Sunn Coliseum 300

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Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby RC_Matthias on Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:44 pm

http://cgi.ebay.com/Sunn-Coliseum-Lead- ... 1c13db613e

I'm looking for a Sunn Coliseum 300 for my bassist, is this one worth getting? And what cabinet should it be combined with best to get that sweet sound?
Cheers,
~Matthias
Hiwatt DR103 - 1978
Hiwatt SE4123 - 1974 (?)
HI-Tone, DR-F Loaded 4x12 Cabinet - 2010
Klira SG - 1970
Klira Hollow Paul - 1960's
Fender MIM Strat classic '60s RI - 2007
Univox Superfuzz Clone
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Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby Happy Face on Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:03 pm

Is there a special reason why you want a Coliseum for your bass player?

I ask because I used them when they came out and still own a Coli Lead amp just like that one. We used them back then because they were loud and rugged. No fussy tubes to deal with! (Remember those days when we were so happy to switch from tube to ss heads?) Mainly because they were about the loudest portable amp around. Before that, bass players did not have a lot of choice.... 100 watt heads just could not keep up with Marshalls, Twins etc.

Now & then I'll use the Coli Lead at practice. I have fond memories of the sound, but now I don't find it to be all that good for bass. Which is why I asked you the question on top. Why?

Now I keep it along with a matching 4x12" cab to use with keyboards. It it great for keys. Not real special for bass.

As for the auction - the Coliseum Bass heads go for more than the Lead heads, maybe $450-750 versus $300-450. The BIN price looks about $100 too high to me, but someone might snatch it up.
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Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby RC_Matthias on Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:18 am

The reason is because we've always been impressed by the sound of Entwistle and especially the volumes he could reach, we're looking for quite a loud amp... So you're saying the Sunn Coliseum Bass, which is also on eBay right now, would be a better buy?

Cheers,
~Matthias
Hiwatt DR103 - 1978
Hiwatt SE4123 - 1974 (?)
HI-Tone, DR-F Loaded 4x12 Cabinet - 2010
Klira SG - 1970
Klira Hollow Paul - 1960's
Fender MIM Strat classic '60s RI - 2007
Univox Superfuzz Clone
RC_Matthias
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:37 pm

Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby Happy Face on Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:59 pm

No. Not sure which you are speaking of. But that doesn't really matter. If you are going the SS route, modern amps are the same or louder and mostly more compact and lighter. Maybe voiced better.

Now I hope I hope some else with more knowledge chirps up here.... but i believe Entwhistle used the Coliseum amps as power amps. I beleive he was using some other pre-amp may have contrubuted to the tone. As did the cabs. And especially his technique!

All that said, I hate to diss the Sunn Coliseums too much. They have a find place in my heart, like an old girlfriend, fondly remembered....
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Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby swid on Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:41 pm

Happy Face wrote:Maybe voiced better.


I'd say definitely not. Old SS amps have a raw warmth and character to them that modern SS amps have totally gotten away from. If I'm going the SS route, give me an old Acoustic, a Sunn, or a Peavey Centurion over anything new. It's funny, but I feel like the more technology has moved to make solid-state amps "tube-like", the less tube-like they've actually become.
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Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby RC_Matthias on Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:14 pm

It's great to have some discussion started about these amps!
It's lead me to certain insights and helped me decide to not buy a Sunn Coliseum, it kind of all reminds me that perhaps I'd better look for a great Tube bass amplifier instead?
Any ideas on the Sunn 100, 200 or 2000S and how they can be related to getting the freaking phat sound (excuse my choice of words, but it is quite an awesome sound) of Sir John Entwistle?

