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#21 _pete_

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 06:27 AM

I have a Hughes & Kettner zenTera right now.
It is an incredibly awesome amp. Extremely versatile and sounds like a good tube amp.
I have a Hughes & Kettner Switchblade head coming tomorrow though. I'm gonna keep whichever one sounds better.

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The small combo amp is a Hughes & Kettner Montana acoustic amp. I have a piezo in my Les Paul that runs through that one.

Edited by _pete_, 24 October 2007 - 06:29 AM.


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#22 Soni

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 09:36 AM

That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

#23 Deadwing

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:27 AM

QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

#24 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:47 AM

QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:27 AM)
QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

You have a beast of an amp there, but I'm sure Pete loves his H&K rig. That zenTera is a quality modern tube amp. Different tones for different players, you know?  wink.gif  

#25 Deadwing

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:00 AM

QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:27 AM)
QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

You have a beast of an amp there, but I'm sure Pete loves his H&K rig. That zenTera is a quality modern tube amp. Different tones for different players, you know?  wink.gif

I'm sorry, I actually meant no harm in my post. But since you mentioned it, actually no, the ZenTera is all digital. The TriAmp is tube. I've played all sorts of their amps and I was not impressed. And in my opinion digital amp tone goes to shit as soon as you crank it up. That's where tubes have a major advantage.

And of course I believe in different strokes for different folks. I was just joking around. I thought it funny when he said the rest of us looked cheap. Money isn't everything anyways.  smile.gif

Edited by Deadwing, 24 October 2007 - 11:12 AM.


#26 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:29 AM

QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 12:00 PM)
QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:27 AM)
QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

You have a beast of an amp there, but I'm sure Pete loves his H&K rig. That zenTera is a quality modern tube amp. Different tones for different players, you know?  wink.gif

I'm sorry, I actually meant no harm in my post. But since you mentioned it, actually no, the ZenTera is all digital. The TriAmp is tube. I've played all sorts of their amps and I was not impressed. And in my opinion digital amp tone goes to shit as soon as you crank it up. That's where tubes have a major advantage.

And of course I believe in different strokes for different folks. I was just joking around. I thought it funny when he said the rest of us looked cheap. Money isn't everything anyways.  smile.gif

I stand corrected -- I knew the zenTera was a modeling amp, but I thought it still used tubes. Still, Pete has done a lot of playing and recording of Rush tunes with that amp and it works great for him.

And soni may have forgotten that you posted about your Hiwatt, but he also forgot about my two Marshall combos. Cyg mentioned his vintage Fender amp, and defrush has a big B-52 amp there, too. No big deal. He was speaking for all the guys like him who are learning their craft on solid state Marshall MGs and such.

BTW, I've been playing for 30 years, and I didn't get my first tube amp until eight years ago. Took me a while to catch up.  wink.gif

#27 Deadwing

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:34 AM

QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 12:29 PM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 12:00 PM)
QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:27 AM)
QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

You have a beast of an amp there, but I'm sure Pete loves his H&K rig. That zenTera is a quality modern tube amp. Different tones for different players, you know?  wink.gif

I'm sorry, I actually meant no harm in my post. But since you mentioned it, actually no, the ZenTera is all digital. The TriAmp is tube. I've played all sorts of their amps and I was not impressed. And in my opinion digital amp tone goes to shit as soon as you crank it up. That's where tubes have a major advantage.

And of course I believe in different strokes for different folks. I was just joking around. I thought it funny when he said the rest of us looked cheap. Money isn't everything anyways.  smile.gif

I stand corrected -- I knew the zenTera was a modeling amp, but I thought it still used tubes. Still, Pete has done a lot of playing and recording of Rush tunes with that amp and it works great for him.

And soni may have forgotten that you posted about your Hiwatt, but he also forgot about my two Marshall combos. Cyg mentioned his vintage Fender amp, and defrush has a big B-52 amp there, too. No big deal. He was speaking for all the guys like him who are learning their craft on solid state Marshall MGs and such.

