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Deepfat

Itch for a Valve Amp

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I’ve owned and gigged a good few all-valve heads (‘70’s Orange 100W, Fender Bassman 135, Ampeg SVT-2, Trace TwinValve, and Mesa D-180 - I still have the Mesa mainly as it doubles as a guitar head.....) but has been said many times on this forum; it’s darn hard to beat the valve tone and sheer practicalty of the Mesa Walkabout (a 300W hybrid amp of course).   Mine is my go-to head unless I’m playing funk, in which case it’s the Ashdown MK500.

Having said that, I’ve never tried the Handbox, heard very good things. :i-m_so_happy:

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1 hour ago, Deepfat said:

Interesting - I already have the cabs to match!

It's a wonderful amp. The tone stack takes a bit of getting used to, as it's passive IIRC, but it sounds lovely. The B-Stock is 1/2 the price of a new one and 2/3 the price of a CTM-100

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It kinda depends on circumstances, really; if you're gigging with the sort of band that a 300w valve head will be able to stretch its legs in (or even if you just want something totally over the top for your house), then a big old monster is a good thing. Having owned and gigged a V4B and an SVT back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I love the sound (tho I'm more a Precision/pick kinda player at heart), but I'm much more practical nowadays, and the Mesa Walkabout ticks all the boxes. It might by 'only' 300w, but through the right speakers (I'm talking sensitivity here) it can go stoooopid loud, and it's the warmest, most valve-like head I've used (and I've owned a LOT of heads, AB and D, including Ashdowns, Markbass, GK, TC, etc, etc), plus it's very portable.

On the other hand, if it's the sound you're after, rather than Stub's 'experience' (and it is an experience to be standing in front of a loud valve stack, tho my tinnitus would mean that by the time it got to trouser-flapping db I'd have my attenuators in, which kinda spoils the effect), the newer modelling/FX devices are scarily close, too...I've had some tones out of the Helix into the FOH/inears which were superb...

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I had an SVT 2 Pro, and although it sounded amazing, it was just too heavy to justify.

I now have a 3 and 7 pro and although they're not as good, they're more than good enough. The 2 Pro gave me a hernia whilst lifting it into my car, seriously!! I've just concluded that these amps suit touring players who have roadies.

When I listen to live recording of me playing through that amp, I often wish I'd never sold it. They are that good, but the weight is honestly ridiculous, like almost a 2 man lift!!

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I've 2 valve Ashdown heads at 30 and 100W and I love them. But if I was in the marked for a more powerful head Id seriously consider a Stoneham YI200 amp. They're based out of Newcastle.  

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On 15/12/2020 at 13:12, Deepfat said:

Hiya!

I've been playing for about 30 years now on and off in original and covers bands.

I like my basses and gear in general. I have an Ashdown ABM500RC (bought new about 20 years ago), through 2x10 and 4x10 plus a Fender Rumble 800 when I want something light.

Both sound really good but I have this itch for a valve amp. A good friend pointed me at this forum for some advice.

Most of the youTube videos of newish valve amps seem to focus on how gritty and distorted they can get. I'm looking for a fat, fibrous, warm, punchy and sweet tone - not to be another Lemmy. Nothing wrong with Lemmy mind, just not the sound I'm looking for.

I mainly play with my MM Stringray or my Fender USA Zone - never really got on with 5 strings. I'm also quite fond of my Kramer which is one hell of a bass for the £200 I paid for it.

I prefer roundwound strings but do have flats on my Chowny and basic Yamaha fretless. Mostly play with fingers - crap at slapping.

The best live bass sound I've heard in many years was the bassist for Maddie & Tae who was using a Mesa Boogie Strategy. That was sweet. 

Anyhow - would any of you nice people be able to offer some advice or am I on a quest for the holy grail? 

Cheers,

Deepfat!

There's an Ashdown CTM300 B stock for sale on their site for £999. I think that should give you all the creamy warm lows you could need without the distorsion.  

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If I had an itch for a valve amp, I'd definitely look to Ashdown, the CTM 300 must be awesome if my CTM 30 Stubby is anything to go by.

If I ever get the chance to gig in a band, it will by a CTM 100 or CTM 300 I'd use.

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I’ve had very mixed results with the valve amps I’ve had / used. I’ve never got on with any Ampeg rig I’ve used, and I’ve used a few. They’ve always seemed a bit too pillowy in the lows and glassy in the highs, which I don’t like. Same with Mess Boogie. I had a similar problem with the 375w Marshall 2001 head I had. In fact the Trace AH150 I had at the time blew it into the dust tone-wise.

After loving a Trace Twin Valve combo I tried I eventually bought a Trace Twin Valve head, but evidently there was some mojo between the speaker and the amp in the combo as the head was hugely disappointing and didn’t sound as good as the Ashdown ABM I had at the time. I had a Fender Bassman 135 which was ok, nothing special, and 2 Marshall Superbass heads, one of which was also ok and the second of which sounded great. Using my basses and playing the way I do, I think I get on better with lower powered, dirtier valve amps. All the big ones seem to drift into the pillowy/glassy thing IME. Of course YMMV. I’d like to try something like a Little Bastard, Little Stubby or similar.

Edited by 4000
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On 17/12/2020 at 12:02, Shaggy said:

I’ve owned and gigged a good few all-valve heads (‘70’s Orange 100W, Fender Bassman 135, Ampeg SVT-2, Trace TwinValve, and Mesa D-180 - I still have the Mesa mainly as it doubles as a guitar head.....) but has been said many times on this forum; it’s darn hard to beat the valve tone and sheer practicalty of the Mesa Walkabout (a 300W hybrid amp of course).   Mine is my go-to head unless I’m playing funk, in which case it’s the Ashdown MK500.

