Amp setup question

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Amp setup question

Postby flavaham » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:45 pm

Okay, I've been shopping around and asking tons of questions about what amp to buy and I think I've come to this:

SMS Classic Preamp
Carvin TS100 Tube Power Amp
Fender Band-Master VM 212 speaker cab

If I buy all of this new it's gonna run just over $1700. A little more than I wanted to spend but might be a better option than a Reissue Twin (which would run just over $1400). My questions are: Is this going to be a good setup? For that much money I really would hope this would sound brilliant! With a RAT or Tube Screamer distortion can I still get the drive that I want? (Think Beck, Herring, Trucks, Gilmour, Zappa). I also need to be able to get some good blues tones from it. I play a lot of different styles (also including jazz/funk) so I need this to be pretty versatile. I'm also going to keep my eyes open for a used cab to see if I can get a better speaker. (for the record, the Fender cab has 2 12" Celestion G12P-80, 16-ohm Speakers)

Anyhow, I'd like to cut the price down a bit if possible so if you have advice, please let me know. I did see a few older Carvin 100 tube power amps on ebay for around $400 but I'm not sure about a used power amp and it just didn't look nearly as pretty! The extra $200 there might be worth it. Not sure...
Thanks!
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby strumminsix » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:50 pm

You and I have been thinking similarly. Personally, I'd go for a different speaker but otherwise solid. :-)

BTW, I'm thinking of mating with a Mesa 20/20 and run one to each speaker of a 2x12 and leave the mic'd on one setting and control my stage volume with the other!
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby flavaham » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:05 pm

Anyone know anything about the Carvin Tube 100? Older model but I can get one for about $200 cheaper than the new TS100.
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby lunasparks » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:39 pm

For what it's worth, I run my SMS through an older Rocktron Velocity 300 power amps (2 rack unit). Got on ebay a while back for about $150 and no complaints. Jon S. on this board has one of the newer RV300's which I think he's still digging. Also picked up a good cab on ebay for about $150. So before speakers we're talking $1,000. It cost me a little over $250 for a pair of JBL K120s. All-in call it around $1,300. Moral: I'd shop around, think a bit about what will work for you, and I bet you can bring that price tag down.

Oh, and IMHO it'd be tough to find another amp (TRRI or otherwise) that sounds as good (to me) as a decent SMS setup. I have a very excellent modded PRRI and it almost depresses me to admit that it's just not as sweet or inspiring....
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby tigerstrat » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:57 pm

I've got an unloaded '68 (drip-edge) Bandmaster 2x12 I would part with cheaply, make me an offer.
Last edited by tigerstrat on Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby flavaham » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:17 pm

The Rocktron power amps are not tube though. I really want to be able to get some sharp leads out of this rig. As listed above, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Herring, Derek Trucks, etc are some sounds that I really dig. They are very tube driven tones. Brad emailed back and suggested a tube power amp for that reason. Are you playing rhythm guitar through yours primarily? If playing lead/melody, do you still get a nice rich sound? I'm planning to shop around and figure out the specs I want and go from there so no real rush. As of now, I'm thinking that if I can get this Carvin Tube 100 for $350 I might do it.
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby lunasparks » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:58 pm

flavaham wrote:The Rocktron power amps are not tube though. I really want to be able to get some sharp leads out of this rig. As listed above, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Herring, Derek Trucks, etc are some sounds that I really dig. They are very tube driven tones. Brad emailed back and suggested a tube power amp for that reason. Are you playing rhythm guitar through yours primarily? If playing lead/melody, do you still get a nice rich sound? I'm planning to shop around and figure out the specs I want and go from there so no real rush. As of now, I'm thinking that if I can get this Carvin Tube 100 for $350 I might do it.


I hear you. I guess I didn't really gather the need for the tube amp. I mostly play super clean lead & rhythm with drive/distortion from effects--at least that's the purpose of this rig. I use my PRRI when I know I want to break up a bit with the amp. Good luck in your search!
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby HeadSpace » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:58 pm

I can vouch for the SMS into the Carvin Tube 100 power amp. I have this precise rig--it sounds great and is quite flexible. I'm not familiar with the speaker cab you mention, but I will say that the biggest limitation I have now in terms of blues/beck/non-jerry type tone is probably my JBLs, which sound phenomenal clean, and only ok (good enough but suboptimal IMO), with distorted tones. My Carvin runs 6l6 tubes, as, I believe, does a Twin, so my rig is really kind of a Twin split into its three components (pre, power, speakers). The Carvin amp is great; I haven't compared them but the story on the net, for what it's worth, is that the newer one, the TS100, is more transparent, while the older one may "color" your sound. If it does, it colors it in a way I like.

Do check what tubes are in any Tube 100 you're looking at--some , maybe even most, have EL-34s, which may not make much difference to you, but are less true to the Twin thing, I think.
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby JonnyBoy » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:27 pm

Yes on the SMS, would have it but I like the Twin and know no better anyway since I haven't A/B'd but the next K I run across to blow it'll be in the arsenal.

Carvin is a great option, there is a tube boutique builder guy around my parts, makes tube amps for recording studios, and BIG NAME guys mostly for recording, he once told me to look at the Carvin tube amps when trying to mate my preamp. He looked at me askew when I told him I was gonna use a Macintosh. "I think my grandfather had one of those, you must really like Jerry." he said. I prefer solid state, I actually think they cut through better than tube amps, but thats my opinion, tube V's SS thing ya know everyone's got one....

YES on shopping around, but a tube amp is gonna cost more than twice or 3x a SS amp, so $1700 isn't bad for this setup. They have some tube kit dynaco power amps on bay that are cheap, I thought down that route too... Just like the Early Dead.....
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby flavaham » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:54 am

I think I'm going SMS Classic, Carvin Tube 100 and a 212 cab of some sort. Brad (who makes the SMS) tells me that this would be an exceptional rig and very versatile. I hope he's right!
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby tcsned » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:44 am

looks like a great plan to me. I haven't heard the Carvin amps but I'm thinking they would be a great power source.
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby flavaham » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:56 pm

I just ordered my SMS and now have to play the waiting game. For anyone interested in a new amp, I highly suggest talking to Brad. He has been SUPER helpful in this process.

To power this I picked up a Carvin Tube 100 off of eBay. I'm thinking of an Avatar 212 cab. I can't wait to get this up and running! I'll post some pics in a few weeks when it's up and running.
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby JonnyBoy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:36 pm

happy for you, you did make an exceptional choice.
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby tcsned » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:12 am

flavaham wrote:I just ordered my SMS and now have to play the waiting game. For anyone interested in a new amp, I highly suggest talking to Brad. He has been SUPER helpful in this process.

To power this I picked up a Carvin Tube 100 off of eBay. I'm thinking of an Avatar 212 cab. I can't wait to get this up and running! I'll post some pics in a few weeks when it's up and running.

Agreed, Brad was super helpful to me as well. You won't be disappointed.
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Re: Amp setup question

Postby SpaceYrface43 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:26 pm

Came home from work today and there she was waiting on my door step. Got my SMS today.
Can't wait to get it fired up. :cool: :cool:
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