Slobrain 2/11/2007 3:07 PM
Best sounding SS amp you all have encountered?
Well,
I'll try to see who all wants to get in on this one.
We all have had SS amps before we went to tube amps but I wanted to ask from anyone wanting to participate in this subject what SS amp they really liked for clean and distortion and any other thing they could bring in to this subject? also the most hated SS amp too?

I had lots of amps since 1979 and for the first ten years were mostly Peavey SS amps. Then I went tube.
The worst was athe mid 80's Peavey SS bandit 1x12 combo as it had horrible buzzy distortion and shared the EQ with the clean channel. All around nasty sounding.

The best was maybe a early 80's Peavey Renown 2x12 that I ran thru an old marshall 4x12 cab in the clubs. This amp at the time fit the hard rock style I was playing, Sabbath, Crue, Ozzy, Priest, Scorpions and many others.

Slobrain
 
daz 2/11/2007 11:47 PM
Best would be an old 70's amp called the crossmix made by pignose. A 75 watt combo. I bought one years ago after hearing a band in a bar with 2 guitar players both using them and getting an awesome tone, especially for ZZ top. Thickest tone i've ever gotten out of any amp. I remember using it for the first time in a bar we played many times and i had replace a boogie MK3 with it and the bartender remarked on how good it sounded. And i never knew her to ever remark about anything concering the band's tone in any respect. Don't remember why i sold it but i wish i had one know if i only had the room. I like those 80's marshall lead 12's a lot too, but they aren't loud enough to gig with. Worse by a million miles was a peavey practive amp who's name i can't even recall. I think from the 70's. It was so bad it was literally unusable. the second worse was my first amp ever.....a 70's peavey pacer. Not as bad as that last one, but pretty horrible.

By the way, this is based on drive tones. I didn't like the cleans much on any of them.
 
Steve Conner 2/12/2007 4:55 AM
I don't care what anyone says, the Peavey Bandit combo that Slobrain hates sounded great for metal

I have a Fender London Reverb combo kicking around too, that gives some nice clean tones. I don't like the drive sounds on it much, though. It's a 100 watt SS amp with graphic EQ and spring reverb. It looks pretty similar to a blackface Deluxe, so I was thinking of gutting it and building a Deluxe clone in the cabinet.

I also had an old Kay SS practice amp that sounded surprisingly good when cranked and abused with a drive pedal.

The guitarist in our band has one of those Vox AD60VT thingies, and it sounds decent, if a bit dark sometimes. I don't know if they count as solid-state, since they have "A" tube in there somewhere.

I tried to build several SS amps myself, but they all sounded completely like crap. I never got anything I liked till I started using tubes. One day I'd love to try going full circle by building a solid-state or hybrid amp that I can live with. Technically my Toaster project is a hybrid, but it's about 90% tube, so it doesn't really count at all. I like the idea of Albert Kreuzer's JFET bass preamp, where the JFETs are supposed to overdrive in a similar way to tubes, so I think I would start with that concept.
 
Enzo 2/12/2007 12:13 PM
PV has made about 10 amps with the Bandit name and the current "Transtube" Bandit sounds pretty good to me. But I think my fave SS amp is or was the Fender Princeton Chorus.

The PV transtube approach is simply darlington pairs of small transistors wired up like tubes. No, they don't sound like actual tubes, but they don't sound bad either. A tube guy could look at the schematic and follow it. If you are of a mind to try a JFET preamp, consider trying small signal bipolars in pairs wired darlington as well.

I am not so convinved it is easy to get a great sound out of op amps, but discrete transistors is a different animal.


In my world, having "A" tube does not make you a tube amp. Still firmly in the SS camp for that Vox.
 
R.G. 2/12/2007 4:22 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
...
In my world, having "A" tube does not make you a tube amp. Still firmly in the SS camp for that Vox.
Let's hear it for heresy...

I think the Thomas Vox Royal Guardsman and Beatle are actually not bad. They have a low-gain power amp with marginal feedback, driver transformers for the output devices to add transformer mojo, and a secret-sauce limiter ahead of the power amp for verisimilitude.

Yes, you can adjust them to sound terrible, but a well tuned one is about halfway between solid state and tubes.
 
drewl 2/12/2007 7:38 PM
Definitely the Thomas Vox stuff.
prolly sounds good because of the limiter circuit, but they had MRB (precurser to the wah) plus a great fuzz circuit.
Look at the crazy money the 7120's get (think Revolver and Pepper)
Plus they look so damn cool!
 
Steve Conner 2/13/2007 4:06 AM
R.G., I read your pages on the Thomas Vox amps and they seem a very interesting design. I always wondered what would happen if you took the output section of a Thomas Vox (or rather a modern clone with high power silicon trannies and maybe even a current limiter :shock: ) and made a new driver transformer with loads more primary turns, so you could drive the transistor output stage off a single 6V6 or whatever? Then you could make the rest of the preamp out of tubes too. I think it would make a fine sounding hybrid. You could probably use two single-ended Champ or table radio OTs, in fact, rather than a custom transformer.

I think the TV output stage will have a rather high output impedance, unlike most SS amps, so I expect it would act like a pentode power amp in terms of speaker damping. That may be good or bad. You could always add feedback from the speaker to the cathode of the driver tube, like in the Fender 300PS.
 
Brad1 2/13/2007 4:54 AM
I don't know about the best, but Zuzu got a Vox Berkely a few years back that doesn't sound bad. We found it in a pawn shop. I turned on the "E" tuner switch, and then we turned the amp on, and told the guy there was a problem with it, because it had this droning note...and he believed us. I told him I MIGHT be able to fix it, and we would take it if he knocked the price way down. We carried it and the matching cab out for about $150.

I can tell you about the absolute WORST SS amp I ever had. A Kustom 200. YIKES that thing sounded bad. Stick some ice picks in my ears, please! I think I was about 19, tried out for a band with my BF Bandmaster, and the guy told me I needed a 100 watt amp to keep up. I believed him and traded it in. OUCH!! I didn't get in the band, and I don't even remember what happened to the Kustom. Maybe Fogarty has it.
BTW, I did find another BF Bandmaster in a pawn shop a few years ago for $125. So, everything is good.

Brad1
 
drewl 2/13/2007 6:05 AM
Kustom?
John Fogerty got em to sound good with Creedence....maybe the 200 is just too damn clean, but I've worked on several over the years (a 100 2 weeks ago) and they sound alright.
 
drlowlow 2/13/2007 6:34 AM
Ampeg G410s are pretty loud
Best overdrive on a SS amp I have owned (and this is quite limited list in general because I haven't owned many SS amps) would have to be the Crate GX20R that I was using out here. Being that it was free helps a bit but the overdrive is fine for jamming for practice and the amps clean is pretty decent too.

Worst overdrive I have had was the overdrive on a Crate C212 (I think that was the model) It was just plain bad. Clean was pretty good.

The Best clean SS amp I own (or have owned) is a 73 Ampeg G410 that is as loud as I have ever heard. I never had it fully loaded with speakers and usually had to play it through the speakers in my crate 212 but it is very clean at any level before I start going into speaker meltdown zone. The Tone stack allows very wide control with the mid control frequency select and ultra high mode. It was great with an Ibanez slam punk infront if it if you wanted to get really dirty and with mid cut and high and low boost. It did what I needed at the time. I have purchased another one as it was cheap thinking that it would just be cool to have that much of air movement potential but I know I will never need that much volume. Now I'm thinking what a tube overdrive pedel infront of it would do? Of course when I bought it the speakers were blown and the 2nd channel preamp was blown but for 40 bucks and the clean channel still working it was a steal (hell The cabinet I think would be worth that). definately something not to pass up if you are looking for something that is loud clean and usually affordable.

worst clean SS amp I had was a Fender sidekick 30 bass amp. To be fair it probally just didn't have enough power and was a cheap amp at a relatively cheap amp price. It would ovdrive if cranked but not in a good way. Just all around mediocre.

eh thats my mindless ramble for the day.
 
R.G. 2/13/2007 7:13 AM
Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
I always wondered what would happen if you took the output section of a Thomas Vox (or rather a modern clone with high power silicon trannies and maybe even a current limiter :shock: ) and made a new driver transformer with loads more primary turns, so you could drive the transistor output stage off a single 6V6 or whatever? Then you could make the rest of the preamp out of tubes too. I think it would make a fine sounding hybrid. You could probably use two single-ended Champ or table radio OTs, in fact, rather than a custom transformer.
It's an interesting thought. One problem is that you need two output windings, both about 8 ohms. This is because the output is dual NPN, totem pole style, and has to be that way for the existing output stage. It might be possible to redesign the output for a complementary NPN/PNP stage with some tinkering, but I haven't looked into that. A custom transformer with single primary/dual speaker outs would work OK. Maybe.

Another issue in the transformer-driven solid state stages is that the driver transformers were almost always wound multifilar for the tightest possible coupling from primary to secondary. Much tighter than the primary-secondary coupling usually is in tube OTs. It's only an issue if you try to close the feedback loop, of course, but if the coupling is too loose you can't do that.

I think the TV output stage will have a rather high output impedance, unlike most SS amps, so I expect it would act like a pentode power amp in terms of speaker damping. That may be good or bad. You could always add feedback from the speaker to the cathode of the driver tube, like in the Fender 300PS.
The output impedance before feedback will be that of the output transistor used as an emitter follower. Since the gain is low for these devices, maybe 50-75, then the impedance will be high for a transistor amp, but low compared to a pentode. Feedback is what really lowers the output impedance a lot, so you're right, it's going to be much bigger than an equivalent SS amp with high feedback. But less than a pentode output circuit.

It's an interesting place to start.

I must have spent US$200 on old text books before I pieced together the explanation of how that thing works. There was no single place I could find that had an overview of that output stage that was complete and made sense in modern terms.
 
R.G. 2/13/2007 7:14 AM
To Drewl:
The fuzz circuit in the TV amps is a minor adaptation of the Vox Distortion Booster, which is a silicon version of the Fuzz Face.
 
Don Symes 2/13/2007 7:28 AM
The Sunn Beta Lead, I thought, was the best sounding and most flexible SS amp I've used - especially with a stereo guitar (separate output per pickup).

Two identical channels, one set a bit cleaner than the other, one for the neck pickup and one for the bridge. A per-channel FX loop, plus a master loop and remote A/B/Both channel switching. I got my ES345 to sound like an organ for 'Easy Living', and generally pretty darned good for other tunes. 100W output

The Sunn Alpha is a single-channel, 50W version with the same preamp.

Schematics and PCB layouts are available in the repair manual, too (hint, hint).
 
Arthur B. 2/13/2007 8:57 AM
Triode Electronics make an interstage transformer with multiple secondaries. You could use a SE like the Thomas Vox did, or use a PP driver as well as an H bridge poweramp.
 
Slobrain 2/13/2007 9:00 AM
Quote Originally Posted by daz View Post
Best would be an old 70's amp called the crossmix made by pignose. A 75 watt combo. I bought one years ago after hearing a band in a bar with 2 guitar players both using them and getting an awesome tone, especially for ZZ top. Thickest tone i've ever gotten out of any amp. I remember using it for the first time in a bar we played many times and i had replace a boogie MK3 with it and the bartender remarked on how good it sounded. And i never knew her to ever remark about anything concering the band's tone in any respect. Don't remember why i sold it but i wish i had one know if i only had the room. I like those 80's marshall lead 12's a lot too, but they aren't loud enough to gig with. Worse by a million miles was a peavey practive amp who's name i can't even recall. I think from the 70's. It was so bad it was literally unusable. the second worse was my first amp ever.....a 70's peavey pacer. Not as bad as that last one, but pretty horrible.

By the way, this is based on drive tones. I didn't like the cleans much on any of them.
Hey Daz,
I have read that either Lee Jackson or Paul Rivera maybe built this amp for Pignose. Lee worked there when the crossmix was put out in maybe 1978.
The crossmix was supposed to have a distortion circuit similar to a rat pedal for the thick sound it had. Yeah, those 70's pacers were pretty aweful sounding, I had one too

BTW, This thread is turning out nice, many cool posts on old SS maps.


SLO
 
Steve Conner 2/13/2007 9:07 AM
R.G., I beg to differ about the output impedance. (Maybe we should take this discussion to the new solid-state forum that doesn't exist )

I think it will basically be the output impedance of the transistor as a common emitter, which tends to infinity. Ie, the output stage is a voltage controlled current source, and the control voltage is what comes out of the driver secondary winding. But the negative feedback through the bias network will lower the output impedance.

As for the requirement for tight coupling, I think that may be because the leakage inductance of the transformer is in the output stage's local feedback loop, betwee the bias network and the base. If it needed multifilar winding, I guess it would be about impossible to use a tube driver like I suggested.

Arthur B, I have an interstage transformer for a Fender 300PS kicking around here. (And an output transformer too, evil cackle.) But the ratio of a tube interstage transformer is totally wrong for a TV output stage.
 
daz 2/13/2007 10:16 AM
Yeah, i heard that too about the pre being modeled after a rat. And actually i can believe it because it has that sound to a degree tho more refined so that it's tighter. I always felt rats are fantastic sounding when used right and when they are tweaked a bit. But they're very tempermental in a few ways including which amp you use and how clean the amps is. The pignose sounded to me like a rat in it's ideal enviornment with a few tweaks. I think i also recall Rivera being involved but memory is kinda foggy. I remember also having a lab series and a boogie MK3 at the same time and setting them side by side and trying to get the boogie and LS to sound as thick as the pig, but nothing i did would let them get close. That was one amazingly thick sounding amp.

Quote Originally Posted by Slobrain View Post
Hey Daz,
I have read that either Lee Jackson or Paul Rivera maybe built this amp for Pignose. Lee worked there when the crossmix was put out in maybe 1978.
The crossmix was supposed to have a distortion circuit similar to a rat pedal for the thick sound it had. Yeah, those 70's pacers were pretty aweful sounding, I had one too

BTW, This thread is turning out nice, many cool posts on old SS maps.


SLO
 
TD_Madden 2/13/2007 10:18 AM
My Gibson G-55 ('71 I think) has a decent tone......I have a Reverend 1250 in it and it's not TOO SS'y.....not real loud, either. The funky parts (phaser and harmonic-something) I just keep turned off...even the single-spring internal reverb isn't all that cheesy......
 
gtrboy 2/13/2007 1:50 PM
Ampeg Ss For Shred, Lab L Series For Rock, And A Roland Jc120 For Clean.
 
RickyD 2/13/2007 6:17 PM
Anybody else play an Acoustic 150? That was a very powerful ss amp, super cleans. And the for bass players among us, I suggest a moment of silent respect for the Acoustic 370, which was the fattest baddest bass amp on the planet until the SVT came along.

Worst SS amp? Late '60's, I think, 1967 Gibson GSS100. Very trick looking with 2 - 2x10's, sounded terrible.
 
R.G. 2/14/2007 2:25 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
R.G., I beg to differ about the output impedance. I think it will basically be the output impedance of the transistor as a common emitter, which tends to infinity. Ie, the output stage is a voltage controlled current source, and the control voltage is what comes out of the driver secondary winding. But the negative feedback through the bias network will lower the output impedance.
Differ away. I never thought I had the only possible interpretation of a circuit.

But... the thing is an NPN totem pole with a load between one emitter and one collector and the ground of a split supply. The driver secondaries float with the emitters. The top half has the load tied to the emitter of the upper transistor and a fixed upper voltage supply between the ground end of the speaker load and the collector of the transistor. Even given that the base drive winding floats, I think that makes this section an emitter follower.

The bottom section is more problematic. That might well best be seen as a CE stage.

