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Old 05-17-2013, 01:41 PM   #1
GaryBillington
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A couple of questions about a couple of amps....

After a few years of inactivity since my last band broke up, I'm casually shopping for a gigging amp so I'm ready for when I find a new band to play with. I always read lots of other 'what shall I buy' threads so I'm not asking for random suggestions - there are plenty in other threads & I'm not looking for anything too specific.

I normally always try before I buy, but there are a couple I'm curious about that I'd have to buy online as they aren't stocked anywhere near me so thought I'd ask here.

Jet City JCA50H & JCA22H
1 - These are regularly recommended to people with similar tastes to me so I'm confident they'd be a good buy, but they don't seem to have a clean channel - the closest is the 'crunch' channel. Even though I mostly play rock (Cult, GNR etc) I do need cleans occasionally so I want to know if this is possible at gigging volumes.

2 - The Harley Benton cab is usually recommended. This seems odd to me as Harley Benton is Thomann's budget brand, surely the Jet City 2x12 cab would be better?

Hayden HGT-A40H
These don't get discussed here often, so I don't know if anyone has any experience of them? I've come across them on a few websites & know that they're Ashdown's guitar brand but not much else other than they have factories in both the UK and China.
They seem pretty well reviewed generally & I like the sound they give judging them solely by youtube videos (I realise youtube isn't the most trustworthy way to judge an amp's real tone). I'm also very interested at the moment due to the fact that a lot of sites have this amp reduced from £400 down to £199.

Can anyone provide any comments on this amp?
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
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I can answer about the Jet City amps, to an extent

The cleans: you might be able to get cleans at gigging volume at a push...I have the 100hdm and even at 100watts, it breaks up very quickly. So that's kind of iffy. It might just about work if you aren't expecting it to sound sparkly.

As for the cab choice, I got the Jet City 24s and it's certainly usable but at the same time the speakers could be a tad better, so if people are suggesting the Harley Benton it's certainly worth a look.

Also I've heard a lot of people suggesting Hayden amps aren't likely to be reliable, but the internet has very little to say about them so it's hard to say for sure
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:07 PM   #3
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as i said in your other thread, i dunno about gig volumes, but as you said, it's more of a crunch channel than a clean channel...

i've got both those cabs. the HB cab is a little bigger, and while i didn't try them head to head (i'm talking with the same speakers, but maybe a few weeks apart so i may well be misremembering), i fancied the HB cab maybe sounded a little better.

EDIT: if the hgt is more or less a rebranded fallen angel (dunno if it is or not), i'd avoid it. they had a lot of reliability problems, i think.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
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For £199 I'd have to take a chance on one...or two. That's cheap enough that you could just buy one for spare parts...
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:00 PM   #5
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Dave_Mc - That other thread wasn't really mine, I just hijacked it because one of the amps I was curious about got mentioned

Also just noticed this evening that there's 2 Harley Benton 2x12 cabs: One is the cheaper model I'd seen before that made me ask about comparing it to the more expensive Jet City cab, but I was looking into it a bit more tonight & noticed there's also a more expensive HB Vintage cab with Celestion speakers - I'm guessing that's the one people have recommended in other threads.

I don't think the HGT is a rebranded Fallen Angel - I just googled that one as well, and the specs are very different. I guess the HGT could be a next generation of the FA series though?

JackSaints - Cleans at a push? I'm definitely thinking I might have to rule out Jet City as an option.

I'm not sure what to make of the reliabilty rumours tbh - obviously I've been reading as many reviews as I could find the past few days (and there aren't that many), very few mention any reliability issues specific to the amp being reviewed, but some do mention that their Chinese models have had issues in the past. According to one page I found, the HGT amp is "designed and engineered" in the UK. However, I deal with politicians sometimes and when I hear that sort of thing I read between the lines and think, 'yeah, but where was it actually made...'. You can hide a lot of facts by telling the truth

Arby911 - I have to admit, I am kind of thinking that way - that's why I started this thread now to see if anyone could talk me out of it. I have a couple of hundred quid spare at the moment, I figure I could buy it & even if the reliability rumours prove to be true, it'd be covered by a warranty for at least a year, so
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:43 PM   #6
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ah right, yeah, you're right, that wasn't your thread, i got confused Sorry about that

yeah the speakers in the cheaper HB aren't terrible, but "good" speakers are better. if you didn't want v30s and wanted to swap something else into it, the cheaper cab would be worth considering. the absolute best value is the one with v30s, though, you're basically getting v30s for about £30 each when retail on them is over double that (close to £80, last time I checked).

that hayden may well not be a rebadged fallen angel. i'm just wary of the cheaper hayden stuff because of the fallen angel's reputation.

to be honest, if you can get past the iffy clean channel on the jet city, it's gonna be really, really, really hard to beat for the tones you want (80s rock and metal, right?) at that price. even second-hand you'd be struggling to get anything better, frankly.

