Just in Sommatone Roaring 15 ...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by r9player, May 27, 2005.


  1. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Well it is the Prototype for the Roaring 20's that Jimmy build and since it uses older trannies he'd rate it at around 15W vs. 20W.
    I'd say it's plenty loud for my purposes for sure.
    This amp can really roar, but .. I was unable to turn it all the way up because Wife and Kids came home just when I plugged it in ...
    All the circuits are exactely like the Roaring 20.
    (The amp btw is very light and quite small)

    Amp is truly awesome!
    First of all it's pretty (I like blond Tolex so bonus there too)
    Runs on 2 EL 84's and 3 12AX7s
    Has Volume / Bright Volume / Master Volume
    Treble / Mid / Bass / Presence

    Power / Standby / Boost - footswitchable

    Volume and Bright Volume are for a jumpered channel and favoring one vs. the other gets you more Tweed like or more Marshall/Vox like.
    Personally I don't think this is the kind of amp you want for superb Tweed but it does a nice tweed. It does an excellent Marshall/Vox though.
    Also it has great clean sound with plenty of headroom if you want it. It's a "bright" clean not quite tweed to my ears.

    All the controls do just that, they control and do a great job.

    The boost is not one that gets you from clean to rock or rock to metal. It is a very subtle boost, slight jump in volume, makes the whole sound fuller, I can hear the mids and highs much more pronounced in boost and the overall sound is a lot richer.

    What does get you from clean to rock to metal is pick attack.
    This amp truly stands out in this area, great pick attack sensitivity, almost unreal! I can very easily strum and stay clean and then dig in and whammo rocking out. Turn things up a notch on the volumes (keeping master down cuz of wife and kids :D )
    And you get great rock into well .. metal like sounds (not quite what I usually play but it is fun to push an amp in all areas)

    The master volume control works very well, it actually doesn't influence head room as much as I would've expected, a very nice and well working master volume not sure what the principle is behind this. Again headroom a plenty, also has good settings for clean with being able to dig in your pick and not overdrive the amp.

    This amp is also incredibly quiet, any hum that I heard was from my single coils and that was minimal. I was using my Mayes C with Lollar pick ups. Still have to throw my Nunis Standard with SD Antiquity Hums at it.

    Personally I am a tweed "lover" and I covered my bases there with a Louis KR-12. This fits perfect in the line up for me towards the Marshall/Vox sound.
    Together with the fact that I have my Auble 2 Watter and a Stephenson LJ-15 coming, I am all done buying amps (right ...)
    But if I had to pick an amp that had to go .. it would be the Auble .. ack scary thought!

    Here is some amp porn

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    As a closing story for those that read this far.
    Packing ...
    Amp was bubble wrapped and taped up in multiple layers (this caused the great delay of plugging it in before wife and kids got home!) besides that lots of peanuts, I would say though very well packed. The only problem. It came with a T-Shirt (Thanks!), a footswitch and the power tubes seperate ...
    Sooooo I also spend 10 minutes diving for stuff! and coming up with treasure (Small box luckily very light head) But in the end it looked like I was missing a footswitch cable so I had to call Jimmy just to make sure!

    I think this amp is like totally awesome! For all you gear sluts, it is a must try/have!
     
  2. Jimmy Somma

    Jimmy Somma Member

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    Hi Pai,

    Thanks for the great review of the amp.

    Sorry for the missing cable... I'll send you one asap.

    Enjoy! :)

    sommatone.com
     
  3. Chi

    Chi Member

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    I tell you those Roaring 20's do just that ...ROAR!!!!
    I had the pleasure of hearing Jimmy demo one that was being picked up by a fellow GP'er, and damn did it sound great and it was incredibly versatile. Fender, Vox, Marshall just from changing the EQ...don't know how Jimmy does it. Aside from the versatility, is the fact that this little guy gives up the goods WITHOUT flubbing out on t he low end...this is generally unheard of with a quad of EL 84s, nevermind a pair!!!

    For those of you who were at the NYC tonesfest, I don't think that the demo (or the video) did any justice to the versatility and tone of this little guy...DEFINITELY try to checkone out on your own...when I heard it it sounded nothing like the one Iremeber at TF sounding like...but then again i had more time to hear (and appreciate) it tone and versatility.

    I'm dying to hear the 40 watter when it eventually comes out...:dude
     
  4. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Well as I mentioned.
    If you start with Clean, pick attack gets you into Rock.
    If you start with Rock, pick attack gets you into Metal.
    Seriously this is the most pick attack sensitive amp I've ever seen in a good way, not like overly sensitive so you have to really hold back on strumming to get clean then go into rock.

    The flub stuff .. I don't know for sure, it certainly has good low end, but I don't know what one would describe as flub.

    And eh this would be the second EL84 amp that I like, the other was a Maven Peal Zeeta.
     
  5. Chi

    Chi Member

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    --I don't know about clean to metal from pick attack...from what I heard you can go from a nice hard rock tone to beautiful jimi type cleans from the volume knob of your guitar. If you messed with the control knobs it sounded like Jimmy could get some pretty heavy tones even with a strat...I would DEFINITELY say try one out...

    --my experience is when you dime an EL84 amp or push it with a pedal is that the top end compresses and the bottom end caves in; doesn't hold together like EL34, 6550, 6L6 or the monster of bottom end, KT88. My el 84 amps have always caved, (except for a Clark).

