My love affair with the CAA OD-100 SE+ continues

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by justonwo, Jan 11, 2008.


  1. justonwo

    justonwo Supporting Member

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    So I've had my OD-100 since the end of October. I originally bought the amp to round out my collection with a modern, high-gain channel switcher. I've spent the last few months playing almost exclusively through this amp so I can get a better sense of what it can do.

    And I continue to be astounded. With humbuckers, you have to go pretty low on the gain dial to get a classic rock sound, but the amp has no problem getting the crunchy overdrive of my Super Lead. Crank up the gain to about noon and you get a rich, modern overdrive which is extremely responsive to your playing dynamics. There's some slight compression when you really hammer a chord with high output pickups, but it'll retain most of it's response even under high-gain and high volume. The SE+ is by far the most dynamic high-gain amp I've ever played.

    With the volume up, the distorted channel is absolutely thunderous. You can dial in enough bass and mids to make your chest rattle, and they hold together all the way up to max volume. There's no looseness or flub. That kind of tight bass puts a big smile on my face when I really want to let loose at high volume.

    I know this is probably heresy to many, but I typically don't pick channel switchers for their clean channel (I'm certainly in the minority having picked my Rivera for its dirty channel). I'm really starting to change my tune as I play through the OD-100 clean channel more and more. Through my ported 2x12 (Weber Blue Dog and Silver Bell), it's a really well-balanced, sparkly clean that makes this channel so much fun to play through. With humbuckers (my default pickup), I'm used to a - for lack of a better term - "boingy" overemphasis in the mids on most clean channels. The EQ allows you to dial in a great balance for humbuckers that makes chords sound very full without the excessive mids. Turn the gain up on the clean channel and you have a fantastic crunchy rhythm tone. A little more and blues just pour out of this channel.

    The clean channel, so far as I have tested it, handles pedals quite well. For the most part, I'm using my tremolo, phaser, delay, and Mayo (fuzz), and it eats those pedals up. I haven't found anything in the overdrive/distortion pedal realm that can touch the overdrive channel, so I don't typically use them.

    The versatility at low volume is a nice plus, too. My experience with big amps is that most sound pretty unimpressive at low volumes. I won't say that the OD-100 blows me away at low volume, but it's better than most big amps I've played through at low volume. I think, primarily, it's the "thump" switch that really does it. Last night, for instance, we decided to turn the band way down to finish everything off. Initially, I was hesitant. I was getting so much great tone at rehearsal volume, I just didn't want to touch the volume dial. But then I remembered the "thump" switch. I flipped it to the mid-level and it drastically improved the low end and "bigness" of the sound.

    At 100 Watts, it is, not surprisingly, a loud amp. My Hot Plate is pretty much a standard part of my setup. I'm using the -8 dB attenuation level in most cases. Yeah, yeah, I know the amp has a master volume, but the combination of attenuation and preamp is really true to the sound of the unattenuated amp. (That's been my experience with moderate levels of attenuation through any amp, in fact.) I've said it in many other threads, but I'll take a big, attenuated amp over it's low-watt counterpart any day.

    I have a StoneAge 4x12 with Heritage G12-65s showing up next week, and I'm really excited to play the amp through this cab.

    Anyway, this has been a long-winded thread, but this is the only amp I've played through - ever - that has had no obvious shortcomings out of the box. Stock, every facet of this amp has impressed me from day one. I haven't felt the need to mess with tubes, cabinets, etc. If you guys are in the market for a high-gain channel switcher, the SE+ deserves very serious consideration.
     
  2. Steve Snider

    Steve Snider Silver Supporting Member

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    Very well said. Great amp and I am still loving mine as well!!
     
  3. samhill

    samhill Member

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    I'm with you guys. I've had mine since last summer and every weekend that we play, the OD100se+ makes me feel like a kid at Christmas time. I have never had so much fun playing and I have owned some killer rigs. This head is so responsive. I love it!!!


