Regarding the GainStar....

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by starvingartist, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. starvingartist

    starvingartist Member

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    Greetings, chaps! A few questions:

    1. Are there any Star Amps clips floating about the internet? I'm dying to hear one and there is nowhere to put one through its paces in my neck of the woods.

    2. How would you compare the GainStar with the Hot Cat?? Porcupine Tree's In Absentia is probably my dream guitar tone which leads me to think a Hot Cat would be right down my alley. Can the amount of gain the GainStar possesses approach the Hot Cat in heaviness?

    Thanks much.
     
  2. starvingartist

    starvingartist Member

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  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Procos on this board has had both, if memory serves...
     
  4. DWB1960

    DWB1960 Senior Member

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    From what Mark Sampson himself says, he's designed the Star line as an improvement over everything else he's done in the past. The fact that he's used the word "Gain" in the model designation leads me to believe the amp smokes.
     
  5. Shark Sandwich

    Shark Sandwich Member

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    I have a Hot Cat 112 and I've played a Gain Star 30 at a dealer. My recollection is that the Gain Star did have a better clean sound but I liked the Hot Cat in every other way. The HC had beefier, bassier gain sounds. I think the HC is more adjustable with its Edge and Level controls than the GS. Finally, the HC is more flexible because it has dual inputs--one for each channel--which means that you can run them both simultaneously using an aby switch. I've found my favorite tones from the HC using it this way.
     
  6. Timster

    Timster Member

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    I've had both the Hot Cat 30 and a GainStar 15. The clean is, in my opinion, better on the Gainstar. As for OD, the gain on the Hot Cat is killer, but I think I prefer the gain tones of the Gainstar also. They are different, though. Both amps are similar in that you really need crank them up a bit to get to their sweet spots.
     
  7. starvingartist

    starvingartist Member

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    Do you have any experience with the Gainstar 30?

    Can the Gainstar get as ferocious as the Hot Cat? Are they both pretty heavy with different flavors at full tilt?

    How would you describe the differences between the gain tone of the two?

    I am fairly certain I would prefer the Gainstar, as I like the control layout better. I'm just really curious about: 1. Amount of gain possible compared to the Hot Cat, and 2. Flavor of gain compared to the Hot Cat.
     
  8. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Member

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    i havent played the gainstar but the hotcat can easily nail that in absentia sound. i had my hot cat setup to nail that sound originally. not i mainly use it for a smoother overdrive with less gain. i crank the master and put the level at 9:00. to me this amp is extremely versatile. put the gain channel slightly louder than the clean channel and combine them and watch out. its so great i could have 2 or 3 and not be bored with them. definately check out the hot cat 30r though. the mid + switch is where its at.
     
  9. Timster

    Timster Member

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    No experience with the GainStar 30

    the 15 watt GainStar has about as much gain as the 30 watt Hot Cat head I had a while ago.

    Main difference as far as I can remember regarding gain tones - the GS is more compressed/creamy (in a good way) and a bit darker. The HC gain was in your face and was a bit more aggressive/brighter - sounded great with a Les Paul neck pickup.

     
  10. starvingartist

    starvingartist Member

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    In Absentia was recorded with the Hot Cat! :dude

    I really dig that guitar tone, I'm just wondering if my hard-earned pennies would be better off purchasing a Gainstar. If the GS can cop a decent HC tone as well as have channel switching and an FX loop and a sweeter clean channel, I'll be all over it!
     
  11. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    +1, the clean on the gainstar is incredibly lush and chimey, but I too greatly prefer the lead tones of the hot cat. Much thicker and creamier. The Gainstar has as much gain, but I found the gain tones to be harsh and very agressive sounding unless the tone was dialed way down at which point the gain tones were muffled. Funny, the dealer I bought it from told me I would not like the amp and was right!
     
  12. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Thats interesting, I found the exact opposite! Though my experience was with the GS 30, perhaps the 15 is voiced differently.
     
  13. starvingartist

    starvingartist Member

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    Hmmm, interesting. I would describe most of the recorded tones that I have heard of the Hot Cat as aggressive sounding, not very thick or compressed... and from searching on this forum most people think the Hot Cat sounds more modern or raw as opposed to the more refined, creamier Gainstar.

    Shows you not everyone has the same opinion about tone! I'll probably have to wait until I can try one in person.
     
  14. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts....I really cannot stand aggressive tones and like everything creamy and could not wait to return the gainstar to the dealer!
     
  15. starvingartist

    starvingartist Member

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    I'm trying to get an amp that can do metal convincingly, but be lower wattage and not compromise on cleans. Either the Gainstar or Hot Cat would be right down my alley I'm sure. I play progressive music, and enjoy heavier music like King Crimson and Tool but also lighter music like Yes and Genesis.
     
  16. Timster

    Timster Member

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    creamy gain tones on the GainStar 15 happen with the master from about 2:00 to max. The output tubes need to be cooking a bit!

    With the master set low,the GS can be pretty aggresive and harsh..
     
  17. jeffh

    jeffh Silver Supporting Member

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    I too prefered the clean on the Gainstar. More chime and dimension than my Hot Cat.

    IMO the gain channel on the Gain Star is a big disapointment. I did not like it at all. Very harsh and dark at the same time. I much much prefer the Hot Cat..... Seems to be a theme here.
     
  18. ChazMania

    ChazMania Silver Supporting Member

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    I had the GS 30w combo....cleans were awesome on Channel 1, the od on Ch 2 was fuzzy at low volumes, and with a band it cut through, but I had to be WAY TOO loud to get it warm and phat......then everyone would say "turn down".......so I would, then it would be fuzzy, and harsh. A great amp if you can play really really loud........
     
  19. Timster

    Timster Member

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    Like I mentioned, you need to turn the GS up to reach its sweet spot. Same thing with the Hot Cat though. If anything, I thought the hot Cat at low volume sounded worse than the GS at low volume. My secret with the GS 15 is to use it with an ultimate attenuator. They are a perfect match, and allows me to get the killerest OD tones out of the amp. Without the Ultimate, I probably would have returned the GS, as it is just a bit too loud for apartment playing.
     
  20. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    When I asked a dealer I trust this question he said that I'd like the Hot Cat gain better, as it is more ferocious whereas the GainStar has more of a "Dumble-esque" quality... high quality tone but not the tone I'm going after like a Hot Cat

    I was under the impression that the Hot Cat sounds really good at lower volumes... not true?
     

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