#1
Hello everyone. I am on a quest for a new guitar amp. My last band practice demonstrated to me that my old Line 6 Spider III is not powerful enough; and it sounded absolutely horrible. I was looking online and found the Jet City amps, the 20 watt model was about $300 and it was a tube amp. I am a little skeptical about a tube amp costing so little and yet sounding as good as they claim it does. Could someone please enlighten me as to whether they are any good. I am done with modeling amps, I just want something that works without any stupid effects or presets. I am also open to any other recommendations, my budget to work with is about $500 but I could go a little over that if necessary.

And finally, could someone please explain the difference to me between tube amps and solid state amps wattages? It seems that a tube amp with the same wattage of a solid state amp is
#2
And finally, could someone please explain the difference to me between tube amps and solid state amps wattages? It seems that a tube amp with the same wattage of a solid state amp is more powerful. Thanx in advance.
#3
Quote by smmSTV
And finally, could someone please explain the difference to me between tube amps and solid state amps wattages? It seems that a tube amp with the same wattage of a solid state amp is more powerful. Thanx in advance.


Wattage: same wattage, but the tubes will be louder. Without going into why, you can just trust me. A 20 watt tube amp will sound like a 60 watt SS, roughly; VERY loud, anyways. You can probably gig with this amp, though at a few rare places, it may need mic'ing.

As for the amp, Jet City is basically the overseas amp factory for Mike Soldano. He designed all the amps, and cheapens cost by not using the perfect parts and going overseas. Even then, they're nice amps. I highly recommend them, PARTICULARLY for those on a budget; beautiful tone + low price.
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#4
A watt is a watt. Tube amps are not louder than SS amp at same wattage, they just SEEM louder to the human ear because of harmonic differences between the two technologies.
#5
Yes, Jet City amps are good, but it depends on what kind of music you are playing if it will suit your needs. If you can't mic your amp when playing live, you might want to look at something with more headroom than a 20W amp if you are going for a clean sound. Also, note that the model that is $333 is just a head, and you would need an extension cab to be able to play it. The combo version is $399.99.

I'm too lazy to type out why a tube amp is louder than a SS, so I'll do some copy and paste action here:

A Watt is a Watt. That is true. Tube amps sound louder for 2 reasons:

They add harmonics to the signal (distortion).

They compress the signal when overdriven, allowing them to sound louder for a given power out.

Solid state amps can also add harmonics and compress the signal, it is just that when transistors do it, most folks think it sounds bad. Tubes can add more distortion and compress more without people saying it sounds bad, and actually a lot of folks say it sounds good.

If you put a 100 Watt tube amp on a test bench feeding an 8 Ohm resistor, the amp usually puts out a fairly clean signal up to about 100 Watts, then as you increase the power out, the signal distorts, as the sine wave tries to get bigger, it is softly sqashed, but still rounded. You can get up to 150 or more true measured Watts with the signal distorted like this (theoretical maximum 200 Watts for pure square wave). You can do the same thing with a 100 Watt solid state amp, but as the ouput power goes above 100 Watts, the peaks of the sine wave are chopped flat off, not softly squashed. This hard clip point is obvious and harsh when listening to it through speakers.

In the above situation, you can see where a 100 Watt tube amp may be putting out the same signal as a 200 Watt SS amp with compressed peaks. If the 100 Watt SS amp tried the same trick, the distortion would sound bad (according to most peoples' opinions). Here's where headroom comes into play. Solid state amps need lots of headroom so they don't clip the peaks of the signal, which by the way, has very large peaks but on average is not very big. Tube amps can clip the signal peaks and a lot of folks don't mind the accompanying distortion from the soft clipping. I dig it!

This is just a broad generalization, but that's the gyst of it.

Chris
#6
i just ordered the combo version the other day. once it gets to me i'll post a thread review. im quite looking forward to it
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#8
Quote by handbanana
What style do you play?


I play mostly classic and hard rock, punk rock and a little metal.