    Mark
     
  4. sparkle**

    sparkle** Member

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    I am loving my SE+ .... no need for another channel switcher....
    Mine was a convert so it has the thump and depth switch....
     
  5. spazmonkey

    spazmonkey Member

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    Same here. I've sold off 3 amps since I bought mine. This is it for me, (well maybe a od50se+)...Definantly a GREAT amp!!!! One of IF NOT the best I've ever heard or played!!!
     
  6. justonwo

    justonwo Supporting Member

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    Oh, I forgot to mention that John Suhr has AMAZING customer service. That's a big plus.

    I'm kinda surprised these amps are mentioned more often, but I guess there are lots of great boutique options out there these days.
     
  7. guitardr

    guitardr Silver Supporting Member

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    Got my hands on a CAE OD100 Standard that was NOS at an area 'boo-teek' place. Made inquiry/registration and heard back fast that I got a 2005 model. "If you want you can send it back for upgrades/better reliability" (at no charge as well) was the reply, so I did it gladly. What I got back was even better: the clean channel sounds like an old blackface Twin I had many years ago, and the nasty channel has enough "sleaze to please". Note definition, harmonics, balance, and attainable sweet spots at any dynamic level. The FX loop is quiet & superb as well. In combination with an Avatar G212H premier cab with Celestion Classic 80's, it converted me away from combo use in all but the smallest jobbing situations. You guys are so right.
     
  8. keith_t4e

    keith_t4e Member

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    I'm sooo glad you put this info up. I have JCM800 and Soldano Avenger both single channel heads. I'm close to pulling trigger on Fuchs Frost Single channel. I know we have established a trend here.
    However, I do really want the amp to end all gas or at least turn it back toward guitars for a while. I've tried an Engl Invader. My bro has a Blackmore loves it. I've heard clips of Rivera Ktre combo. WOW what a killer amp. The ultimate amp in my mind is the OD100. What I need to know is which model I need. I thought I had read that the SE+ while having ample gain with the boost engaged actually has lesser amounts of gain with the boost off. Should I then get the OD Standard +. I'm pretty sure the Classic wouldn't have enough gain for me though the classic + may come close. I wan't something with more than enough usable gain. Not the ultra gain like the Marshall DSL which gets to the point it isn't musical anymore. My Soldano is great even at low volumes. I like amps with Depth nobs now. I play old Rush, Dio, Sabbath type rock very hard with some edge to it. I want something that handles palm mutting and pinch harmonics very well. My JCM800 with an OCD pedal is good because of great dynamics. After hearing all of this should I get the SE or the Standard. Thanks and I'm glad you love the amp.
     
  9. justonwo

    justonwo Supporting Member

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    The SE+ is the model you want. It's the high gain version of the OD-100. Yes, there is less gain with the boost off - otherwise it wouldn't be a boost ;). Seriously, though, there is a ton of gain with the boost off. Plenty to spare. I wouldn't worry about that part. The Standard, by the way, has less available gain than the SE+.
     
  10. Melodic Dreamer

    Melodic Dreamer Member

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    I wonder how noticable the volume difference is between a 100watter and a 50watter?
     
  11. Steve Snider

    Steve Snider Silver Supporting Member

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    agree. best one and John has changed the gap between the boosted and non boosted mode to be better so now the unboosted mode has plenty of gain on tap.

    The new SE+ is so killer.
     
  12. justonwo

    justonwo Supporting Member

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    keith_t4e, did you decide on an amp?
     
  13. gregc

    gregc Member

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    I had one for a while. I never quite fell in love with the dirt but I thought the clean tone was a thing of beauty.
     
  14. spazmonkey

    spazmonkey Member

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    Did you have the se+? The dirt channel is what I love about it, AND it has a bangin' clean to boot!
     
  15. Metlking

    Metlking Member

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    I see two companys when it comes to the OD100, Custom Audio Electronincs and Custom Audio Amplifiers. I assume the two were one at some point? What's the story behind this?
     
  16. justonwo

    justonwo Supporting Member

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  17. Metlking

    Metlking Member

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