Markisawesome
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2012
20 IQ
#1
Okay, so I've been floating around some amps, and I must say, everyone seems to suck at giving a good opinion as to what makes a good amp, most especially for my kind of purposes. *note: I don't mean to start any arguments, I just want a good discussion about the best types of amps*

I go to GC, I'm testing some amps, Ok. So I get around to the Line 6 amps. I play the $100 Spider, and I'm like "Oh what a cool amp. Small, light, versatile. I think I'll buy this."

So I buy the amp and all ( A GREAT goddamn amp, too), and the cashier's like "Oh those are O.K., but you've got to get a Marshall stack. Only way to go. At least get a tube amp. It just has to have tubes."

I'm standing there thinking to myself "What the ****? I just wanna buy a goddamn amp!"

A few months from then, I go, I buy this Line 6 Valve Mk.II, and the in-store luthier is all like "Oh no, these are ok, they'll get you by, but what you've really got to get is a full stack, with full tubes and none of these channels and effects."

Again, I think "What the ****?! I wanna buy a goddamn amp, it sounds great, it has tons of nice features and cool sounds, and it has tubes and all, why does everyone have to be ignorant about suggesting what amps I should use?"

So I propose this question to the community: What makes a good amp? Must it have billions of presets, channels and effects? Or must it be a bare-boned, solid full tube stack, and you go out and get effects separately? And at that, does it really HAVE TO be either? I respect Line 6, and Peavey and stuff alot, but I also really respect Fender amps and Marshall amps and stuff. Anyone care for a good discussion?
:::::::: *******

AAAHH! OH NO! STOP SHOOTING ME!!!
dazza027
Serial Pain in the Arse
Join date: Aug 2011
60 IQ
#2
Ive got 2 amps that I use, ones a fender solid state which I like to use with my fx pedal because the clean channel is so clean on an SS Fender... My tube amp I dont really use much because its temperamental when the volume isnt up high, it wants big volume to make it sing. However Im a pretty strong believer in having a bit of everything... The argument about SS's and Tubes sounding better or worse than each other is bullshit, at least at volumes that the majority of us would play at anyway. I'll admit that the tube amp does have a nice voice when its wound right up but to be able to do that without pissing people off is pretty rare. And besides that, the SS will do damn near anything the tubes will do and do some things the tubes wont do. Theyve both got their pros and cons and thats why I like to have a bit of everything.
Markisawesome
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2012
20 IQ
#3
Finally, someone who believes in reason. I haven't met anyone like that in a long time. I guess my GC is just full of old-fashioned people who don't understand that SS can be good as well as tubeage. I've always been confronted with this when buying an amp, even as I buy a tube amp, it seems that people who only believe in tubes must berate SS. It's always been quite an uncomfortable nuisance. Thank you.
:::::::: *******

AAAHH! OH NO! STOP SHOOTING ME!!!
AcousticMirror
loves cheesecake
Join date: Dec 2009
450 IQ
#4
what just play a decent tube amp and then make your own decision.
buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
W4RP1G
Please, call me Pig.
Join date: May 2010
270 IQ
#5
I personally think digital modelling is going to replace tubes as the standard within the next 10 years. Tubes will become more of a niche market full of snobs and people who refuse to accept change, much like vinyl records.

What amp did you get? Why Line 6? The Peavey Vypyr series blows the Spider series away.
Markisawesome
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2012
20 IQ
#6
Well I actually forgot to mention something... for the past while, my live setup has consisted of a simple sony pa system, hooked up to my POD, hooked up to my l6 footboard, hooked up to my guitar. I've actually gotten GREAT sounds with that. I took that to a talent show, just friggin destroyed the place.

