#1
But may I ask you all, as you have much greater wisdom than I, to help me with my choice in amp.

I am looking for a valve amp for starters, my budget will top out at £600 (This is really as high as I would like to go, apart from if its rreeaallyy nice.)

Now, to help out a bit. I am looking for a good clean tone, warm and smooth. I play a lot of blues and indie music (Think Eric Clapton Unplugged and Dashboard Confessional respectively) My guitar is a Tokai FA70, which is a full semi-hollow and I am looking for something to complement its beautiful tone.

(As a side note, I also like to mess with stuff like QuOTSA, We Are Scientists and Radiohead's distorted stuff)

I have tried a Blackstar Artisan 30, It has a beautiful sound and it truly is amazing.. But £1200 is a bit steep for a 16 y/o student

I love the tone of the old AC30's, and I have been looking at the AC15's. Do these sound similar?

I have also tried a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, this was really nice all round and had some beautiful tones, but it just didn't stand out as something extra special.

So please, Can you give me any advice, suggestions or general Wisdom

Many Thanks!

TL;DR - Amp with good clean tone, similar to AC30's and Artisan's with a max budget of £600.. Must account for Semi-Hollow guitar.





Gear

Tokai FA70 (My Korean ES-175)

Amplitube


Artisan 30 fund: £50/£1200
#4
I live in Birmingham, England

If the AC15 isn't a smaller AC30, what are the differences in tone?

Bear in mind I have 3 large music chains and two smaller music shops near by, so I am open to any suggestions to try amps!

EDIT: That VC30 sound really sweet on clean, and the crunch isn't too bad, I will add it to the list





Gear

Tokai FA70 (My Korean ES-175)

Amplitube


Artisan 30 fund: £50/£1200
Last edited by KeMiKaL at Nov 16, 2009,
#5
If that's the case, just go to the shop and try some amps out, see which one you like. I'd advise to check out Peavey Classic 30, which should be around that price.
Laney VC30's are good to and people seem to advise the Blues Jr. and Hot Rod deluxe a lot, but I don't really like it's drive.
#8
Quote by SwampAshSpecial


No offence, But I would much rather try the specific amp in person.. I know its a practice mainly based on guitars, but I like to make sure that the amp Im getting is perfect.. Thankyou though, You just reminded me that PMT has a large used section and I swear there were a few Vox's there.





Gear

Tokai FA70 (My Korean ES-175)

Amplitube


Artisan 30 fund: £50/£1200
#10
Quote by KeMiKaL
No offence, But I would much rather try the specific amp in person.. I know its a practice mainly based on guitars, but I like to make sure that the amp Im getting is perfect.. Thankyou though, You just reminded me that PMT has a large used section and I swear there were a few Vox's there.
Good call.

The reason why I asked where you lived, is because I could recommend you look into a few boutique amp makers, such as Matamp in Yorkshire - Their King Street could be right up your alley.
I do like an AC30, but they aren't handmade in England, and they don't offer as quality service and customizations options, which Matamp does.

Give them a call, they nearly always answer. Explain what's in your head, and Jeff will advice on what he believes may be appropriate for you. Of course, he will always recommend you visit the factory yourself, which could cost you £30 on the train.

Similarly, Cornell, Hayden, MJW (Martamp) EVA, Mango amps, etc. offer a few great looking amplifiers, although a number of those are more pricey than Matamp and Vox, and I haven't actually played any of them personally.

Quote by Chasing Shadows
OT (ish):
But.. What's the difference between a valve amp and a valvestate amp?
A valve amp is pure valve. They soley utilize vacuum tubes to drive the amplifier, not semiconductor (solid state) electronic components.

A valvestate amp is basically a name used for a Marshall amp that uses both a preamp valve and a solid state power amp section, similarly to the Vox Valvetronix series - also known as Hybrids because they use both valve technology and solid state transistor technology.

There is a sticky in this forum you should check out that explains the differences better than I can.
Last edited by AngryGoldfish at Nov 16, 2009,
#11
Quote by Chasing Shadows
OT (ish):
But.. What's the difference between a valve amp and a valvestate amp?

Valve amps use tubes and Valvestate uses technology that simulates the sound of valves.

Oh, and they have a tube in the poweramp (so not the preamp), but that doesn't really do much.
Last edited by WtrPlyr at Nov 16, 2009,
#12
Quote by Chasing Shadows
OT (ish):
But.. What's the difference between a valve amp and a valvestate amp?


Valve State, IIRC, is a solid state amp that simulates the sound of a valve amp.. some of which can sound really good.. But Im looking for the genuine article

Quote by AngryGoldfish
Good call.

The reason why I asked where you lived, is because I could recommend you look into a few boutique amp makers, such as Matamp in Yorkshire - Their King Street could be right up your alley.
I do like an AC30, but they aren't handmade in England, and they don't offer as quality service and customizations options, which Matamp does.

