Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

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BriMan
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Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby BriMan » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:49 pm

I've heard the solid state heads are much better these days and am looking for something about 50 Watts at the most. I have a 16 Watt tube head that I recently used with a drummer and I'm not sure if it will do the job. I play most kinds of Metal except for Death. Any recommendations? I'd rather not buy something close to a grand.

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DannyB819
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby DannyB819 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:17 pm

BriMan wrote:I'd rather not buy something close to a grand.


Does that mean you want to buy something well over a grand to get something super high quality or something for well under a grand to be budget-friendly?

Also, are you going to be playing live or in your basement/bedroom?
Last edited by DannyB819 on Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby BriMan » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:18 pm

It means if it gets close to around 800 then I'm out.

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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby DannyB819 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:31 pm

BriMan wrote:It means if it gets close to around 800 then I'm out.


I don't have a ton of experience with solid state stuff in that range, but every demo I've heard of the Boss Kitana has been impressive relative to what it is. You can get the small combo with footswitch for under $500 here: https://www.guitarcenter.com/Boss/Katan ... troller.gc

The only solid state amp I've got any experience with is the Fender Mustang III. I used it for about six months as my little noodling amp for playing at low volumes in my home office and it did the job just great. It had way more than what I needed in terms of amp models and effects, but using the footswitch to go back and forth between a basic clean and basic dirty was pretty simple. It sounded way better when I could get the volume up above 4, but it was great for home noodling. I only stopped using it as I was finally able to get my full rigs set up in their own dedicated, sound-proofed room in the new house.

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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby Casual Madman » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:03 pm

I have the 2x12 combo version of this:

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Acoustic/L ... 7804969.gc

I can't say it would be a good "metal" amp, I don't play that style, but it is superior for classic rock and blues. Powerful enough for a pretty big hall - in bars with the gain on 5-6 I've never had the master volume above 3, and that's still LOUD. Headroom on the clean channel is almost limitless. The built-in effects are basic, but functional - I especially like the slow chorus.

No footswitch in the box is a knock, but I got my combo as a floor model and talked GC into throwing one into the deal.

For $250-ish or less (depending on when and where you buy), you can't beat this head as a package of power + versatile sound shaping.

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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby WFPPtheSound » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:26 pm

Get yourself an Amptweaker Tight Metal Pro and find whatever solid state combo has a usable clean and decent speakers. I know it sounds crazy but that pedal went toe to toe with MANY of my old Tube heads (peavey xxx, 5150, Mesa roadster). I love love love love that pedal and it will make any amp sound beastly.
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby BriMan » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:39 pm

I use a Jekyl and Hyde Pedal with my Vintage 16 head and I'm fairly happy with the sound but It may not work well if I have to crank it with a full band. I could also use a noise gate. Some of those solid state heads have software with many effects already built in. I have a 1'12 Carvin speaker cab so I wont need a combo.

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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby WFPPtheSound » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:41 pm

That Tightmetal pedal has a built in noise gate. If you have a speaker cab just get a ss power amp.IMO the metal sound is all about the preamp and the speaker, not power amp distortion.
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby 2Plus2isChicken » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:09 pm

Quilter 101 Mini plus a good distortion pedal is what I recommend. If you can find a used Peavey XXL head those are great too.
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby WFPPtheSound » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:00 pm

2Plus2isChicken wrote:Quilter 101 Mini plus a good distortion pedal is what I recommend. If you can find a used Peavey XXL head those are great too.


XXL is hands down the best SS amp you can buy for rock/metal.
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby silvergoat2k6 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:06 pm

Orange Crush Pro 120...head or combo. I have the Crush Pro 120 head, and it's really nice. $450 new, a lot less used.
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby UnexplodedCow » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:28 am

ISP Theta.

It will take on the Amptweaker TightMetal Pro (and win, in my opinion), is ridiculously configurable, has a built-in Decimator, all solid state and....300 watts RMS.

There's one on eBay now, though his asking price is sky-high. You should be able to snag one for $300-400 USD for just the head. If you don't like that, then I suggest the Theta pedal going through any kind of power amp you like.

Edit: nevermind, looks like it was cancelled recently. Still, the pedal version is killer.

Further edit: I just remembered that I once had a Crate Powerblock. Didn't sound bad on its own, and I used an M13 in 4 cable method, and a Peavy 1x12 cabinet. Those heads are loud, too, rated for 150W mono into an 8 ohm load, or 2x 75W into 4 ohm loads each. Of course, you could use the effects loop return (which is a TRS jack) and use it as a simple power amp, too, in conjunction with a good pre pedal.
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby ElfDude » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:36 am

If you get your distortion from pedals...
http://www.quilterlabs.com/index.php/pr ... 101-reverb

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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby GuitFiddle » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:21 am

There are so many good choices at this point. Many have already been mentioned.

If you are looking for a traditional amp format, the Orange CR60 and CR120 are pretty tough to beat. That would be choice #1 for me. The Katana sounds good, but IME at high volumes and in a band context it falls apart a bit. Aside from that, 'the amp that everyone forever forgets about or ignores', the old Peavey Bandit, sounds remarkably good for what it is, so long as it has enough power and volume for what you need.

Outside of a traditional amp format, your options blow wide open. Many have been mentioned here. My primary rig at the moment is a pair of self-powered 10" Yamaha PA speakers with a Tech 21 RK5 running into it. It sounds shockingly good, so much so I prefer it to two VERY good tube amps I have, and it's all analog so no weird artifacts or other sonic anomalies. I will say that as good as digital has become, I still prefer analog - it seems more dynamically responsive and doesn't create ear fatigue the way a lot of digital stuff does.

