1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Solidstate Amps - pros and cons

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

  1. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

    Age:
    35
    Posts:
    288
    Joined:
    May 13, 2020
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    I love tube amps but the lightness, ease of use, lower voltages, and clean sound of some solid state amps have seriously got me shopping. The rolands, quilters, and acoustic brand ones I've seen sound amazing, and the new Fender tonemasters have gotten nothing but great reviews. I have been coveting an old polytone as well for jazz.

    One big advantage of tube amps is the ease of servicing them (but only if they're on a ptp board). Much easier than soldering to a printed circuit board, in my estimation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
    bartlettnomad likes this.
  2. jays0n

    jays0n Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    481
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    This is a fun thread, thanks for starting it. I, like many here, also have both tube and SS amps. I like the sound of tubes but not the tube replacement part. Back in the day we could go to this dusty, musty and cluttered electronics shop (in Lakewood CA, which i cannot remember the name of) to dig for tubes in bins and bring in our tubes to plug in to an old rusted tube tester. I sort of miss that but not paying the prices in music stores for em these days.

    Now I just keep a small Champ type tube amp now for nostalgia and then Quilters for anything else. Oh, I have a small Line 6 headphone amp too that sounds good enough for my poor playin.

    When I see/hear a great tube amp, I always end up counting the tubes and then that kills my GAS for it :)
     
    Chiogtr4x likes this.
  3. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,662
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    Anymore, I just want something that works and checks these boxes:

    Affordable
    Reliable
    Portable/lightweight

    It doesn't have to have a lot of features and if it has once decent clean sound (and Reverb, please), I can work with that

    Edit- I'm changing ' affordable' maybe, to cheap!

    I can't afford 'affordable!' ( but I got my used, Pathfinder for $85 and Frontman 25R for $50- so far, so good, with 'cheap!')
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
  4. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,368
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Western Canada
    When I questioned "Weazel" about his intentions, I was going to use my Special 130 as an example.
    They are ridiculously loud for a 1x12 combo... not to mention versatile and no shortage of tone!
     
    Henry Mars and MilwMark like this.
  5. stonetone7

    stonetone7 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    392
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2020
    Location:
    Harrisburg, Pa.
    After many years of running tubes, I too am in the market for a good SS amp.

    Currently waffling between a Bandit, an Orange Crush 60 or one of the Roland Blues models. I have never played through any iterations of the latter two, but I would like to before I decide.

    And it l’s not because I’m tired of tube amps or have anything against them. It’s not because I’m back to gigging (yet) and want something lighter (the Orange and the Peavey are every bit as heavy as a lot of tube amps.) It’s because I’m ready to semi-retire my 15-year-old reissue Deluxe. It’s put in its time, completely maintenance free, and I want to reduce its hours going forward.

    So in this case I guess you could say that SS amps represent a viable option to extend the lifespan of more expensive amps in a given collection. Their sound and quality - in some cases - have gotten to a point where the usual trade-offs have become negligible.
     
  6. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    11,892
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Location:
    near Arnold's
    That’s a subjective belief and a subjective experience.

    If “you” were replaced with “I” in the sentences then fine.
     
  7. Henley

    Henley Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    517
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2017
    Location:
    Beach Cities
    The 80's Peavy Renown SS amps are great with pedals,. not too happy with the onboard electronics but bypassed it can blow the doors down clean or dirty. So does it matter tube or SS?

    I love mine... not losing tone when changing the master volume was the magic moment for me...practically all of my older tube amps do.
     
    Peegoo and MilwMark like this.
  8. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    1,514
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Location:
    Lancaster Pa
    I use a Princeton Chorus at home and get great cleans with it and have no problems with it The biggest drawback is that all gear, be it pickups ,pedals ,speakers or whatever is judged with a tube amp mentality. Not a bad thing at all except solid state and tubes respond differently.
     
    Average_Joe likes this.
  9. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    72
    Posts:
    4,180
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2019
    Location:
    left coast
    King Buzzo aka Buzz Osborne uses Sunn Beta Lead amps, Qsc Power amp or Crown power amp. Buzz has found an amp builder to custom build Copies of the Beta Lead amps.
    When making a non-career out of unheard hideous guitar noises.....:D tubes/solid state really ceases to be an issue. When I switch to making living sounding like Peter Green or Harvey Mandel on the approved instruments , I'll get back to you about this . For now, I'm set. Thanks for playing, Goodnight.
     
  10. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,311
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Location:
    Bucks Co. PA
    I think that hands down the Roland Blues Cube is the best sounding of the one's you mention. If you play in a loud band and can mic it you should do well. I also like the Orange Crush models and have played a gig or two through one ... it belongs to the venue. My playing leans heavily toward clean so the BC might just be my first choice and they are very versatile.
     
  11. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,662
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    I don't even know what 'compression' means in context anymore, and maybe in my world, it just doesn't matter.

    I will say I get good dynamics ( here I mean guitar Volume knob cleanup and clean/dirty string to pickup response, that varies with pick attack) using good ' always ON' overdrive pedals into pretty clean SS amps

    Just seems to be a good marriage of gear and technique ( I do the same with my tube amps) I do work on this and you can hear it.
     
