So... what about Jet City?

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Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 69
edited May 30 in Amps
Hi guys, I don't want to hijack the other thread on small 30w tube heads, so will start another if that's ok. But feels free to delete mods if it's out of order!

I'm not gigging at the moment, but on the look out for a tube head. In my gigging days, I gigged 60W, 40W, 30W and 15W tube amps, and found the sweet spot most of the time with a 15W Blues Junior and a 15W setting on an Orange Dual Terror. The Blues Junior was fine, but got lost sometimes in some of the bigger venues.

I use a Quilter solid state head at the moment for the odd gig, so going to look for a single channel tube head too, and think a 20W might just have the extra poke that I need.
A Laney Cub might do the trick, but again, it's a 15W....

The Jet City has my interest, the 20HV.
I understand people mod them, but would it not be better just saving for a "better" amp instead of having Trigger's brush? 
They're so cheap? What's the catch? Are mods really necessary? A tube change I guess would be a good start. Are they just made to be modded?
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    There isn't a catch - they really are excellent amps in their own right. As many on here know, I've sold lots of much more expensive units in favour of my Jet City amps. That includes...

    Soldano Decatone
    Victory Kraken
    Framus Cobra
    ADA MP-1 + Marshall 20/20

    The only irritation, and one of the more popular targets for modding, is the effects loop on the Soldano-designed ones. The JCA50H/JCA100H have a line-level loop before the tone stack, which is really blood awkward and causes all sorts of issues unless you have the right pedals. The JCA22H has the loop after the master volume control (good) but it's line-level (not so good for some). The JCA20HV, I believe, has the same loop as the JCA22H. The Custom 22's loop is after the master volume and instrument level.

    The reason they're so cheap in the UK is that they're sold direct from the distributor. There's no compromise on build quality (a few techs have commented that the build quality is higher than most amps in the sub-£1k bracket), except perhaps that the transformers are fairly close to tolerance (I've never heard of a transformer blowing on them, but it does mean that using KT88s or EL34s in the 50W and 100W amps will probably be problematic). There are upgraded transformers available, mind.

    If I was going to go back to amps from my Helix, I wouldn't even think about it; Jet City are the only ones for me.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • webrthomsonwebrthomson Frets: 393
    I've got a JCA22H and it is great little amp - sounds just fine. The only difference with mine from stock is a tube change to clean up the cleaner channel a bit.

    I think the modding thing comes about due to their low cost and the ease with which they can be, they certainly dont need it IMHO :)
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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 69


    The only irritation, and one of the more popular targets for modding, is the effects loop on the Soldano-designed ones. The JCA50H/JCA100H have a line-level loop before the tone stack, which is really blood awkward and causes all sorts of issues unless you have the right pedals. The JCA22H has the loop after the master volume control (good) but it's line-level (not so good for some). The JCA20HV, I believe, has the same loop as the JCA22H. The Custom 22's loop is after the master volume and instrument level.

    I mainly put everything through the front of the amp so a loop wouldn't necessarily be a problem for me. I had been looking at them on Thomann (I'm in Ireland). At that price, I'd be open to upgrading tubes and transformers if required. I'm going to have to look into this!! GAS.....
    I'd love to A/B beside a CUB head etc, but don't have that luxury...
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    The valve upgrade is easy, although I actually quite like the stock Chinese ones (I even asked Doug to send me a couple of sets that he had lying around, for spares).

    If you're after transformers, you might have to get hold of Doug; I don't think they're available in the UK, so you'll have to get them direct from the main company in the US. He's usually available on the Jet City Facebook group:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/jetcityamplification/?ref=group_browse_new
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 69
    edited May 30
    I guess I picked the wrong time to delete my Facebook account.

    The one thing I don't like about the 20HV head is the colour of the front. Looks like a potato sack!
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    I guess I picked the wrong time to delete my Facebook account. :)
    LOL! Just email Jet City themselves if you really need it - info@jetcityamplification.com

    I'd recommend just trying the amp as-is, though. You might be surprised :)

    One tip - don't be afraid of having the presence on zero. These are bright amps, and most folk just ignore the presence altogether. The exception is when you have the depth mod, in which case the presence control becomes more usable.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 69
    Yeah, I read about that a while ago. Any tips on tube upgrades?
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    Yeah, I read about that a while ago. Any tips on tube upgrades?
    Well, I had some NOS CV4004 preamp valves that worked really well in all my Jet City amps. As for power valves...not really, pretty much anything goes. I did try some KT66s in my JCA50H, but one of them developed a short and blew a resistor on the board, so my natural inclination is to avoid those ;)
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 8230
    I've had loads of amps and the Jet City stuff is as good as anything mass produced.