W4RP1G, You're right about digital modeling. Tubes are cool and all, but they're too troublesome for nowaday purposes.
But I must disagree with you on the vinyls. They're still really cool to have around. Especially actual classic stuff like YES and Jethro Tull and Zeppelin and stuff.
And I like peavey vypyrs, they're friggin AMAZING amps, and I have one that I bought pretty recently, but I love l6 so much. mostly cuz of the POD, but their amps are just as good as any peavey.
:::::::: *******

AAAHH! OH NO! STOP SHOOTING ME!!!
Last edited by Markisawesome at Oct 6, 2012,
JesusCrisp
UG's Jesus
Join date: May 2009
160 IQ
#7
For me an amp has to have the kind of tone I'm looking for, no matter how many channels and modes an amp has, if the basic tone of it is meh, it's just not worth it for me.
Hell, I've been testing guitars in a store through a Marshall JVM, switching through all the channels and gain stages and couldn't find a tone that was really "my thing".

On the other hand I really had a lot of fun with a POD HD.

Tons of effects and possibilities are awesome, but you really have to know yourself what you realistically need.
I'm playing a 2-channel tube amp myself. I sometimes think it could have another channel or 2, but I'm not gigging or something ATM, so it's not an issue.

2 friends of mine play in a prog-metal band and use 4-channel-amps with MIDI-switching and a POD HD since they really need a whole lot of tone changes during their gigs.
Fender American Special HSS Stratocaster
Ibanez 1987 Roadstar II Deluxe
Yamaha THR10X
Marshall JCM900 SL-X
Ibanez WD-7 Weeping Demon Wah
TC Electronic Polytune
Seymour Duncan Tweakfuzz
Kevin Saale
Talks to empty chairs
Join date: Dec 2007
140 IQ
#8
I think you missed something with those guitar stores. Of course they want you to buy something bigger and better, they're trying to make money.

Moving on pretty much everything about guitar amps is subjective. Build quality is really the only objective part of an amp, and a lot of times its not even considered. Look at all the spiders, mgs, and bugeras that get bought, none of which are very reliable.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
AeolianSeventh
Sperm Whale Messiah
Join date: Jan 2009
10 IQ
#9
What makes a good amp? For me, it's really simple: it has to sound good and it has to feel right--the way it moves air has to be dynamic. I don't care about channels, I have fuzz pedals for that. I don't care about effects, I have pedals that do those better than any built-in preset I've ever heard (yes, including Axe-FX). I just want it to take whatever signal I feed into it and make it sound and feel good.

So far I've found one SS amp that sounded right and one SS amp that felt right. No, they weren't the same amp. A lot of SS amps sound good for cleans, but I haven't found many that worked for any distortion other than full-bore scooped-mids metal saturation. I've heard exactly one modelling amp that sounded good and musical to me at all gain levels and could take pedals acceptably (the Kemper) and it didn't feel right--I couldn't play right plugged into it, because the...I guess you'd call it the feedback was wrong. The interplay between me and the sound. So I react the same way to people recommending things like the Spiders and Vypyrs and even Kempers and Axe-FXs that you reacted to people telling you to get a Marshall.

I'm not saying modelling amps can't sound great. I'm just saying they don't do the same thing as tube amps yet. Will they eventually? Yeah, probably. Can they get close enough for most people? Definitely. Are tube amps obsolete and only holding on because guitarists are terrified of anything new? Nope. There's still a place for both.
Money beats soul every time.

Money beats soul...every time.

Money...beats soul...every...goddamn...time.
GaryBillington
Last of a Dyin' Breed
Join date: Nov 2001
238 IQ
#10
Quote by Markisawesome
everyone seems to suck at giving a good opinion as to what makes a good amp

Here's your problem. This statement is completely wrong. Everyone is really good at giving an opinion as to what makes a good amp.

The trouble is, it's only their opinion. Their opinion will be different to yours. That is why the only way to decide what amp (or guitar, pedal, etc etc etc) is right for you is to get out there & try as many as possible so you can form your own opinion.

