Jump to content
Baloney Balderdash

Trace Elliot ELF or 300W GP7SM head, which should I get?

Recommended Posts

So I am pondering on maybe getting myself a proper bass amp here coming the 1st of November, next month, since I am currently just using the poweramp section of my 160W Peavey Solo Special 112 guitar combo, with the build in 12" guitar speaker unit disconnected and the amp instead hooked up with a 4Ohm, 400W, SWR Triad I bass cab with 1x15 + 1x10" + tweeter horn, and even if I actually really like that tone that gives me I just absolutely love the classic Trace Elliot tone, once having owned a 1x15" 130W GP7SM combo that I was very very fond of, and kind of regret selling.

 

So the question is, should I get the extremely tiny and light weight, relatively new, 200W Trace Elliot ELF amp head, which I will buy from brand new, or get the used, relatively old, and quite heavy, 300W GP7SM amp head, that is currently for sale for just about the same price as I can get a new ELF?

 

I would appreciate arguments for and against, beside the obvious advantages the ELF got size and weight wise, making it extremely easy to transport, unlike the old GP7SM head, that I know will be quite heavy.

Like would there be any obvious noticeable difference in the tone they respectively produce when set flat and not using the pre-shape of the GP7SM head (which I will definitely not be using anyway, hate mid scooped tones).

What would you chose and why?

And what would I lose getting one over the other, beside the obvious warranty, ease of transportation, less EQ tweaking options, lack of pre-shape functions (which, as said, I won't have any use for anyway), and 100W less power, of the ELF?

 

Or should I rather, since I am actually quite satisfied with the tone I get now from the Peavey, which also got plenty of enough power for my use, forget about the temptation of getting a Trace Elliot amp in my possession again, and instead use my money on some new effect pedals that I also have cravings for?

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On eBay at the moment, there are two people selling what are described as TE preamps (search for bass preamps), which are actually heads (in the pic's both have speaker outs). Both have GP12 pre's, both are less than £200 and both look in nice nick. Not too heavy/bulky (by TE standards). May be worth a look.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Dan Dare said:

On eBay at the moment, there are two people selling what are described as TE preamps (search for bass preamps), which are actually heads (in the pic's both have speaker outs). Both have GP12 pre's, both are less than £200 and both look in nice nick. Not too heavy/bulky (by TE standards). May be worth a look.

Thanks for the suggestion. :i-m_so_happy:

I'll have a look at them.

But I would still like some arguments for why I should buy a relatively old and heavy Trace Elliot amp head, that would be impossible to transport back and forth home, rehearsal space and eventual future gigs using public transport (since I neither got a car or a drivers license), over a brand new tiny and light ELF head that I would be able to transport back and forth without any issues whatsoever, use as a dedicated preamp if desired, since it doesn't need speaker load, and with a warranty of 3 years?

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't tried one, but from what I've heard, the Elf doesn't have the classic Trace sound, so much as a pretty flat one. The Transit B preamp is where all the old Trace colour is more likely to be found, presumably meant to be used ahead of the Elf. Even that doesn't have a graphic EQ, so if you really are after 'that' sonic signature, then the old, heavy head is the way to go.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Jus Lukin said:

I haven't tried one, but from what I've heard, the Elf doesn't have the classic Trace sound, so much as a pretty flat one. The Transit B preamp is where all the old Trace colour is more likely to be found, presumably meant to be used ahead of the Elf. Even that doesn't have a graphic EQ, so if you really are after 'that' sonic signature, then the old, heavy head is the way to go.

You might be right, though that is not what Trace Elliot/Peavey claims, and doesn't match the comments I have read from people having first hand experience with using the ELF either.

I for one actually love the straight up tone of the classic Trace Elliot amps without using the pre-shape function (which the ELF doesn't but the Transit B be does have, though personally I hate scooped tones, so I have no use for such a function whatsoever), and with a pretty flat EQ setting, and from what I've read the ELF should be capable of delivering a tone pretty close to that.

Not saying that you are not right, just that I'll wait for some people with actual first hand experience with both old Trace Elliot amps and the ELF to dime in with their view on this matter. 

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've owned a host of the old school TE heads.  Loved them all.  A back injury meant I had to stop using them.  I bought an Elf.  It is actually quite good and you can get an approximation of the old TE pre-set 1 on it by judicious use of the eq.  Use your ears not the markers.  They key to using it is the gain, which doesn't work like other gains as far as I can see.  Ordinarily you wind up the gain until the clip light comes on.  If you do that to an Elf you lose what I reckon is one of the most useful bits - the area once the clip light comes on and you go into slight break up and thereafter distortion territory. 

