Jump to content


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

Amp heads 1000w best worst

125 replies to this topic

#1 Al Krow

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 881 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:East London
  • Interests:Live music, photography, movies.

Posted 07 June 2017 - 09:58 AM

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, 07 June 2017 - 11:32 AM.

Bass player in JukeBox City and The Retros fBook & YouTube - Al Krow

Ibanez SR1800, Sandberg TM4, Yamaha BB425, Warwick Corvette $$ 5, Stagg EDB 3/4
Mesa M6 (combo), Markbass 121 AC (combo)
Smooth Hound wireless, COG T16, Zoom B3n, Aguilar FT, Aguilar Chorusaurus, TwoNotes Le Bass, Aguilar TLC [Ciocks DC8 power]
Recording: Boss RC-30, Focusrite 6i6, Reaper software, Rode NT1a

Feedback

#2 Andytre

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 248 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nottingham
  • Interests:Bass, mountain bikes and audio

Posted 07 June 2017 - 10:40 AM

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!
Fender Dee Dee Remone Precision
Musicman SUB U.S.A
4xBitsa P
Bitsa J
7 HB dekos
Genz Benz ShuttleMax 12.2
Ashdown Eb180 head
2x Genz benz focus 1x12
1x10 DIY cab
1x15 DIY cab

#3 Dan Dare

    Not getting any younger

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,087 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Smoke
  • Interests:Music, Watersports, Bikes, Beer

Posted 07 June 2017 - 10:52 AM

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.

#4 markstuk

    Hyper elite member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,031 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Banbury Oxon
  • Interests:Bass, Keyboards, Motorcycling, Shooting, Reading and Gliding

Posted 07 June 2017 - 11:06 AM

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

Dingwall ABZ5 Natural with John East P-retro - 4326 (DOB 27th of July 2010).. Custom Jazz 5/J-retro/big singles Dingwall Z3 - 4589 - DOB 28/12/2011

TC RH750 / Glockenklang Heart Rock II

Barefaced Super Twelve T/Tecamp 810/Barefaced Gen 1 Compact

Yamaha CP300/Roland AX-Synth


Basschat Feedback

Ebay Feedback (900 odd/100%)

#5 JapanAxe

    My other bass is a Precision.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,104 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Swindon

Posted 07 June 2017 - 11:15 AM

Demeter (see sig) - superb sound, excellent DI sound (where fitted), plenty of hadroom, no fan, weighs lesst than 11lb, looks like a 'proper' amp.
Bass Guitars | Fender Precision (USA 1973) | Fender Precision '63 AVRI (USA 2015) | Fender Mustang FSR (Japan 2016) | Kala U-bass

Backline | Demeter VTBP-M-800D | Markbass Nano Mark 300 | Barefaced Compact & Midget (vintage silver) | Markbass Micromark 801

Posted Image FEEDBACK

#6 Cuzzie

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 617 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol

Posted 07 June 2017 - 11:29 AM

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, 07 June 2017 - 11:29 AM.


#7 xgsjx

    Thingy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,868 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth

Posted 07 June 2017 - 11:59 AM

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

#8 leroydiamond

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 992 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:galway ireland

Posted 07 June 2017 - 12:19 PM

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.

#9 Osiris

    Alright me duck?

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 380 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Shire
  • Interests:Believing everything I read on the internet

Posted 07 June 2017 - 12:41 PM

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.

#10 Cuzzie

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 617 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol

Posted 07 June 2017 - 12:45 PM

View Postxgsjx, on 07 June 2017 - 11:59 AM, said:

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

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

#11 Paul S

    Is this the custom member title?

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,042 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Thames Delta
  • Interests:Music,other stuff.

Posted 07 June 2017 - 12:59 PM

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.
My feedback

Band Illegal Tender and another band Just Jovi

#12 Muzz

    Hyper elite member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,266 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oldham

Posted 07 June 2017 - 01:14 PM

View PostOsiris, on 07 June 2017 - 12:41 PM, said:

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.

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, 07 June 2017 - 01:20 PM.

