Surprise NAD: Sunn SL260

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by Clifdawg, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And here I was thinking that @DrBGood was the only one who ever found great deals on amps :rofl:

    Picked this one up on Facebook for the low, low price of $100. Needs a little TLC - pots are pretty scratchy, and the ground on the power plug is snapped off, so I'm gonna need to clean it up and fix the plug. Biggest issue - channel A doesn't seem to work. Hoping it's just a bad solder somewhere. Channel B works great, though, and I mean, the dirt is what you buy a Sunn for, right? The semi-parametric EQ works great and the ginormous spring reverb tank is still churning out some nice, washed-out, surfy sounds. In fact, this is one of my favorite reverb tanks I've ever used. Speakers seem to be good, too. This sucker is LOUD.

    Gonna clean it up and play with it a bit - it's in good condition for it's age. Definitely sounds like an solid-state amp from the 80's or 90's - flat cleans, somewhat nasty, thrashy distortion - but it's definitely cool in its own way. I actually really like the off-clean tone, sounds kinda like a loud clean amp with a torn cone or a failing diode. I've never owned a Rat pedal, but from everything I've heard, this kinda has that vibe as you turn up the drive.

    Looking forward to playing it more!
     
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  2. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Cleaned it up a bit, threw a new three-prong plug on the cable, and hosed the inputs and pots. Definitely helped a little.

    The amp sounds... Okay. Much better on the "Low" input, although it makes this amp into nothing more than a clean platform. I have to dime the bass to get some decent low end. The mids and treble are pretty sensitive - I've found a nice spot for both that gives me decent cleans. It can get loud, but there's a fair bit of white noise (it is a ~30 year old amp). It does like the Boss DS-1, though (which is what I'm using for distortion on the video).

    Ultimately, it doesn't do anything my Marshall can't already do better. A steal at 100 bucks though. Probably won't keep it in the stable permanently... Might try to get that tolex a little cleaner and get the rest of the scratchiness out of the pots, then see if I can flip it for a small profit.

    It sure does look nice next to my other amps, though...
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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  3. HackeIommi

    HackeIommi Active Member

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    You've picked one of the best ss amps. Jesus! This is really a good deal! :cheers:
     
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  4. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Nice!
    I noticed the Blackstar Fly 3 propping up the headstock. I have one myself and really enjoy it for what it is and even profiled it on my Kemper. While the Fly may look tiny in comparison to those big dogs in the photo, it sure can pack a punch for its size.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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  5. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    WOOHOO ! Good catch !

    The semi-parametric EQ is supposed to boost whatever EQ you use. If the bass pot is dimed, it should boost your lows crazy.
     
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  6. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Well, this morning I cranked it up to about 60% of it's volume on the high-gain channel, and I have good news and bad news.

    Good news is that this amp absolutely does that mean Sunn grind when cranked up. Hit it up front with some Boss DS-1 distortion and it gives me some really thick and grimy drive with a lot of really controllable feedback, while at the same time retaining a remarkable amount of clarity (provided, of course, the EQ is set properly).

    Bad news is that it developed quite a bit of popping and crackling when I did this, even when at low volume. I suspect rattling the chassis a bit loosened up something that already wasn't connected well in the first place. Tellingly, it crackles when I tap on the back of the chassis, so I think something must be grounded wrong. I know nothing about amp repair, but I'm going to carefully open it up and see if anything is obviously loose. And yes, I know the caps can kill me, which is why I plan to look, take photos, but not touch.

    I might be in over head with this one, but so far I'm only $115 in. If I can get this thing repaired for less than $85, I figure I'm still all in for a good deal.
     
  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Do all the pots rotate without noise ?
     
  8. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    They do not. Some are pretty noisy, most of which is the channel B level pot. I cleaned it outside earlier with contact cleaner, but I hosed the pots down internally last night, too.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, the inside is all PCB, which is gonna make any repairs nearly impossible. Everything looks to be in its place, though, and all the fuses look good. Apparently, "Tom" and "Carol" signed off on the internal chassis back in December of 1983, making this slightly older than I thought (I figured late 80s or early 90s). I'm hoping that some spot-shooting of contact cleaner will fix the crackling.

    [​IMG]

    These speakers, however, are seriously beefy. 16 ohm / 80W RMS / 160W program. That's some serious power handling. When I was unhooking the chassis, I noticed that the speakers appeared to be wired wrongly! They're in parallel, and the positive lead was run to the positive of one speaker then to the negative of the other, and vice versa. I was still getting volume out of both, but I'm wondering if this would cause an "out of phase" sound that would contribute to the near complete lack of low end without boosting the bass to the max (I really don't know what I'm talking about here, I'm just postulating as I learn ;)).

