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Noisy Fender Supersonic

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by guitarjazzman, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    I recently purchased a Fender Supersonic head. I know valve amps are noisier than solid state but the clean channel on the amp, especially the Bassman setting has lots of background hiss. Even with no guitar plugged in and the volume completely off, there is a hiss that is very loud. The lead channel is fine and I have checked cables, different speakers, different wall socket, etc. I didn't notice this at the store as I was in a big room with quite noisy surroundings. I took the amp back and they sent it to Fender who have replaced a suspect preamp valve and apparently tested the amp. Got it home and there is still lots of hiss.

    Anybody here experienced a noisy Supersonic amp? If not, what is an acceptable amount of background noise? Recording is going to be impossible with this thing!

  2. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    The one I recorded a few months ago had lots of noise. As a general rule you probably should not operate a tube amp without a guitar plugged in, while swapping leads I suggest shutting it off or putting it on standby if that is an option. If Fender worked on it and sent it back they obiviously thought it was in decent shape unless the work order was to only replace the one valve instead of a general order to repair the amp. I put a noise gate on the recordings to eliminate the hum/hiss during lulls, overall I was not impressed with the amp and I am a long time Fender owner, and have had at one time or another at least a dozen different models tube and solid state.
  3. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    i've owned a number of fender tube amps and currently have a deluxe reverb.
    some are noisier than others, hot rod for instance and the grove tubes they ship with are not the quietest tubes. i have nos rca tubes in the deluxe reverb and it's nice and quiet now but they had to burn in.
    i assume that head is new..if it is, i would leave it on for 25/30 hours with the knobs turned down and nothing plugged in.it will get quieter when they cook a bit.
    gates work great for that though, even software because of the volume difference between the hiss and the notes.easy to gate.

    these guys really kmow their stuff, might be a good forum for you to ckeck out if your gonna be a fender owner.
    Amplifiers - The Fender Forum
  4. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    Cheers for the replies. I have owned a few valve amps over the years. I still have a Boogie Rectoverb that doesn't get used much anymore as I mainly play jazz through my Polytone. The Boogie has no background noise on either channel and I can't remember my Marshalls and Peaveys from my rock days being anywhere as noisy as the Fender head. If it was on the dirty channel, I wouldn't be surprised but it is the clean channel with the problem. The amp is new so probably hasn't been used much in the store. Do tubes usually need to be burned in?
  5. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    i always found new tubes to settle in after i burn em in for guitar amps anyway, the nos ones for sure as they have been sitting there for years and brent jesse, who i buy the nos tubes from includes a note when shipping about the burn in period. it can only help.
    those old ones hiss and spit and fizz at first before they settle.it took 20 some hours for mine to settle down.
    new ones arn't like that and fender burns em in a bit before they ship but they still need to cook more i find.
  6. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    It said on the paperwork from Fender that the amp had been checked and a soak test had been carried out. I presume a soak test involves leaving the amp on for a while therefore burning in the tubes?
  7. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    FMIC is referring to connecting the amp's output to a dummy load (ie: a "power soak") and injecting a 300 to 500 millivolt audio signal into the input for several minutes with the amp dimed. If the unit passes this "smoke test" the amp is crated and shipped.
  8. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Odd that the clean channel would be noiser than the dirt channel. Usually the other way around, since the dirt channel goes through more stages.

    Odd, also, that it's noisy with the volume down. May try a few things.

    Put it in Vintage/Bassman mode. Turn off effects. Lower the send and return volumes on the back of the amp. Is it still noisy? Was the effects loop causing noise, somehow? If that's not it, try something else.

    You have three 12AX7 tubes in there that are used for preamp tubes. Try just swapping them around, and see if the noise changes anywhere. You won't hurt anything.

    Try swapping V1 with V2 to start. If BOTH channels are now noisy, it must be the one you just put in V1. If there is no change, then both tubes may be OK...or both may be whacky the same, though I doubt it. If no change, then swap V3 with V1, and see if anything changes. I REALLY doubt you have three wimpy tubes, or they just may all be cheezoid tubes. Trying a known-good, quality one will help in this.

    V1 is the first stage of both channels. Each channel uses half of it. V2 is exclusive to the Vintage channel. So, obviously, if both channels are now noisy, after swapping, it was the one that WAS in V2 that was driving only the Vintage channel, and is now the first stage of both channels.

    If there is no change, then it must be something else. V3 is exclusive to the Burn channel, and you've indicated that it is OK, so there's not much use fiddling with that.

    If it changed, you've found the likely culprit. If it didn't, try something else.

