#1
There are so many damn amps out there, and I don't know how to go about choosing one. There are lots in general, but there are also a lot to choose from that are for the music I like, which is metal.

I see people using Peaveys, Mesas, ENGLs, and etc.

How would you go about choosing which is the one you want? I mean, play them, obviously, but I'm not good with tones at all.

Price isn't an issue.

Thanks.
#2
Generally, a lot of people will come on here, and ask for suggestions. Based on what you play, what you do and some other stuff, people can generally recommend you amps that will be good for the sounds you want and your budget. If you want to do it on your own, just pick out some riffs or songs, or whatever you want to play, then go to your nearest guitar shop and just plug in to as many amps and toy with them.

If you want some recommendations from people on here, answer these few questions. People are going to give recommendations, but that doesn't mean it's going to be the perfect amp for you. Generally, people look at the recommendation on sites like Musiciansfriend.com for comparison on prices, then go try them out if they are interested. That's the best way of picking an amp in my opinion.

Budget? (already established it's not an issue, but what's the maximum so people don't recommend you $5k amps since price isn't an issue)
Genres?
Gigging?
Willing to go used?
Location? (Or nearest main city for craigslist findings)
Fender '04 Strat
MiM Sunburst with Maple Neck

Ibanez TS-808
Fender Blues Junior
Marshall JTM60
Last edited by Shiromar at Jan 8, 2010,
#3
well i think it really depends on the usage u're gonna give to the amp, if its for just practicing by yourself i'd say any good 50 or 75 watts amp would be enough (you can try Laney, Line 6 marshall or even an Ibanez). if you want to band-practice tough id strongly recommend you the Line 6 spider IV (could buy 120 or 150 watts), thats an awsome amp for playing metal, its got nice ass distos and cleans, and you can also choose from a large amount of effects, such as delay, flanger, and others. besides it has a footswitch which is very useful =)
#4
basicly write yourself a list of things you would like, e.g. fx loop, 3 channels, then think of how you're going to use the amp, will you use it to gig, will it be just used in the house, do i want a head and cab, once you know what you want look at manufacturers site and prepare a shortlist of amps that catch your attention, then go out and play them, also check out some youtube demos of them as if you have a huge shortlist by getting a rough idea of what they sound like you will know which ones you like the sounds of more
#5
Quote by COBShredder
well i think it really depends on the usage u're gonna give to the amp, if its for just practicing by yourself i'd say any good 50 or 75 watts amp would be enough (you can try Laney, Line 6 marshall or even an Ibanez). if you want to band-practice tough id strongly recommend you the Line 6 spider IV (could buy 120 or 150 watts), thats an awsome amp for playing metal, its got nice ass distos and cleans, and you can also choose from a large amount of effects, such as delay, flanger, and others. besides it has a footswitch which is very useful =)



Ignore this guy. He obviously still thinks Line 6 is great.


Really all you can do is go try something out at a store. Think hard and good of what you played and then go back and play them some more. It shouldn't be too hard to narrow things down out of a handful of amps you try out.
Gear:
-2008 Gibson Les Paul Studio Cherry Sunburst w/ Alnico Pro II
-Marshall JCM2000 DSL 401
-Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
-Blackstar HT-1 mini stack
Last edited by IdntNedUrCvlWar at Jan 8, 2010,
#6
Metal? Mesa Boogie, no questions asked. The most famous (and used) metal amp is the rectifier.

However there are... others...

I'd try a few Mesas, Marshalls (overrated and overpriced, but if price is not an issue then...) Randall, Vox...
#7
I realize I didn't give enough info.

