#1
Recently, I had to sell my amps (I had two Vox amps, an AC4TV and an AD100VT) because of financial problems, but I started working and as soon as I got a couple of bucks, I went to GC to see what I could get at an affordable price.

I started by checking out some cheap all-tube Bugera. It sounded alright, not too shabby. I was there for about an hour and a half and didn't know what to buy. I had been playing a friend's Vox AC30 for too long after I had no amp that everything else seemed too "alien" to me.

It's been 3 weeks since I've been trying tons of amps at GC and at friend's houses, and I've made several tests as well. I recorded various clips for guitarists I know, and even though some of them are seasoned players, some of them couldn't really tell the difference between a SS amp and a tube amp.

After playing 5 years with a small, practical tube amp and a hybrid modeller, I always thought a SS amp would majorly suck, but I'll tell you what happened last: I ended up buying a Fender Frontman 65R.

<activates fire shield>

No, I'm not tone deaf. I might not be the best tone connoisseur out there, but I sure know what sounds like crap and what not. I still don't understand all the hate towards Marshall MG amps apart from their price. They are VERY, VERY overpriced, but if they were cheaper, they could be alright, with the right EQ.

After gigging with the Frontman (which was 200 USD brand new, awesome price), using a large pedal chain and hearing how they all blend perfectly to make a very decent tone, I can finally say that, unless you are aiming at a very high quality boutique tube amp, you won't be missing much if you get a decent sounding SS amp and compare it to an affordable all-tube amp.

Tone is very subjective, indeed.
Fender Jaguar -> Polytune -> Diamond Compressor -> Timmy -> OCD -> Big Muff -> Line 6 M9 -> Sonomatic Cheddar -> Spark boost -> Fender BDRI
#2
comparing my old cube 20x to my blackstar Ht-1r head and cab (yes its 1w!!) the cube had such a digital sound no real feeling there in sound, the blackstar beit it hybrid or tube is a much nicer sounding amp. i wont play SS again.

but as you say its personal preference theres NO right or wrong

p.s i almost bought an MG what is the beef with them exactly?
Last edited by Danslash at Mar 24, 2011,
#3
frontmans have pretty alright cleans i've heard, it's the OD that people flame.
Belief is a beautiful armour but makes for the heaviest sword.
#4
Only read the last part, but if this is true:

Tone is very subjective, indeed.


Than this:

you won't be missing much if you get a decent sounding SS amp and compare it to an affordable all-tube amp.


Should say this:

I won't be missing much if I get a decent sounding SS amp and compare it to an affordable all-tube amp.
You can call me Aaron.


♠♣♥♦
Out on parole, any more instances of plum text and I get put back in...
#5
His fire shield aint bulletproof fire bullets at him lol
wrong sub forum
and people hate mg not onlu because it sucks its overpriced,you can get stuff like vypyr in that range which are way better
anyways *fires* TONE DEAF
#6
lol

It all depends on the EQ, IMHO.

A couple of years ago I was getting very nitpicky when it came to overall tone, but I started thinking that I looked like an old, cranky, elitist virtuoso who never comes out of his room unless he is going to GC seeking for the ultimate guitar (no pun intended) tone.

cheers!
Fender Jaguar -> Polytune -> Diamond Compressor -> Timmy -> OCD -> Big Muff -> Line 6 M9 -> Sonomatic Cheddar -> Spark boost -> Fender BDRI
#7
Quote by deepsal
His fire shield aint bulletproof fire bullets at him lol
wrong sub forum
and people hate mg not onlu because it sucks its overpriced,you can get stuff like vypyr in that range which are way better
anyways *fires* TONE DEAF



(Invalid img)
You can call me Aaron.


♠♣♥♦
Out on parole, any more instances of plum text and I get put back in...
#8
Each to their own....

However my experience is that SS is great if everybody is using SS but stick a valve amp in the mix and the SS gets beaten up, and left for dead in a ditch.... I have never known an SS amp produce teh depth of tone a valve does no matter what EQing has been done....

And again in my experience MGs...the distortion is very, very muddy.... sounds awful...

But that's my opinion.

