#1
I really want to start getting into bands and getting into session gigs, but this puny bedroom amp ain't gonna cut the mustard. My uni has a bunch of Fender Mustang IIIs for our rehearsal rooms, and I fell in love with the sound of the Princeton; the lead tones are exactly what I'm looking for, its cleans are smooth and articulate, and has been my go to model for every single song we've done, save for 1 or 2 heavier songs. A few problems, however: they're small, they don't have a master volume, and they're expensive. For most gigs it should be fine, but I want to get into heavier, more progressive bands; and at that point I doubt the little princeton would be loud enough, or have the power. So here are some quick points of things I'm looking for:
- Loud enough to play in most bands, doesn't need to be stadium level, but loud enough for clubs and bars.
- Versatile; want to be able to use it as a session amp (so probably a lot of pop/r&b/pup rock), as well as be used for prog rock/metal. The more I can get away with one amp the better
- Around AU$1000 preferably, I only just got a stable part time job, and am still a student, so while I'm sure a Mesa stack would be sick, it ain't happening
- I live in Australia, so options are more limited
- Ideal tone; cleans are important, I play a bit of jazz and ambient stuff, so smooth cleans are a must. For rhythms and leads, I'm a huge fan of Plini's tones, not too gainy, still very clear, but great saturation and proggy, and I like my lead tones to have a lot of body. 


I am open to mitigating gain with pedals, like I'm sure I can pick up a relatively cheap OD pedal to get those heavier tones, esp since a lot of prog bands do that anyway to get the tighter rhythms. I've been looking at the Blackstar HT Stage 60 which looks quite promising with a couple used units around for under $1000AU, any word on this amp's reputation? The channel switching is a bonus and it has more than enough gain and volume, my only worry are the cleans and the overall versatility, so if anyone has any experience with this amp that'd be great. Otherwise, any recommendations on amps I'm all ears.

 
Quote by Fat Lard
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#3
Quote by diabolical
How are JCM2000 heads +2x12 in AU in price? Look at that or just a Marshall DSL40C.

Blackstar HT60 is pretty bad, it looks good on paper, very bland and dull amps. Don't like them at all.


IMO the DSL is not tons better than those lifeless HTs. But to each their own... I'd recommend a Laney over those any day.

OP: Can you gives us an example of things available in your country and the prices? Including used market.

This way we can help you better.

For example, something like a Laney LC50 or GH50 may fit the bill.

Mesa Royal Atlantic
Orange Rocker 15
Marshall Class 5C
Emperor 4x12 Silver Bells
Yamaha THR10
PRS Swamp Ash Limited Custom 24
LTD Viper 500 with Duncans
Last edited by Perverockstar69 at Dec 4, 2017,
#4
I found this:
https://buzzmusic.co/collections/guitar-amps

Laney is a good option as well, the LCs are a bit vintage tuned, think AC/DC gain at most, need overdrive for those for sure, great amps though, I have a LC15 and love it.
#5
Quote by diabolical
I found this:
https://buzzmusic.co/collections/guitar-amps

Laney is a good option as well, the LCs are a bit vintage tuned, think AC/DC gain at most, need overdrive for those for sure, great amps though, I have a LC15 and love it.


The LC50 has way more gain on tap and a more modern voice, it is not the same amp as the LC15R which I had. The vintage voiced is the VC30.

Mesa Royal Atlantic
Orange Rocker 15
Marshall Class 5C
Emperor 4x12 Silver Bells
Yamaha THR10
PRS Swamp Ash Limited Custom 24
LTD Viper 500 with Duncans
#7
A JCM 2000 head plus a 2x12 cab would be pushing around $1500 at least here, even used and even looking at other brands of cabs. The DSL40 doesn't seem bad, but I've never really been a fan of the Marshall sound, weak cleans and the distortions are bit too 80s for me. I can't really comment on the Laney, all the videos I've found are garbage, with either uber scooped metal tones or more of the same AC/DC, 80sish tone that I'm not really a fan of, the cleans aren't bad but they could use more body, but I guess I'm just very picky with my cleans.
Quote by Fat Lard
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#8
Well.

Like I said, it will be a good idea to see how much your budget can buy since the tones you say you are looking for are usually not available on low budgets.

