SS amps; anything I'm missing out on?

R2-DD2

Member
Messages
438
i'd love to try out some digital stuff, but if my tube amps are going to keep doubling in value every year...probably gonna keep buying tube
 

jads57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,326
So just as a question to those of you who way prefer Tubes to Solid State.
How many of you actually do this for a living? I ask because unless you are actually playing in real situations or recording for others for pay. How would you actually judge how these amps stack up on the job?

Im 64 done this for a living both live and studio. I’m also a gear addict and have owned so many amps including Dumble OD Specials, Mesa Boogies, Hiwatt,Marshall Plexiglass Silver Jubilee, Sunn, Seymour Duncan, Carvin, Kustom, Fender, Yamaha,Roland and now Quilter!

I totally get the fascination with tube amps, but they aren’t actually better sometimes. Some of the best tones I’ve gotten both live and studio is with Solid State amplification.
Remember if it gets the tone in your head thats what counts, not the brand or hype behind it.
 
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Alan Dunn

Member
Messages
1,853
I have a Roland Blues Cube Artist.
I think the solid state design works but I think the build/component quality is lacking. The power supply especially is a pretty low quality / crude unit.
The speaker sounds a bit flat/boxy as well.

These issues are because it is built to a price not because it is solid state.

My other amp is a Carr Rambler. It's a very simple design in comparison which relies on quality components and a nice sounding speaker.

But new it costs $4300 in Australia and a Blues Cube Artist is $1400.

I think given a similar budget/price to target Roland could get a solid state amp well and truly in the ball park of the Carr.

But it would also be heavy, run hot, and so on. Hence, it just wouldn't be commercially viable.
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,138
Whether you missed anything depends entirely on your taste. And here, generalizations don't help much. I didn't much care about SS amps til I found several that sounded and felt just right. My favorite of all - a DV Mark Micro 50 CMT head - is hardly latest tech, certainly not the most feature rich or biggest SS buzz amp around. But damn, this thing sounds so good with an oversize pine 1x12 cab.

Would it sound that good to you? I have no idea. Just start trying SS amps. If one jumps out at you and says "take me home" ... you just found something you had missed.
 

BlueRiff

Member
Messages
7,323
Whether you missed anything depends entirely on your taste. And here, generalizations don't help much. I didn't much care about SS amps til I found several that sounded and felt just right. My favorite of all - a DV Mark Micro 50 CMT head - is hardly latest tech, certainly not the most feature rich or biggest SS buzz amp around. But damn, this thing sounds so good with an oversize pine 1x12 cab.

Would it sound that good to you? I have no idea. Just start trying SS amps. If one jumps out at you and says "take me home" ... you just found something you had missed.
Perfectly stated. The end. :)
 

MagusFaerox

Member
Messages
980
Whether you missed anything depends entirely on your taste. And here, generalizations don't help much. I didn't much care about SS amps til I found several that sounded and felt just right. My favorite of all - a DV Mark Micro 50 CMT head - is hardly latest tech, certainly not the most feature rich or biggest SS buzz amp around. But damn, this thing sounds so good with an oversize pine 1x12 cab.

Would it sound that good to you? I have no idea. Just start trying SS amps. If one jumps out at you and says "take me home" ... you just found something you had missed.

Eric Gales definitely gets awesome results from DV Mark stuff. AFAIK, they tend to have micro-tubes in them. But...whatever. Those strike me the same way the 12ax7 in things like the Vox Valvetronix did...more about marketing than electronics. I could very well be misinformed, but that's at least how they strike me.
 

jads57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,326
For the average person Solid State
amps like Quilter or DV Mark etc are way better deals for the money. If you have unlimited funds than by all means let me suggest a Mesa Boogie JP-2C amp and several cabs.
And I don’t even really listen to John Petrucci or that style of music. But an unbelievable amp for sure!
 

MrTAteMyBalls

Member
Messages
4,612
???? I don't understand your comment ????



Yeah, that's the flipside of online shopping. Everything at your fingertips to buy, but no easy way to test it out yourself. I miss the days of stopping at the local shop trying out some of their new inventory & chatting with the owners.


I don't. Our local guys were always complete jerks.

Me: "hey can I try this new thing?"

Them: "that depends. Are you gonna buy it?? Trying stuff out is for paying customers."

Me: "No idea. How can I know if i will buy it if I can't try it??"

Them: "well come back when you are gonna buy it and you can try it first."


