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Ampeg Heads


BloodAndBass

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Hey everyone. I'm looking at buying an Ampeg head and I really need some direction. I am currently playing a SWR 15" and I feel like its really time for some more range.

 

I really like Ampeg products so I've mainly been looking at their heads. I will probably buy something used. I'm looking for something thats going to last and something I will never grow out of. The biggest gigs I will ever play would be small clubs so I'm not looking for something for an arena or anything like that. I've play along the lines of hard rock/punk and I'm really looking for a mean sound.

 

What are your experiences with solid state vs tube? I'm leaning towards tube as I've heard time and time again that they hold that "real" sound. I'm not looking to spend too much, along the lines of 400 dollars for something used maybe. Any ideas/recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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The Ampeg SVT-3 Pro would probably do nicely for you. Multiple tubes in the pre-amp give it a nice tube sound, and a solid state power amp. 450W RMS @ 4 ohms, 275W RMS @ 8 ohms. They're on eBay all the time, but the ones in the best condition probably sell for more than $400.

 

However, I'm no Ampeg expert and some of the folks here can give you really good info on some of the all-tube Ampeg heads.

 

Happy hunting.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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I actually have an Ampeg SVT4Pro myself... Its great, but probably a bit more than what you need. Ampeg is great, but another amp you might want to consider is the Gallien-Krueger(something like the 400rb). I'm not sure what kind of Rock/Punk your into, but lots of artists from Flea to Matt Freeman(Rancid), and evrywhere in between, get great sound from them. Not to mention, they are alot more rugged than anything with tubes. Tubes are nice, but IMHO thier merits are a bit overstated... Don't get sucked into the "musical gear snobbery" routine... Just go to a store and give a listen. I play alot of hard rock/punk/metal/funk stuff myself, and I never had a problem getting a great tone out of my GK or my Ampeg... Good luck! :D

"Suppose you were an idiot ... And suppose you were a member of Congress

... But I repeat myself."

-Mark Twain

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/63/condition_1.html (my old band)

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Thanks for the replies.

 

I really like the sound Matt Freeman has Jason. That constant, growling punchy feel is pretty cool. I really know nothing about heads and the technical aspects of whats what. Do any of you guys happen to know of a site that will teach me the basics about bass heads? Thanks again.

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Keep in mind that many of the artists you hear recorded have a lot of effects of outboard gear beefing up their sound. I would recommend just bringing your bass along to all the music stores and try amps out. Also check out pawn shops. Don't overlook Peavey and Carvin. You can get a lot more bang for the buck with them. The new Peavey gear is really nice. I strongly suggest shopping around before you buy anything.
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For $400, it's going to be very hard to find a good tube head. In that price range, a solid state amp will be more powerful, more reliable, and will most likely sound as good, if not better. Don't get suckered into buying something _just_ because it has a little glowing piece of glass in it, poorly designed and cheaply made tube gear sounds just as bad as cheap SS gear.

 

If you're buying used, tube gear is more of a gamble. You usually don't have any idea of how old the tubes are, and how soon they're going to need replacing. You could end up spending $400 on a head, only to find out you need to buy $200 worth of tubes a few months down the road.

 

That being said, I would have to say that most of my favorite amps are built around tubes and big iron... but some are solid state. Good sound is good sound, it doesn't matter how it's done.

 

Play through everything that you can afford, and then buy your favorite. Don't worry about the circuitry, pay attention to the _sound_ and base your decision on that.

-Matt M
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I obviouslt vote for Ampeg (just got the svt4pro today!). The svt3pro would be perfect. The GK is also a great head. I used go to jams where the guy had a GK 800 and Hartke 410, it always sounded great and it is bulletproof. Look into Hartke heads too. The have both a solid state and tube preamps that you can use independetly or a blend, they are very resonably priced. You can a new 3500 for $350, and they sound very good.
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one last comment...

 

The revered and much sought after "tube amp sound" comes mainly from the power amp section - overdriven power tubes and the massive iron transformers connected to them. A 12AX7 in the preamp can sound very nice and add a pleasing grit/distortion, but it's not really going to get the same sound as a few hot 6L6's driving a hunk of iron the size of a baby's head. And decent tube power sections don't generally come cheap.