[
#9
Nice to see someone actually listening to their ears and not just running with the "valves = better" hype. I've been a long time SS advocate, despite the scorn of the UG community. I actually found it quite interesting that when my band started playing gigs and I got the opportunity to hang out with lots of other musicians (most vastly superior to myself) that there was nothing like the level elitism I expected. Hanging out on UG you can get the idea that everyone is a hardcore tone snob and if you rock up to play with anything other than a valve amp you'll get hacked on, but it seems most working musicians have a "whatever works" kind of mentality. As you say, tone is *very* subjective but I think part of it is actually learning to work with whatever gear you have and being able to use the settings and technique that works for that equipment. As an example; the Line 6 Spider. Arguably the most hated amp on UG and although I don't buy into the hate they just don't work for me. I tried the Spider III and IV and couldn't get the sound I wanted. HOWEVER, the other guitarist in my band uses a Spider III 75 watt head and sounds great. In contrast to that I've used quite a few valve heads over the years that sounded like arse for me, although I'm sure other players found them great.
#10
Couldn't agree more with you. Most of the musicians I know have that kind of mentality. That friend of mine who has the AC30 I mentioned before, acts very positively towards new gear. He came yesterday to see what's up with my gear, and he sat in my bed playing my poor man's Fender for about 2 hours, trying new stompbox settings and what not. I was waiting for a "this-amp-sounds-sterile/sucks" response, but he told me it was pretty good, and that it was great when comparing it with other stuff for the same price.

And he is not tone deaf, either. He has been my friend for a long time, and my music teacher for a couple of months now. He's 30 and he has been studying music since he was 10.
Fender Jaguar -> Polytune -> Diamond Compressor -> Timmy -> OCD -> Big Muff -> Line 6 M9 -> Sonomatic Cheddar -> Spark boost -> Fender BDRI
#11
I absolutely agree; there's no reason to let tube snobs' opinions get in the way of my ears. My Frontman 15R is both the cheapest and best-sounding guitar amp I own (I play exclusively clean, so the fizzy overdrive isn't a problem). I've played MG's, and the one thing I don't like is the controls -- you breathe on them and they'll reset themselves.

Of course, I usually play bass, where solid state's much more widely accepted. And I don't have unrealistic expectations; I've gotten it down to one sound I really like, "my" sound, that my gear happens to do quite well. If I wanted it to sound different, I'd buy different gear.
#12
I've been a stage tech for a pro band last week and both guitarists used a frontman 65 and a princeton (the SS practice amp)
guesswut? sounded great.
I agree with you though. People say ''don't get this, this is better'' so much that you end up believing everything is bad. Yes, there are better amps than the frontman. However, it doesn't mean the frontman is bad.
#13
i've never bought into the "solid state sucks" menatality. sure you need a tube amp to get a tube amp tone. you need a solid state to get a solid state tone, too, and either type of amp has its use.

of course you could always use cathbard's "warm as week old penguin shit" analogy as a reason for not liking solid state amps, and that's fair enough, because at the end of the day:

I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#15
Quote by sstony
Tubes are still better !!!!!!!

<picture in my last post>
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#16
Solid state amps change the sound less. On clean, that can sound slightly better.
Once you add the amp's distortion into the mix, though, it becomes harsh and unbearable to most people.

Yes, there are ways to make that harshness work somewhat. But even then, if you dial in a driven tube amp just right it'll sound miles better than a driven solid-state amp ever will by itself. Those last two being key words - If you add a large chain of pedals to an amp, pretty much any amp can sound pretty good. Yes, that includes the MG. Most guitarists don't want a huge pedal chain though - the simpler you keep your rig, the less time you spend setting it up.

^ All of the above is strictly my opinion and should be treated as such.
Ceci n'est pas une signature.
Last edited by PsiGuy60 at Mar 24, 2011,
#17
Quote by Waylanderau
Nice to see someone actually listening to their ears and not just running with the "valves = better" hype. I've been a long time SS advocate, despite the scorn of the UG community. I actually found it quite interesting that when my band started playing gigs and I got the opportunity to hang out with lots of other musicians (most vastly superior to myself) that there was nothing like the level elitism I expected. Hanging out on UG you can get the idea that everyone is a hardcore tone snob and if you rock up to play with anything other than a valve amp you'll get hacked on, but it seems most working musicians have a "whatever works" kind of mentality. As you say, tone is *very* subjective but I think part of it is actually learning to work with whatever gear you have and being able to use the settings and technique that works for that equipment. As an example; the Line 6 Spider. Arguably the most hated amp on UG and although I don't buy into the hate they just don't work for me. I tried the Spider III and IV and couldn't get the sound I wanted. HOWEVER, the other guitarist in my band uses a Spider III 75 watt head and sounds great. In contrast to that I've used quite a few valve heads over the years that sounded like arse for me, although I'm sure other players found them great.


