#1
I'm hopelessly lost. I'm looking for a good amp to go with my new guitar. I've been tossed to and fro by the solid state vs. tube war, and I'm left clueless in the middle. This will be my first ever amp purchase, so I want to make sure I do it right.

My budget is from $400 to $600 dollars. The reason it varies is because I'm still in negotiations with the wife! LMAO.

I need an amp that can be used at home to practice with, but can also be taken to a friends house. I'm struggling with finding the right size, price, and technology.

I want to play mostly hard rock and metal (Metallica, Tool, NIN). I'd like to be able to get some RHCP in there from time to time.

Solid state wise, I'm set on the Fender Mustang III. That's it.

Tube wise I'm stuck on the Blackstar HT-5, Peavey 6505+, Peavey ValveKing 112, and something from Jet City.

I like the idea of modelling amps, but I don't see myself caring too much about different amp models. I want to be able to play some loud metal, but also be able handle cleans well enough.

For some reason tubes feel better to me. They're also heavy as shit, so of course I'd like to keep a tube amp as small as possible without being a Fender Champion 600.

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by twxj97 at Nov 14, 2011,
#2
Of those, I'd probably take the Blackstar HT-5... I'm not from the US, so maybe things are cheaper there, but I think you'd be hard-pushed to get a 6505+ for $600 or less, even if you spend an hour a day browsing eBay for someone willing to sell one cheaper than the others - but I could very well be wrong as I've never done so!

Either way, I'm not a fan of the ValveKing in the slightest, and have not tried the Mustang but what I've seen of it puts me off it before I've even heard it (gear snobbery is hard to ignore sometimes).
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Nov 15, 2011,
#3
I don't know if the 6505+ will do RHCP very well.
When you say 'take it to a friends house' is this friend a drummer? Ie do you need an amp that is loud enough to get over a drummer?
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#4
Doesn't seem like you'll need the modeling capabilities, there should be amps with crips cleans and plenty of gain, and if you're willing to go used you should be able to find a nice manageable 30-50 watt tube combo.

I wasn't really aware of a "tube vs solid state" war. As far as I know, tubes are the real deal.
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#5
Quote by mulefish
I don't know if the 6505+ will do RHCP very well.
When you say 'take it to a friends house' is this friend a drummer? Ie do you need an amp that is loud enough to get over a drummer?


No, not a drummer.
#6
just go tube. honestly. the peavey valveking is great so is the ht-5. TUBE. TUBE. TUBE!!!
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#7
Quote by twxj97
I'm hopelessly lost. I'm looking for a good amp to go with my new guitar. I've been tossed to and fro by the solid state vs. tube war, and I'm left clueless in the middle. This will be my first ever amp purchase, so I want to make sure I do it right.

My budget is from $400 to $600 dollars. The reason it varies is because I'm still in negotiations with the wife! LMAO.

I need an amp that can be used at home to practice with, but can also be taken to a friends house. I'm struggling with finding the right size, price, and technology.

I want to play mostly hard rock and metal (Metallica, Tool, NIN). I'd like to be able to get some RHCP in there from time to time.

Solid state wise, I'm set on the Fender Mustang III. That's it.

Tube wise I'm stuck on the Blackstar HT-5, Peavey 6505+, Peavey ValveKing 112, and something from Jet City.

I like the idea of modelling amps, but I don't see myself caring too much about different amp models. I want to be able to play some loud metal, but also be able handle cleans well enough.

For some reason tubes feel better to me. They're also heavy as shit, so of course I'd like to keep a tube amp as small as possible without being a Fender Champion 600.

