Sorado review by Sunn

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 2.8 (19 votes)
Sunn: Sorado

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Ebay

Sound — 10
Plugged into my custom-made 4x12 Celestion cabinet without any effects pedals hooked up, my modded Fender Telecaster (Gibson PAF humbucker in neck, '56 Tele single-coil in bridge) produces a rich, sparkly clean tone reminiscent of a Fender Bassman with a bit more punch, especially with the "Lo" boost turned on. Only with the volume cranked up to about 7 or 8 will the amp begin to overdrive, yielding awesome Glam rock (Think Mott-The-Hoople's "All the Young Dudes") rhythm and lead tones which will melt your eardrums from how loud it is if you don't use protection. ALWAYS use protection. With my Ibanez TS-7 engaged it is easy to achieve this same sound at much lower volumes and would be perfect for playing heavy psychedelic rock, like Jimi or Cream did. With my Arbiter Fuzzface on top of that I can achieve outrageous, sloppy distortion tones that a friend of mine said remind him of a dying woolly mammoth, which are perfect for playing the Electric Wizardish Stoner-Metal/Doom that my band plays half of the time. Finally, with chorus and/or wah you can coax some really interesting, three-dimensional sounds out of this beast. Because of its ample bass, the sound this amp produces feels like an actual, physical presence in the room and is unlike anything I've ever personally used before, especially when using a guitar that is tuned down a few steps.

Overall Impression — 10
This amp would be a perfect match for anything from classic rock to glam to slower types of Metal (since it doesn't really get you that tight distortion necessary for thrash or death metal), provided you purchase an overdrive pedal and any other effects you need to help you achieve the specific tone you are going for. I have been playing regularly for nearly 9 years and had tried a variety of all-tube units before I decided to look for this guy. It is absolutely the best amp that I could be using for the type of music I play (other than perhaps a Sunn Model T) and for the money that I paid for it, especially considering that a Vintage Laney or Hiwatt would have cost me many times more than the price I paid for my Sorado. My only complaint is the lack of a built-in reverb unit and the fact I don't really like the sound of the "Hi" boost switch, but that doesn't matter because I simply choose not to use it. If you are looking for a unique, powerful amp with plenty of headroom and don't mind buying extra effects pedals to change its sound, this may be the amp for you. The tone is perfect.

Reliability & Durability — 10
So far its been very dependable for me, I've been playing it everyday for about a month. This beast is so old that the fact it still works exceptionally means it was built to last. I believe it even has the original tubes! I trust it for gigs without bringing a back-up.

Features — 8
The Sunn Sorado is a simple, single channel, all-tube amp made in 1968 with 2 inputs and 5 simple controls: Volume, Bass, Treble, and "Lo" and "Hi" boost switches. The head features two 6550 power tubes and two monstrous transformers producing (apparently) 60 watts of power; however, I believe that Sunn under-reported the power ratings of their amps because this thing is LOUD. I primarily use it at my band's practice space for playing our combination of Doom Metal and Neil Young/Crazy Horse sort of stuff, which this amp does beautifully. With the "Lo" boost engaged, the amp has an enormous bottom end that makes it extremely powerful and warm sounding. For me, the "Hi" boost simply produces too much treble to really be useful for rhythm playing, but engaging it for solos allows my sound to really cut through the other instruments in the room. My only complaint would be the lack of a built-in reverb. All in all, a simple, no-fuss design that sounds incredible.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sunn,..need I say more.....The graced the halls of Rock since the 1960,s...The early 1970,s you did not go to any concert without seeing a Sunn amp.....Ive seen concerts were every amp on the stage was Sunn.....I have a small 1968 Sunn Sonaro....simple but awesome..
    ^ Yeah, they based their name on that, and use a load of Sunn gear. I've always wanted to get hold of some Sunn gear but it's a complete motherbitch to get hold of these days
    OvLamvAndGod wrote: there is a band called Sunn0))) amp's emblem in the photo...
    They actually named their band after the amp's emblem! Their first demos had amps on the cover and they sticked with it. Awesome band to see live, I've never experiences anything like that before!
    I inherited my dad's Sunn Beta Lead half stack from him years ago. It has never been turned up past 3 in all of its life of playing shows. I shudder to think about how loud 10 would be. I don't think it would blow the speakers, because why would they make an amp that can't handle its own settings? I once turned it up to 3 at band practice, and I thought my house was going to explode. I love my amp
    Simple, nice design and nice sound, looks like I'll be investing in one of these soon.