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sargal
post Mar 10 2009, 04:55 PM
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Hi GMC forum!

As the topic reads, I'm looking for a versatile amp suitable for multiple genres and situations. It will be my 2nd amp purchase after my currently used starter/practice amp Marshall MG15DFX.

I'll be traveling to Germany on April 4th to visit the "Musikmesse" in Frankfurt, an international trade fair for musical instruments and stuff. All the big (and many small) players will be there, so I can try a couple of products of different manufacturers. What I'm hoping to get from you guys is some advice which models to test.

I try to give you guys as much info as possible. If I forgot something or you just want to know more, let me know.

Reasons why I like to upgrade the MG15DFX:
  • No FX loop
  • No foot switch
  • "Ballsier" sound if that makes any sense
  • New gear is fun rolleyes.gif
  • If practicing goes well, I might be able to join my first garage band in autumn or winter '09 so I was told I need a bit more punch to compete with drummer and others. No first hand experience on that yet.


Gear I use at the moment, besides the amp of course:
  • PRS Custom 22 (2 humbuckers)
  • Line6 M13 (multi fx floor board)


New amp will be used for:
I guess this is the most important thing, hence I need something flexible. Because of my diverse interest in music, I don't want to limit myself to one style, if that is possible. (List in order of importance)
  1. Rock
  2. Country
  3. "Old school metal"*
  4. Blues

* To me, that is the more melodic stuff with no or very little shouting. I'm no expert in that area, I just like bands like GnR, AC/DC, Maiden, Scorpions, Manowar, Metallica. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is all not the high gain stuff that is used by many "modern" metal sub-genres and bands.


Okay, now for the other requirements of the amp:
  • FX loop to make best use of the M13 which I really like
  • Foot switching possible (guess that is true for most good amps)
  • Budget is up to 2500 Euro total (=for combo or head+cab)
  • New or used, fine with either one
  • Should be usable for jamming with a small band, the first (small) gigs (should I ever get there huh.gif ), and - if possible - for playing at more or less neighbor-friendly volume in my appartment. If the last thing is not possible, just forget the idea. Priority is on band play.


Thoughts so far: (from reading forum, talking to friends, watching youtube, etc.)
  • 2 boxes at 20kg each are easier to transport than 1 box at 35kg, giving the head+cab an advantage. Only got that impression by lifting some in stores. No actual experience since I don't own any of those yet.
  • Multiple channels are a big plus, I guess. How do you switch them with effects in practice, say between intro and main part of a song? Do you need to hit the channel switch and then the knobs on the effect board? Sounds like stomp acrobatics to me. blink.gif
  • 2x12" speakers seems to be the most practical solution after reading on the subject. Kinda got away from the 4x12" idea (Power! cool.gif ) I first had when visiting some stores. I know there are a lot of different preferences for 1x12" or 4x12", and I'm still open for suggestions, not set on 2x12".
  • "Style" is not that important, I like the look of both vintage and modern style.
  • Read on the forum about some amps' capability to change output power, e.g. 15/30W or 50/100W. That sounds pretty cool to me for flexibility, but I don't know how a strong point that is.
  • Build quality (materials, crafting) is important to me, even though I handle all my stuff with great caution. I want something that lasts.
  • I guess built-in effects are not that important since I got all kinds of effects on the M13.


Current list of potential amps: (from sticky, other postings, friends. Alphabetical order)
  • Engl Blackmore E650
  • Fender Deluxe
  • Fender Hot Rod
  • Fender Twin
  • Hughes & Kettner Switchblade
  • Hughes & Kettner Trilogy
  • Hughes & Kettner TriAmp
  • Laney Lionheart
  • Marshall 6100
  • Marshall JVM 410
  • Mesa Boogie 5:50
  • Orange Rockerverb
  • Vox AC30CC(H)
  • Vox AC30H(H)


Okay, that's it. Thanks for reading if you made it here. laugh.gif
I greatly appreciate any thoughts on the subject, be it general advice, tech stuff, or experience to cut down or expand the list (or even both). I hope I gave enough information and put it in a somewhat readable format. Since it's me wanting help from you, I gladly help you helping me by answering any questions you might have.

