The final leap in solid state amp design to give them equal performance with tube amps ?

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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 6878
    On the subject of solid state amplifiers, may I just say that the Quad 303 is Good, but the 405 is Damn Good. (I wouldn't put my guitar through either though, that's not what they're for, except as studio monitor amps, which is a task the 303 performs well and the 405 very well)
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs.
    Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!
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  • bignormbignorm Frets: 120
    I keep looking at a Kemper but I know hand on heart it'll end up collecting dust until I sell it at a loss. I've always used valve amps being brought up with marshalls and the like. You haven't lived until you've played a Jmp100 watt full stack cranked right up. 
    Coming from the era of single channel amps I can't lose the habit of using the guitar volume pot to tame the grit of a hot channel.
    These days I use a H&K Grandemeister head into two 1x12 cabs (one on each side of the stage, purely as monitoring as the head is red boxed into the pa) although I have a pile of channels and presets available at a stomp of a foot switch I can't break a life time habit of using my guitar vol pot to get different tones from a single channel 
    a valve amp does this easily but I'm not sure I'll be able to do that with a digital set up. 
    Its this reason I don't get on with fx pedals, I've never been able to coax decent tones from overdrive pedals etc
    i think a day will come when valve amps will simply become museum pieces, dinosaurs overwhelm by a sea of digital modelled amps the size of a book (also a victim of the digital onslaught) hopefully I'll be long gone before that happens.
    I just can't see me sitting down and learning how to program a channel that is a full roar but will clean up to a cleanish chimey tone as I turn my guitar vol pot down. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 26818
    bignorm said:
    I keep looking at a Kemper but I know hand on heart it'll end up collecting dust until I sell it at a loss. I've always used valve amps being brought up with marshalls and the like. You haven't lived until you've played a Jmp100 watt full stack cranked right up. 
    Coming from the era of single channel amps I can't lose the habit of using the guitar volume pot to tame the grit of a hot channel.
    These days I use a H&K Grandemeister head into two 1x12 cabs (one on each side of the stage, purely as monitoring as the head is red boxed into the pa) although I have a pile of channels and presets available at a stomp of a foot switch I can't break a life time habit of using my guitar vol pot to get different tones from a single channel 
    a valve amp does this easily but I'm not sure I'll be able to do that with a digital set up. 
    Its this reason I don't get on with fx pedals, I've never been able to coax decent tones from overdrive pedals etc
    i think a day will come when valve amps will simply become museum pieces, dinosaurs overwhelm by a sea of digital modelled amps the size of a book (also a victim of the digital onslaught) hopefully I'll be long gone before that happens.
    I just can't see me sitting down and learning how to program a channel that is a full roar but will clean up to a cleanish chimey tone as I turn my guitar vol pot down. 
    Try a Yamaha THR100. (Not THR10, it's a totally different amp.)

    The future is digital - or analogue solid-state - amps that do all that 'programming' for you, and just let you plug in and play in the same way you would with a valve amp.

    The Yamaha is the most convincing I've heard so far, although I haven't tried a Quilter.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 7778
    Jalapeno said:
    How on earth does a 4 piece need 96 channels of live sound ? :/

    Smacks of Spinal Tap .....
    It's safe to assume most of those are for the drums. Even with multi-amp setups I can't comprehend why Jim/Kirk would need more than 6 channels each for guitar (3 amps with redundancy on mics/cables). Can they?!


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  • randellarandella Frets: 1163
    The interesting thing about it all, for me, is that the incredibly complicated dynamic things that are happening inside a valve amplifier which we all drool over were a total accident.  Leo Fender never wanted his amps to distort!  If he'd have had transistors around I would bet he would have used them.

    Now we're nearly at the point where modellers can 'do' that thing; we're just waiting until we have enough processing power available in cheap enough ICs to translate all the complex dynamic stuff, digitally, in real time from the guitar to the speaker.  Or at least close enough to real time that the brain can't tell.

    At which point you won't see me lumping a valve amp up the stairs to the function room in a pub ever again.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 26818
    randella said:
    The interesting thing about it all, for me, is that the incredibly complicated dynamic things that are happening inside a valve amplifier which we all drool over were a total accident.  Leo Fender never wanted his amps to distort!  If he'd have had transistors around I would bet he would have used them.
    If he had been confident about their reliability, yes. The early ones weren't, despite the marketing which claimed that - unlike valves - transistors 'will never need replacing'.

    That problem was largely cracked by the late 70s though - both by more robust devices and by understanding that musicians wanted distortion, so that was designed into the *preamps*, which made it possible to prevent the power stages overdriving - which is still not a good idea with transistors.

