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Thread: SE50

  1. #1
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    SE50

    I've noted the reception to the SE50 has been lukewarm here. I understand its a"Student Edition". However I wanted an EL34 combo that was reasonably priced. So I bought one. One great feature is the bias jacks on the back panel. So I check the bias and the setting is 30, which is below the suggested setting of 37 in the manual and less than I would set EL34s at. I know many amp manufacturers set the bias on the cold side as a safer option regarding tube failure and sound.
    So I set the tubes on 37 and this amp came alive. It's a beast. I use the clean channel with the gain at about 2 o'clock and the master volume at about 11 o'clock. I agree with other comments about the lead channel sounding fizzy on higher gain settings. So my best use of this amp is with the clean channel on higher gain or the lead channel on lower gain setting.
    Now I put in a set of NOS 6CA7s and it's a whole 'nother level of special.
    My reference is my 1969 small box Marshall 50 watt head and it compares favorably tone wise, in a package I can easily tote to gigs.
    However, it is a very sensitive amp and will respond deftly to nuances of left hand technique and pick attack, so no hiding sloppy playing.
    PRS has brought a boutique quality amp to the masses here. I'm not happy about the power tube sockets on the board and not the chassis. But I believe reverse engineering the tone worked.

  2. #2
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    That's great information about a little-known amp around here. It doesn't get much attention, but not because it isn't appreciated, just no experience with it. Your post is the best info I've read to date about the SE50. Keep the reviews coming! And congrats on finding a 'sleeper'.
    + '01 Custom 24 + '11 DGT Standard (Mr. Clean) + '09 SE One + Super Dallas + Stealth 2x12+

  3. #3
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    One further comment. This is a 50 watt amp. It sounds best played loud. So any review talking about playing the amp in a store or at home usually implies low volume. The current fashion is low powered amps, and I have my share of 1 and 5 watt amps. But this amp is built around the power section. So my opinion is trying to get a saturated tone at low volume will result in thin, fizzy tone. Not saying the preamp section is lacking. Just that the amp needs to power up to develop it's full tone. Everyone knows about overdriven power tube distortion but we've all become reliant on preamp, cascading distortion. Remember Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks were talking about using their PRS amps with the Allman Bros where they needed power to cut through a loud, full band's sound. So I hope these amps are played loud and proud!

  4. #4
    Great review of the amp, thoroughly enjoyed it!

    And I agree with Boogie, it isn't that the amps are unappreciated, it's that many of us have never had the opportunity to play through one!
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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  5. #5
    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    I liked the SE 50 quite a bit when I tried it. I wasn't in the market for an amp at the time, but I think they sound great.

  6. #6
    yahtzee
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    just bought an SE50 head because i wanted a tube head for a backup to my Dr. Z maz 18..........using this head with a Dr.Z 2/10 cab....wow.........my maz is now the backup....very under rated amp in my opinion.....but yes, gotta give it a little juice

  7. #7
    Senior Member Michael B's Avatar
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    Awesome! Glad to hear the potential of these! My buddy has the SE30 head and still uses it along with other top of the line heads
    2010 Black cherry 10 Top Tremonti-signed by Tremonti Modded by PTC DGT frets/signed by PRS
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  8. #8
    Senior Member AP515's Avatar
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    Great thread. My SE50 has replaced my Lone Star as my #1 amp and that is a big deal since I've been a 6L6 guy for many years. But, if you look at the PRS website, the SE amps are no longer there. Have they stopped producing them?
    Last edited by AP515; 08-22-2014 at 10:18 AM.
    1988 CE24, 1995 CE22, 2000 SC, 2003 Standard 22, 2003 Cu24 AP, 2006 Cu24 AP, 2006 SC AP, 2007 CuRo22, 2010 Starla Stoptail, 2010 Mira
    2007 SE Soapy 2, 2010 SE 25th Anni Cu24, 2012 SE Bernie, 2013 SE Angelus Custom

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  9. #9
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AP515 View Post
    Great thread. My SE50 has replaced my Lone Star as my #1 amp and that is a big deal since I've been a 6L6 guy for many years. But, if you look at the PRS website, the SE amps are no longer there. Have they stopped producing them?
    Yeah, as far as I know they have. Earlier this year GC was blowing them out at insane prices to get them off the floor. I wanted to grab the SE50 head they had in the worst way, but with my SE30 already at home, I feared it would be too redundant. Sure sounded great through a Marshall 2x12 though.

    But anyways, back to the point, poor sales and a lot of negative chatter online seemed to do them in. And, as much as I love mine (and I really, REALLY do), I'll admit it was a rare case where PRS could have improved the product a bit before releasing it. They had too much of the super low bass frequencies (at least in the 30 head/cab format), and too much gain on both channels. I sent mine back to the amp team to have the gain reduced on the clean channel, I could hardly get a clean tone with even low output humbuckers. I also put a 10-band EQ in the effects loop to cut out some of the really low bass, which in turn revealed some great sparkle and chime. It sounded good before, but man does that amp sound SWEET now. All of my friends that play agree that it's one of the best sounding amps they've heard. In fact a good friend is borrowing my 30 for an outdoor gig tonight.