Rock on!
sargal
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Pavlov
post Mar 10 2009, 05:09 PM
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Definitely try out the Fender Twin Reverb and the Fender Princeton '65 reissue reverb. I thought those sounded heavenly when I heard them in the guitar shop. They're the amps I'd one day (one of the two) hope to own.
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29a
post Mar 10 2009, 05:30 PM
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You should consider the ENGL Savage too, it's basically a Blackmore with more knobs wink.gif Maybe you could even get an used ENGL Special Edition, which is probably one of the most versatile amps out there.

Maybe you should also consider getting different specialized amps. For example Blackheart makes cheap low Wattage amps that you can crank to get Power Tube distortion which is great for blues and classic rock. The tiny terror also plays in this area. For metal on the other Hand most of the distortion comes from the preamp, so you usually want more headroom.

And speaking of weight, the ENGL cabs are very heavy. I think they're about 50kg (412 Pro). And the XXL is probably even heavier.


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Marshmall0wz
post Mar 11 2009, 02:10 AM
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Rockerverb is extremely versatile, crushing metal tones all the way to crisp indie rock tones with a great clean thrown in for shiz and giggles, easy eq. Nice and simple. Wish I had one,

This post has been edited by Marshmall0wz: Mar 11 2009, 02:10 AM


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ZakkWylde
post Mar 11 2009, 02:29 AM
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The Hughes and Kettners, the Orange and the Marshalls can handle all of your styles perfectly... The fenders would have a problem doing old school metal right while the blackmore and the mesa can't handle country very well.

I can only recommend the Marshall JVM - as I play it myself - and because it does all your genres very well!
2x12 cab is fine, 4x12 sounds 'bigger' 1x12 is prolly not enough...

Maybe we meet each other at the Musikmesse! (don't expect to have the chance to play some of the gear you mentioned though)


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MickeM
post Mar 11 2009, 09:25 AM
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Bringing it down to one amp from your list that I think would suit you I'd say Orange Rockerverb 50.
If I get to choose two I'd put the Rockerverb up against a 50W JVM.

Hope you'll find your amp.


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David Wallimann
post Mar 11 2009, 02:27 PM
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If you can find a Mesa Mark IV give it a try.
It's the most versatile amp I've ever tried.
They are not in production anymore and the V is about to come out, but consider the IV if you find one!


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Muris Varajic
post Mar 11 2009, 02:56 PM
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I have Engl Sovereign 2x12 combo and I love it,
tons of extra great and powerful gain for everything
from old school to uber brutal metal,
but cleans and ODs is what I like even better on this amp.
It's like 2400-2500 euros brand new, I bought a show room model
for 1980 euros tho.

You can switch channels/fx loop/ reverb etc using MIDI
or via ENGL foot controller.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Mar 12 2009, 01:37 AM
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Hmm tough choice, tough choice! 2500e a very nice figure so you can choose something very good for that. I must say you did your job pretty well, analyzing your needs and products.
I would say for your needs a 50W tube amp is very reasonable power rating. This narrows down the search to 45-60W amps. If you plan to carry it around, the weight could be a problem. If you have somebody to help you out then combo is a good solution. 2x12 combos can be a bit heavy, but with handles on the side they can be more practical. head+cab means that you have 2x20kg instead of 1x35kg of gear. Think hard what is better, I cannot help here, I'll give both combo and H+C suggestions.

guitar amp:
1. 45-60W combo/head+cab

You will need 2x12 speakers as they give a lot to the sound, so 2x12 is a must for that kind of money. The way I see it - if you're buying a 2,5K amp it should have at least 2x12 cab to play that nice sound that comes from the amp.

guitar amp:
1. 45-60W combo/head+cab
2. 2x12 speakers

One more very important thing is the number or channels - it should have 3 of them, this is optimal IMO. With 2 channels you need a boost pedal, and 4 are even better of course. This narrows down the search even more:

guitar amp:
1. 45-60W combo/head+cab
2. 2x12 speakers
3. more than 2 channels/modes preferably

Suggestions:

Marshall JVM205H
50-watt All-tube Guitar Amp Head with 2 Channels, 3 Modes, Reverb, Effects Loops, MIDI switching, Line Out, and Programmable Footswitch


ENGL SCREAMER HEAD E 335


Fender Super-Sonic Head
60W Guitar Amp Head with Two Channels, Effects Loop, and Switchable Impedance


Marshall JVM205C
50-watt All-tube Guitar Combo Amp with 1 x 12" Vintage Speaker, 1 x 12" Modern Speaker, 2 Channels, 3 Modes, Reverb, Effects Loops, MIDI switching, Line Out, and Programmable Footswitch


