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  • What amps do you think sound brittle?

    ?? ??
    Originally posted by MrKnobs
    God, that's beautiful man! And they say romance is dead!

  • #2
    Brit-tle: hard but liable to break or shatter easily or Brit-tle: A small amp from Britain?

    I don't normally associate sound with being Brittle but I'd have to say many budget solid state amps would go from clean to a nasty breakup in sound with no smooth saturation in between. Its one reason why guitarists hated solid state instead of tubes because the breakup was not smooth or harmonic like tubes produce. Early ceramic speakers in comparison to alnico also had this problem.

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    • #3
      The first Sovtek 50s that made it to the west in the 80s were horrible.
      Originally posted by Unconfigured Static HTML Widget...







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      • #4
        marshall jcm900's

        solid state amps

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ae5 View Post
          marshall jcm900's solid state amps
          The 900's are tube amps that use ECC83 and 5881 tubes . They do use diodes for the lead channel to get the clipping sound. Diodes are solid state but that doesn't mean they are bad. Most people use drive pedals with clipping diodes to get their drive anyway so there's really no difference having those diodes in the amp to get overdriven sound. Plus you don't have to turn it way up just to get a little breakup like most tube amps require. If you like that drive then its one less pedal you have to buy and haul around.

          If you stick with the clean channel its all tube and really not that much different then a Plexi. Its Marshall tone of course which is edgy, but no one would think of that being brittle.

          The Marshall Valvestate amps are all solid state but with two big benefits. They have a preamp tube and they use Mosfets These two items give them the most tube like sounding SS amps made and about as far from sounding Brittle as you can get.

          Fender on the other hand with its Cyber Twin sounds very sterile to me. You can dial up allot of tones but out in the audience it sounds like a dam tooth pick in your ears.
          Last edited by WRGKMC; 11-03-2014, 04:40 PM.

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          • #6
            I associate "brittle" with emphasized treble so pretty much any amp can sound "brittle" under the right circumstances. However, the speakers make a much larger contribution to what you hear than the amp so a speaker with a prominent high end peak would probably sound "brittle" with most amps.
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            • #7
              I didn't mean jcm900's were solid state, i meant jcm900's sound brittle comma solid state amps sound brittle. I've never heard a jcm900 that sounded like a plexi, or even a jcm800 (also decent). even as much as i'm not a fan of jcm2000's they're still way better than the 900's which in my opinion were marshalls low point. in terms of tube amps the jcm900 sounds very brittle to me and just lacks any pleasing characteristic.

              Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

              The 900's are tube amps that use ECC83 and 5881 tubes . They do use diodes for the lead channel to get the clipping sound. Diodes are solid state but that doesn't mean they are bad. Most people use drive pedals with clipping diodes to get their drive anyway so there's really no difference having those diodes in the amp to get overdriven sound. Plus you don't have to turn it way up just to get a little breakup like most tube amps require. If you like that drive then its one less pedal you have to buy and haul around.

              If you stick with the clean channel its all tube and really not that much different then a Plexi. Its Marshall tone of course which is edgy, but no one would think of that being brittle.

              The Marshall Valvestate amps are all solid state but with two big benefits. They have a preamp tube and they use Mosfets These two items give them the most tube like sounding SS amps made and about as far from sounding Brittle as you can get.

              Fender on the other hand with its Cyber Twin sounds very sterile to me. You can dial up allot of tones but out in the audience it sounds like a dam tooth pick in your ears.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ae5 View Post
                I didn't mean jcm900's were solid state, i meant jcm900's sound brittle comma solid state amps sound brittle. I've never heard a jcm900 that sounded like a plexi, or even a jcm800 (also decent). even as much as i'm not a fan of jcm2000's they're still way better than the 900's which in my opinion were marshalls low point. in terms of tube amps the jcm900 sounds very brittle to me and just lacks any pleasing characteristic.
                I understand you now. Much of how a head sounds will depend on the speakers you use.

