anyone else here prejudiced against SS amps?

Soul Tramp

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I'd love to have a SS amp, but I have no real use for one. Coolest looing amp ever made, but they sound like crap.


kustom_amp.jpg
 

dc007

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There was a handful of good ss amps prior to modeling. Fender, Roland, Marshall, Yamaha just to name a few. Good hands make the most difference. I do still prefer the feel of a good tube amp but I have gotten the job done numerous times with SS
 

sonar1

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In 1968 in HS Shop class I built a 2x12 Heathkit SS amp.
Sounded like a big telephone. Ick.

Over the years I’d keep trying SS amps. A lot of them were terrible sounding.

Eventually they began to “sound” like tube amps, but they didn’t respond like tube amps.

Finally I needed “lighter (weight)” amps, so traded in my Ampeg rigs on Cube 80X Rolands, etc.
I gigged with them, and Tech 21 combos, for several years.

Now, I use a Quilter Avaitor Cub 50w combo.

But still have a Twin-Reverb RI that’s about 10 years old. And too heavy for my old bones. It stays put!
 

efstop

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My bass amps are SS, Fender Rumble 15 and Traynor Small Block 200H. I have an Orange Micro Terror with a 12AX7 pre and SS power. The Friedman BE Mini is SS, but it isn't much more than a pedal with an amp in an oversized box.
As some of you know, I have a bunch of smallish amps, all tube. 15 of 'em :laugh2:
 

BKS

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I forgotten about my bass amp. The orange crush bass Glen Hughes sig....that is ss. Somehow I never minded ss bass amps....have yet to try playing bass over my 2061x so would that change my opinion....
 

cmjohnson

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If an amp sounds the way it does because there's a computer in it that's programmed to make it sound like that, that's not the same category as a solid state amp where the tone is the product of the signal passing through discrete devices.

If it uses digital signal processing and software to emulate the sound of a guitar amp, that's a modeller.

The Fender Tonemaster amps are modellers focused on specific models. I think they are the smartest new amp design to come out of Fender in decades. I like the Tonemasters, but they're not solid state amps, they are modellers. Modellers made to replicate the sound of one specific amp and do it very well.

Fender could have created a Tonemaster that replicates many different classic Fenders. But that'd work against their desire to sell a bunch of amps. But it stands to reason that they could have added a selector knob for various models (Tweed Champ, Tweed Deluxe, Tweed Bassman, Tweed Twin, Brown Vibrolux, Blackface Twin/Bassman, and so on) and if they're using FRFR speakers in the cabinet, which I think they are, they could package a bunch of very convincing amp tones into a single cabinet. But if they did that, why would anybody buy the single amp model version?
 

efstop

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Not all SS amps are modelers. All modelers are at least partially solid state, some are all SS.. Could you imagine the size, weight and cost of an all tube modeler, with enough tubes to model the necessary circuits?
SS means transistors, that's all. Fender sells tube amps with emulators, which would be DSPs under the hood.
 

Mr French

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Not all SS amps are modelers. All modelers are at least partially solid state, some are all SS.. Could you imagine the size, weight and cost of an all tube modeler, with enough tubes to model the necessary circuits?
SS means transistors, that's all. Fender sells tube amps with emulators, which would be DSPs under the hood.
Agreed. SS and modelers have their own category and that includes the hybrids.

Most SS amps are rubbish and some are decent but few sound good.
 

cybermgk

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OP mentions a Spyder and Orange crush in the same post. One is a very old tech Modeler (Line 6), and the other is, as far as I know a SS as some of you are defining it.

To the OP question, I for one am not 'prejudice' against non tube amps. n fact I revel i n them, having an Axe FX III mk2, Catalsyt 60, Katana 100 Mk2, Spark 40, Spark Mini, HX Stomp, and several small headphone units from Fender, Boss and Mooer. I've also had Blackstar iterations, Fender Hybrids, and the first Peavey Vypers and Line 6 PODs.

I also just added a Supro Delta King 12 tube amp to my collection.

BUT, yes, there was a time I was prejudiced against them. Because back a bit, you sacrificed, tone and feel for versatility, and consistency with SS and Modelers.

But then the newer generation came about, and that sacrifice, imho is not one has to make. Heck the budget level SS and Modelers TODAY are far superior to thse first SPiders and Vypers, Pods, etc. Top of the line stuff today, like the AXE, Helix, Kemper and Neural Quad Cortex, imho are indistinguishable, generally, in tone, feel, response and yes even for edge of breakup and mid gain, from legacy tube amps.

Even the budget stuff is damn close now.

And fwiw, imho, the line between modeler and 'pure' ss amp, is blurred and frankly meaningless TODAY. Both the Katana and Catalyst, for example, use Guitar Speakers. Both use SS output sections, Yes, they use a dsp to provide the amps, and effects. But, really that is little different than what many people call 'SS', i.e. an all analog, but digital signal chain. Is it really that different to have physical transistors, FETs, caps etc to create a resultant signal that when amplified, sounds like 1 or 2 amp channels channels, aka amp models, or a DSP that with software accomplishes the same thing/result, replicating the same effect on the signal as those transistors, et al (actually, moe tha ctual tube amp componants) except for many different combinations ?
 

ehb

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There was a handful of good ss amps prior to modeling. Fender, Roland, Marshall, Yamaha just to name a few. Good hands make the most difference. I do still prefer the feel of a good tube amp but I have gotten the job done numerous times with SS

There have been a LOT more Yamaha SS combos played out there than many would believe.... They are up there with the JC120 amp.... Beautiful sounding amps...

And the Gibson L5 (Bob Moog designed and built) is one of the finest amps ever built, SS or Jug, bar none.... BBK sure loved em...

