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HELP! Katana VS Tubes

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by KrenarCilku, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Of course, we all have our take on the subject!

    Most of your points have been stated over and over on the internet so clearly you're not the only one who has found that tube amps are expensive, heavy and unreliable (AKA "more maintenance") while lacking versatility.
    Give that you're 74 we know you didn't just fall off the turnip truck, and speak from experience!

    But while we're looking at the Katana that's a newer player and remarkable for being extra cheap, extra versatile, extra light, and generally super popular: I would just add that much of the tube amp rep has come from old time tube amps that are big, heavy expensive and old, while in many cases really only having one sound of their own.

    Seems to me that in the tube amp arena there is a new generation of small light weight less expensive more versatile amps on the market, many of which are now even more affordable used. And some are even better quality as opposed to disposable consumer grade.
    The Orange Tiny Terror/ Dark Terror/ Dual Terror amps are worth looking at, and have proven pretty reliable for affordable tube amps.

    Then there is a huge small builder market where we find hand wired vintage inspired often small light weight tube amps with exceptional tone, life time build quality, and in many cases even affordable pricing.
    Many are also versatile, being able to adjust between BF Fender clean and Tweed/ Marshall dirt.

    Then there's the third new tube amp market of hobby builders who make clones of Tweed Deluxe and 18w Marshall etc etc, then sell them to build more amps. Those may be built by hobbyists, but they are generally classic life time quality design and construction.
    I have small light weight versatile enough hand wired tube amps I paid in the range of $300 each for, one small builder, on tech built from a Weber kit, and one hobbyist built.

    Back to the idea that SS in general is "low maintenance" AKA more reliable, I've had IIRC six SS amps, from Peavey Bandit, two from Polytone, one of the cult status Yamaha combos, and a few I've forgotten.
    IIRC allof them eventually broke, and while anything can be repaired, most of them had a value lower than the repair cost, or so close that it made more sense to buy a cleaner used one than to pay to fix a beat up SS amp.

    We don't yet know how long the cheap Katana will work before needing service or disposal, but it is a fact that SS amps also need service!

    I don't know where the sort of myth came from about tube amps being less reliable or needing more service, but every SS amp I've had, generally had a shorter service interval than my tube amps!

    Meaning I bought a new SS amp and used it along with my used tube amps, finding that an old tube amp ran in some cases for 30 years without service, while NO SS amps ran that long before breaking.
    I did have an old Acoustic 150 head that might have made 30 years, but I didn't have it that long, just knew it was maybe 15 years old when I bought it and it appeared to not have any former repairs AKA untouched solder joints.

    The whole tubes vs SS is much confused by the fact that now so many really cheap tube amps dominate the market, and many of those are just as disposable as what I've found classic SS amps to be. Plus cheap tube amps are not "great tube tone".

    I think assuming the cheap Katana line will be as reliable as the expensive Roland Cube line is a looong stretch!
    Remains to be seen!
     
  2. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I was thinking of a Orange Micro Dark before I got the Katana. Great sounding little tube amps.
     
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  3. Askwhy

    Askwhy Tele-Meister

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    Sounds just fine-unless you identify an actual need you are not getting and find something that specifically is better for that need, just stick with the Katana. Spend the time you would have chased amps/tones writing songs, it will benefit you much more in the end and you can always check out and pick up a new amp if you have a situation that calls for it or just need inspiration. You can always play tube amps any time you get the chance and if something grabs you, do it, but no need to start from a place of manufactured dissatisfaction. JMO of course, do whatever makes you happiest and enjoy!
     
  4. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    You make some valid points and just to be clear I don't see this as an either/or scenario being that I've spent the last 12 years on a Twin and my other amp is a Mesa. I've played tube amps based on tonal considerations all of my life and for many years I shunned SS but to my mind it's gotten to the point that SS amps have have gotten so good in that respect that I sometimes find myself wondering if the tonal differences I hear are in the amps or in my imagination.

    As far as maintenance is concerned you are right. Once my Katana breaks down it probably won't be worth the cost of the repair. On the other hand if it lasts 3 to 5 years I can simply buy another probably even more advanced one for the cost of a couple of full tube replacement on a Twin. I hadn't thought about it this way before but when our appliances and televisions reach the point of no return what do we do? We simply junk them and buy another. After all they're just things. Given that I'm thinking that it's very possible that we have reached the age of throw away amps.:(
     
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  5. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The Orange micro series are all hybrids. And yes, they do sound great.
     
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  6. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I've never been inspired by solid state or digital amps. Others will have differing opinions of course.

    I personally don't understand the katana hype. I was prepared to buy one, but left the store underwhelmed and confused about all the hype.

    If versatility and convenience is paramount, then it could be the right amp.

    As others recommended, get both. Only way to know what YOU like.

    Rock on.
     
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  7. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Holic

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    I'll be 69 in a few days and have used a myriad of fender, musicman, peavey etc tube amps over the years and still have a 65 bf super. I bought a katana 100 when they first came out and that's what I plug into when I'm in an electric mood on the clean 0.5 watt setting and it sounds really nice to me. I quit playing out so it's just me and I don't like playing loud or distorting. The clean low volume tone on the kat is fine for blues, country, folkish and jazz for my taste and weighs not much of nothing. I don't care for or use all the so-called pedal/amp settings etc, just clean. I would like to have an amp the same size and cost of the katana without all the hoopla it has, otherwise it's all I need and a whole lot I don't need.
     
