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Old 03-28-2013, 02:40 AM   #1
Spartan070sarge
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Picking my first tube amp

So, I've been rocking on my Roland Cube 30x for nearly five years now, and I'm looking to step up to a REAL amp in the near future. I've fantasized about having a nice tube amp for awhile, and it finally makes financial sense for me to buy one within the next six months. I'm looking for a combo, but if there's a head/speaker combo of comparable price and quality, I'll definitely consider it! I've been window shopping for quite some time, and while on some level that's helped me narrow my choices down, it's also opened my ears to sounds I previously wouldn't have considered.

My primary guitar influence is John Frusciante, in case you couldn't tell. Tone-wise, I tend to like "Hendrixian" (to coin a phrase) kind of stuff. As such, I want an amp that can produce crystal clear clean sounds, but can also get a little dirty when the time is right.

So far, I'm seriously considering the following:
-Vox AC30
-Fender Deville (probably 410)
-something from the Marshall Haze line
-also, Orange amps are so nice.... but so expensive.

Let's say for the sake of argument, I'm looking to spend about $1000. Less expensive is better, but not at the expense of quality. I'm looking to gig locally relatively soon, and I'd love something that can give me a Hendrix/Frusciante-esque tone while also sounding nice on a clean setting.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:49 AM   #2
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Skip the Haze line. They have decent cleans, but the overdrive is awful, and the build quality is less than great (I was really disappointed when I tried one out).

For what you're looking for, I would personally go with a Fender combo and pedals. You'll want fuzz and wah for sure, but John uses a ton of different pedals (Josh, RHCP's new player, seems to use even more). If I were you, I would look into the used market for a Fedder Blues Deluxe, a Big Muff, and a CAE wah. That should be well within your budget used, and cover a good amount of the sounds you're looking for.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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^ Agreed. Nothing really more to say. A small, quality tube amp will take you miles.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:18 AM   #4
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Whatever your final make & model is, go for the head+cab configuration. You get versatility, a big sound improvement, and can go closed or closed & ported if you want to. You can't do that with a combo.
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Remove V1 & V6. Put the 12AX7 from V1 into V6 and leave V1 empty. Try the vibrato channel.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woad_yurt
Whatever your final make & model is, go for the head+cab configuration. You get versatility, a big sound improvement, and can go closed or closed & ported if you want to. You can't do that with a combo.


this just simply isn't true. You don't get a big sound 'improvement' you get a different sound that you could like more or less. A ton of people prefer combos to heads and cabs, myself included and I have both.

Regardless of this, post #2 is on point and I back that personally. I love my deville and usually recommend one in this forum.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:34 PM   #6
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Maybe some kind of Traynor, Egnator, Ampeg, or Mesa combo? Just a few more companies to look into.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:20 PM   #7
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Will you be playing with a drummer?
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:55 AM   #8
woad_yurt
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Quote:
this just simply isn't true. You don't get a big sound 'improvement' you get a different sound that you could like more or less.
Maybe I should've left out the "big" but there is an improvement. I have an open-backed 2x12 that's about the same dimensions as my Twin Reverb when it was in combo form. The cab back has the top and bottom thirds covered; the combo cab had those flimsy little pieces screwed to the back that covered much less. In the combo, there needs to be some air circulation or the amp will heat up. Without that requirement, one can have much more back on the cab.* There's also no amp hanging down from the top, something that can't be the best for sound quality. With those same speakers, the difference between combo and standalone cab was noticeable. The bass especially bloomed. I did the same for my Champ 25 SE and got the same results.

There's another benefit, too. If one's playing at volume, you don't need to shake up your electronics because you can isolate the amp from the speakers.

* It can also be entirely closed, something not often seen in a combo.
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Remove V1 & V6. Put the 12AX7 from V1 into V6 and leave V1 empty. Try the vibrato channel.

Last edited by woad_yurt : 03-29-2013 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:48 AM   #9
Arby911
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woad_yurt
Maybe I should've left out the "big" but there is an improvement. I have an open-backed 2x12 that's about the same dimensions as my Twin Reverb when it was in combo form. The cab back has the top and bottom thirds covered; the combo cab had those flimsy little pieces screwed to the back that covered much less. In the combo, there needs to be some air circulation or the amp will heat up. Without that requirement, one can have much more back on the cab.* There's also no amp hanging down from the top, something that can't be the best for sound quality. With those same speakers, the difference between combo and standalone cab was noticeable. The bass especially bloomed. I did the same for my Champ 25 SE and got the same results.

There's another benefit, too. If one's playing at volume, you don't need to shake up your electronics because you can isolate the amp from the speakers.

* It can also be entirely closed, something not often seen in a combo.


Still not an 'improvement' per se, merely a difference.

Improvement as regards sound quality is in the instance being discussed entirely subjective.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:28 AM   #10
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So, playing through speaker in a cab isn't an improvement over one that's not? It's just a difference?

C'mon, speaker cabs are built just to be speaker cabs. Combo cabs are speaker cabs which must house an amp as well. Compromise is built into combo cabs.
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Remove V1 & V6. Put the 12AX7 from V1 into V6 and leave V1 empty. Try the vibrato channel.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woad_yurt
So, playing through speaker in a cab isn't an improvement over one that's not? It's just a difference?

C'mon, speaker cabs are built just to be speaker cabs. Combo cabs are speaker cabs which must house an amp as well. Compromise is built into combo cabs.


That's right, it's not BECAUSE IT'S SUBJECTIVE!

sub·jec·tive
/səbˈjektiv/
Adjective
Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.


FFS!
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:54 AM   #12
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I can get down with the a head+cab set-up being better for your electronics and tubes. I don't think there is necessarily a tonal improvement, unless you have specific needs.

Try different stuff. The Traynor YCV40 or YCV50 (different voicing than the 40...more British) are worth looking at. The Peavey Classic 30 is also a loud and portable little guy that could get the tones you're after. An Egnater Rebel 20/30 or a Renegade are also worth looking into. I personally recommend the Egnater Renegade. It can go from 65 watts down to 18 watts, you can choose between EL34 or 6L6 tubes or varying blends of both with the tube mix knob, you can cover a lot of tonal range from American cleans to more Marshally drive sounds. A good fuzz and a wah would round it out afterwards.
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:32 PM   #13
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A lot of tube combos have an impedence selectible output jack for adding a cab if you want. You can use it both ways in that case.
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:28 PM   #14
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Look for an 18 watt Marshall clone, if you're not playing with a drummer. Plenty of them out there.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:09 PM   #15
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I have a Peavey VK 212, for similar money I could have gotten the head and 4x12 cab, not sure of acoustic advantages, but I find that the weight is a huge issue, my amp weighs tons, a seperate head and speaker box would have been easier to move.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woad_yurt
So, playing through speaker in a cab isn't an improvement over one that's not? It's just a difference?

C'mon, speaker cabs are built just to be speaker cabs. Combo cabs are speaker cabs which must house an amp as well. Compromise is built into combo cabs.
Actually that's not strictly true. Tube combos have pretty much defined the blues sound. The looseness in the bass from the open backed cab is part of the bluesbreaker amp sound for example.
In that sphere, a closed back cab isn't an improvement at all, quite the opposite. The sound we are trying to capture was defined by open backed combos.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:34 PM   #17
ihartfood
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Peavey Classic 50
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