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Bass Amps (YIKES!!)


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8/6/1999 7:45 PM
Psycho Bass Guy
Bass Amps (YIKES!!)
Does anybody know of a killer super high power tube bass amp out there? I want more than just the typical Ampeg. I have a 69 SVT which is great, I just want more volume. I have tried the Mesa Bass 400+ and liked it but it still doesn't have the punch I am looking for. I have heard of old McIntosh(there's some money fer ya) and RCA theater amps that used 6550's in quantities of 12 and greater. I know about good speakers and that solid state has its advantages(I gig with an SVTIIIPro pushing a 4x10 and 18), but I want something with a tube output equivalent to an AM radio station. I saw the London Power site, and am more than than a little wary of plunking down five grand three months in advance for an amp I have never heard. (Especially for only 700 watts) I don't like chaining multiple amps together because you are still stuck with the headroom of a bunch of smaller amps. Maybe I am on the quest for the Grail or just my own twisted imagination, but I would appreciate any info. In an age of 1000 watt+ solid state bass amps, I would like to play with a real 1000 watts behind me.
 
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8/6/1999 8:18 PM
tap
Uh, Psycho, either your hearing is severely damaged or your SVT is not up to spec??? I couldn't imagine wanting a louder bass amp than a '69 Ampeg SVT!! I use a '73 Sunn (with 4 6550's) and it gets plenty loud. Have you checked out the SS GK 2000watt heads?? Or get a Demeter or Alembic pre-amp and bridge a couple of Crest C-8's? Anyway, good luck to ya and the buildings/glass that's going to break and fall apart!
 
8/6/1999 9:33 PM
Pyscho Bass Guy

I have played the the GK. (Nice, but not what I want) I use earplugs with an OSHA rating of 30 db when I play, and my SVT not only is up to spec, but has been modded with better filter caps and kt90's. I don't like the Demeter pre, not enough low end, never found an Alembic, and solid state power amps lose dynamics and definition when you really push them. I think my brain was poisoned at a dance club. If solid state can push drum machine music to the point of laxative, I want to be able to really do some damage when I play. Honestly, I have another head, a Traynor YB-1a which only uses two 6ca7's that smoked a 300 watt Carvin through the same 4x10 cab. (8 ohm, the Traynor only pushes an 8 ohm load, so the Carvin was only doing around 190 or so, but you get the picture) I am really looking to see if anybody knows of or has worked on an old 600 Mac, or RCA. The booger is so big it has two chassis, one for the power supply and one for the tubes. I don't like trusting my tone to some idiot sound guy who likes to drown everything with the kick drum because he doesn't know how to mix. ( I can say this. I am a sound guy.)I want the Bootsy approach: take care or your sound yourself.
 
8/6/1999 9:21 PM
ken gilbert
quote:
"Does anybody know of a killer super high power tube bass amp out there? I want more than just the typical Ampeg. I have a 69 SVT which is great, I just want more volume. I have tried the Mesa Bass 400+ and liked it but it still doesn't have the punch I am looking for. I have heard of old McIntosh(there's some money fer ya) and RCA theater amps that used 6550's in quantities of 12 and greater."
 
 
 
 
I designed, built, and use a tube power amp that uses 12 KT90 tubes in UL connection for a power output of just about 600W. It is unbelievably loud and sounds huge.  
 
 
 
It also weighs 100 pounds flat, and costs hundreds of dollars to retube. I built it from scratch at a cost of about 1300 bucks. It took a long time, and I scavenged a lot of stuff.  
 
 
 
quote:
"I know about good speakers and that solid state has its advantages(I gig with an SVTIIIPro pushing a 4x10 and 18), but I want something with a tube output equivalent to an AM radio station. I saw the London Power site, and am more than than a little wary of plunking down five grand three months in advance for an amp I have never heard."
 
 
 
 
I can understand your wariness, but Kevin O'Connor is just about the straightest guitar amp guy out there. He has been a business a number of years and cuts NO corners in his construction. Did you read about the 20 year warrantee part? That means no electrolytic caps--no cap jobs--EVER.  
 
 
 
quote:
"(epecially for only 700 watts) I don't like chaining multiple amps together because you are still stuck with the headroom of a bunch of smaller amps."
 
 
 
 
This is patently untrue. 10 50W amps are just as loud as a 500W amp. That's math at work. As far as the 700W not being enough, I have to question your sanity. Those 700W are tube watts, and guarateed they'll roast twice that in SS watts (in terms of subjective loudness).  
 