    Is it noisy in both Bassman AND Vibrolux modes? Each of those modes force the signal through a bit different circuitry, mainly gain and tone stuff, but they both go through both halves of V2. If it's noisy only in the Bassman, but not the Vibrolux, Something in the Bassman circuit doesn't like what it's seeing. It may be something wrong...it may just be the design.

    One person has already claimed that those are a bit noisy. Have you visited other forums to see if you can find similar reviews, or have you searched for "noisy Fender Supersonic", etc?

    If nothing changes with a tube swap, have you tried a different tube in V1 or V2? Maybe a lower gain one? Have you tried, perhaps a 12AU7, or a 12AT7 in V1? Of course, changing V1 will affect both the Vintage and Burn channels. Does the Burn channel have all the hi-gain you can use, plus more? Well, maybe it'll have all you can use, and more isn't a concern, if you don't need more. If it reduces noise in the Bassman channel, and still gives you plenty of gain in all channels and modes...what the heck. May be worth a try.

    Just some things to consider.

  9. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    There's no problem not having anything plugged into a amp input. It won't hurt anything...unless there's something seriously wrong, and in that case, I wouldn't want to plug into it.

    Just don't run a tube amp without a speaker or output load.

  10. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    Cheers for the ideas. I took the amp back to the store after a night's teaching and my student's saying things like "a new amp... it's a bit noisy isn't it" and the best one "it's like being taught by the sea!". I plugged the amp into a cab in a quiet room at the store and the guy agreed that the clean channel was very noisy and would be a nightmare for recording, being mic'd by a sound man or even playing in a quiet venue. The Vibrolux channel is slightly noisy but it is the Bassman setting that is the worst. I haven't even tried the effects loop and both volume pots on the effects loop are off anyway. The burn channel is virtually silent by comparison.

    It was agreed that they would get a new one in for me. I then had a phone call a couple of days later saying that Fender had finally been in contact with the store and they had been told that the clean channel is noisy on the Supersonic.

    I have been searching 'noisy Fender Supersonic' and similar terms. I have also been reading a ton of reviews on it. Most of the reviews that I have read spend quite a bit of time saying how great the Supersonic sounds and no one seems to mention the noisy clean channel. If it is how they are, then I am sure that I would have read this in at least some reviews.

    I am hoping that when Fender says that the clean channel is noisy, that it is only slightly noisy on the new one and mine is not how they all are. I am not being picky with the noise. with the amp on in my studio, you can hear a loud hiss as soon as you walk through the door and it is at the other end of the room.

    I bought the amp for it's many sound possibilities as I play mainly jazz nowadays but do occasionally do shows and many varied style of gig. I also have a new jazz fusion/funk type of trio happening in which I think I shall be using a solid body rather than my archtop. I have been looking for alternate amp heads as I am happy with my speaker cabs. The Hughes and Kettner duotone or puretone look promising although there doesn't seem anywhere locally to try one. I am having trouble finding a product that suits my needs. Everything I look at seems to be geared towards heavy overdriven styles. I thought I had an amp that would serve me for years in many different styles, but the hiss is driving me crazy!
  11. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    possibly a bad Cap Filter? i had that on my vintage silvertone 1482 , replaced and all good and quiet (for a tube amp)
  12. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    I am all sorted now with a Hughes and Kettner Puretone and am very happy with it! After taking the Supersonic back to the store and them ordering me a replacement, Fender contacted the store and told them that the Supersonic does hiss on the clean channel. Whether or not a replacement would have hissed less, I don't know but my new Puretone is silent in comparison! I AB'd the two heads with two identical cabs and much preferred the sound of the Puretone. So much so that I am glad I had all the hassle to steer me in the direction of the Puretone.

    I am now considering a THD Hotplate because the Puretone is LOUD!! Even when running at 16ohm and using the amp's attenuation at 50%, driving the amp means it needs to be pretty deafening in a small room.
  13. Narcisse

    Narcisse Guest

    Solution for noisy fender supersonic

    Hi, I read your thread, and I get the same problem with my supersonic head.
    I made some test, and I noticed that the hiss appear when I played some vibrant chord.
    There is a lot vibration when you play on the bassman channel, (the first hiss I notice come from the bassman channel, but I noticed it later from the burn channel).

    I take off my head of the cab, and the hiss never come again (I play one hour for the test). This is a solution for the head, but for the combo... I think more you play, more the hiss appear and it won't disappear. It's frustrating because this amp it's expensive and you think you bought quality but...

    Sorry for my english, i'm a french canadian

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