The Suhr PT100 Signature Edition head bears the name of guitarist Peter Thorn. He’s known for his session and touring work with artists like Melissa Etheridge and Chris Cornell.
Thorn is also one of the foremost experts on tone and quality in the music industry today.
It took five years of testing on the road and countless hours modifying the original PT100 to develop the SE edition.
Those efforts have resulted in an amp that delivers zero compromises while offering an excellent sound base to enjoy.
It is a multi-channel design that comes with MIDI switching.
Problem Controlling the Suhr PT100 SE with the PBC
The footswitch setup with the Suhr PT100 SE has the channel switches occur when releasing the control instead of stepping on it. That makes it challenging to play live because the alterations often happen on the downbeat, but the musician must time it for the upbeat, creating awkward playing scenarios.
What makes it even more awkward is the fact that the boost switch activates when pressed downward instead of on the release. That means you’ve got to change the way you play if you plan on using this feature.
Although several pedals follow the same programming, including Eventide, Strymon, and Disaster Area, the delay is still a bit problematic.
Instead of taking a hi-fi approach to this issue, I’ve worked on increasing my pedal activation speed.
By creating a quick click, the changes happen with enough speed that the release-style problem is no longer relevant.
If it bothers you enough, it’s possible to use a MIDI switcher for the Suhr PT100 SE instead. You can also program the boost into presets for more convenience.
When you dig into the specific details of what you receive, here is a closer look at what to expect with the rest of the available features outside of the footswitch.
1. Channel Versatility
You receive three channels with the Suhr PT100 that offer the options you want as a modern musician.
The first channel delivers an American voice with plenty of punch on the bottom end of the frequency spectrum.
As for the headroom, it almost feels limitless while playing. There’s a crunch mode that hits the right tone for several musical genres, pushing the unit toward more of an overdrive sensation.
On the second and third channels, you’ll find the high gain with modeling on British tones.
It’s the trademark Suhr sound here, using the high-gain circuitry from its heritage designs.
There are rich harmonics and sustain that can go on for days to explore here with audio that feels juicy and thick.
2. Improved Functions
The MIDI control makes the PT100 SE a fun addition to your lineup. You can quickly connect to the advanced switching systems, utilize the independent MOSFET boost, and manage it all through this feature.
You’ve got an advanced effects loop for extra versatility, which can be run in parallel or series mode.
The former option blends your dry signal from the amp with the effects, preserving more of the original Suhr tone with the amp.
The effects unit must run 100% wet without a dry signal passing through it to run in parallel.
3. Long-Lasting Durability
Thorn worked with Suhr to create a design that could endure the challenges that the road offers.
The PT100 Signature Edition is built in Lake Elsinore, CA. The components are assembled by hand to ensure the highest quality possible from the factory.
This effort results in dual-layer circuit boards that use hand-wired switches, jacks, pots, and power tube sockets that can withstand the rigors of the touring professional.
4. Tone Improvements
Thorn and Jon Suhr worked together to combine the experience of designing world-class amplifiers with a unique tone and quality that can last for years.
The PT100 SE is the culmination of five years of work to shape it into a platform that anyone can use to create something beautiful.
You have the option to match the PT100 SE with the Suhr PT 2×12 Cabinet to refine your sound further.
History of Suhr: Why You Get a Great Amp
John Suhr began his music career over 35 years ago while living in New Jersey. Like most musicians, he was looking for a better tone while playing local gigs. When he couldn’t find anything that felt right, he started to build his own instruments.
Those efforts in the early 1980s led to the creation of the Pensa-Suhr guitars. Several musicians would play those instruments over the years, including Lou Reed, Eric Clapton, and Peter Frampton.
With the success he was having with making guitars, Suhr started looking at tube amp designs. He partnered with Robert Bradshaw in 1991 to create his first tube preamps.
After a stint making guitars as a Senior Master Builder for the Fender Custom Shop, he began building his own custom models in 1997.
It was the first time Suhr had total control over the research and development process, and he never strayed from the idea of building a guitar or bass to the highest standards possible.
Suhr has now become a family business now that his son, Kevin, has joined the company. John calls this time the “most creative phase” of his long career.
