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Living in a New York City apartment, owning a tube amp above 10 Watts is a bit ridiculous unless you own a power attenuator. Nevertheless, over the years I've accumulated a few cool tube amps and a couple of solid state ones. Admittedly, the solid state amps get used more often as they are strategically located by the livingroom couch and by the bed.
Today was a nice spring day here in Queens, NY--and I used the opportunity to get the amps out and photograph them. In most cases I took the actual amp out of the chassis--enjoy the pics! George T / NYC 2009
Hughes & Kettner Tube 50 (Update 2012: sold in my move to SF)
This is a very cool modern amp, and I have the matching cabinet too. It has two channels, and 2 modes/settings per channel. You can go from a nice clean tone to a vintage tweed one and over to the distorted channel for a NWOBHM tone and a modern high-gain one.
I haven't pulled the chassis out, but this amp contains 3 12ax7 preamp tubes and 2 EL 34 power tubes.
Marshall JCM-800 50 Watt Lead
Stumped as to what this amp may be? :) Yes, it is a real 50 Watt JCM-800, but a modded one. Originally this was an early 80s 4210, a tube combo with a single 12" speaker.
It's been redone to a compact and great sounding head in creme tolex. Alas, I was unable to get it out of the chassis this time.
Looks like there are a couple of 6L6's power tubes present, and an assortment of preamp tubes.
I believe it's a 1984 model. You experts out there, you tell me.
Sovtek stands for "Soviet Technology" and as a Russian-American, I had to have one in my arsenal. This is a 1994 model made in Novosibirsk, Siberia. The MIG-60 is a 60 Watt monster that gets extremely loud. This is an amp that sounds horrible at low volume/wattage settings, but breaks up nicely at higher volume.
Pulling the amp out shows 2 EL-34s and 3 12ax7 type preamp tubes.
The best part is the point-to-point Russian wiring, mostly with leftover Soviet components.
Mean-looking CCCP (USSR) capacitors.
In the Marshall "valvestate" series of amps, this 65-watter was my mainstay while I lived in an 8x10 foot room in Manhattan and later in a studio in Queens. This is the 1999 model. Now relegated to the livingroom couch, this amp still gets a lot of hours on it. This is a 2-channel solidstate amp with a tube in the preamp. I think it sounds pretty darned good actually.
The 12" Marshall speaker sounds ok too; no need to replace it.
A shot of inside of the chassis..
And another shot of the neat circuit board and the 12ax7 preamp tube.
Can a little amp actually rock? Brother, this amp is the sh!t! Tiny little digital modeling amp, this "Guitar Digital Entertainment Center" comes pre-loaded with 50 backing bass/drum tracks as well as an onboard tuner. Turn the dial and you are changing backing tracks. My favorite feature is being able to change the key for any track, as well as being able to change my guitar tone and rhythm. As most modeling amps go, the majority of the tones are bleh, but there are a couple of good distorted tones and a couple of cool clean/ambient tones.
I opened the back to expose the generic 8" speaker. Some folks swear by changing it out. I may try it some time.
A shot of inside the chassis. Nothing analog here, just zeroes and ones.
One of my favorite settings: 12 bar blues in A with "brown sound" guitar tone. This is a good test for my vocabulary of Ace Frehley licks.
Update-April 2009: Installed Jensen Mod8-20 Speaker! Replacing the stock lifeless speaker for the Italian Jensen makes a world of difference. I was skeptical at first, but this $25 upgrade is definitely audible.
It's a solderless installation, too easy!
Hughes & Kettner 4x12 Speaker Cabinet (Update 2012: sold in my move to SF)
The Hughes & Kettner amp above came with a matching 4x12 cabinet. I think it's loaded with Celestions, but honestly I am yet to open it. It sounds pretty great.
Peavey Vypyr VIP 2
This great little amp cost me only 2 bills shipped from Sweetwater Music and features an array of amp models, effects, onboard tuner, as well as the ability to plug in a bass or acoustic guitar as well! Amp modeling has come a long way; the Marshall-, 5150-, and Mesa- inspired tones in the Vypyr VIP2 sound great; a "wall of sound" in a tiny package. Pretty game changing.
It took me some time to locate where all the screws holding the chassis in place were. Pretty incredible, these are all the "guts" that power the great amp models.
And a view from the back. It is an amazing contrast to the birds' nest of wires in the tube amps.. I anticipate transistors to fully take over all amplification over time.