Sorado Review

manufacturer: Sunn date: 02/07/2013 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Sunn: Sorado
The Sunn Sorado is a simple, single channel, all-tube amp made in 1968 with 2 inputs and 5 simple controls: Volume, Bass, Treble, and "Lo" and "Hi" boost switches.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Features: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 6.1 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.4 
 Users rating:
 2.8 
 Votes:
 19 
reviews (2) pictures (2) 9 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
Sorado Reviewed by: festivalinhell, on february 07, 2013
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 75

Purchased from: Craigslist

Features: This amp built in October of 1968 is a behemoth. It features two enormous transformers, a pair of 6550 power tubes, a 5v4 rectifier, a 12ax7a and 6an8 preamp tube handwired in a beautiful terminal strip fashion with apparently long-lasting and durable paper can capacitors. It has two inputs, a hi and lo boost switch (mine still need to be either cleaned or repaired after probably decades of disuse), a treble and bass control and the obvious standby and on/off switch. When I got it for a whopping $75 dollars last year it came with two fried power tubes and a fried rectifier. It also had a two prong cord that was about the most ghetto ratchet assed looking thing in existence so for reasons of safety and an intense desire to hear this thing sing I got to work. In the first few days I installed a new power cord with a ground and then with empty pockets I sat on the project for several months. I looked at it before practicing on my Blackstar HT-5R and shook my head longing to hear good Vintage sound. Finally I got my replacement power tubes with a cabinet. At the time I didn't know the rectifier was toast so I plugged in the new tubes and started the process of biasing the amp. Unfortunately as soon as I turned it on... The slo-blo fuse in the back blew out with a flash of sparks... Of course my first thought was holy shit I almost died... I proceeded to inspect the amp and see that the rectifier had a black soot like residue on the top inside of the tube. Immediately I hopped on Antique Electronic Supply (shameless plug) and ordered my nos rectifier and a week later I was back in business. I replaced the fuse plugged in the rectifier fired it up and biased it in no time. This this is a beautiful amp. // 9

Sound: I own two vastly different guitars. On one hand I have the creamy rich and bluesy tone of my '89 Epi Les Paul Standard and on the other an early 2000's Ibanez RG350DX. It handles both of them beautifully, more so than any amp I have ever owned. I play everything from clean acoustic style stuff to post rock to thrash metal. I play blues, jazz, and even from time to time some classical type stuff and it handles each of these wonderfully. I breaks up at about 7 and is a beautifully fuzzy overdrive at 10. I don't have an attenuator so I also have experienced the sheer volume of this thing and good God is this thumping. I have it playing through a 4x12 Acoustic cabinet and it rattles windows down the street. It is really amazing because though I haven't experienced it myself I understand the hi lo boosts are really nice and the EQ despite only being bass and treble is great. They blend very well and give you the versatility to play about anything. I can play screaming treble-y stuff or turn down the treble and turn up the bass and even write thumping bass licks on it. The cleans and very nice. They are glassy and very smooth I immediately think of clean blues tones (probably because when I play it clean I play it on my Les Paul and it sounds great). Not a complaint to be had. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I would gig without a backup but I always have one anyway. It seems very dependable. I haven't played it in a a gig setting though I will be tomorrow and though I brought extra fuses (just in case) I don't believe they will be needed. It has broken down but the damn thing is 44 going on 45 years old. I don't think it has ever been serviced. That said, it was an easy fix. I hope to eventually re-cap it and then have a fully restored amp but until that happens this thing is perfect. The thing is heavy and I am convinced it is quite durable. Time has shown as much. // 9

Overall Impression: This is a whole different world of great. I have played Egnaters, Bugeras, Fenders, etc. They were great but this thing is just completely different. It is a different monster entirely. I've been playing for going on 6 years and this was my first repair/restoration project. I own, like I said before, a Blackstar HT-5R and then as my back up to a back up I have the ever reliable Orange CR35LDX. This blows both of them out of the water. If I could find another I would replace it it with the same thing or I would restore something else. The only thing I hate about it is that I haven't gotten the boost working yet. But that's on me. I wish it had a middle EQ control but beggars can't be choosers. This thing is awesome and I intend on hanging onto this until I can step up to something boutique. // 9

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overall: 9.5
Sorado Reviewed by: penderp0))), on december 18, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: The Sunn Sorado is a simple, single channel, all-tube amp made in 1968 with 2 inputs and 5 simple controls: Volume, Bass, Treble, and "Lo" and "Hi" boost switches. The head features two 6550 power tubes and two monstrous transformers producing (apparently) 60 watts of power; however, I believe that Sunn under-reported the power ratings of their amps because this thing is LOUD. I primarily use it at my band's practice space for playing our combination of Doom Metal and Neil Young/Crazy Horse sort of stuff, which this amp does beautifully. With the "Lo" boost engaged, the amp has an enormous bottom end that makes it extremely powerful and warm sounding. For me, the "Hi" boost simply produces too much treble to really be useful for rhythm playing, but engaging it for solos allows my sound to really cut through the other instruments in the room. My only complaint would be the lack of a built-in reverb. All in all, a simple, no-fuss design that sounds incredible. // 8

Sound: Plugged into my custom-made 4x12 Celestion cabinet without any effects pedals hooked up, my modded Fender Telecaster (Gibson PAF humbucker in neck, '56 Tele single-coil in bridge) produces a rich, sparkly clean tone reminiscent of a Fender Bassman with a bit more punch, especially with the "Lo" boost turned on. Only with the volume cranked up to about 7 or 8 will the amp begin to overdrive, yielding awesome Glam rock (Think Mott-The-Hoople's "All the Young Dudes") rhythm and lead tones which will melt your eardrums from how loud it is if you don't use protection. ALWAYS use protection. With my Ibanez TS-7 engaged it is easy to achieve this same sound at much lower volumes and would be perfect for playing heavy psychedelic rock, like Jimi or Cream did. With my Arbiter Fuzzface on top of that I can achieve outrageous, sloppy distortion tones that a friend of mine said remind him of a dying woolly mammoth, which are perfect for playing the Electric Wizardish Stoner-Metal/Doom that my band plays half of the time. Finally, with chorus and/or wah you can coax some really interesting, three-dimensional sounds out of this beast. Because of its ample bass, the sound this amp produces feels like an actual, physical presence in the room and is unlike anything I've ever personally used before, especially when using a guitar that is tuned down a few steps. // 10

Reliability & Durability: So far its been very dependable for me, I've been playing it everyday for about a month. This beast is so old that the fact it still works exceptionally means it was built to last. I believe it even has the original tubes! I trust it for gigs without bringing a back-up. // 10

Overall Impression: This amp would be a perfect match for anything from classic rock to glam to slower types of Metal (since it doesn't really get you that tight distortion necessary for thrash or death metal), provided you purchase an overdrive pedal and any other effects you need to help you achieve the specific tone you are going for. I have been playing regularly for nearly 9 years and had tried a variety of all-tube units before I decided to look for this guy. It is absolutely the best amp that I could be using for the type of music I play (other than perhaps a Sunn Model T) and for the money that I paid for it, especially considering that a Vintage Laney or Hiwatt would have cost me many times more than the price I paid for my Sorado. My only complaint is the lack of a built-in reverb unit and the fact I don't really like the sound of the "Hi" boost switch, but that doesn't matter because I simply choose not to use it. If you are looking for a unique, powerful amp with plenty of headroom and don't mind buying extra effects pedals to change its sound, this may be the amp for you. The tone is perfect. // 10

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