#1
Hey All! Been Awhile,

There's a guy on Kijiji who's gonna sell me his 1978 Sunn Beta Lead 2x12. It's in mint condition (pics proved it) and as I always wanted a Sunn amp, I think I'm gonna go for it. I'm wondering what kind of boost pedal would be good for this amp? I have a TS-9 and a Keeley Modded DS-1.

-Major Bludd
#2
Beta Leads are solid state, and I don't see any reason as to why you'd want to boost it in the first place. That's the single loudest amp I've ever heard in my life and it's tone is fantastic for what it's aimed for. Check out the band "Red Fang", both guitarists and the bassist all use the same amp: Sunn Beta Lead/Bass.


Cool fact: The Beta Lead and Bass are identical, except the bass model doesn't have reverb.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#3
Dumb Question - How does it take pedals?

I hear it is loud, is it still OK for bedroom levels, though?
#4
On paper, yes because it's a solid state amp. From what experience I've had with one, you still wanna crank the shit outta it to get its best tones.

I'm not sure how well it takes pedals, I would assume fairly well since Sunn's power sections are copied from hifi home audio amps. In other words, exceptionally clean power amps. When I seen Red Fang live in Indy their lead guitarist was using pedals through his, so I would assume it does alright.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#5
I appreciate your help, bro. Any warning signs for me to look out for when I go try this amp? I play early Black Sabbath and post-punk stuff like Joy Division so I'm stoked!
#6
I think it can cover that ground pretty well. Be prepared for a heavy as hell amp haha, they're built like a tank. The speaker baffles in them are very unique too and give a nice sound stage in the room.

I can't think of anything specific to look for. Make sure the reverb works I guess, no point to pay extra for the reverb version and it turns out it doesn't work. Twist all the knobs around and listen for crackles and pops through the amp, a dirty pot isn't a big deal but sometimes you can knock off a few bucks because of it.


EDIT: May I ask what you're getting it for? They've jumped up in price the last few years as more people are starting to realize that old heavy solid state in the basement has a hell of a thick sound to it.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Feb 16, 2012,
#7
they take pedals pretty well. i have a beta bass and a sunn concert lead, awesome amps, will definitely sound good for what you play.

i run a keeley modded boss blues driver, and a modded big muff thru my concert lead with awesome results. havnt run many pedals thru the beta as its out of commission right now (wiring issues) but the onboard distortion is more than enough and pretty cool.

dave from red fang (the guy that plays the tele) runs a proco rat thru his

also, does he have the footswitch for it? one of the great things about the beta series is the "both" input, which lets you use both channels at once, or, if you have the footswitch, switch between green, red, or both. (and turn the reverb on and off) unfortunately original footswitches are hard as hell to find, and the connector used/circuitry in the footswitch makes substitutions impossible. voodooman or switch doctor makes a replacement tho.

if you need any more info on the beta series or sunn amps in general, i might be able to help, im a bit obsessed
#9
$500 is a little steep for it without a footswitch, but you said it's in pristine shape. Your call


I forgot about the "both" option, very cool tone indeed.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#10
I though so myself at first. But I've seen them on EBay in flimsy and shredded condition for only about $100 bucks less. A 1978 model in pristine condition? I just cannot pass this oppurtunity up.
#13
Damn, I was watching the combos sell for around $350 and the heads for around $400 just a few months ago. That's crazy
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#14
I think the word is out on how good these amps are. I keep hearing good things about them.
#16
*UPDATE*

Got the Beta Lead last weekend. It truly is in excellent condition, with hardly a scratch on it. This is truly the LOUDEST AND MOST POWERFUL AMP I'VE EVER TRIED! I was overpowering the drummer at 1.5 volume! As I spend the vast majority of my time playing at low volume levels in my apartment, I've left it at my friends house for now. I wouldn't be able to play it louder than 0.5 in my apartemnt! (0.7 would be too loud hehe)

The reverb takes some figuring out, and I'm still messing with it.

The distortion channel on this amp is brutal. I'm still looking into a good dirt peal to take it from brutal to insane if needs be. Searching the web, I've found that people seem to use two specific dirt boxes with Beta Leads - The ProCo RAT and the EHX Big Muff. I might grab one of the two, but others I'm considering are:

Maxon SD-9 Sonic Distortion
Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz
Earthquaker Devices Hoof Fuzz

I'm currently using a TS-9 and a DS-1 and the Beta Lead doesn't seem to like either of them.

Opinions? I'd appreciate it.

-Major Bludd
#17
Seems like two period correct distortions for the amp. I wasn't kidding when I said it was loud haha, it's beyond ridiculous. The band "Red Fang" uses 3 of these live and on the majority of their albums, they're insanely loud for a SS amp.

