Been skimping over amps far too long, need to actually break it down to some options.

Got a £400-500 budget and not much over. Still got my car to fix so no saving up more.

I've tried the amps that I could from the list but nonetheless I do want some opinions from you chaps as not all the ones are here in stores to play (have to order the apparently).

Got a Fender Strat US, as a prezzy, so need something to damn well make use of the price it prob cost. I ain't gonna be gigging anytime soon, might in a few years, just want something for home use, Tube amp of course.

Am gonna be mostly playing rock, retro rock back from the 80's. to some modern alternative rock stuff. Trying to learn some classic slow songs, bit of carlos santa and some blues solo's (epic failing though, I'll get there). So am looking for excellent cleans and excellent crunchy tones sometimes high gains/overdrives, I ain't into the hardcore heavy metal overdrive til ears bleed tones though.

As with anyone I just want a amp I wouldn't need to be changing a year or so down the line, a amp that has that perfect balance (or near :P).

Fender HRD (Hot Rod Deluxe) - Yes I hear the OD's terrible, but thinking I can fix it up with some FX's/pedals, volume wise was gonna invest in a $15 Omnisonic Volume controller box. Extra gadgets ain't gonna be a prob as long as I can gain that perfect clean and crunchy/rocky tone, like i said I want the best of both worlds, and I hear the HRD's are absolutely mint with their clean tones.

Vox AC15 - Don't know much about this other than it's bigger brother AC30 is highly praised around these forums, but I cant afford that so it's only this model i can go for. OD's and cleans any good on this model?

Peavey Classic 30 - I hear both cleans and crunchy's/OD's are pretty good, they excellent or the above better?

Traynor YCV20 - Again heard the bigger brother YCV40 is absolutely ace, however budget says a big no no (Tried looking for used no luck). This any good compared to the above?

Laney VC30 - Been hearing about them around, don;t know much about them except they fit my price range

So come on people, I'm looking for some of your opinions and experience with these amps, on what would (from that little description of course) suit my aims/needs of a amp best out of these tubies, because my ears and guitar skills are still newbie.
Last edited by SirFestus at Jan 10, 2009,
go the classic 30 sounds like everything you need or try a valve king, dont go the fender terrible OD and even with pedals meh. traynor is also fantastic. ac 15 is great but overpriced for what it is.
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I've got the Fender HRD and honestly, I think the overdrive is fine as long as you aren't looking to play anything heavy.
It is a bit weak.
but it sounds just fine for some light overdriving.
Blackheart Handsome Devil anyone? I saw a video on YouTube of a faceoff between an HRD, Crate V-18, and Blackheart Handsome Devil. HD destroyed the HRD IMO

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+1 to the Classic 30. Classic Rock + Classic 30 =
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The Laney VC30 is well worth a look. It has a great tone for the money and takes pedals really well. At the 'budget' end of the valve amp market it's one of the best.
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by 80s retro rock do you mean hair metal?
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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I love my AC15, but you really have to look at it as it's own amp, not just the little brother to the AC30.

It's got wonderful cleans, and the OD is very nice British crunch. For some more gain though you'll need an OD/boost. I recommend you go test one out.