Jump to content
Al Krow

Hybrid amps...the best of all worlds?

Recommended Posts

Solid state portability plus the warmth of 12AX7 tubes in the preamp.

I'm thinking e.g. Mesa M6 Carbine, GK MB Fusion + + +

Do these amps have it all?! And provide a neat one-stop-shop with all the parts working seamlessly?

Or would a "pure" top notch solid state amp and a high quality dedicated pre amp pedal always win the day because they are each focussing on what they do best?

BCs - really interested to hear your experiences and views on this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest bassman7755


Solid state portability plus the warmth of 12AX7 tubes in the preamp.

I'm thinking e.g. Mesa M6 Carbine, GK MB Fusion + + +

Do these amps have it all?! And provide a neat one-stop-shop with all the parts working seamlessly?



Completely pointless IMO. There is solid state circuitry that is indistinguishable from a valve preamp so really there just isn't any point. Valve power amps are harder to emulate because of complex stuff going on in ancillary components like the power supply and transformer.

A solid state preamp, valve power amp hybrid makes much more sense. Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the 'goodness' of tube amps comes from the output tubes, not the pre-amp tubes. The natural compression that takes place in tube power amps is very hard to duplicate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never found that a tube preamp makes that much difference to be honest.
To me the sound of a good valve amp is made by what's happening with the power amp valves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless God gave us the Mesa Walkabout, wich has a tube pre and a tube driven mosfet power stage that behaves convincingly as a tube power stage.

Every player should own one

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Unless God gave us the Mesa Walkabout, wich has a tube pre and a tube driven mosfet power stage that behaves convincingly as a tube power stage.

Every player should own one

Mosfets behave in a similar way to Valves. If you put a transformer on the output you would be just about there. But why bother? It it the transformer that adds a lot of weight and very little that a good compressor cannot. In addition you can switch a compressor off, so giving more versatility.

Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Unless God gave us the Mesa Walkabout, wich has a tube pre and a tube driven mosfet power stage that behaves convincingly as a tube power stage.

Every player should own one



Have to agree here. The Walkabout and M-Pulse 600 are similar and sound superb.

Why bother? Because the sound is just immense. Not a lightweight solution but lighter than the full valve experience.

Very much IMHO of course. Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Mosfets behave in a similar way to Valves. If you put a transformer on the output you would be just about there. But why bother? It it the transformer that adds a lot of weight and very little that a good compressor cannot. In addition you can switch a compressor off, so giving more versatility.



Nope...it's not a matter of compression alone. I gave a unique example of a power stage that actually behaves in a tubey way adding conpression, harmonics and finally a great distortion and meat. No way a compressor is suitable for this amount of tubey grit and colour, sorry. The WA is an outstanding example of an extraordinary design and, finally, this is why it has become a true classic Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still don't think tubes/valves have as big an impact on bass as they do with guitar, probably because the majority of bass players don't use their amps for natural overdrive. I used to have an all tube head and it sounded fantastic, don't get me wrong, but I now use all lightweight Class D amps for bass, and the Genz Streamliner in particular is extremely close to the warmth of an all tube bass amp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Unless God gave us the Mesa Walkabout, wich has a tube pre and a tube driven mosfet power stage that behaves convincingly as a tube power stage.

Every player should own one



Can you explain how a "tube driven mosfet power stage" is different from any other amp with a tube preamp and ss power section? Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The walkabout has a 12ax7 in the gain stage and another one destined to drive the mosfets. Please do not expect I can give you detailed engineering data or explanations, but according to the Mesa people and the knowkedge available on other boards about the WA (mega thread on talkbass), it seems that the m-pulse technology was conceived this way to fill the behavioral gap between full tube and hybrid. I can testify they built something special with that proprietary circuit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found the Kemper to be the best of both worlds. Lightweight - and captures SS, tube, hybrid, whatever beautifully. I agree with Bill - there's been a lot of claims that ss can capture the valve thing... up until recently, I thought that was the case but the likes of Fractal, Kemper and the Helix has shown that the modelling game is getting to the stage where it is indistinguishable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sratas said:


The walkabout has a 12ax7 in the gain stage and another one destined to drive the mosfets. Please do not expect I can give you detailed engineering data or explanations, but according to the Mesa people and the knowkedge available on other boards about the WA (mega thread on talkbass), it seems that the m-pulse technology was conceived this way to fill the behavioral gap between full tube and hybrid. I can testify they built something special with that proprietary circuit.