    Even now, some solid-state amps aren't as reliable as they should be, due to cost-cutting in the power stage (or power supply) design mostly.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • BeexterBeexter Frets: 251
    edited November 7
    I think there is also something else at work here as well - tone choices. 

    I've recently been shopping for a valve combo to replace my head / cab setup, primarily from a convenience point of view. I tried some well regarded hand-wired examples including Bad Cat Black Cat 15, Carr Sportsman, Skylark and Lincoln, a Louis Electric, Morgan AC20, Dr Z Maz 18, Monza and Z Lux.

    They all had "their tone" BUT that is the foundation tone that you have to work with.
    If you are doing original material, then absolutely, your choice of amp will help to define YOUR sound - just as it has for countless artists we could all name.

    However, as a guitarist in a covers band, my preference is to get close to the sound/ tone of the original track. For that, my AX8 setup makes that so much easier than a traditional valve amp. Not only that, the dynamics of the latest generation of modeller means they react to the volume knob on the guitar just as well as a good valve amp and can sound good at any volume, unlike some valve amps which have specific volumes at which they sound their best.

    A modelling amp will also usually have a variety of models so you can always switch to a different " model" to find a sound you like.

    Needless to say, I was quite prepared to spend out on a new valve combo but came home empty handed.

    I now feel compelled to try a Katana...
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 1993
    ICBM said:
    randella said:
    The interesting thing about it all, for me, is that the incredibly complicated dynamic things that are happening inside a valve amplifier which we all drool over were a total accident.  Leo Fender never wanted his amps to distort!  If he'd have had transistors around I would bet he would have used them.
    If he had been confident about their reliability, yes. The early ones weren't, despite the marketing which claimed that - unlike valves - transistors 'will never need replacing'.

    That problem was largely cracked by the late 70s though - both by more robust devices and by understanding that musicians wanted distortion, so that was designed into the *preamps*, which made it possible to prevent the power stages overdriving - which is still not a good idea with transistors.

    Even now, some solid-state amps aren't as reliable as they should be, due to cost-cutting in the power stage (or power supply) design mostly.
    I'm too young to remember (truo dat), but I recall reading that Fender were amoung the first to launch solid state amps late in the 60s. The problem was they were badly designed/built and had a propensity to burst into flames/smoke. Because the otherwise acceptable fender couldn't make tranny amps it was assumed by many that they were not as good as tubes (valves to the native speakers). Once the bad reputaion got started it took years and may still be part of that legacy about how bad s/s is all these decades later.
    This stolen fron wiki:
    Fender's early transistor amplifiers had an extensive marketing campaign but in the end they proved to be a major disaster. Many key executives of Fender had resigned after the CBS purchase and quality control of the PCB-constructed amps was rather sloppy during the times. Reputedly many of the early solid-state amplifiers failed simply because employees didn't bother to clean up the soldering machines or attach the semiconductors properly to their heat sinks. The infancy of semiconductor technology also meant that many designs failed due to thermal runaway caused by insufficient cooling or lack of knowledge concerning "safe" power ratings of transistors. The cascaded effects from all this created a very poor reputation for the transistor products and the entire solid-state line was discontinued already in 1971. Additionally the experience also scared Fender away from solid-state amplifier technology for the next ten years.

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  • aord43aord43 Frets: 260
    peteri said:

    I'm a recent convert to digital.

    Have always had valve amps and pedals, from a Boss BE-5 and a Marshall Guvn'r into a Jubilee stack onwards.

    (That's the sound I'm always trying to simulate BTW - until I tried the Jubilee re-issue and realised I'd romanticised the memory).

    Then I got a Helix, which didn't last long - because I also got a Fractal.

    Yesterday I was playing the AX8 loud! Into Tannoy Reveal Monitors, so nothing too esoteric or high end, and also quite small speakers.

    The Plexi, AC30 and JCM800 sounds are all just wonderful, responsive, lots of bottom end, controllable high-end etc.

    I really couldn't be happier with the sound, and by comparison my very expensive valve amp (Carr) sounds not quite so good.

    Reason for that is it actually sounds like my romanticised view, the Plexi sounds like (not identical to) a Plexi I could never play.

    Is it exact?

    I think it's now at a point when it's absolutely close enough just to move on and embrace. All previous versions were missing in that regard - classic point I made about earlier Line 6 products, the TS sounded like a TS, the JCM sounded like a JCM.

    But the TS into a JCM was miles off accurate.

    That's changed.

    So I now have a set-up where the volume knob is really just that, it makes things louder - ok my perception because of volume change is different, but everything else is fundamentally the same - I love that. How many times with valve amps, I'd get an amazing sound at one volume, and change things very slightly and it's all changed. Or the voltage drops a bit and somehow something is different.