ENGL SOUVEREIGN 2x12" Combo E 368


Egnater Renegade-50 2x12" Combo




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Marshmall0wz
post Mar 12 2009, 02:57 AM
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OH!!! Checkout the Egnater Tour Master. It has the 10/25/50/100 watt switch on the back, and comes in many combo/head forms. 4 channels with many modes. Absolute Beast if you like to have tons of features.
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Egnater-Tourma...908-i1388439.gc

This post has been edited by Marshmall0wz: Mar 12 2009, 02:59 AM


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Marc_Maiden
post Mar 12 2009, 04:49 PM
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mesa amps are very versatile

my boogie Mark I is great for everything, i can get a crunchy metal sound to a sweet jazz sound...only problem with the mark I is that you need to get an A/B switch to switch channels...but yeah, blues,country, metal, and rock...no problem for the boogies!


but to be honest, with that much money,

id invest in a rack system (with a mesa powering it) you can get an infinate amount of tones from a rack unit, they are a breeze to record with, and they sound as nice as any amp


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sargal
post Mar 12 2009, 11:13 PM
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Thank you all for your effort and the really helpful suggestions. I'm glad you took the time to read through the novel I wrote and share your experience. Thumbs up! biggrin.gif So this is the current situation:

As the first impression is right most of the time, I'll go with head + cab, since I rather walk twice with half the load. laugh.gif
Regarding racks, I don't know anything about them, but read they are even bulkier and heavier than regular amps are already. Also, since I already have that multi-fx floor board, I'm not sure if the rack solution is that good for me. The whole amp world is new to me already and I am still struggling to not lose track of the many options there are.

Testing stuff out of production (e.g. the recommended Mesa Mark IV) is pretty hard for me as they won't have that stuff on the fair and it's not available at my trusted local store. Kinda the same problem I see with Egnater. Never heard this name before nor saw it in any store. Are they exotic here?

So here are the heads you gave positive feedback for: (prices are ballpark figures for new amps from the big German online stores)
  • Orange Rockerverb 50 (EUR 1400)
  • Engl E335 Screamer (EUR 1000)
  • Marshall JVM 205 (EUR 1100)
  • Hughes & Kettner Triamp (EUR 2700)
  • Hughes & Kettner Trilogy (EUR1500)
  • Hughes & Kettner Switchblade (EUR 1200)
  • Engl E610 Savage (EUR 1900)
  • Engl E670 Savage SE (EUR 3000)

And here are the heads I didn't get feedback for, yet. I keep asking for them since I really like Sircraigery's video. The local store only has a rectifier for sale, and as I understand it, these two amps are totally different. The AC30 was recommended by a friend of mine and I liked the stuff I saw on youtube. Is this a good amp for the stuff I need it for? If yes, is the HH version worth the premium compared to the CCH?
  • Mesa Boogie Express 5:50 (EUR 1700)
  • Vox AC30 CCH (EUR 900)
  • Vox AC30 HH (EUR 1200)

I really like that the original list I posted is now a bit shorter with new entries, too. If someone can enlighten me further, be it with additional info to the already recommended ones or with some info to the Mesa Boogie Express or the Vox AC30, I will greatly appreciate it.
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29a
post Mar 12 2009, 11:50 PM
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I don't think the ac30 would make a good metal amp. Without a pedal it would probably even be unusable for metal. Also I don't think it's a very versatile. But I don't have much experience with this amp, played it in a music store and read some things about it but that's it.

The boogie might be an option but I've never played one so I can't tell anything about it.

sargal, I've never ever seen an egnater in Switzerland either.

Jonas

This post has been edited by 29a: Mar 12 2009, 11:54 PM


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mattacuk
post Mar 12 2009, 11:58 PM
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QUOTE (29a @ Mar 12 2009, 10:50 PM) *
I don't think the ac30 would make a good metal amp. Without a pedal it would probably even be unusable for metal. Also I don't think it's a very versatile. But I don't have much experience with this amp, played it in a music store and read some things about it but that's it.

The boogie might be an option but I've never played one so I can't tell anything about it.

sargal, I've never ever seen an egnater in Switzerland either.