Rig: Magellan 800, Mesa Walkabout, BF Super Twin, SonicPort/iPad/Jamup, OBBM Cables.
Basses: Dingwall, Shuker, various mongrels.
Bands: www.thisunevensky.co.uk, www.noelfraser.com

#13 Cuzzie

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 617 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol

Posted 07 June 2017 - 01:49 PM

Always had an inkling for a Tech 21 Landmark or VT series

#14 Cuzzie

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 617 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol

Posted 07 June 2017 - 01:51 PM

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

#15 wateroftyne

    SHAZAM!

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,370 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Geordie Delta

Posted 07 June 2017 - 02:01 PM

Handbox R-400 for me, 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*


Basses: Fender '73 Precision Fretted (rosewood) | Fender '71 Precision Fretless (rosewood) | Maruszczyk Jake P/J (x2)
Amplification: HandBox R-400 head | TKS Engineering S112 & S212 cabs | Ibanez Promethean P5110


Bands: The Lindisfarne Story | The Caffreys | Rosie & the Hips

See all my basses here | Watch video clips of them here | Hey! I've got feedback!

#16 molan

    Beyond hope

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,268 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Oxfordshire

Posted 07 June 2017 - 02:04 PM

View PostJapanAxe, on 07 June 2017 - 11:15 AM, said:

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

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.
Partner at www.bassgear.co.uk - subjective comments made here on BC are purely personal views as a gigging bassist!

My Feedback

#17 gjones

    Yer only as good as yer drummer.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,892 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Edinburgh

Posted 07 June 2017 - 02:08 PM

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, 07 June 2017 - 06:07 PM.

My Feedback http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=...0&hl=gjones


Fender Jazz, J-retro, GK MB500, Barefaced Compact

#18 xgsjx

    Thingy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,868 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth

Posted 07 June 2017 - 02:08 PM

View PostCuzzie, on 07 June 2017 - 12:45 PM, said:

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

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:

#19 Cuzzie

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 617 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol

Posted 07 June 2017 - 02:18 PM

View Postxgsjx, on 07 June 2017 - 02:08 PM, said:



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:

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!!

#20 drake

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 53 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 June 2017 - 02:52 PM

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....

#21 Treb

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 201 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Hague, Netherlands

Posted 07 June 2017 - 04:20 PM

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

#22 Al Krow

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 881 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:East London
  • Interests:Live music, photography, movies.

Posted 07 June 2017 - 04:28 PM

View Postmolan, on 07 June 2017 - 02:04 PM, said:

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 :)


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!
Bass player in JukeBox City and The Retros fBook & YouTube - Al Krow

Ibanez SR1800, Sandberg TM4, Yamaha BB425, Warwick Corvette $$ 5, Stagg EDB 3/4
Mesa M6 (combo), Markbass 121 AC (combo)
Smooth Hound wireless, COG T16, Zoom B3n, Aguilar FT, Aguilar Chorusaurus, TwoNotes Le Bass, Aguilar TLC [Ciocks DC8 power]
Recording: Boss RC-30, Focusrite 6i6, Reaper software, Rode NT1a

Feedback

#23 Jack

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 756 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Newcastle, UK

Posted 07 June 2017 - 06:19 PM

View Postdrake, on 07 June 2017 - 02:52 PM, said:

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....


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

#24 Japhet

    Fully fledged member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 978 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Beer, music, motorbikes, rugby, beer, gear accumulation, football and beer,

Posted 07 June 2017 - 06:35 PM

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.
Musicman Stingray 4
Lakland Skyline 55 01
Tokai Hard Puncher
Weber Mywatt 200
Tecamp Back Jag
Genz Benz Steamliner 600
TechSoundsystems 2x12
TechSoundsystems 2x10 Combo
Tecamp 1x12

#25 machinehead

    Very Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,456 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:N. Ireland

Posted 07 June 2017 - 06:53 PM

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.
My feedback: http://basschat.co.u..._1#entry3072762


Bass guitars by Fender (American Standard Jazz 2010, American Standard Precision 2008, American Standard Jaguar 2014, American Vintage Hotrod 70s Jazz 2013, Musicman (USA SUB 2005) and Steinberger XT-2.

