#1
Played some amps today at GC that I thought I'd report on them. It has been awhile since I've done one of these.

These 5 maps were new to my GC loud room so I sat down with each of them starting from Left to Right: SpiderValve, Dime D100, Orange AD30, H&K Duotone, Mesa ElectraDyne




All head versions, with EQs at noon mostly and all played with the Gain turned all the way up for part of the time (pretty standard way I test out amps) and hitting the clean and dirty channels. I used my Schecter C1+.

In this order:

SpiderValve MKII HD100. $899. Matching cab. I've played it before. The damn thing has potential but it fricken' pops at me with this annoyingly loud volume even with the volume turned down. Like hurt my ears loud pop. That is what I remember from the other one of these that I played at Best Buy like over a year ago. Goes from quiet to super loud at 9am. Just bad, I feel liek the thing wants to kill me. I have nothing really nice to say about it. No way I'd pay $899 for the head. I know I'm a Vypyr 60/120 fanboi but this amp is seriously annoying imo.

Dean Dime D100. $399. Matching cab. 2 Channels, all solid state. Nothing to write home about. Surprisingly, the gain had to be cranked up pretty good to get some distortion worth noting. I expected a lot more lower on the dial. I could see someone liking the amp, but I wouldn't buy one personally. Tone reminded me of a Marshall MA. Better than the MG but just not doing it for me. No real life or personality. True for lots of SS amps I suppose. If someone was a Dimebag fan - I could see them buying it.

Orange AD30. $1299. Marshall 1960 cab. Wow. Had not played this amp yet, only the Rockerverb/Thunderverb. Very cool amp. Very dark. 2 Channel. Had a vintage vibe so it would not be something I'd buy for $1299 but I can def see recommending one to someone in Europe looking for great tone. Pretty strait forward, no gimmicks or switches. Just a Clean and Dirty channel. Clean channel had nice break up. Everything felt and sounded professional. Really a nice experience. Probably my favorite of the day. I'm glad I got to finally try one. The only downside was that the knobs were kind of hard to see where you were - especially if gigging.

Hughes & Kettner Duotone head. $1299. Marshall 1960 cab. Overall, fairly happy but kind of a mixed experience. Granted, this was a used amp, but so was the Orange I believe. Umm...I found some good tones in it but overall I felt it was way too saturated, at least for me. It was also a 2 channel amp and although it looks awesome, it just did not blow me over like I was expecting. I mean, I had the Gain maxed at 5pm (which I did with all the amp today), the Channel volume on 12 noon and the Master volume on 11am and it was not nearly as loud as I expected. For example, if I did that on my Splawn I'd be knocked on my ass but still have super articulate picking. The saturation was almost to the point of being muddy. I turned the Presence all the way and that helped a bit. Also, the gain knob was very messed up, meaning it needed to be cleaned or replaced. The knobs on this amp are also hard to see where you are. The clean channel was really nice and with the OD button pushed on the footswitch - had some great low gain/vintage tones going too. I guess I was just torn. If someone was looking for lots of saturation and vintage to modern voicing, I'd recommend a used one. I don't know how much they are new. I hope I can spend more time with one again.

Mesa ElectraDyne. $1399. Line 6 cab. First of all, I've played this amp before and loved it. I think I had a lemon today. I ran it on 45w mode in Hi gain switch up. I could hear those awesome tones in there but the amp was just not a happy camper. I'm really not even sure how to explain it. I think maybe it was abused as a child. It took a long time to dial in and just overall was not cooperative. For those that have played this amp before you know how stripped down the front panel is. This particular Mesa uses chicken head knobs so it is really easy to see what your settings are. It really is hard to get a bad tone with this amp. I'll still recommend them even though I had a bad experience today. My biggest complains with this amp is that the Footswitch jack is on the front and the Reverb control is on the back (like a lot of Mesa's). But with an amp like this, they really should have put the Reverb on the front. Like most GC loud rooms it is kinda of hard to get back there behind the amps to make adjustments so I couldn't turn the reverb down - which I'm sure was a part of my problem as well.

Anyway - I hope you found some of my reviews helpful. I've updated these into my 'List of Amps I've Played' Blog. Feel free to ask any question you want.




I also played the Egnater Vengeance recently and really liked it. $1150 new. I'd take it over the Duotone and a toss up with the ElectraDyne.
#2
Perhaps the main problem with the Mesa was the Line6 cab?
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#3
Ok.....thanks for sharing???
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#4
Quote by Cathbard
Perhaps the main problem with the Mesa was the Line6 cab?


+1

Unless it was a Spider Valve cab (V30s) that probably screwed up the sound.
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#5
Edit ^ yeah, I think it was. My problems were def amp related.


Quote by Cathbard
Perhaps the main problem with the Mesa was the Line6 cab?

Not a bad thought but those cabs are not that bad and I think they are loaded with Vintage 30s. That Mesa was just messed up for some reason. Maybe the ohms to cab was not matched or it needed a bias or a preamp tube. Not sure. They are really great sounding amps for the most part so I think it was just a dud. I realize I didn't give the SpiderValve the same kind of fair treatment but I purposely played the SV with the intention of finding out why people like them and was sorely disappointed.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Dec 11, 2011,
#6
Nice reviews.

