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What Amp Surprised You the Most?

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  • #16
    I tried many brands except Marshall, mainly because I couldn't afford one and I didn't want a combo. I wanted a Marshall half stack.

    I finally got a Marshall 2204 and a Marshall 2x12 (1936) and I was blown away how I could hear every note clearly in a chord. It wasn't muddy junk like all of my other amps. Clear distinct notes from every string no matter the preamp gain or volume.

    I knew then why they are so popular.

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    • #17
      Two incredible surprises..

      I found a music man HD 130 in a pawn shop for about a quarter of its value and took the risk that it would actually work. After reverting to the correct tubes, it's a twin on steroids..

      it turns out that Leo really wanted to build a better amp and boy does this puppy nail it.. everything you would expect in a twin, takes pedals well but with 130 watts it has much more headroom and lots of thickness with plenty of high-end.

      Strangely enough, it also overdrives nicely... I normally dislike drive In fender designs other than the prosonic models.

      The other was a trade that was too good to be true that I imagined I would sell immediately...and has become my favorite all time amp.

      It's a Splawn Streetrod, and I always thought of Spawn as metal, where I'm a rock blues guy.

      It turns out It has extremely tight bass, wonderful shimmering highs and the clean channel is the most beautiful clean I've ever had.. including Yamaha, Roland and lab series that were designed for cleans.

      And the multi-gear drive channel is absolutely perfect...gear one provides light brownness and gear 2 gets into big crunch and three is usually beyond my needs and I guess this is where the metal players live.

      So it's kind of a Plexi meets a jcm and a jcm on steroids plus a hyper clean channel.. I have no idea how that much flexibility is possible, but it's easily my answer to the single amp on a tropical island question.

      Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk


      zionstrat
      Ultimate Tone Slacker
      Last edited by zionstrat; 10-21-2021, 09:12 PM.
      What's so Funny about Peace Love and Understanding?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by UnderTheFlame83 View Post
        The Boss Katana Mini. Much better than expected.
        I agree.
        for desktop jam its pretty amazing

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        • #19
          While I wouldn't say most, but certainly surprised me was the Randall MTS series. A buddy of mine had one with a pretty good selection of modules. He used a Fender clean module, a Modern module, and an 800 module. He went through the matching 4x12 cab loaded with Vintage '30s ( my least favorite speaker ). It sounded really good. Not at all what I expected. Not the best I have ever heard, but far from the worst.

          I was also very impressed by a Peavey classic 30. The blues/rock band that it was employed for suited it perfectly. Clean enough, raunchy enough, cut through well, and fit the sound they had perfectly.

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          • #20
            A band my band plays with occasionally's guitarist switched from a vintage Fender Princeton to a Boss Katana -for reliability for touring etc.

            I swear he lost nothing switching for live purposes.

            It sounds great and he has a ton of flexibility now.


            That amp shootout posted had an ENGL that I was excited about, I don't know much about ENGL.
            “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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            • #21
              Marshall Mode Four.

              it gets a lot of online snob hate.... Some people claim it sounds like solid state junk with completely unusable tones. Those people don't know ****!

              I was amazed by the versatility of it. Channels and voicings and a useable loop, and a near perfect solo boost on the foot switch. It's everything I've ever wanted!
              I think the overdriven tones absolutely slay!

              The amp is a monster and sounds like the devil spewing forth profanity with every flick of his forked tongue. I stinking love the amp.
              https://soundcloud.com/goriath/tracks

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              • #22
                Secondly the Mesa Boogie 50 caliber.

                supposed to be a great amp, lots of eq to play with, almost as good as the mark v.... Etc etc.

                Wrong, wrong, wrong. All I could dial in was mush and sloppy amounts of boringness. Any old Peavey sounds better.
                https://soundcloud.com/goriath/tracks

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by 80's_Thrash_Metal View Post
                  it gets a lot of online snob hate.... Some people claim it sounds like solid state junk with completely unusable tones. Those people don't know ****!
                  I find most people that slam solid-state amps simply don't know how to dial in an amp.


                  | Gear Reviews | Beer | Babes | The Internet's Only Unedited & Uncensored Musician's Forum | Sports |

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                  • #24
                    I'd have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised by all of these.

                    Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Securb View Post

                      I find most people that slam solid-state amps simply don't know how to dial in an amp.
                      Many are also thinking of SS amps from 40 years ago.
                      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Mincer View Post

                        Many are also thinking of SS amps from 40 years ago.
                        I had a Ross SS 80 watt 1x12 combo amp in the early 80's that kicked ass.

                        Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk

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                        • #27
                          I wanted to hate Kemper, I really did, but I don't. You can use it very simply, like an amp (or dozens of amps) with stomps or go crazy with morphing and other stuff.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by NegativeEase View Post


                            That amp shootout posted had an ENGL that I was excited about, I don't know much about ENGL.
                            ENGL makes some junk and some great stuff. Build quality is average but some of their good amps have some amazing tones. The SE is the flagship and has all kinds of options and features on it. Full of all kinds of sounds. A very nice amp for many things. The Savage is a beast of an amp for modern high gain. The Version 2 is more modern. The version 1 very nice and a bit rawer and less polished. Both models are wonderful. The Blackmore is cool and can do a lot of things. I would use it like I would an 800 though it has more gain. The Morse amp is very versatile and covers all the sounds up to 80's metal and maybe a bit more but not death metal heavies. A very god amp. The Artist is cost effective and simpler and was originally made with Doug Aldrich and Gary Moore had a hand in it in some way as well. It was supposed to be an Aldrich Signature but didn't come together. It is a fantastic amp that flies below the radar. The others are hit and miss, some love and some hate the very same model. When you open any of them up they are a rats nest compared to other cleaner builds but again, they sound nice for some things.

                            The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Bogner View Post

                              ENGL makes some junk and some great stuff. Build quality is average but some of their good amps have some amazing tones. The SE is the flagship and has all kinds of options and features on it. Full of all kinds of sounds. A very nice amp for many things. The Savage is a beast of an amp for modern high gain. The Version 2 is more modern. The version 1 very nice and a bit rawer and less polished. Both models are wonderful. The Blackmore is cool and can do a lot of things. I would use it like I would an 800 though it has more gain. The Morse amp is very versatile and covers all the sounds up to 80's metal and maybe a bit more but not death metal heavies. A very god amp. The Artist is cost effective and simpler and was originally made with Doug Aldrich and Gary Moore had a hand in it in some way as well. It was supposed to be an Aldrich Signature but didn't come together. It is a fantastic amp that flies below the radar. The others are hit and miss, some love and some hate the very same model. When you open any of them up they are a rats nest compared to other cleaner builds but again, they sound nice for some things.
                              Thanks for this.

                              I thought that demo had a smooth bold tone without losing the critical bite in the mid range I like. -Also, didn't suffer the fiz of the Orange, Randall, and Peavey.

                              Next time in the store, I may just turn one on -never tried before.
                              “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Little Pigbacon

                                I have found many solid-state amps that, if I give them a chance, listen to them, and dial them in, sound much better than the lore would suggest.
                                Absolutely. But we have come a long way from (most) SS amps that were available in the 70s and 80s. Ever play a SS Twin or Deluxe? Ewww.


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                                Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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