100 watt tube heads - Which do you think is best

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jondom22, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. jondom22

    jondom22 TDPRI Member

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    Ideally I would love to get a Fender Dual Showman Reverb but they are hard to come by, let alone for around $400-600 (I've been scouring ebay and CL in NYC area).

    I want something loud as hell and clean sounding as can be. Would like to put this on top of a 4x12. BTW, I am going to be using fuzz, OD, and delay in front (hence I only want cleans from my amp).

    So here are some options:

    Plush P1000S with 2x15 cab - $450 (pretty much as Dual Showman Reverb Clone)

    Earth Sound Research G2000 - $450 (pretty much as Dual Showman Reverb Clone)

    Peavey VTM120 head - $400

    Sovtek Mig 100 - $250 (I know thats a good price, but the guy seems a little shady...aka ALL CAPS CL ad, only talks by phone, is selling a lot of gear and doesn't really know anything about any of it. I actually said I don't want to buy stolen gear, and then he was said that he was disabled so he can't use it. Wouldn't want to have to give it to the police).

    Ampeg V4 thats completely screwed - $100 It needs a new power tranny (might need a new output tranny too), all new tubes, new cab job, and I would have to go to Philly to get it. Feel like I would end up sinking in another $500 at least between tubes, tranny, caps, and tech work.

    Oliver Amps PA200xr chassis - $100 or so probably. It's got giant transformers, but doesn't come with tubes, nor a head cabinet for it. Plus it takes Kt88/6550 tubes, which cost twice as much as 6L6's. Would need to do a lot of work for

    My gut tells me to get the Plush P1000S, sell the cab for about $150, and get it recapped, a grounded power chord, and checked out, which in essence would give me a Dual Showman Reverb for around $450 that is completely gone over.


    What do you guys think? Any recommendations aside from these? I haven't seen anything listed on the classifieds here for something like these in that ballpark.
     
  2. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    Look for a Twin and put it in a head cab OR a Fender PA 100 same tubes same trannies 100 watts with Reverb only 4 channels instead of two and does not have tremolo but a pedal can take care of that .Controls are Volume, Bass and Treble on each channel and the reverb is a pull out on the volume pot for each channel. Master Volume and Master Reverb controls. Only difference I found is the input is made for Mics so a guitar needs some boost with a EQ or you need to change the inputs to like a Twin or Showman. No big deal I just use the EQ to make up the difference. I know I got a deal but I paid 125 bucks for mine but then finding one of these may be as tough as getting a Dual Showman but if you do they might be more reasonable than a Dual Showman.
     
  3. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    Note I do not think if I remember right them Plush amps being very well accepted I think they had issues.
     
  4. ChrisSinNH

    ChrisSinNH TDPRI Member

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    plush p1000 , brings me back to high school in the early 70s. I had one. It was blue sparkle. I loved that amp. wish i still had it. The 2 issues , if you get it you might want to look into, if it is early 70's vintage, is, one is replace the 2 prong power chord with 3. They were very susceptible to noise. And if there was noise the reverb when above 3 or 4 would hum bad.
    I miss that tank. it was heavy and solid. Mine was dropped off a fire escape one night , 2 stories. The chassis bowed 2 inches. After resoldering a few busted wires and retubed worked great as new.
    Sold it when i moved in 79. if i could find another one local i would grab it. But that is just me
     
  5. bunny 7

    bunny 7 Tele-Holic

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    +1 on the Twin and putting it in a head cab, Allen Amps has cabs if you don't mind having to be shipped.

    From what's on your list, I would lean towards the Peavey VTM120 if you want to stay local. Probably the best choice on the list with the least issues, but you could check it out maybe since it's in the area.

    If you're really set on a Dual Showman Reverb, maybe expand your search area out some to see what's there.
    happy amp hunting.
     
  6. jondom22

    jondom22 TDPRI Member

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    I would love to obviously put a Twin Reverb in a head but the cheapest SF Twins go for around here are about $700, plus the head cab would be another $250, which is out of my price range currently, and that doesn't include any potential work.

    I've also searched for Dual Showman Reverbs and cheap Twins (as well as a number of other amps), on CL from Long Island, NYC, Upstate NY, New England, Eastern Seabord, etc. I even looked for Dual Showman's all across the country to see if there was one cheap enough that it would be worth getting shipped.

