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Thread: Are The SE Amps Still In The Lineup?

  1. #1

    Are The SE Amps Still In The Lineup?

    I noticed that SE guitars are in the product page lineup, but not the SEs.

    On another note, the HXDA page says the amps are EL34 amps, but the specs say 6L6. So...

    What's up?
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  2. #2
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    Their officially gone...

  3. #3
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    I haven't heard the official word on this one, but I noticed their absence on the product page as well, and I'm assuming they've been discontinued. GC is certainly blowing them out like they are. And I have to say, if that's true, while I love mine, I'm not entirely surprised. The import amp market is a tougher game than import guitars, and I will admit that in some ways, I don't think PRS was ready to compete. Which is definitely not to say they were bad amps, but when you have to play ball with Fender, Vox, Marshall, Mesa, Egnater, Blackstar, Jet City... you're talking about some serious contenders. Most of those brands have pretty widely palatable tones and are very affordable. The relative quality and value of the SE guitars is almost indisputable compared to Fender, Gibson/Epi, etc., but amps are a different story.
    One thing is the tone, the EQ could've been perfected a little more prior to release. They're great sounding amps in many ways, including my playing style, but they could've gained a broader fan base with an EQ character that was more versatile. Also, the preamp gain sounds a bit fuzzy unless you've really opened the amp up, and let's be honest, a lot of people buying budget amps are bedroom players, and they can't turn even a 20 up that loud.
    Next there's cost. $900-1000 isn't a bad price, but look at the long list of proven amps you could get on that budget, or in many cases less - Mesa TA15, almost the entire Egnater line, the entire Fender Hot Rod line, Jet City, Marshall DSL, not an easy market to push into.
    Now my SE amp isn't going anywhere, but I think I'm a bit of a unique, and I'll go out on a limb and say savvy, consumer in this part of the amp market. I have a somewhat limited budget, but I've also been through a fair share of amps. Enough to know that a good amp needs good transformers. Enough to know that cheap components can literally burn up unpredictably. Enough to know that quality stock tubes make a difference, and aren't cheap to upgrade after the fact. Enough to know that a small cab or junk speakers can ruin the tone of an otherwise great amp. Enough to know that I will change power tubes, biasing is expensive to have a tech do, and those external test points will save me hundreds over the life of the amp. These are lessons I've learned in the budget amp arena, and when you've been around that block a few times, the SE amps start to look pretty darn good. But if I had less experience, I would buy up another amp, not so carefully designed, and not have any idea what I was missing.
    Luckily, I did have these insights when the SE amps hit the scene. Try to find an amp under a grand with two independent channels each with full EQ sections, spring reverb, quality JJ and Tungsol tubes, external bias test points, heavy duty iron, level selectable effects loop, and bulletproof construction, they just don't exist! So the SE amps are an easy choice for a discerning player on a budget. For me, the tone has been pretty good too. I've added a couple of minor tweaks via my pedalboard, but I've found that a pedal or two is no big deal compared to paying for tubes, maintenance, and repair on an amp that isn't as intelligently designed.
    These things I've picked up on are things that I don't think are on the mind of John Doe budget guitarist, which is why the SE amps haven't been hot items. I think PRS could re-engineer the line and be successful - a 5 watt, single channel amp, a similar 15, and the current 30 and 50. Find a way to sell the 5 for $350-400, the 15 for $500, and get the 30 and 50 down to $800-850. Tweak the EQ a bit as well, and they could be big sellers.
    Sorry to make a short story long, Les, but it does seem the SE amps are no more, and I figured I might as well throw in my 2 cents!
    -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

  4. #4
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    That sucks... Never even got to try one.

    While admitting to never having the opportunity to play one, I must admit I didn't seek them out either. I don't know why.. but the HXDA is the only amp from a relatively new "amp" company that was marketed well enough for me to have an idea of what PRS amps "sound" like.

    There are enough "unique to PRS" innovations on the guitars that help make the SE's electrics so popular to warrant a lower price-point offering, whereas with the amps.. I don't know.

    I think I would personally have been more motivated if the amp was cheaper or had something "cool" built in like the HG's having a noise gate. or how old MkII B's can adjust gain with a vol. pedal in the loop... Sh!t.. Even a tuner or a third lead channel with a loop or delay built in..maybe something that courted the NuMetal/Tremonti guys?


    Edited: Just saw Andy's post and it brought up some good points... I want to see PRS do well with amps, and I want to want one.
    Last edited by sergiodeblanc; 02-03-2014 at 12:04 AM.