Also i think they make 50 watt and 100 watt versions too.
Last edited by smmSTV at Jul 8, 2010,
#9
Also remember that a lot of cheap solid state amps are rated for PEAK power, just makes them seem more impressive. A 20W cheap amp will make 20 watts, for a second at best. Most tube amps I've ever seen are rated in RMS power. That makes the biggest difference.
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#10
I have the 20w combo version, i love the thing and it sounds great. While the gain isn't really suited for metal or anything that requires very high gain as it is a more classic rock oriented sound, a good distortion pedal will fix that, I've had it for about a month and i haven't had any problems and it sounds really good for such a low price
#11
I hear Jet City amps are decent but I've never tried one. Wattage is a measurement of power, the difference is more a matter of output, but wattage and volume aren't proportionally comparable. Also remember Power:Volume is logarithmic, so 10W is only half as loud as 100W. I don't want to go too far into the maths...

Check these out as well:
Hayden Mofo
Blackstar HT-20
Vox AC15
Orange Tiny Terror

There might be a couple of Marshalls in that price range, I'm not sure, but you can always go used.
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Last edited by Emperor's Child at Jul 8, 2010,
#12
OK well, since my Spider III is 15 watts solid state, about how powerful would a tube amp need to be to match (and surpass) it's volume?
#15
Quote by AcousticMirror
1 or 2 watts.


Wow that makes my Spider III look yet even more pitiful.

I was thinking that if the 20 watt version isn't enough(which i'm starting to doubt) i could maybe go with the 50 or 100 watt version. Also the miniature vox and orange tube amps are pretty sweet. Anyway, about how big of a show could I be able to play without mic'ing my amp if I was using a 15 or 20 watt tube amp? I was just interested because as I said I am also considering the 50 or 100 watt version.
#16
The 50 and 100 sound very different from the 20 because they're based on different amps (the 50 and 100 are based on the SLO, whereas the 20 is based on the Atomic 16)

The 50 and 100 have two channels and alot more gain than the 20.

As far as show size, maybe 50, 100 people... depends on the venue too (indoors vs. outdoors) and how dispersed the crowd is.
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#17
depends on how much power tube distortion you need/want

if you run gain dimed, volume dimed you probably could play like a bar inside as long as much people are watching you and not yelling.

Keep in mind that a 20 watt amp and a 50 watt amp are very close in terms of loudness.

100 watts is mathematically twice as loud as 10 watts. 50 watts is twice as loud as 5 watts. 200 watts is twice as loud as 20 watts. So using my D in calculus a 100 watt amp might be like 1.5 times as loud as a 20 watt amp. But once you get around 30-40 watts its more about headroom then it is about loudness.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#18
Oh ok, so it Seems that the best option here is to go for a 15 or 20 watt tube amp, so I could get overdrive at a reasonable volume ,and if I play anything really big just to mic it.
#20
Awesome . I'm also thinking I won't need something with too much distortion cuz I can buy a distortion pedal
#21
jet city are horrible amps and i dont play mine every day.


scratch that. reverse it.


the 20 watter is actually great for classic to hard rock. i dont really play metal, but its not what i would choose for the style. with the gain up and a pedal im sure it would be ok, but if you are aiming primarily for hard rock you will be fine.

the clean sound, well it doesnt have much of one. at a gigging volume the cleans will be almost non-existant. you can get some gritty cleans, but i wouldnt be counting on them if you wanted a clean sound.
#22
Since you said you're into Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Punk moreso than metal, here's some other (lower gain, less brootal) applications:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GM5UPVsrH18 - Clean, Crunch, and Lead
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGzI6Xsvp9Y - Light crunch (Little Wing)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVE4E-_Zaps - Funky crunch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7tYp2_-ZUY - Moderate crunch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkYVuaYnzug - Dirty and driven, Crunchy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppKaEQP7rCw - Saturated
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQYPilRPI5o - Metal
#23
Quote by jof1029
jet city are horrible amps and i dont play mine every day.


scratch that. reverse it.


the 20 watter is actually great for classic to hard rock. i dont really play metal, but its not what i would choose for the style. with the gain up and a pedal im sure it would be ok, but if you are aiming primarily for hard rock you will be fine.

the clean sound, well it doesnt have much of one. at a gigging volume the cleans will be almost non-existant. you can get some gritty cleans, but i wouldnt be counting on them if you wanted a clean sound.