BTW, I've been playing for 30 years, and I didn't get my first tube amp until eight years ago. Took me a while to catch up.  wink.gif

trink39.gif

Yeah, I honestly believe it's all good as long as people find something they really enjoy, even if I don't always share their taste. I didn't mean to criticize Pete for his amp choice because I'm sure he is happy with it, or anyone else for their post for that matter.

I will be certain to word my posts more carefully going forward so I don't inadvertently rub people the wrong way. I have problems with that sometimes and I end up stepping on people's toes when I don't mean to. The last thing I want to do is come off as a snob on a great forum like this. I really like it here.  smile.gif

#28 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:38 AM

QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 12:34 PM)
QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 12:29 PM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 12:00 PM)
QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:27 AM)
QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

You have a beast of an amp there, but I'm sure Pete loves his H&K rig. That zenTera is a quality modern tube amp. Different tones for different players, you know?  wink.gif

I'm sorry, I actually meant no harm in my post. But since you mentioned it, actually no, the ZenTera is all digital. The TriAmp is tube. I've played all sorts of their amps and I was not impressed. And in my opinion digital amp tone goes to shit as soon as you crank it up. That's where tubes have a major advantage.

And of course I believe in different strokes for different folks. I was just joking around. I thought it funny when he said the rest of us looked cheap. Money isn't everything anyways.  smile.gif

I stand corrected -- I knew the zenTera was a modeling amp, but I thought it still used tubes. Still, Pete has done a lot of playing and recording of Rush tunes with that amp and it works great for him.

And soni may have forgotten that you posted about your Hiwatt, but he also forgot about my two Marshall combos. Cyg mentioned his vintage Fender amp, and defrush has a big B-52 amp there, too. No big deal. He was speaking for all the guys like him who are learning their craft on solid state Marshall MGs and such.

BTW, I've been playing for 30 years, and I didn't get my first tube amp until eight years ago. Took me a while to catch up.  wink.gif

trink39.gif

Yeah, I honestly believe it's all good as long as people find something they really enjoy, even if I don't always share their taste. I didn't mean to criticize Pete for his amp choice because I'm sure he is happy with it, or anyone else for their post for that matter.

I will be certain to word my posts more carefully going forward so I don't inadvertently rub people the wrong way. I have problems with that sometimes and I end up stepping on people's toes when I don't mean to. The last thing I want to do is come off as a snob on a great forum like this. I really like it here.  smile.gif

No sweat, dude. trink39.gif

That IS a monster of an amp you have there. Do you use a powerbrake of some kind so you can crank it up and get a good tone without causing any seismic disturbances?  tongue.gif

#29 Deadwing

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:46 AM

QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 12:38 PM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 12:34 PM)
QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 12:29 PM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 12:00 PM)
QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:27 AM)
QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

You have a beast of an amp there, but I'm sure Pete loves his H&K rig. That zenTera is a quality modern tube amp. Different tones for different players, you know?  wink.gif

I'm sorry, I actually meant no harm in my post. But since you mentioned it, actually no, the ZenTera is all digital. The TriAmp is tube. I've played all sorts of their amps and I was not impressed. And in my opinion digital amp tone goes to shit as soon as you crank it up. That's where tubes have a major advantage.

And of course I believe in different strokes for different folks. I was just joking around. I thought it funny when he said the rest of us looked cheap. Money isn't everything anyways.  smile.gif

I stand corrected -- I knew the zenTera was a modeling amp, but I thought it still used tubes. Still, Pete has done a lot of playing and recording of Rush tunes with that amp and it works great for him.

And soni may have forgotten that you posted about your Hiwatt, but he also forgot about my two Marshall combos. Cyg mentioned his vintage Fender amp, and defrush has a big B-52 amp there, too. No big deal. He was speaking for all the guys like him who are learning their craft on solid state Marshall MGs and such.

BTW, I've been playing for 30 years, and I didn't get my first tube amp until eight years ago. Took me a while to catch up.  wink.gif

trink39.gif

Yeah, I honestly believe it's all good as long as people find something they really enjoy, even if I don't always share their taste. I didn't mean to criticize Pete for his amp choice because I'm sure he is happy with it, or anyone else for their post for that matter.