Cheers!
~Matthias
Hiwatt DR103 - 1978
Hiwatt SE4123 - 1974 (?)
HI-Tone, DR-F Loaded 4x12 Cabinet - 2010
Klira SG - 1970
Klira Hollow Paul - 1960's
Fender MIM Strat classic '60s RI - 2007
Univox Superfuzz Clone
RC_Matthias
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Posts: 292
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Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby swid on Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:38 pm

What years are you talking about? Entwistle had decidedly different tone from year to year. I think he peaked with the Hiwatts/TBird combo, but it depends on what you're going for.
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Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby GreaserMatt on Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:24 am

I've owned a couple of sunn Concert Bass heads & they are great amps...
'67 fender bassman
'77 fender twin
'75 ampeg SVT
'68 Kustom K100a
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Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby sunndemon on Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:37 pm

Assuming that we are discussing the early '70s 30" wide black and silver faced amps, case on top and sides but not the bottom. The later black face heads with red knobs are different amps altogether. The original Coliseum Bass and Coliseum 880 heads had, for their time, very unique EQ sections where each tone band was boosted separately, somewhat like an active graphic EQ, as opposed to the standard passive roll-off tone controls of the era. The 300 watt solid state power was pretty hefty for its time as well(trying to keep up with the Acoustic 360). So yeah, they were very interesting great sounding amps, at the vanguard of the "bells and whistles" era for bass amps. Now, if you were to track down the 100s, 200s, or 2000s amps, keep this in mind: I'm guessing you're in Europe, so these tube(valve)amps are going to be more difficult to obtain. While I love(and collect)these heads/cabs, there are limitations. The 100s(guitar)and 200s(bass)amps are only 60 watts, although with the linear design(and matched with JBL loaded Sunn 2x15" cabs with the unique horn construction)these are reasonably loud rigs. Entwistle only used this set-up on American tours between mid-'67 to early '68, usually two heads and two cabs(sometimes two heads and four cabs). For details, go here: http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/bass/bass6768.html Entwistle never used the 2000s head, which essentially is a 200s with twice the power and slightly different tone controls. But if you can find any, by all means, grab one, but don't expect power matching the Coliseum's...one would be great blended in with additional amps. By the time of the live "Won't Get Fooled Again" footage in the "The Kids Are Alright" documentary, he was using the 'black face/red knob' Sunn Coliseum Slave amps(power amp only)driven by German-made Stramp preamps. Check these pages:
http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/bass/bass7485.html
http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/bass/bass7174.html for more details, good luck.
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Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby Terabapuno1 on Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:07 am

The later black face heads with red knobs are different amps altogether. The original Coliseum Bass and Coliseum 880 heads had, for their time, very unique EQ sections where each tone band was boosted separately, somewhat like an active graphic EQ,????
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Re: Sunn Coliseum 300

Postby Kenyon on Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:24 pm

I owned several configurations of SUNN Coliseum amps in the early 70's. I was never interested in the tube ones. One great thing about these amps was that they had 100% active tone controls. That is, if you turned all 4 tone controls to zero it made no sound. I used the Coliseum series when many were using Ampeg SVT w two cabinets of 8X10" speakers or Acoustic 360. One needed a crane to put the SVT head on top of the cabinets. It did sound really good though and still does. The Acoustic 360 had some serious low bass but not great mids and highs. I used a Coliseum Lead head and a Coliseum Bass head together for a while with 2 cabinets with standard Cerwin Vega 18's, one cabinet with Gauss 18" (a bit brighter sounding than the Cerwin Vega 18) and one cabinet w/4-12" JBL D120's with a passive crossover. I played a Rickenbacker for a long time with it and then a 1953 Fender P Bass with single coil p/u and strings pull through the body. Talk about some bite !

I don't use a SUNN amp now. I play through an old 70's Crown DC300 and a single 18 front loaded with 2-10" cabinet bi-amped and with a nice preamp. Different music for me now !

I never heard a better sounding bass rig anywhere than the SUNN. Maybe John Entwhistles rig. I think the SUNN Coliseum was the best bass amp ever made. I don't think I ever heard a guitar player using the Coliseum Lead amp. Hiwatt and Marshall was usually the choice.
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