Thanks in advance!


i would probably go for one of the JCA's in that price range.i dont know if they have any new ones as i havent looked, but 20 watts can be a little bit in a questionable zone as far as being heard with everybody playing in the band. i have done it, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. depends how things are arranged and size of space. it could certainly be mic'd and work fine for nearly anything, but alone its questionable.

the Valve King gets quite a bit of hate on here. i owned one for a while, and its not as terrible as everybody says it is, but it is far from amazing stock. with the speakers swapped and some better tubes in there (mine liked JJ's) and running an EQ through the loop and a boost out front really made it sound pretty good for what it is.

a lot of people seem to get the impression that you are throwing money away into the amp, but really the only things you are putting money into are a couple of pedals that should be on 90% of people's board, and a speaker which are always easy to swap. so basically keep the stock speaker and put it back in when you sell it. you could even be a cheap asshole like me and stick the stock piss poor tubes back in and have a few tubes lying around that you would likely use in the future. so its not really sunken funds.
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#8
Quote by kaptkegan
Doesn't seem like you'll need the modeling capabilities, there should be amps with crips cleans and plenty of gain, and if you're willing to go used you should be able to find a nice manageable 30-50 watt tube combo.

I wasn't really aware of a "tube vs solid state" war. As far as I know, tubes are the real deal.


I guess it's just a matter of trying them out if possible. I did get a chance to try the Blackstar HT-5R, but I've heard it's not great for metal. How true this is, I do not know. I thought it sounded good, but I'm just a novice.
#9
Mmkay, I was in the exact same spot you are now a few months ago. I ended up going with a Mustang iii and am still lovin' it (sue me). I later bought a small tube amp but that's a bit irrelevant.

Personally, I'd rather have everything in one box because I'm a bit too lazy to hook up pedals to a tube amp. And the fact that decent pedals are around $50-$100 each.

It's really up to you. I see three options for you:
Mustang III: Live happily ever after in SS world

Tube amp (I'd recommend the Jet City 20 watter or the Blackstar but the others are pretty popular too) and a few pedals here and there.

Mustang III and a tube amp? The mustang is 300 and, just as an example, the Jet City is 350. $50 more and you get the best of both worlds.

But seriously, its up to you. Some people prefer the versatility and lower price tag of SS amps while others prefer tubes. If you like tubes, then get a tube amp. If you're up for buying both kinds, get the one you're leaning towards and then if you REALLY want it, get the other.
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#10
Quote by trashedlostfdup
i would probably go for one of the JCA's in that price range.i dont know if they have any new ones as i havent looked, but 20 watts can be a little bit in a questionable zone as far as being heard with everybody playing in the band. i have done it, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. depends how things are arranged and size of space. it could certainly be mic'd and work fine for nearly anything, but alone its questionable.

the Valve King gets quite a bit of hate on here. i owned one for a while, and its not as terrible as everybody says it is, but it is far from amazing stock. with the speakers swapped and some better tubes in there (mine liked JJ's) and running an EQ through the loop and a boost out front really made it sound pretty good for what it is.

a lot of people seem to get the impression that you are throwing money away into the amp, but really the only things you are putting money into are a couple of pedals that should be on 90% of people's board, and a speaker which are always easy to swap. so basically keep the stock speaker and put it back in when you sell it. you could even be a cheap asshole like me and stick the stock piss poor tubes back in and have a few tubes lying around that you would likely use in the future. so its not really sunken funds.


The ValveKing is definitely within my budget. I'll keep it in mind. I don't mind the idea of upgrading an amp at all, and I actually like tinkering with things. I wouldn't consider it sunken funds.
#11
Quote by JKHC
Mmkay, I was in the exact same spot you are now a few months ago. I ended up going with a Mustang iii and am still lovin' it (sue me). I later bought a small tube amp but that's a bit irrelevant.

Personally, I'd rather have everything in one box because I'm a bit too lazy to hook up pedals to a tube amp. And the fact that decent pedals are around $50-$100 each.

It's really up to you. I see three options for you:
Mustang III: Live happily ever after in SS world

Tube amp (I'd recommend the Jet City 20 watter or the Blackstar but the others are pretty popular too) and a few pedals here and there.

Mustang III and a tube amp? The mustang is 300 and, just as an example, the Jet City is 350. $50 more and you get the best of both worlds.

But seriously, its up to you. Some people prefer the versatility and lower price tag of SS amps while others prefer tubes. If you like tubes, then get a tube amp. If you're up for buying both kinds, get the one you're leaning towards and then if you REALLY want it, get the other.


