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What is the "Neve" of Bass Guitar Combo Amps?
Old 22nd February 2013
  #61
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This thread very quickly degenerated into recommendations for obscure boutique horse****, but the man asked for the Holy Grail for bass and the Holy Grail for bass is the B-15 fliptop.

If you need parts go to fliptops.net. I have had good results with them.

If you're thinking late-Sixties rock then the Dual Showman with D-140Fs had a brief reign, and it's still my fave. Fattest sound ever. Ever.

Then along came the Acoustic 360 and everything went to hell. But the SVT was remarkably voiced like a B-15, so it's viable although really only for rock stars with crews.
Old 22nd February 2013
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
This thread very quickly degenerated into recommendations for obscure boutique horse****, but the man asked for the Holy Grail for bass and the Holy Grail for bass is the B-15 fliptop.

If you need parts go to fliptops.net. I have had good results with them.

If you're thinking late-Sixties rock then the Dual Showman with D-140Fs had a brief reign, and it's still my fave. Fattest sound ever. Ever.

Then along came the Acoustic 360 and everything went to hell. But the SVT was remarkably voiced like a B-15, so it's viable although really only for rock stars with crews.
Wow AMEN to this post, right on

I wonder if anyone makes a B-15 clone nowadays?

I am hearing good things about the new Fender Super Bassman series but no one has one around here yet for me to hear.

I have a 65 Dual Showman but I'm a guitarist rather than bassist, but it's a fat sound on guitar as well!

TH
Old 26th February 2013
  #63
Hey, a topic that I know something about! That's doesn't happen too often in Gearslutz heh I have some time to kill, so I hope you don't mind if I geek out and get detailed...

Let's break this down into studio and live situations.

Studio:

One of the best electric bass sounds I have ever gotten in the studio was when I plugged my P bass into a Retrospec Juicebox (a tubed DI with a 12ax7) into the old Neve at Watermusic in Hoboken, NJ. No reamping or anything- bass to DI to Neve. I began by search for the Juicebox that night.

Since then, I've gotten deeper into DIs. A friend of mine recorded Will Lee last year. They had a DI shootout in the studio- Juicebox, Ampeg SVT, Reddi, Avalon U5 come to mind off of the top of my head. Will chose the Ampeg SVT DI.

I own the Juicebox, Ampeg, and Avalon U5, and though all are great, I constantly use the Ampeg SVT DI. In my shootouts, I prefer that one. I've used it for rock and roll P bass stuff, and jazzy 6 string pretty stuff. It just sounds great- period. Plus, it's the cheapest of all of them. I bought mine for $325 used.

I also own a beautiful March of 1961 B15 (with a B18 speaker). It's been completely restored by a great tech in Chicago, complete with the original NOS tubes. Man, what a sound! I've used that in the studio as well by miking it and also running a 1/4 out of the back to a DI. I've never done a direct comparison between the Fliptop and the SVT DI, though. To be honest, unless someone requests the fliptop, I'm happy with just the SVT DI. To my ears, it's not worth the back pain. Maybe I'll have to set up a shoot out here at the house sometime...

Now, onto Live amps!

I've taken my Fliptop out to gigs. First of all- holy COW is that thing heavy. I guess the B15 body would be a little lighter, but still... I recommend carrying them in two pieces.

I was playing with a quartet- organ, guitar, drums, and P bass, doing Donny Hathaway style stuff, in a small club here in NYC. It was great for that gig, but I barely had enough juice to cover the gig. I would never count on that rig to cover all of my work, unless your band has a PA and you can drop a mic in front of the cabinet. Apparently some of the later Fliptops have a little more juice. My tech changed a rectifier for me, which gave me a touch more, but still not enough to be comfortable in a big room. I start getting a bit of tube distortion around 11 o'clock on the knob, which is awesome! However, at 12:30ish, it begins to not be so awesome.

To be safe on that gig, I also threw my Walter Woods into the car. If I didn't have enough juice, I could run the send out of the back of the Ampeg, into the Woods, then have the Woods power the cabinet. However, with that idea in mind I have a better live rig option that gives you the best of both worlds.

