#1
Hi all. I'm hoping to get recommendations on what gear to use for the best metal tone. I'm an advanced/intermediate player of various styles and am getting more into metal. I'm willing to swap out all my gear piece by piece, but not all at once. And hopefully not break the bank. Also, ideally I want to get the same sound for recording at moderate vol and live full blast. My gear (and how I use it so far to get a metal sound):

PRS Santana SE guitar with stock pups (11 gauge Ernie Ball nickel coated strings)

Fender Frontman 212 100W solid state amp (great clean channel, so so drive channel)

Boss overdrive/distortion pedal (played though the Fender's drive channel - I hate its sound on its own)

Boss 7-band EQ (set on a "smile" with boosted highs and lows, flat mids)

Boss noise supressor

I anticipate many suggestions that I get a Mesa dual recto and call it a day. But I'm more interested in thoughts on if its worth it getting a new bridge pup and stomp boxes. I'm looking to spend the least possible to get the most killer tone.
#2
I have a peavey tube vypyr 60 which is quite versatile. It is quite affordable if you are looking for something less expensive, although it is not going to sound like a mesa. I can definitely get bass heavy death-core sounds all the way to crunchy orange and classic rock tones. Due to the fact that is is a hyrbid solid state tube amp you dont need to crank it to get good tones.

I recommend you try one out, it has a good amount of effects as well build in.
Last edited by Just1ncred1ble1 at Jun 1, 2011,
#3
Well, your sound stands and falls with your amp, and your amp just isn't made for metal. No pedals or pups are going to change that.

Hard to recommend anything without knowing how much cash you can spend, because it'll cost you. Boy, is it ever gonna cost you.
#4
Quote by Just1ncred1ble1
I have a peavey tube vypyr 60 which is quite versatile. I can definitely get bass heavy death-core sounds all the way to crunchy orange and classic rock tones. Due to the fact that is is a hyrbid solid state tube amp you dont need to crank it to get good tones.

You don't need to crank most high-gain full-tube heads to get a good tone, either.
#5
Quote by TheQuailman
You don't need to crank most high-gain full-tube heads to get a good tone, either.



Have you ever played through a mesa or a 5150? You do.
#7
Quote by Just1ncred1ble1
Have you ever played through a mesa or a 5150? You do.

1) Yes.
2) I said most, not all, and I'd say you're dead wrong about most Mesas.
#8
nah... i mean they sound better turned up, sure. but they still sound pretty good turned down. IMO, anyway.
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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?
#9
I would say that every tube amp i have ever played is just missing something when it is not turned up. It often is not even the sound, its just how it reacts and plays. I have not played every amp in the world so i cant speak for everything, i was just referring the the most popular amps.
#10
Im not trying to be mean but you really need a new anp fender frontmans suck with high gain pedals. So you can go buy a 200 dollar or more pedal and it would sound staticy and just aweful. I know my drummer has one.
#11
Well, the 5150 is so-so unless you have it at band-volumes imo. But a lot of other stuff is okay... though I do think that a really good high-gain tone can only be produced when you push some air, no matter what type of amp you're using. All amps I've played sounded lackluster at bedroom-volumes, so I guess it's a problem of perception rather than amp design. Can't hope for a thumping low-end without some volume, nope.
#12
The comments so far are confirming my worst fears: I need to dump my mediocre frontman and drop a few grand on a tube amp. In that case, I'd lean more towards a low watt one so I can crank it at studio levels. Live I can just mic it I suppose. Any thoughts?

How are those orange tiny terrors, Vox night trains or Blackheart low-watt amps for metal? Take into account I have EQ and distortion pedals I'd use to shape the tone.
#13
^ nah they're not really aimed at metal, unfortunately.

Quote by Just1ncred1ble1
I would say that every tube amp i have ever played is just missing something when it is not turned up. It often is not even the sound, its just how it reacts and plays. I have not played every amp in the world so i cant speak for everything, i was just referring the the most popular amps.


true, but to me "missing something" is relative to what's already there.

