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Good value used tube amps


SteveXFR

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As much as I love the sound of my Trace Elliot GP12SMX head I really need something with some more head room and some more gain. It's only 280W and it sounds amazing clean but just farts when you push the gain up. 

I'm running two cabs, a 4x10 and 1x15, both 8 ohm and both 320 watt.

I'm looking for suggestions for a head which will give me a bit more gain and more power but with a decent built in EQ. I'd prefer a MOSFET to class D power section just because it's proper components that can be repaired if it dies. Does such a thing exist for £300 - £500? Maybe an old Peavey or Ashdown or a bigger Trace?

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16 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

Sorry, valve amps

Do you mean a hybrid amp? Valve pre, mosfet power? 

Ashdown ABM would be my first thought, but I wouldn't disregard class d amps too quickly or you miss out on the glory that is the Orange Terror Bass. 

Edited by Bigwan
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I know I’m very biased, but if you love your SMX I’d suggest getting your hands on an AH400 version. Cheap as chips and you’ll never run out of headroom, although I’m quite surprised you’re running out now tbh.

Edited by Deedee
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I think you could well be running out of cab rather than watts. 

My 250smx doesn't do overdriven tones but it will murder 300w cabs with too much low end, no problem.

For drive you can put something like a BDDI in front. I like mine breaking up when I dig in and otherwise only warmed up.

 

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37 minutes ago, Bigwan said:

Do you mean a hybrid amp? Valve pre, mosfet power? 

Ashdown ABM would be my first thought, but I wouldn't disregard class d amps too quickly or you miss out on the glory that is the Orange Terror Bass. 

I won't miss out on the Terror, I've got one. It's a great amp but cranked loud the Trace just sounds better. I love the Terror at home with my little 2x12 cab but with a 4x10 and 1x15 it just doesn't sound as good.

 

13 minutes ago, Deedee said:

I know I’m very biased, but if you love your SMX I’d suggest getting your hands on an AH400 version. Cheap as chips and you’ll never run out of headroom, although I’m quite surprised you’re running out now tbh.

I certainly wouldn't be against a bigger Trace head. I'd be open to full valve but I think in my price range, valve pre amp and mosfet power is probably the best I'll get

I've got to get past two guitarists with big bi amp setups and a loud drummer which I think is why I end up so loud.

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@Downunderwonder may have hit the button re the cabs you’re using. If you were to use a/a couple of modern, Uber efficient cabs I think you may find that you have plenty of oomph. I used to use my 250 SMX regularly with, initially a Barefaced Super 12 then a Super Twin.  I couldn’t imagine ever needing more headroom.

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You should probably prioritise quality ear protection over a new amp. 

Also, what sounds like it's running out of steam in a rehearsal room when you're stood in front of it might be crushing the ribs of someone at the back of a gig... 

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9 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

I think you could well be running out of cab rather than watts. 

My 250smx doesn't do overdriven tones but it will murder 300w cabs with too much low end, no problem.

For drive you can put something like a BDDI in front. I like mine breaking up when I dig in and otherwise only warmed up.

 

Exactly my thoughts. “Farty” is a term I associate with speakers going to their limits.

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16 minutes ago, Merton said:

Exactly my thoughts. “Farty” is a term I associate with speakers going to their limits.

The farting isn't due to volume. It's only if I try turning up the gain. Doesn't matter whether the output is on 3 or 9 it still farts at high gain settings. 

The cabs probably are inefficient but they do sound good.

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18 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

The farting isn't due to volume. It's only if I try turning up the gain. Doesn't matter whether the output is on 3 or 9 it still farts at high gain settings. 

The cabs probably are inefficient but they do sound good.

Ah ok. How’s your EQ set? Possibly too much bottom end in the preamp causing it to clip as you increase the gain?

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3 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

The farting isn't due to volume. It's only if I try turning up the gain. Doesn't matter whether the output is on 3 or 9 it still farts at high gain settings. 

