Sign of the apocalypse: I played a solid-state amp that I liked

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by El Tele Lobo, May 14, 2021.

  1. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have been a tube amp user exclusively for 25 years. I have rarely played a solid-state amp that I liked. Yesterday, I had some time to kill so I went to Sam Ash and played a variety of guitars through a Roland Jazz Chorus 40. It sounded great. Ugly cabinet though. I’m not completely surprised… My first guitar teacher had a JC 120 and I really liked that. I didn’t even turn on any of the chorus or vibrato functions on the amp. I think it just had a little reverb on. I played an Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II, a Squier classic 60s Tele, an Ibanez George Benson archtop (probably an import it was only about $800) and a PRS Paul’s Guitar SE. The PRS easily stole the show with its magnificent tone and playability. But I was impressed there was a decent sounding solid state amp out there I half liked...even if it wasn’t as pretty as my tweed Champ clone. I recommend you all run for the hills or the nearest bomb shelter as the end must surely be at hand.
     
  2. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just to let you in on a secret.... solid states amps have sounded pretty good for about 50 years now.
     
  3. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    They often sound just fine. But they are not unlike grits or chili. You can use instant grits or chili out of a can and it will get the job done. But its not the same as the real thing. And once you hear a difference, you won't be able to unhear it.

    There is an OCD component to all this tube amp nonsense and its' tiring and expensive. I envy the guys who think solid state amps sound good enough for them.
     
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  4. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Afflicted

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    There are some lousy
    -sounding tube amps. There are some great sounding SS amps.

    I like them for what they are. The Blues Cube amps are pretty damn good amps all round, and can hold their own easily against things like Blues Jr's.

    Quilter, Fender, Orange, Roland, etc make some good SS stuff.

    Don't forget how easy it is for a bad soundman to remove the 'tube advantage'..
     
  5. dougstrum

    dougstrum Friend of Leo's

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    I have an old Peavey studio pro 60, clean channel sounds good to me. I have only used it for practice and jams. I've never used it for a gig, but if I needed to bet it would be fine.
    I always default to my 6v6 amp though, it just sounds so good:)
     
  6. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    And yet somehow tube amps sound good on solid state reproducing systems! How can this be??
     
  7. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    About the last seven or eight years my Vox Pathfinder has been my number one amp and now my little 25 watt fender frontman with a better speaker is now my number one amp my tube Blues junior is just bigger than most of the gigs I play and heavier but it is not getting used right now
    These two little answer fantastic for me at gigs 18 lb + 23 lb
    Sorry for the voice activation
     
  8. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think any of us want to know about instant grits. What kind of hellscape is this? I thought this was mere apocalypse talk.
     
  9. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Hey @El Tele Lobo, I completely understand! The below is my latest experience and it is certainly of course my own opinion.

    In the last 4 months I've spent a ton of time doing some A/B testing between the all-tube Supro Blues King 12"/Roland Blues Cube Stage/Fender GTX100.

    I've owned the Supro BK 12" since November 2020. Don't get me wrong, it is a marvelous amp.

    When I discovered a Fender user-created tone named 'Angry Tweed Twin' and downloaded to the Fender GTX100, then the GTX100 won.

    I am now selling the Supro Blues King and a gorgeous pedal in the Wampler Belle....these pair incredibly well together, but I'm sure that's the case with any amp and the Belle.

    I'll tell you what though .... if I was gigging, I would have kept the Blues Cube Stage. I read all the reviews, watched all the YT vids ... and I'll never forget the first 20 minutes of playing the Blues Cube Stage and having my mind blown. That amp is absolutely the real deal. It definitely deserves the raves that you read and see about it.

    So now I am happily relegated to a single amp, the Fender GTX100, with the addition of a spectacular user-created tone in the 'Angry Tweed Twin', and I am perfectly pleased.
     
  10. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    I disagree with the sense that choosing SS is akin to settling for something lesser, like canned chili being good enough. Maybe your intent was not to be self-congratulatory for having above-average discerning taste in amps, so sidestepping that issue...I’ll say that as my playing approach has shifted over the past 15-20 years, I found that small tube amp characteristics I was once drawn to (warm, round, grindy and compressed when I pushed them, saggy response from tube rectifiers) began to not suit my approach so well. I was looking for a cleaner, harder, more linear response, more headroom, and a brighter, edgier sound, and one way to get those characteristics in an affordable, accessible, reliable way was to use the older SS Peavey combos I have now.

    When I use modelers I find myself drawn to the Roland JC120 amp model for the same qualities. It’s not that I’m settling, or that the sound is good enough; there are characteristics there that I actively seek out.

    I might well enjoy a high-headroom tube amp also, like a Twin or something...but I don’t feel moved to hunt one down, because I like what I already have.
     
  11. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nope. I discern a difference in the character of the sound from a tube amp and solid state. I like the sound of tube amps over solid state, but it's a bug and not a feature. And as I said, it sucks to be like that. It would be a lot cheaper and more enjoyable to not notice the difference, or better yet, to not care.
     
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  12. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    Or a sign of maturity and discernment?
     
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  13. John E

    John E Friend of Leo's

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    I always loved the JC120 but I never had the opportunity to gig one. I never thought I could gig a solid state amp until I used a Quilter at a club that had one as a backline amp for jams. I never forgot that amp. It helped that they had a sound guy lol, but had some great tone and responsiveness from that amp. That said I am pretty much 100% acoustic now for a few years, so my live playing goes through either a Bose L1 or a Peavey PA... lol. I do have a Boss Katana 100 that I love, and am quite sure I could gig successfully if needed, hell sometimes I use it as a monitor for the acoustic. But haven't had the opportunity yet.
     
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  14. mrriggs

    mrriggs Tele-Meister

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    After picking up the guitar again, I built a Champ-clone and played through it for years. Then I picked up a solid-state Randall amp and it was immediately apparent to me that the "squishy" response of the Champ did not do me any favors in regard to learning technique and feel. That Randall would make me jump when I attacked one note harder than the others.

    I could blame the solid-state amp and say that it sounds bad. That'd be like me driving a Formula-1 car into a wall and blaming the car for driving poorly. No, it's a great sounding amp and one day I hope that I have the chops to really make it sing.
     
  15. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    My point was partially that calling it a bug is subjective. Not everyone sees it as something to tolerate or settle for, if my experience is any indication.

    But I acknowledge that there is some overlap, and examples of better or worse in both topologies. As I tried to explain, I too hear a general difference, and for my particular needs have found myself getting better results with characteristics I think most would identify with “non-tube.”
     
  16. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

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    I used to own a JC77, one of the older ones with 2x10'' speakers, probably one of the best clean sounds you will ever hear.
     
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  17. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    The tube amp creates the tone. The solid state stereo just plays it back. I can take a photo of a DaVinci but my camera can’t paint the original.
     
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  18. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad Tele-Afflicted

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  19. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Right it's extrmely hard to make this claim when you start with a vibrating metals string, which "creates the tone" and the the amp reproduces it.
     
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  20. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think my argument is that there are no reliable data points that you can hang your hat on either way. It's like vinyl vs a CD. Or better yet (or worst still, depending on how you look at it) it comes down to deciding if you like blue widgets more than red widgets.

    Pick blue, and you enjoy a maintenance free experience for a very reasonable price. Pick red widgets and you are condemned to paying twice as much, guaranteed to have maintenance problems for its entire life, and the availability of replacement parts will always be in doubt. But there is just something about the red widgets.

    That's what sucks. I can't articulate why I like my widgets to be red. But I do. (as I think about it, I've got 7 overdrive/distortion pedals and I mostly play clean. I can't explain that either).
     
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