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  8. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Katana sounds great in your video - not sure how a tube amp would benefit you, really.
     
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  9. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    That's the way I feel about mine. Plus I really like the fact that it can double as a pretty darn
    good acoustic amp.
     
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  10. 100LL

    100LL Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Easy, it would make him sound even greater! :)
     
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  11. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Holic

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    I'm now up to sixteen amps that I've cycled through in the last three or four years. Some are keepers, some I've sold on. Some are tube-driven, some SS, some digital. What I've learned from all this amp promiscuity is that the common denominator with each and every one of them is ME. Whatever I'm searching for when I go shopping for another amp, I usually wind up finding not in the amp but in the woodshed.
     
  12. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    Haha..... in what way, exactly?

    I've been a tube amp guy since the 1990s. Marshalls (JCM800 and JCM900), Fender, Mesa Boogie... Even had a Laney combo at one point. My latest have been Vox. All of these amps sounded great, but I'm noticing right now that I'm getting more compliments for my tone than ever, and it's from people hearing recordings I've been making with digital amp simulator plugins.

    In a digital amp, you can get the sound of cranked tube amps without cranking a tube amp. What's there not to like?
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
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  13. 100LL

    100LL Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Seriously though, if I'm listening to recording on my ipad speakers it is indeed difficult to hear much of a difference when, for example A/B'ing a Katana and Deluxe.

    Being there in person is a completely different story. you can just feel it.
     
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  14. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    Dig it.

     
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  15. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    I haven't made it to the end of this thread - but someone mentioned that it's isn't "one or the other" and others have mentioned "right tool for the job" and I want to agree and add to that -

    Build up a few different amps in your collection and learn their ways and be inspired by the best parts of each. IMO there's no perfect one-size-fits-all amp. They're not a sound reproduction system or a PA - they're part of your instrument.
     
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  16. 100LL

    100LL Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Exactamente!
     
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  17. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Tele-Holic

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    I have A Katana 50 and my trusty Mesa Boogie Cal 50+ that I bought new about 20 years ago. Love the Boogie. I own the Boss because it’s clean sound is good, it is virtually silent in idle and it is light. As much as I like the Katana, it isn’t in the same league as the Boogie, which has a killer clean sound and a lead channel that can’t be replaced by modeling.

    One thing I really don’t like about the Katana is the digital/ audio lag that causes phase issues when paired with tube and SS amps. It would have been a deal breaker had I realised before buying it.
     
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  18. KrenarCilku

    KrenarCilku Tele-Meister

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    Interesting, so that somewhat proves that the Katana definitely does not react and does not have the same attack as a tube amp... Makes sense.. thank you for the reply!
     
  19. Fourstringclover

    Fourstringclover TDPRI Member

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    I'd like to offer another take on the matter. I am a tube amp man myself, tho given I have not played the katana or a kemper type state of the art modeler. I do really like the new peavey didital modeling amps tho, as it was the first non tube amp with tube like breakup and much less prone to the sweet spot effect of tube amps.

    I got into old tube amps that werent made for guitar but modded to be so, and still into them now. Partly out of limited budget, and that I like the old way of building things to last long and be serviceable, being point to point wired. I had just started going from bass to guitar when I saw a very odd looking homebrew combo with a vintage jensen P12Q for $120 on the Craig. I offered him $100 and he accepted, and that was my first ever guitar amp.

    In front of it I used a SS fender head as a preamp/reverb unit since the tube amp turned out to be a hi fi amp with insufficient gain. I caught some flak once from a drummer at a jam session over the spare parts I used on it, but later he was really complimenting my tone after we got done, lol. A SG into a tube amp overdriving an alnico speaker is pure Dwayne-ee majic!! The fender ss really drove it hard and it sounded sweet, but was just too noisy, so I wanted to find somthing else. I didnt have a reverb pedal, so I needed a preamp with reverb an thought itd be cool to have some effects too. So I was thinking of a pod, but came across a deal on a digitech genesis, which is similar but bigger and actually made in the US. Since the amp, speaker, and lightweight cab were made in Chicago, I like to call it the "cyber cyupro"
    Its my lil homebrew hybrid gal.

    And I agree that tube amps do need servicing occasionally, but replacing tubes and rebiasing is simple. Troubleshooting and repairing a katana, not so much. I have a 6v6 combo that is 70 friggin years old and still running strong, after some minor repairs. Good tone aside, I like the thought of passing them on as family antiques one day since they are likley to outlive me.

    And if you decide to take the tube testdrive, unless it's a two channel amp go for a treble boost or boost for od, instead of a od pedal for the true tube experience. The downside is you cant use reverb unless its on board or in an effects loop tho, but totally worth it imo.
     
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  20. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Tele-Holic

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    Oh definitely. I like the Katana clean sound. Totally useable for gigs or home and amazing value. However, tube amps have a really nice punch at the beginning of a note and an airiness that’s non tube amps seem to miss. You will need to spend a bit more but tube amps keep selling because guitar players love using them.
     
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