    People have been talking about CDs, I remember when they first came in - and have read up enough about how they were mastered. Reality is when it was a niche medium it was just awful, there are even stories of people playing a record into convertors.

    Now that's not the case, and they sound much better.

    People underestimate the impact of A/D convertors - both in the process of making the CD and also playing it, reality is - cost effective A/D or D/A conversion is so much better in retail level equipment compared to 20 years ago. And you can see that in guitar pedals too - I really can't hear it now, but listen to a Line 6 DM4 or the same era TC stuff and it's obvious

    I think we're absolutely entering a golden age as guitarists, Line 6, Kemper, Fractal - wow!


    Those who knew bought AAD compact discs, those who hadn't a clue looked for DDD thinking it's all digital so it must be better.
    I must confess, as one who hadn't a clue about CDs, as with most of the population I guess, I was advised that "the more Ds the better" - and without knowing all that stuff above, it makes sense.  If a CD is digital, you want the entire process to be digital -- that was the theory anyway.
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  • randellarandella Frets: 1163
    edited November 7
    ESBlonde said:
    ICBM said:
    randella said:
    The interesting thing about it all, for me, is that the incredibly complicated dynamic things that are happening inside a valve amplifier which we all drool over were a total accident.  Leo Fender never wanted his amps to distort!  If he'd have had transistors around I would bet he would have used them.
    If he had been confident about their reliability, yes. The early ones weren't, despite the marketing which claimed that - unlike valves - transistors 'will never need replacing'.

    That problem was largely cracked by the late 70s though - both by more robust devices and by understanding that musicians wanted distortion, so that was designed into the *preamps*, which made it possible to prevent the power stages overdriving - which is still not a good idea with transistors.

    Even now, some solid-state amps aren't as reliable as they should be, due to cost-cutting in the power stage (or power supply) design mostly.
    I'm too young to remember (truo dat), but I recall reading that Fender were amoung the first to launch solid state amps late in the 60s. The problem was they were badly designed/built and had a propensity to burst into flames/smoke. Because the otherwise acceptable fender couldn't make tranny amps it was assumed by many that they were not as good as tubes (valves to the native speakers). Once the bad reputaion got started it took years and may still be part of that legacy about how bad s/s is all these decades later.
    This stolen fron wiki:
    Fender's early transistor amplifiers had an extensive marketing campaign but in the end they proved to be a major disaster. Many key executives of Fender had resigned after the CBS purchase and quality control of the PCB-constructed amps was rather sloppy during the times. Reputedly many of the early solid-state amplifiers failed simply because employees didn't bother to clean up the soldering machines or attach the semiconductors properly to their heat sinks. The infancy of semiconductor technology also meant that many designs failed due to thermal runaway caused by insufficient cooling or lack of knowledge concerning "safe" power ratings of transistors. The cascaded effects from all this created a very poor reputation for the transistor products and the entire solid-state line was discontinued already in 1971. Additionally the experience also scared Fender away from solid-state amplifier technology for the next ten years.

    I think what I was getting at is that if Leo F., and the noted others who used his designs as a springboard (thinking of Randall Smith, and Ken Bran at Marshall et al.) had had reliable solid-state circuits available to them at the time, would we even be where we are?

    The reason he (L.F.) used valve circuits is fairly obvious - but if he'd had neat, solid-state class-D circuits available to him (for e.g.), I suspect the sound of the electric guitar would be very different.  Supposing that, instead of moving to solid-state (and then modelling) designs as a way of emulating the characteristics of a valve guitar amp, solid-state stuff was used in the first instance - surely guitarists who were overdriving their valve amps to chase the exciting, gritty sounds they'd heard on the old blues records would have done something different.

    It just interests me the way things have evolved.  I still find it fascinating at how complicated and nuanced a sound came from those old amps that had, what, a few dozen components in them - and, by extension, the sheer complexity of the replacement equipment whose sole purpose is to sound and 'feel' exactly the same.

    Anyway, we are where we are.  I still stand by my amp manifesto: as soon as I can get my hands on a lightweight, affordable modeller that sounds like a pushed Deluxe Reverb and then an overdriven JCM800, valves can get right in the sea.
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 822

    What interested me was a thread on the Katana recently, a fellow boarder was using the Katana 100 live, and in his specific way of doing things, it didn't work great, mainly using the highest gain channel and controlling gain using the guitar volume.

    I'm wondering if the reality is, a workflow for the average gigging musician is based on their experience with valve amps and how valve amps work, and we therefore have it all wrong.

    The desire is for a SS or DM amp that accurately pretends to be a valve amp in every way, not that replicates the sound, which I think everyone agrees they are pretty good at now, but the responsiveness to picking, the guitar's volume etc.