    JCA22H is a great little amp if you don't need very clean cleans.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 69
    edited May 30
    I like the single channel idea, so it would be between the 20H and 20HV. I wouldn't use much amp gain, all pedals, and think the 20watts would be enough for me, with a little more poke than a 15 I'll check out the 20 as well.

    Just going off the vids online, the 20HV sounds brighter, but a lot of demos with strats. I probably wouldn't use the full gain on the 20H, but seems like 6 of one, half dozen of the other....

    I like just breaking up, not clean clean...
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    The JCA20HV is a better pedal platform than the 20H - the 20H has a *lot* more gain, which in turn makes it harder to dial in that clean-ish sound you're after.

    You might want to look at the Custom 22 too - the clean channel on that is better than all the others (with the possible exception of the Amelia).
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 9363
    I've had five Jet City amps and still have a Custom 22 and a 20H as my main gigging amps. 

    The loop on the Custom is fine and I installed a Metro amps loop on the 20H, which I'm pretty sure is the same as the one factory installed on the 20HV. Both work fine with all pedals. 

    Don't worry too much about budgeting for valves, I have dozens and dozens of nice old British and American valves and after extensive experimentation I ended up running the stock Chinese valves in all my JC amps. 

    They're tough and reliable, and sound great at all volumes. 

    I've delved into the guts of all of mine to have a play about, but every mod I've ever done has been switchable, because I don't want to lose the excellent stock sounds. 

    They're well built out of proper components, there really is no catch. 
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    p90fool said:

    They're well built out of proper components, there really is no catch. 
    Exactly. It's not that Jet City amps are cheap - it's just that other amps are overpriced due to the number of entities between the factory and the customer, all of whom need to make a profit. And, evidently, quite a few other manufacturers take shortcuts with the manufacturing process.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 69
    Well, it's a no brainer then. I've been looking for a single watt 20 watt amp for a while, and totally forgot about these....
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  • p90fool said:
    I've had five Jet City amps and still have a Custom 22 and a 20H as my main gigging amps. 

    The loop on the Custom is fine and I installed a Metro amps loop on the 20H, which I'm pretty sure is the same as the one factory installed on the 20HV. Both work fine with all pedals. 

    Don't worry too much about budgeting for valves, I have dozens and dozens of nice old British and American valves and after extensive experimentation I ended up running the stock Chinese valves in all my JC amps. 

    They're tough and reliable, and sound great at all volumes. 

    I've delved into the guts of all of mine to have a play about, but every mod I've ever done has been switchable, because I don't want to lose the excellent stock sounds. 

    They're well built out of proper components, there really is no catch. 

    Are you using the stock cabs with your amps @p90fool, any preference on speakers with the Jet City heads?


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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    @kennedydream1980 - I had a brief flirtation with V30s when I was gigging the Jet City amps, but I found that the stock speakers were much better for the more modern high-gain sounds I used. Much lighter than V30s, too.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 9363
    I'm using open backed cabs with Celestion Classic Lead 80s and Neo Creambacks. 
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  • mudslide73mudslide73 Frets: 1718
    I've been gigging with a JCA50H and a Marshall 1922 for about 3 years. I clipped the bright caps and put some nos RFT ecc83s in. I get some great comments especially about the lead sound. I'm a big fan to say the least. 
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  • not_the_djnot_the_dj Frets: 5928
    JCA20HV user here. Pub rock covers and it’s a brilliant little amp that sounds great. I use a Zilla cab with greenbacks and it’s pure classic rock. 