-Matt M
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I have a GK 800rb head that I got used, from a friend in need for $400. It has been excellent in every way. Loud, crisp, deep, easy to use, portable and affordable. I've also heard many great things about the 400rb too. Other noteable GK users include Aerosmith, Guns-n- Roses, No Doubt, and Pennywise.

 

Let me just say that for the money I'm a GK guy. I think it's the BEST value in it's price range. Now if money was not an object then it's Ampeg all the way. I'm seriously considering buying an Ampeg BA115 as a practice/small gig amp ($449. new, before hagglers discount!)Ampeg is the industry standard for rock players, period.

 

My personal experience with Peavy and Carvin is not as promising. I've had three Peavy's and always wished I could afford something that sounded a little tighter at high volumes. So for me they were the "this is what I play until I can step up" rigs. I had a Carvin PB500 (Discontinued)head and it was a good honest amp, but as a former Carvin employee (not disgruntled either)I know that there has been tremendous quality control problems with the R600 series. Besides when's the last time you saw a real deal pro playing a Carvin (besides in their catalog) or heard someone say they just want that classic "Carvin" tone. This is just my experience.

 

So I'm all for having fun and making due with what you have when you have to. But I also try to buy gear that I won't need to replace with the real thing when possible. With that in mind Ampeg, GK, SWR and Eden are all sure things.

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i have played an SVT3 and you will love it. it can do what you're asking it to and is probably the least expensive ampeg you're going to find. it has the solid state power, giving more reliability and uniformity and less weight than an all tube head. but $400 is stretching it. save your pennies while you search for a used one and try to be able to test drive it first, or make sure the seller on ebay has assloads of good feedback because ampegs are like harley davidsons, they are the best on the road, but they can be wonky from time to time.

 

as for the gk, if you like that ampeg sound, you will not be happy with the gk. i wasn't.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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Thanks for all the input. I'm seriously checking out that SVT-3PRO right now. From what I've been reading and from all of your replies it seems like the right thing for me.

 

My last question would be - is the SVT3 something thats really going to make me happy as I continue to progress? 5 years from now am I going to feel that I have grown out of it? It sounds like its pretty versatile.

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Add another Ampeg to check out:

I recently purchased an Ampeg B2R (used) for $400. Musician's Friend sells 'em for $550.

This is a SS only amp and is very clean sounding while still keeping the Ampeg tone.

200W at 8 ohms, 350W at 4 ohm.

 

I have a feeling this one's gonna last a long, long time.

 

-Mike

...simply stating.
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Just remember, tube amps will need more attention, and that attention will cost you money.

I personally love the sound that tube amps put out, but I hate the maintenence that goes into 'em. Started out with a '65 Bassman, went thru various products 'til I found my old Acoustic 370 SS amp. Tube-ish sound, lotsa tone, little maintenance (damn if it ain't just as heavy, though.)

Definitely try all the amps you can, and don't let me or anybody else sway you. Take your bass to all your local shops, try everything you can, and get the amp that sings to you, even if it means layaway and a second job... :)

And GK amps are alright, nothing fancy, and do not sound like the tube Ampeg sound at all, IMO. They do, however, have their own sound, and when you see a club's backline, and there's a GK there, you always know how you'll sound that night.

Just my 2 cents worth, YMMV,as always.

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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the svt3 will make you happy as you progress. it sounds like an ampeg, so boom, there you go.

 

acoustics do sound nice, but they don't make'em anymore. so if you find a cheap one, jump on it, but make sure it works.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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Originally posted by rsmith:

I have a GK 800rb head that I got used, from a friend in need for $400. It has been excellent in every way. Loud, crisp, deep, easy to use, portable and affordable. I've also heard many great things about the 400rb too. Other noteable GK users include Aerosmith, Guns-n- Roses, No Doubt, and Pennywise...

I forgot about Randy! He has a great sound too. Again, I cant stress this enough, listen to the amp(s) and decide for yourself... The majority of my favorite players use Gallien-Krueger, but I was convinced Ampeg was for me because it was/is the industry standard for rock bass. I always question in the back of my head though, if I should have bought the GK... Some notable punkers who use Ampeg are Mike Dirnt and the esteemed Mr.Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies,Ozzy). There are literally hundreds of users though... Again, listen and decide for yourself... Good luck! :D

"Suppose you were an idiot ... And suppose you were a member of Congress

... But I repeat myself."

-Mark Twain

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/63/condition_1.html (my old band)

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