Lmao.. the pinnacle of laziness. Thanks for the reply, I'm definitely liking the Jet City prices.
#12
Hey, just as a word of advice, the 6505+ is a great tube amp, but as before mentioned, you'd be hard pressed to find a cheap one.
My friend offered me one once, 350, perfectly working, beautiful amp, but i didnt have the money at the time. Never found one again for less than 500.

HOWEVER, I now own a Blackstar HT-20 head, and it is more than powerful enough.
It isnt really a 'metal' amp, but you can get some nice distortion out of it. And the cleans sound amazing. I'd definitely recommend it.
#13
Quote by JamesAbaddon
Hey, just as a word of advice, the 6505+ is a great tube amp, but as before mentioned, you'd be hard pressed to find a cheap one.
My friend offered me one once, 350, perfectly working, beautiful amp, but i didnt have the money at the time. Never found one again for less than 500.

HOWEVER, I now own a Blackstar HT-20 head, and it is more than powerful enough.
It isnt really a 'metal' amp, but you can get some nice distortion out of it. And the cleans sound amazing. I'd definitely recommend it.


The HT-20 combo isn't a bad price! Thanks for the recommendation. I'll read some more about it.
#14
Theres really no reason to go with a solid state power section unless said amp is insanely versatile, and that appeals to you, or you play jazz and the cleans are legit for you.

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#15
Quote by twxj97
The HT-20 combo isn't a bad price! Thanks for the recommendation. I'll read some more about it.



I've got just the head running out of two 400 watt speakers right now.
Needless to say, the head can handle them, and it does it's job great.
Again, the distortion isn't as 'metal' as like a 6505, Krank, or ENGL, more of a grungy distortion, but when you mess with the ISF knob and EQ it some, you can get a distortion that is just as nasty as all of those. I play mostly extreme/death metal stuff (think Behemoth, Obscura, Gojira, etc.), and this amp covers all of em.

Also, the built in reverb doesn't sound too bad. And the clean channel keeps me happy for when I jam out to some RHCP or Foo Fighters.
#17
The guys who hate on the Peavey VK112 are a bunch of tin-eared snobs, who usually have nothing more than a Bugera or Microcube sitting on their bedroom dressers.

Ok, maybe that's a bit harsh, but I own a VK112 and it sits among $2000 and $3000 amps. The only thing I've done to it is replace the power tubes and it's fine. How much play time does it see with the other amps around? Just as much as they see, if not more. Granted, I play classic rock, pop, jazz and country, so your mileage may vary.

Bottom line - go out and try one. They really are decent amps for the money. If you feel the need to modify it, a new speaker and tubes are cheap, compared to buying a new amp.
#19
The jet city will do lighter metal. But for the heavier stuff you may need a boost.
I've heard bad things about the 6505+ combo; but I've never tried one. But that's with people comparing it to the head version; so idk.
You say you don't need modelling; but maybe look into the peavey vyper?
You might be able to get the tube vyper for that price; idk. I have no idea on their prices.

Otherwise either the jet city or HT-20 get my vote. I've never played a valveking, but they used to be one of the most recommended amps here; I don't know why people hate them all of a sudden
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#20
Quote by mulefish
The jet city will do lighter metal. But for the heavier stuff you may need a boost.I've heard bad things about the 6505+ combo; but I've never tried one. But that's with people comparing it to the head version; so idk.
You say you don't need modelling; but maybe look into the peavey vyper?
You might be able to get the tube vyper for that price; idk. I have no idea on their prices.

Otherwise either the jet city or HT-20 get my vote. I've never played a valveking, but they used to be one of the most recommended amps here; I don't know why people hate them all of a sudden


i agree that the jet city would need a boost for the heavier stuff, but 75% of high gain 'metal' amps i have played need a boost as well. really my splawns are one of the few that dont need one, in addition to a two channel dual rec/ and some others of the rec family. i think of all the local shows i have seen around almost every metal guitarist is using some form of boost. so its not that uncommon, and every needs a boost someday for something.
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#22
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#23
Id recommend either a two channel Jet City or a Vypyr Tube 60. The JC will need a boost, but they are very nice amps. Howevery the Vypyr can get much heavier and more modern sounding and has better cleans. But if you're after a kinda British metal boosted Marshallesque sound the JC would server you well.
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#25
jet city and some nice pedals might push higher gain quite well. i recommend a arvin v3m seeing as it is so versatile it will do any genre of music with no limitations. check to see if you like the sound. it also has variable wattage for home use.