I want the amp to be a high-end amp (going to try to make music my career, not just a hobby).
Going to use it for gigging.
Max price would be $2,500 for a head.
Genre would be progressive metal, so... lots of variety.
Don't want it used.
#8
Quote by COBShredder
well i think it really depends on the usage u're gonna give to the amp, if its for just practicing by yourself i'd say any good 50 or 75 watts amp would be enough (you can try Laney, Line 6 marshall or even an Ibanez). if you want to band-practice tough id strongly recommend you the Line 6 spider IV (could buy 120 or 150 watts), thats an awsome amp for playing metal, its got nice ass distos and cleans, and you can also choose from a large amount of effects, such as delay, flanger, and others. besides it has a footswitch which is very useful =)



dude are you ****ing crazy? 50 - 75 watts for practice? I hope you mean solid state. a 50 or 75 watt tube amp is loud enough to knock the paint off your walls (and that's before it even starts to overdrive) and I'm just going to totally ignore the "spider = awesome m3talz" recommendation.

for the love of God TS, don't listen to this guy. What kind of music do you play? and do you have any kind of "band sound" you'd like to emulate or sound a bit like to help us out?
Last edited by Lt. Shinysides at Jan 8, 2010,
#9
Quote by Mathcorey
I realize I didn't give enough info.

I want the amp to be a high-end amp (going to try to make music my career, not just a hobby).
Going to use it for gigging.
Max price would be $2,500 for a head.
Genre would be progressive metal, so... lots of variety.
Don't want it used.


Alright, that's fine. However, you can get some pretty nice deals on used gear, and most of it will be in great condition. I'm not an expert in recommending amps, so I'll let some of the other regulars pop in here and give you a hand. Do you need a cab with the head or any pedals of any sorts? Also, it'll be easier for them to recommend you something good if you can list a few bands that you sound like, or want to sound like.
Fender '04 Strat
MiM Sunburst with Maple Neck

Ibanez TS-808
Fender Blues Junior
Marshall JTM60
#10
Quote by Mathcorey
I realize I didn't give enough info.

I want the amp to be a high-end amp (going to try to make music my career, not just a hobby).
Going to use it for gigging.
Max price would be $2,500 for a head.
Genre would be progressive metal, so... lots of variety.
Don't want it used.



hm. well for that price, and it being progressive metal, I'd say have a look at a Mesa Boogie Roadster, or if you're willing to go used (i know you aren't, but just to list some stuff in that price range if you ever change your mind) you could have a look at the Road King which is an absolutely amazing amp. But in case you are absolutely unmoving about it being new, take a look at the Mesa Boogie Mark V. All these amps run the gamut from crystal clear cleans, to crazy heavy overdrive and everything in between. Oh, and the Mark V is $1999 so you would have a little bit extra to put towards upgrading whatever cab you're planning on getting.

you could also look at the ENGL Fireball, which is cheaper than any of the mesas ($1699) but not really as versatile, and I like the Mesa's tone better.
Last edited by Lt. Shinysides at Jan 8, 2010,
#11
Quote by Burgery
Metal? Mesa Boogie, no questions asked. The most famous (and used) metal amp is the rectifier.

However there are... others...

I'd try a few Mesas, Marshalls (overrated and overpriced, but if price is not an issue then...) Randall, Vox...


hang on a second.. how can marshalls be over-priced when a mesa costs AT LEAST twice as much?!
#12
Honestly, you're not gonna want to hear this, but if you don't know what tones you like and don't like and can't distinguish between amps, then you're not ready to spend $1000+ on an amp. Buy something small that you can get used to, and then you'll start noticing tones you like, dislike, etc.

Why buy something that we say is 'good' when you yourself can't hear the differences? And I'm not trying to be an ass, I'm still in the process of deciding what tones I like and all that, and I've done it by trying as many amps as I can and keeping my options open.
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BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#13
Quote by ooftymcgoofty
hang on a second.. how can marshalls be over-priced when a mesa costs AT LEAST twice as much?!



they aren't. he's just getting all bandwagony about it. the only overpriced marshalls are the Plexi reissues. you can get amps like the JCM series amps for like, 1/4 the price of a mesa Recto. (rectos sound like total shit imo. I'd never buy one. thank god mesa is dropping the Dual recto. they need to stick with the Marks)
#14
Quote by Shiromar
Alright, that's fine. However, you can get some pretty nice deals on used gear, and most of it will be in great condition. I'm not an expert in recommending amps, so I'll let some of the other regulars pop in here and give you a hand. Do you need a cab with the head or any pedals of any sorts? Also, it'll be easier for them to recommend you something good if you can list a few bands that you sound like, or want to sound like.


