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Thread: SE Amps - Impressions?

  1. #21

    Re: SE Amps - Impressions?

    I found a used SE 30 at a price I couldn't pass up so I've answered my own question from the first post. Like the clean channel a lot. I haven't dialed in the gain channel to my liking yet but we'll see.

  2. #22
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    SE20

    I own a Valvetech VAC22. Fantastic amp, but no channel switching. I also got a Dr Z maz 38 senior. Sounds great but only on high volumes. Using my VAC22 as my main gigging amp and liking the 6V6 amps very much in general (I played Deluxe reverb for years) I thought I needed a new 6V6 amp with channel switching.

    Thought about a Tone King, or a Hook R20 (Dutch handbuild 2x6V6 amp). Then I saw a PRS SE20 for sale. Very rare at the moment overhere in Europe. So I got me one.

    First impression:

    Bigger and more heavy than I expected.

    It's a 2 mm thick chassis, very sturdy PCB, with all the pots and switches etc seperately mounted on the chassis. I've had some "PCB amps before": Rivera M100, Fender Blues Deluxe, Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb RI. This PRS beats all as far as building quality is concerned. High quality components (Alpha pots, JJ tubes etc).
    OK, you can always discuss the fact that the power tubes are also PCB mounted. But this SE20 looks very well built.

    Lead channel sounds good. Clean channel ok but a little bit disappointing. Until now I think my Valvetech sounds better, at least clean.

    I think it's a speaker problem. I tried the amp with a open back cabinet with a Celestion G12H Heritage and that was much better than the stock speaker. Perhaps it's just a matter of breaking in the stock eminence. The cabinet starts to resonate strongly at some tones. When placed on the groud (angled or not) the amps sounds muddy. So that's no option. I put her about 0.5 m above the floor. That seems to be ok.

    Anyone has any experience with other speakers or opening the cabinet? Or perhaps it's just me having to get used to a closed back combo. I've had a lot of amps over the years, but never closed back.


    Leon

  3. #23
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    It took my SE30 a while to "break in" even with an older cab and speaker. The overdrive on the rhythm channel has really smoothed out, must have been the new tubes that came in the amp or something. I got a new speaker a while back and now I run my SE30 with an Eminence GB128 (Greenback clone) and I love it. It's in a 1x12 open back cab, but it's only got a small opening. Great speaker after being broken in. I've also run it with a G12H and that was really cool, but the bass was a tad floppy for me, and it gave just a touch more "flavor" to the sound than I wanted for all around playing. Anyways, the tone of most PRS amps has always been a little nasally to my ear, so I got the GB128 to smooth it out. I suspect that the stock Emi is similar to a Vintage 30, since that's what most other PRS amps use, so a different speaker gives a lot fatter of a sound to these amps, in my opinion. Also, if your cab is vibrating/resonating strangely, try screwing the speaker on tighter. I've heard that complaint from others too, PRS chose to take the rubber gasket off the speaker rim, so it's a wood to metal rim connection with nothing dampening the vibrations... Which in theory is a good thing, unless your cab starts to rattle!
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

    SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary - SE Akesson+57/08's - SE 30 Head/Cab

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    Thanks,

    I'll tighten the screws. Also a good opportunity to try the amp as an open back cabinet.

    That the SE amps take a long time to break in I've seen on other forums too. Let's hope this will solve my problems .

  5. #25
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    I tried an SE30 at Sweetwater's GearFest 2012 (with a PRS DC3) and thought it sounded really good. Excellent clean channel, at least at low volume. There were two other guys in the demo room who were engaged in volume wars, and I didn't want to contribute to that, so I didn't get to push the amp to see how much clean headroom it had--I don't know if 30 watts would be enough to keep up with a drummer and stay clean, but at low volume it had plenty of sparkle; very blackface-Fender-like in fact. I'm thinking an SE50 might be a better choice, but it's got different power tubes than the 30, so I don't know if it has the sparkle that the 30's got. Now--can anybody tell me what the SE30 and SE50 combos weigh? There are no weight specs on the website, and the one I tried was mounted on a display, so I didn't get a chance to lift it.

