Mike Soldano retiring

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by matt3310, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. NewWorldMan

    NewWorldMan Member

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    Tell that to Friedman. I think it's pretty simple to say that if Mike was selling tons of amps and raking in huge profits, there would be no retirement in his immediate future.

    Demand hasn't been there for the product, and when a company (for the most part) only has one product and some variations on it, this is the inevitable conclusion.

    Again, SLOs are fantastic amps, but it doesn't mean there's a demand for them. They sat idle in stock new or used on forums for years at very respectable prices. People simply weren't buying them. Artists weren't using them. How many well known releases in recent years (10+) touted a Soldano as a primary sound? You can probably count them on one hand, and you'd likely have to sit there and think before you could, though I'm sure you could immediately rattle off countless that feature a Friedman, Marshall, Mesa, etc.

    Now that news has broke, you have a flood of guys that never once thought about buying an SLO 5 years ago in a scramble to find one. That's just how it goes. It's not a knock on Soldano. Mike is fantastic and his products are great. That doesn't mean people were buying them, though.
     
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  2. danburton

    danburton Supporting Member

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    Dave and Mike run/ran very different businesses.
     
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  3. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    According to blues city music, the Soldano hr25s were selling well and they sold a bunch of them, but I bet the same could not be said of the SLO, which has been on the market a long time.

    As you pointed out, once something starts to become harder to get, people come out of the woodwork wanting one. I know I have a few amps, that if they were discontinued. I would likely look at picking one up, but as of know they are just on a wish list.
     
  4. danburton

    danburton Supporting Member

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    I think SLO's were selling about as fast as Mike & team could make them. Again, they might not be flying off the shelves but its a high-end product that is difficult to make. By the end, the parts were hard to get, the QC process (especially around the tubes) was exhaustive & the end result was a throwback to an era when machines were built to last & "heirloom quality" was a thing.

    Mike is pretty old-school...if youve ever been to his shop, hes still doing things in a similar manner to how he did them 30 years ago. Thats a big part of what we all love about Soldano.
     
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  5. lgehrig4

    lgehrig4 Member

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    Interesting thought but I think the real truth is that these people always wanted one, but are now motivated by the possibility of the amp priced well out of their range in the future. I bought my 4th one a few weeks ago and this is after selling my 3rd one last winter. I sold because I needed some cash and knew (or thought I knew) that I'd be able to buy another used one for the same price in the near future. This is my first brand new SLO so I obviously paid a lot more than the others and I never would have purchased new prior to the announcement. So I didn't start "magically caring" I just had a little extra motivation.
     
  6. RyanPitch

    RyanPitch Member

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    I am in the exact same boat. I used to own a Decatone and it was an unbelievable amp. I loved it. Had a HR25 (bought used/sold used).

    Recently I just bought one of Mike's very last amps ever built. It was a HR 100+ chassis with a 50W output transformer. Thus, Mike plugged 2 of the tube sockets and it's a "50W amp". He gave me the option of choosing my headshell. I bought it through Blues City Music and couldn't be happier. The thing sounds rad. I was motivated by the recent announcements. The tolex is PERFECT and I hope to keep it forever. I'm going to do an amp shootout with my remaining high gain heads (Friedman JJ100 and others) soon, so I'll post in a different thread when I do.

    Just wanted to say that I agree with @lgehrig4 above.
     
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  7. NewWorldMan

    NewWorldMan Member

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    I'm sure there's folks like you, as well as some that didn't give a crap before or after the announcement... :D I can't foresee used prices ever spiking above what new/used prices used to be in the long run, so I don't think there's any worry there over price. Time will tell, I suppose. Either way, you essentially said the same thing I did. Folks didn't care enough to get one while available, and now want one at the prospect they'll become unavailable.

    I have a couple of buddies I've known for 20+ years that have owned countless amps. Never once have I ever heard "Soldano" or "SLO" come out of their mouths until now..."Are you going to buy an SLO?!" No, I just sold one about 5 minutes ago, haha.
     
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  8. lgehrig4

    lgehrig4 Member

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    I guess there will be those who will buy one for investment reasons but I doubt anyone will spent thousands just to have something that is no longer being made, including your friends. Until they actually plunk down the cash they don’t fit into your description from your first post.

    So you recently sold an SLO?
     
  9. NewWorldMan

    NewWorldMan Member

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    Yes, I sold one to a member here (if memory serves me right) around the time news was breaking of everything. Don't remember the exact amount, $2200-ish range. Great amps, just not something I'd use enough to keep long term. I'm glad it went to someone that will actually use and enjoy it.
     
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  10. rstites

    rstites Member

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    This seems the most likely case. The SLO isn't mass produced for the masses. It's a high end instrument that's going to only cater to people at a certain level and only going to be affordable for a select few of them. Lots of people want them, but when they're always out there for the same steady price built exactly like they've always been, there's always time to save a bit more or explore other options.