Having said that, I’ve never tried the Handbox, heard very good things. :i-m_so_happy:

If you ever consider letting the d180 go i could be your guy. I have had a number of valve heads and the top 3 would be VBA400 which was just silly loud a real stadium amp that was total overkill for the gigs I was playing with the matching 4x12 cab. A trace V4 1x15 combo which was an extremely capable combo smooth and the indicator valve was memorable green flicker that was strangely addictive to look at when playing. Lastly the d180 I loved mine so much sold it and have regretted it ever since, sounds I could only get from that amp and I even found out it had issues after I sold it on the second channel which i never used still doesnt put me off if I find another I would have one back in a shot but they are very very hard to find.

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Am looking seriously at an Ashdown CTM 30 for home use with my various Cabinets. Have been doing my neighbours heads in with my various OTT heads (though I have a perfectly adequate 75w Practice Amp 😆😜🧐🧐)

On the other hand have been tempted to further delusions of Grandeur with a Laney Nexus Tube 400w (recently serviced by Essex Amps) on evilbay, vendor was prepared to accept £539.

EDIT So I have bought the CTM 30. On evilbay including a MAG 410T Cab for £299 ("final" reduction from £339). Suspect I'll move the cab on for peanuts, will check how it sounds first I guess but I have plenty of Cabs and I live in a top floor walk up flat (64 steps)!!! 🤣

Edited by JottoSW1
New amp day

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Two things.

1. I think what you are looking for is an articulate valve amp that makes the bottom end bloom like only valve amps can.
2. Ampeg amps have this grindy "push/bump" in the lower mids that makes them sound so characteristic. You can not switch this feature off though. Try before buy!

As I pointed out in the first bit, bloom. Did you ever consider a hybrid amp? The Mesa TT800's top channel will give you pretty much this exact sound. It may do the job and is pretty lightweight.

Otherwise like some others already stated an Ashdown valve amp is a pretty good bet. Me I use an old Trace Elliot Hexa Valve I bought for 800, then had its valves replaced for another 500 (the old valves from the early nineties were still in there!).

 

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On 22/12/2020 at 20:45, Woodinblack said:

I have a CTM100 and it does sound good, although I rarely took it to gigs for convenience sake, too big / heavy.

Not that big/heavy for an all valve head . 19kg as far as I know . 

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7 hours ago, Quilly said:

Not that big/heavy for an all valve head . 19kg as far as I know . 

17kgs according to Ashdown.

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12 hours ago, Quilly said:

Not that big/heavy for an all valve head .

No, not that big/heavy *for an all valve head*, but I wasn't making that distinction. For a *thing that I have to carry* it is big and heavy.

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I'd happily recommend a Trace Elliott valve head, I've had a twin, couple of quatra's, v4 & v6. I sold a Hexa, regretted it and found it again in France. Its sporting a revalve via the good folks at Ashdown.

The Twin, Hexa and Quatra do valve sound, deep and articulate (very versatile due to the graphic etc..) and dont really break up too much, certainly not dirty. Not very heavy either.

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Posted (edited)

I notice a couple of people recommended the AD200B. Conveniently, I’ve just listed one for sale.. ;)

 

Edited by Bankai

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The baby size Ampeg tube amps can run without a cab with their internal power soak, turning them into oversize power tube overdriving ''pre'amps''. Use the Fender for powering the cabs. Use baby Ampeg solo at rehearsals.

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When I decided to leave tube amps behind I was using a self designed and built 150W amplifier. I got to designing a SS amp in the pre - stereo power format. 200W/channel at 2Ω. As it was a dual Mono design and had two power transformers it was heavy!

The amp I use today is a Stereo Class D power amp. I built a two channel tube pre-amp to drive it.  I can pick up the rack case it's mounted in with two fingers. Add to that it sounds adorable!! :)

Paul

 

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Has anyone experience of a Laney Nexus Tube Head?

There's one on eBaY AT £599 

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Posted (edited)

Well, the last time I saw one being used in anger was by Glenn Hughes on the Black Country Communion tour a few years ago; I'd guess that's a pretty good endorsement... 😉

Don't forget Leg Day at the gym, tho... 🙂

image.png.7a5b054d75d91f3043b837c30182e852.png

Edited by Muzz
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31 minutes ago, Deepfat said:

Has anyone experience of a Laney Nexus Tube Head?

There's one on eBaY AT £599 

A more modern and British sounding SVT-2 Pro is how I’d describe it when I heard one. Certainly not a bad amp at all. Not sure of the going rate on them though 

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9 hours ago, Bankai said:

A more modern and British sounding SVT-2 Pro is how I’d describe it when I heard one. Certainly not a bad amp at all. Not sure of the going rate on them though 

He sent me an offer for £539 (£60:off).

Think @la bam could comment on this Amp. Tried one briefly in a Studio. Sounded huge, very (too much ?) adjustable. 400 valve watts !!!!

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Laney are a great U.K. brand that often gets over looked and they have some decent guitar and bass amps 

The resale value tends to be a problem and I guess if you plan to keep it it’s not a problem 

Their U.K. service dept is very good too

To me they are the U.K. Peavey of the bass world ie not the best brand name but a very good product. 
 

 

 

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