Why would anyone bring out a new amp these days ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Don Rusk, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. Don Rusk

    Don Rusk Gold Supporting Member

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    Seems we've hit the point of diminishing returns on new amps, at what point is it even profitable to innovate anymore?
     
  2. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I've thought about this one also. Seems like a nice clean to edge amp would be nice where all lead tones are expected to come from any of the amazing pedals out these days. In other words, design it to be very pedal friendly, including a loop for effects and otherwise keep it simple.

    jon
     
  3. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    What do you mean by this? Could you explain the concept to me?
     
  4. LeftyLang

    LeftyLang Member

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    Tell that to Doctor Z.........there is a huge waiting list for most of his amps.
     
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I think I know what DonneR means... all the 'new' amps coming out aren't 'new' really, they're just ever-more-refined versions of existing ones (even if they're a fair bit different in final sound, the overall circuits are still the same). It's often said that we're in the 'Golden Age' of amp-building right now... but I tend to think of it as perhaps more of an Indian Summer.

    Where can you really go in terms of new sounds? In the past, new guitar amp designs did things that no amp before could actually do - but where is there really to go once you've reached the gain levels and tonal range of something like a Mesa Road King or a Diezel VH4? Even these aren't so much 'new' amps as a sophisticated way of packing the features of a lot of existing amps into a single one.

    It's perhaps still too soon to say that all the possible sounds you can get from a tube amp have been done already, but we can't be far off... eventually everything else is just minor tonal variation.
     
  6. Rock Fella

    Rock Fella Member

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    the THD flexi is a new amp , it offers great flexibility thru being able to mix and match tubes, ive got a cornford hellcat and id seriously love to own a flexi too .
     
  7. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    The alternative is to stop innovating and stop creating new amps.

    If that had happened a few years ago, there'd be no Flexi, no D/13, and none of the exceptionally fine amps that many here prize.

    It is a fair question; but instead I ask: Please keep them coming amp guru's!
     
  8. Guy from Idaho

    Guy from Idaho Member

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    Is that true? I don't doubt you, but it's kind of hard to unload a mint condition used one even for way below the price of a new one (not just Z's, with many other fine amps it's the same), are that many more people ready to pay about half again as much for a brand new one? It's definitely a buyer's market for a used Dr Z amp. :confused:
     
  9. tiptone

    tiptone Silver Supporting Member

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    Guy: Unless you can find the one you want decked out the way you want at a dealer you can expect 6-12 weeks for something from Z. At least that's what it was back before X-Mas when I ordered my Z-28.
     
  10. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    The more I play the new boutique offerings...the more I appreciate my 64 Deluxe... what I would really love to have is a good pre CBS BF Super reverb which I just can't find for a reasonable price...I just can't afford the amps that I really want and then to have them serviced and reliable to gig with...especially here in Germany...is just cost prohibitive...

    Thats why I went boutique clone and my Fargen Dual Classic was practical and affordable and has proved to be a reliable alternative to what I really wanted and that was a BF Super for cleans and a Tweed Fender for solo tones...

    I believe that the market is just saturated with boutique clones and many are just existing amp designs redone with the makers own little twist or so called improvements on the original circuit...how many of them are needed and better yet...will survive is a good question...

    A great example for me was when I went to the Euro Tone fest... the place was stocked full of the new amp designs and when I plugged into a 67 Super Reverb I was done...I didn't want to play any of the new amps including my own...!!

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  11. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Member

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    There are a lot of dimensions to amp tone. Gain is just one of them.

    There's tons of yet-uncharted territory in EQ, for example. Most builders copy the classic stacks with the same old dip frequencies. There was actually *more* variation in tone stacks thirty to forty years ago than there is today.

    And the rules are changing, volume-wise. A certain class of customers are demanding amps that sound cranked at levels that won't wake the baby... or at least at levels that won't offend the sound guy's delicate sensibilities.

    What about the "geezer" contingent, which has lots of disposable income and would like a more "luggable" amp? There are some serious design challenges in weight reduction.

    I could go on... The point is, there are plenty of designs that haven't yet been exploited. And with the boutique market, you don't have to sell thousands to be a success.
     
  12. Occam

    Occam Member

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    I've actually wanted to design an amp. In the scene I play we seem to be able to get away with a lot more volume than most people so my idea was to create some really nice large amps...in the 200-watt range and yet still set them up for sweet power tube distortion but at very high volume levels. I use a Matamp GTL140 now that I run on 10 and I have a GTO140 that's coming that'll probably be on 10....all of the boutique guys are making smaller and smaller amps for the 12-billion blues guys out there that have bad backs and want to fit their entire rig in their back seat. It would be a very small niche but I wouldn't quit my day job for this or anything.
    I also have no idea how feasible this is but I'd like to see an amp with different power tubes that has seperate volume knobs so they can be blended together...plus big VU meters and big knobs :)
     
  13. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Member

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    Hmmm... Lemme guess: stoner/doom? :dude

    You might be interested in this guy's DIY amp:

    http://ken-gilbert.com/techstuff/bigamp1.html
     
  14. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    This happens from time to time with Riveras. People willing to buy something that isn't Fender or Marshall just because it says so, usually actually think about the way the thing sounds. And not everyone likes the same things. For examle, I don't like Zs. There's guys out there that like Zs that don't like Riveras. Because of this, the price for used Z or Rivera amps is way lower than for new. I have to thank the guys who don't like the Riveras for helping make them affordable, and I expect the Z buyers feel the same way about people like me.
     
