SS amps; anything I'm missing out on?

ford

Modz
Staff member
Messages
14,060
Some solid state and digital amps are pretty awesome now.

Quilter are solid state outside of the reverb in some..... excellent amps. I'm thinking about picking up a Mach 3.

The Fender Tonemaster line is sweet also. I have the Deluxe Reverb and love it. First modelling product I've really enjoyed owning. Mostly because it sounds great, includes some cool modern features and is easy to use.
 

DrJamie

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,115
I thought it said 55 amps! What could he be possibly missing!! Looks like I need to get some 2.00 cheaters.
 
Messages
905
Just stick with the tubes. If most solid state and digital modelers are trying to imitate tubes, why not just have tubes instead?

But whatever you do, don't buy a boss katana; it will probably disappoint. Great if you're looking for cheap, decent, and versatile. But it is decent sounding at best.
 

teemuk

Member
Messages
3,670
If most solid state and digital modelers are trying to imitate tubes, why not just have tubes instead?

Well, how about....

Variety: Classic tube amps A, B and C can each produce that specific archetypal revered tone each one is famous for, but will not likely excel when you want to use them differently. A solid-state amp can produce tones of amps A, B and C and a bunch of other tones of other amps. They are extremely versatile.

Manageable loudness: The tube amp sounds glorious, but only at volume level that doesn't work in bedroom, rehearsal space, stage and et cetera. The band, soundmen, neighbours, everyone, complains you are too loud so you have to spend extra cash to solutions that allow you to sound good at lower volume levels. This usually compromises your tone and dynamics and forces you to drag in additional equipment like dummy loads or re-amps. With SS amp you turn volume or power reduction dial and get "tube amp cranked" tones at every volume level and at level of realism that beats your average "PPIMV" or "Power Scaling" stuff.

Weight & size: A modern 100watt SS amp can beat your 100-watt tube amp in headroom but is packed in enclosure half of its size (or less) and weighs three times less.

Solid-state goodies: How many tube amps you know include a built-in compressor, limiter, echo? How about chorus or maybe a phaser? Can they cop the revered Jazz Chorus series tone? How about cutting down your pedal board because the amp itself can offer 50% of the effects in it? These all are beginning to be more or less "standard" solid-state amp features.

Reliability: You don't have to worry about changing tubes that wear out or tubes dying if your amp happens to vibrate too much in the trunk.

Bonus: You can spend all the time you would waste in chasing dragons in the form of tube swapping to actually playing the guitar.
 
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447
The Orange Crush 100 heads are about the only good SS amps being made right now in my opinion.

If you're in a band SS amps are complete garbage & darn near worthless, but if you're just a bedroom player & recording music in your home they're good.
 

lbpesq

Member
Messages
196
Just stick with the tubes. If most solid state and digital modelers are trying to imitate tubes, why not just have tubes instead?

Weight, size, convenience, reliability.

My Quilter Aviator Mach 3 is scheduled to be delivered on Thursday. It is a two-channel 12” combo. Each channel has six voices, three different Fenders and three British, fully independent controls except reverb and tremolo, dial-able from 0-200 watts, and weighs in at only 21 lbs.! While I won’t know for sure until I play it, based on other Quilter amps I’ve owned, it will likely sound great. When I play with my band, no one in the audience is able to tell whether it’s tube or SS without looking at it. And, at the end of the gig I’ve got my pedalboard hanging off my shoulder, guitar in one hand, and amp in the other as I make one trip to my car.

Bill, tgo
 

Think Floyd

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,114
Weight & size: A modern 100watt SS amp can beat your 100-watt tube amp in headroom but is packed in enclosure half of its size (or less) and weighs three times less.

The Peavey Bandit has a reputation of being a dependable, decent sounding solid-state amp. But why does it have to be just as heavy as a lot of tube amps? You'd think that after all these years, they should be able to make the newest ones lighter! :(
 

Grubgoat

Member
Messages
199
I doubt that anyone ever believes this, but I have a Roland JC-120 HEAD from like 1984. The only channel I even use it with is the "Distortion" channel, it rocks it sings and has an odd woody midrange. Usually people hate the JC distortion, I believe the circuit in the head is different, but also I'm feeding closed-back mesa stereo 2x12 instead of a little combo cab.

