VHT Special 6 Head Compared to Quilter SuperBlock

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Jbnaxx, Jun 30, 2021.

  1. Jbnaxx

    Jbnaxx Tele-Holic

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    I have been enjoying my new Quilter SuperBlock for a few weeks, so I decided to plug in my VHT Special 6 head to make the dreaded tube vs. SS comparison. I did the comparison using a 1x10 cab with a Jensen C10Q. I used a Keeley Reverb pedal with the VHT and the on board reverb with the Quilter.
    The VHT Special 6 is a great Fender-ish sounding 6V6 tube head when it is used in it's sweet spot.
    I can easily get an almost identical sound and feel from the Quilter SuperBlock with the voice switch in the 57 position....... with two more voices left to explore.
    The Quilter and the VHT both respond in very similar way to overdrive pedals. (surprised about this one)
    The Quilter also can do humbucker equipped guitars much better than the VHT does.
    So, I'll go ahead and say it..... the Quilter is very tube-like. The magic is in the limiter knob. I'm not sure about the tech part, but it gives a nice feel to your playing.

    Bottom line..... if I had the SuperBlock a long time ago, I would have a lot less gear..... it really does make everything sound better.
     
  2. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The VHT is a 5-6 watt amp the Quilter is 25 watts..... Where were your volume knobs on each one.
     
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  3. Jbnaxx

    Jbnaxx Tele-Holic

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    I usually play the VHT with the volume about noon. That would produce a nice, full clean tone. With the guitar volume knob at full, that would still be reasonable volume for our practice space.

    At 6 watts, the VHT is still very loud cranked wide open…. I rarely open it up. I use mostly clean sounds.

    I did use similar volume on both amps due to the limited size of my practice space.

    It’s likely not fair to compare a rather cheap 2 knob tube amp to the Quilter, but that’s what I have. The question in my mind was “does the Quilter sound like a tube amp?”…….. it can. The SuperBlock simply does everything the Special can do and much more.

    Is the Quilter as good as a Princeton Reverb or a Deluxe? Probably not. I think you will have a hard time finding something better for $259.
     
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  4. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Interesting. I'd like to hear others chime in who have one of these. Also how it compares to the Tone Block (is it more than just bigger wattage?). Can you explain the limiter knob and what that does?
     
  5. mjcyates

    mjcyates Tele-Holic

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    I have one and love it. For me it is a perfect piece of gear. As mentioned, might not be as good as a Princeton Reverb or Deluxe, but it is pretty darn good.
     
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  6. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have a VHT Special 6, and a bunch of other, mostly low wattage, valve amps. Meh, it's a hobby...
    A well designed and powered solid state amp can dang near, as makes little difference, sound every bit as awesome as a good valve amp, but it can do it over a wider range, at half the cost per Watt or less and at half the kilo per watt ( combo amps )
    I wonder how many of the vaunted solid state amps have some kind of FET stage(s) in the chain. A triode valve is just a J-FET with a pilot light anyway. Thanks to EEVBlog for that.
     
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  7. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    I should do the same comparison - I have a VHT Special 6 combo, and recently got the Superblock US.
    Haven't compared these two side-by-side, but here are some of my initial impressions of the Superblock:

    - It's LOUD! I can barely crack open the volume when I want to use it at "apartment-friendly" levels. (I also tried using it with a 9V power supply - the one from my pedalboard - but had noise issues there).

    - The Limiter-knob is essential for tube-like feel.

    - The reverb is way too much - can't turn it up above 10 o'clock, unless I want to play surf music (but I have the same issue with "real" Fender amp reverb).

    - My favorite tone is the 65 setting, used clean - very good BF Fender tone.
    The 63 setting is good for slightly dirty tones.
    Didn't care for the 57 setting - it sounds small, tubby, boxy (for comparison: a homemade 5E3 Tweed Deluxe clone is my main amp with my band - and that one sounds a lot more "open").