Amps by Thunderfunk (TFB550), EBS (Reidmar 750), GK (MB200).

Cabs by Barefaced Audio. (BB2 G3), (Super Midget G3) and (One10).

#26 dannybuoy

    Fingering Am

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,365 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cambs

Posted 07 June 2017 - 08:31 PM

Orange Terror Bass. Mucho heft.

#27 The_Rodster

    No longer a newbie

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cinderford

Posted 07 June 2017 - 08:32 PM

View PostPaul S, on 07 June 2017 - 12:59 PM, said:

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.


I've also been enjoying the Orange Terror Bass 500. I originally bought it as a back up for my Ampeg, then I thought I'd get a couple of Orange SP212's and use it for small gigs. However it's been my main gigging rig for several months now! Like Paul S says it doesn't have a lot of variety but if you like what it does it's great, especially for its' size and weight
Basses: '90 Gibson Thunderbird, '99 Gibson Thunderbird, '00 Gibson Thunderbird (Ebony), '12 Gibson Thunderbird Non Reverse, '97 Epiphone Thunderbird Non Reverse, '13 Epiphone Thunderbird II (White), '13 Epiphone Thunderbird (White), '09 Epiphone EB3 (White), '13 Epiphone EB3 (Ebony), '03 Epiphone Les Paul Standard, '90s Washburn B200, '80s Vox Fretless, '77 Rickenbacker 4001, Dobro acoustic bass, Ibanez Artcore

Amps: Ampeg V4BH, Orange TB500, Orange AD200

Cabs: Ampeg Classic 15", Ampeg Classic 2x10", Orange OBC115, Orange SP2112

The Dirk Spangle Five:
https://www.facebook.com/dirkspangle5/

https://play.spotify.com/artist/4B4p7eSt0ajKTevORCstMS?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open

#28 warwickhunt

    Are you the Moderator? I've come on this forum by mistake

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,564 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North of the Tyne

Posted 07 June 2017 - 08:41 PM

Another for Thunderfunk 550 or 750. ;)
Variously using Warwick, Musicman or Bolin basses.
Played through; Thunderfunk + TC RS210 cabs
Whilst imbibing; Fine Wine or Bottles of 'Dog'.

My feedback: http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=...;hl=warwickhunt

#29 Lozz196

    Basschat Lifer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,484 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hemel Hempstead, Herts (J8 on M1)

Posted 07 June 2017 - 08:52 PM

I`ve had numerous amps over the years - since joining Basschat that is. Too many to list but those I`d mention as being ones I`ve particularly liked are the Markbass Little Mark Tube, Aguilar Tonehammer, and Ashdown ABM600-EVO IV & RM-500-EVO. I`m yet to have an amp that I don`t like as I can usually find a sound I can work with from most.
Fender, Rotosound, Ashdown, Tech21, OBBM/Rock-Wire

My Feedback http://basschat.co.u..._1#entry1802027

Playing Bass for Knock Off - https://knockoff.wix.com/knockoff

Knock Off October 2017 Activity:
Fri 06 - Butlins, Skegness (8pm, main stage)
Sun 08 - Arches, Coventry
Sat 14 - New Cross Inn, London
Sat 28 - The Castle Tavern, Sheerness

Currently selling:
Fender 2002 US Precision, Fender Dee Dee Ramone Precision
Ashdown RM610 Cab, Ashdown RM414 Cab (a 4ohm 410 with upgraded Eminence Beta speakers)

#30 chris_b

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,333 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London

Posted 07 June 2017 - 08:53 PM

I haven't owned a bad amp in the dozen or so I've had in the last 10 years, but my go-to amp since it came out has been the Aguilar TH500.

Having said that, the best amp would have to be either of my Thunderfunks, the 550 and then the 750.
Sadowsky~Lull~Fender~Aguilar~Barefaced~obbm~Wolfcraft


People think I'm getting old! Watch out, I'm just getting started!


For Sale
Sadowsky RV5 http://basschat.co.u...__fromsearch__1





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users