    A Fender PA 100 would be nice, but those are really hard to find, and I've scoured for those too.

    Anyways, the guy who has the Earth Sound Research G2000 agreed to do it for either $375 or $275 plus my Zvex Distortron. He is also the easiest to get to since he's in midtown, where as the other amps are either in Long Island or Jersey (aka I'd have to throw my buddy toll and/or gas money to do this....aka tack on another $20-$40 for the amp).

    I got some good techs out here, and from what I understand about the Earth, Plush, and Kustom amps from those times, is that the parts and circuits were great, as well as the ruggedness of the cabs, but that the soldering work was hit or miss. The guy I'm checking out the Earth amp from right now said he bought it from the original owner and it was retubed a year or two ago, and its mostly been chillin in his apt, so I feel like I might not have to sink too much work into it.

    I'll update you all after I check it out/buy it.
     
  7. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

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    An old Bassman 100 is another possibillity
     
  8. jondom22

    jondom22 TDPRI Member

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    I thought about a Bassman 100 but from what I've heard, they break up much earlier than a Twin would, plus they have no reverb, and I love me some reverb.
     
  9. bunny 7

    bunny 7 Tele-Holic

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  10. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lot of clean headroom with the Bassman. Don't know how in compares with a twin on that issue. Pedal would be the only option with reverb.
     
  11. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    Reverb pedals these days sound good if the amp does not have reverb that would be a non issue with me just get a good pedal and they are not that expensive even if you find good used one.
     
  12. soul-o

    soul-o Friend of Leo's

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    Quite out of your price range, but a Hiwatt DR103 is the beast of all beasts.
     
  13. jondom22

    jondom22 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the link, I actually looked through that a couple of weeks ago, and talked with some of techs at Fuchs Audio. What they told me was pretty much what Andy says on that thread you listed: The iron, and circuit are great, but the people who were doing them weren't very consistent.

    In other words, some of these amps sounded great, and some of them blew up. I assume that since the guy who has it now bought it from the original owner and hes been playing it regularly, that it was not one of the amps that blew up. I'm hopeful that the previous owner brought it to a tech and had it recapped and added a grounded wire, but I have a good tech who will look it over for free and charges really cheap rates and will talk with me about it before I sink any more money into it (if I end up buying it).

    Worse comes to worse, it gets a bad prognosis and the money I would want to sink into it to make it be able to handle 2 hours of straight, loud, craziness, is not worth it (in which I case I sell it).

    I would have gone with something like a VTM120 (Peavey), would have loved an Ampeg VT120, but if I can get this for $275 plus my pedal for pretty much a Twin Reverb in a head, I think its as good a deal as I can get now, without searching for 2 years.
     
  14. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm impressed.

    So far no one has chimed in to say, "You don't need 100 watts. Here are some amazing 15 watt amps you should try..."
     
  15. jondom22

    jondom22 TDPRI Member

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    I never loved the sound of reverb going into the first gain stage, even on a clean amp. Any bit of dirt that the amp produces makes the reverb sound like crap. same as delay. At the same time, I can also install an FX loop into the Earth/Twin/Plush/Showman style amps cos they have a vibrato circuit, whereas a bassman doesn't.
     
  16. bunny 7

    bunny 7 Tele-Holic

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    Well, I think for $275 and some trading stock, I'd probably go ahead then and take a chance on it. It is pretty cool amp and if it hasn't blown up yet, it's prolly good.
    Just wanted to make sure you had more info.
    Let us know how it goes if you get it.
     
  17. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    FX LOOPS are nothing but trouble in an anp since they use switching jacks they get corroded and cause problems. I never had any issues with any of my amps sounding bad with a reverb pedal.
     
  18. Raybob

    Raybob Tele-Meister

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    My favorite it the Tube-Tone Twin head, but I'm prejudiced. Can be wired either as BF Twin or Dual Showman circuit.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    Very Nice Raybob but I am sure it is out of his price range.
     
  20. jondom22

    jondom22 TDPRI Member

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    So here's the story and all of the info you can ask for:

    I purchased the Earth Sound Research G2000 amp for $280 plus a Zxex Distortron pedal off CL. I played through it briefly and could tell the reverb (somewhat distorted) and vibrato tube needed to be changed (volume diminished with intensity pot up. This same thing happened to my SF Deluxe Reverb, in which I though I needed to replace the roach or re-solder a connection, but it was actually just a bad tube).

