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"tubular" Solid State Amps?

Discussion in 'Bass Amps & Cabinets' started by kimgee, May 26, 2017.

  1. kimgee

    kimgee Wenge Taste Tester Good Vibe Sponsor

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    The recent thread here "All Tube Amps Rule!!" made me wonder if there were any solid state amps that produced a sound pretty similar to an all tube amp. I have a couple all tube heads, and I really like them, but the maintenance and weight, and their relative fragility, made me think about trying to find a solid state amp that sounded like a tube amp. I have a few all solid state amps that I used to like, but after using tube amps for a while, they now sound too "tinny" or shrill to my spoiled ears. I did some research and found an amp that I really like. It has a tube pre-amp and compression, but a solid state amplifier. It is the MarkBass TTE 800:

    20170516_215325.jpg

    I have been using it for a few weeks now, and I really like it. They have been discontinued, sadly, but seem to be readily available on the used market. I got this one on Reverb for a, very reasonable IMHO, $600USD. It is in mint condition with a nice padded case. There was also another very similar one for sale at that time. It is light, powerful, and sounds awesome! The pre-amp tubes should last a very long time. I am not real sure about the compression tube, but I would expect it to have a similar lifetime.....only time will tell. Amusingly, there are a number of amber LEDs on the top circuit board that produce a glow inside the case to make it look like there are a bunch of tubes in there. I am pretty sure they serve no other purpose. A nice effect I guess, but otherwise useless. But hey, the sucker sounds great, and that's what counts.

    There is more info about it on the MarkBass website:

    MARKBASS | Products | TTE 800
     
  2. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I believe the tte800 has been replaced by an upgraded version, the tte801 which retails for 999 euros over here.

    My personal experience is hybrid amps can add some tube warmth by saturating the tube(s) in the pre-amp section. This makes them sound really nice and lively. An all tube amp however has a lot more punch and heft to it then any amp with solid state or class D powersection I have tried yet. Do note that all the tube amps I played through do heavily colour your tone and this might not be everyone's cup of tea.

    Me I prefer using the Mesa Prodigy amp, but that said I am also very happy with my Darkglass class D amp which sounds really really great and ultra clean.

    In the end, like with many other things both have their pro's and cons. I just kept both and keep enjoying both. It makes my bass work more playful.
     
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  3. Nachobassman

    Nachobassman Bass, Tapas, and Rn´R!

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    I had the chance to play one TTE500 a couple of days and I have to say it sounded really good to my ears, way better than the "normal" MarkBass amps.

    Hybrid amps are nice because they normally weight in less than all-tube amps and having real tubes/valves in the preamp section makes them sound warmer than all solid-state or class D amps.

    Ampeg has been producing their SVT-3 for decades, I guess if the SVT classic is their flagship, the SVT-3 head is the unsung heroe in their herd.
     
  4. kimgee

    kimgee Wenge Taste Tester Good Vibe Sponsor

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    You are right they do now make a TTE 801. However, I personally don't think it is an upgrade. They moved the location of manufacture from Italy to Indonesia.......not encouraging.:( And worse still, they got rid of the grilled top and tone enhancing amber glow!!! Bummer man!;)

    MARKBASS | Products | TTE 801
     
  5. Nightmaresandconclusions

    Nightmaresandconclusions

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    My Hellborg rig sounds like a tube amp but weights the same or more ha ha.

    Iv found most light weight class D amps sound one dimensional or boring. I guess the hybrid amps out their might get you close but its hard to get that nice saturation sound without either large transformers or tubes.

    My Markbass classic 300 tube amp is half the weight of an Ampeg and still lighter than my hellborg.
     
  6. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    The tube amp is not just the sound, but the dynamics envelope. The closest experience to a full tube amp to me was the TC Electronic amp, I don't remember the model, the one with 3 presets :)
    It just feels very very good to me, very "rubbery" fat sound.
     
  7. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Well I don't really care anymore for hybrids... I got the Mesa and well errr.....

    INCOMING!!!!

    hexa.jpg
     
  8. Augie

    Augie The Desert Bass-ape

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    Markbass do a nice hybrid amp. I have had a TA503 for ages and really like it. Im not a big fan of the massive but flubbery all tube sound, and cant handle the way rigs like ampeg or marshal heads colour my sound so much.
    One trick with the TA amps is that they have a pre valve and a valve in the effects loop. The loop tube is a lower output one (ECC81), but I had mine (accidently) replaced with a ECC83 preamp tube. so I can now bridge the effect loop and run the signal through two serial toobs and produce a much more drive-y tube sound. Thinking about making a switcher to do this via my board.
     
