Amp choice...

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by gilbertpsk, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules New and improved member

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    Thanks for that. Always wondered what that meant. You country guys always talk about scratchin’ and I just didn’t get it. I always wondered if they had fleas or something. :D

    Clowning aside, I swear that in real life we went to the flea market one time because there was a fishing tackle dealer there that always had good stuff. One the way in, they have an outdoor stage and there was a bluegrass band playing. Right as we walked by I heard a phrase that my wife and I have repeated numerous times since. “Let’s scratch one off for em, Earl.” I swear, we both start laughing as soon as we got in the door and have used that line many times since. :p
     
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  2. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    I think its the fact that the master volume on Tube amps go from inaudible to deafening (for a home use) when you move the master volume from 0 to 0.1 - especially if its a 'high' wattage Valve amp. That's assuming you have the 'pre-amp' cranked to get the driven sound you are looking for and certainly not driving the power amp.

    As Solid State tend to do this with transistors rather than tubes, its no different than turning up or down the volume of your TV or Hifi (if anyone still uses one). Having the option to step the 'wattage' down allows you to have exactly the same sound but at 'low' volume and its more 'linear'. I cannot, for example, use a 'high gain' channel turned up to really drive the Pre-amp on my 100w Marshall JVM410 with the Master volume turned down low enough for home use and its certainly not driving the Power Amp Valves. It goes from no sound to way too loud with the merest touch of the master volume.

    I am not an amp builder so can't explain the difference but I would expect the difference to be within the Power Amp stage and the fact you aren't driving valves in the pre-amp stage either with a Solid state. It would be something to ask a builder of Amps - particularly those that build both Valve and SS amps. To me, it seems that these 'SS' amps step up the volume - Its as if the sound passes through different power amp stages - each one doubling or 10x the previous stage. These built in step down options (like the Katana) may just bypass one or more (depending on the amount of options) which then gives you much more control over the volume. The way I picture it, which may well be wrong, is like the sound goes to one transistor/valve which is the 0.5w then goes to the next transistor/valve which amps the sound up by 10x to 5w, then hits the next which amps up the sound by another 10x to 50w before hitting the last one that only doubles it to 100w. The selector switch allows you to bypass the stages.

    Essentially, you get the same sound regardless but the amount of 'volume' that is possible changes. As I said I could be way off in the way Amp makers do this but its how I picture it. I picture it in my head like a 4 valve (6L6, EL34 etc) power amp stage where these are connected in series and the sound goes into one and comes out the other side at say 0.5w then goes into the next which then multiples the output by 10x so its now 5w etc etc. when you switch the output down, its like turning off each 'valve' and so the sound doesn't pass through and get amplified. Maybe this is how it works, with the sound passing through 'mini amplifier' stages before hitting the speakers and all the switching does is to reduce the number of amplifier stages the sound passes through. Maybe its the opposite where each stage is more like a 'transformer' and steps down the power with each stage - instead of multiplying the power up from 0.5 to 100w in stages, each stage reduces the power from 100w to 0.5w.

    I do think though that its both the fact that you don't lose the 'tone' you wanted and can have more control over the volume. At the full 100w option, volume 1 is still going into each stage, getting amplified up so 0-1, 1-2, 2-3 etc is a big jump in volume with this setting. Its hitting each stage and being amplified. 1 on the volume at 100w is going to be louder than 10 at 0.5w and so you have more control over the volume and one of the reasons a 100w Valve amp (with no way of switching the power amp down) goes from Nothing to way too loud with barely a touch on the master volume.

    Being 'Solid State' means that the you don't 'need' to drive valves in either the pre-amp or power amp stage and are not reliant on them for your sound. The sound you want, even if it is a overdriven, high gain sound isn't reliant on pushing valves hard so the sound going in to the amp, passing through the 'pre-amp' and its EQ - no valves to drive or shape the tone - that then either goes through an FX Loop or that goes into the power amp is the sound you hear regardless of whether the sound is amplified to the max or reduced for home use, its still the same sound because its not dependent on the valves in either the pre or power amp stages. We all know that the valves have an impact on the tone, Nextone by Boss simulates different 'valve' tones so using the master volume on a Valve amp to play a low volume will have an impact on the tone too. Solid State amps though are much more consistent regardless as they are not 'shaped' by Valves and their characteristics.