  15. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    In terms of boutique amps, everything is compared to a previous vintage amp, except for the modern high gain which is compared to the Mesa Recto's. BF, plexi, hiwatt, and tweed are thrown around a lot. But it would be cool to get an amp that had different "variable wattage controls" for different sets of power tubes. It would be what Maven Peal has, but have like 4 EL84's, 4 6L6's, 4 EL34's, and 2 KT88's in there. Have each one be able to be biased for a differnt tube and have the wattage control for each. Then be able to blend these together. That would be killer.
     
  16. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    This is why I get all my lead tones from pedals with my GNX2. I can get some very nice clean tones with the modeler and then step on my own pedals (well, not my own, but one's I've bought.....:rolleyes: ;) ) for the lead tones I prefer. Works for me.

    jon
     
  17. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Not to be facetious — because they can, and because we want them to.

    My Uncle Spot Custom Super Reverb is a far better amp, to me, than a vintage Super. Ben Fargen's Epic 30 DC is a fantastic original dual channel amp that combines the best of a Vox AC30 and a JTM 45. Brian Gerhardt is making a 1/2 Blonde Bassman — 1/2 JTM45. Dr.Z creates very unique amps. Two Rock and Bruno push the envelope of tweaking and refining what's possible, while Andy Fuchs pushes the envelope of top-notch PCB designs and an evolving dual channel design.

    Mercury Magnetics supplies fantastic trannies to recreate the best of the previous designs. Ted Weber and Eminence have given us brilliant speaker options. JJ and GT and others are doing the best they can to revive tubes. All these components, even if they are added on to dead-on circuit clones, create a new generation of great tube amps to be cherished and to KEEP GREAT MUSIC AND TONE ALIVE FOR ANOTHER GENERATION!!

    All these builders are super smart and can improve on existing designs. They all build unique amps, feeding an overall Renaissance of intelligence with regard to every aspect of amp design.
     
  18. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>Why would anyone bring out a new amp these days ?<<

    The first thing to consider is that people like crafting things their own way, and offering them to the market. Why shouldn't someone want to make something they're interested in?

    Second, while there are always original innovators, the next generations often follow with refinement. And why isn't refinement considered innovation? I think it is innovation in the details.

    For example, by the end of the life of the famous violin maker Amati, the true 16th Century innovator, the action was taken over by the ultimate refiners, Stradivari and Guarneri (who was an apprentice of Amati). Their work was carried on by several more generations into the late 18th century. An Amati would be different from what a classical player might expect; it's still a very baroque instrument. However, the later generations of Strads and Guarneris are exactly what a modern player might dream of, and even these were followed by successive builders whose instruments are still highly prized for their unique qualities.

    Similarly, Leo Fender didn't invent the tube amp, but he refined it for use with guitars to the point where it made musical sense in a different way than the earliest jazzer amps did. But there were, and are, plenty of ways in which an amplifier can be tailored to a particular builder's taste.

    Each of us has had the experience of trying a bunch of amps, none of which does quite what we're hearing in our heads, and then, suddenly, we find an amp that really nails what we want.

    Or we find several amps that nail what we want in different ways.

    Sometimes these are, indeed, "Golden Age" amps, the early stuff by Leo or whomever, and sometimes these are clones of those amps.

    More often, what people seem to want are second, third, or fourth generation amps, with features and refinements in a certain direction, or amps that take a particular direction to an extreme for a particular style.

    I have tremendous respect for the early Tweed Fenders, especially the Bassman, they are great. However, I wouldn't really want to play one, not because of their age, but because I would miss the tones and features on my current amp. Heck, I play a different style of music than the early players, and I need the features and tones more prevalent in current amps.

    Then, too, while there may be several amps that would make me happy, I was looking for an indefinable feel that I found in one maker's amps that suited me to a T.

    This maker wasn't even around before 1999! So I guess my point is, I'm really, really glad I had more choices than I might have had in 1959.

    The answer to the question "why would anyone bring out a new amp" is the same one that could have been asked of Jim Marshall and Randall Smith to discourage their takes on amplification.

    And the real answer is, "Why the hell not." :)
     
  19. spentron

    spentron Member

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    1. The selection of low priced tube amps is limited and highly compromised.
    2. The selection of low powered tube heads is limited -- low power and the combo configuration don't go together.
    3. Few if any amps properly address controls for transitioning between power stage and all-preamp distortion.
    4. Progress is possible in providing good performance from less well made and/or worn tubes.
    5. Few amps make a clean break from the classic tradition. For example, what many consider the "tube amp" sound is associated with these designs at least as much as the sound of tubes themselves.

    I'm sure there's more.
     
  20. DonW

    DonW Velocity Town Angel Silver Supporting Member

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    I read a Jeff Beck interview quite some time ago where he said all the best gear has already been made. I think that may be true for certain styles of music. I don't necessarily subscribe to it though. The evolution of materials and certain design innovations still add to the whole of amps being offered today. I do think some thorough market reserch might be in order for someone thinking about unveiling a new amp these days. Lots of boutique stuff and high dollars. So many quality amps! I have a great amp (Zwengel Banshee 2)with a 10 YEAR WARRANTY. That to me is a big plus although I may never need warranty work, this thing is solid and a complete tone monster. I'm completely satisfied yet I crave more and different amps. That's our nature I suppose.
     

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