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SLO 100, your thoughts?

DiPa

Constant GAS
Messages
14,423
I hope this thread does not get into a pissing contest, but I wanted to hear from our experts at TGP on the SLO100 Super Lead amp.
We have been drooling on Germinos, Metropoulous, old vintage Marshall and other boutique amps for sometime now. We have accumulated plenty of testimonials on these Amps and there is a huge fan base and excitement.
What about the SLO 100? Is it the amp of the past? Don't read or hear too much about it.
I have never played or heard a SLO 100, and curious how it compares.
Price tag is a hefty $4100 for the head.
Are folks still digging the SLO?
 

TNJ

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
28,824
The hype is that the
SLO does one thing extemely well...medium to higher range Overdrive.
And that's about it.

I have played one (100W head into a Bogner 412 cab with V30s).
I dont remember the cleans...I DO remember the overdriven bridge
humbucker (it was a 20 year old PRS Cu24 at the time).
I have played some nice Soldano clean amps (namely the Lucky 13, I think).
Overdrives were nothing to write home about.

But, oh that SLO...what a slice of heaven that was!
I would guess alot of folks still play through them...for the right gig.


My .02 only,

S.
j
 

fusionbear

exquirentibus veritatem
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,998
I have owned two. They are definitely a classic. Hopefully, I won't make people angry by my comments, but this was my journey and experience with this amp. My biggest complaints and the reasons I sold mine were three in particular.

1. It is not a good channel switcher IMO. There always seems to be a compromise, especially between the clean and OD settings. I think this is primarily due to the shared tone stack. I could get a great lead tone, but then the clean would sound dull, and if I dialed a nice clean tone, the OD would be too bright. If using the crunch and the OD, not so much a problem. This is primarily the way I would use it (crunch/od only) or part of an a/b set up.

2. The feel in the lead channel feels slightly disconnected. As if there i a slight delay between the note as you pick it and when you hear it. Related to this is that the lead tone, while awesome, sounds pretty much the same regardless of guitar or player. It doesn't seem to react to nuances as much as other amps.

3. The loop is pretty much unusable, even with line level effects IMO... Better to use a Wet/Dry set up...

Again, this is a classic amp that is built like a tank, has a killer tone overall, but just didn't work for me...

The build is impeccable and uses top components!

I owned a 1991' version and then a later 2000's version to try again, it just didn't work for me.... YMMV, of course....
 
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Echoplexi

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,509
I've been a vintage marshall player for most of my playing life but I bought an slo 100 off of a member here this year and I'm totally in love with it. Its my only amp at the moment now in fact and I'm fine with that!

The overdrive channel is incredible of course but I also think the clean/crunch channel is good too. I set my clean tone on the crunch setting with the preamp low and bright switch on.

Since I bought it I have had it retubed with kt66 power tubes which round it out a bit more and add a bit of British quality. I've settled on rft/Siemens 12ax7s in v1-v2 and Chinese ruby 12ax7hg+ for the rest. I've also had the depth and haynes mod added as well.

Tried it through greenback style speakers first and was good at band levels but fizzy at home volume. I now use hemp coned celestion g12-80 speakers that for me sound incredible and fizz free from whisper sleeping baby volume to stage. Speaking of that I think the master works good low but once you get it on 3 or more it's god like. Like insanely killer. Luckily I play in a band and venues where I can turn up to 5-6 unattenuated no issues.

The ONLY thing that is a pain to me is the effects loop. I've gotten it to work for me by using a suhr minimix ii with my strymon timeline. This preserves the dry tone and brings a delay to instrument level (not an issue with the timeline there). Still not perfect with a lot of gain but I keep the preamp on mine around 5 so it's ballsy but clear. The minimix really helped.

Build quality is amazing and the sound is a dream to me. Both my co-guitarist and the drummer have commented that this is the best I've ever sounded. This is cool because up until I bought the slo I was. Typical TGP'er who went through an amp every month haha
 

Jay Axis

Member
Messages
647
Well I don't know if they are as "in vogue" as a lot of other boutique amps are right now, but I absolutely love my SLO! It really is a beast of an amp and versatile if you work with it. In my experience the clean/crunch channel is also very good. The overdrive channel is glorious! It has more gain than I could ever need. I never have the gain above 6 on the overdrive channel. It is a very articulate amp and is speaker sensitive, even more so than most amps. I've found I prefer mine through either greenbacks or the V12 Legend speakers that Soldano loads their cabs with.

