Best power amp (tube or SS)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by GuitarGuy510, Mar 6, 2006.


  1. GuitarGuy510

    GuitarGuy510 Member

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    Hey guys,

    I love my Randall RM100 so much that I'm swapping over to the rack version RM4 so I can use 4 modules instead of just 3! I was thinking about matching it with the Randall RT2/50 power amp because it is versatile and obviously tuned to match with the RM4, but I was curious if anyone knew of any nice power amps, tube or solid state, that would work well with the RM4? Thanks a lot! :D
     
  2. jspax7

    jspax7 Member

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    My favorite Power amp EVER is a Mesa Simul 2:90. Everything sounds great through it. Guitar Player Magazine used to use them for reviewing preamps. 8 6L6 Tubes, 90 watts per channel, (but sounds great at any volume)
     
  3. Softpaw

    Softpaw Member

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    VHT 2/50/2

    Excellent! Fixed or cathode biased. 6l6 or el34.
     
  4. GuitarGuy510

    GuitarGuy510 Member

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    I should probably add that I'm not looking to spend more than like $550 new or used. The mesa I think costs a bit more than that, but how much does that VHT power amp go for used? I know a couple people that use the RM4 with the VHT power amp. I'm *hoping* that a used RT2/50 comes up soon since that is at the top of my list as it can midi switch between both 6l6's and el34's with each preamp change on the footswitch which I think is a cool feature!
     
  5. Softpaw

    Softpaw Member

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    I think you can find a 2/50/2 for $550 if you look hard and have some time. Right now there's one on eBay for $750/ $800 BIN which is absolutely dead mint-- so, I figure a used one with normal rack wear etc would go for less. I have one that I'm not selling, but if I did it would go for far less the eBay one above.

    VHT provides great support and service also. Absolutely top notch. I get emails answered by Steve Fryette promptly. The amp is really, really reliable and well-built and sounds absolutely great. One good thing about the VHT: in the cathode-biased mode you can swap tube without rebiasing. You also switch in 6l6's without rebiasing using the 6l6/34 switch, which changes screen current as well as plate voltages. Very nice. Ideally, though you should have VHT set the switch up for the optimal values for a given set up tubes. On the other hand, it doesn't do the 6l6/ el34 midi-switching thing. Frankly, I never got into anything that complicated myself, but I can understand the allure of that feature. I'm sure you could get some rack switcher type arrangement to do the same thing with the VHT.

    In any case, the Class A mode doesn't really reduce volume much--but what it does is add "sparkle" and upper harmonics in clean settings, and when pushed a little, adds more compression--i.e/ it is spongier/rounder than class A/B. When overdriving the tubes in Class A, the tone has more midrange girth, a touch of vintage-amp-sounding "honkiness" if you will; Class A/B is spankier, has a bit more headroom and clarity.

    The VHT amp also comes with the standard VHT prescence and resonance (depth) controls on each channel, as well as special voicing switches, which are really quite useful, IMHO. . According to Steve Fryette:



    None of these features are gimmicks-- they were all well-thought out and refined and perfected over time in response to customer feedback.
    For example, Steve F. said his amps used to have pentode/triode switching, but most customers found the triode mode too mushy and/or grainy--so he has abandoned the pentode/triode switching for the ClassA/AB switching, which works wonderfully.

     
  6. SteveVHT

    SteveVHT Member

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    Save the extra money and get a VHT 2/50/2 or 2/90/2
    It's worth it.
    They kill all other power amps out there...
    Steve
     
  7. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Member

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    i was going to suggest VHT or Mesa power amps. I guess that its already been answered though
     
  8. Softpaw

    Softpaw Member

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    Yep.

    I went for the 2/50/2 because I'm more a classic rock, fusion, blues player and I like the tone and feel when the power tubes are pushed a little bit, which is much easier with the 50 watt power sections, especially cathode-biased "class A'" mode. If I wanted more tight, percussive, thundering bass, I'd go for the 2/90/2.
     
  9. raz

    raz Member

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    Not that Steve's biased or anything. :D

    Uh...I guess I'd claim that pun is intended.

    The VHT's are great, the Mesa 2:90 is great. Outside option: if you can find a Seymour Duncan KTG-2100 you might be able to hammer the seller down to dirt cheap if they don't know what they've got. Absolutely killer power section and you can find steals on them. I got the one I had for $250, but that was like the score of a lifetime.

    But if you can't get it down to $400-450 or less, you're probably better off to just go with a used VHT.

    (Gotta give the plug to Steve because he did me a small favor this week!)
     