Don't miss that. I will take trying it at home for a week then shipping it back.

One guy at one of the local shop refused to sell me a power cable for an amp because I bought the amp online. Sam Ash forgot to include a cable...and I was too dumb and young to know it's just the same cable from my PC and I can get it anywhere. This D bag refused to even sell me one.

Him: "Why do you need JUST a power cable?"

Me: "because I got a new amp from Sam Ash and they forgot to include it."

Him: "maybe next time you will buy it here and stop online shopping."

Me: "I tried. You wanted full retail at 1499 and they sold it to me brand new for 900."

Him: " well I am not selling you one."

I mean I know online shopping put them out of business.....but they wanted full retail on everything in the shop. I am not made of money. 600 dollars difference was a LOT of money to me back then.

Anyway as for the OP. Sure....lots of good stuff out there now. But you gotta try it for yourself. The main advantages are they are MUCH smaller and lighter. For gigging players it's a godsend. And they still can sound very good. Not as good maybe as a full tube rig, but very good in their own right.

I gigged a Katana for 3 years and was more happy with that rig than with my Marshalls, Mesa, Orange, Dr Z....etc. It didn't sound exactly as good as those, but it sounded/felt very good. And it has loads of boss effects built in and it weighs nothing in comparison to my Orange Rockerverb, for instance. Add it all up and it is a serious rig for gigging.
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,138
Eric Gales definitely gets awesome results from DV Mark stuff. AFAIK, they tend to have micro-tubes in them. But...whatever. Those strike me the same way the 12ax7 in things like the Vox Valvetronix did...more about marketing than electronics. I could very well be misinformed, but that's at least how they strike me.

That's just it. Misinformed or informed, opinion only goes so far. Listening and playing is the true test. I have no idea whether the little tube in the DV Mark Micro 50 CMT is the magic stuff or not. (Haven't plugged into any of the other Micro 50 versions either ... so cannot compare.) All I know is how the amp performs, and how I react.

That's one reason I find amps so fascinating. Maybe more than guitars even. They're filled with surprises. The best of them can defy expectations.
 
Messages
3,738
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.
Happy accidents are the best .. Love all the Roland SS ..and have found Blues Cubes to be profoundly useful ..

I am open-minded; i like tube amps and SS .. It is hard to beat the consistency and reliability of SS amps or the character of my Mesa and Marshall

Though i do like my JC with the Butler real tube pedals quite a bit
 

TooMuchFiber

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,041
They are better than they used to be, but they still suck. I bought and sold a Fender Mustang, Blackstar ID Core, and Boss Katana... then gave up and became a tube fanatic.
 

BlueRiff

Member
Messages
7,323
I don't. Our local guys were always complete jerks.

Me: "hey can I try this new thing?"

Them: "that depends. Are you gonna buy it?? Trying stuff out is for paying customers."

Me: "No idea. How can I know if i will buy it if I can't try it??"

Them: "well come back when you are gonna buy it and you can try it first."


Don't miss that. I will take trying it at home for a week then shipping it back.

One guy at one of the local shop refused to sell me a power cable for an amp because I bought the amp online. Sam Ash forgot to include a cable...and I was too dumb and young to know it's just the same cable from my PC and I can get it anywhere. This D bag refused to even sell me one.

Him: "Why do you need JUST a power cable?"

Me: "because I got a new amp from Sam Ash and they forgot to include it."

Him: "maybe next time you will buy it here and stop online shopping."

Me: "I tried. You wanted full retail at 1499 and they sold it to me brand new for 900."

Him: " well I am not selling you one."

I mean I know online shopping put them out of business.....but they wanted full retail on everything in the shop. I am not made of money. 600 dollars difference was a LOT of money to me back then.

Anyway as for the OP. Sure....lots of good stuff out there now. But you gotta try it for yourself. The main advantages are they are MUCH smaller and lighter. For gigging players it's a godsend. And they still can sound very good. Not as good maybe as a full tube rig, but very good in their own right.

