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stratzrus
02-12-2008, 03:03 PM
Is anyone familiar with this amp? Likes? Dislikes?

I wanted to get an inexpensive SS grab and go amp to replace the TM60 and Cube 60 that I gave to my sons, and I wanted something with giggable volume and a decent clean tone that could take pedals or even a modeler.

Any thoughts?

Thanks, stratzrus

pacomc79
02-12-2008, 03:05 PM
check out the Maxon website. They used the 185 for all the samples.


http://www.maxonfx.com edit. That was a stage 160 sorry.

CADdrafter
02-12-2008, 03:08 PM
a guitar player in one of my old bands played a Stage 160.

it sounded like a tin can full of angry wasps.

stratzrus
02-12-2008, 03:14 PM
a guitar player in one of my old bands played a Stage 160.

it sounded like a tin can full of angry wasps.

A vivid image easy to imagine :roll

pacomc79
02-12-2008, 03:50 PM
honestly that series of Fenders top my list of worst ever conceived or constructed in history. Dynatouch is absolute shite. The build quality of the ones I saw were slightly worse than the MG Marshalls which are probably the second worst amps ever built.

I had good luck a couple of years ago with the Peavey Transtube Stuff.

Also the little Vox amps sound pretty good too.

Oh also if you can find one cheap The Line 6 Duoverb was a good solid state amp for not too much coin.

stratzrus
02-13-2008, 10:40 AM
honestly that series of Fenders top my list of worst ever conceived or constructed in history.
Gee this is puzzling...the folks over at HC seem to like it (LOL!).

I'm not particularly interested in the gain stages, but hoped the clean tones and reverb would be decent enough to use at jam sessions with a pedal or two. Is it really that worse than a Cube 60 for clean tones?

Twin63
02-13-2008, 12:03 PM
I've owned a Stage 112SE for several years now. They've been discontinued for a while, but it might be what you're looking for if you can find a used one.

I think the clean channel sounds very good, as does the onboard reverb. I don't care much for the drive channel but I've never really used it. I've primarily used it along with a POD 2.0 or XTL (through the Power Amp In jack bypassing the preamp). I've also used pedals in front of it, but mostly the modelers.

It's a full-size, heavy 1X12 and gets very loud (it's 100w / 160w with an extension cab).

I don't know how this compares with the Stage 185, but if it's similar to the 112SE, then it should be fine for what you need.

billyguitar
02-13-2008, 12:54 PM
I had a 1x12 Stage series amp a while back, 5 years ago? Excellent clean tone but just an underlying hash when playing softly at home. At gig volumes it sounded good. The drive channel was extremely worthless. The effects sounded quite good. In the end I decided it was just duplicating what I did with my Evans JE150 (except for the effects) so I sold the Fender. Of course the Evans is hard to beat for clean once the speaker is upgraded.

stratzrus
02-13-2008, 01:01 PM
Excellent clean tone but just an underlying hash when playing softly at home.
"Underlying hash" is a new one for me, but it doesn't sound good. Can you be a little more specific?

Although unmentioned, I was also hoping I could get a decent Jazz tone plugging a 335 directly into it.

Thanks

pacomc79
02-13-2008, 02:42 PM
Gee this is puzzling...the folks over at HC seem to like it (LOL!).

I'm not particularly interested in the gain stages, but hoped the clean tones and reverb would be decent enough to use at jam sessions with a pedal or two. Is it really that worse than a Cube 60 for clean tones?


The 185 might be different, I'm just saying in general the Dyna Touch amps.... were freaking terrible for reliability and overdriven sound. They have remarkably awful parts. Lots of broken jacks even strait from the factory.

The 185 is likely quite clean which would probably be fine for that application especially if you can find one for the right price.

I've always thought with enough power Solid State amps can provide very nice cleans they are just a little sterile. I had an Ultimate Chorus for a number of years that was Ok. It wasn't incredibly pleasent compared to great tube cleans but it got the job done. Good luck.


IS the Roland just not loud enough?

stratzrus
02-13-2008, 03:13 PM
The 185 is likely quite clean which would probably be fine for that application especially if you can find one for the right price.

I've always thought with enough power Solid State amps can provide very nice cleans they are just a little sterile. I had an Ultimate Chorus for a number of years that was Ok. It wasn't incredibly pleasent compared to great tube cleans but it got the job done.

