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Solidstate Amps - pros and cons

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Mr_Martin, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. Mr_Martin

    Mr_Martin Tele-Afflicted

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    I play Solidstate amps since over 40 years.
    I head also tube amps from time to time, but i always come back to solidstate amps.

    What i don't understand are the poor ratings of SS Amps.

    There are so many great SS amps:
    Peavey, Fender, Yamaha, Ampeg, Acoustic, Marshall, Roland, Gallien Kruger, LAB-Series...

    What is your opinion and experience?
     
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  2. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't forget Sunn, used at various times by Hendrix and Beck
    The old Acoustic 150 was a great sounding SS guitar amp, as are the Peavey Transtube series from the early 2000s.
    I had a Fender Princeton 65 which sounded great and weighed less than my Peavey Classic 30, so I started taking it to gigs instead.
    At home I now use a Fender Mustang LT25 and Yamaha THR10C
     
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  3. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Bass players know about class D solid state amps. Great sound. tremendous power, light weight.

    Quilter amps (class D) are pretty amazing and they sound great although the Eq section never seems quite right for what i want.

    I have a Henricksen Jazz amp which has a really great clean tone and a versatile EQ section
     
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  4. meigo1234

    meigo1234 TDPRI Member

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    hey there,

    indeed ... roland jc120 !

    I've just bought a 1977 LAB SERIES L9

    15" speaker. two channel, reverb and power amp compressor (to simulate power tube compression) ...

    this amp simply offers one of the best sounds I've ever heard in a clean stage. twin amp, twin reverb, fender princeton, mesa maverick, are my comparison. but this amp is amazing...
    it might also be the pretty spacious cab holding the 15" speaker. really nice. and the tone is very precise and stable, warm and a lot of dynamics.

    very noise-free! in tube amps, we live with that and value it, like vinyl cracking, you have all kinds of noise, apart from the guitar signal, but it's actually a flaw, technically.

    the L9 is not really about simulating a twin reverb, etc. it has the tube amp qualities ... but is simply something else. very musical.
    I guess there is a lot of dogma going on in guitarists ears, like "nah, SS cannot sound good at all" or "tube amps are simply better"

    don't get me wrong. I really like tube amps ... but SS are very much underrated. there are really bad SS amps, but there are also very flat and boring tube amps, that are simply fulfilling a straigth tube-amp marketing.

    all the best
    and thanks for the thread, which suits my interest very much right now.
    michael
     
  5. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    I had a Princeton chorus that was cool, very nice on the clean tone.
     
  6. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've enjoyed the SS amps I've owned over the years and still gig a Peavey Special 130 on occasion.
    I still own a couple great tube amps but I don't like them any more than the Special, they're just more coveted by other players.
     
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  7. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have several very nice older and newer tube amps and they do sound great. But when I drag an amp out the door, it's a Quilter Aviator combo. Why? It sounds great, it gets as loud as I need, it's bomb proof, and it weighs 25 lbs.
     
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  8. TwoBear

    TwoBear Tele-Meister

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    Yeah that Fender Princeton 65 is not bad at all especially for home stuff and with a better speaker it'll handle gigs. A decent clean and good grindy distortion if you want it.
     
  9. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    A good amp is a good amp, Valve, transistor or digital, they're tools, not religious artefacts.
     
  10. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Holic

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    As my grandson says", I CAN'T WANT IT".
     
  11. Bob M

    Bob M Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I’ve had a DV Mark 50 for years. Not a Fender sound but it is a good clean that works well with a Tele.
     
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  12. harpdog

    harpdog Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I don’t like to worry about tubes, and the audience mostly don’t hear a difference, so I made a deliberate choice to gig SS amps, but I love my tube amps as well. Currently gigging a Tone Master Deluxe Reverb Blonde, with a nice backup in a Champion 50XL.
     
