epiphone098
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
122 IQ
#1
Hey guys, I've been saving for a new tube amp head. Right now, my budget is capped around $600 (not a lot, I know).

So after much searching, I've come across 4 different amps:
1.)Orange Dual Terror 30 watt

2.)Mesa .50 Caliber 50watt (6l6 version with eq)

3.)Marshall JCM900 50 watt

4.)Marshall DSL100H 100 watt


I'm a decent guitar player, and at the moment I'm looking for something that I can manage some bedroom practicing with while still being able to hold up with a band in a live situation. I play mostly punk and music that dwells towards the heavier side of the spectrum. As of now, I'm playing an Ibanez ARZ400.

I've done quite a bit of reading on all of them and I've tested a few out, however the JCM and DSL have yet to be tested (I can't seem to find any around my area).
SO, I'm looking for some opinions on each head and their abilities, and ultimately which one seems to be a solid choice for my needs. This may be a dumb question seeing that these heads are all very different from each other, but I thought it'd be worth a shot (especially since spending is not something I take lightly and I always like to get feedback and opinions from others).

Also I'm new to the forum, I read through the rules and I don't think this thread is in violation of any, but if it is (for any reason) then I apologize in advance.
ihartfood
Potato Faced Blind Man
Join date: Mar 2012
551 IQ
#2
1. yes, but not if you like cleans
2. yes - delicious amp
3. depends, is it the SL-X, Dual Reverb or Mk III? stay away from the dual reverb
4. if it's the old one from the 90s/early 00s yes that's a good option but the new heads and combos that just came out are bad. what you want is a JCM2000 DSL50 or DSL100 in terms of DSLs.

are you looking for good versatility?
epiphone098
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
122 IQ
#3
Hey man, thanks for the input.

As far as versatility, it would be nice since I don't part easily with my gear and I would like to keep it around for a while. For now, I'm not looking for the best cleans, but gain instead. I need some power to accommodate my band's style.
The JCM900 is actually the Hi Gain Dual Reverb model and the DSL100h is a newer model, go figure haha

My only concerns with the Orange were that a)there wasn't a lot of control or versatility b)would it come through for me in a live situation. However, when I turned it up I loved the sound it was giving me.

And I'm unsure about the Mesa because I didn't get a lot of time with it, nor did I get the chance to push it (kept it at a bedroom volume). Also, I'm not the best at dialing in tones on the spot and I feel that I more or less just fiddled with it for a little while before I had to go. It left me pretty unclear with what kind of amp the Mesa was.
Last edited by epiphone098 at Nov 22, 2012,
Blktiger0
The Name's Devon! ;)
Join date: Sep 2007
3,630 IQ
#4
If you can find an older DSL, those make great heavy punk amps, although they're good for much more than just that. The JCM900 would work, too, but you don't want the Dual Reverb. The SL-X would be the one I would get if i got a JCM900, but the MKIII is still just as good.

You could easily get a DSL401 combo in that price range (again, the older ones). Are you factoring in that you'll need a cabinet to go with those amp heads? You might even benefit from looking into Jet City stuff. The 50w one seems right up your alley. I'm not sure exactly how heavy you need to get, but Egnater makes some great stuff you might want to look into, specifically, the Tweaker-88 and Rebel-30. A Peavey Ultra would be another consideration here.
epiphone098
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
122 IQ
#5
I actually do I have a cab I forgot to mention, I'm gonna be playing through an Avatar 2x12 (inside is a Celestion G12T-75 and Celestion G12 Classic Lead 80), so right now I'm looking for a head. I appreciate all of the suggestions, I'll start looking into those amps as well.
And I'm curious, what's the problem with the Dual Reverb? I have read mixed things about them.
Offworld92
One among the fence.
Join date: Nov 2009
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#6
Definitely look out for a JCM900 MkIII (they seem to go cheaper than the SL-X cause they're less known).


EDIT: The Dual Reverb is a hybrid piece of crap. The SL-X is basically what the JCM900 was SUPPOSED to be.

Funnily, the guys who made the Dual Reverb left Marshall and went on to form Blackstar.
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Last edited by Offworld92 at Nov 22, 2012,
Cathbard
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#8
Quote by Blktiger0
The issue with the Dual Reverb is that the Preamp distortion is completely Solid State.

Not exactly correct. The preamp is a hybrid and does have op-amps and clipping diodes but V1 does get pushed pretty hard. You get a combination of SS and valve distortion, much like running an overdrive pedal with the drive turned up about halfway. If you remove the clipping diodes you actually get just as much distortion (esp on ch2) because the clipping diodes actually limit how hard you can push V1. It's a ridiculous circuit.

But having said that, it makes a fantastic punk amp nonetheless. Channel 1 actually produces really nice clean tones if you keep the gain control down and a decent crunch similar to a tubescreamer in front of a JCM800 if you turn the gain up.

Get the DSL or the Mesa.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 22, 2012,
Blktiger0
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#9
Quote by Cathbard
Not exactly correct. The preamp is a hybrid and does have op-amps and clipping diodes but V1 does get pushed pretty hard. You get a combination of SS and valve distortion, much like running an overdrive pedal with the drive turned up about halfway. If you remove the clipping diodes you actually get just as much distortion (esp on ch2) because the clipping diodes actually limit how hard you can push V1. It's a ridiculous circuit.

But having said that, it makes a fantastic punk amp nonetheless. Channel 1 actually produces really nice clean tones if you keep the gain control down and a decent crunch similar to a tubescreamer in front of a JCM800 if you turn the gain up.

Get the DSL or the Mesa.


Okay, I trust you on that

Honestly, I got that info from some other site a while back when researching a bunch of info on Marshall. The guys talking about it said that all of the OD channel was SS distortion, but they didn't really go into it. I most definitely trust you over random other internet peoples. Hell, I don't even know if they were Australian.