    Overall, it's a useable tool with an OK sound, great backup amp, would probably work well for smaller coffeehouse gigs - BUT: It definitely isn't the best amp I own, not even close (for comparison, besides the 5E3 and the VHT, I also own a Carr Rambler, and a heavily modded PR-type amp I built from scratch, and a JTM45 - the Superblock loses out against these in direct comparison - but does sound a lot better than my ZT Lunchbox).
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
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  8. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    Love my Quilter 101, and it's one of the few pieces of gear I always feel good about suggesting.
     
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  9. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    i have a special 6 and i love it for its power scaling options. i've played some quilter amps before and they sound fantastic, no question. i'm kind of jonesing for a microblock 45 right now if i can find one second-hand for the right money.
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm interested in the superblock and could see buying a used one if a Brit pops up.

    I'm not convinced the Special 6 is a particularly good example of a tube amp, probably a lower grade product than the superblock and not a professional product.
    Still interesting for the sake of gradually getting used to the idea of a tiny guitar head that might be hard to accept is any good.

    I was close to buying one of the little Vox MV50 heads but all the demo videos seemed to not have very clear tight articulate bass.
    I don't think the basic 5w class A SE Champ or Special 6 circuit has very clear tight articulate bass either, though not bad at low volume.

    I probably need to try a superblock to know but that's part of my psych issue with tiny amps that make big sound.

    Can it make bass as clear as treble when running at or near full volume?
     
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  11. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have to say a while back I tried the Microblock and was not impressed. But that's just a cheapo $100 thing, so I've always been interested to try their higher-end products. I mean, it was probably worth $100, but it would not be a replacement for a real amp.
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I was looking at the micro too and there were plenty of them for sale used when used gear was not plentiful.
    Demo vids didn't really impress and the controls are awfully limited.
    Free lunch, something for nothing and all.
     
  13. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Special 6 is an EXCELLENT amp (compared to other single-ended 5 W amps) - very well made, turret-board construction (=easy to mod), well-voiced, good power tranny (you can run it with a 6L6 instead of a 6V6 for 10W of power). A perfect example of a Fender Champ-style amp, much better than most single-ended amps in that price range.

    The Superblock is something completely different, more versatile, much louder, more compact, a handy tool with many different applications.

    And still, I 'm pretty sure in direct comparison the Special 6 - when used for what it is designed for, would definitely sound better!

    But then - my Carr Rambler also sounds better - WAAAYY better, than eg. a Fender Hotrod Deluxe - and yet, the HRD is still a super useful amp used on thousands of stages...

    Different tools for different applications, and "the best" tone is not always the most important aspect of an amp!
     
  14. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think it's easy to rag on the Special 6 as just being a general-grade tube amp, but IMO (as the actual owner of one), I see it as more like a high performance version of both a BF/SF and tweed Champ, rolled into one.

    The Special 6 basically has a really similar construction to the old Fenders, with its eyelet/turret board. I can think of few amps at its price point that use something similar, as opposed to a wave soldered PCB.

    The Special 6 has an 'oversized/overbuilt' output transformer, which absolutely gives it a leg up in performance over any Champ I've ever tried, and I have a '67 Champ for comparison. I also have a Blackheart Little Giant, which is very similar to a BF/SF Champ, and shipped with a dinky OT. I replaced it with something from Weber (IIRC) that's much more on par with what the Special 6 has from the factory, and that improved things a bit, but the Special 6 still sounds a bit better and louder.

    The Special 6 takes an octal power tube, which also IMO gives it a performance advantage over the vast majority of small SE amps that utilize a noval power tube like an EL84. And you aren't limited to just a 6V6, although any sonic advantages to using a 6L6 or similar will probably be small.

    The Special 6 has a simple mechanical switch that allows you to toggle between a BF-like Champ and a tweed-like one. It is VERY effective IMO, and it's wonderful to have access to both, on the fly. For anyone who's trying to exploit low power tube amp distortion, they owe it to themselves to give it a shot.