DUDE...you have a 5 watt blackstar and a 100 watt 6505. WTF. something is out of whack in your selection. thats like saying oh yeah i want something moderate you know like a peppy 4 door sedan, might go with a camry.....or a MONSTER TRUCK
#26
Quote by ikey_
jet city and some nice pedals might push higher gain quite well. i recommend a arvin v3m seeing as it is so versatile it will do any genre of music with no limitations. check to see if you like the sound. it also has variable wattage for home use.

DUDE...you have a 5 watt blackstar and a 100 watt 6505. WTF. something is out of whack in your selection. thats like saying oh yeah i want something moderate you know like a peppy 4 door sedan, might go with a camry.....or a MONSTER TRUCK


I do realize that I have that gap in amp selection. It highlights my dilemma. I'm trying to find a good compromise between watts, weight, and price.

The 6505+ is quite heavy, and it might be too big for a living room. I've been looking at smaller packages. Mini stacks seem pretty appealing to me at the moment, mainly because they are more portable. I can see myself lugging a 5w head around different floors of the house whilst leaving a small speaker cab stationary. I'm looking at the Blackstar HT-5s and the 5 watter from Jet City. I'm also looking at some 20 watters.

I am still interested in the 6505+, but I'm really liking the idea of a separate head and cab, but getting that combo in a higher wattage is much more expensive than a combo.

Like I said, I'm trying to find a happy medium; one the wife can also work with. She sure as hell doesn't want a half stack coffee table! Lmao!

Thanks for the great suggestions.
#27
Quote by twxj97
I do realize that I have that gap in amp selection. It highlights my dilemma. I'm trying to find a good compromise between watts, weight, and price.

The 6505+ is quite heavy, and it might be too big for a living room. I've been looking at smaller packages. Mini stacks seem pretty appealing to me at the moment, mainly because they are more portable. I can see myself lugging a 5w head around different floors of the house whilst leaving a small speaker cab stationary. I'm looking at the Blackstar HT-5s and the 5 watter from Jet City. I'm also looking at some 20 watters.

I am still interested in the 6505+, but I'm really liking the idea of a separate head and cab, but getting that combo in a higher wattage is much more expensive than a combo.

Like I said, I'm trying to find a happy medium; one the wife can also work with. She sure as hell doesn't want a half stack coffee table! Lmao!

Thanks for the great suggestions.


Ignore everyone telling you to get the 6505+ 1x12

I personally would stay away from Blackstar.

Check out Vox, Jet City, Egnater
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#28
I've played most of the amps mentioned so far so I'm just throwing in my .311 cents.

The 6505+ is not right for what you play. I mean, it can do it and if you played some heavier stuff I'd recommend it otherwise.

The Jet City I played sounded a bit thin. There are several UG'rs who agree with me. Not saying it is bad - it is just a personal thing. I'd def look at a 2 channel tho.

Egnater makes good amps and they fit your requirements for the most part. Tweaker and Rebel 20.

I owned a Valveking. I put a new speaker in it and ran an EQ in the loop and it was shockingly better imo.

I too would stay away from Blackstar but let your ears guide you.

I do own and recommend a Blackheart amp. A 15w Blackheart would get most of what you want well.

I currently own a Peavey Vypyr 60 and really like it. You should check one out. I think you said you were not interested in modelers but if that changes also look at the Fender Mustang and Vox Valvetronix.

Vox Night Train might work for you too

Also check out a Bugera V22

#29
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
+311

I'd pass over the V22. My friend has one, and it really only does mid gain/clean stuff well.

TS: I would go JCA and an OD, maybe an EQ too to help get a bit more meat into the sound.

On the Tweaker note: If you do decide to go Egnater and grab a Tweaker, GET THE HEAD VERSION. So much better than the combo. I wish I'd gotten the head. The Rebel will do what you want, but it sounds pretty... meh to me.

