PRS Custom 20 - 2 Channel Combo Amp

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by CVS, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. CVS

    CVS Not so new member

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    Do any of you own one of these amps? If yes, how long have you had it and what kind of music do you play through it? How do you like the clean channel? If you play primarily blues, and smooth jazz, is this the "right" amp to buy? How does the amp behave with pedals in front of the amp? How loud is the amp in comparison to say a 15 Watt tube amp from another vendor?

    All thoughts appreciated
     
  2. BWV548

    BWV548 New Member

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    I’m going to second CVS’s request.
     
  3. mad monk

    mad monk New Member

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    I have a head, not a combo. I use a PRS 1x12 closed back cab, or an open back Marshall 1x12. I love my Custom 20. It takes pedals very well. I have 2 delays, a chorus, and an overdrive. I play mainly on the gain channel, using the guitar's volume knob to clean up. It doesn't have the same touch response as a single channel amp that way, though. The clean channel can be very, very clean.
    I don't use the provided footswitch. I imagine if I did, the boost function would be used to take the place of the volume knob and I'd hit a distortion pedal.
    I play 60's-70's rock and some blues. Although I play some 80's music, I don't try to emulate the sound.
     
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  4. CVS

    CVS Not so new member

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    Thanks for your feedback. I typically use either a clean boost pedal or an OD pedal when I solo with gain set fairly low. Sounds like this will work fine with this amp.

    Just curious - 2 delay pedals? One in place of reverb and one for when you want longer delay times?
     
  5. mad monk

    mad monk New Member

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    Yes. I use one for simple slap-back delay, TC Electronic, and the other set longer, with more repeats, Mojo Hand Mirrorball. That pedal also has modulation that I really like. I use the amp's reverb as well. Nothing excessive, I just need some "air" playing in a small basement alone.
     
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  6. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Former Lyricist for Calhoun Tubbs

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    How would you characterize the voice of the gain channel? I had a Custom 50 and traded it away. The guy then sold it. The guy who bought it from him, said the bias was WAY WAY off, so I'm wondering if I ever really heard the amp anywhere near it's best... In fact, the current owner said he's owned Carol Ann, Two Rock, and other high end amps, and he said that for now, he wouldn't even consider selling it back to me and he feels it's a keeper for him. Makes me wonder.
     
  7. jjhookemup

    jjhookemup Gearoholic

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    I’ve had mine (combo) about a year an a half. Love it! Still. Clean ch. is beautiful, to the point where you don’t need a compressor if you want, but I still prefer one. Gain ch. is very nice also... very marshall with a nice mild compression to it. Very rich sounding.
    Takes pedals very well too. I’m an OD pedal junkie and it mixes great with all of them. I used to own a Vox ac15hw1x which can get pretty loud, and the custom 20 can too. It’s 100 db speaker adds to that.
    I play mostly blues and classic rock. I like a mild crunch tone. Great amp.
     
    #7 jjhookemup, Nov 15, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
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  8. mad monk

    mad monk New Member

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    I'm terrible at trying to describe the "voicing" of an amp. I know I can get a fairly good crunch out of the gain channel without having to use too much pre. and a very manageable master. I like 5881 power tubes, probably because I'm a 6l6 guy at heart, and 5881's are a low-power 6l6. I put a set of NOS Sylvania's in it, but really, the stock tubes are fine. It's a different animal in the way the circuit's laid out. If you like to "tube roll", to get different things from each channel, you have to think a new way. This is straight from Mr. Sewell. V1b is input gain stage for both clean and lead channels. V1a is first dedicated gain for the lead channel. V2 is the cathode follower for the lead channel tone stack. V3a is first dedicated gain stage for the clean channel, V3b is last dedicated clean channel gain stage.
    So, where we usually think V1 as affecting mostly clean channel and V2 and V3 as the gain channel, V3 is the clean channel.
    I must say though, if I'm able to play at an increased volume level, I love turning up my single channel Sweet 16. When it's loud, it's great!
     
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  9. CVS

    CVS Not so new member

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    Thanks again for all your feedback. I really want to play one before I buy, so I will wait for (hopefully) Sam Ash to get one into their store
     
  10. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    My bias on the Custom 50 has drifted occasionally, and I didn’t feel that it altered the tone much, sounds better at the recommended bias, but not in a revolutionary way.

    The gain channel, I would call thick yet open. Lots of low and low mid, and no harsh top end. Basically a very “unsculpted” tone, it lets everything through. It’s a great “platform” sound, the best way to use it in my experience is to find the boost pedal that adds the flavor you want. The open nature of that channel lets you do a lot with a boost. For me, it’s a Wampler Tumnus, tightens lows and accentuates dead-center mid frequencies, makes everything very articulate, but not harsh.
     
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  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Sidebar to this thread...

    Any decent sounding tube amp is a good pedal platform! The secret is finding pedals that compliment its frequency response and gain structure.

