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#1
Anyone else think they get an overly-bad reputation? This thread is not aimed as a "SS versus Valve" debate. I'm sure UG has seen more of those than it ever wanted to. We all know that valve amps sound warmer, and the distortion is more natural and organic, in terms of sound and feel (as opposed to digital distortion, which is just on or off). No, instead what I'm asking is whether you think solid state amps get an unfair amount of derision from guitarists. Hear me out. I've played a lot of amps, and I will say that a nice valve amp is just the ultimate in terms of sound. However, I have played nice solid state amps as well. It's an area of hot debate among guitarists, and often attracts extremely aggressive opinions, many of which I feel are ill-founded in personal preference, and even completely base-less bias.

All too often, people will compare say, a Marshall MG100DFX to a Marshall DSL100. That is a classic example of the sort of comparisons which get brought up in "SS versus Valve" debates. It's a terrible comparison in my opinion, and in no way is it a good comparison between solid state and valve amplification. The MG is a £200 head from new, whereas the DSL head is in the £600-700 range, from new. Since when do we compare one piece of equipment to another and expect it to be as good when it costs a third of the latter, more expensive one? It's total madness. One needs to look at premium high-end SS amps from makers like Randall to really appreciate what solid state technology can do, and it is pretty awesome in it's own way.

There isn't an issue with valve headroom, crystal cleans, the amps themselves can be a lot more versatile, there's not the pain of replacing and general upkeep/care of tubes, SS amps are generally just more reliable, etc. Remember, this is not a "SS versus Valve" thread, I'm merely pointing these upsides of nice SS amps, as they always go unmentioned with people just saying things like "Solid state amps sound like crap, the MG is nowhere near as nice sounding as the DSL" etc. Yeah my Vauxhall Nova isn't anywhere near as nice as a Ferrari Enzo, either. Not that I'm comparing, of course. A nice valve amp is just the mutts' nuts, but there's something to be said for a good SS amp too, and as the technology improves, they can only get even better.

What do you people think? Is there an unfair amount of stigma attached to solid state amplifiers?
#2
thank you.

i personally like both, but my fender ss never fails me
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#3
SS amps are great if you want infinite headroom, but not if you want roaring overdrive.
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cuz ppl hate how power metal they are cuz they think its "gay" or w.e, which is immature and dirogitory
#4
Yes. Actually this is the only forum I've ever seen with such a preference against SS.
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#6
Randall i have only heard good things about. Think ill be getting one soon, due to valves being so much more expensive, and also the upkeep im not sure i can be bothered with at the moment.

Each has their pros and cons.
#7
The thing is, people will generally start out with budget, crap SS amps; then get a valve amp when they reach the valve price range. So they only have memories of SS amps being crap.
#8
bad ones get a bad reputation because they deserve it.
But, there's praise to be had for nicer SS randalls, vettas, and jazz choruses here.
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#9
line 6 vetta ftw.....but i would love a JC someday
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#10
^Also, they start with crap guitars as well - I.E., stuff that won't put out a good sound even when worked up to a decent valve amp. While people will absolutely rip the piss out of me for playing a Gibson SG through a Marshall MG50, it really gets me a real nice sound for what I wanna play. A lot of it I think is, when you're starting out, you never really learn how to make your gear work, so just get by until you can afford a Valve/tube machine. Then, you begin to dial and mess around, see what you can do. If you took the time with the SS amps, okay it ain't gonna turn you into the next Hendrix/Satch/Whatever overnight, but it does a lot. Also, not having an utterly ****e guitar does help
(So far as Randalls - If you're a metalhead, go for it. if not, think twice)
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#11
Not at all- I play my Gibson Les Paul Standard Limited Edition (which is worth nearly two grand) through my MG30 when I'm at home. The overdrive channel on it is absolutely awful, but it has nice cleans, and I can get decent sounding distortion out of it with pedals etc.
#12
they get a bad reputation because of companies like marshall, crate and line 6 releasing overblown, high wattage halfstack or full stack versions of their ~£50 beginner amp line, and selling them at higher prices than decent 15 watt tube amps. Misinformed people will see a 15 watt tube amp and think "what? i'm not paying £200 for a 15 watt combo when i can pay £230 and get a 120 watt half stack! its a no brainer!". Then they end up with an amp that sounds really crap, and when people say "should've gotten a nice tube combo" they think its crap simply because its a solid state.

Basically, decent tube amps can actually be cheaper than most decent solid states, its just the wattage thing imo, people think tube amps are more expensive, because tube amps that are rated at a similar wattage to a typical solid state, cost a lot more than a 30 watter, but the chances are, you'll never need more than 30 watts tube, maybe 50, if you're in a band with an obnoxiously loud drummer and still want cleans. Once they realise the wattage thing, they compare a load of tube and SS amps within the price range where good value tube amps and crap quality solid state halfstacks fall into, and just assume solid state amps must suck.

