#1
I've read the stickied thread concerning amps, but I have a few lingering questions. I bought my first amp a year and a half ago, and it just so happened to be a Spider III. Mistake number one. And although it was a decent starter amp, I'm moving half way across the world and sold it before I left. Now I'm on the market for a new amp. This is where I need the wisdom of you intelligent folks.

From what I've heard, head amps are preferable over combo amps in terms of quality and performance. I was wondering if any of you could give me a quick break down of how they work and if they are actually better combo amps. After that, I was wondering if any of you could give me suggestions for good head and cab combinations along with a rough cost estimate. I play mostly metal and rock, and budget isn't an issue; I've been saving up a lot of money and I have a birthday coming up.

If this thread is against the rules, if someone could tell me and direct me somewhere helpful I'll delete this post.

Any help is much appreciated
#2
well, first, heads are most definitely NOT any better than combos. they're just a different configuration. i could see how someone would think that though, considering that at your local shop, you usually see more expensive heads and less expensive combos. anyway, it depends on how you want to use it. second, how much is "a lot of money?"
Gear :

Gibson Les Paul Special
Fender Koa Stratocaster
Korg Pitchblack
Dunlop 535Q Crybaby Wah
BBE Boosta Grande
Fulltone OCD v4
EHX Russian Big Muff Pi
Vox Night Train
Egnater Rebel 112x Cab
Marshall Class 5
#3
It'll be a few months before I can actually purchase anything, but by said time I can have saved up a couple thousand dollars. Figure in my birthday and then Christmas (I know that's a way off) I'll have a budget of maybe 2 or 3 thousand dollars. But not all of that needs to go towards an amp. I don't need something TOO high end. Something that would suit home recording and possibly local gigs.
Last edited by domino_92 at Jul 16, 2009,
#4
alright, well are you willing to go used? if so, check out your local classifieds. as far as actual amps go, i'm not really sure. i don't play very heavy stuff. maybe be a little more specific in the sound you're going for. someone should be in here with a list of amps before too long.
Gear :

Gibson Les Paul Special
Fender Koa Stratocaster
Korg Pitchblack
Dunlop 535Q Crybaby Wah
BBE Boosta Grande
Fulltone OCD v4
EHX Russian Big Muff Pi
Vox Night Train
Egnater Rebel 112x Cab
Marshall Class 5
#5
Quote by rtmilster
alright, well are you willing to go used? if so, check out your local classifieds. as far as actual amps go, i'm not really sure. i don't play very heavy stuff. maybe be a little more specific in the sound you're going for. someone should be in here with a list of amps before too long.


I don't have a problem with used. I've been looking at a Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier 50 watt head. Do you have any experience with anything like that?
#6
I'm not aware of any "performance" or quality issues between heads and combo's. I prefer heads just for ease of cab swaps, but for grab and go you can't beat a combo. Your in a good position cash wise so you really need to go try them and do some research and see what speaks to you personally. I'd also look at some of the boutique offerings. Dr Z, Reeves, Fargen, Trinity, just to name a few. You have alot of options in your price range.
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
#7
well the mesa recitifers are pretty much standard for american heavy rock/metal. you really need to just try everything you can. also, what kind of features are you looking for? do you need good cleans or just distortion? how many channels? what are some bands that have the sound you're going for?
Gear :

Gibson Les Paul Special
Fender Koa Stratocaster
Korg Pitchblack
Dunlop 535Q Crybaby Wah
BBE Boosta Grande
Fulltone OCD v4
EHX Russian Big Muff Pi
Vox Night Train
Egnater Rebel 112x Cab
Marshall Class 5
#8
Quote by rtmilster
well the mesa recitifers are pretty much standard for american heavy rock/metal. you really need to just try everything you can. also, what kind of features are you looking for? do you need good cleans or just distortion? how many channels? what are some bands that have the sound you're going for?


To be completely honest with you, I have no idea what 'channels' means. And I would prefer decent cleans over just heavy distortion. As for bands, I'm not really looking to copy a sound so much as create my own. In the end I'm just going to go out and try as many as I can, but I'm here to look for a good starting point.

Quote by scott58
I'm not aware of any "performance" or quality issues between heads and combo's. I prefer heads just for ease of cab swaps, but for grab and go you can't beat a combo. Your in a good position cash wise so you really need to go try them and do some research and see what speaks to you personally. I'd also look at some of the boutique offerings. Dr Z, Reeves, Fargen, Trinity, just to name a few. You have alot of options in your price range.