Probably the reason this amp sounds good is that we're both right about half of the output stage and the differences in output impedance from top to bottom make for asymmetrical drive on the speaker.

Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
As for the requirement for tight coupling, I think that may be because the leakage inductance of the transformer is in the output stage's local feedback loop, betwee the bias network and the base. If it needed multifilar winding, I guess it would be about impossible to use a tube driver like I suggested.
Yep, there is no question that the problem with the tight coupling is that the leakage and self capacitance of the driver transformer is added to the forward response of the amplifier. A couple of references early in the search were pretty emphatic about that.

Actually, I think the driver transformer isn't all that hard to rewind. If I ever get a burned out one, I'll give it a go. All you really have to do is to figure out the number of turns on primary and secondary and make up your multifilar wires out of a number of lengths of magnet wire in parallel, then wind away.

I've experimented with sneaking ten turns of fine magnet wire into an existing Beatle driver transformer and measuring the voltage on it while the primaries and open secondaries were driven. That gives me a reasonable grasp of the turns involved. I'd have to look it up, but as I remember the primary was about 300t, the secondaries about 60t each, making for a penta-filar windng. The way to make a new one would be to make up a hank of wire of five sections of smaller magnet wire and two sections of six-sizes-bigger wire for the secondaries, twist that just enough to keep the wires together, then whip on 60t of the bundle. After that it's just phasing and connecting the primary sections all in series. The window usage will be poor for that style of winding, but it gets it to be multifilar and probably the wires would squash into a rectangular windonw.

Probably.
 
Steve Conner 2/14/2007 4:39 PM
Even given that the base drive winding floats, I think that makes this section an emitter follower.
Well no, I say that it's the very fact that the base drive winding floats, that makes the top section a common-emitter stage just the same as the bottom one, with the same high output impedance.

The floating winding means that an output stage section only has two terminals for current to go in or out. Therefore, it can only have one impedance between those two terminals: it can't matter which end you look from.

Therefore both the top and bottom sections must have the same impedance, which I say is that of a common-emitter amp with some local feedback.

This also implies that a complementary version with NPN and PNP transistors would behave pretty much the same as the original, so we might as well use all NPN.

I also think the leakage inductance in the _local_ feedback loop between collector and base could be what makes the transformer so critical. Or maybe the transistor driver stage in the TV amps leads to a much higher loop gain than a tube driver, what with transistors having so much more gm than tubes. After all, the Fender 300PS has a feedback loop around two transformers, without much in the way of interleaving, and it's stable.

Anyway, you have me fired up enough to try building this hybrid output stage now!
 
Slobrain 2/14/2007 7:05 PM
Hey Fellas,
cool thread, gets me inspired just reading this stuff

Well I got the Peavey Renown in today from an Ebay auction and boy I had to clean it up, looks like a rat was living in the back. LOL

well it fired up ok and one problem I found was the scorpion speakers had come unglued from the base of the speaker basket so I'm hoping Enzo can help with ideas of how to glue these back.

I plugged in this 26 year old amp into my 2x12 cab with celestions and tweaked it for a while and bam... It sounded like I remember from the mid 80s club days playing heavy rock. It was considered heavy metal then but I guess it grandad rock now.

Any way I was talking to a buddy that had a GK ML250 from 1985 and he was saying how he really thought that amp was so killer sounding but then it blew up
I still remember him playing this amp thru a Marshall 4x12 and thinking how damn good it sounded back in the day. he was playing the song (In my dreams) by Dokken and seem to nail the tone.

Anyone remember the GK ML250, little stereo amp?

Slobrain
 
R.G. 2/15/2007 7:56 AM
Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
Well no, I say that it's the very fact that the base drive winding floats, that makes the top section a common-emitter stage just the same as the bottom one, with the same high output impedance.

The floating winding means that an output stage section only has two terminals for current to go in or out. Therefore, it can only have one impedance between those two terminals: it can't matter which end you look from.

Therefore both the top and bottom sections must have the same impedance, which I say is that of a common-emitter amp with some local feedback.

This also implies that a complementary version with NPN and PNP transistors would behave pretty much the same as the original, so we might as well use all NPN.
Good point. It's certainly worth looking into.

I think that the originals were all NPN because that's the only cheap, good outputs that they could get. The original is a house-numbered 2N3055. I think that the availability of only NPNs plus familiarity with transformers led to the driver transformer use.

Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
I also think the leakage inductance in the _local_ feedback loop between collector and base could be what makes the transformer so critical. Or maybe the transistor driver stage in the TV amps leads to a much higher loop gain than a tube driver, what with transistors having so much more gm than tubes.
Which local feedback loop is that?

Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
After all, the Fender 300PS has a feedback loop around two transformers, without much in the way of interleaving, and it's stable.
Stability depends on the size of the forward gain as well as the number of poles and phase shift. An equal-TC phase shift oscillator with a gain under 27? , 29? will not oscillate either, even though the amount of phase shift is clearly sufficient. The amount of phase shift limits how much gain you can use, and the amount of gain limits how much phase shift you can have and remain stable.

Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
Anyway, you have me fired up enough to try building this hybrid output stage now!
Good! Give it a go. I'd like to see what you come up with.

If I were not so enveloped in other stuff, I'd like to get out the old Beatle head, disable the feedback loop and measure the output impedance.

Here's a thought. The old TV amps sound much better to my ears than they ought to sound by conventional wisdom. I put this down to the limiter ahead of the power amp. What if it's both the limiter and a high output impedance? The high output impedance would give the amp a looser grip on the speaker just like a pentode stage with little feedback.

There is just so darned much to explore and so little time!!
 
rocket 2/16/2007 3:42 AM
I think it is funny that the old SS amps from the 60ies and 70ies that earned the bad reputation of SS amps, now are said to be the best sounding ones.

It reminds me to the Fender guitars from the 70ies that a few years ago nobody would even have touched and that now start commanding "vintage" (=exorbitant) prices.
 
rocket 2/16/2007 3:44 AM
How is the Peavey Dweezil Zappa amp?
 
dai h. 2/16/2007 9:21 AM
the old Roland Cube 60 seemed pretty good esp. with a good external speaker. Made every gtr. sound the same way, but in a good way. The overdrive on the amp sounded like the Toto record on which Steve Lucather used some solid state amp (least that's what my fog-filled memory recalls).
 
Earl Norton 2/16/2007 9:35 AM
Worst SS amps:

Anything by Univox, The first SS fender bassman (hard to find today thank God)
 
TD_Madden 2/16/2007 10:27 AM
I like my (horrors!) Crate PowerBlock through one of my old Gibson GG-100 (circa 1965 or so) 2x10 sealed cabinets (8 ohm).

Can't believe it's SS when gain/tone/volume is set right. Loud as hell too.
 
Rob Mercure 2/22/2007 11:40 PM
Autotranny output PVs
For a while there Peavey made several SS models that used an autotransformer to couple the output transisitors to the speakers - the Special Solo Series was one - and these SS amps really sounded nice when used with humbuckers in a rock and roll band. Quite a few local musicians loved these thangs in the 1970s - one even traded in his Marshall (with serious "boot" back with the PV) for one of the SSS's.

A few years ago I was given that same amp chassis and cabinet, with speaker, which had been more-or-less "gutted" by some unknown but still had the autotranny. It's in my "get around to it" pile but someday I intend to reconstruct the basic PV circuit.

Rob
 
Slobrain 2/23/2007 12:19 PM
Hey Rob,
A buddy of mine has one of those old solo series specials with the auto tranny. Its a 1x12 and actually sounds pretty good too. When he got the amp the speaker was blown so I installed a celestion 80 in the amp and its got a nice rock sound to it. Maybe I should try to snag it from him at a cheap price

BTW, I see those old bandit 65's going fro a pretty good price on Ebay, I guess they are becoming collectors items? I had about 4 or 5 versions of the bandit over the 80's even into the early 90's as they made good practice amps. Seems the distortion on the 65 was real buzzy but I bet some one out there could figure a way to get a better distortion by somehow modding these. Or a good trick would be to gut the B 65 and build a tube amp in it, that would throw allot of musicians in the clubs when hearing that amp huh...

The reviews at harmony central say that the Bandit 65 were favored by the Nashville studio players because they had a great clean sound with reverb and if you wanted to add dirt, just use a pedal. Hhmmmmm...

SLO
 
ampcession 2/26/2007 3:40 PM
Call me a dinosaur, but I'm not much of fan of ss amps. That said, I once had a Gibson Lab Series L-5. Aside from the typical solid state deficiencies, such as artificial sounding and all the usual complaints, this amp was a useful and versatile tool for making very loud sounds with a band. It came with very poor quality speakers, but I put a pair of JBL E-120s in it and it actually sounded pretty good for clean sounds within the context of a loud band. The distortion was, well, solid state.
 
hasserl 2/26/2007 4:05 PM
I've got a solid state 2 x 10" combo amp from Mitchell out of Riverside CA, circa '77 - '78, called a Sand Amp 100. I believe the Sand Amp reference was not so much for the silicon used in the amplification, as for the material used in the cabinet. The cab is double walled and the space between the walls is filled with sand. It has a closed back with a large front open port. The amp sounds great, as good as most any tube amp I"ve played, though not real high gain. It was my practice and gig amp for years back in the day, and I still have it out in the garage underneath a stack of more recent finds. I dug it out awhile ago and plugged it in and was reminded of what a good amp it is. I could still use it today. I still have the old Ibanez Tube Screamer I use to use to get more grind out of it when I needed it.

Another real nice SS amp is one of my newer purchases, a Crate Powerblock. If you haven't tried one of these yet do yourself a favor and go try one. I picked mine up cheap, brand new and in the box for about $79.00. This is now my backup amp I take along with me to gigs. It's so small and light it's incredible, but it packs a lot of power and sounds very good.
 
MKB 2/26/2007 6:52 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Slobrain View Post
Hey Fellas,
cool thread, gets me inspired just reading this stuff

Well I got the Peavey Renown in today from an Ebay auction and boy I had to clean it up, looks like a rat was living in the back. LOL

well it fired up ok and one problem I found was the scorpion speakers had come unglued from the base of the speaker basket so I'm hoping Enzo can help with ideas of how to glue these back.

I plugged in this 26 year old amp into my 2x12 cab with celestions and tweaked it for a while and bam... It sounded like I remember from the mid 80s club days playing heavy rock. It was considered heavy metal then but I guess it grandad rock now.

Any way I was talking to a buddy that had a GK ML250 from 1985 and he was saying how he really thought that amp was so killer sounding but then it blew up
I still remember him playing this amp thru a Marshall 4x12 and thinking how damn good it sounded back in the day. he was playing the song (In my dreams) by Dokken and seem to nail the tone.

Anyone remember the GK ML250, little stereo amp?

Slobrain
Yeh, I remember those, used to have one. I recall hearing it in the music store and how awesome it sounded with a Strat. When I got one it didn't sound as good for some reason. Indeed those G+K's like to blow up...
 
Steve Conner 2/27/2007 8:19 AM
I've heard a few people raving about how good the Crate Powerblock is. Apparently it has a switching power supply AND a Class-D digital power stage, so according to you guys it should suck :-O I once messed with one and it seems very light for a 150(?) watt amp.
 
hasserl 2/27/2007 2:37 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
I've heard a few people raving about how good the Crate Powerblock is. Apparently it has a switching power supply AND a Class-D digital power stage, so according to you guys it should suck :-O I once messed with one and it seems very light for a 150(?) watt amp.
Makes a great backup amp. I used to haul two amps to a gig. Now I just throw the Powerblock in it's carry bag into the back of the car along with the main amp for the night. I haven't had to use it yet, but it's comforting knowing it's there, it's ready to go, and it doesn't sound half bad. It won't be replacing any of my main amps, but I could easily do a gig with it if needed.
 
Euthymia 2/28/2007 7:33 PM
Quote Originally Posted by rocket View Post
I think it is funny that the old SS amps from the 60ies and 70ies that earned the bad reputation of SS amps, now are said to be the best sounding ones.
That may be the perception today, but in my observations, time tends to weed out the really nasty stuff.

There was good stuff back then, and bad stuff. The bad stuff wound up in dumpsters.

You don't hear anyone singing the praises of Estey amps, for instance, and stuff like the Baldwins now has weirdo funky chic appeal but is not something most players would choose to gig with (yes, I know about the one Neil Young used to use as a stage monitor).

Acoustic got it right, and so did Sunn. I never mind seeing those come into my repair shop because I know they're serviceable and sound good when I'm done fixing them.

I think one of the big hits on the reputation of SS was when the undisputed industry leader in musical instrument amplification, Fender, issued two botched lines of SS amps. First were the amps that carried the same names as some of the tube line, then the Zodiacs.

One Fender fell on its face, SS would have a hard time gaining acceptance.

Another problem is that (partially as a result of the aforementioned Fender stumble), SS became the territory of low-end amps. Since SS is cheaper to build, it can go into cheaper amps where people are really strapped for money.

So most of our first exposures to SS amps were the best Peavey practice amps we could afford. We weren't exposed to higher-end stuff because when people get some money, they usually head straight to the tube amps.

Anyway, I like the aforementioned early Acoustics and Sunns, as well as some of the Peavey pro stuff like the 400 series (the amps to have for Nashville steelers).

Marshall Valvestates have awful build quality but put out a pretty good distortion tone for going "chunkita-chunkita-chunkita." Fender's version also surprised me with its tone quality.

One personal Hell for me would be to have no amplification to use but a Roland JC-120. I've worked on a few of them and detest the tone. The construction is pretty bad, too, with controls mounted on phenolic PCB's, etc.

My only experience with modeling technology was a Fender Cyber-Twin that someone brought me to fix, and it reminded me of a particularly ugly transvestite.
 
Slobrain 3/1/2007 6:37 PM
man, so many posts, this is real interesting.

Today after bringing home my daughter from a docs app. I decided to make a quick stop at a local pawn and found a used PV studio pro 110 that wasn't working. Its a 1993-or 94 model, two channels, reverb and a 10" speaker.

I snagged it for $43.00 walk out, and I'm thinking cool, I just got my daughter a nice little practice amp that I can fix. It had a bad input jack. I actually took the jack apart re-straightened the tip connector and resoldered the jack back and amp now works, easy fix.

Then after listening to the amp, I though my gosh, this is a crappy sounding amp. Yuck, good for a beginner though. not that great of a deal after all. I should have bought the mid 80's Schecter strat hanging on the wall for $99.00
It was butchered on the body and the neck had a hack job done on the locking nut install. too bad. maybe the pickups might be worth something though???

SLO
 
Rob Mercure 3/2/2007 6:37 PM
Been thinking about this - didn't strain anything as best I know - and I wonder if I just like amps with tranformers. RG favorites use driver trannies - and having recently serviced one I agree with the sound - very "60s" and a bit psychodelic. The autotranny PVs aren't as fun, funky, and individualistic but the have a smooth distortion that lacks that "piece of paper tearing" distortion I associate with transistor amps. Now I've never hears an OTL tube amps -although I've considered building the Stevens circiut a few times - but I wonder if I'd like it or music amplification.

Too bad I'm not into SS R&D cuz it would be interesting to work with some different output topologies using either/or driver/PI trannies and OTs.

Recent Bogen PA offerings have a common SS ouput circuit that is coupled to an line driver tranny to match 70V and 100V lines - I believe that it also has a 16 ohm tap. If anyone has one of these it make for a quick test.

Rob
 
DanJ 3/2/2007 7:39 PM
I recall an older 2x12 combo that was made by Baldwin. Couldn't say what the model was, but it had this really cool pushbutton switchbank for selecting trem, reverb and channels. Seems like most of the colors of the rainbow were used on it. Looked like it was purchased from the Partridge Family. But it is probably the coolist sounding clean SS amp I've heard. The Polytone mini-brute was pretty nice too.