If all solid states were like the Roland JC, the old 1970s solid state Vox amps, or the Marshall MOSFETs, people wouldn't be under the false impression that solid state is crap.
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
The vetta, jc120, and ampeg vh140c, rocktron chameleon, rocktron velocity 300, and Sansamp psa-1.1 are in my "want to own someday" amp list.

Sure, there are more awesome sounding tube amps out there compared to SS. But once you get a good SS, it's hard to look away.
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#18
They have a bad reputation because 70-80% of UG users have no clue what they're talking about, preferring to rehash other peoples' information and opinions. One guy says 'MG is sh!t' and before you know it everyone's jumped on the bandwagon.

I've gigged with numerous solid states and at smaller,quieter venues the sonic advantages of valves are pretty much void. Our other guitarist has been using a late 70s Carlsbro Stingray for years and has a great tone. I'm considering getting a little Peavey Bandit as a backup/portable amp for gigs where my 50W Boogie is overkill.
#20
Quote by kyle62
They have a bad reputation because 70-80% of UG users have no clue what they're talking about, preferring to rehash other peoples' information and opinions. One guy says 'MG is sh!t' and before you know it everyone's jumped on the bandwagon.

I've gigged with numerous solid states and at smaller,quieter venues the sonic advantages of valves are pretty much void. Our other guitarist has been using a late 70s Carlsbro Stingray for years and has a great tone. I'm considering getting a little Peavey Bandit as a backup/portable amp for gigs where my 50W Boogie is overkill.

bandwagon or not, they are.


very true. you actually seem to realize the advantages of SS, instead of praising tube wherever an amp is needed.
#21
Quote by gregs1020
Tech 21 makes great SS amps, IMO.


Oh yeah, those are nice too...

But anyways, aside from the plenty of good SS amps out there, I still prefer tubes.
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#22
Traynor Dg serie are probably the best ss amps that ive played of my goddamn live, whats weird about it ? at low volume it sound like **** , mid volume sound awsome, high volume still awsome.

God i hate how those amps are overatted but yea most of ss are sucky.
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#23
just my 2 cents

TS - i know you said this is not meant to be a Tube vs SS thread but isn't that what you've just created basically?

So, I'll try to stay on topic with what I think you are getting at. Yes Marshall (and Fender to some degree) kinda ruined it and made things more difficult for young people starting out as well as seasoned people on here that end up trying to explain to others why their gear sucks.

I can speak from experience. When I went out to GC to get my first real amp I wanted a Fender because I like the company. I saw a Twin Reverb for $1,300 and then a Frontman for $450 but didn't realize the difference. GC said get the FM because I was new to guitar and it would be a great place to start plus I didn't have $1,300. Then I see this knob with cool settings like Delay, Chorus, Flange, Reverb, etc and think....wow - how cool.

Shame on me for not doing more research of finding a place like this so I'm not blaming GC necessarily but no one (and I went several times) said, hey come look at this Epi Valve Jr or this Blackheart for example.

Sorry. Longer post than I intentioned.

PS - my Frontman is now a $450 dollar amp stand for my Peavey. And no offense to the guy up above who loves his Frontman.
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#25
What I dont get though is how SS players will say: "I don't play tube amps becuase they're to hard to take care of." Its honestly not that hard. Change your tubes once a year, make sure the head is always plugged into a cab. Eh, just my opinion though.
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#26
SS amps are generally cheaper anyway. id say MG100 and DSL401 is a fair comparison
Get off this damn forum and play your damn guitar.
#28
I know everyone will say 'OH MY LAWDS, YOUR EARS MUST BE DEAF!!! LOLZ!!11" but alas, with some right tools for the kit (a decent guitar and a pedal board), you can make an MG sound a LOT nicer!

Trust me, I've just tried the 'crushing' overdrive against my overdrive on my pedal board (or multi FX) and guess which one sounds more tube-y.

Yup, mine.

I even have proof on how you can get an MG to sound:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCSotOYCRA

/my argument for MGs...
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#29
For most genres of guitar playing, tube is superior just because its what has become popular. If you play metal/rock/blues/shred/etc you want a screaming tube amp, because that is what has been, is being, and will be used. Its just the popular sound.

However, solid state does have potential for different applications. It just doesn't really work for what most guitarists want out of an amplifier.

On a side note, my Laney has 1 solid state clean channel and 2 tube channels. W00t!
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#30
Quote by FLNagle
On a side note, my Laney has 1 solid state clean channel and 2 tube channels. W00t!