What exactly do different cabs do to alter the sound? I was under the impression that they were just speakers and a means of emitting the sound produced by the head.
Last edited by domino_92 at Jul 16, 2009,
#9
what kind of music do you play? if you have the money you should be going for a head and cabinet setup.
Quote by shakin'cakes
First of all, I enjoy deathcore for it's complexity and it's the only genre heavy enough for me



Quote by Highway60Bob
I want an amp good for playing hippie tunes. I want it to be an actual amp, not a tube amp.
#11
so it sounds like you want a good all around amp. hmm. as far as heads go, i would look at the Mesa Mark series, Hiwatts, Rivera, Matamp, Soldano, VHT, you have lots of choices at that price range.

but honestly, if you've never owned an amp before, i would start out buying a marshall jcm 800 from the years 81 to 84 or a JMP from the years 78 or 79. Those amps are what pretty much everything is based off of, well not really, but lots of amps, and they would be a good starting point. If you really wanted something with nicer cleans though i would look for an old school hiwatt, ampeg v4, something like that. i wouldn't spend $3,000 on a boutique head when you don't know what you like yet.
Quote by shakin'cakes
First of all, I enjoy deathcore for it's complexity and it's the only genre heavy enough for me



Quote by Highway60Bob
I want an amp good for playing hippie tunes. I want it to be an actual amp, not a tube amp.
#12
Quote by domino_92
What exactly do different cabs do to alter the sound? I was under the impression that they were just speakers and a means of emitting the sound produced by the head.


Different cabs are made from different materials, have different speakers and different numbers of speakers.

Different speakers produce different frequencies in different ways. Some speakers may have more high end while another type may have pronunced mids.

Speaker size also makes a difference. 10" speakers sound differetn to 12" speakers.

More speakers spread the sound out more and change the way your ear percieves the volume. A full stack with 2 4x12 cabs will have a different sound to a 1x12 combo.

The material the cab is made from also affects the tone.
"Music snobbery is the worst kind of snobbery. 'Oh, you like those noises? Those sounds in your ear? Do you like them? They're the wrong sounds. You should like these sounds in your ear.'"
- Dara O'Briain
#13
Quote by pmeg568c
so it sounds like you want a good all around amp. hmm. as far as heads go, i would look at the Mesa Mark series, Hiwatts, Rivera, Matamp, Soldano, VHT, you have lots of choices at that price range.

but honestly, if you've never owned an amp before, i would start out buying a marshall jcm 800 from the years 81 to 84 or a JMP from the years 78 or 79. Those amps are what pretty much everything is based off of, well not really, but lots of amps, and they would be a good starting point. If you really wanted something with nicer cleans though i would look for an old school hiwatt, ampeg v4, something like that. i wouldn't spend $3,000 on a boutique head when you don't know what you like yet.


Does the Spider III qualify as an amp? I had one of those
#14
Heads are awesome, but you'll have to knuckle down for a cab as well. I recently bought a new head & cab, upgrading from my old combo amp (by the way, Spider amps are terrible...). What I got was a Peavey JSX that retails for I think $1450 or something, but I got it for $800 because overstocks are the greatest thing ever. Last one LOLOLLO.

Another recommendation, if you are more towards the metal side of things is a Peavey 5150 or one like that. Tubes and it sounds great. My friend has one, I play through it sometimes. Nice. If you are more towards the ROCK side, than, obviously, you can't go wrong with the Marshall amps. Whatever you do, I'd get tubes. Really make your tone sound good. Even if you don't really understand about your "tone", they're still amazing and a fantastic investment.

Cabs, do whatever you want, kinda. Just don't cheap out, that's your only problem you might face. Get a big 4x12, maybe, Marshall, Mesa or Egnater. Have it be around... $600, $500? Anything cheaper will make the amp that you got useless. If the cab is bad enough it can ruin the head you get.

Heads, depending on what kind, can get you a lot of different tones. While combo amps do the same, they have a lot less quality on the tones. Get a half-stack, all the way.

And little side note, if you don't have too good a guitar, I wouldn't shoot for an amp too quickly. Bad guitar through a good amp isn't really the best you can get. If the amp is good enough, it can still sound good, but the guitar has to be right. I'd imagine (if finances aren't a problem for you) that you already have a Les Paul or something nice. Nonetheless, if you're holding onto some Squier starter piece of crap, move up. ESP guitars are great for metal, and Ibanez are great for both metal and rock. I have an ESP and I love it, but you might like the thin Ibanez necks.

Good luck, man.
\m/
#15
I respect how mannerly you are on whether this was against the rules or not. If you seem unsure, just give the rules a quick once over. It shouldn't take long.

What bands do you like to play in the field of rock and metal? Are we talking Death Metal, Doom, Classic Rock, Hair Metal, what?

I owned the Mesa Single Rectifier for a while. It's a very nice amp but was slightly too "scooped" in the midrange for me and my band. It has a full and mellow bass sound that is slightly "hi-fi" and liquid-like. It is also capable of many different genres as it has a decent EQ'ing system and has plenty of preamp gain for darker heavy metal tones. It doesn't have the best preamp distortion, but it's power-amp gain is nice (you only get that when you dime it's volume quite high. i.e. natural breakup)

Are you going to be buying this amp in the States?
#16
Quote by Mr_CiNiC
If the amp is good enough, it can still sound good, but the guitar has to be right. I'd imagine (if finances aren't a problem for you) that you already have a Les Paul or something nice.


Close. I have an SG

Quote by AngryGoldfish
I respect how mannerly you are on whether this was against the rules or not. If you seem unsure, just give the rules a quick once over. It shouldn't take long.

What bands do you like to play in the field of rock and metal? Are we talking Death Metal, Doom, Classic Rock, Hair Metal, what?