  6. #26
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    My 30 has a good amount of headroom to cover our drummer. But I would think a lot of places that stock the 30 have the 50 too, so you should be able to try them out for yourself side by side. Let us know what you think if you try the 50, I like the clean sound of the 2 channel "C" better than the "H" so I'm interested to see how the 50 compares.
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

    SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary - SE Akesson+57/08's - SE 30 Head/Cab

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy474x View Post
    Anyways, the tone of most PRS amps has always been a little nasally to my ear, so I got the GB128 to smooth it out. I suspect that the stock Emi is similar to a Vintage 30, since that's what most other PRS amps use, so a different speaker gives a lot fatter of a sound to these amps, in my opinion. Also, if your cab is vibrating/resonating strangely, try screwing the speaker on tighter. I've heard that complaint from others too, PRS chose to take the rubber gasket off the speaker rim, so it's a wood to metal rim connection with nothing dampening the vibrations... Which in theory is a good thing, unless your cab starts to rattle!
    I've tightned the speaker screws. In China they have weird ideas on cutting costs. If you have a speaker without rubber gasket I think it should be screwed tight. The Eminence has 8 screw holes but is only mounted with 4 little screws. Strange way to save money. If you don't use a rubber gasket I think you should prefer normal bolts to attach the speaker. Now they use normal self tapping wood screws. I don't know if that will stay tight. Further the wiring to the speaker seems too tight. The wiring to the speaker is under high tension. Let's hope the terminals on the speaker will hold that stress.

    So far for the bad part. Now the good things:

    Just played the amp for some time without the back mounted. Guess what..... the amp comes alive. Not (yet) as good as with my open back G12M heritage cab, but much better than with the closed back. Also all irritating resonances I had at some notes are gone. When using the G12H heritage the lows become more loose, too loose, but the G12H sounds less nasally than the Eminence.

    I'm afraid I'll have to mention one more problem. I've blown 3 main fuses untill now. I don't play very loud, don't do weird things with the amp, and I've also changed the 800 mA fuse with a somewhat higher type of 1 A. I think I'll have to take her back to the shop to take a look at that.

    Leon

  8. #28
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    Glad you got the speaker rattle fixed Leon. I've got nothing on the fuses, sorry!
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

    SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary - SE Akesson+57/08's - SE 30 Head/Cab

  9. #29
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    I played an SE Santana and SE 245 through the SE50 combo at my local Sam Ash for about 10 minutes over lunch, and found the experience...interesting. I don't think I played with the amp enough. As I would expect, I was using the individual channel volumes for "gain" (so had them between 11 and 2 o clock) and the individual masters off to the right down pretty low, around 8 - 9 o clock, so as to be considerate.

    The overdrive had an undercurrent of fuzziness that I wasn't able to dial out during my limited time. I also found the clean channel to be not quite clean enough, and when I dialed the guitar volume back down, I lost some of the highs that I wanted, even with the bright switch engaged.

    The salesman said that the PRS rep had been there a few weeks ago, and recommended that out the master volumes relatively high, and adjust the individual channel volumes. I guess I need to try that next time.

    My main amp is my Blackstar HT Club 40, so that's what my ear is tuned to, and during the first five minutes in the store I knew I was walking out with it when I demo'd it.

    I will return to play with the SE50 combo again, and the SE30 combo next to it...want to give them their fair shake...but 'till then, jury's out on a "trade-up."
    1990 CE24 MT | 1991 CU24 | 1991 CE24 | 1992 CE24 MT
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    2011 SE Akesson | 2011 CU24 GC Throwback | 2012 Signature Limited
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    2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited | 2014 SE Zach Myers

  10. #30
    Senior Member ExpatGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    PRS tries to offer quality amps at many price points. Not everyone has the money (or wants to spend it) on a 2 channel head, so we came out with the SE amps. Personally, I feel the same way about the SE amps as I do about the SE guitars, they are a quality product at an affordable price. I own several SE guitars (I own US made PRS as well) and I will soon own an SE amp. Let’s contrast PRS products to Mercedes Benz. Just because the S class is a $100,000 and the C class is only 40k doesn't mean the C class is junk, it's hitting a different price point for a different consumer.