Between the Buried and Me, Dream Theater, Darkest Hour, Protest the Hero.

I mainly want a BTBAM-like tone, but I want to be original, of course.

I want a cab + head, but don't know about pedals yet. Like I said, I'm not good with tones at all.

I like BTBAM's rhythm tones, but I absolutely love this lead tone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4YFeoMedJY
#15
Quote by Mathcorey
Between the Buried and Me, Dream Theater, Darkest Hour, Protest the Hero.

I mainly want a BTBAM-like tone, but I want to be original, of course.

I want a cab + head, but don't know about pedals yet. Like I said, I'm not good with tones at all.

I like BTBAM's rhythm tones, but I absolutely love this lead tone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4YFeoMedJY



If you want a cab + head then DEFINITELY go for the Mark V or Fireball. I think the Road King and Roadster are almost certainly way too much if you need a cab to.
#16
Quote by IdntNedUrCvlWar
Ignore this guy. He obviously still thinks Line 6 is great.
Ignore this guy. He obviously hasn't played a Flextone or Vetta, and is on a bandwagon.
#17
Quote by tubetime86
Honestly, you're not gonna want to hear this, but if you don't know what tones you like and don't like and can't distinguish between amps, then you're not ready to spend $1000+ on an amp. Buy something small that you can get used to, and then you'll start noticing tones you like, dislike, etc.

Why buy something that we say is 'good' when you yourself can't hear the differences? And I'm not trying to be an ass, I'm still in the process of deciding what tones I like and all that, and I've done it by trying as many amps as I can and keeping my options open.


Yes. I understand your point. I've had a Crate Flexwave 212/120 in the past, and now I have a Spider 3 75w. Those are the only amps I've played. I'm not sure what a good tone is supposed to sound like, though. I mean, I play flawlessly when I have my clean channel on, but my amp is very noisy with distortion. So, I'm not sure what I should add or take away.

I'm not going to buy what is suggested, I just want options narrowed down so I don't have to go to the store when the day comes and try out 15 amps.
#18
Quote by Lt. Shinysides
they aren't. he's just getting all bandwagony about it. the only overpriced marshalls are the Plexi reissues. you can get amps like the JCM series amps for like, 1/4 the price of a mesa Recto. (rectos sound like total shit imo. I'd never buy one. thank god mesa is dropping the Dual recto. they need to stick with the Marks)


tell me about it.. and suggesting vox amps for metal!?

to answer the question - in my opinion the jcm 800 is a fantastic amp for any kind of music because it's so simple and takes pedals so well. one channel of marshall grunt.

having said that, the marshall dsl is an amazing amp.
#19
Quote by DIMEBAGLIVEDON
Ignore this guy. He obviously hasn't played a Flextone or Vetta, and is on a bandwagon.



Bruah, I have and they're decent.

And I meant Spiders, because thats what he reccommended so chill
Gear:
-2008 Gibson Les Paul Studio Cherry Sunburst w/ Alnico Pro II
-Marshall JCM2000 DSL 401
-Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
-Blackstar HT-1 mini stack
Last edited by IdntNedUrCvlWar at Jan 8, 2010,
#20
The first thing you have to consider is price. If you don't have a lot of money, then you can't seriously consider high-end amplifiers. If your budget is US$2,500.00, then you are in very good shape. There isn't much that is outside of your price range. You've ruled out used, which narrows it down, too. Of course, with that price range, you don't have to go used unless you have your heart set on a Soldano SLO or a Freyette Ultra Pitbull (those are very, very nice amps by the way).

The second thing to consider is tube, solid state or hybrid? If you are like most guitarists, you'll probably want a tube amp. They sound better. Jazz players often go for solid state, and metal players who love lunatic levels of gain might also go for solid state, but most people who can afford a tube amp go with tubes.