Gibson LP Traditional, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm > TC Polytune > MXR Custom Badass 78 > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
Laney VC30
Marshall TSL602
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
Markisawesome
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2012
20 IQ
#11
I've attempted using pedalboards and complex rigs with tube amps and I can't say it's any improvement over a good SS with the same effects and a good speaker. Well I guess I like my Valve MkII, as it is the best of both worlds, it has tubes AND complex modelling tech.
:::::::: *******

AAAHH! OH NO! STOP SHOOTING ME!!!
Last edited by Markisawesome at Oct 6, 2012,
trashedlostfdup
diet coke fiend.
Join date: Apr 2010
1,300 IQ
#12
for me i like something simple two channels, basic independent EQ and a master volume. hence the splawn promod and nitro. sound good pretty however you drive it in.

the two most recent amps i have bought have been the opposite a VHT Sig:X and a mesa mark IV. they are really fussy and takes more time to dial them in, and both are three channels. tons of features, tons of different tones on either one.

all tube. the only amp that is SS that i would ever consider would be a Roland JC120, an Ampeg VH140, Randall RG100ES (have owned two), or a Randall Century (i have a combo 100 watt version) or Randall Warhead. they all sound good for what they do

(and i am a pantera fan so that is where i get the randalls from, they sound better than the way dime EQ'd them)
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.
AeolianSeventh
Sperm Whale Messiah
Join date: Jan 2009
10 IQ
#13
Quote by Markisawesome
I've attempted using pedalboards and complex rigs with tube amps and I can't say it's any improvement over a good SS with the same effects and a good speaker.

Subjective! I can say it absolutely is a massive improvement. For me. It apparently wasn't for you. I find the sound of my guitar through my pedals into my amp much better than the sound of a guitar through a Line 6 AnythingEver. Presumably you don't. This is why there isn't one amp company with an absolute monopoly on the industry because they made The Amp. This is why there isn't a book that explains how to put together a rig with ideal tone that every beginner reads. Because from your perspective, you're right, your modelling amp is every bit as good as any tube rig. From my perspective, you're wrong, the Spider Valve doesn't match up to the tone of a quality tube amp and a set of nice analog effects. And we're both completely right.

I guess we're stuck genuinely enjoying the sounds of our equipment and regretting nothing.
Money beats soul every time.

Money beats soul...every time.

Money...beats soul...every...goddamn...time.
AcousticMirror
loves cheesecake
Join date: Dec 2009
450 IQ
#14
i mean the problem is that the digital section of the spider valve isn't that great.

it's better then a lot of stuff but it is hardly the best digital modeling section ever.
buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
Kevin Saale
Talks to empty chairs
Join date: Dec 2007
140 IQ
#15
Quote by AcousticMirror
i mean the problem is that the digital section of the spider valve isn't that great.

it's better then a lot of stuff but it is hardly the best digital modeling section ever.


Totally agreed. Hardly the best digital modeling line 6 has done. I hated how the volume jumped when changing presets, that ended my demoing of the spider valve short.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
BledGhostWhite
Stop being a centipede
Join date: Oct 2010
90 IQ
#16
For me, a good amp is marked by versatility; just the same as a guitar. I like my amps to be able to do as much in as many directions as possible. I like to be able to pull the treble down, and get a nice warm jazz tone. I also like to be able to crank the gain and bust out some awesome death metal riffs.

But that's also probably because I play progressive metal for the most part. I need something that can cover some serious ground. My dream amp is a Boogie Mark V. dat tone...