I agree with the D100. I played it just to see... exactly what I expected.
#7
As long as it was a Spider Valve cab like Raijouta said.
But anything can happen in those GC stores by the sounds of things I read here. Could be something as simple as a tube knocked slightly askew. I've seen a poorly seated valve make an amp sound crap but still worked ok.
Weird things can happen. I replaced the valve and it sounded good so I stuck the old one back in just to hear it again and Lo ......... sounds fine now. The only thing that coulda accounted for it was the valve seating. Bit of filth or something that had been knocked free.
First thing I do when I get a new valve amp in front of me is pull the tubes and plug them back in. Had to do it a gig once. I still say the roady was rough with it and we should have sacked him. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, shit does happen on the road.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#8
I keep hearing people talk about these loud rooms in GC... Are they the stuff of legend, or do they actually exist? I'm in the (long, drawn out) process of moving to Chicago, so surely there's a good GC store somewhere in the area. I know the one by my house sucks.

Does Dean make anything without the word "Dime" on it? Talk about raping someone's legacy by putting his name on one shitty product after another.
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#9
^^ Cath - yeah you never know with amps at GC. That is why it is always best to play an amp several times and preferably different ones. You gave really good advice too in checking the tubes/ohms first. I kinda did a 1 hour blow threw and admittedly didn't bother with stuff like that.

Ippon - I don't think the Duotone needed a new tube. I think it is just a preference thing. I didn't say it was bad - I just said it was too saturated for me.

^ Both of my GCs have loud rooms. They actually have an Acoustic room and a Drum room too. The loud room I spend most of my time in is pretty small. One person at a time kinda thing

Here is a pic looking the other direction when they had all the Egnater gear in there.



Greg is from Chicago, I'm guessing he has been to most of the GC's there.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Dec 12, 2011,
#10
That's been my biggest challenge with trying out amps. There are no stores near my house that have anywhere you can do a proper demo. You start cranking it up, and the guy is over there in 10 seconds turning the volume down on you.

The only amps I've really been able to try out extensively aside from my renegade and mark have been a buddy's JSX, his DC-10, and his Marshall (I think it was a JCM-900, only played it once)... yeah, he's an amp tech, so he buys and sells a lot of amps.

Looking forward to having a lot more choice in stores here.

On a side note, I was in Houston last spring visiting a friend. We went to GC to browse, and I saw a Lone star on the shelf. First time I'd ever seen one in a store. Right as I picked up a guitar to plug in, they started doing their king of the blues thing... wouldn't let anybody else play. So I went over to the other side of the store to check out one of the POD HD500's they had setup in the display. I plugged in and started playing so quietly that I could barely hear it sitting right next to it, and the guy comes over and tells me to turn it down so I'm not competing for volume with the guy standing 2 feet in front of the marshall halfstack on the other end of the store.... I've never left a store so pissed off in my life.

/rant
Quote by tubetime86
He's obviously pretty young, and I'd guess he's being raised by wolves, or at least humans with the intellectual capacity and compassion of wolves.


You finally made it home, draped in the flag that you fell for.
And so it goes
#11
Great job as always 311. The Electra-Dyne on a high gain setting, was it voiced for modern high gain, or a more vintage high gain, ala a Mark I or something?
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#12
Lots of guitar stores will have loud rooms, mine also has dedicated drum rooms and an acoustic 'quiet room' as it were.

I also really disliked the Spider Valve I played, found it muddy as hell. I didn't put it through its paces as much as I could have/should have though.
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
What the hell is a G&L.



Quote by Flux'D
Gay & Lesbian I think, the box smelled funny
Greg what did you send me??
#13
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Greg is from Chicago, I'm guessing he has been to most of the GC's there.

cool reviews. aside the volume jump thing i like the SV amps. it's a rare case with those things and me but i much prefer the combos to the heads. usually its the opposite.

yea we have the "high end" room which is doored off so you an crank stuff and really hear it. there aren't 5 teens playing the mario theme on spiders.

it's always a toss up as to what's in there. the better used stuff get's a spot in there for a while before it's banished to the back of the main floor.

THD, Reeves, PRS, Orange, better Mesa stuff etc all sits in there with the usual fender and marshall offerings.

i tried the reeves and thd combos last time, both were pretty stellar honestly. i wanted to try a mini rec but the only one they had was sold out the back before it hit the floor. finding one of those to try is going to be a bit of a quest. i don't need one, i just think i may like that amp and won't buy an amp without trying it anymore.
#14
I suspect the problem Dyne could largely be due to the cab. I know those Spider Valve cabs are supposed to be V30s but I'm fairly sure they're those "specially designed for" and not the real deal.

Love my Dyne. Not the most versatile thing on the planet, but it's incredibly dynamic and it will sound great regardless of where I put the dials.

But I thought I should mention that there is also a footswitch jack on the back. Would be nice to have both the reverb and the clean balance knobs on the front. It's always fun climbing behind the amp at a gig in the middle of a song to change things. But this is generally the case with Mesa amps.


Quote by LaidBack
Great job as always 311. The Electra-Dyne on a high gain setting, was it voiced for modern high gain, or a more vintage high gain, ala a Mark I or something?


Definitely vintage. It almost sounds like a hybrid of old Marshall and Mark I.
#15
Quote by icronic
Definitely vintage. It almost sounds like a hybrid of old Marshall and Mark I.


That's what I figured.
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#18
Thanks Mike, Dylan and Greg. The SV actually doesn't sound that bad - I just find them quirky I guess. I'm really not a modeling guy at heart anyway. The ElectraDyne on 'Hi' is pretty modern. Reminds me of my Quick Rod. Smooth. It can also get vintage tones too.

My store can not longer carry Mesa's new so the ED was used I think. Next time I go in there I'll ask about it and maybe get one of the nubs to dial me in a good tone on the SV. I know it is not supposed to pop at you like that but the pops were as if the amp was on full volume. So playing quietly - then boom.....loud pop.
#19
311, are you from Kansas City? That reminds me a lot of the loud room in the GC over toward Worlds of Fun in KC that I played a scratch n dent Gibby LP Custom at one time.
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