Tube Amplifiers: Class A FURY
Electric amplification is something that has only been around since the 1900's. So relatively speaking, the guitar amplifier is a new invention compared to the guitar that dates back to the 12th century. Today, we have a massive gamut of options to choose from, ranging from classic tube amps, which retain a retro look, to solid state modeling amps, which have hundreds of different effect combinations built in.
Today, we will compare tube amps.
Fender Super Reverb
Introduced in 1963, this amp has become a staple to the sound of countless musicians! The Super Reverb doesn't look very intimidating, but don't let it fool you. This amp is LOUD!
The Good: With this amp, you get great tonal clarity and a very retro clean tone. The reason that so many guitarists have fallen in love with these amps is that, basically, they are usable in any circumstance! In 2001, Fender released a re-issue of this amp, so unless you need the nostalgia and history of the real deal, you won't have to endlessly search pawn shops and craigslist ads to find one. The Super Reverb is a combo amp but has 4 speakers. It's though to look a little weird by some standards, but it's much more portable than a half stack.
The Not So Good: I don't have anything substantially bad to say about this amp. A re-issue is going to cost you around $1500, and a vintage in working condition will cost even more. As with pretty much any Fender amp, the designers decided that they wanted a look stuck in the 60's. Although it makes it look really vintage-y and stuff, I think a facelift would make this one of the greatest amps ever. But that's just superficial...
Orange THUNDERVERB 200
This amp might be the dreamiest dream amp...200 watts of all tube power! I don't think it even gets quiet! This thing pillages small villages for fun, and then goes back to its day job of world domination! It's a little scary...
The Good: Clean tones that are magic. Seriously, if you cut open a unicorn, searching for clean guitar tones, these tones are what you would pull out. I'm pretty sure it doesn't even matter what kind of trashy guitar you plug in, this amp will make it sing. The Thunderverb has fantastic low-end punch to the bass tones. It will knock you on your butt if you aren't expecting it. The dirty channels sound amazing out of this...like how it should be. It's an organic feeling gain - I know that sounds crazy, but take a listen here and see! Also, it's an Orange, which means unparalleled build quality, and super cool looks!
The Not So Good: It costs $3,000. You get what you pay for, but, still people! That is a lot of money! On top of said $3,000, you'll need to drop another $1,200 on the cab that's supposed to go with it...so $4,200 later you'll have the best amp ever. It's too bad when all you can afford is a First Act guitar.
Since not everyone cannot afford to drop $4,200 on an amp (or even $1,500), Peavey was kind enough to produce a tube amp that isn't insanely expensive. Remember though, you get what you pay for when it comes to amps.
The Good: The price point is the biggest benefit for this amp! You can get one used for $300-$400. Even though it's a cheaper tube amp, you'll still get the warmth and tonal structure you're looking for from a tube amp. The vk100 is insanely loud, it could be gigged with no problem. I personally think it looks really cool, like it came straight from the stage of an eighties hair metal show.
The Not So Good: Put simply, the sound is not refined. You're going to get a flatter, less-soothing clean tone with this amp. The vk100 has a tendency to favor the mid tone, which means you don't have that "scooped" sound as much as some other amps. The build quality is subpar in comparison to the previous amps.