Can anyone tell me the difference between blackface and silverface amps? I used to have a Super Reverb and a Twin Reverb and both of them were silverface. Is one more desirable than the other? And if so, is it due to the sound or some other reason?
If we're talking tube amps, the difference between a black face and a silver face is actually rather minimal as far as sound goes. The plain and simple truth is that there are a number of things that effect how a given "vintage" amp sounds, pre-BS or otherwise....tubes, speakers and even how well the amp has been taken care of. The problem is that the CBS era of Fender did make a lot of crap...the SS amps that CBS/Fender came out with in the 70's for example had a reputation for catching fire on the show room floor. It's also worth noting that the attitude back then was similar to that of auto makers of that day...let the dealer fix it and concepts such as "quality control" were pretty much non-existent in those days. Because of things like this, many people started to believe that -anything- from Fender in those days was simply garbage and especially a lot of older players still feel that way. However, the Fender tube amp line changed very little into the CBS era. Yes, CBS did tend to use what many consider to be "lesser quality" components...lower tolerance caps/resistors, etc., but the over-all impact on sound wasn't really that
That said, a great deal of how many of those older amps sound is simply a mental perception. People see the black face cosmetics and in their mind they think the amp sounds better. Again here I would use the blind taste test situation...if you were to put a BF against a SF and the person playing the amp couldn't actually see which amp was which, with all other things being equal (i.e. same tubes, same speakers, etc) the greatest majority of people would not be able to tell any difference at all. To add to this, if you were to put something like some Groove Tubes into a properly biased SF and had some old mushy tubes (biased or otherwise) into the BF, most folks are going to think the SF actually sounds better
(unless of course said person likes
the sound of worn out tubes! LOL!). I also must add here that the sound of -ANY- amp of any given vintage is simply subject to the person who's playing through that amp. Why do some folks prefer a Marshall over a Fender? Why do some folks like tubes (valves) over solid state (or vice versa)? Personally I love the sound of an old Roland JC120...just isn't a tube amp in the world that sounds quite like that! So again here there is a mental perception that comes into play. A person who likes that sound of a vintage tube amp who -thinks- that a black face is a better amp is going to think
the black face does indeed sound better.
Value is a totally different issue in my book. Certainly the bf's are worth more in the collectors market. I believe that this too is, in part at least based on perception. Again there are people who think that a bf sounds better and thus will pay more for one. Beyond that, it also must be added that people will also pay more for "antiques". Some of those really early Fender (and Marshall and other) amps from the late 50's and early 60's are worth -A LOT- of money simply because they are old. Wouldn't matter that a given amp may sound like complete crap (and many of them do from a musician's point of view), they are just old and there's not many of them left around so the right person will fork out big bucks for that little piece of music history. I on the other hand am a guitar player first. I don't buy or play an amp because of how much I feel that amp is worth money-wise, I play it because it sounds good to my ears. My main amps are a '73 Bandmaster (thru a home made 2x12 cab) and a Lab L5. The Bandmaster is a -great- sounding amp, but then so is the L5 and to be honest, I use the L5 -WAY- more than the Bandmaster...it's just a lot more versatile (not to mention, no tubes to fuss with). Then again my little Peavey Backstage has probably seen more playing time than both of those amps put together just because it's so portable and convenient. If I'm going to a jam somewhere, I just toss a multi-effects pedal in the back of it along with a couple of cables, grab a guitar and go! Not to mention as I'm getting older, that little Backstage is soooooo much easier to haul up and down 3 flights of stairs than either my Lab or my Bandmaster and 2x12 cab! LOL!!!
As far as the Twin vs. the Super, in my opinion I think that the Twin is probably the more desirable between the two for many musicians but the Super is probably a bit more collectible as there's not quite as many of them around. The Twin has always had a reputation as the "working musicians amp"...great sound, good for most stuff from country to blues and very reliable. Not that the Super is bad for any of that stuff either, but it doesn't seem to have as much of a reputation as the Twin. It's been my experience that given the same speakers, they sound -very- similar (give or take) so again it really comes down to perception and/or personal preference.
Alrighty...as always this is just -my- opinion and should only be taken as such!