Jonas



I would agree with you. I had the AC15 and it just made me sound like the beetles whatever I played. I bought a bunch of expensive pedals and it somehow sounded even worse ohmy.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Mar 13 2009, 12:53 AM
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i agree with 29a and mattacuk, AC30 is probably not the best solution for your budget - there are great options on your list:

* Orange Rockerverb 50 (EUR 1400) - great sound, not too flexible
* Engl E335 Screamer (EUR 1000) - my recommendation
* Marshall JVM 205 (EUR 1100) - great sound, not so great build quality
* Hughes & Kettner Triamp (EUR 2700) - my recommendation
* Hughes & Kettner Trilogy (EUR1500) - my recommendation
* Hughes & Kettner Switchblade (EUR 1200) - great but has multiFX
* Engl E610 Savage (EUR 1900) - too strong
* Engl E670 Savage SE (EUR 3000) - overkill, too pricey
* Mesa Boogie Express 5:50 (EUR 1700) - my recommendation


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ZakkWylde
post Mar 13 2009, 01:43 AM
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Why is the Marshall not so good built quality? They are handmade in the UK!
The Jcm 2000 dsl/tsl series had flaws but the quality is top notch these days and was even better before the 1990s (aside from Marshall footswitches; they have always been bad!!!)

The Orange is suprisingly versatile imho!!! Much more than an Engl screamer or Mesa 5:50!!!! It just sounds very dry(>british) which might not be what you looking for, but give it a try if possible.

All the hughes and kettner amps mentioned are extremely versatile!

ENGL amps in general are a two edged blade: They are versatile and well built but they have their own signature sound, which is very cold and modern. They are loved for their tone while others hate it!

Marshall is a classic and the JVM is the first marshall that can actually more than just two or three styles but the middy marshall tone always has this vintage touch and tends to get muddy...again: some love it, some hate it
(consider a marshall the exact opposite of an ENGL amp; ENGL: POWERFULL AND MODERN, Marshall: FAT AND WARM

The Egnater amps are prolly the most versatile amps on this planet because they us a modular system that allows you to built your own amp, but they are only distributed in the US and difficult to get in Europe...

The second most versatile amp is the Mesa Mark IV (New Mark V coming up!!) I know they are ridiciolusly expensive in Europe but still worth their money! They do everything from Jazz and blues to Thrash Metal and everything in between!


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Marshmall0wz
post Mar 13 2009, 03:25 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Mar 12 2009, 07:53 PM) *
i agree with 29a and mattacuk, AC30 is probably not the best solution for your budget - there are great options on your list:
* Orange Rockerverb 50 (EUR 1400) - great sound, not too flexible

Have you ever played one? Super flexible i think.


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ZakkWylde
post Mar 13 2009, 03:58 AM
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QUOTE (Marshmall0wz @ Mar 13 2009, 03:25 AM) *
Have you ever played one? Super flexible i think.


Yup Ivan, I couldn't feel you on that one - This Orange Is Extremely versatile!

It's primary hunting ground is blues and hard rock (just like ENGLs are best in high gain), but it also has a chimey clean channel, it exceeds at country and funk sounds, and it has a crushing high gain too (Jim Root of SLIPKNOT uses an Orange!!!!)


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- Jackson USA Select KV2 King V with EMG 81/85
- Gibson Les Paul Custom Arctic White with EMG 81/85
- Ibanez Rg 8527 J Custom 7-String with DiMarzio Evolution and Air Norton

- Peavey 6505+ head with Marshall 1960AV 4x12 cab
- Peavey Vypyr 30 Practice Amp
- Dunlop Crybaby From Hell, Maxon OD808, Boss TU-2, MXR CarbonCopy, ISP Decimator, MXR Custom Audio Electronics Booster

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Marc_Maiden
post Mar 13 2009, 04:35 AM
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yeah but for the price oranges arent worth it at all


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ZakkWylde
post Mar 13 2009, 05:01 AM
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They aren't as expensive in Europe as they are in the US, they are still far away from cheap but still worth considering!


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Gear:
- Jackson USA Select KV2 King V with EMG 81/85
- Gibson Les Paul Custom Arctic White with EMG 81/85
- Ibanez Rg 8527 J Custom 7-String with DiMarzio Evolution and Air Norton

- Peavey 6505+ head with Marshall 1960AV 4x12 cab
- Peavey Vypyr 30 Practice Amp
- Dunlop Crybaby From Hell, Maxon OD808, Boss TU-2, MXR CarbonCopy, ISP Decimator, MXR Custom Audio Electronics Booster

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