 


The Mesa's are fine amps, but at the high end hybrid end of the market I'm not sure there is any "secret sauce".. Plus there are huge voicing differences between the various Mesa hybrid amps.. And to quote "MB Simul-State™ exists at the Vortex of tube and MOS FET technology" sounds a little over the top.. Vortex? xD

 

Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should use one in a gig situation where you push it besides your usual trusty amp, and then report back. Anyway, apart from mesa stuff, not all hybrids are created equal. Had a genz streamliner for a year, sounded like plastic to my ears

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


You should use one in a gig situation where you push it besides your usual trusty amp, and then report back. Anyway, apart from mesa stuff, not all hybrids are created equal. Had a genz streamliner for a year, sounded like plastic to my ears



I had an M6 carbine... And used it in a gig situation...I've also had a mesa valve amp.. And why are you comparing it with a Streamliner? It has a SMPS .. If you're happy with your walkabout that's fantastic - and you want to believe it has magic technology, be my guest.. Lots of hybrid amps use more than one preamp valve... Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm talking about the streamliner because I had it and because it's and hybrid too, albeit with a different power amp topology. This thread is about hybrids, isn't it? Guess not only tube-ss ones...don't you agree?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I'm talking about the streamliner because I had it and because it's and hybrid too, albeit with a different power amp topology. This thread is about hybrids, isn't it? Guess not only tube-ss ones...don't you agree?



Yes, agreed... Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


...probably because the majority of bass players don't use their amps for natural overdrive.



I'd long suspected I was a minority in this respect... Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I've never found that a tube preamp makes that much difference to be honest.
To me the sound of a good valve amp is made by what's happening with the power amp valves.



I'm not always as certain about the relative contribution of the preamp and power amp in valve amps. I have an old Dynacord Eminent II which has a transistor preamp and valve power stage, and to be quite honest it didn't sound all that special until I modified it by adding a valve preamp. That may be because the original preamp was made for vocal and keyboard use and wasn't very well voiced for bass, or it may be because the Dynacord power amp is designed to run clean (high plate voltage and lots of negative feedback) but it's a lot more musical and fun to play with the valve preamp. So while I agree that a valve power stage does contribute some unique and pleasing qualities, I wouldn't dismiss what a good valve preamp can do either.
At some point I will try building the same preamp stage as a standalone box I can plug into other things, which might make for an interesting comparison. Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a lot of amps, and for my two pennorth, the newer Class D power stages have got better (I'm thinking the ones in the Mesa Subway, the Magellan, etc) than the earlier ones. It's a developing technology. As far as best of both worlds goes, there'll be compromises, inevitably. It all depends on how important these are to you.

Interestingly, the Magellan doesn't have any valves at all, and still sounds very valvey. IMHO, YMMV, etc, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I'm not always as certain about the relative contribution of the preamp and power amp in valve amps. I have an old Dynacord Eminent II which has a transistor preamp and valve power stage, and to be quite honest it didn't sound all that special until I modified it by adding a valve preamp. That may be because the original preamp was made for vocal and keyboard use and wasn't very well voiced for bass, or it may be because the Dynacord power amp is designed to run clean (high plate voltage and lots of negative feedback) but it's a lot more musical and fun to play with the valve preamp. So while I agree that a valve power stage does contribute some unique and pleasing qualities, I wouldn't dismiss what a good valve preamp can do either.
At some point I will try building the same preamp stage as a standalone box I can plug into other things, which might make for an interesting comparison.

My point was that many people attribute the "valve sound" to the power section. You may want to talk to passinwind about valve pre's (call them tubes though) his PW6 design was a full valve pre although all his recent designs (and the ones he uses ) are SS.

Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are good technical reasons why valve amps are popular, it's to do with the way they distort when overloaded mainly. It's a much nicer sound than that of an overloaded solid state amp. In turn that is to do with the nature of the whole output stage including the transformer you have to have with a valve output stage.