EDIT: it's also worth pointing out that, at thomann prices, the jet city stuff is around £200-£250, too. It's cheap enough that it's arguably worth taking the risk (I know I did when i got mine ), and is very likely a better-made amp than the hayden.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:00 AM   #7
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Yeah, I know they're a similar price - I was all set to pull the trigger on a Jet City when I stumbled across those Haydens. Any amp with that spec going at half price is enough to get most people's attention!

As for the cab, yeah, definitely going to get the better one when the time comes - even though it probably puts an extra month between buying the head & the cab, it doesn't make sense to go for the cheaper option when I don't need it immediately.

Also...
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Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
to be honest, if you can get past the iffy clean channel on the jet city, it's gonna be really, really, really hard to beat for the tones you want (80s rock and metal, right?) at that price. even second-hand you'd be struggling to get anything better, frankly.
This probably summarises everything I've been thinking since deciding to invest in a big amp ready for if/when I find a band again.

Jet City get mentioned as one of the best options in almost every rock amp thread, they're the right price - like you said, even new they're cheaper than going used with brands like Marshall, Vox or even Laney and barring some issues with the stock tubes burning out quickly they have a better reputation for reliability than other similarly priced brands (looking at you, Bugera!).

I'm just always reluctant to buy without trying first, and the lack of a proper clean channel (which may not even be needed depending on what sort of band I end up in) makes me question the decision. I guess if I need cleans that the amp can't do, I could always just get an ABY splitter & switch to some kind of clean pre-amp to DI into a PA for cleans.

Thanks for the advice
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:08 PM   #8
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^ yeah. I mean for me it was cheap enough to take the chance (I hadn't tried it either), but i wasn't as worried about the cleans, so only you can really answer that.

EDIT: it's probably also worth mentioning that the fx loop on the jet city is a bit iffy. I've never got as far as using my loop so it's just hearsay on my part, but yeah.
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:57 PM   #9
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You can still get the cleans to a pretty decent volume so they should be OK, especially if they aren't effects-laden or anything
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:24 PM   #10
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Have either of you had tube issues? Quite a few of the Jet City reviews I've read have mentioned they might be a problem
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:41 PM   #11
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mine have been fine, but obviously that's just the one amp

oh one of the preamp shields came off in transit when i got it and i couldn't get it back on but that's not really a tube issue as such.
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:39 PM   #12
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So reviews with stories of tube issues, dodgy effects loop and shields that come off in transit, but the other amp I asked about has a reputation for poor reliability....

I UG

Have to admit, the potential lack of decent cleans at volume was the main thing that was putting me off the Jet City, but I think you guys have managed to convince me not to buy one for the forseeable future. Depending what I do get though, I may buy one down the line as a backup head, the sounds they can do they seem to do really well.

Still undecided on the Hayden, although I'm probably going to be visiting my Mum in the next couple of weeks & I've found a shop near her that has some so I'll be able to try one. They don't have them at the sale price though, hopefully the other places will still have them reduced if I decide I like them.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:29 PM   #13
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oh no i mean the dodgy loop is dodgy design- it has the soldano loop which is a dodgy design. the slo has the same (as far as i'm aware) design and it goes for £3000 and is regarded by most guitar players as one of the best amps of all time

the shield coming off is pretty minor, i just figured i'd better mention it. you can buy another tube shield for very little money, if you even cared (and mine's the only one i heard of coming off). it's pretty minor compared to amps going on fire, anyway

as i said, it's your call, as only you know how badly you need the clean channel
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
as i said, it's your call, as only you know how badly you need the clean channel

Yeah, still weighing up my options. I think I definitely want a reasonably decent clean channel. Even though I only expect to use it as an actual clean channel occasionally, I use my AC4 set clean & have my pedals create the distortion I use. Assuming I set things up the same way I guess the clean channel would be the main option, with a heavy channel used as an extra option for distortion.

I'm not in any rush yet anyway - it only becomes urgent when I find a band to play with again. These are just a couple of amps I've found that I could afford with the money I currently have at the moment. Raising an extra couple of hundred to get the required cab in the next 2 or 3 months wouldn't be a problem.