With products like the PT100 Signature Edition and partners like Pete Thorn, the only way to go is up with the innovative elements added to each design.
What About the Suhr PT100 Plug-in?
If the Suhr PT100 SE doesn’t seem like the suitable investment for your playing needs, perhaps a software emulator could deliver the results you want.
Thorn worked with Suhr to develop a software version of his signature edition amp.
The sound from the plug-in is quite remarkable. It’s perfect for studio use, especially for those who do home recording, and inspires you to try the real thing once you get to work.
When you first start playing with the plug-in, the feel and tone of the PT100 SE come through your speakers or headphones.
It sounds and works like the real amp, with the controls and range of the pots staying accurate to the source.
You can set everything about midway, except the master volume, and find yourself at a great starting point.
It doesn’t take long for most guitarists to find their tones when working with the software version of the PT100.
The nicest addition to the plug-in is the including of a lo-fi delay. You can crank the masters higher than are possible on a real amp, get some tub saturation, and enjoy the thickness in the sound that comes from it.
Best Suhr Pedals to Use with the PT100 SE
If you’re interested in experimenting with Thorn’s efforts to create a fantastic amp with the PT100 SE, it’s worth trying a few different pedal combinations to maximize the sound.
Here are my favorite Suhr pedals to use with the PT100 SE, whether you’re using it with the cabinet or in your own setup.
This pedal is my favorite because it compresses the audio enough to create more versatility. It’s a great choice for anyone that plays multiple instruments in the studio or on stage.
You receive the expected transients and tones from the guitar without dealing with the stubbornness that vintage products sometimes require.
The Woodshed Compression Pedal lets you play pure tones without worrying about how much distortion or drive is part of the equation.
If you’re a traditionalist or prefer something with less wobble or waiver, you’ll love what this investment offers.
When you need a compact pedal that adds more distortion to the mix, you’ll appreciate what this option provides.
It’s small enough to work on a pedalboard, but it still delivers the results you’d expect from a high-quality unit.
You can adjust the voice, level, tone, and distortion qualities with a quick flip of a knob.
It gives musicians a true bypass experience while having a die-cast enclosure that’s durable enough for daily play. It can be powered by any 9Vdc power supply.
There’s a broad range of overdrive tones you can add to your music when including this pedal to the mix.
You’ll find that it does a great job by itself, but you have the option to create stacks that examine each level of its overall versatility.
You can alter the level and tone with a simple knob turn to create your preferred sounds. A switch adjusts the smoothness of your instrument’s voice, while the size is suitable for virtually any pedalboard.
When you’re ready to take your playing to the next level, this emulator provides multi-stage filtering and bypassable emulation to ensure accurate sounds and tone for any guitar.
It comes with a convenient half-rack enclosure and easy-access controls to ensure you get everything you need.
My favorite part of this component is the balanced XLR and TRS line-out section. You receive ground and phase lift with it, while the 18V circuitry delivers a dynamic range while reducing headroom requirements.
You can run it with the PT100 SE to deliver the right dynamics for any situation. Each pre-arranged setting creates something new and interesting to explore.
How to Run Pedals Through an Amp
Plug the guitar or bass into the input jack of the preferred pedal. The other cable goes to the output jack, connecting to the input for the amp. Most designs place the guitar input on the amp’s front, but some put it on the back or the top.
When I was playing full-time with the band, I used to carry my pedalboard in an oversized suitcase.
That meant space was at a premium. Although several brands offer mini sizes for this reason, I was never as fully satisfied with the output as I was with my Suhr equipment.
Although I’m more of a tone purist and traditionalist, I appreciate the compression and drive that Suhr offers.
When these elements route through the PT100 SE, it’s one of the best outcomes I’ve ever heard from my instrument.
If you’re not hearing great sounds with the Suhr-on-Suhr setup, there could be an issue with your cables.
I highly recommend upgrading to Mogami cables with gold contacts to ensure a premium sound occurs.
Once the PT100 SE is part of your regular playing experience, you’ll find or rediscover your love of experimentation.
Whether you play daily or it’s been a few years since you picked up a guitar, an investment in these resources will maximize your creativity.