#1
I've been playing for three years and gig infrequently at a local establishment. I typically play Oasis, Green Day, blink-182, the Jam, and R.E.M. I've been looking to upgrade my Fender Mustang I v.2 for some time.

That being said, I've been looking into a few solid state amps, primarily the Orange Cr60c and the BOSS Katana 100. If there is anyone that is familiar with these and could point me one way or the other that would be much appreciated. Also I've looked at the Marshall DSL15C and the Vox AC10C1 as tube options. Would the upkeep of a tube amp be suitable for a college student budget-wise? If so, does one of the aforementioned tube amps hold any advantages over the other or the solid states?

Thanks
#2
There's no real need to make tube or SS the first decision in picking an amp. For college my suggested priorities would be size, reliability, and the ability to play quietly or silently. Whether the amp is tube or SS doesn't matter too much if it can do those things.

Upkeep probably won't be a big deal. Tubes need to be replaced occasionally but a spare set is not expensive and will last you a long time, especially with small amps like the ones you're looking at.

I think if it were me I'd probably pick the Katana, just because it's got the headphone output, and practicing silently is going to be a big deal in the dorms. Otherwise you could get a POD or something similar and use the amp when you can afford to be loud. These are all very different amps sound-wise so I'm not sure how to help you decide between them beyond practical considerations.
#3
tube amps aren't that pricey in the upkeep department - especially smaller wattage ones. Its entirely feasible that you could finish college before even needing to worry about replacing tubes or anything. I've changed the tubes in my amps twice in the last 5 years, but no time was it necessary, I was rather doing it to tweak my tone.

From bands listed, I think you'd be happier with a tube option. I'm not particularly well versed on what budget models are popular these days - but a vox ac15 would be decent for oasis and REM style stuff. The dsl probably suits blink/green day a bit better [but I've only ever used the higher watt models]. With the vox you AC10 may want an overdrive pedal to get to the more punkier tones.

Also consider something like the Orange tiny/dual terror. I remember the vox night train also impressed me when I tried one a few years ago, so maybe consider that too - I think it has a better drive channel for what you're after compared to the AC's. Also consider some bugera and jet city options if they are available - great tone on the cheap.

The main issue you'll have with these low watt tube amps though is getting enough clean headroom to get over a drummer at gigs. If you mic up the amp it's not an issue though. My 30w mesa struggles to get a completely clean tone over a loud drummer - it get's just a touch of breakup and crunch [which I happen to really love]. The point is, if you want pristine cleans you need the headroom.

For solid state, maybe check out the peavey vypers - they seem to get a pretty good rep. I'm sure others will know more SS amps worth checking out - they certainly don't sound as bad as they used too.
RIP Gooze

cats
Last edited by mulefish at May 25, 2017,
#4
There's a misconception that tubes need to be replaced on a regular basis,  Which may be true for some of the budget tube amps that came from the factory with tubes supplied by the lowest bidder,  Meaning total crap,  then people turn around and replace those with the cheapest tubes they can find online, And then wonder why they're changing tubes so often,   Or the budget tube amp is the problem and it eats tubes, Meaning you get what you pay for,  I have an 11 year old amp that's still on its stock tubes,   I've also seen amps break down the day after the warranty expires,  So cost effective is a relative thing and in some cases a crap shoot. As the quality control of some Chinese made amps can be a bit hit or miss at times, and this applies to both tube and SS amps,  And yes everything your looking at is Made In China,  Not that its necessarily a bad thing, But it can still be a crap shoot,  So rather than Googling an amps reviews try Googling its problems,  In which case if you find a lot of people bitching about certain problems you may want to avoid that amp,  I have a slight advantage over most as I know one of the all time great amp doctors,  In which case I just ask him what amps he sees on his bench the most,  It would appear the Marshalls have really helped him pay his mortgage and send two kids to collage,  Although the only Marshall I own was made in England back in the early 80's, The rest are all Made in USA amps,  Oh wait I do have that Bugera TriRec,  but it gets less play time than Colin Kaepernick,  Meaning its a backup. but at least it still has a job for the time being, Nice sounding amp just not the starting amp,    As to SS or Tube, I like both for different things and everyone has an opinion, The only one that matters to you is yours,  So pointing you in one direction or another is, Well rather Pointed, 
Last edited by nastytroll at May 25, 2017,
#5
If you can afford strings for your guitar you can afford fresh tubes every 5-10 years.  Buy an amp because your sound is in there.  Tube vs SS doesn't matter if you like the tone.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at May 25, 2017,
#6
Quote by Cajundaddy
If you can afford strings for your guitar you can afford fresh tubes every 5-10 years.  Buy an amp because your sound is in there.  Tube vs SS doesn't matter if you like the tone.
It really doesn't matter. As long as you like the sound. And even larger tube amps can be maintained affordably.

I am partial to the cr60 as I own its much bigger brother the cr120h. I run my head through a 2x12 and the master volume, in combination with the channel volume, can make it whisper quite.
The 60 may struggle in punk and rock shows if not mic'd. The clean isn't the brightest, and the distortion is well, Orange. It is it's own sound. It won't nail the exact tones, but will sound good. Heck most amps alone won't!

