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> Amp Recomendations, Half stack vs. 2 x 12 combo
Goliath
post Aug 31 2007, 12:31 AM
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I'm on the market for an amp that I can play at bedroom levels and still be able to jam with (2 guitars, bass, drum). long way off from actually gigging but would like to get something that would be best suited for both. LIkely the music would be your standard rock bar cover music and I'd be playing metal on my own with it.

I have an RG550 XX (20th reissue) and an S470 w/ evos.

I was leaning toward a half stack (maybe 60-100w head w/ 4x12 cab). That way if I started gigging regularly I could upgrade to 2 cabs if I wanted. BUT I'm worried at the levels I'll be playing a combo would be more ideal. I've got some amps in mind and will figure out which I go with on my own so I'm basically debating the merits of combo vs. half stack.

Would a half stack still sound alright at bedroom levels? I know I could play with it when I get together with my buddies. Ultimately once I get accustomed to playing live I'd like to get into a metal band and start coming up with my own stuff but I need to build my chops substantially before then (thanks to this site I'm headed that way, and hats off to Pavel). I'm looking for somethign that's quality and I won't need to upgrade.

My feeling would be get a decent half stack that could power 2 cabs and go from there, I don't want to be on the "gear treadmill". But could a combo pull off what I hope to accomplish?


Also if anyone knows of any screaming deals on amps, those are always appreciated, having the debate with what my price range but to give you an idea, I'm prepared to put my pennies away for a Powerball head/cab. I've not really started test driving them yet because I wanted input on the combo/half stack debate.

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Andrew Cockburn
post Aug 31 2007, 01:31 AM
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Ok, 100W - did you want to turn your entire brain inside out or just get thrown out of the neighbourhood by an irate posse of disgruntled and deaf neighbours laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif

Certainly in tube terms, 5W is great for a bedroom - 100W is good for an arena. 5W doesn;t sound like a lot but the idea with tubes is that they sound theor best when cranked. If you get a 100W head and leave it on 2 all the time you won;t get the best out of it.

20 - 30W is more than loud enought ocompete with an unmiked drummer, 10 - 15 will be very loud in a playing with your friends situation, 5W would be about ideal for practice and recording (and probably withg your friends too).


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Goliath
post Aug 31 2007, 01:40 AM
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Can you get amps at that low wattage but still have the versatility of the more powerful heads? Some of these heads have assinine amount of knobs on them and it just seems like that you'd be losing some of the more useful features by going with a smaller one. Also I want to use amp distortion and not get a pedal, the Epiphone valve juniors or whatever I don't believe have distortion.


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shredmandan
post Aug 31 2007, 02:17 AM
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QUOTE (Goliath @ Aug 30 2007, 08:40 PM) *
Can you get amps at that low wattage but still have the versatility of the more powerful heads? Some of these heads have assinine amount of knobs on them and it just seems like that you'd be losing some of the more useful features by going with a smaller one. Also I want to use amp distortion and not get a pedal, the Epiphone valve juniors or whatever I don't believe have distortion.



Sure you can get amps versatile at low wattages.Many pro's out there prefer a low watt amp (i dont) but some feel you cant get a better tone than from a low watt amp.Kind of like what Andrew said ''do you want to blow your bedroom up with an amp laugh.gif ''.A amp at bedroom level to me would be a 20'50watt amp so i will recommend at that level to u. Fender G-DEC comes in 15 or 30 watts 30 watt is about $350.00 US and has a 8'' speaker,i had this amp and it has every effect built in along with a drum machine and programed bass lines.Its basically a band in a box.The sound quality of some of the effects could be better but for bedroom use and price you cant go wrong.Need something a little more powerful with option to hook up to speaker cab?Roland makes a killer amp (i have) called a cube cosm.I have the cube 30 which is 30 watts and very loud for me.It has built in effects along with amp simulations and this is the best built in effects i have ever heard.You can find one of these on ebay for $100.00 to $200.00 US dollars.Roland also makes that amp in a 50 or 60watt verson.To be honest i think thats all you would need unless you actually played on stage all the time.I have a full stack by crate with i have 2 12'' fender speakers i can add to make it a mega 10 12'' speaker's laugh.gif .I dont even use the stack cause there's no need as i dont gig now,let me tell you though when i did it was a beautiful site to have a amp stacked taller than you and it scared all the other guitarist tongue.gif


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Goliath
post Aug 31 2007, 02:50 AM
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IS that cube 30 you're mentioning a tube amp? I really like the tube sound so if it's solid state it's out of the question for me.


