Other Amps

What is the State of Solid State Amps?

51

I've got a Tonemaster DR and I like it. The attenuation feature is neat/helpful and is great for dialing it back inside the house late at night. The rub is that it's on the back of the amp so if you take it out you may forget to dial it back up when you get to the gig (did that once).The XLR out is a nice touch for direct to board or home recording. For me overall it's a nice hybrid of analog controls with digital processing, with minimal twiddling to get what you're looking for. I did download the "cut the bright" cap firmware a few weeks ago and it seems to have fixed a weirdness that my pedals were pushing into it. The downside for the TM series is they're not eminently moddable like say, the Quilter or definitely the Katana. What you're getting is a Deluxe Reverb or a Twin, and that's pretty much it. Since it's a solid state it's running a 100w speaker that doesn't seem to be an easy swap out.

I briefly looked a quilter but it seemed to be "more than I needed" and I didn't want to have to buy it and then also buy a cab, because I don't have cabs floating around. Also I worried about the output blowing the speaker if I wasn't paying attention to the knobs. LOL

A friend of mine has a Katana and it sounds good - I like it, I played through it and twiddled knobs, but it did seem (IMO) to be that I would have to download (or buy) patches to get it to sound like what I wanted. Natively (to me) it doesn't sound like what I want my amp to sound like (which might be why I went to the TMDR)

52

Blackstar, you say?

– AndyJ

Yep. I have the 50 watt w/Celestion 1X12 version.

53

Yep. I have the 50 watt w/Celestion 1X12 version.

– EllenGtrGrl

Looks nice . . . I'll have to research them.

54

Can't speak to the latest and greatest in SS amps as I'm still rockin' the early '90s technology found in this "vintage" Peavey...

55

I did a review of my Katana amp awhile back, but it does bear repeating... the Katana Artist MkII 100 watt amp is a very different amp than the other Katanas. It's the upgraded version with the Waza Craft speaker. The amp itself retails for around 599, and you should DEFINITELY get the pedal, for about 100.00. It lets you immediately call up all your channel and effect settings and has extra volume settings for solos. It's really a great sounding amp for home, studio or stage.

I'm not big on endless "fiddling" with knobs and programs, but connecting this amp through your computer to their sound studio opens up a whole bunch of fun, and very useful things! And you can keep all your standard settings to come back to later if you want. Or just use the different variations you can call up on the face of the amp. Plus there are subtle, but very useful global sound colorations and amp cab settings.

I love my Quilter MP200, (the 8" combo with the 12" ext cab) and use it with the Line 6 M9 (I like reverb, echo, delay, trem, comp and a little drive, in an easy to use pedal) and besides the Falcon, I also play acoustic-electric (Guild and Gibson jumbos), so it has to sound good for those, too. On the Quilter, I have channel 1 for acoustic and ch 2 for electric and run the M9 thru the efx loop.

But I was looking to simplify my setup somewhat, and I naturally like a bunch of BOSS pedals...so I tried the Katana 50, and the 100, and thought they were pretty cool amps, but not cool enough to actually buy one. Didn't really have the depth I was looking for.

Then, almost as an afterthought, I tried the Katana Artist series and was impressed at how much better it was...almost bought the only one the store had, but then I heard the Artist MKII was coming out, and I pre-ordered it right away, and I'm glad I did. Since the day I got it, it's the only amp I use!

I'm a fan of great sounding tube amps...AND modern solid state amps, leaning more towards solid state these days because of the advances in their sound and tech, and also because of the light weight and reliability. Its not like the old days when SS kinda sucked. IMO, these new amps keep up with the tube amps nicely.

But again, there is a big difference between the regular Katana and the Katana Artist MKII. Definitely worth checking out before making any decisions.

56

I would be interested in that Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb, except for the '68 DR I already have, which sounds as good as anything I've ever heard. So a modern SS equivalent will have to wait.

Playing through three SS amps these days. One very good. One even better. One best. The very good is a DV Mark Micro 50 CMT head. A lot to like in this one. Lots of volume for a 50 watt SS amp. Warm, smooth sound through a Mather oversize 1x12 pine cab with an older Alltone 1265 speaker.