The tube Vypyrs are definitely worth a look. I don't really care for the Valvetronix's higher gain models.
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Last edited by stratman_13 at Nov 15, 2011,
#30
^ agreed

I lost track of that the TS plays. I quite liked the V22 but I would not get one for Metallica, Tool and NineInchNails.

I would consider the 6505+ and the Vypyr 60.


yeah - the VK would be a good amp for ya. It desperately needs a new speaker tho.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Nov 15, 2011,
#31
Quote by KG6_Steven
The guys who hate on the Peavey VK112 are a bunch of tin-eared snobs, who usually have nothing more than a Bugera or Microcube sitting on their bedroom dressers.

Ok, maybe that's a bit harsh, but I own a VK112 and it sits among $2000 and $3000 amps. The only thing I've done to it is replace the power tubes and it's fine. How much play time does it see with the other amps around? Just as much as they see, if not more. Granted, I play classic rock, pop, jazz and country, so your mileage may vary.

Bottom line - go out and try one. They really are decent amps for the money. If you feel the need to modify it, a new speaker and tubes are cheap, compared to buying a new amp.


if you want a versatile amp the the Valveking is a good choice. 2 very usable channels with separate EQ for each channel (many of the other options given lack this feature) .

the down side is that it really isn't the best option for the heavier metal. it will do metallica with an overdrive. as mentioned it benifits from better tubes and a speaker change (although the stock speaker does sound better when really broken in.)

i play a lot of 70s hard rock and classic metal both of which the VK handles really well.

the 6505+ is a great modern metal amp but not the best choice for an all around sound.
#32
Thanks everyone. I feel like I'm making some headway here. I will take a look at all of these amps.
#33
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
I've played most of the amps mentioned so far so I'm just throwing in my .311 cents.

The 6505+ is not right for what you play. I mean, it can do it and if you played some heavier stuff I'd recommend it otherwise.

The Jet City I played sounded a bit thin. There are several UG'rs who agree with me. Not saying it is bad - it is just a personal thing. I'd def look at a 2 channel tho.

Egnater makes good amps and they fit your requirements for the most part. Tweaker and Rebel 20.

I owned a Valveking. I put a new speaker in it and ran an EQ in the loop and it was shockingly better imo.

I too would stay away from Blackstar but let your ears guide you.

I do own and recommend a Blackheart amp. A 15w Blackheart would get most of what you want well.

I currently own a Peavey Vypyr 60 and really like it. You should check one out. I think you said you were not interested in modelers but if that changes also look at the Fender Mustang and Vox Valvetronix.

Vox Night Train might work for you too

Also check out a Bugera V22



i agree with 311 on about everything he said (or maybe all).

you dont want a 6505 for what you are playing.

i owned a JCA2112RC and didn't like it and it was gone within 24 hours.

i also owned a JCA50H and i didnt like that either, gone in a day or two.

the tweaker is very versatile while staying with an all tube pathway, but doesn't really exell at anything you want, and may or may not get as heavy.

i had VK and it wasn't terrible after the basics anybody who owns a VK should do.

i dont like blackstar either

the vypyr tubes sound very nice from what i have heard, but i have yet to play one.
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youre just being a jerk man.



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#34
Quote by twxj97
Lmao.. the pinnacle of laziness.


Not just laziness. For example paradise city. Starts with a clean sound with a lot of reverb and a phaser. Then it goes dirty with no effects. And then a lead. With the mustang, or most modelling amps, prearranged make it so much easier. Not to mention the fact that someone uploaded an amazing preset of the paradise city intro on fuse.

But yes, laziness foes play a part too
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#35
like my v22, not right for what you play. again i will say carvin v3m. i would say tubemeister, but its not right for what you play i dont think.

and its not just sie and weight. its that you will not be able o turn a 6505 up past 0.5 on the volume without angering your wife and neighbors. yes its larger, but the volume and bottom end that thing will produce will be way more aduible. it will be very hard to get great tone and still play at bedroom levels.

can it be done? sure. people do it all the time. buy why buy an amp like that for that porpose. its like an 80 year old buying a ferrari to go get the groceries on weekends.