The lines are extremely blurred with all the capabilities of circuitry now...

Besides my guitar amps, talking bass: In my back room, I have an old Bassman 135 with a custom 1x15" Cetec-Gause loaded small folded horn, Peavey MiniMax500 500W on top of a Peavey 2x10 1000W cab (reloaded with heavy duty Emi), and I also have a G-K 1001R full stack (2 - 4x10 G-K cabs) earthquake generator and an extra H-K 4x10 bass cab...and probably other bass stuff I've forgotten I had.....

If I did a bass gig, you know which one I'd take? None. I'd get my Tech 21 Bass Fly Rig, one of my basses, gig bag with cables and shit, and XLR the Fly Rig into the house system and get the slider munky to run me through the floors in front of me. One can turn one knob on the Fly Rig and one can go from old SS to G-K to full blown SVT... Sans Amp section is badass....along with Comp...great chorus too... Octave/env shit is worthless to me but the SansAmp section is worth ten times the cost of the thing.

Is the pedal/DI SS? Modeler? Who cares.... I don't.

"Don't my amp sound good?" -Dunno. Can't hear your amp for all those damn pedals... ;)
 

MorphineNoir

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I recently purchased a Roland JC-40
However, I could not get along with the loud hiss and returned it
Always read how the Roland JC's were the gold standard for a clean sound but never knew about this hiss until I got it
 

sonar1

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I recently purchased a Roland JC-40
However, I could not get along with the loud hiss and returned it
Always read how the Roland JC's were the gold standard for a clean sound but never knew about this hiss until I got it
The JC 120 used to be a cool amp, with headroom to spare (and weight too).
The last one I had still looked the same, but was pretty inferior: from speakers to input jacks.

I also had a JC 40. Lousy.

Roland Cube series worked for me in many situations, and I had a Blues Cube too. A lot better, especially for quiet: well shielded and hiss free.
Crapped out on me too though.
 

sonar1

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Anybody remember Randell RG 80?

They brought something to the party in their day, but eventually other SS amps passed them by.

I had an early Hughes&Kettner that was encouraging, but eventually other stuff surpassed them too.
 

Freddy G

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The only SS amp I had that sounded ok was a Lab Series. But then, I didn’t really have many. I loved the JC120 for the clean chorus sound.
 

ehb

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This is probably an appropriate thread for HAD's "crystal lattice" quote. :rofl::rofl:
Note: I find the discussion interesting as the lines between a lot of stuff has blurred over the years... Feel free to ignore my blathering and scroll past...)

Stolen from your post way back..:"The more fragile harmonics will survive in a vacuum tube, where they seem to be eliminated or squashed in a solid state crystal lattice".

Jugs are voltage operated so they don't have issues standard BJTs have... I think 'punching BJT junctions' takes a toll on some freqs... Standard BJTs, electrons be punching thru them PN junctions... some lower energy harmonics may not have enough juice to overcome junction resistance, hence 'squash'. Interaction with other frequencies through BJT junctions can further hinder said freqs (more squash). Junctions and freq interactions can make for odd bedfellows at low sig level...

Jug/FET, not punching through anything...and FET you have to back its ass down to make it NOT conduct.... Not the same issues/noise/response curves....

I think engineers have done a lot to compensate through EQ (freq specific amplification, variable Q circuits), etc... I remember looking through a copy of Bob's L5 tone stack design prints and thinking 'damn-almighty'.....

I'd say these audio consoles today sound pretty damn good too.... both SS analog 'single scene modeler' (it will save a single scene by mechanical knob positions, just like any guitar amp) and SS digital 'multi-scene modeler' flying faders LED light show from hell touch sensitive TV screen consoles... ;)

Looked at a used Neve analog desk while ago.... Only 16 channels.... $77,000.....

But then again, I've seen some other (not-Neve) used big SS analog 'big-show desks' with tone stacks to freaking die for, channel strips from hell, AUX outs from hell....and selling for a grand... sometimes less.....sometimes 'come pick it up and you can have it'... Wanna cry... but now, 'them damn modeler-like' digital rack mount and desk mixers sound as good if not better....and repeatable.... Audio STILL goes in analog into analog components....until it hits the ADC... gets all janked with by plug-ins and then out through a DAC into SS power amp then speakers... Damn SS Modelers. ;)


I'm going to hell anyway. My favorite guitar amp is my old oak & cane Legend A30 (out of Syracuse, NY late 70s early 80s until Gibson purchase (Gib kiss of death))... Jug front end and SS ass.... and it worked... (Billy recorded Eliminator album on a Legend 50w wide ass open, later they toured with em.)....
 

MorphineNoir

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Stolen from your post way back..:"The more fragile harmonics will survive in a vacuum tube, where they seem to be eliminated or squashed in a solid state crystal lattice".

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Lungo

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The only SS amp I had that sounded ok was a Lab Series. But then, I didn’t really have many. I loved the JC120 for the clean chorus sound.

I love Ty Tabor’s tone with King’s X using Lab Series amps. That’s one of the amps on my wish list.

Another SS amp I haven’t seen mentioned yet is Tech 21. I’ve been wanting one of their combos for years and picked up a little Trademark 10 today for $75. My knee is still in am immobilizer so I only spent 10 minutes or so with it but in that short time I was impressed.
 

EasyAce

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^ That twin is perhaps the only version that I would go for. The regular twin is just too big, too loud and too costly. However I could see myself getting that as I've always had a curiosity about the model......and I have tube versions of smaller Fenders which scratch those itches already.
This Twin Reverb is the same physical size as the classic Twin Reverb, but it has the sonic virtures I described above including adjusting the power output.
 

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