The even better is a Quilter OD200 head. My favorite of all the Quilters I've tried. The MV can dial in such a beautiful edge sound. A flexible, great sounding amp. I use only the clean side, run it through a small Pure 64 ported cab with stock 16 ohm speaker. Small cab, but huge sound.

The best of all is an amp from a maker I'd long been curious about, Evans. This one is at least 20 years old, an SE150. A 150 watt, 1x15 in a tweed cab. Originally sold mostly to the steel guitar crowd. Not very light. Rather odd controls ... took awhile to get comfortable with it. For example, rolling in channel volume and rolling down MV does not deliver any edge. The MV seems to add and subtract volume and nothing more. Which is no big thing, as this amp has such a warm, rich clean sound. Pretty. Just perfect.

It can get way louder than I would care to. A little too lively on input one. I plug into input two. I've so far tried only P-90 guitars. This SE150 with my '62 Guild X50 (Franz p/u) has maybe the best archtop sound I've ever heard in person. That alone puts it at the top of my list. I think of it as a SS version of the old tweed pro. It is tweed, and there is something in the warmth and fullness of it that reminds me of the old Fender.

57

a pedal steel amp sounds like it could be extremely useful if you're mainly interested in clean tones.

58

Wow, this has been a really helpful thread. Thanks, everyone!

Any other options for consideration? All comers are up for consideration: Pricey, inexpensive, or somewhere in between?

That said, bang for the buck is looking more and more attractive.

59

My codger-in-training status dictates that I have to interject herein that unless you’re looking for the livva-pudlian-type dealio, my JC-120 is the unsurpassed shiny beast for Rickenbacker 12-strings. Fight me.

61

My codger-in-training status dictates that I have to interject herein that unless you’re looking for the livva-pudlian-type dealio, my JC-120 is the unsurpassed shiny beast for Rickenbacker 12-strings. Fight me.

– tubwompus

Thems ain't fighting woids . . . in any county. McGuinn validates (or did validate) that, yeah?

But this begs the question, where ya at JC-120 people? How does it perform for non-12-string rock-n-roll?

62

not an owner, but it depends on what subset of rock you're intending to play. the JC-120 was extremely popular among post-punk and New Wave artists of the 80s/90s; the most prominent user was Andy Summers of The Police, but they were also an important part of the sound of bands from The Cure to Slowdive. basically, if you weren't using an AC30 in those days you were using a JC-120, and some folks e.g. Neil Halstead of Slowdive used both in stereo. so if that's the sort of thing you like, it should be right up your street.

i'm a bit dubious as to how they'd work for a more 60s/70s approach unless you wanted an uber-clean tone or used it as a pedals platform, for which i understand it works very well. probably one reason for the lack of response is that a JC-120 weighs about 5 metric tons.

63

not an owner, but it depends on what subset of rock you're intending to play. the JC-120 was extremely popular among post-punk and New Wave artists of the 80s/90s; the most prominent user was Andy Summers of The Police, but they were also an important part of the sound of bands from The Cure to Slowdive. basically, if you weren't using an AC30 in those days you were using a JC-120, and some folks e.g. Neil Halstead of Slowdive used both in stereo. so if that's the sort of thing you like, it should be right up your street.

i'm a bit dubious as to how they'd work for a more 60s/70s approach unless you wanted an uber-clean tone or used it as a pedals platform, for which i understand it works very well. probably one reason for the lack of response is that a JC-120 weighs about 5 metric tons.

– macphisto

Interesting. Clean is good and is much of my tone; but uber clean, not so much. And heavy is not in the cards ( I lugged around a Super Reverb for 20 years). Thanks for the insight.

64

two 12" speakers = gimme a hand truck.

65

two 12" speakers = gimme a hand truck.

– macphisto

Tru dat!

66

I had a JC120 for about 6 months and traded down to a JC77. Same circuitry, including the awful OD that no one seems to like, but the same awesome chorus and a pair of 10's instead of 12's

Clean tones up the wazoo. Nice built-in spring reverb that's quite controllable. The 77 became my mainstay amp from the week I bought it until I was pretty much forced into temporary unemployment last year (just before COVID put all of us out of work)

And the tens are somewhat lighter than the twelves. Not a lot, but it makes a diff. This vid uses my 6122, the JC77's reverb and an ancient Boss stomp box echo. Recorded the Chet with two mikes directly in front of the grill cloth at 12" and about 36" distance.

