Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Postby Jon S. » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:01 pm

I'd be surprised if no one has asked about or tried this previously but I tried several forum Searchers and came up empty-handed so I thought I'd start a new thread. The thought has occurred to me that a bass amp, particularly one mating a tube preamp with a solid state power amp, might just work for ballpark Jerry tone at an affordable price and compact size/weight. Like this head, for example (just one of many possibilities - SWR also comes to mind, I myself own their CA Blond and find it to be quite versatile). Anyone using a bass amp like it for Jerry tones? Anyone else consider it? What were your experiences/thoughts?

LITTLE MARK TUBE 800

INPUTS

INPUT 1
impedance 500 Kohm, max. voltage 15 Vpp
INPUT 2 (Balanced XLR/1/4" combo)
balanced, impedance 500 Kohm, max. voltage 15 Vpp, phantom power 48V
EFFECT RETURN
impedance 33 Kohm, max. voltage 10 Vpp

CONTROLS

GAIN 1
-60 dB to +23 dB range
GAIN 2
-60 dB to +23 dB range
MIX
mixes tube and solid state gain
MASTER VOLUME
LINE OUT LEVEL
GROUND LIFT
switch on rear panel
PRE/POST EQ
switch on rear panel
MUTE
push/pull on master knob

EQUALIZATION

LOW
center frequency: 40 Hz; level: ±16 dB
LOW MID
center frequency: 360 Hz, level: ±16 dB
HIGH MID
center frequency: 800 Hz, level: ±16 dB
HIGH
center frequency: 10 kHz, level: ±16 dB
VPF (Variable Pre-shape Filter)
center frequency 380 Hz (cut)
VLE (Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator)
frequency range 250 Hz-20 kHz (cut)


OUTPUT

LINE OUT
balanced XLR, max. voltage 20 Vpp
EFFECT SEND
unbalanced, max. voltage 20 Vpp (pre-EQ)
TUNER OUT
unbalanced, max. voltage 2 Vpp
SPEAKER OUT
speakon/1/4" combo, 1/4"


OTHER

WEIGHT
6.31 lbs / 2.86 kg
DEPTH
10.1 in. / 25.6 cm
WIDTH
10.87 in. / 27.6 cm
HEIGHT
2.8 in. / 7.1 cm
OUTPUT POWER
500W RMS @ 8 ohm, 800W RMS @ 4 ohm
POWER REQUIREMENT
100/120V; 230V; 240V
50/60Hz
(Voltage is factory preset according to region of sale)

http://www.markbass.it/product_detail.php?id=101

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"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Postby playingdead » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:46 pm

I've posted in the past that my former analog Jerry rig was built on the power section of the Acoustic Image Focus 2R bass head, which is solid state, very warm, 800 watts and 6 pounds.

Image

However, I also tried out the power section of my GenzBenz Shuttle 6.0 head -- 600 watts and also Class D, and it worked great for clean power that won't break your back.

Image

Not sure about the Mark Bass stuff but the Shuttle is also a terrific bass head in its own right, with some great EQ options and 12AX7 in the preamp section. The bass player in Playing Dead is using the Shuttle 12.0 and he gets great tone out of it.

In my application I ran an Egnater M4 preamp into the power sections of those amps only, although I did use the Focus 2R's preamp section at rehearsals (it also has digital reverb) and it was fine -- the Focus is very popular with jazz guitarists who want a clean, warm tone. I'm not sure that the preamp section of the Mark Bass is going to voiced very well for guitar, though. You'd have to try it and see.
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Re: Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Postby Jon S. » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:58 pm

Thanks for all of that great info. And I'm sorry I missed your earlier posts (like I said, I'd have been surprised if someone hadn't already discussed the topic but I just couldn't find the thread/posts!).
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Postby zambiland » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:42 am

While I don't do the Jerry thing per se, I've used my SMS Classic into an Eden WTX500 with great success. Makes for a very light and powerful rig and is very Jerry sounding if you want it to be.
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Re: Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:51 am

