Power Amp Alternatives

Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby tigerstrat » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:11 pm

Looks like I'm not the only guitarist to use and appreciate an Ashly MOSFET amp: Pat Metheny sometimes uses an Ashly FET-200 into JBL's.
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:20 pm

I wonder what kind of JBLs Metheny uses? When I saw him last year, there were clearly aluminum dustcaps on the speakers in his 4x12.

Apparently Metheny also uses a 6001? I found that interesting to read -- I imagine it's voiced similarly to the 8001. Metheny and Jerry both used similar power amp/speaker setups at one point, I guess.
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby tigerstrat » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:35 pm

wolftigerrosebud wrote:I wonder what kind of JBLs Metheny uses?

I'd put money on D120's, but the source did not elaborate.
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby JonnyBoy » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:16 pm

gr8fl4295 wrote:Ok, so if you want to buy a Jerry sounding amp, but don't have the cash for a Mac, what do you look at? What's gonna get you close? <$500?
I'm also looking for something that is bedroom level.
Is this a good route?>>
SMS Classic Jerry Mod Pre Amp > Fender Super Champ X2 HD Amp head > Speaker Cab w/ Beyma 10".

Remember, bedroom level and on the cheap (sunk a lot into the guitar).

Thanks,
derek



So many choices really, a MOSFET amp like a mosvalve or the Ashly TS speaks of looks like a solid choice. I used a mosvalve for years and loved it. But at bedroom levels a practice amp into the effects loop would suffice too. I really went with my SMS rig because I play in a loud band and wanted to get Jerry's tone with headroom. I rarely use my SMS rig for home practice, but many others here do with great results it seems. it's a versatile preamp. It's just easier for me to plug into a practice amp at home. The magic starts to happen for me when the system starts to get pushed which is loud with even a 15 watt amp. I still think many more discoveries are to be made concerning the SMS and power amp applications. I only can guess what would be best for your needs. Good luck!!
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby gr8fl4295 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:26 pm

So you can use the SMS by itself? Huh? With a pair of speakers? So confused.
I was under the impression that you start with your guitar (Wolf, Tiger, Rosebud, Bolt), which sends a signal to the pre-amp (SMS), the pre-amp shapes the signal into a tone (Garcia), then the tone is sent to the power amp (McIntosh, Fender, mosvalve, etc.), which amplifies the tones for output through the speakers (JBL E-120, etc.).
Please correct me if I'm wrong. I really have no idea how this stuff works.

Do I need all these parts? Seems like the most important is the SMS. No?
Would plugging the SMS into a Fender Mustang combo amp suffice?
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby gr8fl4295 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:36 pm

or the "Pawn Shop" tube amps look cool from Fender.
:-)
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:45 pm

The SMS is only a preamp. It shapes the tone and converts the unbalanced signal from the guitar into something that can be amplified by a power amp and sent to a speaker. You do need some kind of power section to take that tone-shaped signal and make it loud, though your options in that area vary widely (as shown by this thread). You had the right idea, I don't think the SMS can be used without a power section.

I've never tried it, but I assume that if you sent the SMS output directly to a speaker, you wouldn't hear anything. Or, if you did, it would be extremely, unusably quiet and a negligible result of whatever small amount of power the preamp uses. But that's just speculation; I don't really know. I do know you need a power section of some kind, whether that's a slaved power section from an amp head/combo (I don't know how you would slave a little amp like the one you mentioned without a direct out, but I'm sure there's a way) or a freestanding power amp.

As for the most important parts... it's all important. It feels almost trite to say it since it's been so extensively repeated, but if you're trying to play like Jerry, the most important thing is technique. After that, Brad's opinion and the opinion of some others is that a JBL speaker is very important. The SMS or a similarly voiced amp (twin) is vital, too. And split-coil Dimarzio Dual Sounds or Super IIs seem to make an enormous difference. Once you've got that, I think everything else is more or less icing and just depends on how close you want to get to an "authentic" Jerry sound. And even then, you can play and make it sound like Jerry with a stock strat into a Fender Champ, so the specific components to use kind of depends on what you like to listen to. But SMS (or Fender Twin, though I love the SMS and highly recommend it), JBL, and split Dimarzios (followed closely by a Mac amp) seem like the things I see repeated over and over again as the biggest things in getting the tone.
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby mijknahs » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:52 pm

gr8fl4295 wrote:Would plugging the SMS into a Fender Mustang combo amp suffice?