For example, I'd rather play a soldano avenger which is "missing something" than a marshall mg at its best, lol. 60% of "awesome" is still pretty good. 100% of "unadulterated shite" is still pure shite (LOL).

Of course it also depends on what you mean by home volumes, as everyone's situation is different.
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 Jun 1, 2011,
#14
Quote by TheQuailman
All amps I've played sounded lackluster at bedroom-volumes, so I guess it's a problem of perception rather than amp design.

+1

FFS, my car stereo sounds better cranked. Its about perception and the way the human ear works, not tube amps.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#15
other people's car stereos sound better turned down. FWIW.
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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?
#16
^lol

Quote by gypsyblues
The comments so far are confirming my worst fears: I need to dump my mediocre frontman and drop a few grand on a tube amp. In that case, I'd lean more towards a low watt one so I can crank it at studio levels. Live I can just mic it I suppose. Any thoughts?

How are those orange tiny terrors, Vox night trains or Blackheart low-watt amps for metal? Take into account I have EQ and distortion pedals I'd use to shape the tone.

I've owned a couple of amps (and tried out a lot more) and I can say that usually, a high-wattage amp designed for high-gain will be a lot better for heavy music than a vintage-y voiced low-watt amp with pedals in front. And that's talking about their tones at the same volume.

Both 50w'ers I've owned did a far better job at metal than my 15w or any of my 5w'ers or my 2w. All the amps being played through the same cab and the small ones having dirt boxes up front.
You also don't need to crank most high-gain amps to earth-shaking volumes for a good sound.

A big amp can be played loud without the power-stage distorting, which is exactly what you want for metal. These amps also have the power to push out a lot of bass, where all my smaller ones have always failed.

Don't buy an amp that is not suitable for the music you play and try to make it do with pedals, it just won't. Get an amp that can do the tones you're after, or gets reasonably close so that pedals and such are an afterthought.

Neither the Tiny Terror, Night Train, nor the Blackhearts are good for metal. The Night Train might just be okay for glam/hair metal with the right cab and a boost, but there's many amps that'll do the job better.

Please tell us your budget so we can give you better advice. You can buy a great metal setup for well under a grand if you know where to look and what to buy.
Last edited by TheQuailman at Jun 1, 2011,
#17
+1

my 50w laney (which needs to be turned up more than my 100w engl to start sounding good) starts sounding good (to my ears... admittedly I seem to be less averse to preamp valve distortion than a lot of guitarists ) at around 85 dB or so (that's measured at maybe 2 metres from the speaker... I'm not trying to win the nobel prize or anything). My vht special 6 doesn't get distorted until it's well over the 100 dB mark. Now granted it has no master volume, but it is only 6 watts.

You *might* be able to turn a lower wattage amp up very slightly more, and that might get it slightly closer to the sweet spot... but in reality, unless your house is in the middle of nowhere, is gigantic and you don't share any walls with neighbours, you're still going to be nowhere near the sweet spot at sensible, comfortable practising volumes. Plus as quail says, those other amps are actually aimed at the tones you want, and for modern metal you don't necessarily need or even want too much power tube distortion.



EDIT: ^ couldn't resist.
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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?
#18
Quote by TheQuailman

Please tell us your budget so we can give you better advice. You can buy a great metal setup for well under a grand if you know where to look and what to buy.


My budget is actually as large as I want it, but since I'm not a pro I don't want to go all out if I can't help it. What ideal setup would you suggest (building on what I already have) for under a grand?
#19
Quote by gypsyblues
The comments so far are confirming my worst fears: I need to dump my mediocre frontman and drop a few grand on a tube amp. In that case, I'd lean more towards a low watt one so I can crank it at studio levels. Live I can just mic it I suppose. Any thoughts?

How are those orange tiny terrors, Vox night trains or Blackheart low-watt amps for metal? Take into account I have EQ and distortion pedals I'd use to shape the tone.