    MilwMark likes this.
  12. lmjmitchell

    lmjmitchell Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    Posts:
    131
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Location:
    NC
    I bought a Quilter and a Line6 Helix LT recently and don't see the need to buy anything else in the future. They both sound great to me and everyone should play whatever they feel most comfortable with.
     
  13. Weazel

    Weazel Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    720
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Location Location
    Hey "codamedia".
    When the drummer kicks in, all tonal differencies between tube/SS/modeling becomes miniscule.
    Sorry you all misunderstood my little stint.
    Geez, adjust your boxers will you?
     
  14. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,441
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Location:
    Nicoma Park, Oklahoma
    Funny that a previous poster mentioned an Acoustic 150.

    When I was playing road gigs I used an Acoustic 150 through two Orange 4x12 cab's along with my pedal-board. I never heard a complaint about the sound of my rig.

    The other guitarist used two Fender tube amps (and had great tone) and it seemed that every time we got back home he had to have them worked on.

    I love the sound of tubes, but at the time the reliability of sold state was a plus.

    Years later, back in my rack gear days my complete rig was solid state. Marshall solid state pre-amp and a Yamaha power amp along with my rack mount effects. One day our bass player commented during practice that he loved the sound of my tube rig.

    When I told him it was all solid state he didn't believe me.

    Now... I don't play road gig's anymore I have my Fender tube amp along with my spare set of tubes & fuses and an old Line 6 amp for back up.

    I have to admit that solid state amps now sound a lot better the the ones I used many years ago.

    Don't get me wrong I love the sound of tubes, but there's a place for solid state as well.
     
  15. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,368
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Understood... thanks for clarifying.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
    thesamhill and MilwMark like this.
  16. bluescaster72

    bluescaster72 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    809
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Location:
    pennsylvaina
    I've found great tone in the cheapest of gear . Lot of it is knowing how to dial it in . I have had two amps that just sounded horrible both solid state one modeling . that were junk. no other word for it . I have owned a number of tube amps. Volume when playing live or at home has always been my number one complaint . I also found Tube amps to be a bit too warm for my taste I prefer more clarity which I found Solid state amps to have . along with volume that was far more usable . I have a Vox Pathfinder 10 that I did the mods to and it is a fantastic blues amp. My big amp is a AMPEG SS 70 with clean and overdrive channels USA made and can do it all. If I had a footswitch for it I could use the gain channel for lead. But both take pedals well and I don't damage my hearing. By far the best clean I have ever heard on the cheap was a Peavey 50 watt Backstage . I got it for 25 bucks at a Goodwill. and used it at an open jam . The other guitarist used a Vox Pathfinder 15 and I think it was one of the better jams as there was no volume wars and both amps kept up fine they were were miked and that makes a huge difference in terms of sound.
     
  17. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    830
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2018
    Location:
    the mountains of Virginia
    I like amps. I wish I could afford a bunch.

    As it is, I have a Supro Blues King, so nobody can question my masculinity, tube-wise, and several SS ones. All of them sound good for my style of playing, which is known as "classic lame." Old Roland BC60 - sounds great and lots of tonal options, Peavey Backstage Plus - small and plenty loud for what it is, ZT Lunchbox 1st edition - I've used it at jams with drums, bass, keys, and too many guitars, and you can still hear me. And a couple of bass amps.

    As an old feller, I'm looking to get a super light cab with a high-power neo speaker, so I can just use the ZT as a powerful head for gigs where load-in is difficult. If there are any more gigs.
     
    The Angle likes this.
  18. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    944
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA area
    Awesome- I'm going to check that out.

    I am still looking for that perfect "ecosystem" for recording and collaboration. GB for Mac is close but I'm still emailing exported wavs back and forth, even though my collabs are using GB for Mac too. I think if GB could perfect multi-user access to shared files it would change the world.

    Or maybe it does that already and my kids have explained it to me 50 times and I never understood what they were saying :)

    Either way, the amp in the equation is SS, so there's my contribution to the original thread:

    I'm rocking a digital multieffects program that I spliced into my global communicator via the "app store" distribution mainframe hub. That's connected via auxiliary cabling to my amp- a vintage 1990s Kenwood SS with dual Monoprice bookshelf speaker cabs rigged in stereo which opens up whole new dimensions of soundscape. Onboard reverb in the form of the "Hall" eq preset. Wireless remote A/B switching and volume control. Small footprint. Takes pedals well. Tone for days.
     
  19. brown meadows

    brown meadows Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    381
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2006
    Location:
    NC
    I’ve been using mostly Quilter amps since 2014. No fuss, great sound etc. Over my 35 years of playing I’ve owned many old tube Fenders, Demeter, Bad Cat, Vox, Mesa, Swart tube amps. Also had many good & bad SS amps as well. After using Quilters haven’t looked back.
     
  20. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,662
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    I have never played one, but since seen a used one FS on Craigslist a few months ago, ( then Google-ing the model), I sure like the look, size and features ( straight forward Clean and OD channels w/Reverb & even a tuner) of the Orange Crush 35RT

    * just wondering if the OD side is capable of lower to moderate Gain when needed ? ( for Blues/Rock&Roll)

    (But dig, 25 lbs., 35 W, 10"- size is perfect for my gigs)
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.