In my experience, nothing beats having a giant transformer for electric bass transients. My live rig for serious bass playing is an Epifani 502 head into an Epifani UL 2 10" with a tweeter cabinet. However, I have a little trick. I place a little two tube device (in series) in the effects send and return. My signal hits the pre, runs through two tubes, then hits the poweramp and onto the speakers. This works great for the Donny Hathaway style bands, to my 6 string Brazilian pop band stuff! Having a tube or two in my signal path is a MUST for me.

I did a shoot out on a horn band gig one time. I had my Epifani rig and P bass, but I would play a tune with the tubes on, then with the tubes off. The sax player is an engineer as well, so were completely geeking out. The end result? Tubes in the pre are a must. Everyone in the band could hear the bass better without feeling like the bass was loud. When the tubes were off, the bass sounded to loud, but it was hard to hear what I was playing.

There are a lot of tube buffers out there. I used one that was made for stereos by a company called Grant Fidelity. I later learned that Grant Fidelity just repackaged a Chinese buffer made by Yaqin, which you can find on eBay. It has stere RCA outs, so I plug it in with RCA to 1/4 adapters like this: Amp send to red in, RCA red out to black RCA in, then black RCA back to the amp with a 1/4 adapter. This way I hit the tubes in series. You could probably do the same thing by running the effects send and return through the Ampeg SVT, or by simply using that DI as it's supposed to.

I'll upload some photos. I recently did a tour where I brought out my Acoustic Image bass head, mainly because I was playing upright in addition to electric. It's a great amp that I highly recommend. It's probably the best of the light bass amps, in my opinion. Anyway, you can see my signal path for the electric bass- bass to Ampeg SVT Di to the front of the house. I plugged my acoustic directly into the Acoustic Image. There's a shot of my Epifani rig with the Retrospec Juicebox sitting on top of it. We were doing a live DVD shoot, so I ran the DI to the board. (That's my '69 P bass in the shot). I also found a pict of my Fliptop in its pre-restoration state. I can't remember what the beer was

Great thread!

-Phil
www.philpalombi.com

P.S. I should note that I am an endorser of Acoustic Image, and I was an endorser for Epifani, but- and here's a big BUT - I am not a paid endorser. I had to pay for everything. Even though I got a discount on the gear, I actually fell in love with the gear first, and then contacted the company about giving me a break on the price. If they had told me no, I would have STILL bought their products. Just thought I should mention that in case anyone finds me online and sees a link to the company. I'm not trying to troll here...
Attached Thumbnails
What is the "Neve" of Bass Guitar Combo Amps?-ampeg-pre-restoration.jpg   What is the "Neve" of Bass Guitar Combo Amps?-epifani-tubes.jpg   What is the "Neve" of Bass Guitar Combo Amps?-epifani.jpg   What is the "Neve" of Bass Guitar Combo Amps?-acoustic-image.jpg  
Old 26th February 2013
  #64
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 

I had Ben Fargen build a 100 watt bass head for me....based around a Dual Showman OT. His own bass and treble circuit (where they actually cut from 5 below, unlike the Fender BF), and a midrange voiced like a B-15. I use it into an open back Mojo Sound 1x12 w/ a Celestion G12K-100.

I won't say what it cost, but it was VERY reasonable. Way cheaper than what vintage B-15s are going for, and no more expensive than most current mass produced tube bass heads.

This is it, next to a 60 watt Custom Dual Classic (CH 1: Fender BF, CH 2: JTM 45):

Old 28th February 2013
  #65
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_Ludovico's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
This thread very quickly degenerated into recommendations for obscure boutique horse****, but the man asked for the Holy Grail for bass and the Holy Grail for bass is the B-15 fliptop.
yes! Answer to the question is as simple as that.
The Neve of bass amps is the b15.

Though remember, just like Neve, it has a sound, instantly recognizable yes, but THAT sound. It's also a very weak amp, it won't shake the ground for sure. It's a studio amp only!
It's also 5000$ for that matter. I'm sure you can find something for 1/3 of that price

Try one though, you'll hear it. Hear the sounds you've heard on many records. It's fun!
Old 1st March 2013
  #66
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My 1965 original is priced at a fraction of $5000.
Old 1st March 2013
  #67
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_Ludovico's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
My 1965 original is priced at a fraction of $5000.
oh really, you mean you have one for sale right now?
Old 1st March 2013
  #68
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Yes.

