amp for college: tube or SS

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by fancynapkin, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. fancynapkin

    fancynapkin Member

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    I already have a tech 21 tm-10, which has worked out great for practicing, but I need a 1x12 combo for playing out and rehearsing. I need 2 channels, and the cleans need to have alot of headroom for jazz. Versatility is also important, and pedals are an option. Id like to keep the price under $700 (the cheaper the better).
    The SS amp I was looking closely at was the tech 21 tm-60, since the 10 watt has worked pretty well.
    The tube amps include the peavey classic 30 (used or new), which I will probally retube and put a new speaker in and the crate palomino/vintage series.
    It looks like its really a choice of functionality v.s. tone. Im stumped, Ive never owned a tube amp (unless you count a peavey 5150), so Im curious as to see what the fuss is about, but Im also concerned that the tube amps wont cover enough ground and will eventually need to be replaced.
    Any input? My idea was to maybe buy a tm-60, and return it if I dont like the way it sounds.
    On stage, I really don't think it will make that big of a difference tonewise to the audience, so I wonder if I should just take the tm-60 and run from this place.
     
  2. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    If you're playing more jazz than anything else, I'd say get a SS amp. It's gonna be harder to get loud clean tones from a low-wattage tube amp, and for your price range, it would seem even more difficult. A Fender Twin would cover both the tube amp and be able to give you a higher power clean tone for jazz, but it's a tank, and costs a little more than what your looking to spend.

    The Peavey Classic 30 is a great amp. I've got a Classic 20 and it's easily the best practice amp I've used, period. With a better speaker and a good tube swap, these amps are hard to beat. But if you're leaning towards more of a cleaner jazz sound, this might not work for you. Definitely worth trying anyway.
     
  3. Lnkn Prk 13

    Lnkn Prk 13 Member

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    I am leaving for College in the fall also. I just bought a Peavey Valveking 1x12 combo and have a Eminence Texas Heat Speaker going in there. If I have some extra money I might also put in some new 6L6's but the stock tubes are Sovtek's and work just fine. The only reason I bought this amp is that I live in Chicago now and am going to school in Colorado, so I can't be going home on the weekends to grab my half stack like I would if I was going to school closer to home. I play more rock so having a nice tube breakup on both channels was important to me. If you play mostly jazz though check out a H&K Warp 7 combo. It may seem crazy but those little combos have a fantastic clean channel that would be PERFECT for jazz. Seriosly check one out you wont be disappointed with the clean channel and you can pick one up for around $200 used.
     
  4. bchamorro

    bchamorro Member

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    I bought a Mesa Boogie F-50 for college since I had a lot of money saved up. I play mostly rock. Alterbridge/ Mark Tremonti type of stuff. I do plan on gigging with it at clubs in a few months. I live in a 2 room apartment.

    That Peavey Valveking 1x12 combo seems awesome. I've never played a peavey but that one seams like a great deal. Get tube man, you're gonna end up buying a SS and then wishing you had bought a tube. It happened to me.

    If you don't buy a Tube.................

    I STRONGLY suggest the VOX AD50VT. Its a great amp. It has the best cleans for a hybrid amp and its not that expensive. I also own the VOX AD30VT, but that one is going home this summer (gotta make room for the BOOGIE!)
     
  5. sovtekking

    sovtekking Supporting Member

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    The trademark 60 is a great amp, but i would reccomend the classic 30 or 50 with a new speaker for the 30... I used one and it was some of the best tone ive ever gotten with a 350$ amp. As far as speakers go, something high wattage like a vintage 30 or g12t75 maybe? Anyways, the classics have beautiful EL84 cleans...very articulate and a nice reverb as well. thanks, by the way, i'm in college and I have an orange halfstack!!! haha only the cool kids..........ouch my back
     
  6. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    If you're going to be in a dorm room...SS. If you're not going to be playing out...SS.
    The only reason I can see getting a tube amp is if you play with a band on a somewhat regular basis....or plan to. The SS's are turn on and play...no muss no fuss...and can get great distortion at low volumes. The tubes, at volume are the way to go...but only if you play at band levels. I personally think SS amps sound better until you get get above a certain level and then tube warmth takes over. Best of luck...
     
  7. bchamorro

    bchamorro Member

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    You have an orange halfstack?! and in college?

    do you live in an apartment complex or in the dorms?
     
  8. fancynapkin

    fancynapkin Member

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    Thats the thing, I already have a tm-10 for practicing/recording and it works very well.
    I'll take a closer look at the valveking, I was under the impression they were cheaply made. but the fact that it uses 6l6's is great because I happen to have some new JJ 6l6's.
     
  9. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    For college I bought a 1x12 for my room and left my 4x12 cab at my rehearsal space. This way I could use my heads (at the time, mesa maverick and thd bivalve) in my dorm without killing people. The 1x12 fit in my closet easily too.
     
  10. sovtekking

    sovtekking Supporting Member

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    haha, i live in an apartment complex, but the orange stays at church most of the time, since i use it so much there.....
     
