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Al Krow

Best amp head (500W to 1000W) you've ever owned? (Or should definitely avoid!)

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Posted (edited)
I've been a bit of combo devotee to date (as you will have probably guessed from a number of my posts!), but it would also be great to be open to what the best of separates has to offer.

I think I've got a suitable cab sorted which should pair well with most amp heads, but I would very much appreciate your thoughts on a really good amp head and I'm really interested to hear what has "floated your boat" in the past or is currently so doing?

I'd prefer the head not to be not too heavy, say up to around 12 lbs (so that probably rules out many valve amps) but other than that I'm looking for great quality tone and build with plenty of headroom, hence a suggested 500W to 1000W power range.

Equally, if you've really not been impressed with a particular make and model, please share why - advice on what to avoid is often just as useful as what to go for!

Hopefully this thread will be of considerable interest to my fellow BCs as well as for me. Look forward to hearing from you! AK Edited by Al Krow

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i love my Genz Benz shuttle 12.2, tube and FET channels, which are mixable, its got 2 600watt out puts so you can do 350watt at 8ohm or 600watt at 4ohm from one output or use both to get all the way to 1200watt (although these are Class D watts but they are loud enough for me) also mean you can use 1 cab or 4 depending on how big you van is or how many roadies you can hire! i went through every amp they had at bass direct at the time (mark bass, TC, Aguliar) and the genz was the one for me!

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It's difficult to compare over time as memory can be unreliable. I used to love my old TE AH350 (which I sold when age/decrepitude made it a chore to carry about - it was flight-cased, too, which made things worse). It was flexible, powerful and reliable. Whether it was better than what I have now is a moot point, but it was a great amp.

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Thunderfunk Tf750 for me... Lots of punch, 2 ohm stable, great eq/shaping manageable weight..

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Demeter (see sig) - superb sound, excellent DI sound (where fitted), plenty of hadroom, no fan, weighs lesst than 11lb, looks like a 'proper' amp.

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Posted (edited)
You know me Al, here is my list and others can contribute.

Darkglass
Genzler Magellan
Trickfish Bullhead
+1 Thunderfunk
EICH
Tech 21 dUg Ultrabass
EBS Reidmar
Quilter bass block
Jule Monique
Bergantino BI Amp

There are others I am not a fan of their tone, but that is subjective so I will leave them out, but the Tecamp Puma despite being a lovely sounding amp, it has a tendency to crap out.
I know that Thomas EICH made them and they sound very similar, but the problems are ironed out with the EICH as far as I know. Edited by Cuzzie

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Headroom is more about how efficient your cabs are, not how much wattage the amp has.
However, most light amps are marketed as being between 500 & 1000 watt (even the ones that aren't capable of it :lol: ). So you're gonna find you have a huge choice.
I'd try Cuzzie's list & add Markbass, Aguilar & Glockenklang too.

Try as many as you can & have fun doing so. :D

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The Kustom KXB500 is top of my list. It kicked the butt of the TH500, Puma 900, and various Markbass heads. Cost me 299 Euro's, but sadly its no longer available.

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This might surprise you but.....

For good honest and transparent tone, a simple straight forward eq section and the versatility of a foot-switchable warm and usable drive channel, I highly recommend the Genzler Magellan. It'll do everything from clean mid scooped sounds to warm, classic mid rich drive - not full bore distortion but everything from vintage warmth to a subtle overdrive, all perfectly usable for an always on sound. Simple to use and quick and easy to dial great sounds into. And it's at the lower end of the price range compared to many of its peers too.

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[quote name='xgsjx' timestamp='1496836747' post='3314159']
Headroom is more about how efficient your cabs are, not how much wattage the amp has.
However, most light amps are marketed as being between 500 & 1000 watt (even the ones that aren't capable of it :lol: ). So you're gonna find you have a huge choice.
I'd try Cuzzie's list & add Markbass, Aguilar & Glockenklang too.

Try as many as you can & have fun doing so. :D
[/quote]

Don't get me started on watts, RMS, continuous vs pulse power wave forms etc.

I'll pop a blood vessel!

For sure though in principle amps work best at about 45-70% of their volume range, so more headroom is better

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Of the lighter ones I have owned the heads I currently enjoy are

Orange Terror Bass 500. It doesn't have a great variety of tones in the bin but I really like what it does - not everyone does so caveat emptor. Insanely loud, old school rock amp.

Second place goes to Quilter Bassblock 800. Around the size of a box of matches, 800W, easy intuitive controls that make it impossible not to dial in a good sound, with an interesting break up once the gain gets increased a touch.

I'd put those two above the Mark Bass, Genz Benz, TC Electronic, Eden, Ashdown, Harley Benton (= Promethean, Red Sub) heads I have had.

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Posted (edited)
[quote name='Osiris' timestamp='1496839302' post='3314201']
This might surprise you but.....