Plus it is hard to judge an amp by just videos, specially if they are not of good quality.

Anyway...

I'll just list some amps I think should do the tones you say and see what you like and what can you afford.

Carvin V3 or V3M, H&K Tubemeister or Grandmeister, Laney IT60, GH50 and LC50. Orange Rockerverb, Randall Diavlo, Jet City JCA50 and JCA100, EVH 5150 III, Fender Bassbreaker 45...

Also, I know Mesa amps are very expensive in Australia but MAYBE you can afford one. Many models fit the bill.

Mesa Royal Atlantic
Orange Rocker 15
Marshall Class 5C
Emperor 4x12 Silver Bells
Yamaha THR10
PRS Swamp Ash Limited Custom 24
LTD Viper 500 with Duncans
#9
The DSL amps are pretty much baseline sound to build upon, with a few pedals they can be made into anything, reason why the DSL heads are on most musicians' riders when touring, from Gary Moore (RIP), Joe Bonamassa, all the way up to Testament.
Laney and H&K suggestions above should be fine. You could alternately consider a pedal platform amp, like the EH Mig50:
https://www.ehx.com/products/mig-50
or Vox AC15, AC10 or AC30:
https://buzzmusic.co/products/vox-015-watt-gtr-amp-combo-12-inch-spkr-ac15c1
https://buzzmusic.co/collections/guitar-amps/products/ac10c1-guitar-amplifier

although the 10C has a smaller speaker so it might not be as good, I'd at least want a 1x12 in there.
or some kind of big Fender but these would be probably too expensive for AU.
#10
I do not recommend the MIG50 though, it's pretty unreliable, I've know of many toasting components like old Bugeras.

New DSLs are not like old JCM2000 DSLs...

Mesa Royal Atlantic
Orange Rocker 15
Marshall Class 5C
Emperor 4x12 Silver Bells
Yamaha THR10
PRS Swamp Ash Limited Custom 24
LTD Viper 500 with Duncans
#11
The DSLs are not as well built as they used to be, but they're not that bad. It's definitely with a few corners cut and I'd rather have an Orange if prices were equal, but it ticks all the boxes and it is reliable(ish). It is also considered one of the traditional modern amp tones so

I'm talking the new MIGs by EH, those as bad as the old ones? I remember the old ones were so basic though that even a layman could fix them. Had a buddy that was modding his all the time and it sounded great.
#12
Yeah, I'm talking about the new ones. I actually have a pic of one. https://ibb.co/kVTNAG

Mesa Royal Atlantic
Orange Rocker 15
Marshall Class 5C
Emperor 4x12 Silver Bells
Yamaha THR10
PRS Swamp Ash Limited Custom 24
LTD Viper 500 with Duncans
Last edited by Perverockstar69 at Dec 4, 2017,
#14
diabolical Try again?

Yeah, I thought so too, but it seems they come with same problems. It's a shame, they can do some good tones.

Mesa Royal Atlantic
Orange Rocker 15
Marshall Class 5C
Emperor 4x12 Silver Bells
Yamaha THR10
PRS Swamp Ash Limited Custom 24
LTD Viper 500 with Duncans
#15
Some of the Laneys don't sound too bad, the LV300 seems pretty good. I managed to find a couple modded Mesa Boogie .50 cals for $800-$900, any word on their viability? And if it's worth pairing with a cheap cab?

Found a V3m for $650, and damn that amp has some balls for its size and price, though it doesn't come with the footswitch which is kind of a bummer. Likewise with the H&K, sounds pretty nice and I can get one for around $680.

Now I'm going to sound a bit contrarian here, and I can already guess most of your responses, but what are your opinions on going the modelling route? I can easily get a PODHD500X for under AU$600, and while I've never heard one in person, they don't sound too bad in a lot of demos. Certainly not Axe-FX quality, but in terms of versatility, it's kind of hard to deny to prospects of multiple amps in a floorboard design, and the tones from in sound more than passable (in fact my goal is to eventually get a Helix, but they're way past my budget right now). Otherwise, between the H&K and the Carvin, what would you guys choose?
Quote by Fat Lard
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#17
Carvin is out of commission so you might be able to talk down the price. I've played the bigger head and it was good, lots of tone options, maybe a touch brittle but can be eqed properly. Same with the H&K amp - both of these are more "modern" sounding, think bright. Which might be wonders for dark Gibson and PRS guitars especially. I'd probably lean a bit more towards H&K.
The Mesa 50 cals are great amps from what I've heard, but you'll be maintaining older amps, just something to be aware of, if you're ok with that, they're probably better built than the new ones mentioned above.