Dude...exactly. I've been trying to drum this into people on this forum. It's cheap - it makes good sounds - it works. Not everyone wants to spend 10k on gear.
Musicians who leave their bedrooms and play in bands definitely take up the 'if it works and I can afford it' attitude.
My drummer plays in 2-3 diff bands, and I use a Spider, his other bands guitarist uses a Spider halfstack, and one guy uses a 5150. The 5150 sounds great - but in all honestly the guy doesnt have a noise gate or anything else running through it so its noisy as all hell.
The Spiders actually sound better in practice at 1/4 the price without other gear to help run it (noise gate/reverb pedal for cleans/etc)

My point is - these amps exist for a reason and don't sound nearly as bad as everyone on this forum makes them out to be.
Last edited by OceansBetweenUs at Mar 24, 2011,
#18
well thier drive is undescribably bad. cleans yes ill give you that, nice. they are also not very loud and definitely decline in sound qualty cranked. i know a rythm guitarist who uses a 100 watt 2x12 and the band hates it cause it doesnt sound as good as the 40 watt tuber the other guitarist uses, and maxed out it still cant get loud enough. it was a nightmare.

however, using some pedals and micing it up properly allowed him to find the best way to set it up to sound good. at this point it sounds decent enough to where it doesnt bother me.

but before, from acorss the bar, i coul literally be like, "jesus christ, im drunk and avery's amp sounds aweful"
#19
Comparing my Peavey Classic 30 (tube) to my other guitarist's Peavey Vypyr 30 (SS), mine just blows it away.
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#20
Quote by ikey_
they are also not very loud and definitely decline in sound qualty cranked.

My 15W Fender blows every amp in the house out of the water, including my 100W bass amp -- and that's with the volume on 2. That's not common for smaller amps, particularly solid states, but the point is there's a lot more that affects volume than just wattage, speaker size, and so on.

Likewise for the "cranked" sound -- different amp designs react differently. I'm sure a lot of solid state amps, particularly higher-end models, are designed with lots of clean headroom, so they'll keep their tone even at ear-splitting volumes. Likewise, I'm sure others can simulate tube drive. Obviously it won't sound exactly the same, and obviously it's not in most cheap practice amps, but the technology exists and it is getting steadily better.

In short, the problem with generalizing based on limited experience with low-end gear is, you're usually wrong. (But note I've never claimed my own posts are any more accurate.)
#21
Quote by fearofthemark
Comparing my Peavey Classic 30 (tube) to my other guitarist's Peavey Vypyr 30 (SS), mine just blows it away.

Actually the Vypyr is digital, forgive me if I'm mistaken but digital isn't the same as SS.
#22
most of the gigging musicians i know are completely clueless about gear, and tone.

one guy i met uses a vox ac4tv as a solo boost for example. and i won't lie, it works in his application.

if you like your 65r then great, but don't believe for a minute that anyone else should.

/inb4toneisinyourfingers.

subjective thread is subjective.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#23
Quote by PsiGuy60
Solid state amps change the sound less. On clean, that can sound slightly better.
Once you add the amp's distortion into the mix, though, it becomes harsh and unbearable to most people.

Yes, there are ways to make that harshness work somewhat. But even then, if you dial in a driven tube amp just right it'll sound miles better than a driven solid-state amp ever will by itself. Those last two being key words - If you add a large chain of pedals to an amp, pretty much any amp can sound pretty good. Yes, that includes the MG. Most guitarists don't want a huge pedal chain though - the simpler you keep your rig, the less time you spend setting it up.

^ All of the above is strictly my opinion and should be treated as such.