As for dirty sounds, can't say that it was really good sounding, but the
Fender M-80 pretty much ruled the local scene (for ss players) in my area with it's ultimate 80's cheese tone distortion channel. Pretty much made everyone sound like ... (insert hair band guitarist here).
 
Steve Conner 3/4/2007 12:10 PM
Well, I went and bought a Class-D digital power amp to experiment with I got the BP4078 from ColdAmp and the SPS30 switching power supply that goes with it. Both modules together take up less space than the 300W bass output transformer, and weigh a hell of a lot less too.

I'm testing it right now with some classical music and a hi-fi speaker, and it sounds great, just completely clean with no unwanted noise or distortion. It probably has more THD than a linear power amp would, but it's impossible to tell. And at 400W it has enough headroom that you fear the speakers might explode into matchwood on the loud passages.

So I guess my mission is to inject some Motown bass mojo into this perfect and completely soulless amp module My plan is to build a whole mini tube amp ahead of it, complete with a tiny output transformer and dummy load. If I fail, I can always get another one and use them for my stereo.
 
fletchyalereverb 3/12/2007 3:07 PM
Hi all, love the forum. anyhow I must mention my 1982 Fender Yale Reverb - ss and has a beautiful clean sound, but turn up the gain and it can rock out
 
Steve Conner 3/12/2007 5:25 PM
Oh, that's cool, I just fixed an old London Reverb 1x12" combo last week. I think it's similar to the Yale Reverb, maybe a tad bigger with more knobs. It sounded pretty good, IMO. Even the dirty channel was pretty good for a solid state amp. If all my tube amps somehow broke, I'd gig with it.
 
tubetonez 3/19/2007 1:23 PM
In the late 70's Randall had a SS amp called the "Sustainor" that sounded a lot like a cranked stack, that was the only sound it would do but it was a good one.
 
PlayItAll 5/5/2007 6:19 PM
I have to chime in with a vote for the Peavey Bandit. I had an early one that I loved.

I also owned a Yamaha DG80 that was tolerable...

I currently own and really like the Crate Power Block. Cheap - versatile - portable - and pretty darn good sounding!

Ed
 
HTH 5/7/2007 5:08 AM
best SS amp I've had was a Randall Titan 300w beast. cleans were great and spankin with as much headroom as you could ever want. the overdrive went from rock to metal with ease. admittedly it was geared towards the 'metal' end of the spectrum, but it had an amazing 'chunk' in the bass end.

 
beginwhereUR 5/13/2007 7:32 PM
Quote Originally Posted by daz View Post
the second worse was my first amp ever.....a 70's peavey pacer. Not as bad as that last one, but pretty horrible.
This is funny. I remember my Pacer from about 1977-78 sounding fairly awful too. But about a month ago I saw one at a swapmeet and bought it. Sentimental I guess. It was in decent shape, still had the original speaker, and for $45 (that's a dollar a watt, folks), I couldn't pass it up.

Guess what? It sounds pretty effing good! It's got a very snappy transient response without being overly dry and edgy, probably due to some Ge clipping diodes that are blended with the clean signal. The cabinet has a nicely focused tone and is made of actual plywood, although the baffle is particle board (which doesn't really make any sense). It even projected well in the context of bass and drums in a large garage/studio. The reverb is not too hard to listen to either.

I called Peavey, and not only did they send me a schemo and owner's manual, but the paperwork was original, not copies. Inside the chassis I was surprised to find a medium-sized coupling transformer between the preamp and the power section. Who knows, that might have something to do with the more forgiving sound.

Anyway, the Pacer exceeded my expectations by turning out to be more that just a memento. Maybe inexperience was to blame for how bad I remember it sounding. Now it's another cool sound in my arsenal. . . .

BTW, I was going to suggest a contrasting "Worst Tube Amp" thread, but someone beat me to it. As for that, I have a Mesa SOB that can sound as dry and brittle as any bad SS if not dialed in just right. Any tips for sweetening that thing up welcome.
 
Liam 11/11/2007 6:32 PM
Best one I heard was Wilko Johnson through an HH 100 watt 2 x 12 combo. Just love that mid 70s interpretation of proper percussive rhythm and lead guitar. Tried to play one once, but just couldn't get it to work for me in the same way.

I'd find it a lot harder to pick the worst, but the Fender Stage 160 DSP is high on the list at the moment. I know Peavey made a few versions of the "Bandit", but I can't rememebr ever playing one of the good sounding ones, if you know what I mean.

I nearly turned this into a new thread, but would anyone like to contribute to "Great tunes played by great guitarists using a transistor amp"?

I could make a start with Dr Feelgood, Wilko Johnson, "She does it right", from the Stupidity album. (In fact anything from that album.)
 
Rxtele 11/11/2007 7:17 PM
Roland Bc60-310 Blues Cube with three ten inch speakers
all kinds of controls and buttons to dial in the sound to approximate different sounds from the classic tube amps.

Can get some great tones from it, and it is rock solid, but still they haven't figured out how to dial in the warmth of a tube amp
 
black_labb 11/11/2007 11:44 PM
i have a fender frontman 212 r (100w amp with 2 12" speakers and reverb) not too bad an amp. nice clean sound and reasonable distortion. i hadn't owned a tube amp yet (atleast not a completed one) until last night when i picked up my monster

the solidstate amp is more versatile, but the gap may close once i clean the pots on the new amp, its been sitting in someones garage for 20 years so the pots are mighty scratchy, and there are only some spots where they make contact. ive got some cleaner so ill get going on that tonight.
 
rf7 12/12/2007 6:44 PM
Quote Originally Posted by beginwhereUR View Post
Anyway, the Pacer exceeded my expectations by turning out to be more that just a memento. Maybe inexperience was to blame for how bad I remember it sounding. Now it's another cool sound in my arsenal. . . .
I used to gig with a Pacer with an EV 12L speaker inside and I thought it sounded pretty good. I did a punk rock record with it and people thought I was using a Marshall. It was pretty loud too, with that EV inside.
 
shiner555 12/13/2007 10:54 AM
Anyone mention SUNN amps?? I've been using the Sunn Coliseum Bass amp for some time, and man oh man, it is by far the best sounding SS head I've ever heard for bass. I even prefer it over my 71V4-B!

Also, Pearce Amps, were some amazing pieces of solid state gear.
 
Manic 1/3/2008 1:03 PM
A Roland JC comes to mind as a good SS amp.
The backup I carry is a Fender Ultimate Chorus...I pedal in for over drive tones.
The Clean is about as pretty as i gets for a SS amp.
 
Bassman3 1/7/2008 3:18 PM
Best sounding SS amp
For Guitar, Crate VTX-200S
For Bass, Ampeg SVT-200TH
 
Chuck H 1/8/2008 10:14 PM
Another vote for the Peavey Bandit.

Chuck
 
olddawg 1/9/2008 1:30 AM
Marshall Lead 100 Mosfet. One of the most misunderstood amps out there.
 
Chuck H 1/9/2008 3:04 AM
You know, I never owned one so I didn't put it through alot of paces, but I once played a GK head at Guitar Center that had the most tube like distortion circuit I ever heard in a SS amp. That was probably around 16 or 17 years ago.

Chuck
 
fogonero 3/23/2008 1:19 PM
I have a Fender Princeton Chorus, great Amp, at least for me, Maybe I'm not that demanding, but I could use any channel, any time. Using the distortion channel with not too much drive and adding a BOSS superoverdrive before the amp is just fantastic. Plus, It has enough volume to kick with presence in a band situation.
 
rexindigo 3/31/2008 9:10 AM
Had a roland jazz chorus once , the clean sound was incredible, but the distortion sound was poor, after all it was stolen and i got a musicman hybrid instead.

But for me (just in my commemoration) the best overdriven solid state amp sound i ever had, was my very first (japanese) little guitar amp with 6 watt driven hard by a solid state microphone preamp, sorry i can't remember the name of it.

I bought a little amp called MARATHON some months ago at ebay and although the speaker is much to small, the overdriven sound is great with a 4x12 cab it sounds really fat: lots of gain with all volumes full up (two gain stages and a mastervolume) i think its called MGA-20 or so
 
malbi 3/31/2008 9:31 AM
Ss-ampeg 150
I was using an ampeg svt pro-3 thru an 8x10 cab forever. the other day it crapped out on me. as a back up, i had my dad's old acoustic 150. i had never played bass thru it before and when i plugged it in, i was blown away. no it does not have a hifi sound or is it extremely tweakable but it is LOUD. i am playing it thru my 8x10 cabinet and it is awesome. i haven't even taken my svt pro-3 in for repair because i like this sound so much. it has the perfect growl.

as a side note, my dad also gave me the 6x10 cabinet that he bought with it. i use that for guitar. i am playing a jcm 800 thru it and it sounds incredible. every gig i play, people are amazed by that cabinet. it is pretty rare and it sounds awesome.

i am however, nervous about taking this head and the cab out on the road too much as it would be hard to replace them...
 
BackwardsBoB 5/17/2008 6:52 PM
I've got a little 15 Watt Crate with a little spring reverb and an 8" speaker I bought new for maybe $80. Sounds great with an acoustic or jazz box, and the overdrive channel doesn't make me laugh. Tone is where you find it.
 
zdavid 5/22/2008 7:06 AM
Polytone
Polytone Taurus II - This is somewhere around 100W, super clean sound with great tone quality. The on-board effects suck but that is typical of any amp - I tend to stay from builtin effects. It also has 2 6" speakers on the sides, good for keeping the drummer tuned in. Only problem is that it has NO air circulation to the power amp and tends to overheat - probably an easy fix if I ever get around to it.
 
pushpull 5/29/2008 2:33 AM
Electro Harmonix Mike Matthews Dirt Road Special
Hi I am new to this forum and love it already.
The best sounding SS amp ever to me - and I am so glad that I managed to get my hands on one in nice condition is the

Electro Harmonicx Mike Matthews Dirt Road Special.

It has a long name for sure, but is extremely low on controls: Vol, Tone, Bite, that's it fellas. Also features a non footswitchable built in EH Small Stone Phaser.

I have gigged this amp at Sessions, use it only for Blues stuff and it knocks the socks off everyone. Have had other guitarists play it on sessions, they all would not believe it is solid state. It is very dynamic, great punch and bottom end and cuts right through the band. Very harmonic when going into saturation. If you find one of these babys, get one. Luod as hell, funny looking, easy to carry and they scare the living shit out of that guy with the Deluxe Reverb Reissue!
He, he

pushpull
 
tomd01 5/29/2008 12:00 PM
weighing in on the Peavey Bandit 75
I bought a Bandit 75 1X12 combo back in the early 80's also, and have really enjoyed it's light weight and punchy sounds. I play mostly clean, or with a Boss ME5 multi-effects pedal to get the distortion I need because the overdrive channel does sound a bit like a kazoo, or maybe a piece of waxed paper wrapped around a comb or some such. But it does have killer reverb! And it's loud enough for any room I've ever played in - though sometimes I mic it.
 
kurisurokku 5/29/2008 1:46 PM
Fender Princeton Chorus for clean
Someone mentioned this earlier, but I'll second the Fender Princeton Chorus for clean sounds. I used to have one before I downsized a bit, and I play jazz and that thing sounded really great. The stereo chorus and reverb were top notch, and it had quite a bit of headroom. I didn't play around much with the distortion channel, but it sounded okay to me. A lot of people online don't seem to like the dirty channel much though.

The guy that bought it from me brought over his lap steel and it sounded just fantastic.

That being said, I'm all tube now ;-)
 
Leftymatson 5/29/2008 6:37 PM
I had a Rheem Califone amp (Rheem as in air conditioning) that sounded great at the time - 1969 - and I've never seen another. It put out about 15 Watts and broke up nicely. It was very light weight with a single 12.

If we're including bass amps, I really like my Gallien Kruger 800RB. Two amps,300W for lows, 100W for highs with a built-in crossover and a mid--cut feature I didn't think I'd use until I tried it. Sounds good with my Jerry Jones Longhorn bass, a Sunn type cube cabinet with a PV Black Widow 15 and a 2X10 GK cabinet.

I used a Sunn 2000S with a 2X15 folded horn cabinet for years until I had to lug it up some rickety outdoor stairs one time too many. The three piece GK setup is much easier to haul around and fills any room I play.
 
Mutato 8/21/2008 7:04 AM
Polytone MiniBrute II
I have a 70's era Polytone MiniBrute II, which was my first amp. Velvet covered! I bought it since I needed an amp to go with my first electric. Didn't know anything about amps. But for clean and warm, it still delivers.

One thing I've found is that the EQ (Bass and Treble) have really large sweeps of gain and reduction. Way more than any tube amp. I tend to notice that in SS amps. A lot more EQ range. Any reason why?

The amp is small, yet very powerful. I've kept it for all these years (since 1986) because it's a great second amp. You can plug a bass into it to play at room levels for jamming etc... A little workhorse.

The distortion channel is that usual weird SS distortion, which I NEVER used. But I did use it once recording a song. And you know what? It actually sounded great!

I didn't realize till this year that these Polytones were used by Jazz giants and have a good demand.
 
Rick Erickson 8/21/2008 1:23 PM
[A lot more EQ range. Any reason why?]

It's because solid state amps often employ active EQ circuits, where the tone controls are in the feedback path of an IC, or transistor gain stage. This gives them an actual boost or cut, often + or - 12db or more. Tube amps usually employ passive EQ circuits which can really only cut frequencies. They give the illusion of boosting highs or lows by cutting everything (insertion loss) and then adding back certain frequency ranges. The overall range of this type of tone circuit (passive) is far less than a circuit which borrows energy from the power supply (active) to provide cut or boost.

RE
 
Borg54 8/27/2008 1:36 PM
My best SS is an old Peavey BackStage (80-81) 20 watter, came stock with a spring reverb and a ton of mojo!. I've had way to many offers to sell it over the years. Only maintance has been to clean the pots, and beef up the speaker. It's By far the best $10.00 amp I ever scored on for SS. Then there is the pignose ;-}
 
billybillybilly 10/11/2008 9:39 AM
'road electronics' anyone ?
there was a mid 70s company called 'road electronics' ... i think its what bud ross did after kustom . anyway , all solid state bass amps . the tone is very middle of the road so they also sound good with guitar . i have one , a combo with a 15 , that has no model name or anything identifying (other than 'road' on the front panel and a serial on the back) and i use it for guitar ... and people at the shows are allways asking me about it and saying it sound like tubes , and when i tell em its a 70s all ss bass amp they look at me like im an idiot .
so anyway , im voting for the old 'Road' amps .
i heard that one of their sales tactics was to hold a floor model about chest high , throw it on the ground , then plug it back in to show the customer it still works !
i think their most popular model was the '440 bass' (which i have a schematic for if anyone needs/wants to see it) .
one more thing , if anyone comes across one of those old 'road' amps and doesnt want it , please let me know , im allways on the hunt for the jokers !
 
Robert M. Martinelli 10/31/2008 1:15 AM
Well, I recently added an "AC30SS" ( a mid '70s design proposed by Vox as a solid state version of the AC30 ) to my collection, and, though it doesn't sound like my 1964 TB ( neither I expected it to do so ) I have been pleasantly surprised by its warmth ( if compared to other SS designs ) and dynamics.

I also opened it to inspect it and do some maintenance ( pots cleaning ), and I found it to be well built. The schematic is printed in black on the amp's chassis.