If you see one you should plug in and turn on the distortion channel and ride it with your volume knob.
 

teemuk

Member
Messages
3,670
I believe the circuit in the head is different...
It is different, but then again various versions of the JC-120 did not consistently feature a single specific distortion circuit either. In fact, when speaking of various JC-120 versions it is not incorrect to state that they are actually entirely different amps that just happen to be packed inside cosmetically similar enclosures and share nearly identical set of features. But that's where their similarity ends.
 
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MagusFaerox

Member
Messages
980
Oh yeah....

Friedman is making a mini-head now. Apparently, it was initially a joke. It's basically just a BE-OD pedal with a fancy class-D power amp shoved into a box. But, people loved it because it's cute and now you can't find it in stock. It seems like "they" did something similar with a Soldano and probably a couple others.

I've heard good things out of the Hughes & Kettner Spirit stuff too.

But, I haven't gotten to play any of those and somewhat refuse to order them blind. I'd be excited to try any of them in person.
 

teemuk

Member
Messages
3,670

...and regarding that thread, you obviously missed the Quilter's video clip that demonstrates that solid-state amps - namely Quilter amp in the thread's case - can actually distort and compress identically to a tube amp (in video clip a Marshall tube amp).
Did you also check out the referred Quilter patent that outlines how solid-state amps and their tube emulations can be designed to feature any type of "sag" characteristics preferred?
This kind of invalidates your, may I say old-fashioned, view of differences of tube vs. SS amps.

And yes, Quilter is not the only amp manufacturer exploiting very advanced tube emulation techniques that narrow the gap between so-called "tube amp" and so-called "solid-state amp" characteristics.

How an amp operates, overdrives, reacts dynamically and so on is, and has virtually always been, amp and circuit- not device - specific. Today generalisations of how device types affect amps apply even less.
 

MadAsAHatter

Member
Messages
161
Oh yeah....

Friedman is making a mini-head now. Apparently, it was initially a joke. It's basically just a BE-OD pedal with a fancy class-D power amp shoved into a box. But, people loved it because it's cute and now you can't find it in stock. It seems like "they" did something similar with a Soldano and probably a couple others.

I've heard good things out of the Hughes & Kettner Spirit stuff too.

But, I haven't gotten to play any of those and somewhat refuse to order them blind. I'd be excited to try any of them in person.

I ran across the Friedman when online window shopping the other day. I got slightly excited thinking it was a new inexpensive lunchbox tube head; then realized what it was. But hey, it's a BE-OD with a power amp and I thought the sound clips I've heard were pretty good. Maybe when they start to hit the used market later on I'll pick one up to give it a try.


I'm not trying to compare Tubes vs SS. I'm not even looking to purchase anything.
I've been out of the loop on SS amps for a long while now. Given the advances in hybrid amps, modelers, preamp pedals, and other gear technology all really starting to its stride I am curious how solid state technology has grown and where it stands.
 
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MadAsAHatter

Member
Messages
161
It's because these tend to end up as tube Vs SS debates.

I love tube amps but gig a Roland Blues Cube every other weekend. It's consistent tone at any volume is what does it for me. This matters to me because we play in such varied venues. With the Marshall some nights you would have great sweet spots but at smaller venues you could not get there because the volume was too low.

SS can be cheap and so can tube amps these days but manufacturers seem to have decided to shift the SS market by producing better appointed products. Check out the price of quilters for instance. If these products were unsatisfactory in the tone and feel department why would people buy them? The manufacturer would have long gone out of business.

So if your happy with tubes then the likelihood is your missing nothing. But yeah there is some SS stuff worth checking out. The Blues Cube for me was a happy accident one night when I was fed up after a gig rather than something I thought too hard about. I would like to take a long hard look at an Orange Super Crush in the future.

Okay, your previous post makes sense now. Hopefully this doesn't degrade into a tube vs SS debate and sticks to discussing technological advances.
 