    Whether you 'like' that tone is a separate matter but the reason things like the Katana is popular and why having a 0.5w option is that regardless of what tone you have, that tone will come out of the speakers. It doesn't matter what Power you opt - whether you want 0.5w or 50/100w. For a LOT of people, having a Combo amp that can be 'everything' in one - your bedroom amp, your garage band practice amp and your main gigging amp is a big thing too. If you are a little strapped for cash, you may not be able to buy a 100w medium sized room gigging amp, a 20-50w practice in the garage with your band amp and an amp to sit in your bedroom and not upset your parents amp. Its also a great amp to do all 3, have your 'FX' the same so you sound the same regardless.

    For me, someone who has passed the age of gigging and having parents yelling at me to 'turn it down', that someone with a 100w Marshall JVM410 cannot really use at it would not only annoy my neighbours but the whole street (I live in the UK and houses are small with a LOT of people crammed into a small area - small by US standards anyway). Even my 'small' Blackstar HT5r 212 is too loud for 'home' use - not if I want to push it but at least can be usable if my closest neighbours aren't in and I don't whack the main volume up. My main 'home' amp currently isn't a Yamaha THR10 or something similar - its currently the 'Boss JS-10 eBand' - a table top thing with a lot of options for a 'home' use practice device with a lot of the GT100 presets sounds and a lot of inbuilt backing tracks too noodle over - I recommend it for that - its also a decent warm up/practice amp for those semi-professional giggers as a backstage mini amp as you can also have your own tracks - or even use it to slow down other artists tracks to hear and learn their solos if you want - I recommend this but I would like a Katana as a more 'amp' like amp. The Acoustic option could be good for my HBii and its Piezo as well as my Washburn Electro Acoustic if I want. The fact this is more 'Amp' rather than a table top 'speaker', I think, would be more inspiring, more like playing a 'proper' set-up. Its just so convenient as I also don't have a 'music' room or studio where I can have my set-up actually 'set-up' rather than have to get everything out and put everything away afterwards - something 'useable' for home too.

    When you consider the price of those 'table top' speakers like the Yamaha - I am sure Blackstar and Vox have similar options, these are more than the 50w Katana and probably more than the 100w 1x12 Katana too. For those with space/storage concerns, those that want to go from bedroom, to being in a band and practising/rehearsing in a garage to actually gigging especially if they are young without too much money to buy multiple amps for each situation, a range of FX pedals and can use the amps clean, crunch, dirty for their 'gain', then a Katana is ideal. I know some of us here are 'older', maybe playing for years but a 50w Katana and a PRS SE Standard - with a few cables and a Strap - is a fantastic starter or 'next' step bundle - less than the price of some SE Custom guitars.

    I have gone off on a bit of a tangent at the end of this - sorry...
     
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  3. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy New Member

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    I second on the Katana.

    It has lots of preamp sims and effects. It is also an interface to your DAW. It practically has everything you'll ever need!

    I don't have one, but I had the Boss GT-1 and currently the GT-100. Kind of the same thing minus an amp section. This enables me to plug into anything - PA, board, power amp in, loop return, etc.
     
  4. DontknoJack

    DontknoJack New Member

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    I've been hunting for the right amp for months and have whittled it down to about five different amps. I suggest you go to to your local music shop with your guitar and pedals and try them out. The playback on a computer or phone speaker doesn't even come close to what it will really sound like in reality. The shop by me has been very accommodating.
     
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  5. jvin248

    jvin248 New Member

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    .

    When I saw the post details about which tube amp I yawned, but saw you've been using a Peavey of some version for a while.
    95% of players are pushing pedals through their expensive tube amps to get their tone which is kind of odd in many ways.
    But if you do go the tube amp path, I'd focus on minimal channels, simple construction, and one that takes pedals as well as a Bandit is famous for.
    Remember that tube amps are fragile, high maintenance (tubes and caps), heavy, and expensive.




