Adios boutique amps.

Carol-AnnAmps

Member
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4,855
Fascinating post, and some really great comments. I'm not sure where I fit in, as I see a need for both. I currently have a Swart AST Master, and that definately falls into the boutique catgory, but it also falls into the vintage sound category. It's not a hi-fi sounding amp like Two Rock, or Carol Anne. And I also have a stock, "vintage" Fender 75 SFPR, which gives a decidely different sound.

I've never had the chance to play a vintage 18 watt Marshall, or a vintage VOX AC15, and if I was to find one, and it fit the bill, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. That being said, if I was to find a boutique amp that also fit the bill, and nailed the vintage sound, I wouldn't hesitate for a minut. Marshall, and VOX, were just names at point, just like Swart, and all the rest. To us, the limited who care, we know these names, but the vast majority of musicians have never heard of them. But, give it time, just like Fender, Marshall and VOX had. Granted things have changed a bit, being that there are a lot more players and builders out there.

If I couldn't find a Fender BFDR that met my needs, (and I'm still looking) I wouldn't hesitate to check out a Vintage Sounds DR clone.

Does this really sound hi-fi to you ?? This is an OD2-50 played by me (PRS) and a Tucana played by our other guitar player. Unlike many I'm not afraid to put myself out there.
You know....I love Marshalls.....love love love them, I've owned over 60. I've owned around 20 Fenders. I've worked on countless of both so I'm not the enemy here. Just reading the cliches like 'hi-fi' gets a little annoying.

It doesn't sound like a Dumble either does it...SUPRISE !!!!!

I jest around, but seriously the labels that get put on things are often not true.


 

v-verb

Member
Messages
5,922
UH-OH...........The OP's Thread has been Stolen............You know difficulty staying on topic is a sign of Autism..........Just Kidding!!!:band
Apologies OP - I'm pretty sure I have ADD but when I was a kid that was just being "bad"
 

dangeroso

Member
Messages
4,475
No it's cool, I totally get it.

If you want a Fender, you got to get a Fender.
If you want a Marshall...you get a Marshall.
If you want a Vox, you got to get a Vox.


If you want a Naylor...you get a Naylor. :)
But what if you want a handwired Marshall JMP? They ain't making them any more.

I think the great thing about the boutique market is that it has really made the "rare amp" available to just about anyone.
 

Holliman

Triad Abuser
Messages
2,344
Does this really sound hi-fi to you ?? This is an OD2-50 played by me (PRS) and a Tucana played by our other guitar player. Unlike many I'm not afraid to put myself out there.
You know....I love Marshalls.....love love love them, I've owned over 60. I've owned around 20 Fenders. I've worked on countless of both so I'm not the enemy here. Just reading the cliches like 'hi-fi' gets a little annoying.

It doesn't sound like a Dumble either does it...SUPRISE !!!!!

I jest around, but seriously the labels that get put on things are often not true.


I absolutely laugh my head off at some the words used to describe what a guitar amplifier sounds like....hifi, 3d, bloomy, strainy, creamy. I actually have to pull out the Webster and when I do I come to the conclusion that players are just regurgitating amp slang invented on a forum.

That video has some awesome tones and solid playing. Sounds like rock and roll. I wish I had the coin to try one of your amps. Respect for putting yourself out there.
 

dbeeman

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,902
I like boutique / craft amps because of the service and customization options many small builders give as well. I also like the built in USA or Canada part.
Many mass produced amps today are cheaply done. Some do sound pretty good. I do doubt that anyone will be resurrecting the current circuit board Ac30s in 30 years like they have the originals.
 

picnic

Member
Messages
2,294
I have had great experiences with Dr Z, David Allen, Ben Fargen, Mark Bartel, Charlie @ Bogner, Jimmy Somma, Steve Carr, Mesa call reps, and some others. I can't say enough about being able to call a builder and speak the guy who built the amp
 

jjp

Senior Member
Messages
656
Does this really sound hi-fi to you ?? This is an OD2-50 played by me (PRS) and a Tucana played by our other guitar player. Unlike many I'm not afraid to put myself out there.
You know....I love Marshalls.....love love love them, I've owned over 60. I've owned around 20 Fenders. I've worked on countless of both so I'm not the enemy here. Just reading the cliches like 'hi-fi' gets a little annoying.

It doesn't sound like a Dumble either does it...SUPRISE !!!!!

I jest around, but seriously the labels that get put on things are often not true.