Some complain the amp is too bright, and it is a bright amp I suppose, but I don't find it to be too bright. Its just very clear and articulate. No mud. It CAN be made darker with the EQ settings. You really have to spend time with it to dial it in. It's quite sensitive to changes on all of the knobs. Using a Marshall 1960BX 4X12 with greenbacks I actually have my EQ set at Bass-6, Mid-6, Treble 5, Presence 7 OD Pre-5, Crunch Pre-5 and Depth knob anywhere from 0 to 2 depending on how loud I'm playing and my mood. So, judging by my settings I wouldn't say the SLO is too bright, but YMMV. I'm also still using the OEM Sovtek 5881 tubes. I found the amp to be biased very cold, so I adjusted that to 30mA, which I like and is still not at all a hot bias. I'm really not big on biasing amps super hot.

The SLO sounds good at low volume, but sounds even better at 4 or higher on the masters, which is FREAKING LOUD!!! Honestly, to me that "sounds better at higher volume" with the SLO is really just because it is driving the speakers harder, which fills out the sound more. Due to that its not the ideal amp for everyone, but I live in a condo and volume is an issue and even a little below 1 on the master volume it still sounds really good. Sometimes I take it to my girlfriend's house where I can crank it up and do my best to knock the paint off the walls! It sounds great! If you can try one out I highly recommend it!

 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,690
Mine was a bit fizzy and compressed at sane volumes with V30's. At gigs it sounded great when I had master and preamp around 5-6 but it's insanely loud. I didn't think it cleaned up as much as some of my other tube amps. Not as dynamic. Also as said, loop is hot, but workswell with quality rack stuff or a vox buffer I have.

The amp was not my favorite compared to my older Marshalls and when I got a Budda Superdrive it was much warmer and not as fizzy, and more dynamic. But YMMV, they do get some great tones and I did love an Reverbosonic I had, that was cleaner and very dynamic, it responded well to overdrive pedals, where the SLO didn't. Also had less gain stages, I think.
 

Jay Axis

Member
Messages
647
Just wanted to add, I have to agree with others the effects loop ain't all that great by today's standards, but I never use it, so it's of little concern to me. I run my SLO in a W/D/W rig. Come to think of it, I have never been happy with ANY effects loop I have tried, even the one in my BE-100, which is said to be one of the best loops around. I just do not like what running effects in the loop of an amp does to the tone. I'd rather my main amp be bone dry and run effects through a completely different amp and cab, whether it's W/D, W/D/W, or whatever. That's just me.

I also do not find my SLO fizzy through my greenbacks at all, but that just goes to show you everyone is different. I also don't feel a lag or delay when picking and find the SLO to very much show nuances of different players, but maybe that lessens if gain is ran really high?? I don't know. What I do know is that whether I plug into my SLO, BE-100, or anything else I always end up sounding like me, which is really not so great! lol.
 

Echoplexi

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,509
Yea a wet/dry setup is definitely the best for delay, etc unfortunately not practical for me live. I play in an original band so there is very little setup/tear down time between bands. Also the extra mic would be an issue I think to get from the sound guy.

The suhr minimix ii has been my personal best solution to preserve the dry amp tone and be able to use delay with the amp drive where I need it.
 

shampoch

Member
Messages
548
It's a very "fast" high gain amp with its own mojo going on. Mine will stay in my collection to compliment my other amps. Tank-like build quality!
 

stark

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,335
Here's my take.
1. NOS tubes take the SLO to another level.
2. I can get from clean "JaZZ" tones to high gain "Shredtastic" tones at most any volume with the SLO.
3. FX Loop works great if you set your MV's for each channel to a similar level. (I set both channels to just about the same settings.)
4. I've tried just about every era of SLO, and they all sound basically the same.
I'd be hard pressed to find a more versatile rig.
 

shanesiegle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,780
To me one of the all time great high gain amps. If it had a good loop I would probably own one. The clean channel is decent too, not as bad as people make out. Obviously the lead channel is amazing and why you buy one, plus they look cool!
 