     
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Yes, but your tangent is most worthy! I have comments, of course...Please bear with me while I get philosophical....

    An electric guitar with a tube amp are, taken together, a satisfying musical instrument. Like a piano, a trumpet, a violin, an acoustic guitar, a drum, a flute - the list goes on - both the timbre and volume change with the dynamics of the player’s operation of the instrument. These dynamic changes with, say a violin, can be huge and happen with a single change in bowing, within one single note. It’s what guitar players call “very touch sensitive.”

    And they can all reach some pretty loud volumes. Not to mention singers...

    An unamplified violin player is perfectly capable of annoying the neighbors, and I can hear my neighbors’ obnoxious 4 year old granddaughter banging on their acoustic piano until it drives me bonkers (I keep my reaction to myself because they don’t complain about my obnoxious guitar playing).

    A traditional musical instrument isn’t really a bedroom thing; it’s a go-out-and-perform-for-an-audience thing. Doesn’t mean you can’t play softly at home, of course.

    One of my amps is a 100 Watt Mesa Lone Star. For practicing I can switch it down to 50 or 10 Watts. Still sounds decent. Add a pedal at low volume it sounds even better. Has an awful lot of tones in it. My PRS amps have excellent master volumes. I can turn them down and sound good.

    Point is, these days you can get a tube amp that has everything - tone, dynamics, and volume options.

    As Elvis reminds us, the thing you can’t get with a modeler is that “punch.” And to be a dynamic, exciting instrument to listen to or record, the real thing, to me, is the ticket.

    It’s not just guitar. You can get that punch with a real piano, a real violin, a real oboe...ever lived with a trumpet or sax player? Loud!

    I don’t really understand why guitarists have to be so afraid of playing dynamically (dynamically isn’t necessarily the same thing as overloudly) but to make music you need dynamics, and modelers can’t give you the real dynamic thing.

    Just my fifty thousand zillionth time I’ve made the same repetitive point...;)
     
    #26 LSchefman, Mar 30, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
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  7. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    I’m a member of Wedge’s club.
     
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  8. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    Everybody is in different situations and as such, we have such a vast array of options to suit most if not all situations. If I, as a youngster, played an Electric Guitar connected to a 100w Valve Amp in my 'bedroom', my parents would not be happy, my neighbours would not be happy and, in the UK at least, you can be prosecuted for being too noisy. Maybe not so much at certain hours and volumes but I certainly wouldn't get away with playing my guitar connected to an amp in the evening/night-time.

    I know other instruments do not require some form of amplification and can be loud too but most here wouldn't be practising in the evenings when most people are home from work. If you don't have some sound proofing or travel to places that are more appropriate for rehearsal or tutoring, then generally, at least in built up areas with many people in close proximity probably won't be playing those type of instruments beyond 6pm.

    It maybe ok for you, maybe you have a dedicated music room, sound proofed and perhaps not that close to any neighbours that can call the police on you for being too loud. I don't know your situation, how close to neighbours you maybe, what the law says regarding noise/noisy neighbours etc so I won't make any assumptions. The point I was making though is that there are options to suit most situations/people.

    When someone says 'Bedroom' player, I don't assume that they are strictly playing in their bedroom but the situation is 'similar' to the young learner who plays in their bedroom whilst other (particularly parents in this situation) don't want to be 'disturbed'. It could be that you can play in the lounge or dining room but your wife wants to watch TV or you have a young baby/child that you don't want to wake up. It doesn't mean that the 'only' place these people will be playing is the bedroom but that their situation/circumstance is similar to the teenager learning to play in their bedroom without angering the parents or having to stop playing beyond a certain time because the noise is disturbing others.

    A 'bedroom' amp is an amp that can be played in one room without disturbing anyone else in the house, without over-powering the TV volume in the adjacent room. What makes something like the Katana so great is that you can play the amp at mid-night in a house without waking up or stopping others from sleeping. Whether you are playing in a 'bedroom' with other bedrooms just a wall away, or playing in any 'normal' room - not a soundproofed, dedicated music room. I have seen some pictures here of Music 'rooms' that are actually bigger than the entire floorspace of my house. If I had the space to have a room like that, I probably wouldn't want/need a 0.5w Amp and could use a Valve amp - maybe even up to 15w.