Third is what kind of music do you play? In your case, Prog Metal (i.e., Dream Theater, etc.). This means you'll want an amp with great tone and a fair amount of versatility. You will need high gain, but not lunatic gain. That narrows it down.

Fourth consideration: combo or halfstack / full stack? A full stack is going to eat up a lot of that $2,500.00 budget, but most people aren't looking for a full stack anymore. So are you looking for a halfstack or a combo?

Once these considerations are addressed, your best bet (if you don't have any pre-existing predilections, such as "I must have a Marshall," etc.) is to look at the bands and guitarists that you like and see what they play. If there is one guitarist whose tones you admire greatly, you might want to follow in his or her footsteps. For Prog Metal, John Petrucci has recently switched over to primarily the Mesa Mark V head. He's always used a variety of Mesas, but he really seems to like the Mark V. Hughes & Kettner amps are popular among some Prog Rockers (Alex Lifeson of Rush has a signature H&K amp), but H&K heads will be at the far end of your price range, so unless you already have a cabinet, they might be out of reach.

The last consideration is geographic: where are you located? Some brands might not be available where you live, or might be very hard to come by.

Here are a few suggestions:

Mesa Mark V (comes in a head or a combo version)
Mesa Dual or Triple Rectifier (ditto head and combo for Dual Rectifier)
Marshall JVM (ditto head and combo)
Blackstar Series One (ditto head and combo)
Engl Fireball or Powerball
Soldano Hot Rod 100 (or Hot Rod 50)
Freyette Sig:X 100-watt
Diamond Nitrox

Any of those will likely make you the envy of your guitar-playing friends and will give you great tones and years of service.

Good luck with your search.
#21
^+1


Although i think you are shooting yourself in the foot price wise if you dont want to buy used. because he you buy an expensive head, you're not going to have much left for a cab to contrast with it...
I traded in my Real Books for Robbins and Cotran Pathology Textbooks
#22
Bruah, I have and they're [U]decent.

And I meant Spiders, because thats what he reccommended so chill A Line 6 Vetta is decent? A Line 6 Vetta IMO would destroy a lot of high-end tube amps.

But fair enough, it's your opinion. I'm not starting this again lol.
#23
Quote by FatalGear41
The first thing you have to consider is price. If you don't have a lot of money, then you can't seriously consider high-end amplifiers. If your budget is US$2,500.00, then you are in very good shape. There isn't much that is outside of your price range. You've ruled out used, which narrows it down, too. Of course, with that price range, you don't have to go used unless you have your heart set on a Soldano SLO or a Freyette Ultra Pitbull (those are very, very nice amps by the way).

The second thing to consider is tube, solid state or hybrid? If you are like most guitarists, you'll probably want a tube amp. They sound better. Jazz players often go for solid state, and metal players who love lunatic levels of gain might also go for solid state, but most people who can afford a tube amp go with tubes.

Third is what kind of music do you play? In your case, Prog Metal (i.e., Dream Theater, etc.). This means you'll want an amp with great tone and a fair amount of versatility. You will need high gain, but not lunatic gain. That narrows it down.

Fourth consideration: combo or halfstack / full stack? A full stack is going to eat up a lot of that $2,500.00 budget, but most people aren't looking for a full stack anymore. So are you looking for a halfstack or a combo?

Once these considerations are addressed, your best bet (if you don't have any pre-existing predilections, such as "I must have a Marshall," etc.) is to look at the bands and guitarists that you like and see what they play. If there is one guitarist whose tones you admire greatly, you might want to follow in his or her footsteps. For Prog Metal, John Petrucci has recently switched over to primarily the Mesa Mark V head. He's always used a variety of Mesas, but he really seems to like the Mark V. Hughes & Kettner amps are popular among some Prog Rockers (Alex Lifeson of Rush has a signature H&K amp), but H&K heads will be at the far end of your price range, so unless you already have a cabinet, they might be out of reach.