I gigged a Katana for 3 years and was more happy with that rig than with my Marshalls, Mesa, Orange, Dr Z....etc. It didn't sound exactly as good as those, but it sounded/felt very good. And it has loads of boss effects built in and it weighs nothing in comparison to my Orange Rockerverb, for instance. Add it all up and it is a serious rig for gigging.
These guys aren’t sales pros!! Assuming the sales person understands the customer’s need:
  • What’s your budget and when will you need the amp? “$1200. Need it by today.”
  • Any other purchase approvers besides yourself? “No! Eh …. well … (sheepishly) … my wife.”
  • Can she approve it over the phone? “No … “
  • Well, I’ll have this floor model packed and ready to go when you bring her back!
:p
 

667

Member
Messages
258
I recently received a ZT lunchbox amp and matching extension cab. At first, I wasn't too impressed but by upping the Gain and lowering the Volume, then keeping the "Ambience" knob low, I really like it. 'REALLY like it! I run an old Boss CS2 compressor into an Ibanez 808 reissue and a DejaVibe and this thing kills for a clean sound, particularly with a Strat. For reference, by tube amps are a 1956 5e3 and a 1968 Deluxe Reverb with a JBL d120...this little lunchbox won't replace those amps for what they do, but it certainly can hang with em! I find the extension cab is a must, though.
 

MagusFaerox

Member
Messages
980
I don't. Our local guys were always complete jerks.

That sucks. There was only ever one shop anywhere near that bad here. They went out of business after about a year. Here, which isn't LA or Nashville when it comes to music stores, it's pretty much the opposite.

When the ToneMaster Super came out, I went to a shop to try one. Some other customer politely asked me how I got to play a Gibson LP Standard off the wall, and I just said "I asked....I'm trying out an amp and don't have a guitar in my car." I did just ask to play a Standard, and I was kind of expecting an Epiphone (which would have been fine). I guess the customer was used to crummy shops...he wasn't a local. I've had a different store hand me an R7 to try out a pedal the same way. Another pretty much made me play a real 1952 LP because I was playing one of their Specials and the owner thought I would appreciate his new acquisition that he apparently wanted to show off. There's at least one place that has Murphy Labs on the wall to just grab, and I know I've seen Fender Masterbuilt guitars the same way...but I can't remember where. I've played Bad Cats, Fuchses, Two Rocks, and Boogies the same way. And Kempers. And small-builder boutique amps that there are only a few of.

If you can't try it out, how in the world are you going to know whether it's worth paying for? Guitar stuff doesn't have "stats" that matter....the only thing that matters is how the stuff feels and sounds.

I've never ordered a guitar, but I've ordered a lot of other stuff. And most of it has gone back. Being able to try things out locally just saves everyone time.

That's just it. Misinformed or informed, opinion only goes so far. Listening and playing is the true test. I have no idea whether the little tube in the DV Mark Micro 50 CMT is the magic stuff or not. (Haven't plugged into any of the other Micro 50 versions either ... so cannot compare.) All I know is how the amp performs, and how I react.

That's one reason I find amps so fascinating. Maybe more than guitars even. They're filled with surprises. The best of them can defy expectations.

I'm not convinced they're more fascinating than guitars....the same model of guitar can be magical or a total waste, and I have absolutely no idea what the difference is. But, I'll agree that almost anything can be full of surprises.
 

Jim234

Member
Messages
1,479
Happy accidents are the best .. Love all the Roland SS ..and have found Blues Cubes to be profoundly useful ..

I am open-minded; i like tube amps and SS .. It is hard to beat the consistency and reliability of SS amps or the character of my Mesa and Marshall

Though i do like my JC with the Butler real tube pedals quite a bit
Lol yes. It was a late night purchase after a miserable gig... Everything which you should not do.

Yeah the right pedal with a cooking valve amp, difficult to beat.
 

Ojabog

Member
Messages
135
If you have been playing in tube amps for 20’years you won’t be satisfied with a SS amp. They have gotten much better, but not enough to sound better than tubes(IMO). If you intended to buy one for practice or taking to and from practices it might make sense. Saves some wear and tear on your tube amps and much less weight. Sound is good enough for practice and rehearsals as well. If you try there are several good ones that are worth looking at. Roland JC40, Boss Katana, Fender GTX, Quilter, Orange Crush series…and more.
 
Messages
2,202
They are better than they used to be, but they still suck. I bought and sold a Fender Mustang, Blackstar ID Core, and Boss Katana... then gave up and became a tube fanatic.
:rotflmao

Those are all digital modeling practice amps. Not real analog SS amps.

You judged too quickly and didn’t even try real analog SS. Your loss.

Lots of non-modeling analog SS amps that are amazing sounding and feeling while playing.

Stick with tubes if you like it, but don’t judge SS by those examples.
 




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