The cabs probably are inefficient but they do sound good.

My 250 doesn't put out much more at 4 than 3 and no more after 4.

My Kaman vintage Trace 1518 is a very efficient cab but will fart out with relatively low volume if you fail to tailor the low end EQ.

Turning up the input gain is turning up the volume, until the preamp clips or a cab gives up. Mine stays clean all the way with a passive bass.

My money is still on the 15 being the source of your breakup.

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2 minutes ago, Merton said:

Ah ok. How’s your EQ set? Possibly too much bottom end in the preamp causing it to clip as you increase the gain?

This is exactly how I'm running the EQ. Input gain at 6 and output at 8.5

20210711_130811.jpg

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Well there's your problem right there son!

If you had read the fine manual you would know that is how not to set the EQ.

Push that red slider down to the bottom and leave it there. The 40 can go down to -6dB for good measure. Your 15 doesn't do much with 40hz except flap about.

Now obviously you like a big old scoop in your mids but indulge me and move the rest of the sliders up so between 60hz and 5kHz they average 0dB. You can safely leave the last two on the floor.

You could have 60hz on +3dB but I wouldn't go any more.

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That EQ curve, along with the pre shape being set “on”, is emphasising the low end an awful lot. Increasing the gain will be causing your speakers grief and I expect, as @Downunderwonder said, it’s probably the 15” which is struggling.

Edited by Merton
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6 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Well there's your problem right there son!

If you had read the fine manual you would know that is how not to set the EQ.

Manual?? I haven't got one of them.

I'll try your EQ tips and see how it goes. Maybe letting the guitarist adjust my EQ while I was bashing out some Stooges was a mistake, it does sound good with these settings. 

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1 minute ago, SteveXFR said:

Manual?? I haven't got one of them.

I'll try your EQ tips and see how it goes. Maybe letting the guitarist adjust my EQ while I was bashing out some Stooges was a mistake, it does sound good with these settings. 

Explains all. It sounds good with next to no volume. Your guitarist has ''more me'' syndrome. He has left you a little clank at 5k and the rest is pure boom. Inside those ranges he is blazing away with goosed guitar lows that are the bass tone mids.

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5 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Explains all. It sounds good with next to no volume. Your guitarist has ''more me'' syndrome. He has left you a little clank at 5k and the rest is pure boom. Inside those ranges he is blazing away with goosed guitar lows that are the bass tone mids.

He's playing baritone rhythm guitar and the lead guitarist is tuned to drop A# as well so they're both pretty low.

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1 minute ago, SteveXFR said:

He's playing baritone rhythm guitar and the lead guitarist is tuned to drop A# as well so they're both pretty low.

Good luck then. I really don't get guitar playing loud in the bass range. Reduces the bass to something like a 44gal drum with the top off being hit with a 4x2.

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2 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Good luck then. I really don't get guitar playing loud in the bass range. Reduces the bass to something like a 44gal drum with the top off being hit with a 4x2.

Yup. Took a long time for one of my guitarist friends to realise that a lot of the balls from the guitar actually comes from NOT boosting the lows, and giving the bass clean space to work in. Works really well on rock stuff where the bass and rhythm guitar are tending to do similar things.

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Yes that eq will sound really nice on its won but get buried in the mix. Depending on the roles of the bass and guitar in the band  it could work but the fact you`ve raised this post says it`s not, and adding more power or speakers will rumble the optics behind the bar to shattering point and really durge the sound out.

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3 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

Yes that eq will sound really nice on its won but get buried in the mix. Depending on the roles of the bass and guitar in the band  it could work but the fact you`ve raised this post says it`s not, and adding more power or speakers will rumble the optics behind the bar to shattering point and really durge the sound out.

With low tuned guitars the OP would probably better inverting that EQ setting (within reason! Nothing too extreme!). 

The biggest mistake anyone in a band can make is to EQ solo, because you'll only sound good solo. 

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