Sound City 50 Plus MK IV amp review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Timmo, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. Timmo

    Timmo Member

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    After jamming on this all weekend I thought I'd give my impressions.

    First of all, the tone of this amp ( Sound City ) is most interesting.

    What's MORE interesting to me is this has become a 'case study' in people's perception of tone.

    I'm going to get right to it..........this amp does NOT do it for me personally. I find the tone just plain lacking in what I like in an amp. I live on the 'edge of breakup' and this Sound City refuses to go there. She stays clean no matter the volume setting. I've never played an amp such as this. Very, very different. The sensitivity switch in the back cuts the power way down but with zero breakup not sure why it's even an option. I cannot relate to the 50 PLUS on many levels and felt like it affected my playing in many ways and according to what comments were made to me, I guess it did affect my playing .

    Here's the interesting part to my SoundCity review.............( to me anyway ).
    While jamming in a rather large home studio to where the SC could be 'cranked' ( and was ) wives, kids, neighbors, etc. AND BANDMATES claimed I have NEVER sounded or played better!
    WTF ?
    They said they loved the tone of this amp and will be very angry if I were to sell it. :confused:
    I am dumbfounded as I have always been the go to guy when someone wants an opinion on ToNe! I think I have good ears but now.............:NUTS I don't know anymore.
    :rotflmao

    "ToNe" or people's perception of it............................:argue
    Whew !

    :eek:
     
  2. skeeterbuck

    skeeterbuck Member

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    Maybe it's one of those deals where you can't see the forest for the trees.

    Were they in a different area that yourself?

    Do you value there opinion on tone?

    Most non players Ive met think that almost everything sounds good. Your playing the amp so IMHO, it has to meet your expectations first.
     
  3. guitarman_1

    guitarman_1 Silver Supporting Member

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    They are interesting amps for sure.My L120 was the same. Lucious tones on the cleans, but it wont grind no matter how loud.It does love pedals.
    The active tones are good if you dial them in right. They affect the gain too. if you dime them all the amp may start to grind a little, but not enough for my taste either.Run it clean and stick a pedal in front it sits in a mix really well.
     
  4. stelligan

    stelligan Member

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    As a teenager my first "real" amp was a Sound City 100 Plus with two 4 x 10 cabs. Loud and clean as all get out. 1973. I had to use a Fuzz Face in front to get some distortion. Used to shake bolts out of the kitchen table upstairs. I can still hear my Mom's feet stompin' on the floor - and the screaming! Those were the days. The active tone controls could bring the overall volume down, but no breakup to be had - especially with a Strat. Great amp, needs pedals IMHO. Hard to find a better pedal amp I would think.
     
  5. Timmo

    Timmo Member

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    Everyone was in the same area and yes, all have fairly good ears I think for tone.....
    at least I USED to think so! :rotflmao
    I agree about 'non-players' think EVERYTHING sounds good. I've never played an amp that won't breakup somewhere along the volume

    I did notice that the Sound City much prefers Fenders over Gibsons but hey, that just might be me.
    A guy plugged in his Strat and he loved it....... of course, his wife didn't. ;)
    I didn't dislike the amp so much when someone else was playing it. hmm.

    I didn't have any pedals handy so maybe that's the secret.
    I don't use pedals much so..............
     
  6. KBN

    KBN Member

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    Continue to experiment with it. Soundcity amps are pretty hard amps to play, but can also be very rewarding. Give it some time and re-evaluate.
     
  7. Timmo

    Timmo Member

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    Sounds like good advice.........

    I just do not understand this amp.
    The EQ'ing on it is freakin weird man!

    :confused:
     
  8. gldtp99

    gldtp99 Member

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    Sounds like a great description of the Sound City Mk4 active preamp to me----- i've gutted several SC 120's and built a Hiwatt preamp into them---- the Hiwatt preamp with the SC 120's EL34x6 output section is a very good sounding amp.
    The 50 Plus might not be a good candidate for a Hiwatt pre conversion (the size/shape/construction is much different) but some have converted to Fender 5F6-A Tweed Bassman pre's with good results.
    Or just play it as it is since other people seem to like it...............gldtp99
     
  9. drewl

    drewl Member

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    I had an L120, loud and clean but it sounded great when dialed in.
    I installed a PPIMV which would get some nice overdriven tones with the preamps cranked up.
    I installed a stereo footswitch jack in the preamp out hole in the back and made the reverb and sensitivity footswitchable, that way you could have a nice semi distorted sound, hit the sensitivity switch and get a nice boost on the fly!
     
  10. paulg

    paulg Supporting Member

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    I've converted two 120's to a Marshall Plexi type preamp. Both were for a bass player who wanted a good clean tone! The Sound City buffered tone circuit is a tone suck IMHO.
     
  11. Voxshall

    Voxshall Member

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    When listening to live bands I always prefer to hear a lack of gain over to much gain. I always try to train myself to turn the gain down before I start playing. Maybe it was to do with this???
     
  12. Jason Myers

    Jason Myers Member

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    Hmmm... I have no problem making mine nasty. Jump both channels with the sensitivity switch on 2 and crank it! Good and raunchy, but usable.

    Did you try the trim pot I mentioned last week? It's a pain cause you have to pull the chassis tho. And of course there is always tube and speaker swaps.

    I love mine!! Has it's own thing going once you figure it out. Give it a little more time, then let me know what you think.:AOK They aren't for everyone I guess.
     
  13. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    You might have to get farther away from it to appreciate what it does. Jumpering channels and different tubes will probably give you much better results, if not get a good clean boost like a RC Booster or go to something more like a Tubescreamer. The tone controls on those those amps are very good.
     
  14. mj07

    mj07 Supporting Member

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    Even between the two Mark IV's I have , the eq seems to act dramatically different in each amp even. It takes me a little longer to get tones that I really like, but they do have their sweet spots for sure. Jumpering channels is a sure fire way to deepen the tone and drive it, like mentioned above.
     
  15. Mister Mojo

    Mister Mojo Member

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    hey jason meyers, im interested in these amps, and so far this review was a turn off, is yours a MKIV too? as a MKIV is currently on ebay. could it get the 1970 era Jimmy Page tones? thick, les paul distorted sounds that somewhat fuzz out?
     
  16. Jason Myers

    Jason Myers Member

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    Mr. Mojo, check yer pm.
     
  17. Alvis

    Alvis Member

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    That aint no lie..... i love mine
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
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  18. Mr. Light

    Mr. Light Member

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    The key to this amp is to turn it all the way up. That probably isn't ideal for someone in a small apt or with neighbors close by but in the studio it can't be beat. This is my goto guitar amp for just about any guitar but it pleases my ears most with an SG. Sits perfectly in the mix, nice midrang-y grit with the perfect amount of overdrive (for me :)

    This amp beats out everything else in the studio on a regular basis, not just by my own ear, clients love it
     
  19. ROKY

    ROKY Member

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    I've had a L100 and a 50+ .

    The 50+ did sound good for what it was, but it was really hard on pwr.tubes .

    Wish I had that L100 back, but I have a real Hiwatt so, I'm good - the L100's are nice,tho'
     
  20. kakka

    kakka Member

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    I played this amp for the first time today, over at a friends place with an Les Paul Standard. It was among the best tones I have ever heard. The amp was so easy and rewarding to play - finally a semi-clean tone where you could really burn out shred-licks effortlessly on.

    Contrary to what many here said I thought it sounded really good also when I turned the volume down a bit.

    It was far from perfect with pedals though. The Boss DS-1 sounded bad through it but the EHX Big Muff was okay.
     

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