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Intermediate Member
Username: hifiguy

Post Number: 150
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 31, 2009 - 3:21 pm:   Edit Post

I am currently using a 1970 Hiwatt DR100 (Dave Reeves era) with my Stanley Standard and a pair of extremely heavy duty homebrew cabinets, each with a top o' the line EV 15".

I also own an early 1990s ART Nightbass which I haven't used in a while but always liked as it has (1) tube preamplification, and (2) a boatload of decent-to-very-good sounding effects.

Hiwatts the vintage of mine seem to be selling for beaucoups bux on e-bay. It is a gorgeous old girl, but any tube amp of this era has to be considered a little fragile due to age and some of the Bakelite parts, which have a frightening tendency to crumble.

Would it be worth unloading the Hiwatt into the collector's market and getting something like a good used QSC power amp to go with the Nightbass? I am also thinking of going to a 4x10 w/tweeter cab. What are good brands and models to look for in the used market?

Thanks in advance for your help, fellow Alembicians!

Senior Member
Username: dannobasso

Post Number: 946
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2009 - 12:42 pm:   Edit Post

This will open the floodgates of opinions my friend. I am a fan of QSC but have gone to lightweight amps from Epifani and Thunderfunk. I also tried out the new Genz Benz Shuttle series and was very impressed. As far as cabs, I have owned Trace, SWR, Dean Markley, Bag End, Acme, Epifani, and Accugroove.
My current stable has Epifani T310, UL2610, UL212 and an Accugroove Whappo Jr. (which is for sale as well as the T310)
My opinion is slanted towards the Epi's and I also love the Accugroove. Some here love Eden and others and I expect they will give you their insights. If you can use something on hand to p[ay for something else without touching your cash, I say go for it. Might as well as take advantage of the demand in the amp market to get what you want. Hope you find what is right for you.
Intermediate Member
Username: hifiguy

Post Number: 151
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2009 - 1:30 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks Danno. I haven't been amp shopping in dog years, so all the info I can get is much appreciated.

Just wondering, what are you asking for the whappo jr?

Please pm me at the address in my profile.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 7468
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2009 - 2:16 pm:   Edit Post

Paul; as you probably know, there have been tons of previous discussions on these topics. So a quick search should give you lots of opinions.

As a gross generalization, a tube preamp with a QSC or other power amp should sound fine. There are of course big differences between preamps. And a solid state power amp is not going to sound like a tube amp.

And as a gross generalization, for single stand alone cabs, tens should respond better than 15s alone. Three and four way cabs like the Whappo Jr are an attractive alternative.

However, if you love the sound of a tube power amp through 15s, and if your tone demands that kind of rig, then that's certainly something to consider.

Again, these are gross generalizations.
Senior Member
Username: dannobasso

Post Number: 947
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2009 - 9:15 pm:   Edit Post

$800 shipping included for the Whappo jr. Check ebay for prices for new and used gear. Take your time, try out stuff at music stores and really be happy with your final selections.
Intermediate Member
Username: hifiguy

Post Number: 153
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2009 - 11:34 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks Dave and Dannobasso. Much wisdom in what you both say. I only posted this because i didn't have the patience to work through the enormous amount of material a site search turned up.

My avocation for the last 15 years has been reviewing (sometimes bogglingly expensive) High End audio gear for The Abso!ute Sound and Stereophile. I am at heart a tube guy. If I had the money, I'd have Vladimir Lamm of Lamm Industries build me a set of his hybrid amps for bass amplification.

One of these days I will have the funds to invest in an Alembic preamp and some EBS effects boxes. Analog is the way to go (I still listen mostly to LPs) and EBS is strictly analog.

Again, thanks to you both for your wise and well-informed opinions.


Advanced Member
Username: crobbins

Post Number: 215
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2009 - 6:00 pm:   Edit Post

I use a 1970 Ampeg SVT 8x10 cab in my studio. Sounds great, but weighs a ton. When I gig I use a Markbass with a 4x10 cab, sounds great, and only weigh about 50lbs...:-)
Intermediate Member
Username: lmiwa

Post Number: 148
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - 10:01 am:   Edit Post

It's all about goals and trade offs.

Are you recording? If so, then you probably want to keep the Hiwatt, especially if that's "your sound."

Are you playing live through the PA using a direct box? Then your bass amp is essentially a stage monitor. Some people don't even use a stage amp, playing only through the PA and monitors.

Are you playing live where your amp provides all the bass amplification? Then lots of good clean power is what you need.

You need to identify exactly what you need your rig to do for you. Then you can design an appropriate system to provide that.
Intermediate Member
Username: hifiguy

Post Number: 155
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, February 06, 2009 - 12:42 am:   Edit Post

Ah, the "joys" of experience.... Hooked the Nightbass up to my Hiwatt only to discover that it sounds generally dreadful when more than two effects are engaged; it renders hopelessly generic the sound of an Alembic bass guitar. Yech! Maybe I can get $200 for it on TalkBass or Ebay.

What I am looking for is a super-clean, wide-bandwidth hi-fi sound; why else does one play an Alembic? One can always dirty things up a bit with a tube preamp or a tube stomp-box overdriver when a bit of SVT burr or more radical grunge is necessary. I do all of my tone adjustments with my bass' filters. EQ is generally not a big thing for me. An optional little of that tube "enhancement" is all I desire.

Fortunately, I found that my long-forgotten-about (and one owner, bought new by me in 1974) Maestro Bass Brassmaster, still works like a charm. All original, and if anyone is interested in a weird, ridiculously rare, vintage fuzz/octaver, please PM me.

Think that I will opt for a G-K Fusion 550 and it's companion 2x12 plus tweeter Neo cab and an EBS Uni-Chorus (the only effect I use fairly often). I LOVE 12s for bass and used 2 6x12 Orange cabinets with a 1974 Hiwatt 100 DR103, Maestro Full Range Booster, the Brassmaster and a Morley Power/Leslie Wah back in the glory days of 1975. That rig could blow windows out of their frames and out-loud my then-band's Phase Linear-powered PA!

10s are too wimpy and just don't go low unless there are at least eight of them, IMO, and 15s are too massive to render the appropriately silvery, piano-like shimmer that Alembic electronics should deliver on top.

But if I could find a nice used F-1X and a well-cared for switching supply QSC power amp I could be wooed away from the G-K head.

Decisions, decisions.

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