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Boutique SOLID STATE amps? What are the best SS amps out there?

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What the title says. What are some of the greatest SS amps ever made, particularly ones that sport a nice distorted channels? I can only think of the newer Tech 21 amps(which ain't expensive at all) and then the old Roland JC's and of course the Ampeg VH/SS series. What are some other high end/high quality SS amps?

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Oh yeah I forgot Randalls, what other high end SS amps are out there?

 

There are quite a few s/s amps on the market. But most of those amps still use tubes for the preamp section. Then the power amp is typically MOSFET.

 

I know, I know....not really what your looking for. But I just wanted to bring that up.

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Im gonna say the old Marshall VS's are VG as well as the cleans of the JC-120 and for newer SS amps the XXL is capable of some lovely tube like tones with the right speakers.

In the 60's and 70's Im thinking the best SS amps were Roland's

and Musicman amps. Lab series was another decent mfg as well as Earth and Kustom. And if you can find an old Selmer SS amp they are pretty good as well.

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You wont find too many booteek ss amps but Im really digging the line 6 hd-147. Just yesterday at practise I told the guys I got a Framus Cobra and they dont even care, they said like like the line 6 so why change anything? I tend to agree but its nice to switch things around.

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that's the great thing about SS, they are cheap, Yamaha used to make SS amps, JX40 comes to mind. Also Musicman amps too!

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Hell if were throwing modelers in the SS mix than hands down the Vetta II is king with the HD 147 close behind. The Vetta has Hundreds of amps, cabs and effects to mix and match,Two amps at once, etc. Its hard to beat.

Lots of tweaking required though.

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Hell if were throwing modelers in the SS mix than hands down the Vetta II is king with the HD 147 close behind. The Vetta has Hundreds of amps, cabs and effects to mix and match,Two amps at once, etc. Its hard to beat.

Lots of tweaking required though.

 

Quantity over quality IMO. To me Yamaha DG, Vox Valvetronix and H&K Zentera/Zenamp always sounded better than Line6's offerings and are also a lot easier to use.

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Another vote for the Peavey XXL. I love mine to death. Honestly, depending on what you're after, I have 3 solid state amps that are the best for my style. I have a Crate GX-1200H that does early Van Halen really well, and I have a Behringer GMX-1200H that has some great dark sounding Mesa-style distortion. And the XXL has some killer crunch and almost too much gain!

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I can't believe, with all the vast expertise that is Harmony Central :rolleyes: (yes...I used the dreaded eye roll!)...nobody mentioned:

 

Gallien-Krueger.

 

 

I have never really heard a valid complaint. I tried a Linebacker 100 combo right next to a Carvin 60 watt tube combo and it stomped all over it with great cleans, smooth distortion and extreme but clear volume.

 

Pearce is another good quality SS amp...but my money goes to G-K.

 

Other Honorable mention:

 

Laney

Legend

Crate

 

 

 

The Music man amp I tried was nto all solid state.

 

 

Yes...I said CRATE! They may not hold up to extreme volumes...but damn if that G120c head I had wasn't one of the funnest amps I've ever had.

 

Also tried a couple newer ones at the store. Again...a very fun...but non-stage worthy amp. Depends on the volume totally. Low volumes they work great.

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I can't believe, with all the vast expertise that is Harmony Central
:rolleyes:
(yes...I used the dreaded eye roll!)...nobody mentioned:


Gallien-Krueger.



I have never really heard a valid complaint. I tried a Linebacker 100 combo right next to a Carvin 60 watt tube combo and it stomped all over it with great cleans, smooth distortion and extreme but clear volume.


 

A friend of mine has a Gallien-Krueger head, and frankly it sounds aweful. He runs it through a Marshall 410 cab. I have no idea of the model number of the head, but its very small and compact. He tends to like alot more treble than I do, so that could be part of the problem, the gain sounds particularly cheap and buzzy.