But is it going to be loud enough?  Some folks say it is, and if it works for them that is excellent.  But no way I could gig with it for either of my bands.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently sold an Elf.  Years ago I had be heavy TEs.  By no means an expert on such things, but I couldn't hear the TE in the Elf, so I got rid PDQ.  Light, small, well made, happy green, no character - but that's just MHO and E.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Baloney Balderdash said:

But I would still like some arguments for why I should buy a relatively old and heavy Trace Elliot amp head, that would be impossible to transport back and forth home, rehearsal space and eventual future gigs using public transport (since I neither got a car or a drivers license), over a brand new tiny and light ELF head that I would be able to transport back and forth without any issues whatsoever, use as a dedicated preamp if desired, since it doesn't need speaker load, and with a warranty of 3 years?

 

If you've already concluded that it would be impossible to transport then I think you've answered your own question......

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Paul S said:

I've owned a host of the old school TE heads.  Loved them all.  A back injury meant I had to stop using them.  I bought an Elf.  It is actually quite good and you can get an approximation of the old TE pre-set 1 on it by judicious use of the eq.  Use your ears not the markers.  They key to using it is the gain, which doesn't work like other gains as far as I can see.  Ordinarily you wind up the gain until the clip light comes on.  If you do that to an Elf you lose what I reckon is one of the most useful bits - the area once the clip light comes on and you go into slight break up and thereafter distortion territory. 

But is it going to be loud enough?  Some folks say it is, and if it works for them that is excellent.  But no way I could gig with it for either of my bands.  

Thanks for your input. :i-m_so_happy:

Well, if I can trust the comments I've read it is supposed to have inherited the old Trace amp's conservative power rating, meaning it ought to be much louder than the watts it is rated at would suggest, and I have a history of using bass amps most people would claim to have too little power to keep up with a drummer in quite loud rock band settings, even keeping up in small bar sized venues without PA support, and the 130W 1x15" Trace Elliot combo that I owned had no issues with keeping up with a loud rock power trio at rehearsals with the master volume never getting past the 11 o'clock position, so as far as wattage power goes I think I should be good with the ELF.

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, lownote12 said:

I recently sold an Elf.  Years ago I had be heavy TEs.  By no means an expert on such things, but I couldn't hear the TE in the Elf, so I got rid PDQ.  Light, small, well made, happy green, no character - but that's just MHO and E.  

Thanks. :i-m_so_happy:

Seems not everyone agree with you, judging from the comments I have read other where, but in case you are right that would be a really heavy argument for me to get the old Trace Elliot GP7SM head instead of the ELF, so waiting to see if that will be the general consensus of this thread.

 

44 minutes ago, Deedee said:

If you've already concluded that it would be impossible to transport then I think you've answered your own question......

I concluded that, yes, but I didn't say anywhere that that was the most important argument to me, I just listed the ELF's obvious advantages, and as I also wrote I wanted to know what disadvantages there would be, like for instance tone wise, by getting that over an old Trace Elliot head (in fact I say so at the very beginning of the paragraph you quote me for).

No use in being able to transport it easily if I would be as good without it tone wise, and if that is the case there would be no reason for me to buy it either really.

Obviously not going to buy something that would be completely useless to me just for the sake of being able to drag it around with me. 

While being able to transport it easily would be ideal, transport of an eventual more heavy head could be arranged otherwise, even if it'll make it slightly more complicated for me, for one the drummer I play with owns a van, as said I have no intention of sacrificing tone for transporatabillity, as I also wrote in my OP I am actually already pretty satisfied with the setup I got currently, just tempted by that sweet classic Trace Elliot tone, and if the ELF won't be able to deliver that I wouldn't spend money on it even if it had been as small and light as a stamp and had a 100 years full unconditional warranty.  

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do what I did.  Buy one, see if you like it, if not sell it.  Sound is so subjective trying to ring objective truth from others' personal opinions is not unakin to asking other people what you should have for tea. Ish. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to add that I have used one of the old 130W TE combos before now and it is SERIOUSLY louder than the Elf.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, lownote12 said:

Do what I did.  Buy one, see if you like it, if not sell it.  Sound is so subjective trying to ring objective truth from others' personal opinions is not unakin to asking other people what you should have for tea. Ish. 

True, but I would think I could still get a general idea of more specifically how the ELF and old Trace Elliot amp compares tone wise, judging from the general consensus of people with first hand experience with both. 

In that this is not exactly as much a matter of personal preferences and taste in tone as it is a specific comparison of how close two different amps get tone wise to each other. 

