SS vs tube amps

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SS vs tube amps

Postby thebluesbox » Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:37 am

I have an angle to this question....

I have been custom building/assembling and selling tube amps in custom made cabs and I was thinking about trying my luck at building a Solid state 2x12 guitar amp about a 60 watter.

The SS amp will be an older pa type from the good old days mounted in a cool new cab.

My question is I know there is a lot of guys sold out on tube amps, but what about solid state amplification for guitar players do they exsist in a large number just like I see the tube amp fellas looking a searching for that perfect toned amp? I would hate to build one and have to eat it so I thought I would get some input first.

I know that PA heads are great for music Im just not to sure players will like the idea of it being Solid state. What do you guys think?
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Postby allanlummox » Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:37 am

While I lived in England, my workhose amp was a solid state amp - the old, tan Roland cube 60. 1x10, 60 watts, I used it with a Gibson acoustic guitar with a pickup and with a Gibson Melody Maker. Reliable, and sounded excellent. It's still stashed in a closet at my inlaws. I wouldn't mind having one just like it on this side of the Atlantic.
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Postby thebluesbox » Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:05 am

Hey good to hear thanks for the input!
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Postby stratman_27 » Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:04 pm

For what its worth I find that most of the SS players tend to be younger beginners or veterans who play heavy metal or very hard rock. I personally would not pay for a "handmade" SS amp because I've never found a satisfying tone from SS. I think SS amps have their place in PA electronics and even for bass guitar but I think most of your guitar and harpers are going to prefer something with tubes. Now if I were an solo acoustic act with a guitar and a mic I would probably look closely at something SS that I could plug my flattop and a vocal mike into to have a PA/amp combo.


Just my two cents and its worth what you paid for it.
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Postby maxx england » Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:08 pm

This is nothing to do with tone, more physical practicality; what's the weight difference? So many gigs are upstairs (usually with a corner in them).
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Postby thebluesbox » Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:44 pm

this SS may be a little lighter, I dont think by a big big difference but some what a difference.

I understand about the tube tone we all look for, and I also see we have a mixed opinion so thats showing me there is a mixture of seekers on amps out there.
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Postby rustyslide » Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:06 pm

I love certain SS amps, specifically the Tech 21 NYC amps and the SS channel of my Trace Elliot guitar amp.

They use 100% analog MOSFET circuits, and sound much better than all other solid state amps I've tried (I'm sure that the technology is not the sole cause, but a significant factor).
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Postby ricochet » Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:01 pm

Solid state amps have lots of practical reasons to recommend them, and some sound terrific. But you're cursed by the reputation that tubes have the tone, and solid state amps suck. It's one of those things that "everyone knows." You'll lose your shirt building boutique solid state amps, IMO.
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Postby allanlummox » Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:22 pm

"You'll lose your shirt building boutique solid state amps"



...unless you build them as 2 channel, voice and acoustic guitar units....
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Postby ricochet » Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:16 pm

Yeah. I'm kind of a one channel mind on this stuff. I'm thinking of electric guitar amps.
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Postby thebluesbox » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:49 pm

well I can understand both sides very well, in fact I have went over both sides in my mind trying to weight the options.

Sure I know the "TUBE AMP" quest for tone, and too many are stuck on that.

I tell you all what, I already have a vintage SS chassis on the way that im building a 1x10 im gonna go ahead with that one because its not too much loss if Im stuck with it, but once I have it done im gonna get it tested by a guitar player and harp, im gonna post sound samples if its worthy. I think a small amp like this may have a place as a harp amp and or small guitar amp, it was the bigger 60 watt 2x12 rigs that I was worried about trying because they cost more to build to loss my shirt on.

I too am guilty of the tube tone Gods, I have owned a few SS amps that impressed me for harp, but I just thought I would give it a convencing shot at some vintage SS models with tests and sound samples and testimonials maybe I can convert some of the tube toned stuck fellas if in fact the amp in question turns out to be a decent sounding rig.

I will buils this 1x10 10 watt SS and let you guys know the result of it. I wont try anything bigger as of yet I see a lotta people have mixed thoughts about it and I aggree with both sides. My first step is to try it and see what we got here. 8)
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Postby ricochet » Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:40 am

Have fun with it!

I'm not saying "Solid state sucks, man!" I'm just saying that most guitar players say exactly that, at least the ones that hang out on guitar boards. I've been a tube freak since I was 4 or 5 years old. I love tube amps and I'd still fool with them if they didn't sound as good. But I think quite a few solid state amps sound terrific as well. Whenever I've said something to that effect on guitar board amp fora, just being fair, it's always precipitated an avalanche of "Solid state sucks, man!"
:roll:

You might check out http://bluetoneamps.com/ and have a listen to their samples. They make a line of amps that are intended to do one thing, reproduce the sound (and feel, reportedly) of the Marshall JCM 800 amps with solid state componentry. Sounds to me (as far as you can tell from digitized sound samples over the Net) like they've done a good job. Certainly they've got that nice transition from clean to crunchy as the guitar volume goes up, just like a good tube amp. But some of the other folks who've listened when I pointed them that way just posted the same old rants about why solid state amps can't sound good like tube amps do.

I'm sure they're using MOSFETs for most of their active devices. They can simulate tube overdrive behavior quite well.
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Postby thebluesbox » Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:49 am

hey those samples sound great, I understand ricochet about the tube tone guys I have only owned a couple SS amps the rest were all tube amps.

I dont think building a SS amp will replace a good tube amp, but I sure think its worth a try and I may end up with some good amps and the bottom line is really if an amp sounds good, looks good, feels good etc. I know it will be hard to make people understand that but im sure I'll have some lookers and hearers that might be open minded about what they want to try in thier search for a good amp. I'll test the waters and see who knows I might turn up a few cool little rigs. Like I said im gonna try out this one small one first and see what the out come is, who knows I may not even like the outcome and trash the idea, but if I like what I hear I will not look back because thats really what its all about, site and sound the rest is just cornbread and peas!!!! pass me the turkey neck and greens please :-)
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Postby ricochet » Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:25 am

Good luck!
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Postby stratman_27 » Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:08 pm

Nice sounding amp Ricochet, the only downside is that its nearly $1000. There are many tube amps that fall into this price range and for the player that has a grand to spend most are probably going to buy the tube amp as opposed to SS. SS may be the ticket for harpers but years of SS failures among guitarists are not going to persuade to spend the same money on a SS amp over a similar combo with glowing tubes. Just my opinion. I've played a lot of solid state amps over the years and they all fell short in one category or another. One of my first amps was a Peavey Bandit 65 with a tube emulation type circuit. Now for playing heavy rock music with a lot of saturation and distortion it was about as good as anything you could get. But the clean tone was about as sterile as a lab rat. No warmth no overtones on the clean side.
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