But between SS and tube, I'm somewhere in the middle. I recently got a Blackstar HT-100 head (all tube), and I love it. For me, nothing beats the tone of a cranked tube amp with analogue pedals, and a naturally nice sounding guitar. But I won't discredit SS amps. I practice with either an L6 Spyder or a Roland 30x Cube, and I really want an SS head for a backup. Not only are they generally more reliable, but I like some of the brutal metal tones you can produce out of them. I don't find them to have as much "feel" per se, but I find them more responsive for doing really fast start-stop kinda stuff. Dime certainly had a rad tone, and often got his sound from SS Randalls.

tl;dr They all have their place, and should be treated as such. I don't think either should be totally void of consideration for anyone.
krehzeekid
Me like guitars
Join date: Dec 2009
240 IQ
#17
with amps, it all comes down to what you want to do with the amp. little modelling amps are brilliant if that's what you need (small, quiet, versatile and tolerable tones). no, they aren't appropriate for live use, nor do they have the quality of tone required for recording. However, they are perfect for home practice use- which is, incidentally, precisely what they're supposed to be good for.

The monstrous single-channel stacks are, in my mind, the most useless thing on the planet. yes, they are extraordinarily good for producing a single loud and raw sound (and deafening you in the process), but they are hardly useful for anything else. Big channel switchers (like most mesa boogies or engl's) are somewhat more useful because they cover a much wider range of tones. However, these big, hulking and complicated amps are very time consuming to set up and are frankly too loud for home practice (I have one...). you cannot use them in place of a little modelling amp, nor could you use that modelling amp in place of a tube-loaded monster.

the issue with amps is that there isn't- nor will there ever be- a "one amp for all occasions" sort of amp. yes, any amp can conceivably be pressed into action in any scenario, but that hardly means it is appropriate or at all good for that scenario. depending on the needs of a particular guitarist, there are any number of amps that may be necessary in order for that guitarist to feel like they have the amp they need. by the same token, some guitarists- due to simpler or more limited requirements- really only need 1 small amp. if thats the case, then that is sort of the end of the story.
Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things...
Markisawesome
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2012
20 IQ
#18
Well now I really wonder about the future of amps. I know that for now, absolute tone at exceptionally high volumes is best left to tube amps. I understand that SS amps don't move air like tubes do. BUT I do believe that such volumes don't necessarily need to be achieved by the amp itself, but rather a series of exterior speakers that i've rigged onto it. I make it sound pretty damn rad, but I can't say I have the patience enough to deal with a totally plain amp. No matter how 'good' it may sound over a modeling amp.
:::::::: *******

AAAHH! OH NO! STOP SHOOTING ME!!!
Don't Panic Ok?
Clive Dunn
Join date: Oct 2007
20 IQ
#19
Quote by Markisawesome
So I propose this question to the community: What makes a good amp?

A good amp is one that you like.

DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC!
THEY DON'T LIKE IT UP 'EM!
Arby911
Finding the Pattern
Join date: Jul 2010
110 IQ
#20
Quote by Markisawesome
Well now I really wonder about the future of amps. I know that for now, absolute tone at exceptionally high volumes is best left to tube amps. I understand that SS amps don't move air like tubes do. BUT I do believe that such volumes don't necessarily need to be achieved by the amp itself, but rather a series of exterior speakers that i've rigged onto it. I make it sound pretty damn rad, but I can't say I have the patience enough to deal with a totally plain amp. No matter how 'good' it may sound over a modeling amp.



And here's the problem.

I don't care what you use, if you like it more power to you. In the end that's all that matters.

But you don't know shit about amps, as evidenced by the bolded portion above.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
AcousticMirror
loves cheesecake
Join date: Dec 2009
450 IQ
#21
Quote by Markisawesome
Well now I really wonder about the future of amps. I know that for now, absolute tone at exceptionally high volumes is best left to tube amps. I understand that SS amps don't move air like tubes do. BUT I do believe that such volumes don't necessarily need to be achieved by the amp itself, but rather a series of exterior speakers that i've rigged onto it. I make it sound pretty damn rad, but I can't say I have the patience enough to deal with a totally plain amp. No matter how 'good' it may sound over a modeling amp.


bro you don't really know anything?