Modeling - still not a fan, especially Line6, I don't think it'll work, but maybe we have different standards, so it really is up to you to decide.
#18
Quote by diabolical
Carvin is out of commission so you might be able to talk down the price. I've played the bigger head and it was good, lots of tone options, maybe a touch brittle but can be eqed properly. Same with the H&K amp - both of these are more "modern" sounding, think bright. Which might be wonders for dark Gibson and PRS guitars especially. I'd probably lean a bit more towards H&K.
The Mesa 50 cals are great amps from what I've heard, but you'll be maintaining older amps, just something to be aware of, if you're ok with that, they're probably better built than the new ones mentioned above.

Modeling - still not a fan, especially Line6, I don't think it'll work, but maybe we have different standards, so it really is up to you to decide.

Yeah that's my only worry, I feel a lot of these amp demos online purposefully go for that scooped sound to make up for the fact that the distortions are quite brittle (and yeah my main guitars are a Les Paul and a CE PRS). As for maintaining, I have absolutely no experience in maintaining amps, I haven't touched my tiny bedroom amp since I bought it maybe 5 years ago now.
Quote by Fat Lard
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#19
Quote by Jimjambanx
Yeah that's my only worry, I feel a lot of these amp demos online purposefully go for that scooped sound to make up for the fact that the distortions are quite brittle (and yeah my main guitars are a Les Paul and a CE PRS). As for maintaining, I have absolutely no experience in maintaining amps, I haven't touched my tiny bedroom amp since I bought it maybe 5 years ago now.


Well, good thing about old Mesas is since they have a great quality, the maintenance is minimum, if required.

LV300? Hmmm, the ones I mentioned are on another league.

Also, about the POD. If you wanna go that way it is ok, but all these amps are pro level while the POD is not. But it all depends on the user taste and needs..,

Mesa Royal Atlantic
Orange Rocker 15
Marshall Class 5C
Emperor 4x12 Silver Bells
Yamaha THR10
PRS Swamp Ash Limited Custom 24
LTD Viper 500 with Duncans
#20
Quote by Perverockstar69
Well, good thing about old Mesas is since they have a great quality, the maintenance is minimum, if required.

LV300? Hmmm, the ones I mentioned are on another league.

Also, about the POD. If you wanna go that way it is ok, but all these amps are pro level while the POD is not. But it all depends on the user taste and needs..,

It's probably just the demos I've been hearing then, I'm sure it's different in person. Which is kind of a problem since the range of amps the music stores in my area stock are pretty lacking, plus I've always hated being the guy that just walks into a music store, tries a bunch of gear then just leaves. 
Quote by Fat Lard
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#21
Quote by Jimjambanx
I've always hated being the guy that just walks into a music store, tries a bunch of gear then just leaves. 

While I have only done this a few times in my life, I tend to try to buy something from the store before I leave.  Strings, cables, whatever.  So at least I'm supporting them while I hunt for the next amp/guitar.  
'16 Gibson LP Standard T, '15 Epi LP Standard with 57/57+ Gibbys
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#23
Quote by Perverockstar69
diabolical Try again?

Yeah, I thought so too, but it seems they come with same problems. It's a shame, they can do some good tones.


Power cap melting on the board itself, ouch!

H&K - actually parhelia_0000 posted some Japanese prog band (Galverius or something like that) they had an in-studio jam thru H&K Grandmeister http://hughes-and-kettner.com/products/grandmeister/grandmeister-deluxe-40/ thru a Gibson V which sounded right on the dot in terms of the tone of the amp. That demo on here with the butterball with the afro is also pretty much spot on.
#24
Quote by diabolical
H&K - actually parhelia_0000 posted some Japanese prog band (Galverius or something like that) they had an in-studio jam thru H&K Grandmeister http://hughes-and-kettner.com/products/grandmeister/grandmeister-deluxe-40/ thru a Gibson V which sounded right on the dot in terms of the tone of the amp. That demo on here with the butterball with the afro is also pretty much spot on.