    In speaking with a number of amp builders, these are just inherent characteristics of el 84's and 6v6's when you dime em ...but great builder s like Jimmy Somma, Hogy and Fred Taccone have done wonders with EL84 circuits in keeping the bottom together...T-I-G-H-T. I made the bad decision to put yellow jackets in my Komet and crank it at the Tonefest..the YJ's sounded great for cleans, but when youcranked it it was just compressed w/flubby low end.

    I remember you commenting that you play VHT's which are also known to keep a good bottom end and remain articulate; but I've never played a EL84 VHT...

    If you get to Black Creek tho try one out David...I think you'll be impressed.
     
  6. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    The "Roaring 20" by Jimmy Somma is a really good amp. It is extremely responsive to your input and is one of the most flexible amps out there.
    I only had a brief time with it and never touched the tone controls because I was enthralled with mix of the two Volumes (dark and bright) and Master (defeatable). It also has a singularly good reverb (in the combo).
    I thought at the time that it could be an amp to interest Splatt but didn't want to hype the thing too much - it's too good for that.

    Jimmy said that a higher powered version may be available by the tail end of Summer (though the 20 is plenty loud). I think he told me that Earl Slick ordered one.

    Well worth some time to check out.

    Best, Pete.
     
  7. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Threw my Nunis Standard at it which has SD antiquity hums in it.
    Sounded great with the humbuckers too.
    Obviously overdrives easier but I also noticed that I couldn't get as good of a range of "pick attack sounds" as when I was using my Mayes.
    So the Lollar pick ups may have something to do with the pick attack sensitivity and they just work great with the Sommatone.

    Awesome sounds for sure. To do it even more justice, getting a 2x12 cab for it!
     
  8. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Wife and kids left the house ... so
    Put the V2x10 Burt Cab (now on sale btw) in the middle of the room, pulled out the long cables.
    Hooked in the boost footswitch.

    Powered up, plugged in guitar (Mayes C) took a very respectful distance and let it rip!

    Awesome!! (first of all the Burt cab is harder to appreciate up close with a little distance it sounds a bit better)

    This amp dimed roars a plenty! and the sound is really SWEET.

    Don't think I got a full 20 Watts going (could be the cab) but it was thumping and piercing, excellent, again that nice pick attack response, volume roll off reponse.
    Great cleans, very sweet over drive sounds.
    At dimed positions the Tweed sound improves quite a bit so bonus right there!

    Getting a 2x12 soon for this, can't wait! (but in the meantime need to sell this 2x10 ... anyone? see Amp/Cab emporium)
     
  9. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Well just a follow up.
    Been playing this amp pretty consisently.
    Also to break in the 2x12 cab.
    Figure I should do a follow up in the "post" honeymoon mode.

    Still love the amp, it is a keeper!
    Pondering selling off my Auble 2 Watter since well, it sees no use at all!!!
    (Although it's the most gorgeous amp and cab combination)

    Sommatone continues to prove super versatile in tone. I do hear some hissing on the tubes (JJ's / Tesla's) and I am about to go on a NOS retube tear to see if I can find any combo's of tubes to get even better sound out of this amp.

    The boost on this is very subtle and makes the tone nice full and fat, but it isn't something that I think would be suitable to be used to go from Rhythm to Lead instantly.
    I found that in Boost it doesn't always like my OD/Dist settings from my Line 6 AM Modeler.
    With the boost off, it takes anything in front just fine.

    I am starting to like the clean sounds more and more and I think the 2x12 cab has a big influence on that as well (especially since the speakers are starting to break in very nicely)
    Combo btw is a Holland 2x12 open back with Fane AX speakers. They look like a perfect match to each other.

    The combination has great balanced tone. Favors the highs a bit more so I eq'd up the Bass and Mid and it works great. Can get ear piercing highs and good thumping bass.

    Only complaint so far, I think 1 or more tubes may have gone bad, but that will be remedied soon. (Hissing sound and a ringing sound)
     
  10. walrus

    walrus Member

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    I got my 1x12 a couple weeks ago and I'm liking it very much. I'm impressed by its looks, construction and tone. I'm still getting to know the amp but Jimmy's sample settings helps very much. I agree you can get good Fender-like cleans when you bump up the volume. Playing at home, I love the overdrive you can get at low volume. However, at "only" 20W, this amp really can shake the floor and rattle the windows!
     
  11. cocheese

    cocheese Supporting Member

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    I'd really love to hear one of these amps someday. +/- 20 watts is about the perfect volume to me these days.
     
  12. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Hi Cocheese if you are anywhere around Philly you are welcome to come over and try it out.
    Then again .. Jimmy is not too far away in NJ .. might as well go to the source!
    Still your welcome to come by, just drop me a line.
     
  13. cocheese

    cocheese Supporting Member

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    Pai,

    Thanks so much for the generous offer, but I'm in WA State. More than a day's drive from you guys. Hopefully somone out here will buy one so I can hear one. They sound like GREAT amps!
     
  14. CBeeper

    CBeeper Supporting Member

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    Tyler,
    Jimi's amps are great. I have the pleasure of living 20 minutes from him and have played the amp. Another forumite just bought a Roaring 20 and had it put in a custom 2x12 cab. That little 18 watter was pushing some air!
     
  15. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Poor CoCheese, Prettty soon we'll have all these people posting how awesome these amps are and they'll all live far far away from WA state ... :D

    Personally 2x12 is my favorite combo, not too loud and not to "focused".

    Love to see what it looks like as a 2x12 combo. Here is my Head and Cab pic btw.

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