    I'm glad you like the quality and craftsmanship that goes into the 2 Channel, we're quite proud of it as well. However, we are also very proud of our SE line of amps and hope the amp buying public will share our enthusiasm.
    That's a good analogy, Shawn. I own two SEs, a Custom 24 and Custom Semi-Hollow. They are as good as any guitar I've played, apart from the US-made PRS guitars at my local music shop. I just haven't found a US-made PRS guitar that knocked my socks off and made me have to own it. Knowing PRS's reputation for quality and having seen the fine job you do on the SE guitars, I am willing to bet the SE amps are, as they say here in New Zealand, good value for money.

    I don't know when I'll get to hear a SE and US-made amp. I'm looking forward to hearing both, almost as much as I'm looking forward to ordering my 408 MT.
    Last edited by ExpatGirl; 09-16-2012 at 03:14 AM.
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  11. #31
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    Hi Guys. I'm new here, but wanted to post my experience with the PRS SE30 Combo. Just so you know where my "ear" is, I've been using mainly Peavey Classic series and 5150 amplifiers, with some others that I've owned being Marshall, Mesa, Budda, Blackstar, and Egnater.

    Let me start by saying that you can get great tone out of this amp, it just may require a different approach than you are used to. If you are a higher gain player like me, you can't rely on the channel gain knob on this amp to get you some good quality high gain sound. If you are used to a 5150, or a Dual Rectifier, then you are used to your amp providing all of you high gain sound. As stated earlier, this amp will be a little inarticulate once the gain knob goes past about 1 o'clock. Fortunately, a while back I discovered that i liked the tone of my high gain sound better if I turned my lead channel gain down to a lower setting, and pushed the input with an overdrive pedal. That is what you have to do with this amp to get a good quality sound on a higher gain setting. I've used a Tube Screamer TS-9 that I converted to a TS-808 into the front of the SE30 with some very good results. My lead gain knob is set at about 9:30, and my TS is set Drive and level at about 1 o'clock, and tone at about 10 o'clock. With these settings, I can adjust my channel gain slightly up, but not past 11 o'clock with very good results. I also built a GGG ITS8 "very expensive boutique mod" pedal (think Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive), and that works even better in front of the SE30. I can set my channel gain lower, and let the pedal do more of the work. It sounds best when using the LED clipping on the pedal.

    Aside from running an overdrive in front, if you use these general rules, I think you will end up with a good sound through the high gain side.
    1) Never turn your Treble higher than your Mids.
    2) Never turn your Bass up past 12 o'clock
    3) If you want a "Scooped Mids" amp, you probably should have bought a different amp. This will produce outstanding tone if you are patient, but won't neccessarily produce tons of gain.

    I should mention that I have experimented with using my clean channel as a high gain rythym channel, and using the lead channel as, well, a lead channel. I just turn the channel volume up on the clean channel, and adjust my "boutique" pedal to taste, then set the channel volume on my lead channel very low. This way, I can leave my pedal on while I change channels for leads. This is very effective. The master for the clean channel will be set low, and the lead channel master will be turned up to the desired level to boost above the band. Very nice sound for classic rock.

    I think alot of guys are premature in writing off this amp. There are a lot of amps out there that sound pretty good at any setting, and you have to tweak them to optimize them to the sound you want. I will have to say that this amp is quite the opposite. You really have to drill down to the setting that is right for your guitar, and type of music. I do have to say that once you figure it out, you will be glad you stuck with it. The settings are sort of non-standard too. You set most amps to 12 o'clock to start. I would say on this amp, you should set everyting to 10 o'clock to start. It's also very bass and treble heavy, unlike many other amps where you have to pull some mids out, you probably want to add some in on this one.

    Just one more parting thought. This amp wants to be played at stage volume with the masters up at least past 12 o'clock before it starts to really sound good. If you are sitting in your house trying to play this at bedroom levels, you will probably never achieve the potential this amp has to offer. It will not sound good to you until the Master volumes approach 12 o'clock. This is an amp that wants to be played out with a band and turned up.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post
    Aside from running an overdrive in front, if you use these general rules, I think you will end up with a good sound through the high gain side.
    1) Never turn your Treble higher than your Mids.
    2) Never turn your Bass up past 12 o'clock
    3) If you want a "Scooped Mids" amp, you probably should have bought a different amp. This will produce outstanding tone if you are patient, but won't neccessarily produce tons of gain.


    I don't agree. These settings might work for you, but to say "Never" anything isn't right. I have my treble higher than the mids and my bass past 12:00 and it works great.

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