I will be certain to word my posts more carefully going forward so I don't inadvertently rub people the wrong way. I have problems with that sometimes and I end up stepping on people's toes when I don't mean to. The last thing I want to do is come off as a snob on a great forum like this. I really like it here.  smile.gif

No sweat, dude. trink39.gif

That IS a monster of an amp you have there. Do you use a powerbrake of some kind so you can crank it up and get a good tone without causing any seismic disturbances?  tongue.gif

HAHAHA. Not at the moment, but as soon as I have an extra few bucks I'm probably going to get something like a THD Hotplate. My friend has one for his JCM800, so he let me borrow it to try on my amp, with great results. I have suffered a bit of hearing loss (I wish I could say I was joking) from putting the amp up around 8 or 9 just to get the tubes really cooking. But I can't help it -- it really does take on a whole different character when it's overdriven like that and you're playing it for a couple of hours, so I'd love to be able to bring it down to more manageable volumes.

Oh by the way, I don't know if you saw my reply in the other thread, but I REALLY appreciated your advice on tube selection when it came to JJs and Groove Tubes. I know I still have a lot to learn, as we all do, so thanks again for that!

#30 _pete_

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:00 AM)
QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:27 AM)
QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

You have a beast of an amp there, but I'm sure Pete loves his H&K rig. That zenTera is a quality modern tube amp. Different tones for different players, you know?  wink.gif

I'm sorry, I actually meant no harm in my post. But since you mentioned it, actually no, the ZenTera is all digital. The TriAmp is tube. I've played all sorts of their amps and I was not impressed. And in my opinion digital amp tone goes to shit as soon as you crank it up. That's where tubes have a major advantage.

And of course I believe in different strokes for different folks. I was just joking around. I thought it funny when he said the rest of us looked cheap. Money isn't everything anyways.  smile.gif

I'm as cheap as anyone else. I just have a couple credit cards. Whichever amp I decide to keep, I have to sell the other to pay the bill.


The zenTera is all solid state but it does not in any way sound like it. You may have tried one but you really cannot go by the factory presets. You have to dial in your own sounds and be sure it is set to the right setting for the cabinet. It makes a huge difference.
If you know how to set it, it sounds and reacts more "tubey" than most tube amps. The key is in getting to know how it reacts to the controls.
I've had lots of guitar players tell me how good it sounds at gigs. I've had to show a few of them that there are no tubes in it.
It does get very loud and still retains great tone. I never need to have it past 3 no matter where we're playing. There's no reason to drown out the rest of the band.

I'm real interested in comparing it to the Switchblade tomorrow.
If the Switchblade sounds better and I can get the sounds I need out of it, I'll sell the zen. I hope it does sound better cause I can get way more $$$ for the zen than the Switchblade.



BTW, killer Hiwatt you have there. They are great amps.

#31 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 02:42 PM

QUOTE (_pete_ @ Oct 24 2007, 02:36 PM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:00 AM)
QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:27 AM)
QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

You have a beast of an amp there, but I'm sure Pete loves his H&K rig. That zenTera is a quality modern tube amp. Different tones for different players, you know?  wink.gif

I'm sorry, I actually meant no harm in my post. But since you mentioned it, actually no, the ZenTera is all digital. The TriAmp is tube. I've played all sorts of their amps and I was not impressed. And in my opinion digital amp tone goes to shit as soon as you crank it up. That's where tubes have a major advantage.

And of course I believe in different strokes for different folks. I was just joking around. I thought it funny when he said the rest of us looked cheap. Money isn't everything anyways.  smile.gif

I'm as cheap as anyone else. I just have a couple credit cards. Whichever amp I decide to keep, I have to sell the other to pay the bill.


The zenTera is all solid state but it does not in any way sound like it. You may have tried one but you really cannot go by the factory presets. You have to dial in your own sounds and be sure it is set to the right setting for the cabinet. It makes a huge difference.
If you know how to set it, it sounds and reacts more "tubey" than most tube amps. The key is in getting to know how it reacts to the controls.
I've had lots of guitar players tell me how good it sounds at gigs. I've had to show a few of them that there are no tubes in it.
It does get very loud and still retains great tone. I never need to have it past 3 no matter where we're playing. There's no reason to drown out the rest of the band.