Be happy with the amp I'd be happy to own one
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#18
It's fantastic, I'm just a little overwhelmed by it right now! lol

The possibilities with this amp are endless. Especially considering the Alt/Doom/Stoner Rock I like to play.

As far as dirt pedals go. I was considering my TS-9 as a light overdrive for the clean channel. And for the dirty channel, I'm leaning towards the EQD Hoof.

Decisions, Decisions... I have plenty of time to decide, though. I'm broke! lol
#19
The volume on this thing is super sensitive. Anyone have any ideas how you would set this thing for low (bedroom) levels so I can play it in my apartment? I was thinking of just running it clean and using pedals. Hmmm...
#21
Everything real low. Level around 2-3. Master at 0.5

I didn't exactly buy this Amp to play ONLY at bedroom levels! (I know the reputation that Sunn has) but I wanted to be able to jam in my Apt as well. I won't unleash the full power of the dirt channel on this thing unless I'm somewhere else. If I do, I'd be evicted! hehe

My god this thing is loud...
Last edited by Major Bludd at Mar 3, 2012,
#22
Beta Leads and apartments don't mix very well

I'm not sure what settings for low volume use, I've never had the need (or desire) to run such a glorious paint-stripping amp at near quiet levels
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#23
Quote by Major Bludd

Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz
Earthquaker Devices Hoof Fuzz


Of these two, Keep in mind: the Hoof Fuzz can have boosted mids, while the Musket Fuzz can have a tighter low end. But definitely get either of those in place of the regular EHX Muff.

Kylesa and Baroness use the Musket, if that helps sway the decision at all.
#24
As a Beta Lead owner, I can safely say, yeah, good luck with getting that thing to be quiet. They're ungodly loud. I've literally rattled pictures off of walls with mine, and it's only a 1x12 ('79).

And I'd have to agree heavily (no pun intended) on it being heavy as hell. My Blues Deluxe weighs less than my Beta Lead. Thank god the thing has casters, or I would've broken myself trying to move it by now.
#25
Problem Solved.

I don't usually find the time to jam with too many people. I usually jam at by buddy's house, who also happens to be a dummer. He's got a nice basement and that's obviously were this thing belongs, so I asked him if I could leave it there (at least for now) and he agreed. I'll visit it frequently. quite frequently.

But there is absolutely NO WAY I could play this thing in my place. It's a ****ing nuclear bomb.
Everyone says I need to crank it in order to get the best tones, and the only place I could crank it is at his place. At least I don't have to worry about the drummer being too loud for me.


I'll keep my Vox Night Train with 1x12 cab at my place. That's always served me well at reasonabe volumes.
#26
before i had the wiring issues with my beta bass, i was playing it in my garage thru a homemade 2x12, cranked it up a bit, probably not past 6, and the speakers (rated for 400 watts RMS mind you) started to make very worrisome noises.... definitely the loudest of my sunn amps

+100 to nuclear bombs lol

glad you found a home for it
#28
Sunn was underlooked for a good while and then all of a sudden their prices have doubled in the last few years haha. I could've had a Sceptre for DIRT cheap and didn't have the cash at the time, pretty bummed about it. It's a more obscure Sunn amp but they have a similar DOOOOOOOOM tone to the Betas, just with even more balls.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#29
I'm familiar with the Sceptre. I know of a store selling a Solarus, but the guy told me it 'needs a lot of work'...
#30
I'm still debating over what dirt pedal to use with this Amp. I know it doesn't really need a boost, but I'd like to have one just in case of a need to kick this sucker into insane territory.

I know everone uses a Rat or a Muff. I was considering the Maxon SD-9 Sonic Distortion. I've always used it with my Vox Night Train and it works great, but I haven't had the chance to run it though the Beta Lead yet. Anyone think this will sound good? Or should I look elsewhere?

I'll also need to get the footswitch eventually. I'm gonna be in the poor house for awhile!
#32
my beta lead really likes electro harmonix stuff. A metal muff with top boost should not run you more than 100 bucks and pretty much turns one beta head into 1000 possible faces of terror.

Another thing you can do is take a booster like an lpb-1 and just crank that asshole to 1000. combine that with what is essentially sunn's built in fender reverb tank and you have the kind of stuff jack white creams his sunday sweatpants over.


nobody ever daisy chains the channels making one a slave. nobody ever ****ing does it. probably because the control section of these ****ers is like no other. Meaning, if you can handle loud volumes, have mastered the gain staging and eq section of this amp, and have a couple extra cables lying around, the sunn itself can offer you a whole hell of a lot.

Maybe think about simple but solid compression and eq solutions either on the front end or in chain. The power these amps provide give you a glowing opportunity to use reductive eq tactics.


bottom line. the 500 is fair. I've got that in mine after a couple of repairs and i will never let this amp go. In my book, it's actually pretty ****ing cheap for 100w of righteous tone.


These are just thoughts.