
anyways, im searching for an amp for it, and i was looking at various brands and noticed that there are tube bass amps around.
i prefer the tone of a tube guitar amp to a solid sate one, but with a bass amp, would the difference be enough to pay the extra cash for a tube amp? or should i just buy a solid-state?
#2
you're likely MUCH better off with solid state.
Quote by DiMeTiMe
+3.141592

Quote by imgooley
It was such a good suggestion you gave him pi?

yeah, he gave me pi.
#3
ive never tried a full tube bass amp before but i have an ampeg ba115hpt, and its always impressed me. it has a 220w solid state power amp & tube pre-amp. maybe give one a try...
#5
my bass teacher has an all-tube Aguilar amp (don't remember the model). it sounds amazing. it blew me away. the downside is that tube stuff is expensive and extremely heavy. you probably want something with a tube preamp and solid-state power, though.
#6
Quote by the_woof
my bass teacher has an all-tube Aguilar amp (don't remember the model). it sounds amazing. it blew me away. the downside is that tube stuff is expensive and extremely heavy. you probably want something with a tube preamp and solid-state power, though.


examples please?
#7
Tube amps are big, heavy, inefficient and need expensive servicing. Solid state amps are cheap, light and efficient.

Of course, it's how it sounds that really counts.
#8
Plenty of more clean headroom on a high wattage solid state amp. Most bass players don't want any tube breakup like guitar players do. That's a leading tonal reason (in addition to all the other practical reasons given above) that most people around here prefer solid state.

I have the cheapest modern bass tube amp that I could find, and I love it. I think it has a throatiness and depth, and powerful midrange emphasis that I just found lacking in even some very nice SS amps. Other folks want a more transparent sound and would not enjoy the sound I love so much. You just have to go AB some ss and tube amps to see what you personally prefer. Warning* bass tube amps are pretty damn pricey compared to comparable SSes with equal features and tonal quality and higher output, and a tube swap will run you quite a bit more than in a guitar amp.
#9
Quote by dullsilver_mike
Plenty of more clean headroom on a high wattage solid state amp. Most bass players don't want any tube breakup like guitar players do. That's a leading tonal reason (in addition to all the other practical reasons given above) that most people around here prefer solid state.

I have the cheapest modern bass tube amp that I could find, and I love it. I think it has a throatiness and depth, and powerful midrange emphasis that I just found lacking in even some very nice SS amps. Other folks want a more transparent sound and would not enjoy the sound I love so much. You just have to go AB some ss and tube amps to see what you personally prefer. Warning* bass tube amps are pretty damn pricey compared to comparable SSes with equal features and tonal quality and higher output, and a tube swap will run you quite a bit more than in a guitar amp.

Equal tonal quality? You sure?
Ibanez SR505
Ashdown ABM 300 EVO II
Epifani UL410
#10
Quote by dullsilver_mike
Plenty of more clean headroom on a high wattage solid state amp. Most bass players don't want any tube breakup like guitar players do. That's a leading tonal reason (in addition to all the other practical reasons given above) that most people around here prefer solid state.

I have the cheapest modern bass tube amp that I could find, and I love it. I think it has a throatiness and depth, and powerful midrange emphasis that I just found lacking in even some very nice SS amps. Other folks want a more transparent sound and would not enjoy the sound I love so much. You just have to go AB some ss and tube amps to see what you personally prefer. Warning* bass tube amps are pretty damn pricey compared to comparable SSes with equal features and tonal quality and higher output, and a tube swap will run you quite a bit more than in a guitar amp.


ill go out and try some...in the morning.

from what ive been told ill probably be biased toward solid state now
#11
A friend of mine has a 59 Bassman LTD reissue and its just sexy sounding as hell. But it was not cheap. And he's blessed in that he can do his own repairs.

I think you're wise to try both but you may find that SS is going to be the better choice for most of us on a budget.
#12
Quote by Welsh Guitar
Equal tonal quality? You sure?


I say equal but different, in terms of personal preference, as in you can get a nice SS with a quiet, highly shapable, and carefully designed signal path, one that has had as much thought and design put into it as a tube.

Of course I personally think my tube tone owns all SS tone in a comprable price range, but that's just my preference


Quote by shameonthenight
ill go out and try some...in the morning.

from what ive been told ill probably be biased toward solid state now


There is a distinct warmth and... thickness of tone to tube, bias aside you'll be able to hear it. You just have to decide if that's what you like, and if you like it enough to make up for having a heavier amp that is slightly more trouble to maintain. I got really tired of every amp I played either sounding farty, or sounding like a lot of treble zing on top of booming bass with the middle cut out. My traynor YBA200 solved that problem instantly.
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Aug 8, 2008,
#13
Quote by smb
Tube amps are big, heavy, inefficient and need expensive servicing.