I'm real interested in comparing it to the Switchblade tomorrow.
If the Switchblade sounds better and I can get the sounds I need out of it, I'll sell the zen. I hope it does sound better cause I can get way more $$$ for the zen than the Switchblade.



BTW, killer Hiwatt you have there. They are great amps.

I saw Allan Holdsworth a few months back, and he used a couple of Switchblade combos for his lead sounds. Very nice sounding amps.

Looks like your getting a tube amp version of your zenTera for less money. I can't help but think you'll like it better, but we'll wait and see.

#32 _pete_

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 03:11 PM

QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 02:42 PM)
I saw Allan Holdsworth a few months back, and he used a couple of Switchblade combos for his lead sounds. Very nice sounding amps.

Looks like your getting a tube amp version of your zenTera for less money. I can't help but think you'll like it better, but we'll wait and see.

I think the zen will be more versatile due to having 17 amp models but the ones I use most are the Fender Twin and the Marshall Plexi 100. The SB should do those type of sounds. I don't do the high gain stuff anymore.
The zen also has more usable effects built in but I have a G-Major so it can pick up the slack.

I'm getting the Switchblade used (in mint cond.) for a really good price so if I don't like it I think I can still make a few bucks on Ebay with it.
I've been watching zenTera's on Ebay and I've seen quite a few sell for well over $2000. That's what started me thinking about getting the SB. I could sell the zen and pocket $1K. I'll miss that light up front panel though!

#33 AnalogAlex

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 06:04 PM

QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 02:18 AM)
Well, I will venture to guess...that speaker looks like a no-name PA system speaker with a Marshall logo stuck on it. Even if Marshall made PA equipment (and this would be the first I've heard of it), speaker cabinets with horn tweeters are not meant to be used with guitar amps. I assume you bought that used from somebody?

Cheers for the advice wink.gif . It was second hand, swapped it for a guitar years ago(guitar only cost me 20pound so genuine or not, I'm still happy with the deal). As for the horn, I know it's not the most typical piece of kit, but I prefer that to the sound from the standard speaker, so I expect it will stay on that amp until I upgrade the lot. But for now it keeps me happy biggrin.gif  

#34 Deadwing

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 07:41 AM

QUOTE (_pete_ @ Oct 24 2007, 02:36 PM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:00 AM)
QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 24 2007, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Deadwing @ Oct 24 2007, 11:27 AM)
QUOTE (Sonilink @ Oct 24 2007, 10:36 AM)
That was the moment I feared when I opened this thread: the one Pete comes and writes in and make us all look very cheap...
tongue.gif

Speak for yourself. tongue.gif

My vintage Hiwatt isn't exactly something you'd find in the dollar store. And it blows any Hughes and Kettner out of the water in terms of tone and power.

You have a beast of an amp there, but I'm sure Pete loves his H&K rig. That zenTera is a quality modern tube amp. Different tones for different players, you know?  wink.gif

I'm sorry, I actually meant no harm in my post. But since you mentioned it, actually no, the ZenTera is all digital. The TriAmp is tube. I've played all sorts of their amps and I was not impressed. And in my opinion digital amp tone goes to shit as soon as you crank it up. That's where tubes have a major advantage.

And of course I believe in different strokes for different folks. I was just joking around. I thought it funny when he said the rest of us looked cheap. Money isn't everything anyways.  smile.gif

I'm as cheap as anyone else. I just have a couple credit cards. Whichever amp I decide to keep, I have to sell the other to pay the bill.


The zenTera is all solid state but it does not in any way sound like it. You may have tried one but you really cannot go by the factory presets. You have to dial in your own sounds and be sure it is set to the right setting for the cabinet. It makes a huge difference.
If you know how to set it, it sounds and reacts more "tubey" than most tube amps. The key is in getting to know how it reacts to the controls.
I've had lots of guitar players tell me how good it sounds at gigs. I've had to show a few of them that there are no tubes in it.
It does get very loud and still retains great tone. I never need to have it past 3 no matter where we're playing. There's no reason to drown out the rest of the band.