Well yeah, i am more into hard rock than heavy metal, tho I will need some clean tones. And I have a stupid question- would it be possible to mic it, but at a lower volume to preserve the clean tone
#24
ya of course. it won't be the best cleans but it'll be fine. you don't have to turn the gain up all the way.

it's one channel so if you want versatility you'll have to get a pedal for your distortion if you set it up clean.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#25
Ya well its pretty cheap so i can prolly get a pedal with the money ill save lol
#26
Quote by zeek7pc
Also remember that a lot of cheap solid state amps are rated for PEAK power, just makes them seem more impressive. A 20W cheap amp will make 20 watts, for a second at best. Most tube amps I've ever seen are rated in RMS power. That makes the biggest difference.



what's RMS power?
#27
rms power is the root mean square power. after an amplifier takes the signal from your guitar and makes it bigger, its put out in AC that can drive a speaker so you can imagine if look at the trace on an oscilloscope (essentially a fancy voltmeter that can show the variance of voltage as it depends on time) you'll see a wave that alternates up and down. the power that comes out of the amp is related to the voltage across a load (in this case a speaker or speakers) and the current that is going through that load and that is how the power of an amplifier is measured. Since the current alternates and is not constant, the power that is being used to drive the speaker is also not constant. It also alternates effectively meaning that at any given time your amp is putting out a different amount of power. The RMS value is an effective "average" power.

I'll say that the 20 watt JCA is a little bit limited imo but it falls into what you want to play nicely. It sounds pretty good for a $300 amp. It does sound pretty Soldano-ish. I sort of wish the 20 watter had more gain on tap, if you're using low output pickups then its going to be really hard to do anything beyond say... Zeppelin at bedroom volumes without an OD pedal because the preamp really doesn't have a ton of gain. But when you're running both the master and gain at 7-8, then it can really fatten up and becomes pretty good for classic metal and late '80s 5150 Van Halen sounds.

And when I say "5150 tone" I mean something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V48htMGzTno

Not implying that it sounds anything like a Peavey 5150 (it doesn't). Ed was using Marshalls back in those days but I'll be damned if a PAF loaded guitar through a JCA cranked near 10 doesn't sound a lot like it!
Last edited by al112987 at Jul 15, 2010,
#28
Well Since ive opened up several other threads about other amps and you guys sed just get the jet City im wondering do the JCA20 and JCA50 have FX loops?


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#29
Quote by smmSTV
Well Since ive opened up several other threads about other amps and you guys sed just get the jet City im wondering do the JCA20 and JCA50 have FX loops?


No

EDIT: Sorry, I think the 50 does, but the 20 doesn't.
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Last edited by SLonergan at Aug 20, 2010,
#30
The 50 does, but the 20 does not.


Stock

Srs cheese though, the 20 has a mod direct from Jet City where you can get an FX loop. However, expect to pony up for it.
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#31
Holy Bump Batman

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#32
He bumped his own thread, and its only been a month.
Quote by rmr024
Well, in California, people carry around devices that control the minds of bears. So expect to see people walking their bears.

Also, don't be surprised if some robot hookers try to solicit sex to you on the streets.
#33
Quote by Chrisiphone
Holy Bump Batman




That wasn't funny.

TS, I've heard micing JCAs (what with their noise issues) can have bad effects... a noise gate might help, although I haven't used one to find out.
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#34
When I tried the JCA20H, I actually really didn't like it. It had this weird grainy-but-trying-to-be-smooth type sound.

And no, the 20 does NOT have an FX loop.
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You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#35
Well I wanna get the 50watter cuz I need the clean headroom and the 2 channels, but I'm worried it'll be overkill. Any suggestions?


Jay Turser: JT-134DC
Epiphone: G-400
Gibson: SG Special Faded Cherry

Line 6: Spider III 15-watt
Marshall Haze 40

DOD FX65 Chorus
Danelectro Fish & Chips EQ
EH4800 Small Stone Phase Shifter
Dunlop CryBaby Wah
Deltalab Tube Overdrive TO1
#36
I don't think it will be overkill. It should be fine as long as you don't go over 2 or 3

If you need moar head room, with a 50 watter you really can't go wrong.
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#37
Go for the 50 watter...the FX loop is a nice bonus
Quote by rmr024
Well, in California, people carry around devices that control the minds of bears. So expect to see people walking their bears.

Also, don't be surprised if some robot hookers try to solicit sex to you on the streets.