    I was able to crank the amp relatively loud (although it was being played out of an 8ohm cheap as hell 4x12 in which one of the speakers were buzzing, and the head is 4 ohms I believe), however the amp breaks up earlier than a SF Twin that has been completely re-tubbed, re-capped, etc. The tubes in the amp are old (maybe original, I listed them all below), and most likely I will have to replace them all (luckily I have a decent amount of 12AX7's and 12AT7's). Also, the power chord is not a grounded 3 prong chord, it is a 2 prong.

    Inside the chassis, it looks like no one has opened it up since it got off the factory line. All of the caps look original, there's a lot of dust, and I could tell some of the soldering joints have dried up. The good thing is it's all handwired, and not PC board like some of the models they made were. The weird thing is that it does not use a normal eyelet or turret board, it has these interesting horizontal eyehole joint things that I don't know how to describe, but you can easily see them in the pictures I uploaded.

    The transformers looked like some solid and heavy iron and had some typical rust on them. I also didn't know that both these and Twin Reverbs don't have rectifier tubes like my Deluxe Reverb does.

    The whole chassis needs to be cleaned and the pots and tube sockets need to be sprayed with contact cleaner, and the tube sockets probably have to be retentioned.

    The faceplate is in (10/10) shape, and the covering cushiony tolex (or whatever its called) only has a couple small tears, and a couple marks (I would say 7.5/10).

    Pictures of the head, inside the chassis, bottom of the chassis, transformers/choke, and up close shots of different regions in circuit:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/79020403@N05/sets/72157629902136545/

    Here's the schematic for the G2000 - http://earth.ampage.org/earthfiles/earth_amp.pdf

    Here's a couple links for the schematic for a Twin Reverb (underneath the pic of the amp) -
    http://ampwares.com/amplifiers/fender-silverface-twin-reverb/


    Details:
    Made: August 9, 1973
    Serial Number: 10656

    The tube layout is the same as a Twin Reverb as well and is in the same order as a TR from V1 - V10, however the last person using this had some different value tubes in the wrong slots, but they were all 12AX7 types. Every single tube looks like its from the 70's, even the Fender Special Design tubes look really, really old and dirty. This is what I found tube wise:

    Preamp:
    V1 - gain for normal channel (should be 7025/12AX7): "no name" 12AX7A
    V1 - gain for vibrato channel (should be 7025/12AX7): Hewlitt Packerd - Sanborn 12T7
    V3 - reverb send (should be 12AT7): RCA 7025
    V4 - 1/2 Reverb recovery and 1/2 gain stage for vibrato channel (should be 12AX7): "no name" 12AX7A
    V5 - Vibrato (should be 12AX7): RCA 12AZ7A
    V6 - phase inverter (should be (12AT7): RCA 12AT7

    Power amp. All tubes should be 6L6GC:
    V7 - Fender Special Design 6L6GC - said the following: 023536, 33, 11, 23, ACK
    V8 - Fender Special Design 6L6GC - said the following: 33, 14, 28, AYE
    V9 - Realistic Lifetime - Polan - Made in USSR: 6L6WGC
    V10 - Zenith US [AID] 6L6GC - Made in USA: said the following: 33, 11, 28

    What's interesting too is that the height of the V7 & V8 tubes are the same, but the height of the V9 & V10 are smaller than those.

    - - -

    My thoughts are that I'm going to have to put a little work into the amp. I will need new power tubes (I can use the same preamp tubes from my SFDR), new caps, cleaning/retension sockets, biasing, re-capping, install grounded power chord, go over soldering joints. While it would have been nice to get a vintage amp like this that was recently recapped, retubed/biased, and maintained well internally, I'm glad that it looks like it really just needs some basic maintenance, and not a complete overhaul. I have a really nice tech here who will help me do the work on the cheap and is very experienced, so I think I can get the work done with the parts for around $200 total, bringing the cost of the amp up to $480 plus my Zvex (which I was planning on selling). In other words, around $600 for a completely ass-kicking Twin Reverb/Dual Showman head in a funky design, that will play on par with a completely gone over SF Twin Reverb. The cost of getting a Dual Showman Reverb seems to be $600 at cheapest, but almost everyone I saw was listed at least $800, plus shipping, and without any work, new tubes, etc.

    So let me know what you guys all think.
     
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