I'm real interested in comparing it to the Switchblade tomorrow.
If the Switchblade sounds better and I can get the sounds I need out of it, I'll sell the zen. I hope it does sound better cause I can get way more $$$ for the zen than the Switchblade.



BTW, killer Hiwatt you have there. They are great amps.

Thanks!   smile.gif

I have toyed around with the ZenTera quite a bit actually because it was one of the amps I was seriously considering before a friend of mine decided to sell his Hiwatt. I really wanted a good modelling amp, and I must say that out of everything I tried, the ZenTera stood head and shoulders above the rest such as the Line 6 amps in terms of sounding like the amps it was modelling.

The real problem I had was that it didn't behave and respond like those amps, nor did it behave and respond like a tube amp, and it really didn't have the presence that a tube amp does. You put it side by side with a great tube amp and really compare (as I had the chance to do), the H&K comes close, but it was still not close enough for me.

It's true that you don't have to play loud all the time, but if you're other guitar player has a tube amp, the presence coming from it will easily cut down a digital amp, even if it's up louder. I've seen it happen. I saw a 150W Line 6 Spider III digital head and cabinet up on bust get blown off the stage by an 85W Fender Twin Reverb 2 x 12" combo, simply due to the tube presence.

Let me know what you think of the Switchblade if you don't mind. I'd like to check it out sometime. Even Alex has gravitated towards the Switchblade, which has tubes. Coincidence?


#35 _pete_

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 04:24 PM

OK, the Switchblade head arrived today.

I'm just now programming the SB but so far, the zen (solid state digital) actually sounds warmer and fuller than the SB (tubes). The SB has more punch on cleans but the distortion is a little "fizzy" where the zen is smoother and rounder. The zen's effects are much better also but the G-Major will compensate. Right now I'm trying to match the dry sounds. I'll add effects later

I have each head running to half of my 4x12 and have an A/B switch so I can compare each preset. I'm getting the SB pretty close but the zen really is surprising me with just how good it sounds. The only knock I have on the zenTera is that it is noisier than the SB.

Here's a couple pics. I have them set up in the living room so I can A/B them.

user posted image
user posted image

It's gonna take a while to get the SB dialed in but I do think I can get it pretty close.

#36 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 04:33 PM

Interesting test results there...looking forward to the next installment.

#37 _pete_

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 10:51 PM

Very interesting results so far.

The zenTera sounds better. Period. It has more noise but it also has a much, much fuller and warmer tone.
I set the Switchblade as close as possible to the sounds I have programmed in the zen and it sounds thinner and has a nasal quality to the distortion.
I was really hoping to recoup some money on the deal but it doesn't look like that will happen.  
The SB is a very good amp but the zen is a much better amp for my purposes. I really did not expect the zen to sound so much better. In fact, I really wanted the SB to be the clear winner.

#38 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 12:10 AM

QUOTE (_pete_ @ Oct 25 2007, 11:51 PM)
Very interesting results so far.

The zenTera sounds better. Period. It has more noise but it also has a much, much fuller and warmer tone.
I set the Switchblade as close as possible to the sounds I have programmed in the zen and it sounds thinner and has a nasal quality to the distortion.
I was really hoping to recoup some money on the deal but it doesn't look like that will happen. 
The SB is a very good amp but the zen is a much better amp for my purposes. I really did not expect the zen to sound so much better. In fact, I really wanted the SB to be the clear winner.

Before you give up on the SB, look into upgrading the tubes. Take a look in back and see what's in there now. How old is the amp? Those could be the original tubes, and they could need replacing. Power tubes usually wear out sooner than preamp tubes, and a tired set of power tubes could make the amp sound sound lifeless and dull.

And even if the amp and tubes are fairly new, if they're cheap tubes like Sovteks (standard issue in many new amps), replacing them with quality tubes like JJs or SEDs could make all the difference in your tone.

Power tubes should be replaced after a year of regular use. Preamp tubes can last up to two years. Not sure if the SB would need to be rebiased after replacing the power tubes, but you need to know that before installing new ones.