Hey, this is an interesting topic... I have a Euphonic Audio iAmp Pro as well as an SMS that I use for my guitar rig. Is there some way I could bypass the EQ section on the iAmp and use it basically as a slave amp or power amp for the SMS? I'm pretty sure it's a better power section than the power amp I'm using, and it sounds magnificent with my basses. Plus it's a lot more powerful and lighter than my current power amp -- 1200 watts and 9 lbs.
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Re: Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Postby zambiland » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:01 pm

wolftigerrosebud wrote:Hey, this is an interesting topic... I have a Euphonic Audio iAmp Pro as well as an SMS that I use for my guitar rig. Is there some way I could bypass the EQ section on the iAmp and use it basically as a slave amp or power amp for the SMS? I'm pretty sure it's a better power section than the power amp I'm using, and it sounds magnificent with my basses. Plus it's a lot more powerful and lighter than my current power amp -- 1200 watts and 9 lbs.


Sure! Just plug the output of the SMS into the effects return of the iAmp. I used to have an iAmp 800 which toured with me while I was in Great American Taxi. The thing was a beast!
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Re: Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:25 pm

Thanks! Tried it out, I really like the tone. Slaving the iAmp provides this strangely atmospheric, warm, full, but also incredibly clear, sound. Just wild what a big difference it makes. I think I'm going to be using this setup from now on, keeping the other power amp in my rack just for backup. Glad I saw this thread.
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Re: Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:21 am

This whole new wave of class-D power amplification has really taken the audio world by storm. Class-D has been around for years, but it just sounded like shit in the midrange and treble and was essentially relegated to subwoofer amps and sometimes bass amps. But leaps and bounds have happened in the class-D switching amp technology in the past few years to the point where well implemented designs sound fantastic. The stuff is outrageously lightweight, runs cool, and has astounding punch and speed and high current delivery.

BUT... not all class-D is created equal. Many of these newer super-cheap bass heads, while they may have tons of power, they lack in the midrange and treble sweetness. The nicer stuff like Euphonic and Acoustic Image and a few others, maybe Markbass, have good amps with nice tone thru the treble range. And to be fair, even the cheapo stuff is sounding better and better. But I'd recommend really, really listening closely to these amps at a gig with lots of noise going on around you. See how sweetly or harshly they cut thru, how your ears feel at the end of the gig. While nearly all these class-D amps will dazzle with their amazing power/weight ratio and very "clean" sound, sometimes the lesser ones will leave your ears hurting a bit from the harsh edge. But the good ones are just dead clean, nearly invisible, no character at all (in a good way), and let your tube preamp shine thru nicely.

Typically they are NOT friendly to clipping or overdrive. Many of them have built in protection so you can't clip them, but some will clip and do nasty sounding things and sometimes shoot pulses of ugly at your sweet and precious JBL's. So beware, many of them are not abusable amps like the Mosvalve or McIntosh or the various tube power amps we like to use around here. They should be operated below their rating, safely below. Maybe some of them have such good peak limiting in them that it really is ok to bang on them and beat them up, but I'm just not sure which brands do this well.

The other consideration is the new wave of rack-mounted class-D power amps that fall into this same price range. It seems just as logical to simply get a class-D power amp instead of a bass amp that's used only for its power section. Personally, to use a bass amp and it's preamp is gonna be TOO sterile, although some of these new bass heads offer some tube staging in the front end. There's a reason Jerry always used tubes in his preamp. Clean tubes in a preamp will always win over a solid state preamp, always, always. Frenzel, Boogie, Demeter, SMS, Groove Tubes, or a real Fender amp modded with preamp outs, these all offer nice preamp options to get that sound or get adequately close to it. Tons of power amp options out there.

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Re: Bass amp for Jerry tone?

Postby Jon S. » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:51 am

Excellent info., Brad, thanks for sharing.

FWIW, some of you may know Mark Norwine, ex-1 man shop of Carlson Amplification and builder of the well-regarded Carlson Turbo Pup combo. Anyway, he's a serious Deadhead, too. We were trading PMs last year (sounds funny to say that now!) and he remarked that he thinks highly of the predecessor model (DCM150) to this inexpensive little Carvin Class D power amp for Jerry tone when driven by a tube preamp. I mention this because it's so light and affordable!

http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/s ... ct=DCM200L

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