SS-20 Tube Preamp Review

manufacturer: AMT Electronics date: 07/12/2012 category: Guitar Effects
AMT Electronics: SS-20 Tube Preamp
The knobs and buttons are self explanatory. The top row of knobs are Channel A, or the clean channel. The second row controls Channel B. Bass, Middle, Treble, Gain Crunch and Gain Lead.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Ease of Use: 10
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review (1) pictures (2) 4 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
SS-20 Tube Preamp Reviewed by: bluekirby7, on july 12, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 135

Purchased from: Local music shop

Ease of Use: Although it was brand new and the pedal was sealed, the box was missing the manual. I easily went online and nabbed a PDF copy. The manual goes above and beyond what most people would ever want to know about a simple stompbox. The knobs and buttons are self explanatory. The top row of knobs are Channel A, or the clean channel. You can adjust the Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble and Gain Clean. The second row controls Channel B. Bass, Middle, Treble, Gain Crunch and Gain Lead. Channel B has two parts to it. There is a separate footswitch to activate the Lead channel. This way, you have a Clean, Crunch and Lead channel with separate volumes. // 10

Sound: THE GOOD: I've been running this pedal with my 1987 Ibanez RG550 Roadflare Red guitar. Stock neck and center. Older EMG in the bridge. I've done comparisons of the sounds seeing how accurately I could achieve the classic Tube sound. First with a solid state Fender 75W (I figure most people buying this pedal won't be pairing it with a Tube amp); No pedals. Then I did it with my Line 6 HD500 mimicking "tube amp sound". Finally I used the SS-20 Tube Pre-Amp with the amp. As a comparison I borrowed a friends Fender tube amp 30W. The amp itself sounded decent. Nice clean sound. Adding the HD500 produced a "tube-like" sound, but didn't have the same feel and Drive as a tube. Swapping the HD500 out with the SS-20 gave an AMAZING difference. The cleans sparkle. The crunch gave the flexibility to be clean but with a swipe of the hand, to produce a nice tube sound. Stopping on the LEAD button gives way to a nice sound that anyone would love to play with. Near identical sound to the actual Fender tube next to me. The AMT SS-20 has an effect loops for anybody that wants to add in other effects. I rigged my HD500 to the AMT with ease and I was able to have a wide range of effects and sounds, while keeping the tube sound. THE BAD: The AMT SS-20 has two outputs. 1, a "OUT CAB EMUL" which is the pedals own cab emulation. IMO opinion, it gives a great color to the mix. However, the second output, "OUTPUT", bypasses the cab. I've tried and tried and it sounds wretched. I've tried using it into amps (several), I've put it into Mixers for playing at gigs. Sounded bad as well. It's extremely weak and it feeds back constantly. It'd be nice to be able to using the OUTPUT so I can let whatever amp I'm using color my sound, but the CAB OUT is nothing to complain about. Also. IMO, the Volume and Gain are mislabeled. The gain acts more like a volume knob. When you crank the volume, it cranks the tube distortion, not the volume level. // 8

Reliability & Durability: THE GOOD: The unit is made out of a thick metal housing. AMT made it so that the tube doesn't overheat and has access to the air. I give credit to AMT. They made the tube easy to get to (for replacing). Other Tube Pedals require you to get them serviced or take it literally apart. This pedal has a metal grate with a few screws. Simply unscrew them and you can access the tube. THE BAD: Well false advertising for one. The knobs are supposed to be blue and white, but none were ever produced in that color. Also, the knobs are a hard plastic. I keep it in a case and all, but I kind of wish the knobs were metal (everything else on the unit is). // 8

Overall Impression: If it were lost or stolen, I'd buy it again for the price I paid. However, at full price (around $400), I'm not exactly sure who the pedal is catering to? With that money, you could go buy a real tube amp. But, fair enough, for people like me that often are asked at gigs to NOT use amps on stage, it offers tube sound going into a soundboard/mixer. It's a great pedal, I'm glad I picked it up. The cleans blow me away with the unit. Cranking the Volume and having such a classic sound is great. // 9

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