  10. GuitarGuy510

    GuitarGuy510 Member

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    How many tubes are in the VHT 2/50/2? You've got me interested... I think 50 watts is all I really need since it will only be for home use right now, and if it is ever used live that's what mic's are for! :) although I'm still partial to the MIDI switching ability of the RT2/50. To answer above, someone said it was complicated to do the whole switching thing, but that's what I liked about the Randall one... it's STUPIDLY simple. Like you seriously put it on the preamp channel, hold down the button on the power amp for 3 seconds on which channel you want it set to, let go and it's set! It just seems really cool, and I heard great things from guys on the now deceased Egnater forum (on a side note, anyone know what happend to it? :( ). I also heard some recordings with it that really sounded great. I don't know if I've heard anything recorded with a VHT power amp yet, anyone have clips? Thanks!

    BTW, is SteveVHT Steve Fryette? I just realized it was him (or could have been him), so I was just curious!
     
  11. JDouglee

    JDouglee Member

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    I'd consider keeping the RM100 and going into the effects return, using that as your power amp. You have a place to dock extra modules too. Unless you really need stereo.
     
  12. Softpaw

    Softpaw Member

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    It's two power tubes per side, four total. 2xel34 or 2x6l6 per side. 50-60 watts per side, depending on whether its in cathode or fixed bias mode.
    There are one or more? 12ax- type driver tubes also... don't remember.



    Sure, there might be an advantage there. On the other hand, one of the main points of the preamp/stereo power amp setup for me was to run *stereo*, not switch preamp channels in and out of mono power sections.
    YMMV!!

    Regarding clips: a lot of music has been recorded using VHT power amps... but it would be quite difficult to isolate the contribution of the power amp vs preamp, efx etc. to make a judgment, I would imagine.

    And AFAIK SteveVHT is not Steve Fryette.
     
  13. ccoker

    ccoker Supporting Member

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    I have had a lot of power amps in the past
    the KTG 2100 is a work of art...
    3d, TONE, killer
     
  14. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I find myself in a similar position, having just taken ownership of a Kasha RockMod 2 that John Kasha just modded to current specs. I rehearsed last night with it using my Stewart 100W ss power amp to a THD 2 12 cab and it killed. Would tubes have sounded better?? Most would say so, but I'm not sure what I was missing....... Tube power amps seem pretty expensive for what they are, but I'll probably take the plunge one of these days when the 'deal of the century' knocks on my door....... yeah, right....:NUTS :D

    The other quick and cheap power amp is the power side of the Crate Powerblock. 150W for really cheap. Sounds pretty good too!

    jon
     
  15. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    I'll probably take serious abuse for saying so, but MOSValve power amps always worked well for me. After that - Boogie Simul 2:90. Even back in the Rack of Doom days, I never really found one I loved, and I tried way too many of them...

    peace,

    jb
    :BluesBros
     
  16. Roodboy

    Roodboy Supporting Member

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    For $500 new the Carvin TS-100 is a pretty good deal. EL34's or 6l6.
    I looked aound alot before getting the ts100 and didn't see any VHTs under $750.
     
  17. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Not from me :AOK My Stewart has always done a great job. http://www.stewartaudio.com/pa100b.html

    jon
     
  18. sinasl1

    sinasl1 Member

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    I have an rm4 and RT 2/50... go that route, the RT is killer! the midi switching is cool, you could have el-34's going out to a 4-12" and then switch to 6L6 through an open back cab! Can't do that with any other poweramp. It sounds great, and so nice to have the options of switching tubes, biasing right on the front panel, etc. It's kinda heavy though... but they all are I guess, unless you get a mesa 20/20 or something... I ran my rm4 with one of those for awhile and it was cool but no deep low end/headroom to speak of, really.
     
  19. amper

    amper Member

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    For $500 or less, your choices will be pretty limited, even on the used market. A couple of years ago, it was easy to pick up a Mesa 20/20 on eBay for $400-450, but now they're going for a lot more, since Mesa has raised the new retail price to $700. I've been seeing them on eBay go in the $550-650 range.

    Great deals can still be had on Mesa Fifty/Fifty's. I often see them in the $350 dollar range. The new Stereo 2:Fifty is still rare on the used market, but I think you should expect to see them for $700-800 when you do see them.

    Oddly enough, the Stereo 2:90 goes for a pretty good price used, but still much more than $500.

    I've never had the opportunity to try out a VHT power amp, but given the quality of all the other VHT products I've heard, I'm sure the power amps are excellent.

    One important question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you get your distortion sorely from your preamps or pedals. If you do, you probably shouldn't bother buying a tube power amp, since a solid-state power amp will do the job just fine in that scenario.

    I would say, though, that if you haven't tried a Mesa 20/20, you may find after getting a hold of one that you lose all desire for anything bigger. It's quite an amazing power amp.
     
  20. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Sorely OR solely :D

    That's my reasoning. The Kasha RockMod does all the tone shaping itself, like a good preamp should ;). I have a processor in the loop for effects so I figured the power amp just needs to amplify, not mod the sound. I'm sure tube purists would disagree but I have to question my ability to hear a major difference. Plus, I happen to have the ss amp and don't happen to have a tube power amp, at the moment anyway......

    jon
     

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