Friday, March 30, 2012

The Great Amp Debate in my ADHD Mind

I have a confession to make. I don't currently own a tube amp. I want one, but I can't make up my mind on what I even want or need. I sold my last Great Amp a couple of years ago. It sounded awesome and it was built like a tank. It was a Mesa Boogie Stiletto Deuce and I loved the sound of it. But I wasn't using it for anything. I wasn't in a band anymore, and it was LOUD, even when I knocked it down to 50 watts and switched on the built in Variac switch to knock off another 20 percent. Then I rewired my 4x12 cabinet to 2x12. It was still LOUD and had a ton of presence. I've owned Fender, Peavey, Marshall, Crate, and Mesa Boogie amps. I love the sound of a Les Paul through a Marshall. Last year I bought a Stratocaster and I've been exploring different sounds. Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Gilmour and even some country sounds. Clean sounds, with a little breakup and an overdrive pedal. I'm suffering from a common problem that the internet has made worse. Internet Information Overload causes something what I like to call Paralyses through Analysis. And for someone with ADHD I think its even worse. 

A few months ago I was reading an interview with Mike Piera from Analogman. He was talking about getting a pedal from a customer to fix and the inside looked like a computer. He couldn't fix it. This well known, very expensive pedal is now a door stop. His point was hand wired pedals are easy to fix. This got me thinking about boutique hand wired amps. There are a ton of them on the market, they sound great and if anything goes wrong any decent amp guy, or electronics guy for that matter, can fix it. So I started looking at some of the more popular manufacturers. Dr Z, Divided by 13, Fuchs, Shur, etc. I also looked at more obscure manufacturers like Valvetrain, and Samamp. I like that Valvetrain sources most if not all of his parts here in the USA. And Samamps built in VAC circuit would knock down the volume to reasonable levels when I'm playing at the house. Even Vox and Fender are getting into the game. So that should settle it, right?  

Recently in my research I stumbled upon this article on Bogner's site In which Andy Marshall of THD Electronics talks about using high end PC boards for consistency and also durability. I've also found this article on the Mesa Boogie site, where Randall Smith explains for similar reasons why they use PC Boards. He also talks about Point to point boards as subject to warping from moisture. They like to soldered parts that could break but use high quality PCB boards that will outlive most of us for areas that probably won't. Of course, it brings the price down too and that's always appealing to those of us who still have day jobs. Still, if something should ever happen I've got an expensive door stop. 

My mind goes back and forth, if I could afford them all I would buy one of each, but that's not an option right now in my life. I've always been impressed with Mesa Boogie and my guess is I might end up with the new Mini Rectifier or Transatlantic. Then again every year there are new amazing amps being put on the market, and I can't wait to see whats next.

No comments:

Post a Comment