    Unfortunately, I can't wire it back up because I yanked one wire out of the quick connector while taking out the chassis... Yay me. Don't have any lying around, so it's dead until I can run by Lowe's and buy a handful.

    Think I'm gonna take the speakers out and test them in my Marshall because the Eminence Private Jack will give me a good control to test against. If they sound good (and, given that magnet size, how could they not), then I always have the option of converting to very cool 2x12 cab if I can't get the amp working well.

    More to come in this ongoing saga. Honestly, I should probably be more upset that my hundred dollars hasn't gone very far with this amp, but it's been an enjoyable experience cracking it open and learning a bit more about how it ticks. :thumb:

    EDIT: So I put one of the Sunn's speakers in the Marshall and...
    [​IMG]
    Holy cow! :wow:It sounds great! Almost identical to my Eminence Private Jack, actually. There might be just a touch more white noise and slightly less volume at the same level (I'm guessing these speakers aren't as efficient as Eminence's monstrously loud amp speakers), but it's far from unacceptable, and it could even just be my imagination. Whatever the case, these are awesome speakers. I'm gonna drop in the other one tomorrow to make sure it's as good, but honestly... At this point, if I can't get the original amp to work well, I'll be happy to chuck the amp chassis, close up the space it would sit in, and turn this into a really gnarly little 2x12 cab. That Sunn logo plate ain't going anywhere though. :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
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  9. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Last update for a while: the speakers were definitely wired out of phase and caused the lack of low end. After cleaning everything up and putting the amp back together again (its quite the looker now), I wired everything back up the way it was supposed to be and man! The sounds this thing makes are so much better than they were before. I get about as much low end with the bass at 1-2 o'clock now as I did before with it dimed, and now the bright channel sounds sparkly and clean instead of tinny and thin. There's also a lot more volume on tap. I'm very pleased with the results at low volumes, I'll have to see how it handles being cranked again. Unfortunately, the pots are still very, very scratchy and cut the signal out pretty frequently when turned. I think a future repair will involve replacing about 4 pots, but for now, it's playable and sounds pretty decent. Pretty happy with my investment :D
     
  10. Bill Moore

    Bill Moore Member

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    Out of phase!
    Years ago the lead singer in a band I was in showed up with a 2-12 Bandmaster to run his "rhythm" guitar through. He never made all the chords anyway, and now it was loud! The bass player opened it up, (to see what speakers it had), and swapped the phase. He never knew! On stage he heard himself well enough, but the crowd didn't.
     
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  11. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Finally got the chance to crank it up just a little bit and dadgum. This sucker can move some air. Been using my new mirrorless camera for photos for a while now, decided to see how it would handle an amplifier turned up waaaaay too loud for the room it's in. It's compressed, but it does give a fairly good in-the-room representation, so just know that, while it sounds like it's not much louder than my speaking voice, the volumes were actually headache-inducing.

     
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  12. sayeth

    sayeth Member

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    Nice! I picked up a SL260 a few years ago, my main amp now! Stays super clean, takes pedals REALLY well and there's a lot of tonal control. I currently run it without the footswitch, which then let's you blend both channels, but I have both A and B levels turn all the way down, my master level at 3, and the channel B gain at noon. Weird, I know, haha, but it's perfect that way for me. Oh, and I use the HI input

    NOW, put an Earthquaker Devices Acapulco Gold in front of it and you'll really love it. The Acapulco Gold is modeled after a cranked Sunn Model T.

    ENJOY! You got a great amp for a great price.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
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  13. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Agreed! Currently, I'm running it in stereo with my Marshall DSL40C. The Marshall naturally has a lot of top-end sparkle and low-end thump, but the mid-range on the clean channel can be a bit thin when hit with my Fullton OCD into my Boss DS-1. That mid-range control helps me really pull a lot of upper mids out of the Sunn that just aren't there with the Marshall and man. Alone, both amps sound a little lifeless, but together... Hot dang. So much gain, but so tight and clear. Now that I've played them in stereo, I never want to go back to a single amp again!
     
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  14. sayeth

    sayeth Member

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    Cool! Glad you're finding a way to use it in your setup, it's such a cool amp and I love having something relatively unknown and from the 80's. Hope it continues to inspire!
     
  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Where do you live ? I could have something as cool for you, if you're close by.
     
  16. sayeth

    sayeth Member

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    I live in Michigan, so it depends on what it is and what your definition of close by is ;) I see you're in Quebec?
     
  17. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Only 800 so miles away :)

    I have a Lab Series L5. An amp. It was often used by BB King. It is said he prefered it to a Twin Reverb. You see him playing it on many videos.

    Crazy clean amp and LOUD ! Tweakable like no other.
    Here is the actual amp: https://postimg.cc/gallery/39rf56ss6/



     

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