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MickeM
post Aug 31 2007, 02:57 AM
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I think Andrew summed it up very well!

On the combo vs head if you feel a combo suits you better it can always drive a cabinet if it only has an extension plug. That way you can also easily get different sounds from the speakers in the cabinet vs the speaker(s) in the combo. If they are different that is.

If you still want a 100W amp there's Peavey JSX, Marshall JVM410, the 6505 Peavey aswell you can always get a hotplate (I say hotplate so I don't have to spell attenuator)

This post has been edited by MickeM: Aug 31 2007, 03:07 AM


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shredmandan
post Aug 31 2007, 02:58 AM
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QUOTE (Goliath @ Aug 30 2007, 09:50 PM) *
IS that cube 30 you're mentioning a tube amp? I really like the tube sound so if it's solid state it's out of the question for me.


Yep its solid state. tongue.gif If you gotta get a tube amp you will pay as much for 30watt tube as you would a solid state half stack.Overrated in my opinion but gotta get what you like. smile.gif

This post has been edited by shredmandan: Aug 31 2007, 02:59 AM


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Goliath
post Aug 31 2007, 03:03 AM
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The tube is because I LOVE playing with harmonics and a lot of the music I am trying to play (a lot of powermetal) has a decent number of squeals and the solidstates REALLY lack when it comes to harmonics is what I've found. On my solid state if I hit it just right it sounds ok, on my friend's 66' fender bassman if I halfass it and don't hit it quite right, it still sounds WAY better than my amp. I've had solid states long enough, the more I play tubes the more I enjoy them.

ENGL is now carried by musicians friend so I might pick up the ENGL Thunder 50 (E322) in case I wanted to get a cab later on it could push it.


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bart m
post Aug 31 2007, 03:19 AM
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QUOTE (Goliath @ Aug 31 2007, 03:03 AM) *
The tube is because I LOVE playing with harmonics and a lot of the music I am trying to play (a lot of powermetal) has a decent number of squeals and the solidstates REALLY lack when it comes to harmonics is what I've found. On my solid state if I hit it just right it sounds ok, on my friend's 66' fender bassman if I halfass it and don't hit it quite right, it still sounds WAY better than my amp. I've had solid states long enough, the more I play tubes the more I enjoy them.

ENGL is now carried by musicians friend so I might pick up the ENGL Thunder 50 (E322) in case I wanted to get a cab later on it could push it.


I'm a fan of Groove Tubes myself, but they are expensive. I have the Soul-O 45 which is perfect for running single pedal effects through.
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Hardtail
post Aug 31 2007, 03:44 AM
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Combo tube amps DO have their drawbacks mind you. Shorter tube life (due to extra vibration). Coil Reverb units vibrate a lot. And they get very heavy to carry around, especially if you have a 2x12 or 4x10 combo.

I think one of your best bets would be to get a Real good tube Amp Head you like then get a 2x12 cab. This will save you money up front and let you expand your sound by simply upgrading the cabinet later on. And trust me, you will never use the full potential of a 100 watt tube head because it will be too friggin loud... at least not till your playing venues pushing over 1000 people give or take. Half stack volume is also okay for several hundred people venues where it isn't mic'ed up but I'd highly recommend against playing for several hundred people without having your amp through the PA. I mean, let's be real, my 15 watt Blues Junior can be used for ANY size venue because it's gonna be mic'ed anyway... and it's louder than needed for any band practice.

Anyway, that's just my advice. Get a good 15 to 50 watt 2x12 combo or Amp Head with 2x12 cabinet. People who get 100 watt tube amps will rarely saturate their power tubes... so until your opening for big acts I'd hold off on amps that size.