Give them a call, they nearly always answer. Explain what's in your head, and Jeff will advice on what he believes may be appropriate for you. Of course, he will always recommend you visit the factory yourself, which could cost you £30 on the train.

Similarly, Cornell, Hayden, MJW (Martamp) EVA, Mango amps, etc. offer a few great looking amplifiers, although a number of those are more pricey than Matamp and Vox, and I haven't actually played any of them personally.


Sounds like a good plan! Only problem is.. I can imagine these amps are going to cost more than a pretty penny.. and that is a problem.. But no harm in looking!

Thankyou for the help so far guys and girls.. This really means alot!





Gear

Tokai FA70 (My Korean ES-175)

Amplitube


Artisan 30 fund: £50/£1200
#14
Quote by KeMiKaL
Valve State, IIRC, is a solid state amp that simulates the sound of a valve amp.. some of which can sound really good.. But Im looking for the genuine article


Sounds like a good plan! Only problem is.. I can imagine these amps are going to cost more than a pretty penny.. and that is a problem.. But no harm in looking!

Thankyou for the help so far guys and girls.. This really means alot!
The funny thing about Matamp is, they don't cost that much.

They are currently selling a gorgeous little combo for £429, or something. And I've found a retailer who is actually selling it for £299!

The factory also stock a Minimat - an amp they have been making for years - and it's essentially 4 watts clean, and maybe 10 watts overdrive (that's how it sounds to me anyway) And that amp is roughly £450. It has a Power Attentuator as well, which is far superior than any pentode/triode switches.

Like you said, it won't hurt to call or look up prices on their websites.
#15
how much clean headroom do you need?

I'm thinking of recommending the valvepower i have, it's a clone of a vintage marshall, but the tone is actually almost halfway to a vox. it doesn't have a ton of headroom, though. I haven't tried the artisan 30, but I've tried the 15, and if you ask me, the valvepower sounds much better.

http://www.valvepower.co.uk/index.htm


i'd avoid the ac15, if you're talking about the CC ones. The one i tried (which, granted, was second-hand, so maybe was faulty or something) sounded terrible, and didn't sound like the 30s, as forsaknazrael said.

Quote by AngryGoldfish

Similarly, Cornell, Hayden, MJW (Martamp) EVA, Mango amps, etc. offer a few great looking amplifiers, although a number of those are more pricey than Matamp and Vox, and I haven't actually played any of them personally.


+1, if the VP doesn't have enough headroom. I have tried cornell, though, but none of the others.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
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.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Nov 16, 2009,
#17
Thank you all for your help, I will definitely be looking into Valve power and Matamp, as well as the other, larger brands.. You have really helped me realise that there are more clean based amps out there

And to Swamp Ash; I do try, I feel sorry for all the guys here that have to deal with terrible threads where you really don't get much help..





Gear

Tokai FA70 (My Korean ES-175)

Amplitube


Artisan 30 fund: £50/£1200
#18
Quote by KeMiKaL
I live in Birmingham, England

If the AC15 isn't a smaller AC30, what are the differences in tone?

Bear in mind I have 3 large music chains and two smaller music shops near by, so I am open to any suggestions to try amps!

EDIT: That VC30 sound really sweet on clean, and the crunch isn't too bad, I will add it to the list


sorry to go off topic but which ones are these

PMT, fair deal and Reverb?

what bout the other smaller ones?
Quote by rgrockr
You can buy whatever guitar you want, you don't have to be at a certain skill level to buy one. This is real life, not some guitar-playing RPG where you have to unlock new guitars.
#19
bear in mind, though, that the valvepower is not particularly clean. it's a clone of the normal channel of the marshall 1974x. if you have any marshall dealer near you, you could try the 1974x to see roughly what the valvepower will sound like.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
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.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#20
Quote by kakos
sorry to go off topic but which ones are these

PMT, fair deal and Reverb?

what bout the other smaller ones?


Which smaller ones do you go to in the area?

I would write off Fairdeal and Reverb straight away though. Fairdeal tend to be pricey and Reverb are staffed by total dickheads (except in the acoustic section). PMT is a good store with decent staff. I tend to go there if i'm not buying in London.
#21
Quote by kakos
sorry to go off topic but which ones are these

PMT, fair deal and Reverb?

what bout the other smaller ones?


Not at all PMT, Reverb and Fairdeal are the big ones yes, but I only really use PMT..

If you are talking about Birmingham in particular, there is a small shop called city music right round the corner from Reverb (Under the tunel, turn left) Then there is also a small shop in New Oscott called Colbecks, which occasionally has some nice second hand gear.

Once again, thankyou guys for all the great suggestions





Gear

Tokai FA70 (My Korean ES-175)

Amplitube


Artisan 30 fund: £50/£1200