The last consideration is geographic: where are you located? Some brands might not be available where you live, or might be very hard to come by.

Here are a few suggestions:

Mesa Mark V (comes in a head or a combo version)
Mesa Dual or Triple Rectifier (ditto head and combo for Dual Rectifier)
Marshall JVM (ditto head and combo)
Blackstar Series One (ditto head and combo)
Engl Fireball or Powerball
Soldano Hot Rod 100 (or Hot Rod 50)
Freyette Sig:X 100-watt
Diamond Nitrox

Any of those will likely make you the envy of your guitar-playing friends and will give you great tones and years of service.

Good luck with your search.



I appreciate the time you put into that response.
Beforehand, I was considering the Roadster. Now that I see people speak highly of the Mark V, I may consider that as well.

Will the Mark V sound as powerful as the DR?
Last edited by Mathcorey at Jan 8, 2010,
#24
Quote by DIMEBAGLIVEDON
A Line 6 Vetta is decent? A Line 6 Vetta IMO would destroy a lot of high-end tube amps.

But fair enough, it's your opinion. I'm not starting this again lol.



I tried it out and I wasn't overly impressed

Not really for me, though I could get a nice EVH tone going.
Gear:
-2008 Gibson Les Paul Studio Cherry Sunburst w/ Alnico Pro II
-Marshall JCM2000 DSL 401
-Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
-Blackstar HT-1 mini stack
Last edited by IdntNedUrCvlWar at Jan 8, 2010,
#25
Quote by Mathcorey
I appreciate the time you put into that response.
Beforehand, I was considering the Roadster. Now that I see people speak highly of the Mark V, I may consider that as well.

Will the Mark V sound as powerful as the DR?

Powerful? What do you mean by powerful?


The mark series and rectos are very very different amp series, and can't really be compared perse. as similar as water is to an Xbox. The mark series have a tight, aggressive sound. the rectos have a more open, growly sound
I traded in my Real Books for Robbins and Cotran Pathology Textbooks
#26
Quote by Mathcorey
I appreciate the time you put into that response.
Beforehand, I was considering the Roadster. Now that I see people speak highly of the Mark V, I may consider that as well.

Will the Mark V sound as powerful as the DR?



You are quite welcome.

I have played only the Mark V 1x12 combo, but the thing was as loud as holy hell and nearly had the police called out to the store. I can only imagine what the head through a 4x12 cabinet would sound like. Also, if players like John Petrucci of Dream Theater and Will Adler and Mark Morton of Lamb of God are using the Mark V, it has to be a powerhouse.
#27
Quote by IdntNedUrCvlWar
I tried it out and I wasn't overly impressed

Not really for me, though I could get a nice EVH tone going.
Vetta's are really hard to dial in I find.

They take a lot of tweaking, but when done right, they sound great IMO.
Quote by FatalGear41
Also, if players like John Petrucci of Dream Theater and Will Adler and Mark Morton of Lamb of God are using the Mark V, it has to be a powerhouse.
I thought John Petrucci and Mark Morton use the Mark IV, and not V?
Last edited by DIMEBAGLIVEDON at Jan 8, 2010,
#28
The tight, aggressive sound is what I'm looking for. That's what I meant by powerful.
#29
Quote by Mathcorey
Yes. I understand your point. I've had a Crate Flexwave 212/120 in the past, and now I have a Spider 3 75w. Those are the only amps I've played. I'm not sure what a good tone is supposed to sound like, though. I mean, I play flawlessly when I have my clean channel on, but my amp is very noisy with distortion. So, I'm not sure what I should add or take away.

I'm not going to buy what is suggested, I just want options narrowed down so I don't have to go to the store when the day comes and try out 15 amps.

Why not?

Especially for the money you're going to spend, wouldn't you want to try as many options as possible before you buy something you'll likely have for a long, long time?

I don't really have much advice on what amp in particular to buy, I don't play metal and don't know much about higher-gain amps, but I can tell you don't be hasty. Take your time, research research research and then take some more time.