Link:

67

I watched this a while back and thought it provided quality info.....even though it is closing in on 2 years old:

68

About ten years ago I did a very short notice (like "what are you doing tomorrow afternoon?") spot at a fundraiser in Stanley Park, Liverpool. We were just up there visiting family. I'd taken a guitar but not an amp. A nephew said he'd bring an amp I could use. On the day I went to bring it in from his car. It was a Roland JC160 4x10 combo. Blimey -- weighed a ton. Fortunately it had casters. Sounded nice, though. I only used the clean channel.

69

I tried to like the JC120. Repeatedly. Just sounds harsh and kinda dead to me.

Perhaps it's a matter of taste. I gravitate to SS amps which have at least some of the warmth and indefinable presence I hear in my favorite tube amps. A couple Lab Series amps qualify. The L5, L3. Some Peaveys ... a couple bandits had a little something going on. Outside of my SS favorites mentioned above, I can't think of many that qualify.

Speakers can also be a big factor. The Evans SE150 came to me with the stock 4 ohm ceramic, Evans branded. Me being an inveterate tinkerer, I tried a couple other 15" speakers. Celestion fullback, WGS G15C. Just assuming that cause I like those speakers, they'd be an improvement. Not so. Not at all. Evans knew what they were doing. That stock speaker brings out the warmth in the amp.

70

I tried to like the JC120. Repeatedly. Just sounds harsh and kinda dead to me.

Perhaps it's a matter of taste. I gravitate to SS amps which have at least some of the warmth and indefinable presence I hear in my favorite tube amps. A couple Lab Series amps qualify. The L5, L3. Some Peaveys ... a couple bandits had a little something going on. Outside of my SS favorites mentioned above, I can't think of many that qualify.

Speakers can also be a big factor. The Evans SE150 came to me with the stock 4 ohm ceramic, Evans branded. Me being an inveterate tinkerer, I tried a couple other 15" speakers. Celestion fullback, WGS G15C. Just assuming that cause I like those speakers, they'd be an improvement. Not so. Not at all. Evans knew what they were doing. That stock speaker brings out the warmth in the amp.

– mad dog

Something to keep in mind, MD!

71

I tried to like the JC120. Repeatedly. Just sounds harsh and kinda dead to me.

Perhaps it's a matter of taste. I gravitate to SS amps which have at least some of the warmth and indefinable presence I hear in my favorite tube amps. A couple Lab Series amps qualify. The L5, L3. Some Peaveys ... a couple bandits had a little something going on. Outside of my SS favorites mentioned above, I can't think of many that qualify.

Speakers can also be a big factor. The Evans SE150 came to me with the stock 4 ohm ceramic, Evans branded. Me being an inveterate tinkerer, I tried a couple other 15" speakers. Celestion fullback, WGS G15C. Just assuming that cause I like those speakers, they'd be an improvement. Not so. Not at all. Evans knew what they were doing. That stock speaker brings out the warmth in the amp.

– mad dog

Yeah I agree. To me unless you are playing very chorusey and super clean tones from the 80s sort of Johnny Marr or Robert Smith like music it may not be an amp that suits a warmer style of music.

Johnny Marr talks about his JC-120 -

"And the Roland JC-120 was a brand-new innovation [at the time]. To use a Roland amp was very unusual and exciting and a lot of people did it. I got one as soon as I could afford one. I had a Fender Twin, but the next thing I got was a JC-120, and those two amps fired together were really quite amazing. That was a big part of my sound, you know, that clean, chorus-y sound. It’s not really a surprise that your gear dictates the way you play, and so I was fortunate. The interesting thing is that now—many, many, many years later—kids still ask me about playing the JC-120. They like that sound. I’ve had quite a few people really geeking out over the JC-120."

Don't know he used a JC on this but I would not be surprised if he did -

72

after all, it is called the "Jazz" "Chorus". does what it says on the can.


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