TBH, my real favourite option is actually the Laney VC30 212. I tried one a while back & really liked it. I purposefully didn't mention that earlier because I wanted honest opinions on the amps I asked about rather than advice to keep saving and get the Laney. The biggest problem with that option is that although I can get together two lots of £250ish really easily - I usually have that much lying around unless I bought something within the past month - saving one lot of £500 takes three times as long because real life gets in the way too often.

Now I've admitted that, feel free to tell me the best option is to keep saving

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it's pretty minor compared to amps going on fire, anyway

Yeah, I've also looked at the Bugera V22/55 & BC30 but I'm scared of burning my house down
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:40 AM   #15
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The V bugeras seem to be much more reliable than their peavey clones. We dump on bugera a lot here, but I think most folks will agree with me on that point.
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:23 AM   #16
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The V bugeras seem to be much more reliable than their peavey clones. We dump on bugera a lot here, but I think most folks will agree with me on that point.
Yeah, I had heard that - especially with the 22, the 55 doesn't seem to be as highly reviewed though.

I'm just not convinced they're the best option if I stick in the lower price bracket. They have the same issue as Jet City in that I wouldn't be able to try one first, and judging them solely by youtube & reviews, I prefer the other options.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:33 PM   #17
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Yeah, I had heard that - especially with the 22, the 55 doesn't seem to be as highly reviewed though.

I'm just not convinced they're the best option if I stick in the lower price bracket. They have the same issue as Jet City in that I wouldn't be able to try one first, and judging them solely by youtube & reviews, I prefer the other options.

It appears you really know what you need (want?); so, just to throw it out there, I snagged a Used/minty JCA100 a few weeks after it came out (Soldano fanboi? ).

I've used it quite a bit and a friend has gigged it and continues to gig it quite a bit. Except for some 12AX7 replacements, it has been bullet-proof.

Also, I wanted to pay homage to your 2001ness.

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Old 05-19-2013, 01:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryBillington
Yeah, still weighing up my options. I think I definitely want a reasonably decent clean channel. Even though I only expect to use it as an actual clean channel occasionally, I use my AC4 set clean & have my pedals create the distortion I use. Assuming I set things up the same way I guess the clean channel would be the main option, with a heavy channel used as an extra option for distortion.

I'm not in any rush yet anyway - it only becomes urgent when I find a band to play with again. These are just a couple of amps I've found that I could afford with the money I currently have at the moment. Raising an extra couple of hundred to get the required cab in the next 2 or 3 months wouldn't be a problem.

TBH, my real favourite option is actually the Laney VC30 212. I tried one a while back & really liked it. I purposefully didn't mention that earlier because I wanted honest opinions on the amps I asked about rather than advice to keep saving and get the Laney. The biggest problem with that option is that although I can get together two lots of £250ish really easily - I usually have that much lying around unless I bought something within the past month - saving one lot of £500 takes three times as long because real life gets in the way too often.

Now I've admitted that, feel free to tell me the best option is to keep saving


Yeah, I've also looked at the Bugera V22/55 & BC30 but I'm scared of burning my house down


the vc30 is nice, but (as i'm sure you know) much more vintage in tone than the jet city. also a 2x12 is really heavy normally (plus more expensive if you want to swap speakers, and the stock vc30 speakers are probably pretty mediocre).

and yeah lol at the fire thing. I should point out, I've never even tried a bugera, I'm just going on hearsay. the v series does seem to have fewer problems (just going by how many threads are made about problems, I mean), but
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:43 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
the vc30 is nice, but (as i'm sure you know) much more vintage in tone than the jet city. also a 2x12 is really heavy normally (plus more expensive if you want to swap speakers, and the stock vc30 speakers are probably pretty mediocre).

Yeah, the Jet City would be a change in tone for me, but it doesn't stop me liking the way it sounds judging it by internet demos. Like I said in the OP, I'm not looking for anything too specific, so long as it sounds good I can work with it.

To be honest, I think VC30 is a fairly predictable choice for me - I currently have the AC4 so the obvious way to go would be an AC30 but they're definitely more than I want to spend (I ruled out Fender & Marshall for the same reason). When I started thinking about getting a big amp, I tried the Laney out first because it's often compared to the AC30. Definitely liked it, although it would be nice if they did a head & cab version to get around the weight thing though!

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Also, I wanted to pay homage to your 2001ness.


Don't say things like that, people always moan at me for bragging about my join date!
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:16 PM   #20
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yeah. i don't think the vc30 is an ac30 clone, though... it's "sorta voxy" rather than a clone. if you like how it sounds it doesn't matter, of course.
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