The katana would be similar to your mustang. Just bigger and with boss effects built in. Not bad sounding IMHO, but I'm not a fan of modeling amps. Too many options.
#7
I roomed with a bass player in college (years before I started playing electric guitar myself), and currently live in a situation where cranking an amp isn't always practical. As a result, while I have big badass tube amps, I also have other devices that let me play using headphones. And my future purchases will likely have both tube and SS amps.

Soooo...

What's your budget?
Are you a combo dude, head + cab player, or have no preference?
Do you want to use pedal based effects or modeling?
How much practice time do you think will have to be "quiet" time?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#8
Quote by benrajewski
I've been playing for three years and gig infrequently at a local establishment. I typically play Oasis, Green Day, blink-182, the Jam, and R.E.M. I've been looking to upgrade my Fender Mustang I v.2 for some time.

That being said, I've been looking into a few solid state amps, primarily the Orange Cr60c and the BOSS Katana 100. If there is anyone that is familiar with these and could point me one way or the other that would be much appreciated. Also I've looked at the Marshall DSL15C and the Vox AC10C1 as tube options. Would the upkeep of a tube amp be suitable for a college student budget-wise? If so, does one of the aforementioned tube amps hold any advantages over the other or the solid states?



There's no significant upkeep issue for a tube amp for a college student budget-wise. Chances are good you're not going to need to replace tubes during your college career, but tubes being the variable creatures that they are, and carting a tube amp around submitting glass to another set of vagaries, it would probably be a good idea to keep a spare set around if you're going to gig with the amp.

My advice would be similar to Roc8995's, above.

I currently use a modeler for playing when headphones are required (you can find a used Pod XT for about $80), I add a pair of active studio monitors (in my case, KRK Rokit 8's) for when I'm able to produce some sound, and I have an FRFR setup for gigging.
#9
Quote by nastytroll
There's a misconception that tubes need to be replaced on a regular basis, 

...much left out because....

 


Tubes have no particularly finite life expectations. They can last a long time or they can go out on you 15 days after you put them in. They're also relatively fragile and I've seen a bunch of them destroyed in a 2' drop off a pickup truck. For a long time I carried a small rack with a tube preamp that used nine (NINE) 12AX7 tubes, with a tube power amp that was good for another bunch of 12AX7 tubes and four EL34s. Since my livelihood depended on those, I carried two full sets of backups. There's a reason that even the Russian military has completed conversion to solid state. It's lighter, more reliable, less delicate. And there's this: they can degrade slowly over time, and you don't realize that your sound (or your power output) has changed until you hear your amp against one that hasn't got degraded tubes in it. Everything still works....mostly. Which is part of the reason that I got into the habit of changing out tubes on a fairly regular basis just to see if that had happened.
#10
Quote by dspellman
Tubes have no particularly finite life expectations. They can last a long time or they can go out on you 15 days after you put them in. They're also relatively fragile and I've seen a bunch of them destroyed in a 2' drop off a pickup truck. For a long time I carried a small rack with a tube preamp that used nine (NINE)  12AX7 tubes, with a tube power amp that was good for another bunch of 12AX7 tubes and four EL34s. Since my livelihood depended on those, I carried two full sets of backups. There's a reason that even the Russian military has completed conversion to solid state. It's lighter, more reliable, less delicate. And there's this: they can degrade slowly over time, and you don't realize that your sound (or your power output) has changed until you hear your amp against one that hasn't got degraded tubes in it. Everything still works....mostly.  Which is part of the reason that I got into the habit of changing out tubes on a fairly regular basis just to see if that had happened.

Don't get me wrong, I swap out tubes just because,  Hell I have boxes of known good tubes around here, Some I carefully bubble wrap just because they have that just right burned in sound to them, I just don't like them in a particular amp at the time,  Others are just thrown in a shoe box.  In fact I just swapped out an EH 12ax7hd  out of that stock tube amp I was talking about, and although it still tested good, I just thought it was a bit too brittle and fuzzy in the lead position when the gain was cranked,  My solution was using a cheap ass Bugera branded 12ax7c in its spot,  The reason I swapped them in the Bugera with the Tungsol's was they just didn't hit me in the face hard enough, But just the one seem to cure the brittle fuzzies in my Kustom,   Meaning yes you do change tubes if you wish or need to if burned out but its not absolutely necessary if not burned out 
#11
I find that for home practice, SS is the most convenient, i.e. headphone output for quiet, late sessions. Most will take pedals just fine, and at home volumes, you really don't need to get power tubes distorting to have fun or to tell if you need more work on a particular piece. 

That being said, I have a Koch Studiotone tube amp that also has a headphone out and a built in dummy load. It sounds fantastic for just about anything I care to do with it. I have owned many tube amps, up to & including some heavy Mesa rack iron. All were fine for home use - just turn it down & use pedals if you have to. All were reliable, and I spent a lot on tube replacements just for the heck of it. You don't have to. 
Various Strats
Polytone Mini Brute
Koch Studiotone XL
Swart STR Tweed
Quilter 101 Reverb and Mini
1958 National lap steel
Eastman El Rey 1
Last edited by Vulcan at May 26, 2017,