    This is true regardless of any amp type. For example, the idea that you’d want a transparent, neutral amp for pedals is not a recipe for success - play your guitar and pedals through a hi fi rig, and see how that sounds. It’s pretty horrible unless the pedal includes amp simulation. That’s because pedals interact with amps, or at least are designed to. Take away that interaction and you have only meh-ness.

    It’s the interaction with the amp that makes the combination of pedal and amp great. Now consider how many types of pedals are out there, and it should be clear that no amp is going to be delightful with all of them.

    So when people say, “This amp’s a great pedal platform,” what they’re really saying is, “This amp sounds great with my pedals.” Unsurprisingly, in most cases it’ll simply be an amp with a similar gain structure and frequency response to what they have already.

    It’s not objective and universal, because it can’t be objective and universal - there are too many potential interactions.

    Pedals that work well with a midrange-heavy Marshall are less likely to work as well with a blackface Fender with a scooped midrange without a lot of fiddling, except for frequency-neutral pedals like boosts or mild overdrives. Run a fuzz face through a Twin, and it sounds...well, a little...um...different, but run it through a Plexi, and you’re Jimi. Add a Univibe to that Marshall rig, and wow. Univibe with that fuzz and a Twin? Totally different, far less chewy and interesting. Etc.

    Now factor in intangibles like stylistic preference, taste, speaker types, guitar types, even cables, and you’d have to agree that there are no predictors when it comes to what works well with what. It’s trial and error.

    Hence, “It’s a great pedal platform” is a relatively meaningless expression, unless you’re talking with someone who shares your tastes, and has the same types of pedals.

    “How well does this amp work with pedals?”

    Well, what pedals, what tones are you trying to achieve, and by ‘blues’ do you mean Albert King, Clapton, or Robben Ford? They all sound different.
     
    #11 LSchefman, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
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  12. CVS

    CVS Not so new member

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    In looking at the 2019 line up, it looks like the Custom 20 Amp has been discontinued, so I may have to buy one without playing it, which is something I would prefer not to do. I seem to be a "jinx" on PRS products. I buy an NF3 & it gets discontinued. I buy an S2 Studio and I think that they were a "one time run". Now the Custom 20......

    With that said, my 594 has proven to be pretty popular ;)
     
  13. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    The mass market may dictate what companies can make profitably, but the mass market is never the arbiter of what’s highly desirable to connoisseurs.

    Think of all the classic, desirable gear that was discontinued due to slow sales that people later valued so highly; the original Les Paul bursts that were made for only a handful of years come to mind, as do the original Moog Modulars.

    The HXDA - my favorite amp, ever - is no longer being made. I still think it’s the greatest. Here’s how I look at it: if you’re lucky enough to get in while the gettin’ is good, that’s a superb outcome! If you like a piece of gear, get it while you can.
     
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  14. CVS

    CVS Not so new member

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    Well said! In any case, I am counting on my cherry red NF3 with birds becoming a collectors item - hopefully before my son inherits it ;)
     
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  15. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    I'm not entirely surprised that the "Custom" amps were discontinued. I love mine, but there's not really anything sexy about it, no catch-phrasable selling point, no rock star endorsement, it's not the "most this or that" amp around.

    If I had to find a way to describe it, I would say it as Paul probably would, it's a reliable tool for a musician, especially a gigging musician. It's got a lot of useful features - two channels, effects loop, solo boost, reverb, bias points, and it hits a happy place of good tone, flexibility, and simplicity. For those reasons, I love it. But, the Archon seems to have surpassed it in terms of popularity (and, if anything, the MT15 and Sonzera are another nail in the coffin), though they're different amps I still think the Archon is eating up a share of what may otherwise be Custom amp sales. I'm very glad to have mine, it's nice to have the option of a more open, vintage voice.

    One thing I am left wondering, with the HXDA and Custom amps gone, the only amp sitting in the vintage voiced part of the PRS lineup is the Grissom, and kind of the Sonzera and JMOD - I expect there to be something else to fit somewhere in the empty spots. We'll see, maybe Les will get his other Brit amp...
     
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  16. CVS

    CVS Not so new member

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    I think you hit the proverbial "nail on the head". The Sonzera is "another nail in the coffin" at least IMHO. Vintage voice is what I am after, without the repair bills :D
     
  17. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    On the other hand, it’s possible that hell will freeze over first...:oops:
     
  18. pac90

    pac90 New Member

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    Just sort of related but more mainstream, the thatpedalshow guys are hinting about a new vox style amp, comparable to but cheaper than matchless, to be revealed at namm.

    Given their connections I guess its likely coming from victory amps
     
  19. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    The Lions will go to the Super Bowl when that happens. I guess this just isn’t your year.
     
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  20. CVS

    CVS Not so new member

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    But it may be the year for the Chargers! Warm weather in Pittsburgh in December and 3 FG attempts to win the game. The season of destiny......
     

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