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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink FET tech

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Surfy bear rocks

Just picked up a BOSS katana 50. It uses FET tech as well.

This amp is nothing short of amazing. Feels like a tune amp, reacts like a tune amp, and it SOUNDS like a tune amp.

What is it about FET tech that is superior to modeling and solid state...and maybe tubes?

FET's sound a lot like tubes because, like tubes, they have a high impedance at the input and function as a voltage amplifier. That's why they share some of the properties of tubes. A normal transistor has a much lower impedance and acts like a current amplifier. That's the easy way of putting it.

FET's are a form of solid state circuitry and that makes them more reliable than tube amps. The only things missing from the equation are the output transformer and the sagging of the power supply under load, which both provide the compression of a typical tube amp. So a compressor pedal can make a FET amp complete.

AND YET; you can't make a FET amp to do all the stuff a tube amp can do. It seems easy enough to look at the SurfyBear and apply the same principles to build a copy of a tube amp, but you'll end up with a dud. I know Björn has tried, but he wasn't happy with the result. There are some things that FET's can't do, like gradually reaching a point of saturation or sagging the power voltage under load. You can work around these things but that takes a lot more circuitry than you find in an average tube amp.

Modeling is a great tool, but I found it just lacks the speed and dynamics of the real thing. I haven't played with any recent gear, so things may have changed, but when I had a the Mustang III to try out, it felt like I was somehow disconnected from the amp. The sound may be spot on, but the speed and punch of an amp are hard to emulate I think.

Sorry for the long copy.


^What Frank said^

He who dies with the most tubes... wins

Surf Daddies

I picked up a katana 100 a few months ago. I wouldn't go so far as to say it sounds like a tube amp, but it does sound like a really great solid state.
Out of the box it's so so, but it really starts to shine after a little time tweaking it with the boss editor.
I'd definitely recommend one to someone looking for a home practice amp as it has a half watt setting, headphone jack and you can play backing tracks through it.
Plus it still sounds great when you get the house to yourself and put on the 50 watt setting.
I won't be unplugging my tank from my tube amp anytime soon, but this thing is a versatile blast to play and could hang with a loud drummer in a pinch.

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