This model has not been successful, ( it was a game lost from the start, as it's opponent was the "real" AC30 ) but I think this was by no means due to the way it sounded, but rather due by a "strategic" marketing error, because they proposed it as an AC30 while in fact it was not, maybe it could have been more successful under another name.....who knows?

All I can say is it's a very sweet sounding amp, you would not say it's SS, most SS amps sound excessively clean, "dry" or even "harsh", but not this one.

Best regards

Bob
 
Steve Conner 10/31/2008 4:57 AM
Hello Voxrules,

Any driver or output transformers in there?
 
Robert M. Martinelli 10/31/2008 6:34 AM
Hi Steve,
nope, no driver or output trannies, the output stage features two 2N3055
driven by a complementary couple of BD537/538, the trem circuit sports a couple of FETs ( 2N3819 ), the preamp uses two RC4136, the schematic can be found here :

http://www.voxamps.com/downloads/circuits/ac30ss.jpg

As you will see it' s not a good scan; if you need a better image I' ll open mine again, take the chassis off and lay it directly on my scanner to get a decent quality scan.

Best regards

Bob
 
Steve Conner 11/2/2008 11:07 AM
No, it's OK, I've already seen the op-amps and run a mile
 
Robert M. Martinelli 11/3/2008 12:00 AM
Well, I didn't know op-amps could scare you so much, Steve! Is this because of the way they sound or because they look like little spiders?

I wouldn't be too hard on op-amps, even if we all LOVE tube amps sometimes we stumble upon some good sounding piece of Silicon.....this is one of these times IMHO ( after all, this is what this thread is all about ).

Best regards

Bob
 
Brian H. 11/5/2008 5:50 AM
Quote Originally Posted by billybillybilly View Post
there was a mid 70s company called 'road electronics' ... i think its what bud ross did after kustom . anyway , all solid state bass amps . the tone is very middle of the road so they also sound good with guitar . i have one , a combo with a 15 , that has no model name or anything identifying (other than 'road' on the front panel and a serial on the back) and i use it for guitar ... and people at the shows are allways asking me about it and saying it sound like tubes , and when i tell em its a 70s all ss bass amp they look at me like im an idiot .
so anyway , im voting for the old 'Road' amps .
i heard that one of their sales tactics was to hold a floor model about chest high , throw it on the ground , then plug it back in to show the customer it still works !
i think their most popular model was the '440 bass' (which i have a schematic for if anyone needs/wants to see it) .
one more thing , if anyone comes across one of those old 'road' amps and doesnt want it , please let me know , im allways on the hunt for the jokers !
I just bought a Road 440 Bass, and found this thread in my search for info.

On the back, it shows its origin as LA, not Kansas. It's working fine, is pretty light for the size and power, and seems that it will sound good on bass.

Billy, I'd really appreciate a scan of the manual, schematics, whatever.
 
billybillybilly 11/5/2008 8:00 AM
Quote Originally Posted by Brian H. View Post
I just bought a Road 440 Bass, and found this thread in my search for info.

On the back, it shows its origin as LA, not Kansas. It's working fine, is pretty light for the size and power, and seems that it will sound good on bass.

Billy, I'd really appreciate a scan of the manual, schematics, whatever.

hey Brian ,

have you opened yours up yet ? it might still have the schematic inside like mine did ! does yours have the wooden sides ? geez i wish i had the manual . id like to see how they describe the 'effects' knob ... it seems to act as a compressor of sorts .

anyway , shoot me a PM with your email and ill shoot ya the schematic and some pics . i suppose i should just post em somewhere since it seems to be the only one available .

but , as far as the Kansas/LA thing , i believe they started in Kansas and ended up in the big city later on before finally being sold off to rickenbacker in the early 80's and then discontinued .
 
Albert Kreuzer 11/5/2008 5:01 PM
Hi Billy & Brian,

back in the days I had a Road 220 bass amp. It failed at the first gig (blown output transistor, turned out to be a BD183 instead of the RCA 2N6259). It was still under warranty, so no problem. The catch was that I was the tech who did the warranty repairs for that particular shop
Still got the service manual, including all schematics and layouts. If you need something, let me know.
Sold the amp to a student last year, still sounds great. Never had a failure since that blown transistor.

Cheers,
Albert
 
Brian H. 11/5/2008 10:19 PM
Great!
Thanks for jumping in, Albert!

I pulled my 440 bass chassis out of the case to spray the pots. Talk about your wide open spaces! There's lots of room in that huge box. It's nice and clean still, and the only evidence of prior failure is an obviously changed bridge rectifier. It has a square package now, and there is an extra tapped mounting hole and sink grease residue from a TO case sort of device.

Now, the big mystery- What are they doing with the effect control? It's a push-pull pot that I assumed was a FX return level control. Upon investigation, it became apparent that the input marked "effect" gets you into the 2nd channel of the amp (lead channel). Billy thought that the effect control might give compression. I did notice an increase in level with the knob turned clockwise. Pulling the knob out changes something as well. There isn't anything like an EFX loop provision for that knob to control.

Also, why have a separate 5-band graphic EQ, available only to the 2nd channel? Each input already has separate 3-band tone controls. Maybe the line out is pre-graphic EQ?

Sorry for pestering,
Brian
 
Albert Kreuzer 11/6/2008 1:29 AM
Hi Brian,

the "effects" circuit is an adjustable diode clipper, so the output level decreases when you turn it up. The pull switch adds a coil for some kind of midrange boost.
The line out is "post-everything", just a voltage divider from the speaker output.
The EQ was an add-on, some models didn't have it.

The complete manual is a 1.74MB zip file, Billy already has it

Cheers,
Albert
 
Brian H. 11/6/2008 7:49 AM
Thanks again!
I was going to waste huge time on the function of that knob (I did NOT just say that!).
I printed the second channel preamp/effects schematics for my studying pleasure.

Thanks again
Brian
 
billybillybilly 11/6/2008 10:26 AM
Oooohhhh
Quote Originally Posted by Albert Kreuzer View Post
... the "effects" circuit is an adjustable diode clipper, so the output level decreases when you turn it up. The pull switch adds a coil for some kind of midrange boost ...

yup , that makes sense , squish and clip .

by the way , the info that .zip file is awesome !
 
ubiquity55 12/8/2008 1:11 AM
Road Combo Amp 1X15
Hey BillyBillyBilly,
I recently acquired the amp above. It's a beast, but has some good tone. There are some issues with some fuzzy/farty sounds along with the regular sound though. I'm guessing it might need a cap job. I'm also perplexed by the "effects" knob. When I turn it up, the volume goes up as well with a little extra crunch. Would love to check out that zip file I saw mentioned in earlier posts. Any info would be appreciated.
Cheers
Kevin
 
billybillybilly 12/8/2008 8:23 AM
hey ubiquity55 !

the circuit in those is pretty simple . preamp module runs on 12vs so its easy enough to pull and test it alone to see if thats where the noise is coming from . i would check to make sure all the voltage rails are correct , that could lead to that wierd fuzzfart youre talking about . i havent looked into replacing those big filter caps yet . big blue Mallory cancaps - 50v@16000uf or something crazy like that right ? probably about $30-$40 each .
anyway , shoot me your email address in a pm and ill get ya that info !
also , the 'effects' knob is a sort of soft clipper . it seems to act (to me) like a bit of a compressor in that it makes it louder 2-5 and then less dynamic (squished) in the upper range 6-10 . i dont really use it though .
glad to see there are still some of these things laying around !
 
charlie13 12/10/2008 4:34 PM
Fender
I have a early 90's fender priceton 112 65 watt combo. Great clean sound and distortion not bad for classic rock and blues. This thing rocks you cant turn the volume past 1 with driving yourself out of the room. Very crisp sound with a tubes warm feeling. best SS i ever had.
 
dhuber 12/10/2008 9:54 PM
Fender Stage Lead 100
This is the only real solid state I ever owned. I bought it new in 1985. I remember my parents being mad at me because I was going to college and they thought it was a waste of money. I liked the PA section a lot. The front end was OK clean. Plugging a tube preamp into the effects return sounded real sweet!
 
dustyoldamp 1/1/2009 8:54 PM
my fave ss amp was/is a early 80's yamaha g100-112.

sweet, sweet clean tones and the original speaker went great with the "overdrive" channel of the amp, quite celestion-like but i blew it out playing bass gigs through it.

i replaced the speaker with a kendrick blackframe ten years ago and the amp hasn't sounded right since as far as the overdrive aspect goes.

am planning on switching out the blackframe for something with more midrange to it so as to recapture the magic of he amp.
 
Brian H. 2/26/2009 8:19 AM
Crate, Behringer
I'm a poor bottom-feeder that has come up with 2 cheap amps that I think sound great.

My favorite is the Behringer AC-112 Vintager 60 watt combo. It does have a 12ax7 in the preamp (sovtec 12ax7lps, changed to new Tungsol), but is a virtualizer stereo efx engine in a 1x12 with a 70 watt Jensen.

Next is a Crate Retrofex RFX200S 2x12 stereo combo, 2 x 70 watts stereo, or 2 x 100 watts with an extension cab.
This amp can do anything. It's got beautiful JC-style stereo chorus, but lower noise. Gain and stupid gain channels, a bunch more efx, and a pair of celestion seventy/80's.
 
olddawg 2/26/2009 11:38 AM
Well..If you are going to include modern modeling amps, I just picked up a Line 6 Spider 212 100w amp chassis. I got it super cheap so I figured what the hey. This thing blew me away. I mean it isn't a high end tube amp, but it is definitely versitile over a wide range of usable volumes, styles, and effects, a very good compromise. I am going to use the line out for recording. I'm still trying to locate some technical info on the foot controller since I can't bring myself to pay more for the controller than I did the amp. It definitely is a better sounding amp than the old Marshall Lead 100 MOSFET that I picked up a while back which truthfully isn't that bad. I still prefer my 18 watt EL84 clone but the Spider is usable and more appropriate for some situations.
 
Brian H. 2/26/2009 4:50 PM
Deja Vu
The Behringer is probably a ripoff of a line 6. I'm losing brain cells trying to figure out the midi foot controller that I picked up for it. I'm fast approaching "Hell with it".

If we're supposed to be limiting ourselves to old-school ss, we have an old Fender sidekick 15 Chorus that serves famously. Really quite decent.

There are benefits to being easily pleased!
 
allsavy 3/22/2009 7:24 PM
Probably the wordt sounding for clean but really cool for dry edgy overdrive tones with loots of bass ommpth is a 25 watt Traynor TS-25B with 1 15" spk. Rocks!...feedback swells and all !
 
Brian H. 3/30/2009 8:16 AM
Just a follow-up...
I just scored a bargain on an Ibanez 7-string that I'll be flipping. That 3rd channel on the RFX200S- with the stupid gain, produces the most sinister sounds ever heard in our house. We now have to get out the tele and find our happy place! I'm worried that the house will develop cold spots, and evp's will be talking straight from hell through the amps.

Anybody need a seriously dark chunka-chugga kind of guitar to frighten the neighbors (and maybe themselves)?
 
dabear 4/11/2009 5:54 PM
SS amps
Hmmm...I kinda liked my Lab Series 212 100w... with 2 12" speakers it really sang, but I never really could get the hard distortion I craved..still, it was indestructible! (sold it for, like, $100...shux..shoulda kept it!)
 
kleptocracy 4/17/2009 8:36 PM
Hi all!

Quote Originally Posted by RickyD View Post
Anybody else play an Acoustic 150? That was a very
powerful ss amp, super cleans. And the for bass players among us, I suggest a moment of silent respect for the Acoustic 370, which was the fattest baddest bass amp on the planet until the SVT came along.
I actually play a Peavey T-60 drop tuned through an Acoustic 140 pretty regularly. It actually does cleans very nicely on a guitar...for most of the fretboard. It lacks a little bit of spice on high notes, as you might imagine. Luckily, I don't need those too often...
 
thumbs 4/17/2009 10:58 PM
I had an Acoustic 135 (2X12 100 watt combo) back in the day. It didn't have any OD or distortion, but a decent reverb and tremolo. I used it for guitar for a while, then for keyboards. Even slaved a Fender Champ through it using a Peavey E.D.I. box. It was a reliable and versatile piece of gear. Other Acoustic users include Albert King, Mike Stern, and Spirit.
Another great SS amp is the Peavey Special 130. The Saturation control, combined with the parametric midrange could produce some nice tubescreamer like OD.
 
geoffmulberry 5/29/2009 2:37 PM
Hello, Can you send me a scan of that schematic? the ones on the net are barely readable... Would be a big help! Thanks -Geoff
 
aswellmap 8/10/2009 9:47 AM
I have the Road 440. I'd like to sell it if you're interested. I live in Ca and will only be here till the 29th of August. I live in Spain but I'm in Ca visiting my parents.
 
jrfrond 8/10/2009 10:25 AM
I have to tell you, the new ZT Lunchbox amps, one of which I now possess, sound so good for SS that I STILL can't wrap my head around it!

Prior to that, I like the old Mike Matthews Freedom Amp and Dirt Road special for rock tones, and the venerable JC-120 for the best clean tones ever next to a Twin Reverb. Overall favorite SS is the Tech 21 Trademark 60.
 
Gibsonman63 8/11/2009 5:49 AM
Roland JC-120
The Roland JC-120 is hands down the best clean sound you can get from a solid-state amplifier. I bought my '70s pawn shop special for $165:

For rock and metal, you have to drive it with one of those '80s processors that sounds so crappy on my tube amps. Fortunately, there are tons of those around these days for under $100.
 
defaced 8/11/2009 6:26 AM
From what I've gathered, there are a few different versions of the JC-120, are there any that are considered to be "better" than the others?
 
Gibsonman63 8/11/2009 6:56 AM
To be honest I don't know about the different versions. I know that mine was made sometime in the 70's. Both the chorus and reverb on this amp sound great, expecially when used together. This amp will go from 1 to 10 without really changing the sound, unlike my tube amps where you have to find the sweet spot to drive the power tubes to produce harmonics. I would assume that the re-issue version uses newer manufacturing technology, which is not always a bad thing. From my limited experience in electronics, I am finding that for newer products, a lot of the manufacturers are cutting corners on the capacitors, transformers and speakers.
 
Baxtercat 8/17/2009 1:21 PM
I think the earlier JC-120s didn't have a variable control for the chorus so it's kinda full-on or off.
I do know you could dial in the chorus on the JC-77s [I ran a pair for a while] which allowed you to get a more subtle sound, not fully "underwater."
 
tubeswell 8/17/2009 1:36 PM
Someone offered to swap a Roland JC120 for one of my tube amps earlier this year, but I couldn't bring myself to part with my amp for that.
 
teemuk 8/17/2009 5:14 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Baxtercat View Post
I think the earlier JC-120s didn't have a variable control for the chorus so it's kinda full-on or off.
I do know you could dial in the chorus on the JC-77s [I ran a pair for a while] which allowed you to get a more subtle sound, not fully "underwater."
The JC-120’s have a switch labelled Vib/Off/Chorus, and the Speed and Depth potentiometer controls only work in the “Vibrato” mode. However, the “Chorus” feature was nothing but a Vibrato using fixed values for speed and depth.

Later on, some JC-series amplifiers (including JC-120H) labelled the control more accurately: Chorus (Manual/Off/Fixed). The potentiometer controls (now labelled Rate and Depth) naturally worked only in manual mode while fixed mode had - surprise - fixed values.

Both circuits were identical, only labelling in the front panel was different.

The initial, somewhat confusing labelling still remains in the JC-120 combos. I think the reason for this is that some people believe that Vibrato and Chorus are different features and would get upset if either one was suddenly “removed”.