Who cares if they're big? Some cabinets are big but they're not heavy.
Who cares if they're heavy? They wouldn't weigh more than the average cabinet.
Valve heads are not inefficient - I can guarantee you've never tried a valve head coming out with idiotic statements like that - read my sig.
It costs about £50 every 4 years to service them - not really expensive.
You can't comment on gear until you have tried it!
#14
I played my friend's all tube bass amp from the 70s and it sounds great... 60w and damn loud. And I can buy an all tube head and throw it on there to make a guitar half stack
FIJI
#15
Quote by Stan_da_man
Who cares if they're big? Some cabinets are big but they're not heavy.
Who cares if they're heavy? They wouldn't weigh more than the average cabinet.
Valve heads are not inefficient - I can guarantee you've never tried a valve head coming out with idiotic statements like that - read my sig.
It costs about £50 every 4 years to service them - not really expensive.


Three things

1) I very well CAN comment on gear I haven't tried. Try and stop me.
2) smb is a huge advocate of trying before comment and I'd be willing to bet he's tried out his fair share of tube amps
3) I care if it's heavy and cumbersome. Transport is a big deal for a lot of people.
#19
At least I haven't had a reflex and thought I was french...
You can't comment on gear until you have tried it!
#20
Quote by Stan_da_man
At least I haven't had a reflex and thought I was french...




Erm, moving on.

Yes, Vacuum Tubes are inefficient due to the amount of waste heat they produce. In physical terms.

TS, SS amps are much more viable for bassists because we don't need that breakup.

However, try a few tubes and solids out, and see which you like more.
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#21
Quote by Nutter_101


Erm, moving on.

Yes, Vacuum Tubes are inefficient due to the amount of waste heat they produce. In physical terms.

TS, SS amps are much more viable for bassists because we don't need that breakup.

However, try a few tubes and solids out, and see which you like more.


Solid state also deals with "peaks" a lot better- slap bass is very detrimental to a valve. I know I always say this, but slap bass is one of the main reason why we have splid state amps today.
#22
Quote by akack
I agree with smb, you're better off SS.
I didn't say that. I just listed some important considerations.

If you want certain sounds that can only be achieved with tubes, then that's great. You'll want a tube amp.

Tubes certainly are much less efficient than SS. The amount of sound you get out compared to the amount of energy they use is lower for tube amps.
#23
I think bass tube amps are pretty much on the way out, to be honest. The fact that you can have a <4 lb head with 600W of power that the average listener wouldn't distinguish from an old fashioned 85 lb SVT at three times the price means that tube heads are going to become a novelty or a niche product in the same way Fender wiped out upright bass sales.
#24
Quote by smb
I think bass tube amps are pretty much on the way out, to be honest. The fact that you can have a <4 lb head with 600W of power that the average listener wouldn't distinguish from an old fashioned 85 lb SVT at three times the price means that tube heads are going to become a novelty or a niche product in the same way Fender wiped out upright bass sales.

So if I were to get a fender tube amp from the 70s it would be worth a lot in the future?
FIJI
#25
Quote by ShizNick
So if I were to get a fender tube amp from the 70s it would be worth a lot in the future?
I'm a musician, not an antique dealer. They're certainly worth more now than they were new, so possibly. I'm sure there are much better investments for your money. The important thing is how it sounds.
#26
From what I've heard it sounds great.. but that's coming from the ear of a guitarist. I'll receive this amp and the bass guitar in my "can't open my case" thread for $450. But I'm not so sure if I should buy the amp, from hearing about tube amps....
FIJI
#27
Well that is very cheap, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If it doesn't fit your needs then it's not a bargain at any price.
#28
Well, so far it does. I wanted a somewhat cheap bass and amp to learn bass on.. and that's pretty cheap. I also want a new amp for my guitar, and I can buy a head and use this as the cab. So it could serve a double purpose.

And the guy is a good friend of mine and an amazing keyboardist (also plays bass but is selling this to add on to his keyboard stuff), and he wouldn't **** me over.

Hell, I think I just convinced myself. haha
FIJI
#29
I dont think i'll ever play SS again. The warmth and depth that I get from my V4BH is unlike any solid state amp i've ever played. I am willing to put up with the weight and expensive re-tubings to get the tone I'm after. Tube is defiantly not for everybody, but for me and the people like me, there is absolutely no comparison.
#30
Can we just leave it, and agree that some people might prefer valves, and others might prefer SS?
Ibanez SR505
Ashdown ABM 300 EVO II
Epifani UL410
#31
Quote by Welsh Guitar
Can we just leave it, and agree that some people might prefer valves, and others might prefer SS?
You're right. We'd better not discuss anything people might have different opinions on