plus aren't you talking about the spider valve? that's a tube power section...
buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
Pandorum
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2012
10 IQ
#22
TS, you got a flawed picture of the differences between tube and SS amps. Do some research, a 5 minute google search should provide all the answers you need, or just search this forums, it's been discussed many times.
I'll tell you one thing tho. And this is the best advice you'll get in this thread. DON'T TRUST STORE CLERKS! Don't do it, man! It they smell you and catch a scent of cash, they'll tell you Mesas are the only way to go! Other times, they'll try to sell you whatever their boss wants them to push. Today, it might be Marshalls, tomorrow it will be Line 6s or Peavys. They have mediocre experience in music AT BEST, no matter how convincing they might be saying otherwise, and don't have your best interest in mind, so don't listen to what they say!
When I was buying my Gibson LP, all the stores in my town that didn't have Gibson in stock were trying to sell me their crap, ranging from Tokai (trow some Alincos and you got a Gibson, man!), to some German shit I never heard of (it's cheaper, has double binding, and is overall much better than Gibson!), ALL OF THEM swearing by their brands, all of them swearing on their mother's lives Gibson is not what it used to be. Go figure.
Kevin Saale
Talks to empty chairs
Join date: Dec 2007
140 IQ
#23
Quote by Pandorum
TS, you got a flawed picture of the differences between tube and SS amps. Do some research, a 5 minute google search should provide all the answers you need, or just search this forums, it's been discussed many times.
I'll tell you one thing tho. And this is the best advice you'll get in this thread. DON'T TRUST STORE CLERKS! Don't do it, man! It they smell you and catch a scent of cash, they'll tell you Mesas are the only way to go! Other times, they'll try to sell you whatever their boss wants them to push. Today, it might be Marshalls, tomorrow it will be Line 6s or Peavys. They have mediocre experience in music AT BEST, no matter how convincing they might be saying otherwise, and don't have your best interest in mind, so don't listen to what they say!
When I was buying my Gibson LP, all the stores in my town that didn't have Gibson in stock were trying to sell me their crap, ranging from Tokai (trow some Alincos and you got a Gibson, man!), to some German shit I never heard of (it's cheaper, has double binding, and is overall much better than Gibson!), ALL OF THEM swearing by their brands, all of them swearing on their mother's lives Gibson is not what it used to be. Go figure.


I'd argue Tokai is a pretty solid brand and most Gibsons aren't really great value for the money. Your point still stands though.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
Dave_Mc
Chirp and Swirl
Join date: Mar 2005
440 IQ
#24
Quote by Kevin Saale
I'd argue Tokai is a pretty solid brand and most Gibsons aren't really great value for the money. Your point still stands though.


+1 (certainly the japanese tokais, which should have alnico pickups anyway)

but yeah, don't trust sales assistants, that point is 100% accurate and worth pointing out over and over again.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

MM14
Master Baster
Join date: Jun 2009
60 IQ
#25
There are certain things that you cannot achieve with modelling software.
Dick Foster
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2012
10 IQ
#26
Here's my two cents for what it's worth.

Buy the amp that you like and sounds good to you for what you intend to use it for. Take your guitar and your ears down to the store and buy what you can afford and what sounds like it will do the job for you. Today price doesn't necessarily seem to have anything to do with cost or size as there it a lot of money going into labels and there seems to as much about following fashion than anything else to it too. Then again I've never been much of a fashion hound nor a slave to style.

If it's for home or professional use and it has the features you want and it sounds good to you, then buy it and to hell with what anyone else says. The bottom line is, you have to pay for it and live with it and they don't.

I am a retired EE that started life with and cut my teeth on tubes. Quite frankly however, I'd much rather have a good SS amp with digital modeling. The reason why is simply because you are not likely to get anything made with tubes (an obsolete technology) that does not introduce distortion. Plus with modeling I can get have all the effects I want for a dime on the dollar and have it all in one nice tidy package with one well organized foot controller instead a bunch of little overpriced boxes interconnected with a mass of failure prone wiring that looks for all the world like a plate of spaghetti.