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    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Live and learn. Doug Sewell is still a brilliant amp builder with a grasp of great tone and how to treat the customer. My brand loyalty was only further galvanized by working with Doug and his amp department.
    Last edited by Boogie; 02-03-2014 at 07:10 AM.
    + '01 Custom 24 + '11 DGT Standard (Mr. Clean) + '09 SE One + Super Dallas + Stealth 2x12+

  6. #6
    PRS Addiction CoreyT's Avatar
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    I never got to play one either, but would have liked to have tried the 30 watt head version..

    I predict there will be a new Maryland built "S2" line of amps
    No hand wiring, but circuit boards imported, cabs and combo wood built in house, and a few less features than the core line.
    Hey, ya never know...

  7. #7
    Well, as you guys know, I'm a huge fan of PRS amps, and the HXDA has been my main squeeze for a while now in its 50 watt incarnation. Doug does an absolutely brilliant job with these designs, as far as I'm concerned.

    I was just curious, honestly, as I'm more likely to buy a US-made amp.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoreyT View Post
    I never got to play one either, but would have liked to have tried the 30 watt head version..

    I predict there will be a new Maryland built "S2" line of amps
    No hand wiring, but circuit boards imported, cabs and combo wood built in house, and a few less features than the core line.
    Hey, ya never know...

    Pretty well describes the Sweet 16.

  9. #9
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    On another note, the HXDA page says the amps are EL34 amps, but the specs say 6L6.
    Looks like those specs are from the Archon (100W/50W Half power switch, 2 channels etc)

    I noticed the new Zach Myers has the "Made in Maryland" logo too. New products, new deadlines, to err is human etc

    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    or how old MkII B's can adjust gain with a vol. pedal in the loop...
    and MkII A's too (I have one, nice amp apart from the ear splitting pop when you change channel, rendering it useless for stage use)

    Shame the SE line of amps is no more, they're fairly rare here in Aus, I would have liked to try one. Maybe one will pop up 2nd hand and I'll just happen to have some spare cash...

  10. #10
    deus ex machina
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoreyT View Post
    I predict there will be a new Maryland built "S2" line of amps
    No hand wiring, but circuit boards imported, cabs and combo wood built in house, and a few less features than the core line.
    There's no need to go offshore for circuit boards if final assembly is being performed in the United States.

  11. #11
    deus ex machina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fro View Post
    Pretty well describes the Sweet 16.
    If I recall correctly, the Sweet 16 uses a combination of PCB-technology and hand wiring.

  12. #12
    PRS Addiction CoreyT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Em7 View Post
    There's no need to go offshore for circuit boards if final assembly is being performed in the United States.
    That was just being inline like the S2 guitars which use the Korean SE (off shore) tremolo system.
    But yes, there could be American built boards too.

  13. #13
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    The Sweet 16 I had, had an "assembled in America" sticker on the back.

  14. #14
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    I would be all for an S2 amp! I would vote yes in that poll!

    It was a problem of price point. If you can get a Chinese made version of an amp for $1000 or a US made version of the same thing for $1500, to me the price difference isn't all that big. I would just continue to save for the US version. It's not as big a difference as buying a Korean made SE CU24 for $600 vs a US made Custom 24 for $2500. The Chinese made SE amp needed to be $400-500 in order for it to be a hit.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
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  15. #15
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    I had played the 30 and 50 combo @ a local Sam Ash when they first came out, thought they were a bit fizzy, but sounds like after reading that they would have sounded better with some more volume.

    Last fall I found one used @ a GC, went back to the same local SA to play, set things differently and played it louder, and I liked it alot more...so I had the used one from GC sent to me (what a steal price-wise).

    It arrived DOA HEAVY SUCKER I can attest to the solidity of the build...just wish I would have actually have been able to hear it, but I took it back to my local GC and they could not get the amp working either.

    So alas, poor SE combo, I ne'er had the chance to hear thee...
    1990 CE24 MT | 1991 CU24 | 1991 CE24 | 1992 CE24 MT
    1993 STD 24 | 1997 CE24 3pc MT | 2008 SE Semi-Hollow Soapbar
    2011 SE Akesson | 2011 CU24 GC Throwback | 2012 Signature Limited
    2013 408 Brazilian | 2013 Paul's Guitar | 2013 S2 Mira | 2013 Hollowbody II
    2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited | 2014 SE Zach Myers (incoming)

  16. #16
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    If you can find one at a GC now, they're going for used prices new...
    -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

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy474x View Post
    If you can find one at a GC now, they're going for used prices new...
    I just bought a practically new (floor model, on clearance) SE20 combo from GC for $349. While reading around the interwebz that the SE line of amps are not the most desirable, it's worth a shot for this price.

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