Preamp tubes, especially the first two sockets (actually, the SB has only two), have a huge influence on the amp's tone. On most amps, the first socket (V1, usually the smallest tube farthest away from the power tubes) is the one most responsible for the preamp's tone, and when someone has a vintage Mullard 12AX7 lying around, that's where they put it.

Pete, for all I know you could be a tube guru, so ignore me if you know all this.  tongue.gif

#39 _pete_

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 07:08 AM

QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Oct 26 2007, 12:10 AM)
QUOTE (_pete_ @ Oct 25 2007, 11:51 PM)
Very interesting results so far.

The zenTera sounds better. Period. It has more noise but it also has a much, much fuller and warmer tone.
I set the Switchblade as close as possible to the sounds I have programmed in the zen and it sounds thinner and has a nasal quality to the distortion.
I was really hoping to recoup some money on the deal but it doesn't look like that will happen. 
The SB is a very good amp but the zen is a much better amp for my purposes. I really did not expect the zen to sound so much better. In fact, I really wanted the SB to be the clear winner.

Before you give up on the SB, look into upgrading the tubes. Take a look in back and see what's in there now. How old is the amp? Those could be the original tubes, and they could need replacing. Power tubes usually wear out sooner than preamp tubes, and a tired set of power tubes could make the amp sound sound lifeless and dull.

And even if the amp and tubes are fairly new, if they're cheap tubes like Sovteks (standard issue in many new amps), replacing them with quality tubes like JJs or SEDs could make all the difference in your tone.

Power tubes should be replaced after a year of regular use. Preamp tubes can last up to two years. Not sure if the SB would need to be rebiased after replacing the power tubes, but you need to know that before installing new ones.

Preamp tubes, especially the first two sockets (actually, the SB has only two), have a huge influence on the amp's tone. On most amps, the first socket (V1, usually the smallest tube farthest away from the power tubes) is the one most responsible for the preamp's tone, and when someone has a vintage Mullard 12AX7 lying around, that's where they put it.

Pete, for all I know you could be a tube guru, so ignore me if you know all this.  tongue.gif

I'm not a tube guru by any means.
I know the amp is nearly new and doesn't have a lot of hours on it. Not sure what brand the tubes are but I'll check.

I think my issue is more with the voicing of the amp itself. It just doesn't get that good mid/low gain Plexi tone. It's a more modern sounding amp. Nothing wrong with that but it doesn't lend itself towards earlier Rush stuff.
The zenTera also has an incredibly good recording out. I'll lose that feature with the SB.

I really think I'm going to keep the zenTera and Ebay the Switchblade.
I'm really happy with the zen's tone and since we have a gig coming up early next year I don't want any big surprises on stage.

#40 Deadwing

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 07:54 AM

Very interesting results indeed. Good advice from 1-0-0-1-0-0-1 on the tubes.

In terms of warmth, I'm curious as to how long you had the Switchblade running before you made comparisons between that and the ZenTera. I know it is inconvenient for many people, but a tube amp really needs to be worked before you start getting a warmer sound. If you can get that pretty much instantly with the ZenTera then that is awesome. Good for you! smile.gif

Another question I had was already answered, and probably explains a lot as well. If the Switchblade only has 2 preamp tubes in it, my guess is that neither of those is a rectifier tube. So because of that, you're not going to get a whole lot of warmth compared to other tube amps, and you definitely are not going to get any natural warm tube compression and sustain, or "sag" as it is called. Then again, the fact that a digital amp had more warmth to it, I have to admit, is a bit of a mystery to me. Tone circuit of course will also still say a lot about that in any amplifier. The tone circuit in the ZenTera is probably a far better design than the Switchblade.

You will still get more punch then a digital or solid state amp though, due to the 4 EL34s in the powerstage.

Considering the ZenTera faired better than the Switchblade, and I had little luck with the ZenTera, well, that leads me to think that the Switchblade is definitely not something I would enjoy, though I would still check it out for myself.

Edited by Deadwing, 26 October 2007 - 07:56 AM.





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