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  • newi123newi123 Frets: 360
    I use a zilla open back with a g12h and a v30 with my 20hv - sounds great. Have also played a couple of recent gigs with the stock closed back (because I still haven't managed to pull the back off) jet city 1x12 - also sounds good........
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    I've been gigging with a JCA50H and a Marshall 1922 for about 3 years. I clipped the bright caps and put some nos RFT ecc83s in. I get some great comments especially about the lead sound. I'm a big fan to say the least. 
    That reminds me - aside from the 20W power section and the position of the loop, there's one other difference between the JCA22H and the 50H/100H. The 22H doesn't have the bright cap on the crunch channel, although it's still there on the OD channel.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • mudslide73mudslide73 Frets: 1718
    @digitalscream Your helpful PMs were instrumental in me getting my Jet City - I reckon they should send you some free stuff :)
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  • Marktigere1Marktigere1 Frets: 58
    JCA22H user here. (When my son has finished using it :()

    I solved my line level loop problem by simply using a Bright Onion volume control footswitch.  (On off version not the treadle type). Run DD7, DM2w and CH1 in the loop.

    I basically run the Crunch channel master volume on 8.5 and max the Overdrive channel.

    I then have the volume pedal first in the loop and set the volume just so. To prevent pedal clipping it never goes above 3/4 turns. 

    Sounds great from whisper home levels to "what did you say?". 

    Just need to remember to keep the pedal switched in or my ears may have something to say.

    Its a great amp.
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  • clarkefanclarkefan Frets: 474
    @digitalscream Your helpful PMs were instrumental in me getting my Jet City - I reckon they should send you some free stuff :)
    Ditto, your posts about these amps have made want one for a long time :)

    But I need to try one.  Apparently they don't do Marshall, they're something else, which is gutting, they tick so many other boxes.
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    clarkefan said:
    @digitalscream Your helpful PMs were instrumental in me getting my Jet City - I reckon they should send you some free stuff :)
    Ditto, your posts about these amps have made want one for a long time :)

    But I need to try one.  Apparently they don't do Marshall, they're something else, which is gutting, they tick so many other boxes.
    Heh :)

    It actually depends how you dial them in, and which speakers you pair with them. For example - when I play through mine, I hear Soldano through-and-through. However, @ICBM has said in the past that he hears more a more Marshally tone.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1831
    edited June 1
    Gigged a JCA22H for ages, brilliant little amp, and despite what some say I thought the clean channel was great, and loud enough to gig un mic'd.  Prefer my Engl  ironball but it was three times the price, and certainly isn't three times as good
    Do me a favour and like this:

    https://www.facebook.com/MarkedCoversBand
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  • GarthyGarthy Frets: 2055
    Is the Custom 5 any good for home use and better than a 20? I am completely clueless about amps and was worried that a 20 at home would be like having a Ferrari in stop start traffic despite only being £15 more.
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12569
    Garthy said:
    Is the Custom 5 any good for home use and better than a 20? I am completely clueless about amps and was worried that a 20 at home would be like having a Ferrari in stop start traffic despite only being £15 more.
    For home use without a reactive load or attenuator, most of them are pretty much on the edge. Ironically, I found that the JCA50H is easier to control at home volumes than the JCA22H!

    Perhaps with an inefficient speaker in a 1x12", you could probably get away with the 22?
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33962
    digitalscream said:

    It actually depends how you dial them in, and which speakers you pair with them. For example - when I play through mine, I hear Soldano through-and-through. However, @ICBM has said in the past that he hears more a more Marshally tone.
    More when the bright caps are still in place :).

    I thought the JCA50 sounded very Marshally until they were removed, and then it sounded almost identical to an SLO.

    digitalscream said:

    That reminds me - aside from the 20W power section and the position of the loop, there's one other difference between the JCA22H and the 50H/100H. The 22H doesn't have the bright cap on the crunch channel, although it's still there on the OD channel.
    Is that the right way round? On the 50 it's the crunch channel that sounds OK with the bright cap - the same as the clean mode on the SLO - and the overdrive channel that definitely needs it removing.
    "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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  • Dave_McDave_Mc Frets: 1056
    clarkefan said:
    @digitalscream Your helpful PMs were instrumental in me getting my Jet City - I reckon they should send you some free stuff :)
    Ditto, your posts about these amps have made want one for a long time :)

    But I need to try one.  Apparently they don't do Marshall, they're something else, which is gutting, they tick so many other boxes.
    Heh :)

    It actually depends how you dial them in, and which speakers you pair with them. For example - when I play through mine, I hear Soldano through-and-through. However, @ICBM has said in the past that he hears more a more Marshally tone.
    Yeah I hear more Soldano too, though admittedly I've only tried a real soldano, er, once in a shop (an avenger). Plus I use eminence v12 speakers usually, which probably helps it to sound a bit more soldanoey.
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