    For some people, they may never need an amp that needs to be able to play at home without disturbing anyone in that house or the neighbours - never need something that can be played at any hour in a non-sound proofed room without waking or preventing others from sleeping. If that's you, then fair enough. You also have to consider the price, the sound and the functionality of these Amps. Maybe some will not need to drop it right down to 0.5w but may want/need to drop it down to 5w for some situations and then for a gig can switch it up. The cost of these makes it really affordable for anyone on a budget to have such a versatile amp for so many different situations and circumstance they may find themselves in. Maybe its the difference between owning a Boss GT100 for all your effects because that suits their needs and budgets but you have to have 'boutique' pedals because they do what they do so much better than the more generalised digital Multi FX equivalents in the GT100. For the GT100 owner though, it does everything they need for a lot less money than just your Strymon delay.

    The only reason I posted in the first place was to 'try' and offer a reason why the option to drop the power down in a Solid State amp like the Katana is a better solution than just turning down a the master volume on a Valve Amp. What the benefits of a 'cheap' all in one SS Amp with numerous effects and the option to use it regardless - whether that is in a bedroom with your parents or a young child asleep in the bedroom next to you, whether you are rocking in a garage or music room, whether you are at a rehearsal or band practice and competing with your drummer or playing a live gig in a reasonable sized room and need to be heard at the back. An amp that can see them through their early development or just as an amp you can 'practice' with whilst you wife/kids etc are watching TV in the next room.

    As I said, I have Valve amps myself, the 100w Marshall JVM410 (which replaced a 60w Marshall TSL602) and a Blackstar HT5r 212. Not many I know but I haven't bought a SS amp since I bought my own guitar - a Park (by Marshall) 10w.I don't really count my Boss JS-10 as an 'amp' but I can plug a guitar in and use it as a home/bedroom/practice amp - but it costs more than a 50w Katana, can't be used realistically as a band rehearsal amp or as a gigging amp. I could probably use my Blackstar at a 'low' volume during the working week hours and swap to the JS10 for the evening/night time - that's the situation and circumstances I am currently in. If my Son had an interest in Playing, I would certainly consider the Katana as the 'perfect' starter Amp - an Amp he could use in his bedroom day or night, a range of effects to experiment with and enjoy, an Amp that can be used as a decent amp for pretty much any situation until he has the money to upgrade.

    I find, in my current situation, that I am not getting the use of my JVM410 anymore and very limited use of my HT5r 212 too. I am therefore looking at a Katana just for 'fun' and won't end up with the police banging on my door for 'disturbing the peace'. If my circumstances change, maybe the Valve amps will get more use. However, this is my situation and others maybe in a similar whilst others will not. Not everyone also wants an acoustic or will be content with playing an Electric unplugged. A Katana can offer the tones you want but at volumes that are no louder than if you were watching TV - even if that is high gain metal tones.

    10yrs ago, I wouldn't entertain the idea of a SS amp - it had to be Valve or nothing but that was 10yrs ago, in a different situation and different circumstances...
     
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  9. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    Load boxes and master volumes have come a very long way. I have three 50-100W tube amps that I can easily play at very low volume on the master with not much given up. High-gain high wattage amps generally use the preamp to shape the tone.

    I also use torpedo live units with mesa IRs installed. They are fantastic and allow for quiet and silent playing at home with very little lost in translation.

    And SS had come a very long way.

    Whatever suits you at this point. If I want the best dynamics, I play a tube amp moderately loud through a real speaker cab. If I must drop the volume, I play the same amp through a Load box into a near-field monitor or headphones. If I am just noodling, I'll play through whatever.
     
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  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    That’s why I said your tangent was most worthy.

    I like to rant. You realize I’m crazy, right? ;)
     
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  11. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    Its great that there are so many different options to suit any budget and situation. Gear for flexibility or for a specific use, gear for 'little' money or gear for money no object situation, decent gear for a complete beginner that won't warp or have tuning stability issues to gear for a professional recording artist - gear that offers something that one person wants, likes, needs, etc that another won't.