 

What's strange is I love GK's bass heads, great amps.

 

I am not saying all GK guitar amps suck, but this one I have heard just doesn't do it for me, I would like to play through it myself at some point and see if its the amp or my friends settings that are the issue.

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Anything by Tech21.

 

Tech21 makes the best stuff. They really do have a great line of s/s pedals.

 

I wasn't that impressed by the new s/s SansAmp power head. But their pedals are kick ass!

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A friend of mine has a Gallien-Krueger head, and frankly it sounds aweful. He runs it through a Marshall 410 cab. I have no idea of the model number of the head, but its very small and compact. He tends to like alot more treble than I do, so that could be part of the problem, the gain sounds particularly cheap and buzzy.


What's strange is I love GK's bass heads, great amps.


I am not saying all GK guitar amps suck, but this one I have heard just doesn't do it for me, I would like to play through it myself at some point and see if its the amp or my friends settings that are the issue.

 

I think Gary Moore used the GK an his album version of 'The Loner' ..it's listed on the album credits and his tone on that song sounds like GK. Ronnie Montrose used GK as well in the late '80s. Played on one a long time ago and it did nothing for me but I like Gary's tone on that tune.

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A friend of mine has a Gallien-Krueger head, and frankly it sounds aweful. He runs it through a Marshall 410 cab. I have no idea of the model number of the head, but its very small and compact. He tends to like alot more treble than I do, so that could be part of the problem, the gain sounds particularly cheap and buzzy.


What's strange is I love GK's bass heads, great amps.


I am not saying all GK guitar amps suck, but this one I have heard just doesn't do it for me, I would like to play through it myself at some point and see if its the amp or my friends settings that are the issue.

 

Exactly. Play it yourself and tweak.

 

Some of the nicest amps ever can still be ruined in the wrong hands, right?

 

Not a fan of 4x10's. Or any number of tens all by themselves in general.

They actually work better for bass guitars than guitars.

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I think Gary Moore used the GK an his album version of 'The Loner' ..it's listed on the album credits and his tone on that song sounds like GK. Ronnie Montrose used GK as well in the late '80s. Played on one a long time ago and it did nothing for me but I like Gary's tone on that tune.

 

 

Alex Lifeson and Iron Maiden?

 

Decent 80's style tone there. They have evolved their amps of course. But still, a signature sound and not awful.

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Peavey To me the old Silver stripe ones from the 70's you gotta change the speakers though .....Studio Pro 40, Special 130 and the tube MX and Encore 65 Tube and SS amps ....If I ever made it big I would still use my Studio Pro 40s !!!

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You revived a 12 year old thread.

 

Peavey's from that era are crude and simple. They essentially took a durable and inexpensive design using the same power transistors used in hundreds of instrument amps and Hi Fi gear. Peavey simply tweaked the preamp to their own voicing and used the cheapest parts they could find to build all their gear. I was never impressed with the quality or the tone of their transistor amp builds other then the fact they made a buttload of them and sold them cheap enough where most kids could afford them. They made a pro line of amps including tube amps which are in a whole different class which actually compete with most other pro amps of the time. These are the kinds of amps you see used by pro musicians. My buddy has had a Peavey endorsement for nearly 30 years so I get to see many of the new pro end amps and guitars they sell.

 

Most of the budget transistor amps made in the 60's, 70's and 80's are junk. There are exceptions of course.

Bass guitar is typically run clean and there are several bass amps like Kasino, Standel, Acoustic which actually sounded good.

Some of the Sunn amps used FETs instead of standard transistors and with added transformers to add inductance which produced a tube like compression long before newer amp manufacturers tried doing that decades later.

 

Lab Series was another one of my favorites SS amps. Silvertone had an excellent SS twin that are still around today. I have a 10W Ampeg from back in the 70's which still sounds great and nails the vintage Ampeg tone. Fender sold several lines of SS amps through the 70/s 80/s 90's which were decent. I had a late 60's Moserite amp with built in distortion which was excellent. Custom amps were very popular for years, not only for their looks. They were actually built pretty well and easy to repair.