You obviously have a personal, vested interest in this, and as such your comments are a tad on the hyper-subjective side of the argument. To say that what I said, - that your amps sound like hi fi equipment - is a cliche, then I guess you could say that it is a well deserved cliche, as clearly from your own admission, this sentiment has been expressed numerous times by many others, hence the cliche!
 

Rev2S

Member
Messages
1,596
I went through my share of amps..../13, Top Hat, Bad Cat, etc and only have a Vox AC15 which I have kept the longest out of all of them. Go figure....
 

jimpridx

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,534
You obviously have a personal, vested interest in this, and as such your comments are a tad on the hyper-subjective side of the argument. To say that what I said, - that your amps sound like hi fi equipment - is a cliche, then I guess you could say that it is a well deserved cliche, as clearly from your own admission, this sentiment has been expressed numerous times by many others, hence the cliche!
Funny, but I've never thought of amps such as Carol Ann, Glaswerks, Two-Rock, etc. to be considered "hi-fi," nor have I heard that term used very much amongst their owners. For the most part, most tend to equate their tone and design as an inspirational extension or expansion of vintage amps, particulary vintage Fender amps.

I also tend to think what Alan is referring to regarding the term "cliche," is that many folks use some terminology that simply doesn't fall into the realm of what his amps are all about. The "D" tag (accidental pun) is perhaps the most notable one.
 
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Dave_C

Member
Messages
14,114
Does this really sound hi-fi to you ?? This is an OD2-50 played by me (PRS) and a Tucana played by our other guitar player. Unlike many I'm not afraid to put myself out there.
You know....I love Marshalls.....love love love them, I've owned over 60. I've owned around 20 Fenders. I've worked on countless of both so I'm not the enemy here. Just reading the cliches like 'hi-fi' gets a little annoying.

It doesn't sound like a Dumble either does it...SUPRISE !!!!!

I jest around, but seriously the labels that get put on things are often not true.


Too Hi-Fi for me, Alan.

:rotflmao

;)
 

J.T. Guitar

Platinum Member
Messages
4,082
You obviously have a personal, vested interest in this, and as such your comments are a tad on the hyper-subjective side of the argument. To say that what I said, - that your amps sound like hi fi equipment - is a cliche, then I guess you could say that it is a well deserved cliche, as clearly from your own admission, this sentiment has been expressed numerous times by many others, hence the cliche!


"Your amps sound like hi-fi equipment", is a cliche? "Hi-fi" to me in guitar terms means cold and sterile... Alan's offerings are anything but that, and I've never read this sentiment once, let alone the "numerous times" you purport.

If you've never played one, maybe you shouldn't buy into what you call "cliche"... or maybe you should just look up the definition of the word cliche. I'll save you the time, it means; an overused expression or idea. Since you are the only one I've ever seen describe Carol-Anns as "hi-fi", it's hardly a cliche bro.
 

Marc Roy

Member
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12,932
I was just messing with you Sean... I went the same way with guitars. I went from more than 10 boutique guitars to a strat, a tele, and my Lester. I just went out to find the best sounding best playing "I don't care what they look like or what color they are" guitars I could find. Although some would consider Fender CS instruments boutique, just like your Carol-Ann modded Fender. But they work for me.
I did that with my guitars too. I was using a PRS and Tom Anderson and had bought a few Suhr guitars which weren't doing it for me. At the end of the day, I said "Screw it", found a nice Strat and a great Les Paul and am perfectly happy with those. Nothing against boutique guitars but I prefer the originals. Amps on the other hand....:drool

And since when does a Carol-Ann sound "hi-fi"? My OD-2 sounds big and warm and vintagey. It ain't going nowhere.
 

venivici

Member
Messages
1,459
Congrats to the OP for finding what works for you. At the end of the day, get what you want and what works for you. We live in a FREE market. Nobody is coercing anybody to buy a certain brand/type/kind of amp. My 2 cents - I have 2 boutique amps from the same builder, as I like the sound and they are highly portable good sounding amps. Could I play other amps and be happy? Sure. But I play and work with what I got.
 

sfarnell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,925
Why is "hi fi" a pejorative term? Not trying to stir the **** but I'm really curious because I've used the term to describe the cleans on a Two Rock CRSv2 and I wasn't trying to be critical. I guess to J.T. it means "cold and sterile." I don't have that interpretation.

I've seen the term used with regard to Two Rocks, not Carol Ann.
 

jimpridx

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,534
Why is "hi fi" a pejorative term? Not trying to stir the **** but I'm really curious because I've used the term to describe the cleans on a Two Rock CRSv2 and I wasn't trying to be critical. I guess to J.T. it means "cold and sterile." I don't have that interpretation.