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2,202
I have SS amps that I would absolutely be happy with if my tube amps up and died on me.

AMT Stonehead SH-50-4 - This is a four channel, 50 watt SS amp with pristine cleans, great classic rock crunch, two lead channels with sounds ranging from JCM800 to Modern tight high gain with good low end thump. All JFET tech on the preamps and dual master volumes. Amazingly versatile. They make an SH-100-4 rack mount model too. 100 watts of the same great four channels

Pearce G2r - this is a 200 watt mono or stereo two channel SS amp with dip switches that allow you to shape the channels from clean to high gain and each channel voiced differently. Has a unique sound on high gain that I love. Not fizzy high gain either. Very snappy response and great low end. Has built in reverb and delay. The two channels each have their own input and can be used by two guitarists simultaneously or blended using a single input, or act as two independent channels completely. This and the AMT Stonehead are some of the best SS amps I’ve ever heard.

Marshall 3210 Lead 100 Mosfet - this 100 watt beast from the 80’s has reverb, two independent channels or blended depending on if a footswitch is used or not. Sounds very similar to a JCM 800 or JMP yet has a unique flavor of its own too. Definitely Marshall character and sound. Long shelf life, highly durable for gigging, plays with pedals great. An SD-1 in front of this one will show you 80’s metal in a great way then also has great rock and roll crunch and still stays very responsive to playing dynamics.

Roland GC-405X - This one is a mini stack. Slant cab combo is the top with 4x5” speakers (GC-405) top two speakers at the slant, bottom two straight. Two channels footswitchable with great warm cleans and a dirty channel that rivals the Marshall Mini stacks of the 80’s. Added bonus of a great fx loop on this 20 watt combo, plus if you add the 4x5” straight cab on the bottom to make the full stack, this turns it into a 25 watt full mini stack (turning it into the GC-405X). I started playing guitar in the 80’s with a Marshall Lead 12 combo (same amp as in the Marshall Mini Stack of the 80’s) and the Roland GC-405 easily competes with the Marshall Lead 12 for that similar to JCM800 sound.

Those are my SS amps I have now. On the list to get is a few other great ones:

Orange Super Crush 100 or Crush Pro CR120 - amazing SS amps modeled after the Rockerverbs.

Randall RG1003 - I love the sound of the RG Randall’s but Randall does a few models that are great high gain beasts.

Sunn Beta Lead - for Doom or Stoner rock mayhem

Quilter Overdrive 200 or newer 202 - Quilter making some great SS amps for any type player.

Still want a silver or red stripe Transtube Peavey Bandit - the Bandit is well liked by many players and offers great cleans, nice crunch, and does high gain metal pretty well too. A long time favorite of some players.

Gallien Krueger 250 ML lunchbox combo or the 250 RL rack mount version - this one is classic 80’s rock and metal and good cleans too. Built in chorus and Reverb. Used by Alex Lifeson of Rush and used by Iron Maiden on at least one album. Well known great SS amp.

I’m a big fan of some SS amps, but many times see the worst SS amps being mentioned when someone reaches for that old “which is better, SS or tube?” Or “why do SS amps suck so much?” type threads.

SS amps can be awesome and not all tube amps are great.

My SS amps keep up with my Bogner, Rivera, and Orange tube amps just fine. I suspect the y will stay in use no matter which tube amps I add to my small collection of amps.
 
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Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
44,070
If most solid state and digital modelers are trying to imitate tubes, why not just have tubes instead?
A fair question and one that, to answer, requires acknowledging tubes have down sides, too. Admittedly, in today's age of readily available attenuators, those downsides are lessened but there are still downsides. If you own tube amps, as most of us here do, you know what they are.
 

johnrea_77

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,100
The one SS amp I've had a long time that I can't sell.
 

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Golem

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,384
I have both tube amps and SS gear. And hybrids of the two. In fact, even just a SS rectifier in a tube amp often sounds great to me which I think is how Diaz set up some of SRV's amps (it's more than that but I understand that's part of it).

 
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