Short Version
Need something that can handle Thrash and aggressive stuff well, but will normally be at hard rock level. No need for downtuned madness.
Money would best be under $2000, but can handle $3k+
New or used
I'm looking at 100w tube heads, volume is NOT a problem.
Excellent cleans already handled by the Bogner Metropolis, so it doesn't have to have great cleans as long as they're usable.
I like a lot of mids in my overdrive sound, though I have an EQ to help with that.
Effects Loop
Would be nice if it were to take overdrive pedals well.
I also like things that are less common/boutique.
End Short Version

Location: smack dab in the middle of Ohio, USA (willing to travel a few hours to check out an amp I'm interested in)
Budget: practical limit is around $2000 US, though if I find something I feel is "the one" the most I see myself spending is $3500
New vs. Used: either works as long as the amp works and is in good condition. I don't really trust anything online like Ebay when it comes to the expensive stuff, and would really prefer to try out an amp in person before I buy.
Home playing, I live with my family but I'm not limited to "bedroom" volumes. Do need to make sure the windows stay intact during the winter though...
I've probably got to lump playing style, genres, and gear together so you get a full picture of the situation, though it boils down to currently looking for something more high-gain than the bluesy amp I've currently got.
So here's what I've currently got (not everything, but the stuff that gets regular usage):

Eric Clapton Signature Strat
Hamer Studio

15w Bogner Metropolis 2x12 combo (Blues sounding Class A amp with a unique clean sound, JJ EL84s for powertubes instead of the stock Yugoslavians)

Tone affecting pedals:
Empress Multidrive
Nady TD-1
TWA Triskellion harmonic energizer (kinda like a cocked wah with a fuzz circuit, but it's the best sounding gain stage I have)
MXR Dyna Comp

The biggest problem, and the first reason I'm looking to get another amp, is that the 15w Bogner doesn't have much gain on tap, and it also doesn't mesh well with my overdrive pedals. It doesn't handle that much distortion well and the sound is way too compressed. It just doesn't sound natural, or well, good. The best description I could give is that all my guitars start to sound the same, the dynamics start to get lost, you don't hear any of the "wood" of the guitar in the tone, all you hear is the electronics.
I want to keep the Bogner because it's got some great and unique (to my experience) jangly clean sounds, but I want something that can go into metal territory with aplomb. I'll sometimes tune down to Eb or D, but I don't do the extreme(er) stuff and I'm not really into the super deep chug chug metal anyway. However, there are times when I want to play aggressive, hit those power chords hard and rock out.
But most the time, the tone I wish I had for most of what I play would be probably somewhere between Carlos Santana and Eric Johnson. I love the smooth darkness of Santana and the soaring quality Eric Johnson has.
Maybe I should list the guys I really like the tones of (and maybe the CDs with their best tone, imo). In no particular order:
Santana (Supernatural)
Shawn Lane (Time is the Enemy)
David Gilmoure (Live in Gdansk)
John Petrucci (Black Clouds and Silver Linings)
Eric Clapton (24 nights live)

For EQ, I'm a mids guy. I love mids. Mids mids mids. It's like oreos. Doublestuff is better because there's more MIDS. Bass I like to keep tight and controlled, I don't like it when it gets too boomy and drowns out the mids and treble. Too much treble is not good, but I tend to move it up or down from time to time.

As for the second reason, I want a unit with an effects loop, which the Bogner doesn't have.
I'm also thinking of getting a head and cab, rather than a combo.

Now while it doesn't particularly sound like any of the artists I mentioned above, there IS an amp I've been looking at, that I have been able to play in person and I like.
It's a used Splawn Quickrod head (El34 version), for $1650. Found it in a small music store about an hour away and liked it when I tried it. The cleans were good enough, but the overdrive sounded great even at volumes low enough for the store. However, I'm not fully committed to it yet. I've also *looked* at a Bogner Shiva and a Fryette Signature X, but I haven't played a wide range of amps yet and Iwant to know more of what's out there, the stuff that I haven't experienced yet before I commit to anything. So please give your own recommendations or +1 one of mine.

If you can manage to make sense of my messy post, I look forward to checking out your recommendations!
Last edited by DSO at Jan 18, 2012,
WOW!!!! $2000 - $3500 can get you literally ANYTHING you could possibly want. but im in a hurry and the post was too long so i can make a recommendation cos i didnt read it all.
Christ, this OP has everything, even Doublestuff Oreos! Sir, I like your style.

Diezel Hagen. Talk to mmolteratx. He just got his and won't shut up about it.
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Off the top of my head, JCM800, SLO, Quick Rod.