I've seen the term used with regard to Two Rocks, not Carol Ann.
I think you raise a good question here. I guess I think of "hi-fi" in terms of fine audio and PA systems and not necessarily guitar amps. I would suppose some guitar amps could fall into this category, but for practical purposes regarding this discussion, I think of "hi-fi" as being ultra-clean, noise-free, and an overall well-balanced spectrum of the frequency range. I guess I just have a difficult time applying that description to most tube amps that are designed for guitar.

On the other hand, I entirely get what you're saying. Of course, tone is a subjective thing, and there's no doubt that the terminology will be interpreted in a number of ways.
 

Carol-AnnAmps

Member
Messages
4,855
You obviously have a personal, vested interest in this, and as such your comments are a tad on the hyper-subjective side of the argument. To say that what I said, - that your amps sound like hi fi equipment - is a cliche, then I guess you could say that it is a well deserved cliche, as clearly from your own admission, this sentiment has been expressed numerous times by many others, hence the cliche!
Apologies...I wasn't refering to my amps always being called hi-fi (though I can see how you thought I meant that...bad wording on my part)....I was referring to the amount of generalization that goes on around these parts. Usually it's assumption or occasionally someone elses opinion regurgitated....rarely is it personal experience.

Of course I have a vested interest, it's pays my mortgage....duh... ;) However, if someone you didn't know walked in to where you work and said something about your work that you didn't agree with or felt was a wrong assumption, you'd say something right ?? ......it's definately not personal and I'm certainly not offended or being offensive. I just followed it up 'cos I care and do that fully aware of the potential implications.

:beer


Lets get something dead staraight on this subject. It's not normally the gear that people are liberated from....it's the searching and spending money. GAS is kind of like an addiction for some people and it's not really good for us either because people buy amps, have them a couple of weeks and sell them used because they are over the new toy feeling and need to feel it again. Used amps are your arch enemy in this business and having someone with about 5 hours experience in their music room and probably no gigs feeling they have a valid opinion is pretty dangersous too at times. Of course I know that doesn't cover everyone, but I have plenty of inside expereince to back up that this happens. I would rather not have a sale than have someone just passing through......I feel the hate mail coming in from this post now.....but I was just being dead straight honest and saying it exactly like it is because most boutique guys like myself have to deal with this behavioural pattern at times.

Personally I can get my own tone using just about anything, kind of had to as I never had a whole lot of money to spend on gear, but some things I prefer more than others.

So let me ask you all is this a GAS recovery thread or or is it just cool to play a Fender/Marshall/Vox? Either way I understand...I'm a player too. I went through a gazillion od pedals....it became a GAS type of addiction.....Eventually having spent way more than I should I ended up back to a TS-808 where I started...lol...., it does everything I need and it's kind of cool too........
 
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lpfella

Member
Messages
1,411
I have also decided to say adios to all my boutique amps. However, the problem is I have a Glas 30X that is in practically mint condition and sounds great but I have not been able to move it. My guess is because the economy. I have always had pretty nice gear and never had a problem moving it. But, when I finally find a good home from my glas 30X, I will be boutique free and that is a really liberating thing.
 

Dave_C

Member
Messages
14,114
Why is "hi fi" a pejorative term? Not trying to stir the **** but I'm really curious because I've used the term to describe the cleans on a Two Rock CRSv2 and I wasn't trying to be critical. I guess to J.T. it means "cold and sterile." I don't have that interpretation.

I've seen the term used with regard to Two Rocks, not Carol Ann.
I know you know the origins of the term, but "Hi-Fi" means "high fidelity" and was originally applied to stereo equipment capable of transmitting source material in a flat, full-range manner with as little distortion and coloring as technically possible. PA systems attempt to do the same thing, that is, create a razor flat, very wide bandwidth transfer function. But, if you plug your guitar straight into a stereo system or PA, most people would describe the tone as "cold, flat, sterile, lifeless, clinical"...basically unpleasant. "Hi-Fi" also implies no distortion.

So, any amp that generates copious amounts of distortion is automatically anything but Hi-Fi, not to mention the fact that guitar amps/speakers are anything but flat and full-range even when played clean.

So, given its vast historical usage, the term, "Hi-Fi", really doesn't hold a lot of positive associations when used in reference to guitar amps. It's clearly something no guitar amp would ever want to grow up to become.
 




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