The effects of valves in the pre amp stages are much less pronounced but I wouldn't deny they are there, just not a way of emulating a valved output stage. Essentially you'd expect a solid state pre amp to be better behaved than a valve one, less distorted. I suspect though the essential differences in a valve pre amp are down to a mixture of luck and careful design, a good design is a good design IMO independently of whether it is solid state, digital or valve.

FWIW my two amps both have valve and solid state pre amps. I've a Hartke 3500 and a MB Tube 500. I use the Hartke mainly on solid state and the MB with all valve and no solid state. I just set up the tone I like best. I honestly don't think just because you like one valve pre amp you are going to like every amp with one, you've still got to listen and choose with your ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Handbox R-400 takes the Mesa Walkabout thing a step further, IMO.

Class AB power, three full-voltage tubes in the pre - none of this starved plate nonsense - and noticeably more clean headroom, in a similar-sized package.

Lots of rich tone, and it gets nicely fuzzy when you push the pre.

Oh, and it's reasonably priced, too.
 

 

Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hah! It's funny how I didn't really take on board your April 16 Handbox thread, WoT, until now, but I've just spent an enjoyable half an hour catching up!

A bit like sratas I LOVE the Mesa tone, which in the case of my M6 Carbine is just a single 12AX7 preamp into a MOSfet main amp but manages to deliver a just deliciously creamy tone. I was kinda wondering what else might be out there that could match or beat that? I think the valve guys are saying nothing compares to valves. I was also wondering whether a great preamp pedal would similarly deliver that sound when combined with a Class D (or better still a Class A/B ) power amp, and I am sure there are plenty more views to be shared on the topic.

But I think you are saying, unequivocally, as a fellow Mesa owner that the Handbox as a hybrid [with 3 tube pre-amp into Class A/B] trumps the Mesa for sound and is better value! Well you've certainly got my attention!!

Is anyone stocking these in the UK?
Have you come across the Handbox Fortec 412 Custom combo? Any details, or price - is it the R-400 in combo form?
Worst case, my drummer in my rock n roll band is Polish...I may need to send her shopping next time she visits Poland! :)

Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1491931821' post='3276608']
Hah! It's funny how I didn't really take on board your April 16 Handbox thread, WoT, until now, but I've just spent an enjoyable half an hour catching up![/quote]

Happy to help! I'm conscious that I shout about the R-400 a lot on BC, but I think it's such a remarkable bit of kit I can't help shouting it from the rooftops :-)

[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1491931821' post='3276608']
A bit like sratas I LOVE the Mesa tone, which in the case of my M6 Carbine is just a single 12AX7 preamp into a MOSfet main amp but manages to deliver a just deliciously creamy tone. I was kinda wondering what else might be out there that could match or beat that? I think the valve guys are saying nothing compares to valves. I was also wondering whether a great preamp pedal would similarly deliver that sound when combined with a Class D (or better still a Class A/B ) power amp, and I am sure there are plenty more views to be shared on the topic.

But I think you are saying, unequivocally, as a fellow Mesa owner that the Handbox as a hybrid [with 3 tube pre-amp into Class A/B] trumps the Mesa for sound and is better value! Well you've certainly got my attention!!
[/quote]


Yep, unequivocally. IME it has everything that makes the WA great, with the bonus of more headroom and - if needed - more presence in the upper mids.


[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1491931821' post='3276608']
Is anyone stocking these in the UK?
Have you come across the Handbox Fortec 412 Custom combo? Any details, or price - is it the R-400 in combo form?
Worst case, my drummer in my rock n roll band is Polish...I may need to send her shopping next time she visits Poland! :)
[/quote]
There's no UK stockist at the moment - I know a couple of interested parties were talking to Leszek a while ago, but I'm not sure if it came to anything. TBH it's easy enough to order direct from him (but obviously trying one first is tricky!),

The Fortec 412 isn't the R-400 - it's another class AB with a solid-state pre, which I have no experience of. (Incidentally, Maruszczyk also sell a rebranded version, the [url="https://www.public-peace.de/index.php/amplification/maruszczyk-instruments/967-barabass-combo-black"]Barabass[/url]).

Apologies for going OT :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...