  11. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    Don't matter, just respect the noise level at the given times. There'll be places to practice. I went for my freshman year this past year and had a 50 watt tube amp. I couldn't play it loud in my dorm room at night, but start a band and you'll have practice times, etc.
     
  12. uirunner

    uirunner Member

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    In my last semester in the dorms, I honestly had a Diezel Herbert and a Diezel 2x12 with 150w Eminence Tonkers. Nobody knew what the stack was or even cared. It's an amazing bedroom amp.
     
  13. fancynapkin

    fancynapkin Member

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    At $4000 it should be an amazing bedroom amp.

    Anyone know how much headroom I could expect from a crate palomino v32 or v3112? They look pretty nice for the price, although I can pickup a c30 with all upgrades for cheaper.
     
  14. fancynapkin

    fancynapkin Member

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    Let me throw another amp into the fray: http://www.music123.com/Randall-RM20B-i158891.music

    only 15 watts, single channel, and quite pricey, but the modular preamp design looks awsome. Plus, any invested money in new modules could be later used on another randall mts amp for egnater MOD50 or whatever.

    this is a hard decision.
     
  15. Matt H

    Matt H Guest

    i'd be tempted to say that new fender jazz amp... jazz king or something? lightweight, clean, headroom...

    i didn't bring my tube amp to college until i had a band that was gigging (or, well, earlier than that at one point, but it was because i was bored and needed something to take up way too much space in my room- and to act as a space-heater in the winter... haha)
     
  16. fancynapkin

    fancynapkin Member

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    Ive seen that but I heard that its no better than the other million SS amps out there, plus its pretty expensive for an SS.
     
  17. PFCG

    PFCG Member

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    The crate v series amps sound really good actually, i think it would be great for some jazz. Maybe get a different speaker but the amp itself is great! I also suggest maybe a used acoustic image amplifier, or the crate powerblock/fender jazz ultralight. All 3 (Acoustic Image/Fender Jazz Ultralight/Crate Powerblock) run in class D so they are super small,portable,light, and tons of watts. Those are some great deals.
     
  18. punx0r 1337i57

    punx0r 1337i57 Member

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    I'm in college, and I have a classic 30.

    I can recommend the C30, although like many others, I'd recommend a speaker swap. If you get a speaker with a high SPL, you can stretch a lot more clean headroom out of a C30. The stock Blue Marvel is only something like 95dB SPL, which is pretty low. A lot of speakers are over 100dB. That is a pretty substantial difference. (a 10dB difference means 10x as much power, a 3dB difference is roughly twice the power.) You can use military power tubes to squeeze a little more clean headroom out too, but the tradeoff is that when it does start breaking up, it will probably sound less natural.

    I also like the Crate V amps a whole lot. They ship with better stock speakers too. They tend to cost more, though. In that price range, it is hard to do better than those two for a tube combo.

    One more thing that is worth a look are the B-52 ST and AT combos. (NOT the LG solid state ones, those sound lousy.) You can get a 100 watt 212 tube combo for not much above $700, and I think they sound pretty good. Definitely try it out a bit first, though, since a lot of people seem to not like them.

    If you decide to go with a SS amp, the best I've played so far are the Vox AD and AC amps. The Line 6 Spiders and Ibanez ToneBlasters aren't entirely bad either, but they are more high gain amps, probably not what you are looking for. Plus I've heard that the Ibanez really deteriorates when you crank it. I wouldn't be surprised if they all did, though. Tubes sound better at volumes, while solid states don't.

    I would recommend a tube amp, because they just sound better when turned up. The Voxes are definitely worth a try though.
     
  19. Jon

    Jon Member

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    I'd definitely go for the Trademark 60 - it's got some great sounds and although it's not quite as satisfying as a really good tube amp, the practicality and versatility more than make up for this. I have a Dr.Z Carmen Ghia and a Victoria Sovereign, but I use the TM60 regularly with the funk band that I play with - it's fairly small, lightweight, likes pedals, sounds good at low volume, and for live playing, the sansamp xlr output is great for going direct into the PA. Also the boost function for solos on both channels is great. If you bought secondhand, you might be able to get a PowerEngine 60 as well which doubles your output and looks pretty cool as a mini-stack. For a totaly clean sound with the drive and punch controls at zero, you do get a nice warm clean sound, but the volume doesn't get much louder over the last quarter of the control. If you wind the gain up to about a third though, you get a lot more volume with just a hint of hair on the notes.

    I'd avoid the TM120 though (secondhand, as it's discontinued) - I'd read good reviews in a few magazines, but when I enquired at a dealers, they told me that the 120 didn't sound anywhere near as good as the TM60. I thought this was probably bull**** cause they didn't make as much profit from them or something, but a buddy of mine bought one and I think they were right - very, very bass-heavy sound which was very hard to dial out (he ended up fixing a graphic eq pedal inside the amp to compensate). It never really sounded as natural as my TM60.
     
  20. pep

    pep Member

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    You would be pretty happy with the crate V50 1x12 or 2X12 combo. They have a ton of headroom but also sound good at lower levels. Gorgeous cleans with nice digital effects. You would be hard pressed to find a better inexpensive tube amp. You can get them used for much less than you are willing to spend.
     

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