    Its a good thing that we are all different with different likes, needs, wants etc as well as different budgets to 'play' with... I am at least thankful for so much variety and diversity...
     
  12. alantig

    alantig SSBMA

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    This. Of all the modelers I've used, when it comes to playing, this is the thing that is missing. Years ago, I test drove one of the first Line 6 amps. Sat right in front of the sucker. Some great tones, but something felt off. Switched over to a Fender RocPro 1000 - 100w tube amp. First chord, I felt that thump in my chest, turned to my wife and said, "That's what was missing on the Line 6."

    The modelers have absolutely gotten much, much better than those days. I'm totally happy with some of the tones I get from modeling. But I never feel like I'm playing a tube amp, at least with the modeling stuff I've used so far. I don't know if the Kemper/AxeFX provide that or not. I can't lie, though - they tempt me. A lot.
     
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  13. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    And you may well realize I have a tendency to use a 1000words where 1 may do...


    ...and don't really need much excuse to do so :p:D:D
     
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  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I figure we’re all nuts. We’re guitar players. It’s part of the job description.
     
  15. jxe

    jxe babe en der wood

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    these sims all still sound like this right?[​IMG]
     
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  16. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy New Member

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    Engadget also favors the Boss Katana 50.

    https://www.engadget.com/amp/2019/03/30/ask-engadget-best-connected-guitar-amp/

    I don't have one. Instead, I am currently using a Boss GT-100 to power amp and PA speakers.

    But, I also second on the Bandit. I have a Peavey Bandit 112 red stripe US as back up. It is really loud! But, I just plug the GT-100 into power amp in. If the fx fails, the Bandit still has a decent preamp with options of vintage, modern, and high.

    [​IMG]

    Good luck on your search!
     
  17. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I love you, man.
     
  18. CandidPicker

    CandidPicker Feed & Seed

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    Since when did you move to Australia, Les? o_O

    Any decent player knows that dynamics are an uncompromisable factor when choosing any instrument, though many sacrifice dynamics for features and convenience, thinking the software upgrades for their modelers will someday produce dynamic ability. While modeling technology with improve invariably with time, I think there will always be a market for tube amps even though modelers may be able to do what tube amps can now, in say, several years time, while Mohr's Law graph curve keeps moving upwards?

    For the rest of us mere humans, it's vitally important that one engage in a form of mental self-regulation (meaning, soundness of mind and the ability to keep your shirt on). Once you lose your shirt, you might as well hand over your wallet, car keys, and shoestrings, because Officer Friendly is only trying to keep the peace, not encourage Mr. No-Shirt from going off the rails further.

    Yes, yes, I understands it drives you crazy. You'll be fine tomorrow once you've realized it's impossible to know everything in this universe. 5¢ is a cheap price to pay for the therapy you folks will need from all this. Just eat a dang sammich and be happy it's not worse.

    We're human, not God, so get used to our human frailties and learn that we're guests on this planet Earth. Don't tick off the landlord, and perhaps we can still enjoy life for the duration.

    P.S. Am also a tube amp fan, or couldn't you tell? :)
     
    #38 CandidPicker, Mar 31, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
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  19. Boogie

    Boogie SuperD

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    The Peavey Classic 30 is a great amp! It was the provided back line for a gig I did years ago...BYOPedalboard. Cranked it up, plugged in the SE One and let ‘er rip. It sounded fantastic! Seemed very solid and well built, too.

    If you’re not sure about the punch available from a Kemper with the right amplification, why not ask my neighbors? Not just next door, but across the street and down one house. They were having some sort of a shindig and every person that parked and got out of their car turned and looked over to my place. In fact, I’m using a compressor for the first time in 30+ years to keep the punch down. No, it’s not the same as cranking a 50w amp thru a 2x12 at full-tilt, but with the right amplification, it’s pretty darned close...and more controlled. And even if I say so myself, it sounds flippin’ glorious.
     
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  20. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    Yep. It’s just relative, and a question of who’s crazier.

    [​IMG]
     
    #40 11top, Mar 31, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
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