My impression so far from this thread is that the ELF likely won't do what I am interested in and that I would properly be best off either buying and old Trace Elliot head or simply stick to my current setup and use my money on some effect pedals I want as well.

I actually think the replies in this thread has helped me, they somewhat managed to changed my initial slight preposition towards the ELF in favor of other options, and I would say that's the proof of it not being completely pointless, but still interested to hear from more people and their take on it. 

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m a big fan of both old Trace heads and the Elf and I also believe that the Elf is very usable with efficient cabs. However if you’re looking at the Elf purely on its ability to replicate the classic Trace sound, I personally don’t think it does or was ever likely to. It’s just a good, tiny amp in its own right.

Given the choice I’d have an older Trace head every time, but if I was using public transport I’d go class d and if you’re going down that route there are many (though not-quite-as-tiny) heads to choose from.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As suggested above, the 250 / 280w Trace amps of the '90s aren't actually particularly bulky or heavy - 12 / 13kg.. Obviously the Elf takes compact and light to a new level by comparison but the older amps are still pretty manageable - especially compared to valve amplifiers.

Personally, I'd opt for an SMC if you were looking at the 7-band range as I found the compressor to be far more useful than the EQ balance or second pre-shape of the SM - personally at least. The other thing to consider is there's lots of scope and control on the older amps between the graphic EQ / pre-shape for finding the sweet spot as opposed to the rather traditional 3-band rotary dials of the newer model. 

The other thing to consider is longevity vs cost. The Elf is new, full of clever but likely irreparable technology and despite being around for a few year or two now, will they still be going in 10 years time? Many of the older amps are at least 20 years old now (SM / SMX appeared in '92) but are still going like the day they came out of the factory plus, if they do fail, most decent techs can put them straight with little trouble. You'll likely get hold of a '300' SM / SMC for less than £200 and if you play the slightly longer game, less than £150 - a bargain when you consider how much these things were when new - twice or three times the cost of a new Elf and that was 20 years ago.

Reading this back, it would seem like I have a dislike for and that I have little faith in the Elf but I don't, I just feel it's a very different product today with a different character than those from the heyday of Trace Elliot in 1980s / 90s.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Deedee said:

I’m a big fan of both old Trace heads and the Elf and I also believe that the Elf is very usable with efficient cabs. However if you’re looking at the Elf purely on its ability to replicate the classic Trace sound, I personally don’t think it does or was ever likely to. It’s just a good, tiny amp in its own right.

Given the choice I’d have an older Trace head every time, but if I was using public transport I’d go class d and if you’re going down that route there are many (though not-quite-as-tiny) heads to choose from.

 

20 minutes ago, VTypeV4 said:

As suggested above, the 250 / 280w Trace amps of the '90s aren't actually particularly bulky or heavy - 12 / 13kg.. Obviously the Elf takes compact and light to a new level by comparison but the older amps are still pretty manageable - especially compared to valve amplifiers.

Personally, I'd opt for an SMC if you were looking at the 7-band range as I found the compressor to be far more useful than the EQ balance or second pre-shape of the SM - personally at least. The other thing to consider is there's lots of scope and control on the older amps between the graphic EQ / pre-shape for finding the sweet spot as opposed to the rather traditional 3-band rotary dials of the newer model. 

The other thing to consider is longevity vs cost. The Elf is new, full of clever but likely irreparable technology and despite being around for a few year or two now, will they still be going in 10 years time? Many of the older amps are at least 20 years old now (SM / SMX appeared in '92) but are still going like the day they came out of the factory plus, if they do fail, most decent techs can put them straight with little trouble. You'll likely get hold of a '300' SM / SMC for less than £200 and if you play the slightly longer game, less than £150 - a bargain when you consider how much these things were when new - twice or three times the cost of a new Elf and that was 20 years ago.

Reading this back, it would seem like I have a dislike for and that I have little faith in the Elf but I don't, I just feel it's a very different product today with a different character than those from the heyday of Trace Elliot in 1980s / 90s.

Confirms the impression I got from the rest of the replies in this thread, that the ELF will likely not do what I am really interested in.

As for waiting and getting a SMC instead though I think I'll stick to the SM I mentioned in my OP, as I already got a compressor that I love, and as the GP7SM, as I also mentioned in my OP, will be the exact same type of amp, just in head form and with more power, as the combo I once owned and absolutely loved the tone of.

Actually I am pretty convinced now that that would be the right way to go for me, so now I just need to decide weather to actually do it or if I would really be better off spending my money on other useful music equipment instead. 

It's not like I am really strictly needing an amp, as, as said, I am actually quite satisfied with the tone I got currently, it is just that I am really tempted by the prospect of once more owning a Trace Elliot amp and being able to once more achieve that sweet sweet tone they are capable of. 