    Anyway, I don't have a SuperBlock, but I do have a 101 Mini. Going by memory, I think it was possible to set the surf voice to sound like the Special 6 in 'normal' mode, but the 101 Mini is so powerfully loud that IMO I just never typically used it that way.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
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  15. Jbnaxx

    Jbnaxx Tele-Holic

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    I’ve loved my Special 6 from day one. It gives a great Fender type tone and is very quiet compared to other small tube amps. I never meant to rag on it. I hope I didn’t give that impression.

    I wanted to play them side by side with the same cab to see if they had the “tube feel”. I was really impressed by the way it responds to overdrive pedals (I generally don’t care much for OD pedals)

    I think the Quilter does have the tube feel.
     
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  16. gitold

    gitold Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have 2 65 amps a Tupelo and a London Pro, a Mesa TA 15, a Princeton, all a little too much for my living room where I normally play. I have a Vox VT40X modeling amp for my playing in the living room and it’s just not very inspiring. I bought the Power Block UK so I could make a little pedal board rig and I’m very impressed with it. It takes pedals really well and sounds great for what I’m using it for either 1 watt or 25. I actually liked it so much I bought the US version also. I’m playing it through a little 10’ Blackstar cab and I’ve had it a few weeks now. It’s a really fun piece of kit IMO. Now I can use all the pedals I’ve been collecting for years! 11124F2D-6FF6-4AB1-8D27-983E0F342128.jpeg
     
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  17. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Subscribed. This is a very interesting thread for me. I love my VHT S6U into a homemade cab, but have no intention to gig with it. I am putting together a small solo gig kit primarily focused on acoustic, but this Quilter SB could resolve the potential of adding on some electric playing with a Fenderish solution reflecting a VHT. What I most like about it is the voicings are some of my must haves. @RomanS mentions tha5 he is not impressed with the “tweed”, which bums me out, but with the f/x loop, I could add on my CB Formula No. 5, which is what I use anyway.
     
  18. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    The current crop of TC Electronic bass amps also use the FET (MOSFET actually) preamp as well. I have one and it is a fun beast to use for guitar. Small and powerful, but basic. Suits me just fine.
    It's sort of interesting to watch progress evolve in parallel but different contexts.
    Didn't the old Yamaha "G" series also sport FET-based preamp as well? I think I remember that..
    I used to have one and loved it.
     
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  19. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    I bought 2 of their Interblock miniamps, they have an FRFR mode and so I can run the Helix into a stereo set up.
    Guitar - Helix - 2 x Interblock - -2 cabs = wow!
     
  20. stormsedge

    stormsedge Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a Quilter 201 Tone Block, a DV Mark DV Micro 60 Jazz and an VHT Special 6 Ultra 6...all heads.

    I use the Quilter and DV Jazz most of the time, ABY'd after the OD pedal string...with my modulation pedals on the Quilter fx loop. The Quilter drives two 1x12s, and the DV Jazz a 1x12 and a 2x8. They are capable of blistering sound (even used as single amps), but are great at low volumes. The sound/feel seems very much like my tube amps, without the warmup and even at very low volume levels (the Quilter is usually set at ~2w, with the DV Jazz at a similar dB level...I'm in a pretty large room with them).

    I tinkered with my VHT Ultra 6 a bit, and it now has a 5751 in V1 to tame some of the gain, and a 6L6 in the power slot, because I could. It is set for 16ohm output, going into an 8ohm 2x12 (reams of "why" elsewhere and searchable on TDPRI). I generally have it set at 3 o'clock to heat things up and use an attenuator to get the volume back to smallish room level. It remains a science experiment.

    Imo, the VHT is much more sensitive to the guitar/pickups used (to pull out good sounds) than the Quilter and/or DV Jazz...but, the Ultra 6 has several additional settings I'm probably not using to best effect yet. If I could keep only one, it would be my Quilter.
     
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