Good luck on your hunt!
And maybe we can fly away from here, surf on the debris of a broken scene...
#30
Describes the Mark series very well. They are known for tight bass response, and a very aggressive lead tone. Cleans are wonderful as well. The only problem with them i've found is that with an "ok" cab the sound can be a little compressed sounding due to the tightness and aggresiveness
I traded in my Real Books for Robbins and Cotran Pathology Textbooks
#31
Quote by DIMEBAGLIVEDON
I thought John Petrucci and Mark Morton use the Mark IV, and not V?


Not anymore. Both are doing major adverts for the Mark V, and they've mentioned them repeatedly in interviews.

Tight and aggressive definitely describes the Mark V, and more. The thing is incredibly versatile, which is exactly what it was meant to be. Mesa sought to make a lot of their classic amp tones available in one box, and this is it. The thing is capable of so many tones and textures that you aren't going to figure them all out in one sitting. It really sings; has fantastic crunch tones and the cleans are spectacular.
#32
Quote by gald
Why not?

Especially for the money you're going to spend, wouldn't you want to try as many options as possible before you buy something you'll likely have for a long, long time?

I don't really have much advice on what amp in particular to buy, I don't play metal and don't know much about higher-gain amps, but I can tell you don't be hasty. Take your time, research research research and then take some more time.

Good luck on your hunt!


I'd feel stupid trying many :/. I'd feel stupid going from amp to amp playing a 10min-long song on many amps.

It's a stupid reason, but it's just how I feel.

Quote by mexican_shred
Describes the Mark series very well. They are known for tight bass response, and a very aggressive lead tone. Cleans are wonderful as well. The only problem with them i've found is that with an "ok" cab the sound can be a little compressed sounding due to the tightness and aggresiveness


I was going to get a 4x12 cab, though I'm not sure what brand yet. I've heard you and other speek highly of the Vader cab, so I might consider that. I'm also going to be open for other suggestions when the time comes.
Last edited by Mathcorey at Jan 8, 2010,
#33
^when it comes to investing that much money in an amp theres no shame. i spent4 hours in a store one way trying my old mark V before i bought it.
I traded in my Real Books for Robbins and Cotran Pathology Textbooks
#34
Quote by Mathcorey
I'd feel stupid trying many :/. I'd feel stupid going from amp to amp playing a 10min-long song on many amps.

It's a stupid reason, but it's just how I feel.



No need to feel bad. That's a big chunk of change you're looking at spending, so take as much time as you need.
#35
Quote by Mathcorey
I'd feel stupid trying many :/. I'd feel stupid going from amp to amp playing a 10min-long song on many amps.

It's a stupid reason, but it's just how I feel.


I was going to get a 4x12 cab, though I'm not sure what brand yet. I've heard you and other speed highly of the Vader cab, so I might consider that. I'm also going to be open for other suggestions when the time comes.

No I can definitely understand that, though it is stupid like you said :p

It's worth it though, I bought my first amp on impulse and I regretted it within a month or so because i realized there were far better options in my price range and I realized that when I bought it, I didn't even really know what I wanted tone-wise, just that I needed an amp loud enough for a band setting.
And maybe we can fly away from here, surf on the debris of a broken scene...
#36
Quote by gald
No I can definitely understand that, though it is stupid like you said :p

It's worth it though, I bought my first amp on impulse and I regretted it within a month or so because i realized there were far better options in my price range and I realized that when I bought it, I didn't even really know what I wanted tone-wise, just that I needed an amp loud enough for a band setting.


That has happened with every amp I've bought so far :P. Though, I've only been playing for 2 years and just wanted a practice amp.

For that reason, I think I may just try out many. It'll probably be another year before I can get this, so I should have all of the Colors album to play rather than just 1 of the songs from the album.
#37
Mark V ftw...definitely versatile as hell. and for the cab is seems everyone loves the mesa recto cabs...depends on the speakers you want tho