                I associate brittle with the way it breaks up when cranked. Not necessarily how much treble they produce.
                Old Transistor amps would sound OK clean but when you pushed them to break up they'd have this nasty avalanche effect.
                Best way to describe it might be a blown voice coil in a speaker but that still may not be the same. Its not the effect you'd have
                with transistor circuits designed to develop overdrive. Its a nasty breakup that's non musical and unharmonic.

                It happens very quickly as you'd turn up too. You'd be clean up to a point and as you hit a certain level the sound would just crack going from completely clean to inaudible distortion.

                You don't hear this effect much any more on SS amps because they spend decades working around those flaws and copying what a tube does getting a harmonic breakup. Most amps that did have that brittle breakup were never designed to be pushed that way and they were the origin of the whole Tube Vs. Solid state controversy. The first real amp I owned was in that category. It was an old Moserite guitar amp with a 15" speaker. It would sound great for cleans but you could turn it all the way up and never get the kind of drive you'd get from a tube amp. It did have the Moserite fuzzrite built into it however which made up for its lack of tube drive.

                I had a bunch of others after that, mainly because you could buy them cheap used. Acoustic, http://images.guitarcenter.com/produ...1314232431.jpg Kustom, http://www.musicgoround.com/ProductI...ndel.jpeg.html Gibson, http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/OTEyWDEyMT...Tn3on/$_35.JPG Univox, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._amplifier.jpg Harmony http://www.bazaar-world.com/guitar-a...AR-AMPLIFIER-S

                I could probably dig up hundreds I've worked on as an amp tec that meet the same criteria. it really wasn't until the later 70's/80's when SS amps really began to compete with the tube amps for driven tones. I remember Lab Series was a big hit. Some of the First few Crate amps sounded killer. Many still sounded very SS however. There were a few ahead of their time who got it right but the who drive thing still sounded like a fuzz pedal built into the amps. In the last 10~15 years they have really nailed many of the tube drive tones where its impossible to hear a difference in a blind A/B test. The other part is how the strings feel when you're getting those notes. They actually feel like you're playing through a tube amp with the string touch. Before that you had usable tones but the guitar strings felt lifeless.

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                • #9
                  I tried a H&K Tri tip ot tri amp something or other. IDK, I thought it pretty much sucked. Sounded like a can of bees swarming. I also did some recording with a JCM 900. Not sure which version. It sounded pretty good while I was playing it, but just didn't come out very good on the recording. I ended up going back and rerecording some tracks because it sounded way too thin.
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                  • #10
                    I find that all amps can sound brittle or lifeless if they are not turned up to the 'sweet spot' of each amp. I tend to choose amps that can be turned up to the volume level they start to sing at for a particular size venue or band volume. You can have the best amp in the world, but if it likes to be turned to 5 and the situation only allows you to turn it to 3, well the tone is brittle or lifeless. Volume brings on the overtones!

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                    • #11
                      Anything with EL84s. Very brittle. Like tin city.
                      Originally posted by MrKnobs
                      God, that's beautiful man! And they say romance is dead!

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                    • #12
                      Old Music Man amps. Very tinny sounding. Nothing warm about them.
                      Originally posted by MrKnobs
                      God, that's beautiful man! And they say romance is dead!

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                      • #13
                        For me, the Peavey Bandits.
                        I had to use one while my Carvin X-100B, that replaced a JCM 800, was being shipped from the Carvin factory.
                        The Bandit was very sterile and lifeless. The distorted tone had no dynamics and the clean tones were flat to my ears.
                        When the X-100B finally came ( in 1986 ).
                        I gladly gave the amp back to my friend and my X-100B sounded so good, that once my Marshall JCM 800 came back from the repair shop, it stayed at home in a road case.
                        Crate, the Randall RG 80, and Carvin SX 100 were not bad amps.
                        Solid State amps have come along quite well.
                        Many of the new SS amps are scaring the "Tube Culture" in the guitar world.
                        Last edited by AJ6stringsting; 08-16-2017, 01:30 AM.
                        How many guitarists does it take to screw in a lightbulb ? Five , one to screw it in , hit the switch and four to sit around bragging how much better they could have done it !!!! 😱👹😲

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