  9. Rehan

    Rehan

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    I like the tube warmth but not the slow attack of an all tube amp. I alternate between finger style and slap style quite a bit so I need the quicker attack of a solid state power section. I also do not like the typically heavy weight of all tube amps. The best amps I've found that do this for me with a deep, warm and thick low end yet hi-fi top end are a Demeter VTBP-M-800D (800w/10 pounds) and TecAmp Puma 900 (900w/2.5 pounds).

    IMG_0036.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  10. Madmaskbass

    Madmaskbass Supporting Member

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    Tubelike solid state..yep Mesa bigblock 750 was a pretty solid representation of this category it's big brother the Titan even moreso...not in production just like all the rest of the Mesa hybrids but boy can they make a decent bass sing!
     
  11. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Slow attack? The Trace Hexa Valve has more attack, punch and gut then any other amp I played thru... main aspect that makes me prefer it over solid state amp tho is its beefy powerful lower end and the 12band eq that has its frequencies at very useful points in especially the lows and mids. I can mold any tone I want with it.
     
  12. jcburn

    jcburn

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    My Warwick Quad VI definitely has tube warmth and girth (and weight ). 3 preamp tubes, 1 power tube, mosfet power section.
    It stays clean right through the input gain dial....doesnt really do any sort of grit or break up but I love the tone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  13. Nightmaresandconclusions

    Nightmaresandconclusions

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    yeah unsure why people think tubes are slow.
     
  14. Rehan

    Rehan

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    I don’t necessarily think tubes are slow. My Demeter head has two tubes in it. A 12ax7 in the preamp and a 12at7 driving the class D power section and it is one of the quickest amps I’ve ever played with a very fast attack. Solid state power amps are known to have a faster attack in general than all tube power amps. Below is a link to just one article regarding different types of power sections in bass amps, in which it mentions solid state power amps having a faster attack and I’ve read many others regarding the same topic. But the biggest factor for me was the experiences I had owning 2 all tube amps in the past. One was a Mesa Boogie 400+ and the other was an Aguilar DB728 power amp driven by a Demeter VTBP-201s preamp. I really liked the lush tone (especially for finger style playing), but I’m a slapper and I didn’t get along with the slower attack of either of them.

    Tube Amps vs. Solid State Amps

    Below is a link to a review of the Demeter VT-400D amp which is the half power version of the Demeter amp I have. The reviewer mentions the slower attack of all tube amps in the last paragraph.

    Demeter VT 400D Bass Amp - Bass Gear
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  15. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Damping factor. The ability to stop the motion of a big speaker.
    Solid state amps are better at this, they have a more solid grip on the speaker so to say.
    For this reason Solid state amps are less "picky" about which speaker works well with them then tube amps are.

    But all this technical stuff aside, what defines a great bass tone? Does it have to be hi-fi? I do not think so.
    I strongly feel an amp+cab have to be responsive and lively sounding so you enjoy your playing to the max.

    Either way, I am also very happy playing through the Darkglass M900 at home, which doesn't have any loud fans being noisy in between my playing.
    And that amp doesn't sound warm or lively at all. It is modern and tight and hi-fi.

    In the band however, the tube amps blend much better in the total mix. This is why I use them.
     
  16. krkozbassman

    krkozbassman

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    I am really loving my new (only $150 at GC!) SWR Bass 350!!! Although it does have one 12AX7 in the preamp.
    IMG_1568.JPG
     
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  17. andrew92

    andrew92

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    use to own a tte500

    best hybrid amp going. Takes to distortion pedals like a champ too.
     
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  18. Foal30

    Foal30 Supporting Member

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    I like the early Ashdown ABM Klystron Magnifiers.
     
  19. Foal30

    Foal30 Supporting Member

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    I like the old Ashdown ABM Klystron solid state amps
     
  20. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    [​IMG]
    The Sansamp in this one does a remarkable job, sounds really good and it is a CHEAP amp. In fact I prefer this over a real Ampeg any time.
    It misses a mute switch and dedicated tuner output but if you plug a tuner into the send output you can utilize the loop button to mute/tune.

    I prefer this one over the Darkglass M900 as it is more "tubular". Wow.
     
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