    Maybe the concept is too tarnished now to do anything with, but this is my opinion of what PRS could do to make a revamped, winning SE amp line:
    -less gain
    -tweak the EQ
    -offer different wattages - the 20, 30, and 50 were really all club-sized amps, even the 20 had to be pretty loud ro get the best tone. If there were a 5 watt, you could actually get the goods without pissing off the neighborhood. I think lots of bedroom players were disappointed with the SE amps for that reason.
    -offer a single channel version (perhaps a little buddy for the HXDA, but without the voicing switches?) that's probably a long stretch, but a single channel could really cut cost for players that like to use pedals.

    There were lots of features on them that were already great too - external bias test/adjust, levels selectable loop, totally independent channels, premium tubes. I guess I won't wait by the phone for Paul to call and ask me to be the project manager, but it would be cool to see them improved and back in the lineup. I know mine will be with me a long time!

    PS, sorry for the thread hijack. I obviously have opinions on this matter!
    -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

  10. #10
    Junior Member FerneWightman's Avatar
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    sounds awesome to me!
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  11. #11
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy474x View Post
    ...perhaps a little buddy for the HXDA...
    An SE amp clone of the HX/DA without the voicing switches...one in only HX or DA mode? That would be awesome. Fantastic idea!
    + '01 Custom 24 + '11 DGT Standard (Mr. Clean) + '09 SE One + Super Dallas + Stealth 2x12+

  12. #12
    Senior Member thieves&foxes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy474x View Post
    Yeah, as far as I know they have. Earlier this year GC was blowing them out at insane prices to get them off the floor. I wanted to grab the SE50 head they had in the worst way, but with my SE30 already at home, I feared it would be too redundant. Sure sounded great through a Marshall 2x12 though.

    But anyways, back to the point, poor sales and a lot of negative chatter online seemed to do them in. And, as much as I love mine (and I really, REALLY do), I'll admit it was a rare case where PRS could have improved the product a bit before releasing it. They had too much of the super low bass frequencies (at least in the 30 head/cab format), and too much gain on both channels. I sent mine back to the amp team to have the gain reduced on the clean channel, I could hardly get a clean tone with even low output humbuckers. I also put a 10-band EQ in the effects loop to cut out some of the really low bass, which in turn revealed some great sparkle and chime. It sounded good before, but man does that amp sound SWEET now. All of my friends that play agree that it's one of the best sounding amps they've heard. In fact a good friend is borrowing my 30 for an outdoor gig tonight.

    Maybe the concept is too tarnished now to do anything with, but this is my opinion of what PRS could do to make a revamped, winning SE amp line:
    -less gain
    -tweak the EQ
    -offer different wattages - the 20, 30, and 50 were really all club-sized amps, even the 20 had to be pretty loud ro get the best tone. If there were a 5 watt, you could actually get the goods without pissing off the neighborhood. I think lots of bedroom players were disappointed with the SE amps for that reason.
    -offer a single channel version (perhaps a little buddy for the HXDA, but without the voicing switches?) that's probably a long stretch, but a single channel could really cut cost for players that like to use pedals.

    There were lots of features on them that were already great too - external bias test/adjust, levels selectable loop, totally independent channels, premium tubes. I guess I won't wait by the phone for Paul to call and ask me to be the project manager, but it would be cool to see them improved and back in the lineup. I know mine will be with me a long time!

    PS, sorry for the thread hijack. I obviously have opinions on this matter!
    Who did you get to do this work. I love my SE30, but am looking for some more sparkle and chime on the clean channel!
    Location: Beautiful Cape Town, South Africa
    PRS Singlecut Hollowbody II Trampas Green / PRS SE 30 1x12
    Mike Mustok Baritone Brown Burst to come later.

  13. #13
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieves&foxes View Post
    Who did you get to do this work. I love my SE30, but am looking for some more sparkle and chime on the clean channel!
    Depends on what you want tonally - less bass or less gain. I sent my 30 back to the amp team at PRS to have the gain reduced on the clean channel. Before, I could only get a clean tone with 57/08's at the very lowest preamp volume settings (below 9:00). I also have a 5751 preamp tube in the preamp for the clean channel - essentially a 12ax7 with less gain (I confirmed with PRS to make sure that tube type was safe to use).

    To cut the bass down, I put an MXR 10 band EQ in the effects loop, with the 125 hz and lower frequencies way down, and the 250 down slightly. That tightens the response quite a bit, and then you can play with the bass knobs on the amp to fine tune each channel. I leave the EQ on at all times.

    I imagine shipping to Maryland from Cape Town wouldn't be a lot of fun, so I would give the 5751 and EQ a shot and see how you like those. Hope that helps!!!
    -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

  14. #14
    Senior Member thieves&foxes's Avatar
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    Thanks Andy. Will look at the 5751 and the EQ, or buy an Archon 50, with the kidney I dont need
    Location: Beautiful Cape Town, South Africa
    PRS Singlecut Hollowbody II Trampas Green / PRS SE 30 1x12
    Mike Mustok Baritone Brown Burst to come later.

  15. #15
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    You should definitely do all of those things!
    -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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