Totally agree, my HR Deluxe sounds awesome with my DS-1 through it (yes a standard one *activates flame shield*) yet when I put it through my LG12 it just sounds like ass. Yet I'm sure if I used different/more pedals I could get a decent tone. But for my sound the DS-1 through the Hot Rod sounds awesome.
Gear:
Fender American Tele (Lefty)
Squier Affinity Strat (Lefty)
Boss DS-1
EHX Small Clone
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Laney LG12
Danelectro FAB Flanger (Rubbish)
#24
Quote by Twistedrock
Actually the Vypyr is digital, forgive me if I'm mistaken but digital isn't the same as SS.

well yes and no.

in a nutshell, tube and solid state refers to the type of components the amp uses, and analog and digital refers to how the components are utilised in the way they shape the tone... they are separate things really.

typically digital stuff needs the accuracy and consistency of solid state components in order to function properly, which means that most digital amps are solid state, and pretty much all modelling systems, even those built into things like the spider valve, are solid state, making the spider valve technically a hybrid.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#25
I'm using an old Fender Champion 300 (the deluxe version of the old Champion 110) and it's one of the best amps I've ever played. I've never been a fan of my old Roland Cube 15x (too digital) or the Valve Jr. (sounded too thin). But the Champion is awesome, and the best part is that it's not trying to sound like another amp; it's sounds like a Champion 300.

I've definitely been sold on SS amps.
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.


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#26
My opinion:
Solid States are very good for practice, but in a live situation, it doesnt sound very good in my own experiences. I own a Spider III, and know countless other players that use SS. Even some older guys, and their tone was VERY good in my opinion, but I still prefer tube.

I got a Bugera 1990. I like the tube tone thousands of times better than SS. The Bugera is a helluva lot louder than the 75w Spider, set on the 60w Triode mode, and when running pentode...well definitely not for bedroom play haha.

In a band I was in, the guitarist had a Crate Blue Voodoo 120. His tone was COMPLETE S**T in my opinion. In practice, he scooped his mids all the way out, turned the bass, treble, and presence to 10 and thought is sounded "brutal". Yeah, it was pretty brutal, if you consider ear pain brutal. At one point he said he couldn't hear himself and turned it to 8, and still complained, I told him to drop the treble and presence and add mids, and he said your the singer worry about your vocals and I will worry about the guitar. Needless to say I quit soon after. I borrowed his amp for a show in another band I was in. At the end of the show, he proceeded to ask how I got it to sound good, and I said, "Unlike you, I didn't want to sound like music on the radio." Well sorry for the rant, but my point being is even if you have a tube amp, without an ear for tone, you will still sound like s**t.

It is complete personal preference. To me, tube is the winner, but I have heard very good tones out of a SS.

I think there should be a ban on "SS vs Tube" threads here at UG. These just end up in arguments and flaming.
Last edited by Stryker636 at Mar 24, 2011,
#27
I have a ISP Technologies Theta head wich is SS and for metalish type of music, this amp > any other amp, in my opinion.
#28
I think part of the stigma also is that SS equipment can be mass produced more cheaply than tube heads. So everyone starts out with a SS amp and because a tube costs easily 5x as much to step into, guitar nerds of UG and forum lurkers everywhere immediately have an elitist opinion about 'tone'.
#29
WOW SUPER AWESOME THREAD! Sorry not yelling. Just excited to see some sense talked around here. I am a newly-made advocate of solid state. Tube technology is so outdated. I mean can you think of *any* other electronics out there that have tubes in them besides guitar amplifiers and stereo equipment? I think the myth of tube is so limiting it is absurd!

There are a lot of nuances to this battle that I could get into, but I'm fully there with the "if it sounds good it is good" mentality. As musicians we should not care so much about *how* an amp makes sound as with *what* sound it makes.

I'd also like to post this awesome article which delves into the history of the misconception that solid state is inferior to tube and offers a list of well-known professional musicians who use solid state amps:

http://www.frugalguitarist.com/Frugal.aspx?Issue=15&Page=Solid%20State%20Hate
www.miraclemaxmusic.com

"Punk is not dead. Punk will only die when corporations can exploit and mass produce it."
Jello Biafra

(so is it dead?)
#30
Tube technology is outdated, really, maybe you need to try one of these then get back to us and let us know how it compares to your ss amps.
#31
Quote by sstony
Tube technology is outdated, really, maybe you need to try one of these then get back to us and let us know how it compares to your ss amps.

God your such a troll.

No one said its outdated - its just given such a bad rap when it is really undeserving. Go compare your top of the line $2k amplifier elsewhere.
#32
Dude I have owned a shit ton of tube amps so I'm not just speaking out my ass. These include Mesa Boogies, Marshall JCMs, Peaveys, Fenders, and more. And I've played my fair share of other brands and models too because I've been playing in bands for years.

Hartley Peavey noted that he took a *Peavey Bandit* transtube down to Nashville and had guitarists play it with four other amps blind and no one could tell which one was the solid state amp.