For good honest and transparent tone, a simple straight forward eq section and the versatility of a foot-switchable warm and usable drive channel, I highly recommend the Genzler Magellan. It'll do everything from clean mid scooped sounds to warm, classic mid rich drive - not full bore distortion but everything from vintage warmth to a subtle overdrive, all perfectly usable for an always on sound. Simple to use and quick and easy to dial great sounds into. And it's at the lower end of the price range compared to many of its peers too.
[/quote]

Saved me a fairly long-winded post...yup, my favourite, from a list that includes a lot of the usual suspects (Class Ds were MB LMIII, LMTube and F1, TC RH450 and 450 Classic, Aggie Tonehammer 500, Streamliner (honourable 2nd place), GK500 and Fusion, Genz Shuttle 900...bigger ones were Ashdown 550 Spyder and ABM500, Mesa M-Pulse 360, Tech21 Landmark, OTB and...erm...I forget... :( :) )

I also have a very soft spot for my Walkabout - it's 'only' 300w (tho through a Super Twin it'll easily keep up with two JCM/412 geetards) and it doesn't quite scrape in at 13lbs, but I love what it does when driven.

Two different heads, which I use for different bands and sounds. Both very very good at what they do. :) Edited by Muzz

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Oh and regarding the Berg BI Amp

Dood is the one to ask about that, I think it's very progressive and with its digital interface will only get better and better as more patches become available

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[url="http://basschat.co.uk/topic/282884-the-handbox-amplification-thread/"]Handbox R-400 for me[/url], by a country mile.

It's a little bit heavier than you'd like, but it's not actually heavy, and it's compact.

And it's an honest old-school 400w. Remember, amps didn't need to be 500-plus watts. The current ratings are a marketing phenomenon that only came about when the technology changed.

*ducks behind rock*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLyBAFiJRJY

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[quote name='JapanAxe' timestamp='1496834129' post='3314127']
Demeter (see sig) - superb sound, excellent DI sound (where fitted), plenty of hadroom, no fan, weighs lesst than 11lb, looks like a 'proper' amp.
[/quote]

As a 'complete' amp (as opposed to a pre/power) combination I'd have to go with the Demeter as well. I love mine and use it every day :)

Moving to separates brings my Jule Monique into play - I also have the baby Demeter power amp that sits underneath it.

Tough call between the two, one sounds better with some cabs, different basses can work better with each pre etc.

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Posted (edited)
I've owned :

ashdown abm 500

T.C. electronic classic 450

Fender TV 15

Ashdown Mibass 550

GK mb500

Of them all I liked the GK mb500 best. It's clean,punchy and it's loud.
It is also as light as a feather.

A worthy mention should go to the Hartke ha550. Which I've never owned but always liked the sound I've got while playing through them. They are pretty cheap new and a steal second-hand. Edited by gjones

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[quote name='Cuzzie' timestamp='1496839507' post='3314205']
Don't get me started on watts, RMS, continuous vs pulse power wave forms etc.

I'll pop a blood vessel!

For sure though in principle amps work best at about 45-70% of their volume range, so more headroom is better
[/quote]

It depends on the amp & cab(s).


I've got a Radiovox Valve amp. 4 KT88 valves & I've not gone much past 1 on the master (like my old Markbass, it goes to 6). I think it maxes at about 200 watts. Sounds lush. :sun_bespectacled:

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[quote name='xgsjx' timestamp='1496844531' post='3314257']


It depends on the amp & cab(s).


I've got a Radiovox Valve amp. 4 KT88 valves & I've not gone much past 1 on the master (like my old Markbass, it goes to 6). I think it maxes at about 200 watts. Sounds lush. :sun_bespectacled:
[/quote]

Ah Valves - different animal

I am talking more Class D as his weight limit denotes that really, it even knocks out things like Hartke LH1000 that I had and that's a valve pre, just too heavy.

If we were allowed valves, Verellen Meatsmoke all day!!

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Gallien Krueger RB 700-II. Just tips the scales for you (but only just) and just under 500w, 480w I believe, but a really great amp - I may get another....

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GK Fusion 550. Weighs 12 kg, not 12 lbs and isn't exactly gig bag pocket friendly size-wise. It sounds friggin 'awesome though.

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[quote name='molan' timestamp='1496844275' post='3314254']
As a 'complete' amp (as opposed to a pre/power) combination I'd have to go with the Demeter as well. I love mine and use it every day :)

[/quote]

Great set of responses already guys - please keep them coming!

@Molan - just to say when I mentioned "separates" I'm being relatively unsophisticated and simply meaning a separate amp head and separate cab. So, yes please do, also include any 'complete' amps which have a pre-amp as well as a power amp, such as the Demeter!

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[quote name='drake' timestamp='1496847158' post='3314274']
Gallien Krueger RB 700-II. Just tips the scales for you (but only just) and just under 500w, 480w I believe, but a really great amp - I may get another....
[/quote]


I was going to turn up and suggest the 1001-II. Best amp I've ever owned by a country mile.

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Had a Gallien Kreuger MB 500 Fusion for a while and was very impressed by it's power and versatility. Never owned one but was also very taken with the Tecamp Puma.

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My favourite is my Thunderfunk but the EBS Reidmar 750 deserves a mention as a shining example of the latest and much improved class D amps.

The Mesa Walkabout is also much loved by many, myself included.

Frank.

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