Yes there are many versions of these amps. Since its a darn clean amp to begin with they all sound about the same. I think that you could spot some differences though assuming there was a change to A/B different versions. Some of those amps used (now obsolete) ICs in the preamp, some had discrete preamps, some had preamps based on OpAmps. The model of BBD chips and the chorus circuit has been revised few times, as well as the front panel switches (either rotary or rocker ones) and some of the features housed in the rear panel. There were also some minor differences that I can't remember from top of the head.

I don't know about the newest versions but based on how widely alternate revisions of JC-120's seem to differ I wouldn't be surprised if the new ones had a digital chorus (after all, manufacturing of BBDs has been discontinued) and two 60W chip amps for power section.
 
BIGKAHUNA 9/15/2009 1:27 AM
Best SS amp for me, hands down was the Peavey XXL Combo. Awesome practice amp with serviceable tone all the way around.

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the...I know I'll get hammered for this....Crate G40C. Dirt poor and trying survive in the 80's its all I had...actually mic'd it up and did a few shows at a hole in the wall bar. Ahhhh those were the days May I never re-live that again!
 
Slobrain 9/16/2009 12:31 PM
Wow,

Who would have thunk this thread would would live as long as it has???

Long live SS amps...

BTW, my favorite SS amp right now is a older Fender Frontman 25R with the metal grill on the front. Its a decent amp if you run it thru a 2x12 cab with celestions and only play it at home in the bedroom... I also run a Ibanez Distortion charger pedal and a digidelay pedal on the clean channel though using a custom made strat.

Good for just noodling. I don't know if it would work for a gig though since I do not gig anymore due to health problems.
 
GorgoJr. 10/23/2009 1:34 PM
Yes BIGKAHUNA,
I've got a Crate G40c, and it actually has a great sound, especially the distortion. The problem is, it really is too much amp for the two little 8 or 10" speakers it has! No problem with the highs, but when I crank the bass all the way up, including the volume---the little speakers can't handel it properly, causing the tone to degrade. The G40c, has enough power to use a 4x12, and most likely even two.

I also have a Peavey Pacer from back in the day, and it's loudness impresses me. The sound is very usable.

Then there is my old "Monster"---The Crate GX130ch---head!!
It needs a very quality 4X12 to get the most out of it though; I'm using it through a single 15 watt PA speaker from the 70's at the moment---so it can get muddy with the volume past 5. Brutal---and I do mean Brutal---Old School Metal sound!!!

I actually like old stuff better than modern things; anything from amps, guitars, and even computers!
 
Steve A. 10/23/2009 4:43 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Slobrain View Post
Well,
I'll try to see who all wants to get in on this one.
We all have had SS amps before we went to tube amps...
Ummm... when I started playing I don't think that there were SS amps. At least any that were pro quality... I got my first guitar amp in 1966 and did not buy a SS amp until 1978- a 20 watt Peavey Studio Pro.

This looks like an interesting thread and I want to come back to read it.

Thanks!

Steve Ahola
 
Phostenix 10/23/2009 5:56 PM
Does a Boss GT-Pro count as an amp? I run it into 2 Tapco Thump TH-15A powered PAs & I have to say that it's the best guitar-related purchase I've made. It's not perfect, but I've never been more satisfied with any piece of gear. I love the versatility. My favorite setup right now is a TS9>Compressor>dual Mesa clean channels>Korg G4 in the stereo effects loop. Stunning stereo rotary sounds.

The Crate GT3500H has really impressed me so far, too. I think this has to be one of the most underrated amps I've played. Search the internet for this amp & all you'll read is how %$#@&^% loud it is or what a great metal amp it is. First of all, I run it through 1 or 2 single 12's and it's very usable at low levels, and the clean channel is great! The lead channel has an impressive amount of flexibility. The tone controls on both channels have far more range than the typical FMV tone stack. The Solo channel is what you'd expect - loads of gain that sings into feedback, but you can have totally scooped mids or big, cutting mids. I'm really surprised at how much ground this thing can cover.

The only thing it can't really do is a nice mellow blues sound that breaks up a little when pushed. You can set the lead channel with low gain, but the breakup is a little too edgy (for me). I'm going to try some pedals into the clean channel or a volume pedal in the loop with the clean channel cranked.

They've been selling on ebay for $200 or less lately. I'm tempted to get another one....
 
Phostenix 10/23/2009 6:00 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
Ummm... when I started playing I don't think that there were SS amps.
Steve Ahola
Now that you mention it, my first was a SF Vibro Champ & I went from that to an Ampeg VL-503. I really hadn't looked at amps in years, and once I got the GT-Pro, I settled in again....
 
Leif H 10/23/2009 6:52 PM
Best SS amp I ever owned, I gave away...

Roland Jazz Chorus 77, it had an awesome sound, and the reverb really could work a Dick Dale vibe with my Marauder.
 
jvb 10/23/2009 7:41 PM
Best for guitar, Vox AD50VT. Great blackface and tweed emulations
Worst for guitar, Savage 150 (70's Aussie head)


Best for bass, MarkBass LM2
Worst for bass, Behringer 300watt. Cheap but no guts and crap tone
 
RichardM 10/26/2009 12:16 AM
[IMG]http://www.users.on.net/~r.b.murray/Richard/Graphics/Guitars/Amps/Yamaha%20G212B.jpg[/IMG]
 
Leif H 10/26/2009 5:01 AM
Quote Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
[IMG]http://www.users.on.net/~r.b.murray/Richard/Graphics/Guitars/Amps/Yamaha%20G212B.jpg[/IMG]
I have a Yammy 115B, it's similar to the one under your 212b. Not a bad Bass amp. Then again the one I have is not in good health. I suspect that the input jacks are toast as they are pcb mounted. I just haven't had the time or inclination to have at it yet.
 
Zouto 10/26/2009 5:54 AM
Sessionette 75
The best solidstate amp I played in all the years is a blond Sessionette 75 combo Mk.II with an old 12"Fane Axiom speaker.It sounds just great in clean and drive mode, is powerful and absolutely compact, sort of a true classic.
Zouto
 
Pedro Vecino 10/30/2009 4:11 PM
[img]http://www.bymcomunicacion.com/pvecino/john/renown.jpg[/img]
 
ParthaD 12/3/2009 1:54 PM
Not an amp but ever try the Korg Pandora PX5D??!!
This is not even an amp but if used in the way I am about to describe, it will blow your mind!

Most people who diss this device have just used an ordinary pair of headphones with it, perhaps Korg was trying to say something when they provided a 1/4" headphone jack, NOT the standard 3.5mm one! How would your tube/ss amp sound if you disconnected the 4-8 ohm speakers and connect a 16 or 32 ohm one instead? Same thing, standard headphones are 16 ohms per side while the old 80s studio-style headphones are 8 ohms per side... its a night and day difference. I am using an old Pioneer SE200 set of headphones with it.

It sounds great without any modification but if you connect a $29 Art Tube Preamp between your guitar and the device the sound is even sweeter! Try getting a really good tube/ss amp in less than $200, now try getting 25 of them at that price, that's how many amps this models, and does so WELL!!!

Gigging... again people who diss this for gigging have usually just connected a standard instrument cable between the device and their amp and sometimes not even into the FX loop but between their instrument and main input. The output jack on this is STEREO.... how would headphones sound if you removed one side from your ears??!! You need a Radioshack stereo to mono adapter that combines the two channels or you could try using their included Y-stereo adapter and connect 2 standard instrument cables to 2 channels on your main amp or PA.

Of course band members will not think it is cool, and I am not recommending gigging with it but if you have one lying around try what I just said and you may be surprised. And yes I do have decent tube amps and really good ss amps and with my eyes closed and this thing equalized just right I cannot tell what amp I am playing, have been playing the electric guitar for 29 years!

 
unparalleled 12/3/2009 6:44 PM
Quote Originally Posted by black_labb View Post
i have a fender frontman 212 r (100w amp with 2 12" speakers and reverb) not too bad an amp. nice clean sound and reasonable distortion. i hadn't owned a tube amp yet (atleast not a completed one) until last night when i picked up my monster

the solidstate amp is more versatile, but the gap may close once i clean the pots on the new amp, its been sitting in someones garage for 20 years so the pots are mighty scratchy, and there are only some spots where they make contact. ive got some cleaner so ill get going on that tonight.
Wasp 200xl circuits and info:
Classic ANZ Valve Guitar Amplifiers
I did the restoration on the wasp 200xl featured there.
Heaps of them come to my service workshop. Their POWER is earth shattering!
 
Jazz P Bass 12/4/2009 8:49 AM
Peavey Sc400
My all time favorite is the Peavey Stereo Chorus 400.
 
Phostenix 12/4/2009 11:32 PM
It seems that most of the effort by manufacturers of SS amps is to get overdrive/distortion that sounds like tubes, but the thing I always notice that's missing with SS amps is the clean channel chime of a tube amp. That's what never sounds "right" to me with SS amps. I'm guessing that's why the Roland JC-120 is so popular - add a little chorus to get the chime?
 
Steve Conner 12/5/2009 2:43 AM
Well, the chime is a kind of distortion too. It's just mild enough that it doesn't register mentally as actual distortion.

It's actually harder to get this mild distortion with silicooties than with tubes. Heavy distortion is easy, because by that time everything is square waves, and the main thing that determines the tone is the duty cycle of the square wave and how it varies with the degree of overdrive. A square wave is a square wave, no matter what device it comes out of.

But with lighter distortion, you start to hear the non-linearities of the devices themselves. And tubes are fundamentally different in this respect. Transistors and clipping diodes are exponential, JFETs are square-law, but tubes follow a three-halves power law.

You can't exactly copy the three-halves power curve, but JFET circuits like the so-called "Fetzer valve" come reasonably close. They're useless in mass production though, because JFET parameters vary so much that every Fetzer valve needs trimmed by hand. And then they drift with temperature, like your grandpa's germanium Fuzz Face. It's probably cheaper to add a 12AX7 and make the amp a hybrid.
 
Phostenix 12/5/2009 5:01 AM
And that, my friend, is why we're going to digital modelling!
 
Steve Conner 12/5/2009 5:36 AM
What, are the EU going to ban tubes as well?

Some people still appreciate simple analog circuits that do one thing properly, instead of digital models that make a hundred half-assed attempts at a hundred different things.

(How many people in this thread nominated a digital modeller as their favourite amp?)
 
R.G. 12/5/2009 8:00 AM
Thomas Organ Vox Royal Guardsman.
UK Vox Supreme/Conqueror/Defiant.
 
imaradiostar 12/5/2009 8:05 AM
I'm surprised no one has chimed in about a valvestate marshall- I've heard a few that sounded decent before I gut them for parts and build tube amps out of them.

I think it's interesting that the valvestate marshalls are hybrids using a tube for only the cathode follower on the gain channel.

My first amp was an early crate, not sure of the model. I still have the 2 "crate" looking 1x12 cabs with original eminence 4 ohm 12's that came with it but the head is long gone. It had pretty decent clean sounds and worked well with pedals but the distortion it generated with the gain knob cranked up was pretty terrible. I liked the reverb though- not super deep and surfy but in a good way.

jamie
 
Phostenix 12/5/2009 7:52 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
(How many people in this thread nominated a digital modeller as their favourite amp?)
That would be me. I'm seriously thinking about selling everything except the Boss GT-Pro, Korg G4, EH Q Tron, and maybe a Boss BF-2. I want to wait another generation for the Fractal Axe, but I think that's where I'm headed.

Every time I play the GT-Pro, I just can't see myself going back to amps & pedals. I love having all the options at the push of a button.

Now I just need to find someone in the Phoenix area who wants an Ampeg VL-503 - too heavy to ship....
 
DIY_Guy 12/7/2009 7:33 PM
As much of a tube snob as I am, I do think there are some amazing SS amps out there.

JC-120 for cleans, older Valvestate heads, and the OT'd Peavey XXL are all great, but unfortunately are all one trick ponies. But they are good at the one trick they do.

Another amp that hasn't been mentioned, but was very well received in the metal scene, is the Ampeg VH-140c. I had one for about 10 years and then parted with it, now I can't find one in a decent condition.
 
Boy Howdy 12/16/2009 1:50 PM
I played one of those in Guitar Center once. I was really surprised how good the distortion sounded. Apparently it impressed others as well, it got me invited by an employee to participate in their guitar playing contest (which I won). The clean sound though was completely lifeless and dull as I recall it.
 
Boy Howdy 12/16/2009 2:04 PM
Todd Rundgren used Sunn SS amps on his live Utopia album. Amazing! John McLaughlin used them on occasion in the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Back in the mid Seventies, I played my keyboard player's Sunn Concert head through a 4x12 one night and was shocked at how good it sounded. Wanted immediately to dump my way too heavy and way too loud Ampeg V-4.

Frank Marino used Acoustic SS amps to great effect in Mahogany Rush. Amazing sounds!
 
Boy Howdy 12/16/2009 2:12 PM
I did many a gig with either a 250ml or rl (head only version). I used to plug up a couple of JBLs 12s in two abandoned Deluxe Reverb cabinets that I attached closed backs to. Sounded really good at times. I used EMGs and an MXR Microamp built into my guitar so it was pretty darn bright, but otherwise.

Later on I used a Strat with it - I did some recording with that rig. It was a bit cold and sterile sounding on the clean stuff. The distorted stuff sounded just okay for rhythms, but I have this one thing I recorded where I used a Univibe through the distortion channel for a solo. Stunning! I've never gotten a better sound.
 
bozzy369 1/16/2010 1:59 AM
Randall Rd100es
The Randall rd100es is the best ss amp i've owned.I know what most are thinking ,thats the Pantera amp,but I tell you if you just plug into it ,you can't sound like dimebag .The amp is really warm for a ss,the sound is closer to brown then the way beyond driven tone its touted to have.The clean is kinda lackluster,but add a little chorus and it livens up amazingly.The distorntion as said is really brown,and enough gain for most players,need more?Just pull the treable knob out and you get even more gain,but the volume drops in half.Randall later made a little box you connect between the line out and the speaker out and this kinda fixes the drop,most do a mod to the amp to fix it as well.Only downfall?The tone really changes as the volume increases so there are sweet spots and not so sweet spots mine sounded really sweet at 4-5,above that the transistors start to show up in the tone,but for some reason at full volume the thing gets a really hendrix type tone but it is so loud most can't bear it .Now can this amp sound like dime?yeah with alot of effects and the right guitar and of course the right player.I got van halen tones alot easier.well thats my 2cents.
 
Timstonepizza 1/24/2010 9:34 AM
Best sounding SS amp you all have encountered
With out a doubt the best I have owed is the Ampeg VH-140C. Think roland jazz chorus and then multiply it by 100! I have two of these jems the clean is un-matched and the lead can do anything you want for real I can go from a SRV sound all the way to killswitch engage! Plus the stereo chorus on this thing is the best i've heard, reverb is useable. I usually disconnect the internal speakers and run one or two 4x12's in stereo. this thing has all the volume and tones you could ever need out of one little 2x12 combo! 140 watts stereo
buy one and you will not be disapointed! Just my 2 cents
See ya!
 
bozzy369 1/24/2010 9:37 PM
2+2=
are we up to 4 cents now?
 
tedmich 1/25/2010 7:37 PM
had a 50w Yamaha combo: worthless with no sustain.

there is a HUGE amount of love for a Fender Metalhead.... for death/doom/foestus reuben metal which likely means it sounds...


terrible!
 
bozzy369 1/25/2010 8:57 PM
yamaha
I had a 100 watt yamaha combo when i was a kid,the only thing i can say good about it was it was loud! It had a knob called distortion but that should have been labeled the suck knob,just plain awful distortion ,also it had 1 15 inch speaker insteed of the 212 setup.wasn't bad though if you ran really good pedals in front of it .
 
jrfrond 1/25/2010 9:04 PM
I'd like to add two amps I almost forgot about: Univox U130L and U200L, from their "Mobile Ohm" SS series. The reason for the selectable output impedance was that they had an OT! SS Class A/B with some iron you could saturate. Now THOSE amps had some tone and heat!!!
 
ozzybui 1/25/2010 11:27 PM
I had a chance to plug my strat in to an Evans amp model EG-601E and I have to say that it sounds like a Fender Twin Reverb. Amazing clean sound with reverb. I tried to find information about that amp. but couldn't. Does anybody know about this amp ?
 