IS the Roland just not loud enough?

The one I found (but have not yet auditioned) was $185 so I figured the price was right.

I don't expect it to have the cleans of my Super Reverb or any decent tube amp for that matter...I just wanted an SS amp I could drag around, even leave overnight, and not have to worry about replacement value if something happened to it.

The Cube 60 is "just" loud enough, but I have never particularly liked the JC emulated tone of the Cube 60 and found the other models useless for a live band situation, disappearing into the mix at volume. It took pedals well enough though and was functional if not inspirational.

I was hoping that the Stage 185 would sound more "Fender-like" and less like a JC 120.

billyguitar
02-18-2008, 04:31 PM
The underlying hash I mentioned was just a little fizz that was there behind everything. I only noticed it when I was playing complex chords very softly. I tried different speakers and it was still there. I had the tech check it and he said it all met specs. I compared that Stage amp to my Evans for clean and it was close enough except for that and the basic differences in tonality. I sold it because it didn't do anything that my other amps and pedals didn't do better. Played it out on a couple of gigs and it was fine. The drive channel was pitiful so i used my Reverend Drivetrain.

stratzrus
02-19-2008, 07:55 AM
I don't expect it to have the cleans of my Super Reverb or any decent tube amp for that matter...I just wanted an SS amp I could drag around, even leave overnight, and not have to worry about replacement value if something happened to it.

Well, the Stage 185 arrived and everything said above is pretty much true.

I was a little disappointed with the clean sound, but I slightly prefer it to the Cube 60. It sounded boxy and hollow (which I attribute to the cab) and typically Solid State, but just a little more "Fender-like' than the Cube 60.

The reverb was only "fair", and the gain channel was for emergency use only. Despite this, I'm happy with the purchase and it meets my needs for what it does.

The cleans are passable for practice or basement jams with friends (the inner-city version of garage bands) and it's loud enough to cut through a reasonable drummer. I'm sure it would sound better with an extension cab, but that would defeat the purpose of having a cheap and relatively light grab and go amp.

Do I prefer it overall to the Cube 60? Not if it were my only amp, but for the specific applicaton that I bought it for; yes, but barely. Cost is a significant consideration, and at a $187.50 purchase price I wouldn't be overly upset if something happened to it, so I can leave it overnight unattended without worry.

While I wouldn't highly recommend it, it serves it's purpose and will help provide peace of mind when playing in bad neighborhoods. All things considered, as an eBay bargain basement score, it isn't bad.

Smoke
08-29-2009, 08:32 AM
I have owned a Fender Stage 185 since 1986 or 87, bought brand new. I think this is a remarkable amp aside from what some have posted. I too, back in those days played a wide variety of music and wanted a grab and go amp. I also liked the fact of this amp being solid state plus 450 watts, and yes it is loud. A friend of mine used his Marshall JCM 800 on like 6 or 8 with the Fender at 2, and it was crushingly loud. It's output alone is I think about 186 watts. I have had this amp fall down stairs, off of trucks unloading gear, and played everywhere with it including Woodstock 99, and had only one issue. Aside from that, I also used a Laney 4x12 slanted cabinet running at 4ohms with this amp and yes that's dangerous, but most importantly was the reaction kids would give me at metal shows because they could not believe it was a Fender amp. It took me a very long time to find something that could compare to its durability and sound. I have recorded and played live performances since owning this amp, and currently still use it at small gigs and rehearsals. I have always loved the rawness of the overdrive and still do compared to the Marshall Mode Four setup I currently use.
I ran this amp through the Laney cab and also used a JCM 9000 50/50 powering another Laney cab at a 16ohm load. So in comparison I had the raw solid state girth and the Marshall tube warmth combined mikes on both and panned at 10 and 2. This gave the miss conception of two guitars on a stage with four musicians. I will tell you this, kids with thousands of dollars worth of amps effects and cabinets wanted to know everything about my setup and it was so simple. I know its been a while but I am new here and wanted you to know that you would have loved this amp greatly for everything from Country, Blues, Jazz, Oldies, Rock, and of course Heavy Metal. If you didn't buy this amp, do you know of it's whereabouts and if it has been sold?

Smoke~

rcooksey
09-06-2009, 01:31 PM
I'm about to list one on ebay.