Achieving low levels of distortion is a lot easier with modern solid state designs particularly those that use power FETs in the final. While I am quite aware that distortion is a sought after effect for some, you can add as much or as little distortion in any flavor that you want with a DSP (digital signal processor) front end.

To me you should want something that you start out with that is clean and distortion free then add in the distortion and or effects that what you want. That you can easily do with a good solid state amp but not with tubes. With tubes you will have a certain amount of distortion that you can not do anything about as soon as you start cranking the amp and it will vary the more or less you crank it.

As far as the final sound goes, the speakers and speaker enclosure will have a greater effect on the final sound than the electronics will whether it be tube or solid state that is unless the amp is simply pure junk.

To my mind the perfect amp is a Line 6 Vetta because it has all of the things I want lots of clean power and lots of effects at the puch of a few buttons but that's me and my ears.
However be advised that as good as the Vetta is, it is no longer made so I don't recommend that anyone buy one unless you have the equipment and know how to repair it to the component level yourself. In fact, Line 6 seems to have chucked the whole idea of solid state amps due to ignorance and hip boot levels of bullshit in the market place. At the end of the day they are in business to sell stuff and if no one buys it for whatever reason then they'd be out of business pretty quick if they didn't change and build what people think they want. Good, bad or indifferent it is what it is

Line 6 no longer supports the Vetta and PC boards are no longer available for it. Also their so called official repair shops are little more than PC board and tube swappers who know about as much about troubleshooting electronics to the component level as my pet schnauzer. Therefore if it dies, you're likely to be stuck with an expensive boat anchor. At least it's heavy enough to anchor a small boat. Since I have the test equipment and have manged to find the schematics for it (in spite of Line 6), I'm happy with mine for now.

As far as modeling goes, you need to be aware that most of the factory models that most companies ship with their products are far from optimal for most folks so you have to be ready and able to do some diddling and programming on your own to get the sound you seek. I suppose you can caulk this up to simple objectivity. What may sound cool to some, sounds like pure crap to the next guy. Most of the factory models in that came in my Vetta sound like crap to me but I can change them and am not stuck with what they sound like.

The whole idea with modeling is that the sound you want is in there somewhere, you just have to go dig it out but at least you don't have to pay anymore for it like you do with the billion little boxes approach. i.e. it's just software not hardware. And this is coming from a long time hardware engineer.

I don't know who makes an equivalent to the Vetta now but if it were me, that's what I'd be looking for. Maybe a Line6 Pod or a Roland or something hooked up to a nice solid state amp that has lots of good clean power output into some nice instrument grade speakers that aren't apt to melt into a puddle when the amp puts the juice to them.
Offworld92
One among the fence.
Join date: Nov 2009
520 IQ
#27
I'm glad this is a somewhat necrobump so I don't even have to get into this.

Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
Offworld92
One among the fence.
Join date: Nov 2009
520 IQ
#29
At the rate that threads are created in this forum, a month old is really, really buried.

Anyway, I said "somewhat" necrobump. I realize it's only a month old. But the bumper didn't reply directly to anyone and he's not the TS, he just seemed to drag it up from somewhere and add a completely new post to it.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
250 IQ
#30
Personally, I enjoy both tube and digital options.

I practice through headphones and little modeling devices all the time- Korg Pandoras, a Tascam GT-R1, etc.- but my amp is a Fender HRD with a carpet of pedals in front of it.

While I like my modelers, they simply don't deliver the same sounds as do my pedals.

However, at some point, I absolutely WILL have some version of DigiTech's iPB-10 and whatever modeling apps are available for it. (And the ReacTable app for my iPad as well...)

At this point, I do not envision myself recording anything with my current or contemplated future digital options (besides the ReacTable app)...but I find it nearly as hard to contemplate lugging all my pedals around to a gig or on a tour.

...neither of which I do, but I could easily envision someone making the same mental calculation.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 11, 2012,