EDIT: laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif I just read your title again... Combo OR Half-stack. If I had to choose one or the other based on what little I know about yah I'd have to say get a Head with 2x12 cabinet. But I am assuming a lot of things about your tastes, skill level, music type, local venues, etc. If you gave us more information about your situation we can help yah more. smile.gif

Hardtail

This post has been edited by Hardtail: Aug 31 2007, 03:49 AM


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Goliath
post Aug 31 2007, 04:01 AM
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QUOTE (Hardtail @ Aug 31 2007, 03:44 AM) *
EDIT: laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif I just read your title again... Combo OR Half-stack. If I had to choose one or the other based on what little I know about yah I'd have to say get a Head with 2x12 cabinet. But I am assuming a lot of things about your tastes, skill level, music type, local venues, etc. If you gave us more information about your situation we can help yah more. smile.gif

Hardtail



The type of music I'd be playing initially would be your standard yuppie rock bar fare, AC/DC, and a lot of cheesy 80's, Metallica etc and venues would be a bar with 100+ people, maybe. Eventually, as my chops improve and I find some like minded folks it would be pretty much exclusively hard rock/metal.

Right now I've got a buddy who plays rhthym, I play lead, another buddy who's in a couple bands (one surf and one ramones cover band) on bass, and a co-worker who is starting up on the drums. We've not got together yet but we're setting it up. This is really more for me and having an amp I don't think I'll need to upgrade anytime soon. Your 2x12 suggestion makes a lot of sense, but just how often assumnig 1-2hours of practice a day with maybe a 3-4 hour session once a month for practicing and more eventually. Just how much shorter would the tube life be? Changing tubes like I change my strings?

Edit: would a 60w head w/ the 2 x 12 make sense? As far as skill? I can play most Hammet solos, pretty much any mainstream rock, can play a decent amount of Maiden. Right now I just play exercises mostly, but just to give you an idea. Dragonforce is my fav. band tongue.gif

This post has been edited by Goliath: Aug 31 2007, 04:06 AM


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MickeM
post Aug 31 2007, 04:35 AM
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QUOTE (Goliath @ Aug 31 2007, 05:01 AM) *
Edit: would a 60w head w/ the 2 x 12 make sense? As far as skill? I can play most Hammet solos, pretty much any mainstream rock, can play a decent amount of Maiden. Right now I just play exercises mostly, but just to give you an idea. Dragonforce is my fav. band tongue.gif

Sure, 60W would do great with a 2x12 or why not a 4x12. I mean, what I did is to have one package for each place. 100W head and 4x12 cabinet in one rehearsal room. One 30W combo and 4x12 cabinet in the other rehearsal room and at home I play with my computer and guitarport.

There's two reasons for this. One being that it's way too heavy to carry stuff around between bands and the other is that tubes are sensitive to movement. It's better to just have them standing in one spot.

So another idea would be if you get the 60W head and cabinet for rehearsing and keep a small 5W amp at home for practice.


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Goliath
post Aug 31 2007, 04:39 AM
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any recommendations on a 5W amp for home? I can pick up a more robust one as necessary the 5w sounds like a great idea.


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MickeM
post Aug 31 2007, 05:29 AM
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QUOTE (Goliath @ Aug 31 2007, 05:39 AM) *
any recommendations on a 5W amp for home? I can pick up a more robust one as necessary the 5w sounds like a great idea.

Maybe the Peavey Valve King Royal 8?
Let me know if you try one out, I think it seems interesting.

This post has been edited by MickeM: Aug 31 2007, 05:30 AM


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Andrew Cockburn
post Aug 31 2007, 06:24 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Aug 31 2007, 12:29 AM) *
Maybe the Peavey Valve King Royal 8?
Let me know if you try one out, I think it seems interesting.


I had a long look at the Laney Lionheart as well - pretty new though, so no real independant feedback on what it sounds like (there are clips on the website though), but it looks great on paper, albeit in a pricey kind of way.


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Hardtail
post Aug 31 2007, 01:27 PM
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QUOTE (Goliath @ Aug 30 2007, 11:01 PM) *
Edit: would a 60w head w/ the 2 x 12 make sense? As far as skill? I can play most Hammet solos, pretty much any mainstream rock, can play a decent amount of Maiden. Right now I just play exercises mostly, but just to give you an idea. Dragonforce is my fav. band tongue.gif


This makes total sense. 60 watt 2x12 rig is PLENTY loud for venues up to about 200 to 300 people.

QUOTE (MickeM @ Aug 30 2007, 11:35 PM) *
Sure, 60W would do great with a 2x12 or why not a 4x12. I mean, what I did is to have one package for each place. 100W head and 4x12 cabinet in one rehearsal room. One 30W combo and 4x12 cabinet in the other rehearsal room and at home I play with my computer and guitarport.