That is not recommended. The Fender Mustang already has a preamp section built in. You would be putting a preamp into another preamp before it gets amplified by the power section of the Mustang. You need a true "power amp" which is an amp that doesn't have any preamp section. There are all kinds of power amps out there. But the Fender Mustang (or any combo amp) is not a good choice unless you can isolate the power section somehow. Usually they are integrated.
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby gr8fl4295 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:44 am

Ok, I'm getting it now.
One more question though,
If the only thing the power amp is doing is is adding wattage to the line level, what is so special about McIntosh, and all the other vintage/expensive power amps? Couldn't any ol' power amp do the job? What you're paying for is wattage, right? The more you need (to fill a stage) the more you pay?
It doesn't have any effect on the tone, right?
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby mijknahs » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:43 am

gr8fl4295 wrote:Ok, I'm getting it now.
One more question though,
If the only thing the power amp is doing is is adding wattage to the line level, what is so special about McIntosh, and all the other vintage/expensive power amps? Couldn't any ol' power amp do the job? What you're paying for is wattage, right? The more you need (to fill a stage) the more you pay?
It doesn't have any effect on the tone, right?


The thing is everything affects the tone. Nothing is totally neutral. Everything from your pick to your strings to the wood of your guitar affects the tone. The same goes for the preamp (the types of capacitors and resistors used in it) to the power amp design to the speakers.

So, the power amp affects the tone. Even different McIntosh power amps sound different. Some are brighter. Some have more mids. Same goes for all power amps.

Crazy, right?
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby vwjodyme » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:44 pm

So if I understand this correctly the power amp needs to be pushed hard (loud) to get the desired effect? Like the volume on an amp with a master volume too? so for someone who wants to play mostly at home, but still have the ability to play in a band setting, I should be looking for 20-50w? Or would any size power amp get the desired tone when paired up with something like an earth drive.
I am asking for an sms for xmas, fingers crossed, so just trying to wrap my head around this.
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby mijknahs » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:13 pm

vwjodyme wrote:So if I understand this correctly the power amp needs to be pushed hard (loud) to get the desired effect? Like the volume on an amp with a master volume too? so for someone who wants to play mostly at home, but still have the ability to play in a band setting, I should be looking for 20-50w? Or would any size power amp get the desired tone when paired up with something like an earth drive.
I am asking for an sms for xmas, fingers crossed, so just trying to wrap my head around this.


Personally, for a band setting, I need something around 75-100 watts. I can still use this at home too. To me, it sounds great at lower volumes too. Yes, an Earth Drive will give you some mild dirt on the lower settings if you want/need it. Sometimes Jerry played with noticable "dirt" and sometimes it was lacking in the "dirt" department. I'd say 50 watts is minimum for a band setting.
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby zambiland » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:11 pm

mijknahs wrote:
So, the power amp affects the tone. Even different McIntosh power amps sound different. Some are brighter. Some have more mids. Same goes for all power amps.

Crazy, right?


Ooh, don't say that over at Talkbass! There are some crazy people over there who will yell at you until they are blue in the face that all power amps sound the same. Just sayin'.

Myself, I don't believe it. I did an experiment and replaced my MC2015 with a QSC PLX 2402 in my home studio and all the sparkle, life and three dimensionality went out of the music. I couldn't hear reverb or delay tails and it all sounded flat. I sold the QSC and put a Crest CA9 in my bass rig. Huge difference! However, I got sick of lugging that and went to a Crown XTi4000. It sounded better than the QSC but not as good as the Crest. Finally, I ended up with a QSC CX1202V, which sounds almost as good as the Crest, although it's rated for 40% more power. The Mac still sounds best, but just isn't powerful enough for bass use on stage. Sounds great for my ProAC monitors, though. OK, enough digression. Bottom line, amps matter and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. They are not straight wire with gain.
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby mijknahs » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:03 pm

Edwin,

You need an MC2300 for your bass rig! Plus a couple people to lug it around...
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Re: Power Amp Alternatives

Postby GeneralGoldilocks » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:18 pm

It is too bad that someone doesn't make a guitar oriented mono tube power amp with two 6L6's that is about 40 to 50 watts with a half power switch. That would be a great rig for gigging. I am saving up for an sms and I am having a hard time figuring out what power amp to get. I am all about the Mesa Boogie 50/50 but it would be super heavy and be way too much power for me (2 50 watt channels), I just want one 50 watt channel. the 17 watt power switch would be great on that for smaller gigs, and honestly, I would probably use that more of the time. I am a 1x12 guy, I don't have any need for two 12's. I am loud enough for 90 percent of my gigs with the Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue with a JBL E120 in it, but want to upgrade and have a more versatile rig with more headroom.

I don't think I want to get a McIntosh because of price, and I want something that will be super reliable and lighter weight. the mc 50 would work out OK if it was in great shape and I could trust it, but something that old is bound to have issues at some point. There are actually a nice pair of them on ebay right now, a little pricey, though. http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200 ... 1013411798

It is really tempting to go with a MosValve 962 or Rocktron 300, but I have never tried either one of these, and don't know how they would sound in comparison to tube circuitry. I have time to figure it out, because I don't have the money right now, anyway. A head version of any fender with the AB760 circuit in the pre and a 40 or 50 watt power section would be cool, too, although probably not quite as awesome as the sms ctp with the jerry mod and a mesa 50/50. I have been really happy with the Fender DRRI, though, just need a little more headroom.
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