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  13. TwoBear

    TwoBear Tele-Meister

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    Let's not forget the jazz world and the polytones. But with the later polytones and that red knob with the distortion we all know that's pretty much a joke. The greatest tones for me have come from a mix of both, a vibroluxe and a pro, with some pedals for 200 seater gig and up. I would also play a super reverb which was my go-to amp and mix it with a Plexi 45 or 71 super lead or my metal panel 72/73 with black back 30s in checkerboard 4x12. A couple ts9 808 screamers and a Sonic distortion, rat, blue box, always thought the best tones were transistor boxes into pumped up amps . There was a Vox transistor head that distorted really well and it had a great tremolo...really throbbing. I'll tell you one thing I can fix, and have built exact clones of Fender Tweed Deluxe and Princeton and built ground up hot rod 20 watt amps and have worked on my super leads, and could completely build a super lead or pro reverb or whatever ground up, but I have a Galien Krueger bass combo practice amp in the garage that I can't fix.
     
  14. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Also, Carlos Santana at Woodstock. He played a SS amp build by Bob Gallien, who later found success with some dude named Kreuger.
     
  15. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

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    Good for you! I always wanted to try that L9. Played a couple L5s, owned an L3. But that 1x15 never come my way.

    I'll never stop loving tubes, by low volume jazz practice has led to me experimenting quite a bit with SS. The two best I've found:
    • Evans SE150. Late 90s 1x15. Unusual controls. Big power in this one, but it sounds just as good down low. No extra crunch via keeping the MV low, which surprises me. Sounds better on the padded (lower db) input. This amp plus my '61 Guild X-50 archtop is simply amazing. Just as good with other jazz guitars.
    • Quilter OD200. I've owned 3 other quilters. Not bad, but not keepers. This OD200 is a keeper. Adjusts easily in the clean channel to get edge of drive sounds. I never even use the crunch channel. I use it with a small ported 1x12 cab from Pure Sixty Four. A 16 ohm stock speaker, which I didn't think would work well. Room filling warm sounds with teles and reverends.
     
  16. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have some very nice old Fender tube amps that I do (did) gig with occasionally. But most of my gig work the last 10 years or so has been with my Peavey Special 130 amps. Very reliable, consistently sound great and very easy to dial in whatever you're looking for with the parametric mid-shift control. And...fairly easy on the back and shoulder as well. I've had some really nice SS amps, but the Special 130 has been my favorite.
     
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  17. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    SS is good, my Mini 101 Quilter sounds an awful lot like my old Princeton.

    There's SS as a chip (which I don't care for) and SS as analog which is what the Quilters are.
     
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  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    Marketing. That is all the fad is about. More cash in the pocket of the factory if they can convince a buyer to spend on a specific feature.

    Given the wide range of pedals that players use these days ... an amp is irrelevant.
    What is different having a tube amp mic'd into a gig PA than a pedal board direct into the PA?
    The tube amp is just a pedal that is too big to fit on the board.

    As for 'pick attack' or 'feel' when playing where you can play lightly for 'glassy cleans' or 'really dig in' for overdriven blues ... a generic Fuzz Face pedal can do that.

    Tube amps are generally heavy, fragile, and high maintenance with tube and capacitor replacements.

    Downfall of solid state amps is that they are most often built to hit a low price point. So the jacks are soldered direct to the circuit board and when knocked over with the guitar cable plugged in the jack breaks off the board. Just tugging on the guitar cable over time breaks the solder connections. Better durability is a separate jack with wires to the board to take abuse better. But having an off-board jack costs more, plus the 'quality' separation to tube amps in the line needs to be maintained... Marketing.

    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
  19. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

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    +1

    I don't get all the angst. If you like solid state, go for it; if you like tubes, have at it.

    Where I get stuck is when people try to say they sound the same. I've never heard a SS that sounded and felt like a tube amp. That's not to say that SS amps can't sound good, but they aren't tube amps. Maybe if we got away from equivalence and just focused on quality, there would be fewer arguments.
     
  20. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Afflicted

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    Nothing wrong with SS... I've had a couple that were workhorses.
    My first amp was a Gibson GT20 (with trem and verb)...super little amp....loved that thing.
    Played a few different Fender SS amps .. can't complain about any of them...they were cheap, loud, and turned on every time.

    Heck...my main little practice amp now is an old Fender Harvard Reverb II.
     
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