"To illustrate the above point, several years’ back,
we set up a “double blind listening test” at a studio
rental outfit in Nashville. We invited a half dozen
of Nashville’s finest studio “pickers” to come and
listen to various amplifiers. They were told that the
purpose of the test was “to pick out the transistor
amp.” There were five amps involved in the test
and while these “golden ears” never decided which
amp they liked best, their conclusion was 100% on
which one of the amplifiers they thought was the
solid-state (TransTube) amp… As it turns out, EVERY
ONE OF THEM picked the SAME amp being
the solid-state amp when in fact, their choice was
a tube type “boutique amplifier.” Simply put, every
one of these “golden ear studio pickers” did NOT
identify the TransTube amp as being solid-state,
but in fact, picked an amp that sold for more than
five times what our TransTube Bandit sold for as the
“solid-state” amp… Interesting huh??"
--http://www.peavey.com/support/technotes/hartley/chapter_3.pdf

I too used to think tubes sounded better. Then I realized there are shitty tube amps just as much as there are shitty SS amps. On top of that, most of the famous pedals are all SS. The bias against SS amps is silly and narrow-minded.
www.miraclemaxmusic.com

"Punk is not dead. Punk will only die when corporations can exploit and mass produce it."
Jello Biafra

(so is it dead?)
#33
Quote by rawkandrowl
Tube technology is so outdated.

Oh really, no-one said it's outdated?

RELEVANCEEDIT:
Tube amps have a distinct tone. Tone is subjective.

Let's get this thread locked before a flamewar starts.
Ceci n'est pas une signature.
Last edited by PsiGuy60 at Mar 24, 2011,
#34
OK i'm an electic guitar noob (bought an Ibanez RG321 off craiglist a month ago) but have been playing classical/acoustic a while. 2 days ago I got a used Line 6 spider iii 75 for $150 from GC as a practice amp. For the price and ease of use it was a lot better than spending hundreds more on a tube amp.
#35
Yeah I totally said it's outdated! It is! The whole premise behind major guitar amps right now is to make them sound like an amp that's already been made. I can go buy a vintage JCM800 or a modded Fender Bassman or a Vox AC30. But it's my opinion that we need to move forward and get on to newer and better things and stop re-treading the past.
www.miraclemaxmusic.com

"Punk is not dead. Punk will only die when corporations can exploit and mass produce it."
Jello Biafra

(so is it dead?)
#36
I never really had a problem with SS amps. Everyone always blasts their tone and I run a SS setup and love my tone. It's whatever works for you. Tone, like you said, is subjective. If the sound that you like the best happens to come from a SS and not a valve, then there's absolutely no reason you should get the valve amp just because it has tubes in it. If it sounds better to you, it sounds better! That said, I played around with tube amps the other day in GC and found that, with the same exact settings, the Spider Valve 112 sounded better tone wise than the Spider IV with the same settings. That's for me at least. Not the Spider IV didn't sound bad, not by a long shot, but there was a little more feel and soul in the Valve, more my kind of preference in sound. That said, you like what you like when it comes to sound. I have recorded tracks on my older Spider III that have better tone and sound than tube heads. Tone is also in the hands and, if you can't properly EQ a tube amp anyway, it's not going to sound better than a SS regardless.

What I'm getting at is, in the end, it doesn't really matter as long as you like the tone because that's why you're playing it. If you like the tone, who cares if it's SS or tube.
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Last edited by Krauser at Mar 24, 2011,
#37
Quote by rawkandrowl
Yeah I totally said it's outdated! It is! The whole premise behind major guitar amps right now is to make them sound like an amp that's already been made. I can go buy a vintage JCM800 or a modded Fender Bassman or a Vox AC30. But it's my opinion that we need to move forward and get on to newer and better things and stop re-treading the past.

reissues are for people who want the classic tone but can't afford an original, in the case of highly collectable vintage amps. just like reissue guitars. sure they aren't quite as good as "the real deal" in a lot of cases but they have their place in the market so long as people desire something that will deliver a classic tone. if the reissues didn't exist, then the originals would probably cost a lot more, too.

whose to say you can't work a classic guitar tone into some new and original music?
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#38
Lets turn this into a positive thread. Since many of us agree that SS amps are comparable to many tube amps, and do have their ups and downs, what are some good SS amps on the market you would recommend? I personally wanna try the Peavey Vypyr everyone has been talking about on this board.