What amp exactly is that? You see, that has long been my dream amp configuration, I didn't know anyone actually made one! Solid state cleans are awesome for funk.
#31
Quote by Martin Scott
What amp exactly is that? You see, that has long been my dream amp configuration, I didn't know anyone actually made one! Solid state cleans are awesome for funk.

LV's. Most people count them out because they're hybrid with a solid state power section. They're pretty excellent though.
Quote by lespaul#1
Indie stands for Industrial I think, like Marilyn Manson.

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#32
Quote by FLNagle
For most genres of guitar playing, tube is superior just because its what has become popular.
I'm sorry but.... phail.
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#33
another point i want to bring up is that i know they're different but
its not whether the amp you want is tube or ss, or whether you're comparing amps and saying this one is good for a solid state or something like that, because in general its about theamp, not whether its solid state or tube?
get what i mean?
you get the amp that you want, doesn't matter if its tube or solid state in the end its what works for you
plus just for the sake of being on topic, ts, what percentage of ss's amps do you think are high quality and nice, what about tube?
that right there is your real answer
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#34
Quote by FMNStratGuy
What I dont get though is how SS players will say: "I don't play tube amps becuase they're to hard to take care of." Its honestly not that hard. Change your tubes once a year, make sure the head is always plugged into a cab. Eh, just my opinion though.


I don't think anyone's saying that it's like a major huge big deal that you have to change tubes now and again. It's just a downside/minor annoyance that doesn't exist with SS amps, no matter how you look at it. Depending on your point of view is whether it's going to be a bigger or smaller downside. My band had a gig only last week when one of the valves in our guitarist's DSL went. So it can happen. But yeah, take good care of your amp (always let it warm up etc), and you lessen the chance of valves crapping out on you.

Let's say, in 10 years when SS technology can emulate the valve sound so closely that your ears couldn't tell the difference- would you still be happy having to take care of tubes etc? Or would you just think "Ah **** it, I'll just get an SS". You can really beat up SS amps, treat them like crap and they still work every time. I guess I'm now turning this into one of those "SS versus valve" debates, though lol! Bit of trivia- valve amplification works over a thousand times faster than solid state amplification. Read it in a book I got out the library the other week. Interesting stuff.

Quote by acdclandon
what percentage of ss's amps do you think are high quality and nice, what about tube?


No idea. I would say that the percentage of nice tube amps is higher than SS, but that this gap is closing with the advent of cheap, crappy all-tube amps manufactured in the far east, in the last few years. Lord knows I've played a few of these really awful tube amps, lately.
#35
I'd kill for an Ampeg VH140C. I'm pretty fond of my Marshall VS ever since I changed the speaker in it. SS amps can be great.
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#36
I have no problem with SS amps. The thing is, most of the higher quality amps at the moment are tube. The good high end solid state and modeling amps (Line 6 Vettas, etc) are alot more expensive than a good tube amp at the moment. 5-10 years from now solid states will probably have come a long way and they will be more popular for the right reasons, as well as less expensive.
#37
I think the guitar playing world is too traditional and too conservative. Tube amps are big, heavy, fragile and expensive. SS amps are small, light, reliable and cheap. 99.9% of people won't hear the difference between a quality Marshall model and the real thing.
#38
you make a good point Martin and maybe SS will catch up to tube tone one day but silicone and chips - IS - silicone and chips which means if something goes South it costs more to fix. No?

And like any transister they are more suseptable to damage in shipping/gigging. No?

It's kinda like VoIP (Voice over IP) - it's not the same no matter how much codec and cancellation you throw at it.

Again, i'm not knocking SS necessarily but there is something about a vacuum tube that correlates to a more acoustic sound then chips will ever be able to duplicate.

In a way - I hope I'm wrong 'cause i'm a techie anyway so if it can be done - great.
#39
Quote by smb
99.9% of people won't hear the difference between a quality Marshall model and the real thing.



that's what I've always said
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#40
Quote by smb
I think the guitar playing world is too traditional and too conservative. Tube amps are big, heavy, fragile and expensive. SS amps are small, light, reliable and cheap. 99.9% of people won't hear the difference between a quality Marshall model and the real thing.


I disagree and I don't know where to start.

Tube amps are very reliable. There are plenty of stories of these amps falling out of the back of a truck or being dropped from 3 floors up and they still work. Try that with a SS amp.

and 99.9% of the general population or 99% of music lovers or what?

i've got both and i HEAR the difference and my tube has made me a better player because of it and that is all that really matters to me.

*leaves thread as not to argue point anymore*
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