    The same thing has gone on the last few years in the car market as I've watched old air cooled Porsche 911's skyrocket up. They've always been a niche market and had been pretty steady so it was easy to keep looking an waiting for the right deal. Then they started going up quickly in price, so lots of guys who'd been on the fence about getting one jumped in before they got priced out of the market. Same deal.

    I don't know Mike personally, but it sounds to me like he's moving on of his own accord - just ready for something new. He's always seemed be a bit anachronistic and been happy to do things his own way: no real media presence, no cell phone (I believe), building amps in his own place like he always has as a one man shop, so apparently no interest in going mainstream. As such, it's a bit unseemly to speculate about him as if he's had a failed business, when it appears that he has other reasons driving him, and certainly none of us know his personal/business financial situation.

    I don't know how his import designs are contracted for payment, but it could well be that those will be what he allows to carry his name forward and what will pay his retirement. From all accounts, they're well regarded and appears to sell steadily.
     
  11. Wyatt Earp

    Wyatt Earp Member

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    Purchased a mint SLO 100 for $1200.00 locally back in 2009. A well-built amp, but the tone/response characteristics aren't my thing. I sold it to a goodfella in Canada, who still owns it today.

    The SLO 100 is a headbangers delight! If you're looking for hair-band tone/response, the SLO 100 will most definitely get you there. Try using a 5751 @ V2. ;)
     
  12. kenadams

    kenadams Member

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    Exactly. Dave said in an interview that if you want to build up a brand, you can't just do this by selling amps that cost a few $1000 each.
    You have to sell other related products. And that's it. Dave wants to build a brand spearheaded by his amps, Mike wanted to build amps.
     
  13. ptgold

    ptgold Member

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    Question.....Who is B.A.D amplifiers? the name keeps coming up regarding who could take over Soldano but I cant find anything on them.
     
  14. Sirloin

    Sirloin Supporting Member

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    http://boutiqueampsdistribution.com/
     
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  15. jdel77

    jdel77 Member

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    I've always thought of the SLO as the most perfect modified Marshall ever made...which means it'll do metal, as well as classic rock.
    I'm interested to know what that tube will do in V2 though!
     
  16. Carol-AnnAmps

    Carol-AnnAmps Gold Supporting Member

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    You got it perfect there. People don't realize that. Mike is an Engineer and designer, his business has always been truly boutique. I would say like myself he recently just got tired of working for nothing. He's of an age where retirement is an option, but I dare say he will probably still consult. I chose to slow my business to a part time time thing, keeping it really boutique and have a really good electronic engineering design job as my main gig now working for a larger Company. I don't need to churn out amps and pedals to make a living, I can just build a few really high quality amps and continue to innovate new ideas. Bluetooth auto biasing from your cell phone is my latest baby. That's what I like, screw building a brand and trying to make money in a declining market. I'd rather have fun with no pressure and gain a name as an innovator.
     
  17. Wyatt Earp

    Wyatt Earp Member

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    To my ears, the SLO has a more Fender meets Marshall sound and feel. Very "American" sounding. A great sounding amp, but too expressive on the top-end for my needs. IMO, the best sounding SLO amplifiers are the ones without an effects loop. I prefer lower-mid character, softer attack, and slower release. That's not what the SLO does. For a more "British" tone and feel, I ended-up going with a Cornford MK50, Bogner 100B, and a Marshall Silver Jubilee. Original SJ circuit, not the reissue.

    The 5751 (V2) will impart a more "vintage" sound and feel. I used one in both of my SLO heads. Takes some of the "hair" out of the preamp. I also used EL34 tubes in one head. The OT isn't biased for them, but the DeYoung iron can handle the increased current without issue. *This was confirmed with Mike and Bill before making the change.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  18. Egnodin

    Egnodin Member

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    Yep. I hear some Tweed in it + modded Marshall.
     
  19. Wyatt Earp

    Wyatt Earp Member

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    There's a light mod for the SLO effects loop, but I've never tried it. I used Rocktron racks in those days, so the loop wasn't an issue. A good quality 1/3 octave EQ is your best friend.
     
  20. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    Doesn't V2 only affect the Overdrive channel assuming this schematic is correct. http://www.4tubes.com/SCHEMATICS/Music-amps/Soldano/SLO 100/slo100_1.gif

    Wondering how a 5751 would work in V2 on the HR25 I have. The Overdrive channel of the HR25 has more gain than the SLO, which frankly for my uses it doesn't really need.

    I was kind of hoping when I got the HR25 that it would replace my venerable Silver jubilee 2553, but they are two different animals and I love both.
     

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