LSS vs. LS Tone

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JML
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LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by JML » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:25 pm

I’m considering buying a LSS, or possibly a LS. The burning question is – which one?? (My wife has already helpfully answered the question “why not both….?”). For me, the ‘practical’ differences in (such as weight/size/price) between LS and LSS are secondary considerations – it really boils down to tone.

I play blues and some classic rock, mostly using a standard Strat, and typically at low-to-moderate playing volumes (home/studio to small club). My goal is an amp that offers great (1) cleans (2) warm clip and (3) medium, sweet overdrive tones in the low/medium volume range.

So far, I’ve briefly test-driven the LSS, but haven’t been able to find an LS to try. So I’m curious if anyone out there has had an opportunity to compare the cleans, light clip and medium O/D tones of LSS and LS at low/medium playing volumes. We all know that tone is highly subjective, but I’d greatly appreciate any observations.

I’m particularly interested in how the 2 models compare tonally when pushed at 5W (LSS) or 10W (LS) in the fabled single-ended Class A mode.

For the LS, does anyone have any experience on how replacement EL-34 power tubes sound compared with the stock 6L6’s?

And in practice does the LS’s Tweed Power setting have significant tonal impact?

Finally, for either model, has anyone out there had the opportunity to compare a 2x12” combo with a 1x12”? And if so, does adding the second 12” give a perceptible difference in tone, fullness and/or loudness?

Tricky questions, I know. Any comparisons/insights will be most welcome

Many thanks

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screamingdaisy
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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by screamingdaisy » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:35 pm

I own an LSS and it's been a couple of years since I've last used a LS.

The reason I went with the LSS is because when I A/B'd them the LSS sounded a little more rock and roll. The second reason being that the LS seemed to want a little more volume before it did it's thing.

The EL84s offer a bit softer of clip and they give up their clip really easily. This is both a good and a bad point, as some people have a hard time dealing with EL84s softer bottom end.

For me, the second 2x12 is a must. I spend a long time experimenting with my LSS 1x12 combo and adding a 1x12 extension cab was the missing link. It firmed up and filled out the overall response, and removed the boxy effect of using a single speaker.

For low volume I usually prefer to use it in 30w mode with the master volume turned down... although I do use 5w on occasion. I typically plug straight in, however at lower volumes the LSS' lead channel has a tendency to darken up quite a bit and I've found it useful to boost the lead channel with an overdrive to add some extra brightness.
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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by djw » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:40 am

I can answer some of these at least, you know, IMHO...
My goal is an amp that offers great (1) cleans (2) warm clip and (3) medium, sweet overdrive tones in the low/medium volume range.
I honestly think both amps can do all of the above, it really just depends on your particulars. Ultimately, I have to believe that the LSS will be able to "get there" at a lower air volume than the LSC. However, I think the degree of difference in usable loudness (or quietness) is less that most would expect. The main difference between the two is the amount of clean headroom they offer (the LSC has a lot more of that available).

What's great about both of them is that they're set up in such a way that they don't jump in volume at the slightest touch of the volume knob, so you can actually get it to a civilized level with no difficulty. Most high-powered amps just don't have a fine enough gradient at lower levels (probably an easy fix, actually), so the difference between 0.5 and 1.0 is the difference between barely audible and ear-hemorrhage. Not so with these amps.
For the LS, does anyone have any experience on how replacement EL-34 power tubes sound compared with the stock 6L6’s?
Yes, and the differences largely depend on the specific tubes. Generally EL34s are a little bit leaner and tighter in the low frequencies and have more upper mid content. Again, depends on the tubes. A lot of LSC users swear by EL34s, I've gone back and forth with them a few times. I usually stick with 6L6s, but it's not a strong preference... depends on what I'm doing and how I'm feeling about it.
And in practice does the LS’s Tweed Power setting have significant tonal impact?
The biggest impact is at higher volume, where all the clean headroom disappears. It gets very squishy above bedroom levels. Otherwise, I would say the difference is not significant exactly, but enough to notice. It's mostly of a dynamic difference; it softens the attack a bit and gets you into a teeny bit of compression earlier.
Finally, for either model, has anyone out there had the opportunity to compare a 2x12” combo with a 1x12”? And if so, does adding the second 12” give a perceptible difference in tone, fullness and/or loudness?
I have not played through a 2x12, but strictly in terms of the combos there is some testimony out there that the 1x12 sounds fuller than the 2x12. Seems to be something about the cabinet design that the single speaker takes better advantage of. However, I do know that pairing the combo (or head) up with any number of additional speakers is going to be a good thing. I use a 1x12 LS widebody cab with my head -- sounds stupendous. With two of these, it sounds even better. With my Marshall 4x12 cab, it sounds so good it's almost criminal.

I was quite happy with the way my 1x12 combo sounded; I converted it to a head because the combo weighs a ton (the head does too!).
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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by djw » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:56 am

Oh yeah, one more thing: In terms of the differences in the tone between the amps, having spent a LOT of time with my LSC and only a little with an LSS my observations are this:

The LSS seems a little smoother out of the blocks than the LSC. I was playing a strat through one at GC and after a while I realized I couldn't tell if I was on the clean or the drive channel. Turns out I was on the drive channel, but I was truly amazed (and the was after I'd owned my LSC for quite a while) at how smooth and syrupy the lead channel was. Gorgeous. It's sort of unique, because it's not really a Voxy sound to my ears -- I think it's closer to a Fender, but with more of the chime from the EL84 character.

The LSC seems to have more oomph and with the clean headroom advantage it maintains it in more situations as the volume goes up. It does have a sweet spot at just above good-neighbor levels, so that's a bit tough for an in-home only player. But that extra spank is really something, and even at rehearsals and small clubs you should be able to get it to a good place. It doesn't have to be SUPER loud to sing. Tone character-wise, someone aptly compared it to that blackface Twin that's been sitting in the back of the music store since 1965. A little darker than a Twin, honestly, but it has that same deep feel.
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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by JML » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:01 pm

Thanks guys for all your input - much appreciated.

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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by bitflogger » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:05 pm

I'll try to limit to the number of speakers because I got 2x12. I'm 2 miles from a shop that has often been very well stocked with all of the Lone Star and Express series.

The 2x12 seems to make low volumes sound bigger and move more air at high volumes.

I probably stayed away from Lone Star because I have no need for the higher wattage and can't imagine parting with the Fender amp I have.

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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by jeashleyiii » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:05 pm

I would like to respectfully chime in and say that your wife sounds like an awesome lady!! "Why not both.." ?! Seriously, why are they all not like this? haha

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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by Hollis » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:09 pm

I am also on the fence between the LSC and the LSS. I played a White LSC 2x12 combo at Guitar Center the other day and was just floored.
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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by rfrakes » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:22 pm

I have the same thoughts as screamingdaisy. The 5 watt mode doesn't leave my ears ringing.

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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by Supertgtr » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:21 pm

I actually own both amps. Both will get you what you want. I prefer the the LS classic because it is a little more "neutral" sounding than the LSS. Since I use pedals for my overdrive flavors, I find less of a sonic thumbprint from the LS classic, than the LSS. If you're going straight into the amp, without pedals, I would recommend the LSS.
2x12 cabinet, or an extension cab will make either amp sound HUGE!

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Re: LSS vs. LS Tone

Post by jeashleyiii » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:47 am

jkl;

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