Sundown Amps: Can anybody tell me more about them?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Derelict, Jan 26, 2006.


  1. Derelict

    Derelict Member

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    I am looking at a Sundown A50 (made by Sunn, right?). I know Sundown went under a while back but was wondering what experience, if any. Much Appreciated.

    -Adam :RoCkIn
     
  2. rooster

    rooster Member

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    Sundown was not made by Sunn. The A50 I worked on was one of the worst sounding POS amps I've ever heard. It has gain, volume, MV, and "governor". That gives piles of flexibility to the OD sound, enabling you to get thousands of shades of crap out of it. Of course, that's my opinion. There will be many who disagree, but to each their own.rooster.
     
  3. cameron

    cameron Member

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    Yeah, nothing to do with Sunn.

    Sundown amps were made in the early 80s by one Dennis Kager, who was, I believe, a former Ampeg engineer. The ones I've seen have two channels, with a good clean sound, and a lousy high gain sound.

    They're probably well made, and with good transformers/hardware, etc. So they'd be fine platforms for mods. But that high gain channel is really horrid stock.
     
  4. joseph

    joseph Member

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    Scofield used them a lot in the 80s-90s, liked them....of course, you're talking about a loud clean sound, took pedals well. I don't think he used the OD channel.
    To be fair, almost all channel switching amps from back then (and a lot today) couldn't do stellar tones for BOTH clean and distorted.
     
  5. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Dennis Kager went to vocational high school with Ken Fischer and they worked together at Ampeg.
    He is regarded as somewhat of an amp guru and pioneer. He designed the Pignose Hog, and worked on the Reverend Hellhound with Joe Naylor. He made Sundown amps, which included a somewhat innovative Master Volume system.
    Many (including myself) have found the Sundowns to be sonically extremely disappointing (that's a nice way of saying I thought they sounded terrible, and have heard the same from others).
     
  6. Derelict

    Derelict Member

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    thanks for the input guys!
     
  7. Frank B

    Frank B Supporting Member

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    I used a Sundown during my early club days. As stated the cleans weren't bad but the dirty channel was umm, different. I did like the fact that it had a clean and a dirty effects loop (sep. loops) but did not like the fact that it developed a cracked circuit board which caused to change channels when the mood struck it.

    For low gain, bluesey rock, the dirty side might be ok for most folks but I don't think it would be a great amp for heavy rock (VH 1 ) Def. no Slipknot or Lamb of God either...
     
  8. covert

    covert Member

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    Earl Slick was using them in Phantom, Rocker and Slick. Sounded good at that time.
     
  9. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    The company went under but Denis still works on amps in a shop in NJ and will still work on these amps when they need service. I've spoken to him about these amps and of course he's proud of his work, but I agree, the tone is quite different.

    Personally I don't like them, but listen and decide for yourself.
     
  10. DanR

    DanR Member

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    :D

    "I don't care who ya' are......now that's funny" --Larry the Cable Guy


    DanR
     
  11. Norjef

    Norjef Member

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    I've owned a Sundown 100 watt 4-6L6 1-12" combo for 8 years--I've found the perfect use as a live, small, loud, clean, pedalboard with wireless rig--I've put an EVM 12L, Beamblocker, and 7581's in it.

    It's every bit as punchy as a Twin with Lansings (old, 60's lingo for JBLs) but has more mids. The dynamics can be unforgiving--but my "tubey" H-K Replex and the companding in the Sennheiser wireless have turned this into a great jobbing rig--2 Keeley BluesDrivers and Blackstone Mosfet OD complete the recipe. Jeff R.
     
  12. johnrea_77

    johnrea_77 Silver Supporting Member

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    Overall I didn't think the Sundown SD1000H head that I had was that bad compared to similar two channel offerings. The gain (red) channel did require some tweakind, but the clean channel was very good. The shared EQ made it somewhat tricky. I thought the governer control worked well and the RMS was considerably more subtle.


    I actually had two of these at the same time and one of them was repaired & tweaked by Dennis Kager. It was definitely the better of the two. I ran these into a Sundown 1X12 loaded with an EVM12L speaker. No - The Sundown isn't a match for my Two Rock. but when they show up on Ebay for $400 that isn't a bad price for a versatile tube amp.
     
  13. sgmarshall

    sgmarshall Member

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    I had a formula 50 head. It had a GREAT clean sound that would break up as the volume went up (very fendery), the od channel was okay, but when the governer control was used, I didn't like that sound at all. If I used pedals more for tone, I probably would have kept it, but I traded it for a 5150.
     
  14. Dave Rich

    Dave Rich Member

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    I love my A50 but I've done a few mods to it. I replaced the baxandall tone stack in the clean channel with a Fender style tone stack. I also lowered the value of the coupling cap goint to the gain channel to reduce the mud. The biggest improvement was installing a Weber California.
     
  15. Norjef

    Norjef Member

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    One More Thing dept...
    With my Sundown amp I've found one more thing---It REALLY benefits from use of the Ayan "Smooth + Slim", WAY less farty at higher volume levels.

    Jeff R.
     
  16. darkbluemurder

    darkbluemurder Member

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    I just did some mods to the OD channel on my A-50. I basically attempted to reduce the muddiness and to increase dynamic response and harmonics. The tone is much improved now to the level that the OD sound is playable but still inferior compared to other amps I have. In stock form the tone was muddy and all guitars sounded the same through it.

    I also noted that you are quite limited in what you can do with the OD channel. E.g. when I tried to bypass the 1 Meg resistor before the gain control with a 1000pf cap the amp squealed when I engaged the boost. On the other hand it may be difficult to gut this amp since I am not sure whether the preamp tube sockets would fit in the holes once the PCB is gone.
     
  17. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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  18. darkbluemurder

    darkbluemurder Member

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    CitzenCain,

    That looks beautiful! I just ordered cream colored knobs - I think they fit the amp a lot better. I also think the original grey tolex looks shabby. Maybe I get around to retolex the thing - provided I get to like the OD sound enough to keep it. My biggest issue is that it gets dull quickly when I turn down the guitar volume - I guess the 1 Meg resistor before the gain pot is the culprit. I will try a 470k in its place and see.
     
  19. darkbluemurder

    darkbluemurder Member

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    Indeed - the 1 Meg resistor was the culprit - changed it to 390k (470k would probably work equally well) - problem solved.

    If anybody is interested in the schematic of my converted A-50 please send a PM.
     
  20. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    almost bought one in the early early 80s...it actually sounded killer at the time with a Les Paul..the competition wasnt as fierce as it is now...gave sort of that St/ Elmos' Fire crap tone, but wasnt that bad compared to my first amp which was a Peavey Special 130...
     

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