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive got and gigged both of those amps. The ELF is loud enough to gig if you have loud cabs. When we played at The 100 Club last November, I lent my ELF to the support band. it was through a Big Baby II stacked on top of an Eden EX112. The sound engineer had to ask the bass player to turn down. The SM amp is louder still and sounds more awesome. it's weightier but not unmanageable. I personally wouldn't want to take it on public transport. It's also more versatile than the ELF. If I was relying on public transport I'd get the ELF but it's not as good an amp as the big bugger!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I wrote a message to the seller of the 300W GP7SM head and offered him the option of reserving it to me to the 30th this month, with the promise that we'd then have a 100% certain closed deal by then, where I will have the money to actually buy it, or not, and then him taking the risk of possibly not finding another buyer before that anyway and me having changed my mind in the meantime, of course formulated in a much nicer, not so ultimatum like, way, actually just asking him kindly if he would be kind and reserve it for me till I had the money by the end of the month, and assuring him that if he did I'd commit to paying him there. 

So time will tell if he'll accept, and I can expect to have a new amp by the end of this month, or I will have to wait with buying it till I got the money, taking the risk of someone else doing so before me, but on the other hand then still will have the option for eventually deciding against buying it.

I'll write an update when that has been settled. 

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm probably one of the biggest TE fans on here - I have 5 currently, including an Elf which, IMO is only a Trace Elliot because it has the sticker on it. It doesn't produce the classic Trace sound that most of us have come to love.

TE started to go down hill when it was taken over by Gibson then Peavey.

If you want the classic Trace sound in a Class D, buy an Ashdown.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TheGreek said:

I'm probably one of the biggest TE fans on here - I have 5 currently, including an Elf which, IMO is only a Trace Elliot because it has the sticker on it. It doesn't produce the classic Trace sound that most of us have come to love.

TE started to go down hill when it was taken over by Gibson then Peavey.

If you want the classic Trace sound in a Class D, buy an Ashdown.

If that is the case, and the guy with the Trace Elliot amp for sale doesn't agree on reserving it until the 30th of this month, perhaps I should get the new Ashdown Ant amp then, about the same size and got about the same power as the ELF, and it does claim to have the Ashdown tone, which as I understand it is close to the classic Trace Elliot one, as it is one of the people who designed the Trace amps who run that company.

Will be a bit more expensive, but not by that much.

Something I will have to seriously consider at least. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would recommend the TC Electronic BH250 if your budget is tight? 

 

If you want a monster and have a budget near £350, I certainly recommend the Bugera Veyron 1001T - frightening beastie lol :D

https://www.thomann.de/gb/bugera_bv1001t_veyron_bass_head.htm?glp=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw8rT8BRCbARIsALWiOvTX0YR0W-3cVzChdFF6a2H_1T1-pzh4_1iH5grB8Xou9UF_JZ2U-4QaAilPEALw_wcB

Edited by andy67
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18/10/2020 at 17:28, Deedee said:

I’m a big fan of both old Trace heads and the Elf and I also believe that the Elf is very usable with efficient cabs. However if you’re looking at the Elf purely on its ability to replicate the classic Trace sound, I personally don’t think it does or was ever likely to. It’s just a good, tiny amp in its own right.

Given the choice I’d have an older Trace head every time, but if I was using public transport I’d go class d and if you’re going down that route there are many (though not-quite-as-tiny) heads to choose from.

You are right, the Elf is a good amp in it's own right. I got one as a spare and it sounds great to me. Plenty loud enough through a pair of BF 110's. I play with PA support (usually! That's a laugh at the moment 😂) though. I'm sure that with the right cabs, as a standalone, it could be enough for smaller venues. Depends on the style of music  though too. If portability is a necessity then it's a good choice. Unfortunately, there's always a trade off when choosing between micro heads and those that.curve your spine.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 19/10/2020 at 12:25, andy67 said:

I would recommend the TC Electronic BH250 if your budget is tight? 

 

If you want a monster and have a budget near £350, I certainly recommend the Bugera Veyron 1001T - frightening beastie lol :D

https://www.thomann.de/gb/bugera_bv1001t_veyron_bass_head.htm?glp=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw8rT8BRCbARIsALWiOvTX0YR0W-3cVzChdFF6a2H_1T1-pzh4_1iH5grB8Xou9UF_JZ2U-4QaAilPEALw_wcB

I've been gigging with a Veyrom 1001T up until lockdown and can thoroughly recommend. Bigger than the Elf but still light and transportable. Huge volume and nice warm tone. For a more modern sound the MOSFET version might appeal.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those older Trace Bass Heads sounded great and was an actual Trace Elliot; the Elf is a Peavey you already got one sort of😀

  • Like 1

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.