Good luck!
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby UnexplodedCow » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:28 pm

The best part about using a pre-amp, and then separate power amp is that a massively powerful rack unit can be chosen. Having a 1000w power amp sounds silly, but for transients and bass response, it would be excellent. By then, you can even get a cheap Behringer inuke, or something used for a silly-low price.

More power than you'd need, and I've gone that route in the past. A big amp with a good pre in front of it sounds astonishing. At one point I used an ancient 120w (@ 4ohm, and 190w @ 2ohm) output from one side of a dead Audio Centron mixer. The power supply was iffy on one side, and killed one output card, so I rigged it up to run just one side.

The power supply in that unit was waaaay too "stiff" and had more supply than was needed, so the output was a little better than the stock 120w rating. I fed it a line from a preamp, and the output was to a 4 ohm 4x12, and I tried a 2nd 4 ohm 4x12 in series. The result was stuff literally falling off shelves in my garage from an open E chord. Deafeningly loud, and was super "punchy," (ie: excellent transient response). That was 12 or so years ago, and I stopped doing that after a while, because it was super ghetto-looking. But the idea remains.

Good pre (any of the mentioned ones are really, really good), feeding a poweramp into the speaker cab of choice will do the deed. If you want even more volume/efficiency, choose ported cabs, and maybe even a 2nd amp for pushing bass frequencies (something the Theta can do, and is why I recommend it).

I recently snagged a used Vai "legacy" pedal (made by some "unmentionable" brand), and fed it through the effects return of my Unleash. Sounded *exactly* like the real amp, as I was A/Bing it against the real thing at the same time, through the same speaker. Add a good reverb/delay pedal, and it's a win. I'm debating selling off the full size amp now, but can't quite bring myself to it. It's nice to have a backup. Of course, preamp tubes are far more reliable than power amp, so I'm not worried about it, and the build quality of said pedal is exemplary, even with some SMT, tight-tolerance components, so drift will not happen much, if at all.

Sorry, rambling....
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby ghostryder » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:53 am

Those mentioning The Katana--for home use the katana 100 is fine but for giging The Katana Artist has a much better Waza speaker and the cabinet is larger--giving you much better lower end that hold up better at higher volumes. in fact this amp is very loud and your likely never be near the top end without bandmates complaining of being drowned out. At about $600 new it's $200 more than the katana 100 -- but on a par with the twin katana 100 that has 2 speakers.

The memory has been expanded as well and can hold 8 presets vs 4 if memory serves me right. And there's a passable acoustic channel.

The idea of the amp is to loss the heavy weight of a tube amp and all the pedals you drag around not to mention dependability. The end problem is most solid state amps sound like doggy doo campared to a tube versions---but I got to say the Katana artist doesn't suffer from this. The blackstar can hang in there too if you can mic it through a decent PA.

The roland blues cube is probably the best sounding solid state amp out there. It's pretty loud as well. It's not a modeling amp however. You get a clean and crunch channel. That's about it. Takes pedals well. but it's price is outside what your willing to spend unless you can find one on the used marketplace.

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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby Rocky » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:43 pm

I have a Yamaha THR100HD head that is pretty nice. It's 2 amps in one. I have it setup for one amp to drive an open back speaker cabinet and one amp to drive a closed back speaker cabinet.

It has some tube emulation circuitry, boost pedal, reverb and a noise gate. Not too fancy, but very tweakable. I wish you could save the settings to a memory preset like the 10X but you can't.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... eling-head

I read about the Quilter head that ElfDude posted and would like to give one a try some time.

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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby Omsong » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:36 pm

ghostryder wrote: The roland blues cube is probably the best sounding solid state amp out there. It's pretty loud as well. It's not a modeling amp however. You get a clean and crunch channel. That's about it. Takes pedals well. but it's price is outside what your willing to spend unless you can find one on the used marketplace.


The Blues Cube Hot runs $500 and is 30 watts; perhaps not enough for your intent. The Stage, 60 watts, is pushing your budget at $700 and the Artist is 80 watts and even higher at $900.

Edited: These are all combos, not heads...
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby silvergoat2k6 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:17 am

I have an Orange Crush CR120H running through an Avatar 2x12 V30-equipped cabinet, I think it sounds awesome. Every review of the Crush series of amps I have read has been pretty positive.
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Re: Solid State Head Recommendations for Guitar

Postby HarlowTheFish » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:46 am

Well, I hear Quilter's stuff is pretty good. They also do the Overdrive 200 which I hear is pretty sweet. Two channels, switchable voicing and gain structure, and tiny. I can personally say the Orange Crush 120 is great, affordable, and loud enough to gig. Sounds as close as you can get to a Rockerverb for the money. I think my favorite sounding SS amp is the old Gallien-Krueger 250ML/RL that Iron Maiden used to play.
The Katana's actually not bad if you have a cab with a lot of headroom and play around with the Sneaky Amps. I think they might've tried to model speaker breakup somehow to make it sound better at low volumes, but it makes it pretty brittle if you turn it up loud. The Sneaky Amps are like nicer versions (with fewer options) of the amps in the GT-100 that felt like a real amp in the room (definitely not the most tubey, but I went in expecting and wanting SS anyway). They don't seem have as much brittleness, and they're more versatile.


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