Wasn't able to find that vid, but I did find one with Devin Townsend, and it sounds pretty spot on. Unfortunately there aren't any in Aus in my price range, how does the smaller tubemeister stack up? Are the sounds similar?
Quote by Fat Lard
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#25
That Mesa Caliber is worth the shot.

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#26
Quote by Perverockstar69
That Mesa Caliber is worth the shot.

The only problem is finding a super cheap 2x12, since that's already nearly all my budget. If I get the H&K that's around $300 more i can spend on a cab.
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#27
Quote by Jimjambanx
The only problem is finding a super cheap 2x12, since that's already nearly all my budget. If I get the H&K that's around $300 more i can spend on a cab.

This is the cheapest you're going to get that's still good.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_g212_vintage.htm
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#28
Quote by Jimjambanx
The only problem is finding a super cheap 2x12, since that's already nearly all my budget. If I get the H&K that's around $300 more i can spend on a cab.


The H&K is one fine amp. The Mesa has better build quality but it is not as versatile.

Anyway. If you are not in a rush you can always save more money..,

Mesa Royal Atlantic
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LTD Viper 500 with Duncans
#29
Yeah the H&K is looking like the one, since while I love mesa drives, it's the versatility that I'm after. Only shame is there's no footswtching, that would have really sold it.
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#32
You can get used 4x12s cheaper than you can get 2x12s usually
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#33
Ahh ok just found a distributor in Aus for the tubemeister 18 footswtitch, surprisingly difficult to find. It's an extra $75 but that's fine. Anyway it looks like I've got my answer, cheers guys!
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#34
Quote by CENSORED.
You can get used 4x12s cheaper than you can get 2x12s usually


I actually found a guy selling a H&K triple 100w or something with 4x12 for $1300. The only problem is 4x12s seem just a little impractical to me. Can't really use them at home, and for certain gigs might be too over the top.
Quote by Fat Lard
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#35
Quote by Jimjambanx
Ahh ok just found a distributor in Aus for the tubemeister 18 footswtitch, surprisingly difficult to find. It's an extra $75 but that's fine. Anyway it looks like I've got my answer, cheers guys!

Go for it champion!

Mesa Royal Atlantic
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#37
Quote by diabolical
Jimjambanx Triple-what? Triamp?
http://hughes-and-kettner.com/products/triamp/triamp-mark-3/

If it is that, then I'd call it jackpot!
You can always get a 2x12 and store the big hunker in the garage or something

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/oak-park/guitars-amps/hughes-and-kettner-trilogy-100watt-head-with-4x12-cab/1118718418
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#38
You will find that blackstar don't get a lot of love on this forum.  The Ht line isn't bad but they overpromise on it's capabilities and have jumped head 1st into the grey area of what in means to be "all valve."  HT amps use a lot of solid state gain stages in combination with valve gain stages so most don't really consider them to be truly "all valve".  You might want to consider a blackstar artists 15 or 30.  They save solid state components for their FX loop and the IFS voicing.  They are incredibly clean amps so to get a lot of distortion you have to use pedals but the amp takes a pedal very well and the cleans are amazing.  I've gone from lugging 3 amps with me to shows  (a princeton, 18 watt marshall, and a tweed twin) to only using my blackstar artists 15.  At home and in the studio I still go with my other amps but the blackstar is more versatile and easier to use.

 
Quote by Jimjambanx I actually found a guy selling a H&K triple 100w or something with 4x12 for $1300. The only problem is 4x12s seem just a little impractical to me. Can't really use them at home, and for certain gigs might be too over the top.

You could get the amp and sell the cab and a 2x12 or my personal favorite for cleans, a 4x10 loaded with some Jensen C10's. 
Not taking any online orders.
#39
Jimjambanx
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/guitar_amplifiers/hughes_kettner/trilogy_head/36642/

It looks like fair price, not familiar with this amp. I think it was geared to metaphors players so it could be voiced differently. All I can say, check demos or try it in person. You can always sell the 4x12 or try to buy without.