So then what IS the best SS amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bard2dbone, Feb 17, 2008.


  1. bard2dbone

    bard2dbone Member

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    In another thread I read several posts of people laughing at a douchebag on YouTube talking about how SS amps are just as good as tube amps. The example he used was the Line 6 stuff. Someone posted to the effect that no serious person could think Line 6 was the best SS gear out there which got me thinking "What IS the best SS amp out there?"

    I knew a guy back in the '80's who got good results from a Lab Series and I discovered from the thread I was talking about that BB King still uses them. I knew guys who did good things with Rolands and Polytones...but that's about it.

    A lot of people get by with SS amps (My guitar player used a Peavey Stereo Chorus 212 for years)...but most are just waiting to be able to get a tube amp. What SS amps are good enough that you WOULDN'T immediately replace tham with a tube amp?
     
  2. Robertito

    Robertito Member

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    I use a Pearce G2R in a combo, with a Two-Rock 65w speaker, quite often. I like it a lot for channel switching situations, and it sounds great.
     
  3. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Roland Cube 60. I don't happen to use it because I prefer my tube amps, but I have and would if needed.

    jon
     
  4. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    As do I but with a Pearce 1x12 cab with an EV12L. Great amp that I've been playing for some 18 years.

    David
     
  5. blackba

    blackba Member

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    The SS Vox amps from the Late 60's are pretty cool. Pearce G2R is supposed to be one of the top SS amps.

    For Digital modeling amps the H&K Zentera seems to have the highest reviews.
     
  6. wichita

    wichita Supporting Member

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    The V Stack amp that Steve Webster put together is great.
    A properly working Holmes Mississippi Blues Master is really nice.
     
  7. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

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    There is no better SS amp than a Roland JC120. Lots of newer ones come close, but there has always been that "something" that keeps them sounding too sterile and sanitary to be considered in the same breath as a good tube amp.

    But the JC120 has ALWAYS been right up there as a benchmark for excellent clean Tone. And they take pedals very well for good OD.
     
  8. IPlayHamers

    IPlayHamers Member

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    I had a Randall RG100 half stack years ago and it sounded amazing. I may try and cop another while they're still inexpensive. Killer metal amp.
     
  9. fretless

    fretless Supporting Member

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    My vote goes to the Tech 21 Trademark 60. I actually bought one to replace a tube amp at one time. Simply, a terrific sounding amp on any level. For what they sell for they typically are way ahead of tube amps in the same price range. Having a great sounding line out is a nice option when playing live or recording as well.

    I also have used to have a Roland BC-30 Blues Cube. Very good "tubey" sound. It was beat to hell when I got it and it never, ever let me down.
     
  10. fish78

    fish78 Member

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    The old Standels sounded pretty good...
     
  11. mds

    mds Member

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    The Gibson Lab 5 is pretty amazing. I've heard BB King get tremendous tone out of one and Ty Tabor used them on the first couple King's X records. I also like the Clarus amps...of course they're more of a jazz thing.
     
  12. markom89

    markom89 Senior Member

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    +1 on JC120.
    I actually really dig this amp for the cleans.
     
  13. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

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    Yea, the best is so subjective, but for me the Electro Harmonix Freedom amp absolutely rules in the 15 watt and under class! And yes, volume wise this one will hang with a Pro Jr, yet is very quiet as far as electrical noise goes so great for recording. Very good sound, cleans up with the guitar volume knob, great feel, portable, battery powered, and beautifull looks too!

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Echo Are

    Echo Are Member

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    COOL! Didn't Albert King use one of these at one time?
     
  15. Troser

    Troser Member

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    The JC120H (head version) is the only solid state amp I've kept. The stereo chorus into a pair of greenback 4-12's is heavenly with a Telecaster, or other clean guitar.

    Sucks royally for any distortion, and doesn't take a pedal for crap, but for pretty cleans, it's hard to beat.

    For bass, I'm still a fan of the old Acoustic Research stuff, but tubes kill solid state, period.
     
  16. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    +1 One of the best clean amps ever made IMHO.
     
  17. Cory

    Cory Guest

    I'd have to say +1 on the Roland JC 120. I also like the old Walter Woods 100 watt I've got. GREAT sound....very tubelike.
     
  18. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    the question is, what's good about a solid state amp? i.e., what can a ss amp do that tube amps won't?

    to me, a good ss amp is loud, compact, light, flexible, and thrives on abuse and neglect.

    to that standard, i nominate the old roland cube 60, and the old randall rg80 combo. both of these amps have a reasonable distortion, are small and durable, get plenty loud, and (this is important) have a full patch bay of preamp outs and power amp ins. they don't seem to have been designed as "pretend tube amps" or "beginner amps".

    this makes them the perfect amp to toss in the corner of the van and leave there as the "emergency amp", ready to save the day by subbing for the "real" guitar amp, powering a bass cabinet, or even serving as a power amp for a monitor if need be.
     
  19. fretless

    fretless Supporting Member

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    I agree with Walterw on the Randall rg80. Funny that I didn't mention it when I replied to this thread earlier. I got one a few months ago from a co-worker for $50. You should see it...snakeskin tolex!! She's been abused at one point, as it won't ever win any contests for looks. But, it does have a great overall tone with more "charecter" than you find typically in solid state. The clean channel is very warm, while the od channel is kinda 80's metalish in a way. It has a big ol' spring reverb that is huge and dripping wet. In fact, playing clean with a dab of that fat reverb makes for a very good sound indeed.
     
  20. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    i had mine for years before someone pointed out to me that the treble knob pulls out for increased overdrive in the crunch channel!
     

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