I owned the Mesa Single Rectifier for a while. It's a very nice amp but was slightly too "scooped" in the midrange for me and my band. It has a full and mellow bass sound that is slightly "hi-fi" and liquid-like. It is also capable of many different genres as it has a decent EQ'ing system and has plenty of preamp gain for darker heavy metal tones. It doesn't have the best preamp distortion, but it's power-amp gain is nice (you only get that when you dime it's volume quite high. i.e. natural breakup)

Are you going to be buying this amp in the States?


I like the tone of a lot of the metalcore bands that use guitar duels like Avenged Sevenfold and Trivium, but I also like the more defined 'deep' tone of bands like Opeth and Dominia.

And yes, I'll be buying the amp in the States (Houston to be exact).
Last edited by domino_92 at Jul 16, 2009,
#17
Quote by domino_92
Does the Spider III qualify as an amp? I had one of those
'


not really hah. when you get a nice tube amp you'll be blown away.
Quote by shakin'cakes
First of all, I enjoy deathcore for it's complexity and it's the only genre heavy enough for me



Quote by Highway60Bob
I want an amp good for playing hippie tunes. I want it to be an actual amp, not a tube amp.
#19
Ha, SG... Oh, to be budgetless... Anyways, if you have an SG and you still have the standard pickups in it, I'd consider getting the Peavey I mentioned (fantastic clean channel, look it all up) and possibly changing up the pickups in the SG. The SG has a great body and neck and just a great build all around, but I never thought Gibson or Epi pickups were really too... Tone-loving, y'know? Get some actives, maybe.

There's a pickup thread going on right now, I said EMG 85/81's. I love those. I have 81/60's myself, but I prefer the 85. Fantastic for metal, an 81 or 60 in the neck sounds smooth as astroglide with cleans.

Good luck, man. Later.

\m/
#20
Quote by domino_92
Close. I have an SG


I like the tone of a lot of the metalcore bands that use guitar duels like Avenged Sevenfold and Trivium, but I also like the more defined 'deep' tone of bands like Opeth and Dominia.

And yes, I'll be buying the amp in the States (Houston to be exact).
Opeth have used Laneys in the past, if I remember correctly.

This is a nice amp. Laney GH50L:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Laney-GH50L-Guitar-Amplifier_W0QQitemZ120394102010QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c080c34fa&_trksid=p3286.m20.l1116
You can combine it with a Laney cabinet or something like an Avatar 4x12 if you are gigging, or a 2x12 if you are not. The 2x12 will still be fine for gigging obviously.

You won't quite have the American bass and tightness by using a Laney, it's a little more whispy and thin. But the correct EQ'ing and pedals, it is pretty much unlimited.
If you want to find a classic Trivium tone, a Peavey 6505+ is worth looking into.
You can pick up it's rough equalivant for around $600 on ebay.

Peavey 5150:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Peavey-5150-All-Tube-Head_W0QQitemZ280371561224QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item4147728308&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A4%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A2127%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A200

Peavey 6505+:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Peavey-6505-Plus-Guitar-Head_W0QQitemZ150359098156QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item230219c32c&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A4%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A2127%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A200

I would prefer the Laney any day, but the Peavey amps have more gain and more presence. Their tight compression also works very well in a band situation.
#21
Quote by Mr_CiNiC
Ha, SG... Oh, to be budgetless... Anyways, if you have an SG and you still have the standard pickups in it, I'd consider getting the Peavey I mentioned (fantastic clean channel, look it all up) and possibly changing up the pickups in the SG. The SG has a great body and neck and just a great build all around, but I never thought Gibson or Epi pickups were really too... Tone-loving, y'know? Get some actives, maybe.

There's a pickup thread going on right now, I said EMG 85/81's. I love those. I have 81/60's myself, but I prefer the 85. Fantastic for metal, an 81 or 60 in the neck sounds smooth as astroglide with cleans.

Good luck, man. Later.

\m/


Cheers, man

Quote by AngryGoldfish
Opeth have used Laneys in the past, if I remember correctly.

This is a nice amp. Laney GH50L:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Laney-GH50L-Guitar-Amplifier_W0QQitemZ120394102010QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c080c34fa&_trksid=p3286.m20.l1116
You can combine it with a Laney cabinet or something like an Avatar 4x12 if you are gigging, or a 2x12 if you are not. The 2x12 will still be fine for gigging obviously.

You won't quite have the American bass and tightness by using a Laney, it's a little more whispy and thin. But the correct EQ'ing and pedals, it is pretty much unlimited.
If you want to find a classic Trivium tone, a Peavey 6505+ is worth looking into.
You can pick up it's rough equalivant for around $600 on ebay.

Peavey 5150:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Peavey-5150-All-Tube-Head_W0QQitemZ280371561224QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item4147728308&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A4%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A2127%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A200

Peavey 6505+:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Peavey-6505-Plus-Guitar-Head_W0QQitemZ150359098156QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item230219c32c&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A4%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A2127%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A200

I would prefer the Laney any day, but the Peavey amps have more gain and more presence. Their tight compression also works very well in a band situation.


Thanks, man. I'll look into those!
Last edited by domino_92 at Jul 16, 2009,