 

There was allot of junk made during those years too. Especially in the 60's 70's. Allot of music stores and store chains imported amps from japan which simply didn't sound very good at all. many were practice amps and others were dressed up to make them look as big and powerful as an elephant, but you open them up and they got a mouse running the thing. I remember those SS Univox amps real well, because I had this guy always bugging me to jam and that amp was too underpowered. The Black SS Gibson amps during those years were just as bad. Alamo, Teisco. I had a buddy use one of the original Crates in the late 70's early 80's which sounded excellent. It was one of the earlier amps with channel switching.

 

The main thing you want to realize is just because its vintage doesn't mean it was good. There were 10 bad amp models for every one that may have actually sounded decent. Manufacturers would release a half dozen new amps per year and instead of improving their best models, they'd trash them all and reinvent the wheel each year so you'd have to figure out what the winners and losers are. Much like the auto's made during those years most wound up being some of the worst gear being made. companies like Yamaha came along and found they could take a big chunk of the market share.

 

In the end, older gear will have less options like effects loops and channel switching and most did OK for cleans and sucked for driven tones. . New SS amps are a miles ahead in tone, durability, flexibility, quality and cost. You're far better off buying new in most cases. If you buy older used gear the rule of thumb I use is $1 a watt for heads when they are in mint shape and $2 a watt for combo's. They want more for them then you're likely being ripped off.

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You revived a 12 year old thread.

 

It happens.

 

When it does, check the reviver's post count - it's often quite revealing.

 

 

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The old PRS Harmonic Generator Amp from The 1980's.

KILLER Solid State amp he tried to sell at a tube amp price.

He almost lost his ass on that project, still a KILLER solid state amp.

The Pritchard Amp is like a " half brother" to the PRS Harmonic Generator.

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The whole idea behind preferring tubes to solid state happened in the 60's and early 70's when guitar players didn't like the overdrive sounds that solid state amps delivered.

 

When you are talking about cleans and reliability...solid state is definitely better. Less noise like tube hiss. Especially ridiculous is the idea of a tube "bedroom amp"...people spending well into 4 figures for a 5 watt tube amp that's hand wired etc....Give me a Roland cube 30 for that situation any day.

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Peavey To me the old Silver stripe ones from the 70's you gotta change the speakers though .....Studio Pro 40' date=' Special 130 and the tube MX and Encore 65 Tube and SS amps ....If I ever made it big I would still use my Studio Pro 40s !!! [/quote']

 

I never had a Studio Pro, although I always wondered about them - probably because of the name. I did own a couple of Backstage / Backstage 30 amps and a Bandit or two, and they were generally very good amps - solid and reliable. I didn't dislike their sound, but there are other amps I like the sound of better. YMMV.

 

Welcome to Harmony Central! :wave:

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The whole idea behind preferring tubes to solid state happened in the 60's and early 70's when guitar players didn't like the overdrive sounds that solid state amps delivered.

 

When you are talking about cleans and reliability...solid state is definitely better. Less noise like tube hiss. Especially ridiculous is the idea of a tube "bedroom amp"...people spending well into 4 figures for a 5 watt tube amp that's hand wired etc....Give me a Roland cube 30 for that situation any day.

 

The Boss Katana series builds on what the Roland Cube amps started - the bottom of the like Katana 50 is excellent bang for the buck and the Katana Artist gets into Boutique territory but still comes in at less than $1k.

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The Boss Katana series builds on what the Roland Cube amps started - the bottom of the like Katana 50 is excellent bang for the buck and the Katana Artist gets into Boutique territory but still comes in at less than $1k.

I haven't auditioned the Katana series since I'm not in the market for a new amp but I own a Cube 80XL. It suits my modest needs quite well and if the Katana amps are better then more power to 'em. :thu:

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