  • Similar Content

    • By Deedee
      The cull continues.......
      Trace Elliot 1x10" cab. These extension cabs were made to suit the BLX combo dimensions, but can obviously be used with anything.
      150 watts 8 ohms Original Celestion speaker approx. 470 wide, 330 deep, 360 high Weighs just under 16kgs It's in great condition and comes with a vinyl dust cover. Classic Trace sound and solid build but in a small and perfectly formed package.
      Collection or meet up preferred as being around waiting for a courier could be a bit tricky at the moment, but I don’t mind driving a fair way to meet up (strictly observing Covid distancing of course).
      Will now ship at buyers expense to GB







    • By Deedee
      I'm selling several classic Trace Elliot amplifiers from my collection.
      Next up is this AH250. These classic Mk V amplifiers were manufactured in the UK from around 1986 to 1989 at a time when build quality counted for more than cost and weight.
      AH250 GP11 11 band graphic eq Twin inputs Graphic In/Out switch Pre-shape In/Out switch Foot switch socket (not supplied) Graphic/Flat level slider Noise reduction In/Out DI Out with Pre/post switch Effects Send/Return Line In/Out Signal Out Low Level 250 watts at 4 ohms Min load 4 ohms Weight approx 21kg These are a rare find in good condition and I'm pretty confident that this is one of the best examples around. There is some scratching to the tolex on top of the amp sleeve and I’ve fitted a new handle to the case as the original was missing, but other than that it’s is in great original condition. This head was serviced (at some cost) at the start of the year by Keld Ampworks at Newark.
      EDIT - I forgot to mention it has a 2-speed fan. Very quiet on 'Slow', obviously a lot louder on 'Fast' but it would need to be a pretty hot gig to use that anyway.
      EDIT 2 - For complete transparency (for those of a nasally sensitive disposition) I must point out that there is a faint smell of smoky pubs and clubs gone by when the amp is running. I took it apart a while ago and cleaned everything I could, so it's not dirty and it's not 'stinky old carpet covered cab' kind of smelly, but if you are offended by the very faint smell of smoke and were wanting an amp to sit in your living room full time this probably isn't the one for you. If you're going to be using it for rehearsals and gigs you'd never notice. Too honest me sometimes! 👼 
      Any questions or further pics required, please ask.
      Collection or meet up preferred as being around waiting for a courier could be a bit tricky at the moment, but I don’t mind driving a fair way to meet up (strictly observing Covid distancing of course).
       
       
       
       
       








    • By Deedee
      I'm selling several classic Trace Elliot amplifiers from my collection.
      First up is this AH300. These classic Series 6 amplifiers were manufactured in the UK from around 1989 to 1992/3 at a time when build quality counted for more than cost and weight.
      AH300 GP12 12 band graphic eq Passive and Active bass inputs Graphic In/Out switch Pre-shape In/Out switch Foot switch socket Graphic/Flat level slider DI Out with Pre/post switch Effects Send/Return Line In/Out Headphone socket 300 watts at 4 ohms Min load 4 ohms Weight approx 23kg As you can see from the photos this is in superb condition and I'm pretty confident that this is one of the best examples around. It comes with a heavy duty flight case which is in good order as I replaced the only dodgy section of foam not too long back.
      Any questions or futher photos required, please ask.
      Collection or meet up preferred as being around waiting for a courier could be a bit tricky at the moment, but I don’t mind driving a fair way to meet up (strictly observing Covid distancing of course).







    • By edirelandbass
      Markbass Little Mark II 500w head 
      Bergantino CN112 CaB
       Seems I may have overpriced the cab a bit, so will take £600
      Both with covers, both decent condition, a few scratches on each and one small break in the tolex on the bottom of the cab, but all working perfectly. 
      Great little lightweight rig, have gigged it in plenty of medium rooms with no trouble. Just about light enough that I’ve trollied it on the tube to a few gigs.
      Can’t really justify having two bass amps at the moment, hence the sale. 

      Would rather sell together and will chuck in a decent speakon cable and kettle lead. Otherwise £250 for the head and £375 for the cab.






    • By basstone
      LaneyLinebacker LB30R combo for sale. Made in England in 1988. 30Watt,  Solid state design with Mosfet preamp for a valve-like sound. Celestion speaker. Low and high gain selectable channels and spring line reverb. In good condition for its age. Open to offers.

       

×
×
  • Create New...