Old 2nd March 2013
  #69
One more thing. Just so you know, if you happen to pick up an old Ampeg, you absolutely MUST have a tech go over it and make a few updates for you.

As my tech explained it to me, there is a capacitor that's nicknamed "the death cap". Apparently, when it fails (not IF- WHEN it fails) it runs direct AC into the chassis of the amp.

As I mentioned before, my friend rebuilt the amp for me and also made a few common sense adjustments. For instance, in the stock amp, if it were to get knocked over for some reason and the plug was caught on something, the ground would pull loose inside the amp before the hot wire. My amp was adjusted to have a lot more ground wire slack inside the amp (something Jess Oliver acknowledged as a good idea...).

Also, my tech added a cap in in the output jack (or thereabouts) that would protect the amp if someone ever powered it up without a speaker load attached. He said that it should hold up fine, but don't try to use it as an artificial load source. He built a separate load box for me so I could use it in the studio without a cabinet if I wanted to.

As far as the price, I bought mine in great shape (for 1961) for $1,000. If I didn't have a friend building it for me, it would have probably cost another $1000 or so for the rebuild, and maybe another $350 for the NOS tubes (though you could buy new tubes for less that would sound great). Apparently the original NOS power tubes, as my guy put it, are as rare as hen's teeth! I have a NOS pair, but he also gave me some great new Russian tubes to use. I save the old NOS tubes for recording sessions.

That said, it really is a one trick pony. I love my Fliptop, but it has a very narrow spectrum of use. I've used just the preamp side of it for recording, which is nice, but simply adding some tubes to your signal chain will give you that tube thing. I guess you could call it the "Neve" of bass amps, but Neve's are a lot more versatile. If you have the bread, it's good to have a B-15 in your arsenal.

-Phil
Old 5th March 2013
  #70
This is what I use, but I haven't seen any hit the used market for years. Kagen designed modern B15 tone monster for Pignose. If you can find one you'll save a ton of money over the B15.


Also, the Mesa walkabouts are pretty fantastic from what I've been told.


If you can find one of these in good condition they are worth it, the Mesa Buster, they also had a non-wedge combo...
Old 6th March 2013
  #71
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the aguilar tonehammer into a one of their cabs such as a DB212 is it. When I think neve 1073 I think of thick low end that isn't overly wooly. The mid range is robust with a smooth high end. "HiFi" When I tried out the aguilar rig I thought hifi. I like mesa boogie combo's too.
Old 6th March 2013
  #72
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also, not all ampeg B-15's sound the same. Some are most definitely rock oriented while others were more towards the motown sound. I don't know what years are what, but I have played 8 or 9 vintage b-15's and to me it was either skewed towards those to different genre's.
Old 7th March 2013
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan jetter View Post
B15 for not heavy music.
The original B15 isn't, but the B15R takes a big step into that area. It gets the old B15 sounds but steps into more modern tones as well.Highly recommended, if you can find one that won't break the bank.
Old 8th March 2013
  #74
Call me Crazy, but the best all around tone i have found in a bass amp of any size, is a Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scout 12" combo. Sells new for $1600 and worth every penny.
If you are familiar with talkbass.com you can usually find one used in their classifieds, for $1000 or so. Smooth Creamy, bass, to subyle tube drive. I've even let metal heads take her out, everybody loves her. Find a mesa dealer, and try one for yourself. You will only need one modern bass amp. This is the one.

Erin
Old 8th March 2013
  #75
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Matchless Thunderman!
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Old 8th March 2013
  #76
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Blast9's Avatar
Wonder if Kestral ever bought anything?

Good to see the Dual Showman mentioned - probably quite cheap.
THe clips I've heard of the new Super Bassman sound great - but... you know - big with lots of tubes!


B15 - yes!

Aguilar - spectacular through an Ampeg 8 x 10 (generally not my favourite cab) I'm sure it sounds even more spectacula through 4 x 10s

Hiwatt DR103 - great through the right cab.
Old 9th March 2013
  #77
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MREVOL's Avatar
 

So, I'm interested in this topic too and have been looking at B15's, but there are different models. So which model should I be looking at?
Old 31st March 2013
  #78
Quote:
Originally Posted by uijui View Post
Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scout and a set of flatwounds should sound rather Claytonian...
Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scout, will give any reasonable bass player everything they need. Its not inexpensive, but you will never need anything else.
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