I've popped my JCM800's valves and am looking at replacing them and selling it for something new. I have a 500 GBP budget (roughly) and my band gigs regularly. The downside is we play in both very large and very small venues making the power output the most difficult thing to get right.

I keep changing my mind on the best course of action so I'd like your opinions, not on an amp as such, but on the best direction to go in so I know what to test.

Keep JCM 800 and get power attenuator for this amp.
It's heavy as hell, too loud for the small venues, and doesn't really fit in the van. It does have a nice sound in large venues, it does save me finding a new amp, and its pretty.

15 watt head and 2x12 cab.
Probably be loud enough, but a lot of the 15 watt heads are expensive compared to what I'd get for JCM800 (it's a combo) Most have 1 channel and I'd need to find a cab that fit nicely with it. Don't mind buying a cab second hand but I'd like to buy the head new. Would like it to be loud enough to not have to mic if possible. We gig a lot and we see bad P.A.'s and bad sound men every week.

Cheaper than the individual heads. Usually come in 1x12 which look unprofessional on stage, or 2x12's which are heavy as hell and have the same space problem. 1x12 does save space but I don't really like 1x12 combos.

100 watt head, 2x12, power attenuator.
Pretty much the same as keeping the 50watt JCM that I have except a more modern head should have better response at lower volumes. Big heads also have a sound that small heads just can't match. Can also keep my method of switching

I need to come up with a list of requirements from an amp really, but it seems like the amp doesn't exist.

EDIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Znu852-3qA that is my band so it's that sort of sound I'm looking for.
Last edited by CobenBlack at Jun 9, 2011,
which jcm800 is it?
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I have this suspicion that it might be out of your budget, but wouldn't variable wattage control of the Egnater Rebel 30 be helpful if you want early / late breakup?
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something like that is exactly what I need I think, but you're right it's out of budget.

The Rebel 30 costs 819. With your existing budget and assuming you sell the JCM, will you be able to spring the additional 319 quid?

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why do you think a 1 x 12 combo is unprofessional? that seems like a pretty silly thing to say. many "pros" use small amps as they are easier to deal with.
Doesn't look as professional. People get excited when they see big amps or interesting amps on stage. AC/DC when they played download in 2010 brought there own stage with their logo's and a huge pair of angus' hats on it. The reason is that all day everyone looked at them and got a bit more excited because they knew what was coming. Airbourne do it - they have 9 stacks on stage in a place that held 1000 people - the people next to me spent all night talking about how loud it was going to be. They had a max of 1 amp each turned on at a time, but it gives a good impression, it gets music fans excited to see cool gear.

Your average music fan who doesn't play wants to see big amps. They presume it's rock n roll. If you don't have a big looking amp then you can still win it back by having a good set, but they make an impression in their mind that you are a part timer and you're fighting from behind.

My band is good enough to win it back, but I'd rather start with people who are already on my side and if I can do that by having an extra speaker so it looks like it's going to blow someones head off then I'll take the advantage. It makes the band look more rock n roll.
try the orange tiny/dual terror of blackstar ht20 head might be a bit of a stretch money wise but well worth it
Finally someone else who understands that aesthetics do matter.

Have you considered Peavey, TS? A little budget goes a long way with them - you can afford a Peavey Ultra half stack for instance. That's pretty modern/high gain though.

You could score a Peavey Windsor head and a 2x12 cab in your budget. It won't sound as good stock as your JCM in a straight up head to head, but the difference will most likely be indistinguishable in a live setting. Plus later on, there are tons of mods that can be done to a Windsor, which IMO can make it sounds better/ be a lot more versatile than a JCM800. Just another option to consider.
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