Jared Purdy 2/8/2010 2:32 PM
Roland Cube 30 or 80
 
moonshine 2/18/2010 9:37 PM
Hi all,

Best preamp sound goes to Marshall Valvestate 80, with its LED clipping followed by a real tube. However this amp squeals like a pig and generally behaves very poorly at high volumes so it is not suitable for gigging unless miced. Second best is Laney TubeFusion 400, with some CMOS inverter stages that give a nice and somewhat tubey-sounding distortion. Never tried it on stage however. Of modeling amps, Vox is the best I've tried so far, it even seems to behave quite well when cranked.

I (nearly) always play hardcore/metal with gain maxed, so I don't know much about clean sounds, but in all transistor amps I've tried cleans suck, badly. If I need to play such a beast, I put a pedal tube preamp in front of it with very low gain settings and the sound is improved from horrible to OK. So it seems that even for a clean guitar sound, some tubey distortion is desirable, perhaps even more important than for leads.
 
LeoZeppelin 2/20/2010 7:56 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Slobrain View Post
The best was maybe a early 80's Peavey Renown 2x12 that I ran thru an old marshall 4x12 cab in the clubs. This amp at the time fit the hard rock style I was playing, Sabbath, Crue, Ozzy, Priest, Scorpions and many others.

Slobrain
Out of curiosity, wasn't Tony Iommi mostly using Orange and Laney? Orange rocks ! I don't know for sure if he changed amps later or not, though.
 
poorboybrad 2/21/2010 12:23 AM
I use to have a sand-amp myself until the cabinet got borrowed when I was fixing the amp. I, also, used a tube screamer to push it into overdrive. I remember it had a lot of personality to it, but I think it was the sand filled cabinet more than the actual amp itself. seemed like they were strangely unreliable tho. Maybe I had a lemon. knows.

I played through a bandit 112 after I fixed it for my high school a few years ago and I REALLY like the active eq and distortion sounds. I plan to incorporate some of those circuits into a stand-alone pre amp someday.

A gorilla practice amp came home with me from a pawn shop once. It was like 15 watts and had a 6.5 inch speaker. had a tube driver knob or something on it. Absolutely horrible. I plan on putting in some tube amp guts into it someday.
 
Steve Conner 2/21/2010 3:38 AM
The Peavey Bandit was very popular. It came out in the metal era, and had some really brutal distortion that metal players loved. I remember wanting one when I was at high school, but couldn't afford it.
 
stratburst 2/27/2010 9:03 AM
Music Man
That would be a Music Man 2-12 130 (script One-Thirty) with 6L6's. I picked up this amp back in the early Eighties because Claptan used one. I figued good enough for him good enough for me right?

I have bought and sold countless great amps over the years, and have Tweed and Blackface Fenders and some awesome Marshalls but I never could let this one go. With a little EQ and some help with an OD pedel this amp sings like a Marshall but more smooth and sweat. Great amp!
 
Prairie Dawg 3/10/2010 6:33 PM
I had a Power-Sonic in high school that was pretty good-you guys still haven't found me one to replace the one that got flooded out in 1970. Made in New Jersey, good components, big Oxford speakers....the old ones had a lightning bolt on the front that'd flash on and off.
So find me one and I'd prolly buy it for shock value.
 
hasserl 3/15/2010 6:15 PM
Quote Originally Posted by hasserl View Post
I've got a solid state 2 x 10" combo amp from Mitchell out of Riverside CA, circa '77 - '78, called a Sand Amp 100. I believe the Sand Amp reference was not so much for the silicon used in the amplification, as for the material used in the cabinet. The cab is double walled and the space between the walls is filled with sand. It has a closed back with a large front open port. The amp sounds great, as good as most any tube amp I"ve played, though not real high gain. It was my practice and gig amp for years back in the day, and I still have it out in the garage underneath a stack of more recent finds. I dug it out awhile ago and plugged it in and was reminded of what a good amp it is. I could still use it today. I still have the old Ibanez Tube Screamer I use to use to get more grind out of it when I needed it.

Another real nice SS amp is one of my newer purchases, a Crate Powerblock. If you haven't tried one of these yet do yourself a favor and go try one. I picked mine up cheap, brand new and in the box for about $79.00. This is now my backup amp I take along with me to gigs. It's so small and light it's incredible, but it packs a lot of power and sounds very good.
Quote Originally Posted by poorboybrad View Post
I use to have a sand-amp myself until the cabinet got borrowed when I was fixing the amp. I, also, used a tube screamer to push it into overdrive. I remember it had a lot of personality to it, but I think it was the sand filled cabinet more than the actual amp itself. seemed like they were strangely unreliable tho. Maybe I had a lemon. knows.

I played through a bandit 112 after I fixed it for my high school a few years ago and I REALLY like the active eq and distortion sounds. I plan to incorporate some of those circuits into a stand-alone pre amp someday.

A gorilla practice amp came home with me from a pawn shop once. It was like 15 watts and had a 6.5 inch speaker. had a tube driver knob or something on it. Absolutely horrible. I plan on putting in some tube amp guts into it someday.
Hey what do you know, another Sand Amp player.

[IMG]http://www.jedistar.com/images/amp/mitchell_amp.jpg[/IMG]

Kind of odd looking I suppose, with the expanded metal grill and exposed speakers. But I'm telling you this is a very nice sounding amp. I didn't have reliability issues with mine, I gigged it and used it at practices for probably hundreds of times.

Apparently the circuit was borrowed (or bought) from QSC who marketed a version as their Bantam.
 
javelin 3/17/2010 2:50 PM
Best Solid State Amp Opinion... LAB SERIES
I recently picked up a Lab Series II 100 Watt Head for $50
checked it out found a broken fuse filament ( not burned )... changed it and instantly became convinced this is the best sounding SS amp I have ever owned,this amp is totally unlike any SS amp I have owned,( Ovation, Peavey,Fender,Marshall,Traynor,Yorkville etc etc,it responds to my guitar with depth and that "bring it on old school growl"that commands respect.....I had been keeping a Marshall Mosfet head but there's no point as I wont' ever use it again after feeling how the Lab Series reacts....... Javelin
 
R ski 3/17/2010 3:24 PM
Back in the 90's I repaired a solid state amp I believe was GBX (Canadian made maybe) it consisted of a head and 4 X 12 speaker cabinet, not a wonderful distortion, however in clean mode this combo was awesome, it was loud an clear with my tele

A equipment friend I knew back in those days was always flipping amps and guitars, one retro 70's or 80 combo he purchased had square buttons for chorus and some other cheesy effect. the amp was not a stellar sounding combo but the pair of celestions sounded creamy and loud when I patched my 1st tube head through those speakers.
 
slick8ball 4/4/2010 1:39 PM
Long live solid state
Hey, I use only solid state.I have had some tube amps in my life such as a Fender Blues Deluxe, Peavey Classic, Fender Dual Showman,and Peavey Deuce.They all sounded great and best on clean settings.I used pedals for distortion like a tube screamer or those yellow Boss things even back in the late seventies.I have blown tubes in every tube amp while playing a gig.I also had a peavey pacer which with the tube screamer kicked the Classic's butt, an Acoustic 400 or some number like that (real harsh but loud) a load of solid state deluxe 95's and 65's(SS Fender).I have used Zoom ,Boss and Line 6 modeling pedals with solid state amps since the 90's.These have been the stage and deluxe Fenders and now I have two great amps for this way of playing: a Fender Ultimate Chorus and a Crate SX212.The Crate is the best so far.I don't use the distotion channel on a SS amp.The worst by far was the Acoustic.I really love the sound of a Dumble or Vox or early Fender.I also love old Boogie Amps, but with current technology the proximity of Line 6 XT to a Dumble or Mesa amp through my Clean channel is better sounding and way more reliable than most tube amps.
 
slick8ball 4/4/2010 2:36 PM
oops! it's GX
My best solid state amp is a GX212 not SX that was one of my worst guitars.The main thing by the way, that I can hear to make my tone sound great is of course the model and amp combination but equally important to me are Anico pickups preferably Alnico 2's like old Fender and Gibson pickups and My current ones Seymour Duncan sh-1's.I put them in a Tele custom Squier.My other guitar is a Strat I built out of parts bought online.It is part Squier too. and has Alnico 2 single coil pickups.Other pickups don't have the hollow,well defined sound no matter what amp I use.Solid state amps are great for using like a P.A. for digital modeling pedals.I personally played the Spider and did not like it.I never played a real Dumble but that setting on my Pod Xt Live is only rivaled in my opinion by the Dual Showman my dad had in the sixties.
 
sebgreen 5/29/2010 1:07 PM
I tried a new Bandit 112 and they're great, the clean sound is nice and he distortion is pretty brutal as you say. The great thing is you can coax pretty much any tone out of it thanks to the vicing switches. And it doesn't have any built in shitty effects.
 
Brad707 5/29/2010 11:34 PM
JC-120
I second the diss for the little peavey Bandit in the first or second post. I think it knocked out some upper frequencies from my hearing in high school.

However I think the Roland JC-77 is the most beautiful SS amp I have heard, and maybe JC-120 close.

I had a (Yamaha?..maybe peavey) head that was amazing too for a while, no reverb, nothing, just some kick ass volume and a few tone controls...100w i think. It sung with a DS-1 and delay in front of it. On a closed back 2x12 cabinet rarely sounded muddy.
 
Han die Blume 5/30/2010 11:40 AM
My best SS-Amp was a "Rath Amp" 5050, a stereo head with 2x 50 Watts and two Channels. The other Rath´s like the 103 or the 63 are very well sounding amps too.

[IMG]http://www.guitarmaniacs.de/gallery_pics/fUdzqbcPeo34xdKYB89Punym0.jpg[/IMG]
 
bigsmitty 5/30/2010 7:42 PM
Back in the 80s plugged my marshall lead 12 headphone out into my buddy's Harmon Kardon stereo, sounded killer.
 
Chuck H 5/30/2010 11:55 PM
Long thread (and I'm not going back to read every post, so this has probably already been mentioned, but) I played through a small Roland amp about a year ago. It sounded great, sorry I can't remember the exact model. Those 'slightly distorted, touch sensative' tones that tube amps have weren't there but the high gain and clean tones were entirely gig acceptable. Hands down the best high gain fully solid state tone I've heard and the cleans were reminicent of the old JC series amps. The JC series amps from early Roland efforts have a very good rep for good reason. Overall I'd say that Roland has the solid state thing in the bag for guitar amps. Though I'm still partial to the Peavey Bandit as I owned one and have NO complaints.

Chuck
 
Hurricane 5/31/2010 2:25 PM
My Polytone Mini Brute lll/lV/V/M-PA
Many a post starts with something like :

We alll started with ss amps and then ...................

But nope not moi .

It's was and always had been tubes . Through the years I had seen many nice sounding ss guitar amps like MusicMan that did cut it like the Roland 120 Chorus , but for me nope , especially for electrified harp ( Blues harmonica ) it's even more of a critical thing for harps and bullet mics .

Recently I was gifted one little 90 watt ss Polytone P . A . / guitar - harp amp in mint condition . Here's a youtube video with a really nice example of a sweet little ss amp that covers vocals as well :
YouTube - Polytone demo

And ..........

If your a mild mannered man/woman during the day and screaming Jump Blues harp blowing and or guitar monster at night , well this baby really is a stellar performer . and just what the Dr. ordered

I hook my DAW to it with it's flexibility ( stomps - fxs - and stuff ) with a Roland GR33 guitar synthesizer and my Godin LGXSA + one vocal mic and a bullet mic fo dee harps and I'm off to the races , great little system for small venues as a P . A . / instruments application and a more than decent small club guitar/harp amp too

It's got 3 channels and sports a vintage spring Hammond B3 reverb too ! I love it . Runs two Polytone spkrs with a 12" and a 8" spkr in each cabinet . It's light as a feather too so eat your hearts out .........

...... and .........

I paid $18.00 at a Thrift Shop hee hee hee heh heh heh

This thing is scary too when I put my Squier PBASS through it with a slight delay and stuff to get a " Weather Report " feel going , it's a killer to be sure .

Ebay has from time to time one exactly like mine and there are always many more models there to be had .....

- - but - -

.......not for $18,00 ! ! lol

Easy I'm going to play with my Polytone heh heh heh

Hurricane Ramon
 
Prairie Dawg 6/6/2010 10:45 AM
I wish one of youse guys would find me a Pwr Sonic a/k/a Powersonic, ss amp so I can relive my misspent youth.


Made in New Jersey, bought from Rondo Music along about 1967.

SS, 50w combo with reverb and vibrato, 12 inch oxfords, loud and clean.

Please please please
 
xonglennao 6/14/2010 12:27 PM
Your links don't work, but I know what you're talking about.

Look, here's the skinny.

SS amps use transistors to amplify. The watt rating is where the transistors start saturating, and unfortunately transistors sound like poo when they saturate (ie, overload). Transistors don't need any extra circuitry, though, so SS amps tend to be lighter. They also don't need much in the way of maintenance, except maybe a look-over every couple of years, cleaning out a jack, etc.

Tube amps use vacuum tubes to amplify. Tubes are rated weird compared to transistors, I'll just simplify it and say that one tube watt = 1.5 to 3 solid state watts, ie, they sound way louder. The closer a tube gets to being overloaded the more it spits out lots of musically pleasing harmonics. This is the "sweet tube sound" or "tube mojo" that people talk about. Tubes need heater circuits and bigger power filters, so tube amps tend to be heavier. One of the coolest things about tubes are that you can swap out similar types of tubes and get different sounds out of your amp. Theoretically tubes could break or blow, so its good to have backups. They should also be replaced every year or two. Tubes need about a minute to warm up, that's what the standby switch is for.

That Fender Champ is a tube amp, and it's a really nice-sounding amp, too. It's been a while since I've seen one, I went with an Epiphone Valve Jr. instead. For being rated low in watts, they pack quite a bit of punch! I don't know if a combo is going to be right if you want to jam with a full band, but it's just fine for one on one work, as long as the other person isn't trying to crank their 4x12 or anything.

What I ended up doing was getting an Epi head, instead of the combo, and have been plugging it into a 4x12. I use a couple of pedals, and I've got a raging monster, easily capable of jamming with a full band (okay, it's a really good 4x12, but you know what I mean).

If you were looking at a ss amp, then I would check out Marshall and Vox, as they traditionally tend to sound pretty good over a variety of different styles.

While 5 watts is okay with a tube amp, you would never want less than 30 watts for a solid state amp, as it will just sound crappy. Larger speakers are better - a 12" speaker is waaaaay better than an 8"! Better articulation, better bass response, doesn't saturate as easily, all that stuff.
 
rms 6/14/2010 2:01 PM
New to this forum and just found this thread. I have been playing tube amps since the 60s (Fender). I did use a number of big Kustom amps like Fogerty in the 70s and I liked those.

