#1
well i play a lot of punk and metal and i know i need a new amp. ive had the mg for years, i honestly thought it was a decent amp but now the sound is starting to diminish on me. so im deciding to get a new amp as a graduation present. any specific models? (brands dont matter as long as it sounds good) i guess my price range could be from $500-$1500 but feel free to name amps and any price. also, does it matter if i get an amp head or not? solid state or tube? call me a dumbass but i dont get what "combo amps" are haha. what makes them conbo? but anyways, help would be greatly appreciated!
My Gear:

Guitars:
Gibson Les Paul Junior
Standard Stratocaster (JB Junior in Bridge Position)
Peavey Raptor Plus Exp

Amps:
Marshall MG100HDFX/MG412 Slant Cab Half Stack
Peavey TransTube Rage 158
#2
combo:
the amphead and the speakers are in just one unit
Halfstack:
amp head + 1 cab
Full stack
Amp head + 2 (or more) cabs

for your budget you could get a Peavey XXX 60w combo used in Ebay/Craigslist and then save up your money on some pedals.......

BUT if you DO have the BASIC pedals you could buy a
Mesa/Boogie Roadster
Peavey 6505+
Mesa/Boogie Mark IV
ENGL PowerBall
and a Vader, Mesa/Boogie 2x12 cab to go with the amps
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#3
combo = head + cab in one unit
stack = head + cab separately
Peavey Triple XXX or 6505
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#5
A combo amp is one that has the electronics in the top of the speaker cab. Easier to haul around than a separate amp (head) and cab (or two). Good ones are considered enough for gigging by today's standards as anywhere too big for a 30-50 watt combo is a place you'd mic up through the PA anyway. For good sound especially at the higher volumes you'd use gigging, a valve amp is considered better quality than a SS (transistor) amp.
I have a love of Hiwatt amps and they have many dealers in USA who would stock their 50w combos. They don't have all the gadgets that some of the other brands boast, but they are very reliable, durable and, frankly, loud. Go try one and compare it with a VOX, Fender, Peavey and whatever else you see. Betcha the Hiwatt keeps on pouring on the power when the others have flattened out.
I pick up my guitar and play
Just like Yesterday

T C Ellis Series 2 LP w/Skatterbrane Quiescence pups
Cort EVL-K6
Yamaha RGX211 modded
H&S Electric 12-string
Shaftsbury Ricki 4001
'84 Fender Yale
Roland Cube 15x