    But that is a characteristic of valve technology, perhaps players need to adapt to the best ways of getting good tone and responsiveness out of SS, and not focus on the technology pretending to be another technology.

    It's a bit like getting in a brand new car and double de-clutching perhaps?

    Just a thought...

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 26818
    Interestingly I just heard an absolutely *terrible* guitar sound last night, from a valve amp. OK it could be down to whatever pedals the player was using (I couldn't see), and it was going through a big PA so the soundman could have had something to do with it as well, but the sooner I never have to hear that sort of hideous grating overly-midrangy 'tone' again, the better. I'd take the most buzzy solid-state fuzzbox-through-a-speaker sound any day.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6035
    I went into GuitarGuitar at the weekend. You must need the patience of a saint to work there and listen to all the stupid stories. Anything, there was a chap talking about how he gigged with a Kemper and had to buy a second as back up as they were unreliable. Googling this it seems he's not alone, although obviously I've no idea how representative that is. 
    As I'm sat here waiting for my work laptop to get fixed my faith in the reliability of digital gear isn't unshakable this morning :unamused: 
    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 5713

    What interested me was a thread on the Katana recently, a fellow boarder was using the Katana 100 live, and in his specific way of doing things, it didn't work great, mainly using the highest gain channel and controlling gain using the guitar volume.

    I'm wondering if the reality is, a workflow for the average gigging musician is based on their experience with valve amps and how valve amps work, and we therefore have it all wrong.

    The desire is for a SS or DM amp that accurately pretends to be a valve amp in every way, not that replicates the sound, which I think everyone agrees they are pretty good at now, but the responsiveness to picking, the guitar's volume etc.

    But that is a characteristic of valve technology, perhaps players need to adapt to the best ways of getting good tone and responsiveness out of SS, and not focus on the technology pretending to be another technology.

    It's a bit like getting in a brand new car and double de-clutching perhaps?

    Just a thought...

    I think that's absolutely valid, and personally I'm not all that particular about "my tone" as long as it's balanced across the strings, no ugly frequencies leap out, and it sits in the right place in the mix. 

    The one thing I refuse to give up though, is the tactile, dynamic response of a good amp of any type. How a guitar/amp combination responds to the variations in player input is where the musical expression lies, without it you're just playing an "electric guitar" patch on a keyboard. 

    To be fair to my new Katana it is excellent in that regard, I'm just looking for consistency across different venues at different volumes. The sound and response is great. 

    I do like what you're getting at though, and derive immense pleasure from my guitar synth so am open to different approaches to playing, but the strings and wood thing with guitars has to feel natural to me.
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 822
    edited November 8
    p90fool said:

    What interested me was a thread on the Katana recently, a fellow boarder was using the Katana 100 live, and in his specific way of doing things, it didn't work great, mainly using the highest gain channel and controlling gain using the guitar volume.

    I'm wondering if the reality is, a workflow for the average gigging musician is based on their experience with valve amps and how valve amps work, and we therefore have it all wrong.

    The desire is for a SS or DM amp that accurately pretends to be a valve amp in every way, not that replicates the sound, which I think everyone agrees they are pretty good at now, but the responsiveness to picking, the guitar's volume etc.

    But that is a characteristic of valve technology, perhaps players need to adapt to the best ways of getting good tone and responsiveness out of SS, and not focus on the technology pretending to be another technology.

    It's a bit like getting in a brand new car and double de-clutching perhaps?

    Just a thought...

    I think that's absolutely valid, and personally I'm not all that particular about "my tone" as long as it's balanced across the strings, no ugly frequencies leap out, and it sits in the right place in the mix. 

    The one thing I refuse to give up though, is the tactile, dynamic response of a good amp of any type. How a guitar/amp combination responds to the variations in player input is where the musical expression lies, without it you're just playing an "electric guitar" patch on a keyboard. 

    To be fair to my new Katana it is excellent in that regard, I'm just looking for consistency across different venues at different volumes. The sound and response is great. 

    I do like what you're getting at though, and derive immense pleasure from my guitar synth so am open to different approaches to playing, but the strings and wood thing with guitars has to feel natural to me.
    That's all fair.

    What I think might be really interesting is what Boss do with this incredibly well-regarded "Katana" brand next.  Will the Katana V2 they are now obviously going to be working on be another step forward?

    Or, will we see a "Katana Deluxe", with differently and more exclusively tuned models appear, with a more expensive speaker, a bit like the Blues Cube Artist someone was raving about on here the other day?

    They could of course screw the pooch and mess it up, but I have a feeling that posts like your live review in the other thread and your comments above are exactly the kind of thing they will be looking at in a V2.

    And they will probably still make it under £200 for the 50!
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