The problem is cranking a low watt tube amp creates power tube distortion... Which is the sworn enemy of modern metal. You're thinking about this all backwards. With metal you wanna have more amp than you need, not less.

As Dave said, don't buy an amp not suited for your styles and try to make it work. It won't. Low wattage tube amps are not suited for modern metal. Period.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#20
I'm thinking a nice amp head with a 2x12" cab or a combo (which would be cheaper), but can you be more precise as to what styles of metal you play (as in, how heavy do you go, what tones are most important to you, any bands you like the tone of especiall, etc.)? Also, what country do you live in? If you're in the US and tell us your closest major city, we'll have a look at the local used market. I strongly recommend buying used if you're not absolutely dead sure what amp you want, so you can always sell gear without losing money over it.
#21
Quote by tubetime86
Low wattage tube amps are not suited for modern metal. Period.


Any suggestions for a good high-watt amp for metal then? I'd be interested in both SS and tube.
#22
I'm gonna defer to Quail on that one. I'm not big into metal, and he is. Answer his questions in his last post and he'll definitely have some good advice.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#23
Quote by TheQuailman
I'm thinking a nice amp head with a 2x12" cab or a combo (which would be cheaper), but can you be more precise as to what styles of metal you play (as in, how heavy do you go, what tones are most important to you, any bands you like the tone of especiall, etc.)? Also, what country do you live in? If you're in the US and tell us your closest major city, we'll have a look at the local used market. I strongly recommend buying used if you're not absolutely dead sure what amp you want, so you can always sell gear without losing money over it.


I live in Chile but can also order an amp from the US delivered (that would almost double the price though). Here there are no boogies that I've seen, but plenty of Marshalls, Laneys, Peaveys and Randalls. Of those I prefer the first two.

As for the style of metal, I listen to all kinds of bands and am hoping to not just copy somebody. For instance, I love Metallica's tone -which I understand comes from mesas, and also Dimebag's, which is a solid state Randall. so totally different. Is it more the player? As for today's bands, Mastodon has a good tone as does Opeth.

But I have a specific sound in my head: bottom end as tight as a nun's butt crack but chunky and fat, clear notes at very high gain and a high end that cuts well through the mix without sounding squeely.

By the way, I also am willing to change guitars and/or pups (I use a PRS SE with standard pups)
#24
used 6505 or 5150 is your cheapest option 500-600 USD. Next price point up would be a mesa dual racto for ~1000 USD i think around.

Those are the safest bets. I wouldn't mess with the combos get a head and 2x12. Also an overdrive pedal and EQ pedal will help alot.

Alternatively you could spend ~3k USD on axe fx 2 and powering solution and win the future with G2 modeling technology.
Guitars
Amps
Last edited by Matt15f at Jun 1, 2011,
#25
Postpone the pup-swapping for now, it's something to look into later on.

Mastodon's last album was recorded with old Marshall JCM800 amps, but current reissue models are a bit pricey and from what I understand the circuit has been altered in an undesirable fashion as well. Newer Marshall models like the JCM2000 DSL50/100 get close enough and are gainier (which is good in your case), but aren't everyone's favourite for really high-gain applications.
The Laney GH50L and GH100L are very close to the old 800 circuit, but have a couple extra features, including a switchable extra pair of gain stages, giving them enough drive for most genres. I own the 50L and can do Mastodon-tones easily, as well as most other metal tones I need. It's particularly nice for thrash tones like early Metallica if you run a boost pedal up front.
Opeth use the 100L a lot, so if you like their sound, these amps are worth a look definitely. They are both single-channel amps though, which is inconvenient. There's a dual-channel version of the 100L, the VH100R, but it costs more money. It's still cheaper than a comparably nice Marshall (like a JCM2000 or JVM).
These amps don't have as much low-end as more modern metal amps, as they have a rather classic voicing. That can be helped with the right speakers though (I use Eminence Deltalites, but other users tell me Celestion G12K100s are an excellent (and probably better) match with these amps), but if a massive low-end is a top priority, you might still be more satisfied with something different.