I have tried my share of modeling stuff. I seem to buy every thing new and return it. I have some issues and can't lug the heavy stuff anymore. Over the past 5 years, I have gigged often with a Roland Cube 30.

In the 90s I was using a Fender Stage 100 for a few years with a Morley JD-10 in fron tof it.

Last week I purchased a Frontman 65R and I think it has a wonderful clean channel like most of Fender's tube or solid state amps.

Call me crazy but I am going SS all the way now. I am tired of retubing. No one but me can hear the difference once the whole band starts playing any way.

I have a question though. With tube amps, I have always put better caps in or replaced them over time, changed tubes, put in bigger transfermores etc.

Is there any tone wise value to changing the caps to better caps in a SS amp? Making the power supply beefier? Thanks.
 
Hurricane 6/15/2010 1:03 AM
One More Time
This one works . just checked it now .

YouTube - Polytone demo


HR
 
KGR7 3/29/2013 3:57 PM
PWR Sonic"The Thunderer"
Quote Originally Posted by Prairie Dawg View Post
I had a Power-Sonic in high school that was pretty good-you guys still haven't found me one to replace the one that got flooded out in 1970. Made in New Jersey, good components, big Oxford speakers....the old ones had a lightning bolt on the front that'd flash on and off.
So find me one and I'd prolly buy it for shock value.
Dear Mr. Dawg,

Dude, I have one!!! I'll sell it for what I paid (plus shipping) 300 bucks it works and kicks ass ;-) the bulb needs replacing in the lightning-bolt tho'

Pics on request....
 
tonybassman1 3/30/2013 9:35 PM
Pwr Sonic Amp
Quote Originally Posted by Prairie Dawg View Post
I had a Power-Sonic in high school that was pretty good-you guys still haven't found me one to replace the one that got flooded out in 1970. Made in New Jersey, good components, big Oxford speakers....the old ones had a lightning bolt on the front that'd flash on and off.
So find me one and I'd prolly buy it for shock value.
Hey Prarie Dawg,

I was looking up information regarding my Pwr Sonic Amp and I came across your thread. I have one in my possession in good condition. Everything is functional. If you are interested you can email me at aimpavido@verizon.net.

Thanks,

Tony
 
Prairie Dawg 4/3/2013 7:00 AM
Somebody PM'd me about a Power sonic. Can you do that again? I seem to have lost the return address.
 
tonepoet 4/3/2013 12:06 PM
One SS amp that surprised me with how warm and chimey its clean sound was is the little AMPEG G-100 combo amp. I think it's about 65 watts with a 10" speaker. No frills, no reverb. Just volume, bass and treble with an on/off switch. But a very believable tube-like warm clean sound.
 
Chuck H 4/3/2013 8:14 PM
There are a surprising amount of SS amps out there that do a good clean tone. That is, not flat, blatty and dry. And, of course, SS distortion is a staple in guitar tone. I still miss my 1984 RAT box (incidentally, there is a good reissue of that box. But I haven't gotten one yet). It's really the tweener stuff where tubes shine. With their more musical distortion, jumping voltages and reactive dynamics. A good clean boost pedal and a tube amp is a do all rig. But if all you need is clean and balls out clipping I think SS designs do really well. And, FWIW, Peavey has really done good things with their TransTube designs that get closer to that coveted tube amp feel for slightly to moderately distorted tones. But I don't foresee other companies, or even Peavey following up on the idea. The trend is toward digital emulation.
 
DrGonz78 4/4/2013 1:19 AM
I recently bought a 1978 Barcus-Berry XL8 solid state amp, rather I bought it for a jazz player friend. He had this amp years ago and just talked it up. So, when I saw it on Ebay I got it for him. Very rare amp to find and have read it is similar to Standel type solid state amps. I was amazed by the tone of the amp after cleaning it up. It has this organic hollow sound that was extremely natural to the tone of my guitar. Very simple circuit design and pretty decent components on the board. Just a great jazz amp!

The other one that blew me away was a mint condition Polytone Mini Brute II that I bought. That amp sounded better than any solid state amp I have ever played.
 
XxIPxX 4/7/2013 10:41 AM
Valvestate VS265

very lush chorus, gain stages rock, it's the only amp I've found I can gig all night without bringing my effects bag..

[ATTACH=CONFIG]22730[/ATTACH]
 
Steve A. 5/1/2013 3:40 PM
For solid state amps I would differentiate between analog and digital. At this point I think that is a bigger distinction than that between tube and solid state. So here are the currently available 100% analog ss amps that I would recommend:

Fender Princeton 65 (1999).
These sell used for $100-150 and have a really great clean channel- with 65 watts you will be heard. The OD channel needs to be modded to get decent sounds but the Normal channel takes pedals very well so in lieu of mods I would suggest running an OD pedal. These amps are LOUD so a master volume is a good addition. Adding a MV to a ss amp using op amps is very easy and very transparent. There is a 47k NFB resistor R59 on U5a which is the last op amp stage in the preamp and is immediately before the pre out and power in jacks which then goes into the power amp section. If only it was so easy to add a completely transparent MV to a tube amp! Recommended mods for the Normal channel include an adjustable mid control and a switch for the treble cap, which work just like they do in the BF tone stack only the values are adjusted for the lower impedance (capacitance x 10, resistance divided by 10.) BTW the Princeton 112+ for maybe $25 less is also good but requires more mods (main one is replacing the 470R mid resistor with the 1K8 value used in the P65.)

Champion 30 (1999) or Champion 110 (1992)
These sell used for $60-120 and are basically the same although the C110 has a 25 watt output while the C30 has 30 watts. They sound pretty good without mods if you fiddle with the controls- for me that would be keeping the treble and the Drive channel gain controls turned down to 1.5 or 2. I really like the distortion when you crank up the Normal channel; it ain't BF breakup but it ain't bad either. As with the Princeton 65 and 112+ you are better off running an OD pedal into the Normal channel. BTW all 4 of these amps have real spring reverb and have cabinets built like tanks.

Steve Ahola

P.S. Whatever amp I am working on is always "the best amp ever" to me so there is that bias- but these really are great amps for blue, country and all of the varieties of roots rock.And with pedal they are also great for classic hard rock.
 
Slobrain 3/3/2014 12:38 PM
Its funny but I did a recording with a Boss ME 50 thru the clean channel of a Fender 65R and it sounded pretty darn good, a couple of people asked what I was using and I didn't really want to say a Fender Frontman 65R...

My daughter has a small Fender 25R with the metal grill and surprisingly that little amp doesn't sound too bad, pretty good for a practice amp...

RMS, don't sell all your tube amps just for SS amps... I did that some years back and got really stupid and sold and old Marshall non master 50 watt head... I could have kicked myself as that was the second time I did that in the last many years. SS is fun for a while but you will miss the tube tone...
 
Alan0354 3/3/2014 2:42 PM
I have not tested any SS lately, but I was very impressed with the Fender Deluxe 112 back in the 90s.
 
Slobrain 3/6/2014 9:11 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Alan0354 View Post
I have not tested any SS lately, but I was very impressed with the Fender Deluxe 112 back in the 90s.
I had on of those Deluxe 112, it was a good sounding amp. I Liked it.

Here is a youtube video of a old 1981 Peavey special.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSO7...bNNvObX4QdH6TA

The sound quality of the video camera isn't that good.
 
woodstock1 5/28/2014 4:04 PM
ah- acoustic control amps- Alvin lee 260 model.........the 470.........the 230 albert king.......sunn ......a la leslie west......all these are a gas when used with outboard distortion pedals [and noise gates].......sustain and compression- a heck of a lot of fun.....me, I don't get on too well with tube amps anymore......and am proud to defend ss amps......!.......
 
Alex R 5/28/2014 5:23 PM
The modern Vox Pathfinder 15R is a lovely amp. A customer who plays swing and jump showed me one, it has this soft vintage crunch with a woody sounding guitar.

In the UK a genius called Stewart Ward made the Sessionette 75, I try to have a couple about as 'courtesy amps' for customers in need of a spare, 100 watts of headroom, gorgeous chime and again a nice soft crunch. He's making SS amps again:

Award Session Website. ClearTone Custom Cables, Standard Cables, Session amplifiers, Sessionette, RetroTone
 
jbltwin1 5/29/2014 5:00 PM
I really kind of think that the "best" tag has to be clarified by what kind of MUSIC you are wanting to do. Best clean SS amp for a jazzy type tone(and I am NOT a jazzy type guitar player) was an old Acoustic 150 head through almost anything as far as cabs. I played it through a Acoustic 204 cab(4x12) and it was great. Actually sounded really good pedaled too. Other than that. most SS stuff really is lacking in touch sensitivity and drive. They can be loud bud not a lot of definition. That being said, the original solo for reeling in the years (the last one, I think) was done with Eliot playing through a bass amp. Not really sure of manufacture or SS or tube but who can argue the results! I recorded a version of this and used an old PA head with my pedal board in front of it. Worked fine. You never KNOW what will work until you try it! Mike.
 
KGR7 5/29/2014 9:50 PM
I have the craziest old thing; it's called "The Thunderer" by PWR Sonic. Never seen another (although someone on this board years ago said he'd owned one) it has two Oxford twelves (dated '72) [ATTACH=CONFIG]29056[/ATTACH] It's badassedness incarnate. The tremelo is otherworldly and can be "mixed" with the dry signal from the non-tremelo channel...it needs a little love but is definitely a great sounding amp. It also has a kickstand in the back and the plexi-glass logo lights-up (with a new bulb)...
 
Slobrain 6/1/2014 10:32 AM
[QUOTE=Steve Conner;13716]I don't care what anyone says, the Peavey Bandit combo that Slobrain hates sounded great for metal

4444QUOTE]


I was wrong, the Bandit 65 does sound good with a Boss ME50 ran thru it. Surprise....
 
Ramsay 6/6/2014 9:28 PM
A Peavey Bandit 112 with Celestion Vintage 30.
 
elipsey 6/19/2014 12:10 PM
+1 for frontman 212

A friend gave me his when he moved, and it was much better than I expected. I don't need another amp, and I have been meaning to sell it for a couple of years, but I can't quite bring myself to follow through. It's a great practice or rehearsal amp, imho. I think it's not as loud as even a smallish tube amp, but unlike most SS amps I have used, it sounds OK cranked, and hasn't broken yet. Clean channel is very clean, but maybe not quite as hi-fi as a jazz chorus, for example. Reverb sounds adequately fender-y, distortion channel sounds like a very good distortion pedal; if I could buy it as a pedal, I would. Bonus points: doesn't weigh a ton, and doesn't burn tubes while you practice. It would probably also be a good choice for teaching.

Downsides are maybe that the amp is very bright (I keep the treble at 4), and it doesn't have the best crunch sound -- it's either clean, or sounds like a distortion pedal, albeit a pretty good one. You might need a tubescreamer for that.

Cheers
 
Steve A. 6/19/2014 1:14 PM
Quote Originally Posted by elipsey View Post
Downsides are maybe that the amp is very bright (I keep the treble at 4), and it doesn't have the best crunch sound -- it's either clean, or sounds like a distortion pedal, albeit a pretty good one. You might need a tubescreamer for that.
The FM212 uses the same basic circuit that Fender has been using in their line of pro quality SS amps like the Deluxe 112+, with a few new tweaks not in the older amps. Their preamp circuit is very easy to modify to cut down the treble as well as the gain in the overdrive channel. With op amps there is a NFB resistor that allows you to set the gain from unity to infinity and beyond! Well, maybe not infinite gain but the maximum gain that the chip can produce...

If you know which side of a soldering iron to hold (hint: its not the sharp end that gets hot) I could give you a few suggestions. I would tell the whole world that this series of Fenders has some of the best ss amps ever but then that would raise the price of the used amps...

Steve

P.S. I haven't tried the FM212 so I don't know how the reverb or speakers sound- but I do know that the circuit is great!
 
teemuk 6/19/2014 10:02 PM
Fender has used the same solid-state preamp design with small variations from the days CBS sold the company to its executives and it became FMIC. Interestingly, there are also Asian OEM vendors that copied the design so I have seen the very same Fender preamp design in some OEM'd amps like certain Randall RG series models. There was also a "tube emulation" effect presented in some electronics magazine and it was practically another clone of Fender's preamp design.
 
Steve A. 6/20/2014 1:49 AM
Quote Originally Posted by teemuk View Post
Fender has used the same solid-state preamp design with small variations from the days CBS sold the company to its executives and it became FMIC.
So what were the SS amp models between 1985 and 1990 that you are referring to? I'd like to check out the schematics on them as part of my study of the evolution of those circuits. BTW were you referring to the Normal channel or the Abnormal, er, Drive channel? I like the basic design of both channels but at least for my ears they need some tweaking.

I don't think of the preamps being particularly tube-like but I guess that is just me. So was "Dynamic Response" part of the early design or added in later?

Thanks for all of the information!

Steve
 
ron vogel 6/20/2014 3:39 AM
Yeah, I used to gig with the stereo head version, with the matching GK 2 x 12 cab. The cab was so heavy! It sounds great, but you really have to tweak it for a good sound...I got fed up with fiddling with it on stage, and got a 2 x 12 Blues DeVille back when they first came out in the 90's...no more fiddling. The GK was very pricey when I bought it...IIRC all said and done with cab it was like $1500.

The only other SS amp I was ever fond of was a Fender M80.


Quote Originally Posted by Boy Howdy View Post
I did many a gig with either a 250ml or rl (head only version). I used to plug up a couple of JBLs 12s in two abandoned Deluxe Reverb cabinets that I attached closed backs to. Sounded really good at times. I used EMGs and an MXR Microamp built into my guitar so it was pretty darn bright, but otherwise.

Later on I used a Strat with it - I did some recording with that rig. It was a bit cold and sterile sounding on the clean stuff. The distorted stuff sounded just okay for rhythms, but I have this one thing I recorded where I used a Univibe through the distortion channel for a solo. Stunning! I've never gotten a better sound.
 
elipsey 6/20/2014 7:41 AM
Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
The FM212 uses the same basic circuit that Fender has been using in their line of pro quality SS amps like the Deluxe 112+, with a few new tweaks not in the older amps. Their preamp circuit is very easy to modify to cut down the treble as well as the gain in the overdrive channel. With op amps there is a NFB resistor that allows you to set the gain from unity to infinity and beyond! Well, maybe not infinite gain but the maximum gain that the chip can produce...

If you know which side of a soldering iron to hold (hint: its not the sharp end that gets hot) I could give you a few suggestions. I would tell the whole world that this series of Fenders has some of the best ss amps ever but then that would raise the price of the used amps...

Steve

P.S. I haven't tried the FM212 so I don't know how the reverb or speakers sound- but I do know that the circuit is great!

OK, I'll bite. I found the schematic, what would you change?
 
Slobrain 6/20/2014 10:49 AM
Wow...this thread has been running for around 7 years now... is that a record???

A peavey 1984 renown with a metal sound...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkNejkbrDRg
 
ted5896 3/12/2015 9:50 AM
I have a bullet proof 440 bass head that I dearly love. Sounds fantastic. In addition to it's regular bass chores, it has been used as a guitar amp, P.A head, and to prop open heavy doors as other equipment is hauled in. I use it with a Ampeg 4x10 and couldn't be happier.
 
Chuck H 3/12/2015 10:46 AM
Quote Originally Posted by ted5896 View Post
I have a bullet proof 440 bass head that I dearly love. Sounds fantastic. In addition to it's regular bass chores, it has been used as a guitar amp, P.A head, and to prop open heavy doors as other equipment is hauled in. I use it with a Ampeg 4x10 and couldn't be happier.
I'll guess that's the old "ROAD" product? They have an impressive rep from what I just read.
 