 
 
I have a little trouble understanding how you could need more than 1 SVT, but I'm just as guilty, and I'm a geetar player.  
 
 
 
quote:
"Maybe I am on the quest for the Grail or just my own twisted imagination, but I would appreciate any info. In an age of 1000 watt+ solid state bass amps, I would like to play with a real 1000 watts behind me."
 
 
 
 
I can appreciate this desire, but I don't think you realize what kind of hardware that will require, in terms of cost, upkeep, and weight. A 1KW tube amp will require a special, dedicated 20A circuit, wherever you play. How about the 1KW output transformer? You're talking about 100 pounds of iron there... ESPECIALLY for a bass amp. This will have to be custom manufactured at CONSIDERABLE expense. Never mind the power supply iron, which will have to put out something like well over 2KVA--just for the plate supply. Do you know how big a 2KVA tranny is? Even in toroidal form, expect that thing to weigh at least 40 pounds. Add the filament tranny (another 10 or so), and the enclosure and you're up to 200+... speakers rated to handle 2KW (which you'd need to handle the transients) and the cabinets to contain them not included!  
 
 
 
Are you sure your SVT is working properly? What does it test in terms of output power? Remember, to get a subjective loudness twice that of the SVT you'd need about 3KW--10 more dB, not 3 dB. How about your speakers; are they all in good condition?  
 
 
 
On the other hand, you can simply add another SVT and cabinet and get a much larger sound that's modular. I'll tell you one thing--I'm not a big fan of lugging around a 130 pound SKB case. You wouldn't be either.  
 
 
 
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  
 
 
 
~KG~  
 
 
8/6/1999 11:21 PM
Charlie Escher

I used to play through a 1300 watt triamped bass system (solid state though), and I really wanted more power at the time. Now my playing situation is very different, and I went to a 3 channel (stereo EFX, 2x250watt, plus a separate dry mono mix and cab, currently 200 watt, all power is s.s.) While less powerful, this system sounds MUCH bigger than the old one did. I play fretless, which ups the power demand ~2X in my experience. I decided that no single piece of my gear will weigh more than 50 lbs., or it goes. For $5K, you could buy 4 Crown CE2000s (8KW RMS power), and 4 SVT cabs to go with them. Asuch as I love tube amps, they just don't make sense at that point, IMO. At that point, I'd go for the Bootsy/ Phil Lesh approach of individual string pickups, with amps and cabs to match. Did I mention there were *2* bass players in my old band? The local reconer guy was a very good buddy of ours, needless to say. Good luck,  
 
Charlie
 
8/7/1999 1:46 AM
Mike Burgundy
Re:(YIKES!!) Guys please!
To get this out of the way; Im a guitar player (occaisional bass) and I like loud noises you can feel in your stomach, ok?  
 
But Im also a live technician/engineer.  
 
I appreciate the need to *control* your sound, but anything greater than 100W for guitar and 250-400W for bass is either too large or more than large enough. If you play larger venues, a suitable PA system should be there to amplify your sound. If not, youve been had (lotsa public (maybe), no facilities).  
 
I keep running into guitarists/bassplayers who refuse to turn down BECAUSE THEY WANT TO CONTROL THEIR OWN SOUND and they completely and totally drown out the rest of the band.  
 
I could ofcourse turn everybody else up, but Im kinda partial to continuous noise below 120dB, thank you very much.  
 
Bottom line is, that player has a nice sound and balance, but is standing too close to his own speakers (lowers volume and punch, this is especially a problem with bass cabs) and is totally oblivious to what the public is hearing (usually a big bass BvRoommmm and nothing much else, no definition).  
 
PLEASE; PLEASE find a PA tech who understands you, your band and your sound, and who you can trust or learn to trust, talk to him, make him understand, try to understand him and dammit trust him to do his job! If this guy is any good you will not need amps this huge. Trust me. Ive heard bands sound bigger with practice amps than with several fullstacks. And Im not talking volume, Im talking tone, projection.  
 
I do hope this is not coming on too strong, but you really must realise whats happening beyond your amp, in the audience. Youve got 30dB plugs, your audience does not. The PA needs to be boosted a LOT to get things back in perspective, add it up yourself.
 
8/7/1999 1:53 AM
Mike B
One addition I forgot; in all fairness; there do seem to be quite a lot of lousy PA techs out there. Rest not until you find a good one.
 

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