The Marshall DSL50 or DSL100 are nice allrounders - like the Laneys, they might not be heavy-sounding enough, though they do sound more modern than the Laneys and the two channel design is nice.

The strange thing is, when I read the paragraph with the bands you liked I immediately thought about the Laneys, but when the third paragraph came, I was reminded of the Peavey 5150/6505 (and the 5150 II/6505+). The Peaveys have a lot of bottom end but sound tight if you you don't go crazy on the bass-dial and they cut through the mix with ease.
I also do think that while a 6505 won't nail Opeth or Mastodon, it'll still sound good for their music, so it'd be a valid choice I think. It'd possibly also be a relatively cheap choice, since the 6505+ 112 combo is a lot cheaper than most other high-gain tube-amps and even though an open-backed 112 combo doesn't sound quite as massive as a head and 4x12 combination, it's still a nice setup and for the price, hard to beat. If you want this to stay affordable, look into it.
The Peavey Vypyr Tube models are also reasonably priced and are said to do metal very well, but I have not tried them so I can't be sure. Because they are modellers, they will be rather versatile though, so you can coax a few different high-gain tones out of them.
#26
Quote by gypsyblues
The comments so far are confirming my worst fears: I need to dump my mediocre frontman and drop a few grand on a tube amp. In that case, I'd lean more towards a low watt one so I can crank it at studio levels. Live I can just mic it I suppose. Any thoughts?

How are those orange tiny terrors, Vox night trains or Blackheart low-watt amps for metal? Take into account I have EQ and distortion pedals I'd use to shape the tone.



You wont need any pedals or eq's if you buy a good amp.....Buy an Orange Rockerverb.
Reverbnation.com/offthewitness
#27
Quote by TheQuailman
You don't need to crank most high-gain full-tube heads to get a good tone, either.

You don't need to crank it to get good tones. But when you do turn it up, it sounds better. Not quite turned up to the point of saturation, but just to where the tubes are at their "Shining Point". Of course, it's not just the tubes, but the speakers and how hard they are vibrating and how much air is being pushed. My rhythm guitarist's solid-state Dean Dime amp sounds better turned up than when at a low volume.
#28
when i play my JSX on high volumes, you have to bring down the gain or else you get too much power tubez distortion coming through. I like to balance it, then you get sustain and compression and it just works well. It does sound good with the master at like 2 though.
#29
Quote by Ian_the_fox
You don't need to crank it to get good tones. But when you do turn it up, it sounds better. Not quite turned up to the point of saturation, but just to where the tubes are at their "Shining Point". Of course, it's not just the tubes, but the speakers and how hard they are vibrating and how much air is being pushed. My rhythm guitarist's solid-state Dean Dime amp sounds better turned up than when at a low volume.


yep, sure, no-one's debating that.

But, as i suggested earlier, something which is awesome but not sounding at its best still likely sounds pretty good. And probably sounds a lot better than something else which is sounding its best but which is crap to start with. It's like I'd rather have roger federer when he has a cold than me when I'm feeling in tip-top shape

I really don't like this, "Don't get a tube amp for home use as you won't be using it to its full potential!" Who cares? As long as it gets you the best tone you can get for your own situation, mission accomplished, as far as i'm concerned.

Plus as you also pointed out, plenty of ss amps will sound better turned up a bit too. A lot of the "awesome" is in sheer volume.
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?
#30
Thanks everybody for all the good advice. It looks like I need a Laney or Peavey 5150 apparently. One final question that might be an insult to tone purists: what about these new tube preamp pedals like the Seymour Duncan twin tube mayhem? Somebody here said you shouldn't get power tube distortion for metal, only preamp distortion. So in that case wouldn't it be enough to just get one of those pedals to act as my overdriven preamp and keep my mediocre Frontman?