There's two reasons for this. One being that it's way too heavy to carry stuff around between bands and the other is that tubes are sensitive to movement. It's better to just have them standing in one spot.

So another idea would be if you get the 60W head and cabinet for rehearsing and keep a small 5W amp at home for practice.


As always I respect MickeM's experience and opinion on these types of subjects, but I would like to point out that what works for one person may not be the right idea for another.

An alternative to the combo might be:
ENGL Thunderhead 50watt Tube Head ($891) +
Marshall MC212 Extension Cabinet ($340) +
Rick Franklin Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal ($70) +
Original Crybaby Wah ($70) +
MXR DynaComp Compressor ($80) +
Cables, A/C adapter, etc. ($50) =
TOTAL ($1500)

The ENGL rig (which is purely for example purposes only) will get you the tones your looking for and for $100 less. Also, the heaviest component of the ENGL rig is the cabinet at 50.7 lbs. The head weighs 30.8 lbs. The Switchblade weighs 67 lbs. Overall this makes the ENGL more portable in my opinion. I don't mind making 2 or 3 trips to the car/truck/van but I HATE to have to carry heavy loads long distances.

Trying to fit a 5 watt tube combo into your funds just for home practice may not be the best idea. I will leave that up to you to decide. I don't want you to do any one specific thing, I just want to give you some ideas to chew on. Good Luck!

Hardtail

This post has been edited by Hardtail: Aug 31 2007, 01:43 PM


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Goliath
post Aug 31 2007, 07:43 PM
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I appreciate all the feedback! Thanks again guys. That's not a bad idea you have outlined there and is pretty easy on the wallet there Hardtail. I think I had better go with the ENGL simply because I've wanted one for a while and would hate to settle with something then come back and say "but this is what I really want". The 50w head seems like it would be easy enough to tote around.

Which leads me to another question, are road cases for heads a good idea?


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Andrew Cockburn
post Aug 31 2007, 08:53 PM
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If you want the ENGL I would suggest an attenuator such as a Hot Plate or Weber so you can play at bedroom levels and still crank it - they are around $200 I think - maybe you can add that later.


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Hardtail
post Sep 1 2007, 01:38 AM
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QUOTE (Goliath @ Aug 31 2007, 02:43 PM) *
I appreciate all the feedback! Thanks again guys. That's not a bad idea you have outlined there and is pretty easy on the wallet there Hardtail. I think I had better go with the ENGL simply because I've wanted one for a while and would hate to settle with something then come back and say "but this is what I really want". The 50w head seems like it would be easy enough to tote around.

Which leads me to another question, are road cases for heads a good idea?


I'm sure opinions vary on this but it has always been my feeling that road cases are best suited for bands that move ALOT of gear across the country and have hired hands (roadies) moving it for them. If your moving your own gear you'll be plenty careful with it and shouldn't need a road case IMO.

Hardtail

QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Aug 31 2007, 03:53 PM) *
If you want the ENGL I would suggest an attenuator such as a Hot Plate or Weber so you can play at bedroom levels and still crank it - they are around $200 I think - maybe you can add that later.


Yeah try it without but like Andrew said you can pick one up later if you need to. Remember, even a SUPER high watt amp can be run VERY quiet if you set the volume knob low enough, it's just the tone that might suffer at those low volumes... but if your just practicing at those low volumes then tone isn't terribly important.

I'll think you'll be surprised how much the 50watt ENGL will shake your intestines. Get ready to get a heart checkup before using it tongue.gif .

Side Note: I didn't realize ENGL had so many affordable heads till this thread... makes me start daydreaming about adding an ENGL to my own collection rolleyes.gif

Hardtail


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Goliath
post Sep 1 2007, 02:22 AM
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Yeah ultimately I'd like to own a powerball but I really don't have a need for it right now. The thunder and fireball heads are pretty affordable considering what they are. I was pleasantly surprised this week to find otu MF was starting to carry ENGL, before there was only a boutique guitar shop in my city that had them and that would mean having to pay salestax on it. Now that MF has it, they ship for free and there's no salestax! So it's kind of a built in savings I suppose. That, and they don't have the thunder head, they just have the fireball, powerball, and the 412 and 212 cabs. They're wanting $700+ for a 212 cab! WTF. I mean I don't want to match that badly.


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