J M Fahey 3/12/2015 12:07 PM
Very well made, from the prehistoric era when people thought it was worth building good SS amps and fitting them with high quality speakers.

FWIW those Road amps had properly engineered parts, excellent road type (not kidding) cabinets, finished like Anvil cases complete with thick aluminum railing all over the place and ball type corner protectors, but most important: used EVM12L and EVM15L as *standard* speakers, not as premium ones.

Think Lab amps quality.

Simple circuits (not bad at all in my book) , Fenderish tone stacks and 200/250W RMS power amps, essentially the same as was found in rack mounted PA amps of the day; what's not to like?

Then the glass head midgets raised from the grave and advanced design stopped, ... why worry when no matter what, standard answer became ... SS? .... meh!!! ... junk !!!

SS amps continued being made and sold by the zillions, but now all at the low cost area of the market .... with cheap parts, design and speakers to match .... which of course enhances the perception of being inferior.

Short ago I read a thread based on considering "boutique SS amp" an oxymoron.

Oh well.
 
iep 4/2/2015 5:36 AM
This is indeed a long running thread! Topically enough I now have an obsession (collective noun of guitar amps) of three guitar guitar amps two SS and one Hybrid with a solid state Pre and Valve Power stages. I also just sold a Phil Jones AG300 Super Cube that was another solid state amp. The AG300 was an incredible little amp but maybe just a little too pristine for my taste. Superb for acoustic or super clean electric though.

Now I am left with:

1. Modified Peavey Bandit 65 - Nice clean and a useable (now modded) distortion channel.
2. Peavey Classic VT 112 (hybrid) with Jensen C12k and WGS G12C - Not really an SS amp but still really nice (and crazy loud).
3. Top of the heap by a country mile though is my recently acquired Yamaha G50 112 mkII. Outstanding cleans, shimmering reverb and a ton of glorious bass. One of Paul Rivera's best and the precursor to the Fender designs he did in the 80's.

While I like and play through them all, what they have in common is that the distortion channels are prone to being overloaded by bassy pickups. Gives you more of a 'fuzz tone' which is not very versatile. I don't think this has to be the case with SS preamps but it seems to be a common issue with late 70's and early 80's SS designs. The Bandit is better now I have modded it to increase bass roll-off when gain is increased but it still benefits from a good pedal if you want a truly convincing valve tone (Joyo Deluxe Crunch). The yamaha in particular has a nearly unusable distortion channel but I'll easily forgive it that for all its other merits (pedals are cheap too).

I've owned and borrowed a few amps in the past (valve and SS) including Blues Junior, Blues Deluxe, PV Classic 30 along with the SS ones I now have. I would have to say that if I could have only one of them it would have to be the Yamaha G50. The clean tone is so crisp with huge headroom and sounds superb with all sorts of guitars. The great clean tone also means it takes pedals well too. All in, super versatile and sounds great at low and high volumes.

As for valve amps, I did love the Blues Deluxe but it was too much of a one trick pony and became a bit too harsh when cranked (it's distortion was also nothing to write home about). A nice feature of the SS amps I have is that they stay more tonally neutral when cranked so you can set a tone up at lower volumes and then wind it up as the band gets louder.

Cheers,

iep
 
potatofarmer 4/2/2015 6:30 AM
Quote Originally Posted by Alex R View Post
The modern Vox Pathfinder 15R is a lovely amp. A customer who plays swing and jump showed me one, it has this soft vintage crunch with a woody sounding guitar.
These really are fantastic little amps. Friend-of-a-friend gave me one (non-reverb version) because the input jack was broken. I fixed it, played with it for a while, and gave it to my brother-in-law and now I miss the little thing.

In bass world, I recently got a Trace Elliot Series 6 AH500X, made in '89. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the later versions, but it just sounds fantastic. I also really like that it has a pair of power amps and a built-in crossover. Knob twiddler's delight.
 
Steve A. 4/3/2015 4:02 AM
iep: So how does the G100-112 III compare to the G50-112 II?

[img]http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NTU2WDYwMA==/z/WbgAAOSwPhdVE3Oz/$_57.JPG[/img]
 
Steve A. 4/3/2015 4:02 AM
iep: So how does the G100-112 III compare to the G50-112 II?

[img]http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NTU2WDYwMA==/z/WbgAAOSwPhdVE3Oz/$_57.JPG[/img]
 
Silvertone Jockey 4/9/2015 1:09 AM
Randall RG-80
The best SS rock sound I've ever heard was a Randall RG-80 way back in the day. Currently I have this little Guitar Research VL-10 practice amp that has a surprisingly good clean tone for living room finger workouts
 
Justin Thomas 4/9/2015 5:35 AM
Without rereading the whole thread...
Here's a "Booteek" SS amp
I hope the builder will forgive me, but I'd play through one of these:

http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=FNehpDVExU8

And, nothing digital!

Justin
 
Chuck H 4/9/2015 5:56 AM
Justin, it seems to be a generic yootube site link.
 
MarkusBass 4/9/2015 6:24 AM
Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
Justin, it seems to be a generic yootube site link.
It's due to the fact that the format of the link is incorrect. Try this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNehpDVExU8 Let me guess: Juan Manuel Fahey?
Mark
 
Chuck H 4/9/2015 7:08 AM
Quote Originally Posted by MarkusBass View Post
It's due to the fact that the format of the link is incorrect. Try this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNehpDVExU8 Let me guess: Juan Manuel Fahey?
Mark
Thanks Mark. Nice to see Juan made this thread! I've never heard his amps before. Sounds great! Could use a better endorsement video but it comes off sounding "right". Great SS distortion and without trying to be a tube amp. Fat and singing! And you KNOW the quality can be trusted.
 
g1 4/9/2015 11:44 AM
Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
I hope the builder will forgive me, but I'd play through one of these:
No pressure for an endorsement deal there Juan .
 
Chuck H 4/9/2015 2:06 PM
Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
No pressure for an endorsement deal there Juan .
It looks like Juan's guitar amps run about $650-ish US. Not bad! Especially considering these are 100% Juan (or nearly) with very little outsourcing. Of course most of us here build our own but good to know.
 
Justin Thomas 4/9/2015 2:25 PM
I also know Juan likes digital for audio about as much as I do...

Sorry for the broken link, you can guess I'm real good with this technology stuff by my previous sentence. No need for an endorsement deal, I've got a stable of nice tube amps I can barely keep up with. Plus, I don't think I could do Juan's amp justice - not MY sound, but still a great sound nonetheless. I didn't check the prices, but factoring in sound quality, build quality, and customer service, it's hard to beat.

I think there's only one other guy here who builds his own SS amps. But I won't call him out in the open...

Justin
 
loudthud 4/9/2015 4:02 PM
A lot of info on Fahey Amps here: Fahey Amplifiers
 
iep 4/22/2015 2:20 AM
Sorry, ,missed Steve A's question about how the G100-112 III compares to the G50-112 II. In all honesty, I don't know. Some reviews online seem to slate the III and (while I can't find a definitive answer) it seems that only the I and II were Rivera designs. I'd bet they are not miles different but I can't guarantee anything. Also, total matter of taste here, I think the III is pretty ugly where the II looks sweet. Shouldn't matter but I'm angling to be allowed to keep it in the living room so it does help

Cheers,

iep
 
gui_tarzan 4/24/2015 4:53 PM
I can't speak for the best SS ever, but the best one I've ever owned is the Fender 112SE. The clean channel is almost as nice as a tube amp. We won't talk about the distortion though...
 
samrock 6/11/2015 10:11 AM
Mine custom made one is a Tubeless wonder :-)
https://soundcloud.com/sam-rothrock/...y-sam-rothrock
 
DRH1958 6/11/2015 11:57 AM
Gibson Lab L5,7,9 series without a doubt!
 
Steve A. 6/11/2015 6:19 PM
Quote Originally Posted by DRH1958 View Post
Gibson Lab L5,7,9 series without a doubt!
Definitely! I have been mentioning amps that can be bought used for a song... not a full symphony complete with orchestra and chorus! ;-)

Steve A.
 
iep 6/12/2015 2:06 AM
After a long time searching, I've managed to find a Yamaha G100 mkii head. Going to use it with my Peavey Classic VT with the Peavey as a 212 cab. Only problem is that (despite superb packing) the guys at UPS manages to smash the case during shipping. Gutted.

I think the electrics have survived though so I'll report back on how it sounds with my 212 cab (WGS G12 and Jensen C12k).

iep
 
Chuck H 6/12/2015 5:36 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=2Q6_9A90cUk
 
The Dude 6/12/2015 6:00 PM
Just got this today via UPS. Maybe Jim Carrey delivered it?

[ATTACH=CONFIG]34359[/ATTACH]
[ATTACH=CONFIG]34360[/ATTACH]
[ATTACH=CONFIG]34361[/ATTACH]
 
Chuck H 6/13/2015 8:26 AM
My wife ordered a wooden decoration from Germany around Christmas time. A sort of carved village thing maybe a foot high and two and a half feet wide with lights on it. It took months to get because it was lost in customs. For a long time no one even knew where it was. When it finally arrived I asked the USPS deliver driver "What happened to it?" The box, marked with bright red "FRAGILE" stickers on all sides, was crushed, bent, torn, scuffed with black greasy marks and water stained! Just the sight of it looking SOOO bad with all those "FRAGILE" stickers on it was comical as hell. I'll have to see if I can find the pictures.
 
Justin Thomas 6/13/2015 9:03 AM
Dude,

Where's the "WTF?" button? Looks like the Gibson Thor my friend bought, UPSed from PA to VA. She noticed the box was damaged, but since she couldn't lift it, she left it in the downstairs closet. When she opened it 6 months later... I'm still wrapping my head around how you smash a 6" hole in a (at least) 1/2" plywood (not particle or MDF) cabinet. By which time it was too late to make a claim. She forgot to tell me the box was damaged when received; I'd have told her to open it right away. The two C10Ns didn't survive, either. Dammit. So now Thor is a fire-breathing-monster-of-doom head with a 2x10 cabinet w. Celestions. The Jensens await reconing.

Chuck, funny picture or not, I hope your wife's decoration arrived intact... Customs is the worst. I remember when grandma would visit from France, they'd trash her luggage and hand it back to her stuffed in bags. They'd even open the presents she'd wrapped for us.

Justin

In the interest of defending my friends, in every field there are those who love what they do, those who see it as a job but not worth being malicious over, and those who just take every chance to make it miserable for others. I've known great delivery drivers, good ones, and ones who literally hurl every box right off the back of the truck and onto the asphalt. You can hear the stuff breaking across the parking lot.
 
tonepoet 7/10/2015 11:31 PM
Best SS amp I've encountered is a US made Peavey Bandit 112 from about 2003, the "Red Stripe" version with a Sheffield 1230 speaker. I did change the speaker to an Eminence Wizard. Very convincing tube-like distortion. I generally only use the "vintage" mode of distortion. The other modes are too hot for my taste.
 
roytbass 1/7/2017 8:50 PM
Road 20 Bass Amp Hi Albert
Quote Originally Posted by Albert Kreuzer View Post
Hi Billy & Brian,

back in the days I had a Road 220 bass amp. It failed at the first gig (blown output transistor, turned out to be a BD183 instead of the RCA 2N6259). It was still under warranty, so no problem. The catch was that I was the tech who did the warranty repairs for that particular shop
Still got the service manual, including all schematics and layouts. If you need something, let me know.
Sold the amp to a student last year, still sounds great. Never had a failure since that blown transistor.

Cheers,
Albert
Jan 6 2017
I have a Road 220 that blows OT's...NT-181....after pushing it a few hours in the woodshed
I would love to have copies of Road 220 Manual and Schematics and Layouts....will pay good price
I also would like to find new Can Capacitors Mallory 4000MFD 60VDC ....or equivalent, hard to find....maybe they need replaced also (originals)

thanks...hope you are still out there somewhere
 
Enzo 1/7/2017 9:08 PM
Hi, Royt, welcome. Um... once is enough for a post.

I hate to tell you, but Albert Kreuzer passed away some time ago.


Your caps are a non-standard value. 4700uf at 63v would be a close standard value.
 
g1 1/7/2017 9:13 PM
There is a service manual available here:
http://bmamps.com/Schematics/Road/ro...ice_manual.zip
 
roytbass 1/7/2017 10:04 PM
road 220
Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
Hi, Royt, welcome. Um... once is enough for a post.

I hate to tell you, but Albert Kreuzer passed away some time ago.


Your caps are a non-standard value. 4700uf at 63v would be a close standard value.



Sorry about the duplicate posts....tried to delete but without effect...thanks for your reply
 
Pdavis68 1/9/2017 9:38 AM
I had a Fender Princeton Chorus for years that I loved. It had about the sweetest chorus I'd ever heard. Weighed a ton too. Unfortunately living in a humid basement for several years did it in...
 
Steve A. 3/31/2018 7:43 PM
I forget what I might have nominated before but I just got a Roland Blues Cube Artist and it even blows away many tube amps that I have known and loved. One big plus: without the huge transformers in tube amps it is fairly quiet even with single coil pickups.

It retails for $899 and you can order 9 pin "tube capsules" which will revoice the amp, which stock resembles the 5F6A tweed bassman. Two generic ones to make the amp more like a BF/SF or Vox AC retail for $199; the two custom designed for Robben Ford and Eric Johnson are $299. You can also order the GA-FC foot controller for $99 which will take one or two expression pedals to control input or master volume. And there are 4 power levels - 0.5W, 15W, 45W & 80W.

I had first looked at the digital modelling Boss Katana 50 for $199, was going to upgrade that to the Katana 100 for $359 but saw that a local GC store had a used BC Artist for $625 and after checking out the reviews and YouTube videos I jumped on it. I figured that if I didn't like I had 45 days to return it for a full refund. I paid for it with GC Gift Cards that I got by returning items I had bought with 36 & 48 month financing which is better than car loan.

Reviews and videos to follow (I will add them to this post.)

Steve A.
 
Tqi 4/22/2018 6:00 PM
To give a list:

Yamaha GA-10
Marshall MG100HDFX
Carlsbro Renegade Lead 150
Vox AD30VT
Vox AD15VT
Marshall MS-2
Blackstar Fly
Behringer Thunderbird BX108.

The Vox's are that weird design with two poweramps: a 12ax7 running as a tube power amp, into a solid state one. They were OK, but not amazing, and had poor longevity. The MS-2 is fun through a 4x12 but a joke on it's own. The MG100 was OK for what it was.

There are really three standout amps in my solid state history. The first (and least well known) was the Renegade. It looks like this: https://www.adverts.ie/guitar-amps/c...0-lead/4483767. It's a great sounding traditional-SS amp. I ended up selling it to a friend because it was too big, too heavy and too clean for what I needed; but it is the only 'loud' solid state amp I've ever liked. We have a deal: she's only ever allowed to sell it back to me. Decent all spring reverb, too.

I've got to give a shoutout to the Fly as well, just because how good it is for a micro-amp. It's probably the first of these little 'toy' amps that could actually replace a practice amp for a new learner.

But for me the standout, best solid state amp I've ever used: is my little Behringer combo bass amp. A friend had one in about 2003 which I adored; I used to covet it quite hard - I remember being obsessed with the guitar version, the Firebird, which was reviewed in the guitar magazine I read, and the music teacher was known to occasionally borrow it for jazz guitar playing. A couple years ago when I started seriously playing bass, I thought hard about what kind of amp I wanted, and for a warm, tubey-sounding bass, at living-room levels it was perfect. And it was about $50 used in 2016. So yeah - the Behringer Thunderbird BX108. A $200, now somewhat less than that, decent sounding solid state amp.