Quick Rod or Nitro might be your best bet if you want a dedicated clean channel.
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Bogner Shiva is a great sounding amp, like a marshall but really balls out. Not sure about the splawn model, I've heard one - a nitro I think? - and it was probably the person playing it but in my mind it had too much gain for hard rock, but then again I have no idea about the quickrod.
However without question if I had 2/3 grand to go at I'd definitely be looking around for Soldanos. In my mind the best sounding amps ever (the SLO 100 obviously the flagship model). I've played a Hot Rod 100 in store before and it just blew me away in terms of tone (and I love my mids as well) so thats what I'm after next.
But of course its down to personal tastes, go out and try a load. Pick a few days or something to go and venture out in search of your ideal amp, because with 2/3 grand you might as well make sure you love what you're getting.
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Maybe a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier could work for you.They are especially used for thrash.
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I hope you know you have a lot of choices
The Splawn is really good amp. You should also take a look at Two-Rock amps (on the slightly lighter gain side of things, but nothing a good OD can't fix). There's also the Mesa Mark V that comes to mind, hell you could get a used Mark IIC+ for that price IIRC.
The Mark V immediately comes to mind.

It has an epic megaton of midrange. No really. Even if you turn them off you've still got enough midrange to cut through in a band.

Santana can be achieved very easily with the Mark I mode, and you can get pretty close to EJ/Gilmoure with Mark I or Mark IIC+ on lower gain settings. Clapton can be achieved on the tweed setting. As for Pertrucci... He uses one... Nuff said.

Nobody will ever mistake the amp for a Marshall, but aside from that with a little patience it'll do anything you want it to.

Aside from the Mark the Splawn Pro Mod or maybe the Nitro might fit the bill, but I find them to be quite bright. Not harsh in any way, just bright.

I could make many more suggestions, but I've got to be honest, the Mark V is the only thing that I can think of that meets pretty much all your demands.
Marshall JCM 800 KK might be a good idea.
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ok so just to predict the rest of this thread:


go to store and play amps

did i come close?
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if you embrace inaccurate intonation it can be quite arousing.

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ok so just to predict the rest of this thread:


go to store and play amps

did i come close?

yes, yes you did. and we are all very jealous of your budget. good luck finding an amp that you like (im sure you will).
Bogner Uberschall, Diezel Einstein, Diamond Phantom/Nitrox, Engl Powerball,Framus Cobra/Dragon, Mesa Mark V/Road King, Spawn Nitro, Baron K2

just to name a few.
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Quote by LaidBack
Christ, this OP has everything, even Doublestuff Oreos! Sir, I like your style.

Diezel Hagen. Talk to mmolteratx. He just got his and won't shut up about it.

This. Hagen is the greatest amp I've ever played. Crazy delicious. It can do what you're looking for and a whole lot more should you ever decide to branch out. Most incredibly responsive feel as well. Just a really killer amp.
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The amp that I have seems to be overlooked a lot. The Laney VH100R. It can do everything you are looking for and more. It is essentially a 4 channel amp. It has a dedicated clean channel. The cleans are crystal clean beautiful, some of the best clean tones I've ever heard come out of this amp. On the clean channel there is a footswitchable drive boost which turns a great od. Can go from just barely breaking up like a tubescreamer to jcm stlye overdrive. Then there is the Gain channel with a footswitchable gain boost that can go from hard rock to brootz.

Oh did you ask about an effects loop? There are side chain effects loops for channels A & B as well as one global to the entire pre amp. There is an insert loop, which can be run in three modes - Bypass, Side chain or Insert with a dedicated return level, and finally there is a Pre amp out/Power amp in loop.

And it takes pedals well. I've been using my pedal board with it since the day I got it.
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Diezel Hagen or Soldano SLO
Call me Dom
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Gibson Les Paul Studio
Highway One Telecaster
Dean Evo
Mesa F-50
Laney GH50L
Vox AC30 C2
Ampeg V2
Quote by kangaxxter
The only real answer to the SG vs Les Paul debate is to get a Flying V and laugh at all the suckers who don't have one.

Quote by Blompcube

if you embrace inaccurate intonation it can be quite arousing.

Never even considered Soldano or Diezel, wasn't familiar with them. The Hagen looks really interesting, but dang that's a lot of cash. Kinda doubt I'd ever find a used one too. Mesa mark V also looks like a good call. Now, does anyone know a place where I can play one of these beasts...

Also still drawn to that Quickrod. I'd say based on YT listening experience the first 3 and the Splawn are frontrunners. Bogner Shiva might be good but the YT videos versus my real life experience playing the Splawn put the Quickrod ahead.
Try out a Marshall JVM410h, trust me!
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I immediately thought of e Mesa MkV, however with that budget, the other amp that IMMEDIATELY jumped to mind was the Titan Cerebus. That puppy is brutal.
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I immediately thought of e Mesa MkV.

same here

but if we're talking $3k+ i'm gonna have to go with ENGL SE, Mesa RoadKing or Diezel Herbert but only because i've actually played them. From what i've heard the Diezel VH4 and Hagen are good but i have no experience with either
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For thrash I'd say Splawn or SLO.
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