Jay Axis

Member
Messages
647
Is that preamp or power amp NOS tubes? I have been so happy with my SLO that I haven't tried anything other than some JJ's in the preamp, which sounded fine, but not any different to my ear than the stock JJ in V1 and other Chinese whatever the hell they are in V2 through V5, so I just switched them back in.
 

Jay Axis

Member
Messages
647
To me one of the all time great high gain amps. If it had a good loop I would probably own one. The clean channel is decent too, not as bad as people make out. Obviously the lead channel is amazing and why you buy one, plus they look cool!
I think the clean channel is great and am very happy with my EQ settings on both channels using the crunch switch engaged, pre amp gain to taste, and normal switch engaged (that is to say no bright engaged).
 

Echoplexi

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,509
Is that preamp or power amp NOS tubes? I have been so happy with my SLO that I haven't tried anything other than some JJ's in the preamp, which sounded fine, but not any different to my ear than the stock JJ in V1 and other Chinese whatever the hell they are in V2 through V5, so I just switched them back in.

For me it was preamp tubes. Rft/Siemens in the first two slots made it sound much richer and smoothed out the highs a bit which is what I wanted. I tried about 20 different preamp tubes and these are the best for me. Chinese ruby's in the rest. I also like kt66s better than the 5881s in the power section personally. Bigger, rounder, less sharp but still rocks hard
 

jdel77

Member
Messages
10,024
I've not played one however a friend owns one and my understanding is that they are 'fast'or 'hard' sounding amps. Very immediate and punchy like a vintage Hiwatt DR103 with very little sag or loose compression like a Bogner XTC has. A Very full sound which is I guess why they're good for leads.
Similar to how a Vox sounds right in front of your face, but Marshalls spread out more.
Whenever I hear that 80s rock lead sound like Top Gun or whatever immediately think 'Soldano!!' and a big tower of rack choruses and delays haha.
It's undeniably a kickass sound but of course it all depends on what kind of feel you like.
 

Jay Axis

Member
Messages
647
For me it was preamp tubes. Rft/Siemens in the first two slots made it sound much richer and smoothed out the highs a bit which is what I wanted. I tried about 20 different preamp tubes and these are the best for me. Chinese ruby's in the rest. I also like kt66s better than the 5881s in the power section personally. Bigger, rounder, less sharp but still rocks hard
Thanks for the info. I've never tried KT66's, or any other power amp tubes. After warming up the bias just a little I've been so happy with the Sovtek 5881's I haven't bothered, but I may like the KT66's too, who knows? I need to try more preamp tubes as well, but I've been happy with the amp as it is. I am curious about the Siemens though...
 

BrentSSL

Member
Messages
83
Its a studio amp not really a gigging my amp wasn't super impressive to me when I jammed on one imho
 

Jay Axis

Member
Messages
647
I've not played one however a friend owns one and my understanding is that they are 'fast'or 'hard' sounding amps. Very immediate and punchy like a vintage Hiwatt DR103 with very little sag or loose compression like a Bogner XTC has. A Very full sound which is I guess why they're good for leads.
Similar to how a Vox sounds right in front of your face, but Marshalls spread out more.
Whenever I hear that 80s rock lead sound like Top Gun or whatever immediately think 'Soldano!!' and a big tower of rack choruses and delays haha.
It's undeniably a kickass sound but of course it all depends on what kind of feel you like.
I guess I'd have to agree with it being a fast feeling and in your face amp. It's certainly not saggy or slow feeling to me. However, my BE-100 is a Marshall based amp and it feels just as fast to me too, but a little softer or more forgiving somehow?? That type of stuff is hard to put into words I guess. Regardless, I wouldn't categorize an SLO as slow, saggy, or lagging by any means.
 

stratpaulguy86

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,906
I always thought that the SLO sounded very similar to the Peavey 5150/6505...or the other way around (can't remember which came out first) That's not a bad thing, a great thick high gain tone!
 




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