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High Quality SS Amp for Gigging and Recording - Recommendations?

Started by dynac0mp, February 20, 2008, 06:19:28 PM

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Quote from: FrugalGuitarist on November 19, 2008, 09:27:44 AM
The now discontinued 75 First Act VA881 V-Stack Amp is solid state with some excellent tones on tap.

Quote from: FrugalGuitarist on November 20, 2008, 02:40:11 PM
I wonder what went wrong in that...

Given the reputation of they instruments, I would never even consider their amps.
I know many brass and woodwind repair men and they have never said anything good about the First Act brass or woodwinds.

I wouldn't have expected anything better from the rest of the product line.


If you use pedals for distortion/overdrive sounds, then all you need is clean, warm with headroom and reliability.  Portability and compactness are helpful, but you have to decide where your priorities are, but I use the above for my primary criteria.  That said, there are MANY inexpensive older amps out there that fit all the above for me.  I've used (and continue to use) Yamaha G100II and G100III amps, both 2-12 and 1-12.  GREAT jazz amps, but can do all styles due to very flexible tone controls.  I also have had great luck with Peavey's Bandits.  I use a 2nd generation Transtube that I keep at church, and I just picked up a Bandit 75 for gigging (to replace my Fender HRDeVille 410 and my Peavey Classic 30, both of which's tubes worry me during gigs).


Quote from: JVandenberg on January 04, 2009, 06:03:30 PM
I  I also have had great luck with Peavey's Bandits. 
Amazing! I thought I was the only human on Earth that likes the Bandit!!
Anyway, MICing an amp of any sort is really not optimal for computer recording. DI modelers and pedals can yield very good to excellent results. Many pros have used a Line 6 POD for both recording and playing live. A DigiTech RP500 plugged into a PV Bandit's FX return would also be a great rig....whatever you do I recommend a modeler into an amp's FX return.


 I really like the Trace Elliot Super Tramp and Beckemer GC-50R ['90s Canadian built] for good quality,portable and gig worthy solid state 1-12 combos.Also,my son has a Traynor Dyna-Gain DG-65R that is quite versatile and sounds really good,as well.Btw,cool "under the radar" forum that you all have here.



my fav amp is my 90´s bandit..its clean channel is just superb, and the distortion chennel its very versatile (i use my own made distortions anyway)


The reliability and consistency of SS amps is a definite win.  Also, the SS weight tends to be less (no OT iron) for comparable power.

I like the Peavy Studio Pro II (the current generation, older ones not so much).

I've played one of those First Act amps.  My friend Stephen bought one at the blowout price.  It's a bit more amp than I want nowadays (especially w.r.t. weight) and I really liked it.  I bought another for my younger son for Christmas. 

I've gotta tell you: like the brand or not, the First Act amps are outstanding.  There are, IIRC, four different families of sound and four different gain levels within each family.  Not *all* of the combinations sound great - at least not to me.  But there's *one* particular combination that sounds like a vintage Fender tweed Deluxe.  This amp *sags* like the real thing.  The built-in effects (tremolo, reverb and echo) are really good, too. 

The build quality looks good - certainly better than Fender's modern products.  I'm not surprised that First Act didn't move these.  Their distribution was, AFAICT, nonexistent.  I had been looking to try a First Act amp since they were first announced; I never saw one.  I probably would have bought one at the normal price had I been able to try it first.

The Fender Cyber-Deluxe sounded a bit thin to me.  This is, BTW, not a modeling amp.  DSP is used only for FX and EQ.

The Roland Cube 30-X is loud, but kind of midrange-heavy.  The effects are below-average.

Lately I've been playing entirely clean.

In my music room I use a Fender Jazz King.  I really like the EQ on the Jazz King: semi-parametric plus a "tilt" control.  The reverb is amazing.  It's a big amp, though.  At 50 pounds I don't move it much.

When I need an amp for stage monitoring or playing in a small room, I take my AAD Cub.  The Cub is small (about a half cubic foot) and weighs about 12 pounds in its carrying bag.  No FX, though.

For a bit more headroom than the AAD Cub, I use an AER Compact 60.  The Compact 60 has a bit less low-end than the Cub, but seems to project better in an ensemble.  The Compact 60 has a pretty good digital reverb unit.

The Cub and the Compact 60 are sold as "acoustic" amplifiers, but they sound great with my electric guitars.  (Yes, I was surprised...)

If I'm playing somewhere I know I can trust the stage monitors not to have really weird EQ, I'll go straight to the board through an active DI.

I've done the digital modeling thing, too.  I still have (and occasionally gig with) a Digitech RP350.  The built-in DI is a nice feature.

I used to have a Boss GT-8 and a Vox Tonelab.  The GT-8 (using a custom program) has better edge-of-distortion tones than than the RP350.  The RP350's reverbs and pitch-based effects are better than the GT-8's.  The Tonelab was just endlessly disappointing for everything except Vox-y tones.

I've played the modelers through keyboard amps or the venue's PA.  For KB amps I've used a Traynor K4 and a Groove Tubes SFX 100. 

I still have the SFX 100.  This uses a pair of speakers in a "reverse M-S" configuration to get a really convincing stereo soundstage out of a single cabinet.  (It works really well for stereo reverb and chorus; not so well for ping-pong delays or panning.)


Quote from: GLUGSTER on January 09, 2009, 09:23:46 AM
Quote from: JVandenberg on January 04, 2009, 06:03:30 PM
I  I also have had great luck with Peavey's Bandits. 
Amazing! I thought I was the only human on Earth that likes the Bandit!!

The Peavey Bandit actually has a huge following. Have a look at the number of reviews and responses on Harmony Central for the various Bandits.  There may well be more of those amps built and sold than any other amplifier in history. It's been in their product line for 30 years although it has gone through many incarnations along the way.