I guess I may be an Amp Cork Sniffer but Solid State amps sound Horrible to me...

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by yamariv, Sep 5, 2017.

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    LPPILOT Senior Member

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    Jun 22, 2010
    Even as a young kid with my tiny tubed Fender in the early 70's I knew it sounded way better than the SS amps. I suffered with a couple SS and hybrids, because it was all i could afford....cheap watts.But, always ..I had my eyes on the prize .....Marshall tube amps.....never looked back. When in doubt I whip it out .....100watt SL Plexi ....Lovely amp .
    yamariv, kiko and bulletproof like this.
  2. spitfire

    spitfire Senior Member

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    Sep 21, 2009
    In general, most amps are relatively complex. And by that I mean they have enough controls for gain and EQ settings that there are 100's of significantly different combinations of settings. I don't care how great an amp is, it takes time to get to know it and how to get the best out of it.

    Modeling amps take this to a whole different level. There are literally millions of combinations of setting. Odds are the vast majority of these many combination a given person will not like. Heck a majority likely sound like crap to just about anyone. So again, it takes time to find what you like.

    One of my tube amps, a Swart Atomic Space Tone, didn't sound all that great to me at first. I tried some different speakers in it, and the improvements were amazing. I still don't know why Swart sells those (or sold at the time), with a speaker that to me did nothing for the amp. Speakers are just another thing that plays a huge roll in how an amp sounds.

    I know it can take me weeks or even months before I find the really sweet combinations of amp, pedal and guitar settings.

    Now sure it's possible to stumble onto an amp fire it up and have it sound good to you. But that may have as much to do with dumb luck at the settings you happened on as it does with the qualities of the amp.

    Point is, that simply becasue you used an amp and didn't like it after spending a short time with it, probably has more to do with your unfamiliarity with the amp than it does the basic design of the amp (SS vs tube).

    I'll certainly agree that the solid state amps, when I got into guitars around 1980, all seemed to suck for rock and blues. But it's a completely different ballgame now. That's not to say I think solid state amps are in general as good, but there's quite an overlap now.

    I'm certainly not going to argue about what someone likes or dislikes, but I'll point out that you may have formed an opinion for the wrong reasons.
    Malikon, bulletproof and yamariv like this.
  3. sonar

    sonar Senior Member

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    Sep 10, 2008
    There's some decent SS amps out there.

    For the most part SS was built at a low cost point, which most of the time equated into a crappy sounding amp. That said there were exceptions.

    Modelers are a whole different breed. Generally I kind of hate them, but have and will continue to use them when that's the only choice, or it's convenient. The Fractal stuff is ok, especially when I don't have to buy one.
  4. Guitar Rod

    Guitar Rod Senior Member

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    May 29, 2016
    If the Kemper is accurately profiling an actual amp, how could it have better tone and feel better? It should be the same if it's doing its job. It was definitely hard to tell which was tube or not, but they didn't necessarily sound the same. Not a slam, just an observation. I'd take a Kemper in a nano-second.

    I definitely prefer tube amps overall, but am open to it all. Good is good. As far as SS amps, it depends on the amp, and a lot on the settings. I got a Marshall 3210 Lead 100 based on the love for it on the Internets, and it sounded almost as good as a tube amp, but not quite there. But after a bit of fiddling and blending both channels, I'd defy most people to blindly listen to it and guess whether it's tube or not. Playing there is an immediacy that a tube amp doesn't have which is a bit disconcerting, but after a bit of playing, you adjust. Here's a couple of good examples.

  5. eaglewolf

    eaglewolf Senior Member

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    Jun 5, 2008
    The only solid state amp I have is a Marshall MG100DFX, or some model number like that, and it hasn't been out of the closet in a long time.

    However, sometimes when I want to play real quiet (yes, there are those times) I find myself wanting a decent small solid state amp as even my 1W tube amps are too loud.

    I don't gig and could probably do fine with a nice SS modeler as my needs are not that big, but having spent enough time on forums like this one I have a bunch of tube amps and probably always will. I tend to be old school in many things, and a tube amp just feels right. That is a completely absurd reason to use one, but with Mesa, Marshall, Fender, Vox, and Blackstar tube amps to choose from, I haven't felt the need to go solid state (or at least not full SS, as my Blackstar has a SS preamp, if I recall correctly.)

    But that's me. If a SS amp fit my need at the time, I would probably go buy one and appreciate what it did for me.
  6. filtersweep

    filtersweep Senior Member

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    Apr 11, 2012
    No way can you use a DS-1 and call yourself a cork sniffer.
  7. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    Jun 28, 2008
    For me, it depens on the guitar - my Strats sounded horrible through my '65 Fender Princeton Chorus, but my LPs sounded great, and vice-versa through my Marshall DSL 401 SL combo (all tube).
    bulletproof likes this.
  8. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Jul 7, 2011
    Better fit for that room? Fit with that cab better. Profile could have been made in amp's sweet area (and likely was. One of the bennies of the tech, AMp's sweet spot at any volume), while amp needed to get a lot louder to be in same spot (not doable in the room). LOT of reasons are possible.
  9. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    Sep 13, 2009
    GK made some nice SS stuff. People did well with the JC120 as well and Fender had some decent SS stuff if you were after cleans. There were recent demos of a Marshall Lead 12 that sounded pretty dece t as well.
    For those us old enough to remember the 1st SSamps that tried to replace tubes, I recall it was the fact that driving a SS amp into clippping sounded horrid and that is wbere they failed. They don't do it that way anymore.
    There are tons of meh tube amps out there, easily as many riding on the tech alone as those that shine. Anytime someone makes an absolute statement they're making an assumption more than stating a fact.
    Marshall & Moonshine likes this.
  10. Phil W

    Phil W Senior Member

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    Feb 2, 2012
    Good fingers can make a bad amp sound good just like bad fingers can make a good amp sound bad.
    bulletproof, Splattle101 and NotScott like this.
  11. paruwi

    paruwi Kraut-Rocker Super Mod Premium Member

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    Dec 24, 2009
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