I've honestly always wanted to try a 900, but I've only even seen one in my life, and at that point, I didn't even know there were 3 versions

Just to be certain, would the 900 make a good Pop-Punk amp? I just wonder because my girlfriend plays Pop-Punk. My first choice for her is a Dual Rec, second choice is a lunchbox Orange, but seeing as how I planon decorating my home with amps, if this would work for her too, she would likely give zero shits about me buying one.
Cathbard
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#10
Yeah, it'll do the deed. We used one playing Green Day, Blink 182 and Offspring type stuff and it did a fine job. A Dual Rec would be better but a JCM900 is a lot cheaper. If you do the mod I do they are a lot better too. It's channel 2 that is the problem and that just requires replacing the clipping network with a resistor. It requires removing the PCB but otherwise not a particularly difficult mod.
Basically, the JCM900 is a great punk amp regardless, even Steve Jones was using one on the Filthy Lucre tour and as we all know, originally he used a dimed Fender Twin.
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epiphone098
Registered User
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#11
My friend said he could get me a hefty discount at samash but they don't seem to have any of the models that I've been recommended. What's the deal with Blackstar heads? Any good to be found in them?

Also it seems that I've come across a JCM2000 DSL, would this head be good for punk/pop punk? So far, I've been largely recommended the JCM900 but I haven't heard much about the 2000 before this thread.
Last edited by epiphone098 at Nov 23, 2012,
Blktiger0
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#12
Quote by Cathbard
Yeah, it'll do the deed. We used one playing Green Day, Blink 182 and Offspring type stuff and it did a fine job. A Dual Rec would be better but a JCM900 is a lot cheaper. If you do the mod I do they are a lot better too. It's channel 2 that is the problem and that just requires replacing the clipping network with a resistor. It requires removing the PCB but otherwise not a particularly difficult mod.
Basically, the JCM900 is a great punk amp regardless, even Steve Jones was using one on the Filthy Lucre tour and as we all know, originally he used a dimed Fender Twin.


If I just grabbed an SL-X, would I need to do any modification?

TS, I think a DSL would suit you just fine. They're a pretty great amp in general, and they can do Punk without any troubles.
Cathbard
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#13
No, an SL/X is good to go as is. Quality of tubes is your only concern. All those op-amps and diodes before V1 were replaced by a 12AX7. Still uses op-amps for the master volumes but that's not really a problem. The ugly stuff was removed.
No clean channel, just two master volumes but a great sounding amp. Definitely the superior version of the JCM900.
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Blktiger0
The Name's Devon! ;)
Join date: Sep 2007
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#14
I'll probably look for one of those, with a MKIII in the cards as well. With the MKIII, I could probably deal with the little bit of SS that replaces that 12AX7, and removing that seems like it would be easier than taking on a Dual Reverb.

I'm gonna start looking out for these on Craigslist and in local shops.
Cathbard
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#15
The Mk3 needs to have the clipper removed (and a resistor added), then it becomes a 2203 with two master volumes. It's basically the same mod that you do to channel 2 of the Dual Reverb but on a less cluttered PCB. The Dual Reverb without the clipper has just as much distortion as with it in but it's tube distortion instead of SS clipping. All those op-amps push V1 pretty hard and produce more distortion than a MK3 can go, even with the clipper intact.
The SL/X has a metric shitload more gain. Wait until you can find an SL/X, it's the best 900 by far.
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epiphone098
Registered User
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#18
I've got it down to the orange or the mesa. It's a tough choice, they're both close as far as price. I like that I would only be the 3rd owner of the orange, but the mesa seems to have more control. If I got a graphic eq, would that help me at all with widening the tonal versatility of the orange? I'm not very knowledgeable with pedals and effects..
nickdohle
Let's a go Mario!
Join date: Feb 2009
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#19
Can you grab an old JCM DSL? If not, I played one of the mesas. They werent bad. Good solid mesa quality. But I didnt fool around enough with it to get any stellar sounds.

Though, I played a Dual and it was great, idk if I would buy one personally.
epiphone098
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
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#20
I've been looking around and can't find much as far as the recommended marshalls from this thread.
And same here! When I tested the Mesa I was not with it enough to really dial in any amazing sound, nor was I able to raise it above a room volume.

The Orange has a great sound, I'm just worried that I will not be able to cut through the mix during shows.
Last edited by epiphone098 at Nov 28, 2012,
Cathbard
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#21
They're pretty loud. If your drummer is an animal you won't have perfect cleans but hopefully whem you are playing clean he won't be so savage on the skins. But nah man, plenty loud enough. If you like the sound, grab it. If you know what you are doing you'll have a mic in front of the cab anyway. You'll be fine. They're like AC30 and JTM45 sort of volumes, both amps gigged by everybody who was ever anybody.
When you get a bit more money channel it into buying some really nice cab. It's an amp you can grow into.

What were you playing again? Were you playing punk or was that a side conversation? If it was for punk, yeah, go for the Orange. Fantastic punk amp, you'll love it. Leave the master volume on 10 at all times .
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Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 28, 2012,
epiphone098
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
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#22
Quote by Cathbard
What were you playing again? Were you playing punk or was that a side conversation? If it was for punk, yeah, go for the Orange. Fantastic punk amp, you'll love it. Leave the master volume on 10 at all times .


Yeah it's more pop punk, my drummer plays heavier stuff so I'll need to be able to pull of some chuggy lows.

And I'm assuming that most places will mic the amp, but you never know. If I ever play backyards or maybe a less-than-prepared venue I may need to rely on the amp alone.
Last edited by epiphone098 at Dec 1, 2012,
red.guitar
Imagine All The People
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#23
I've been playing in a punk rock band for the past few months now, and I'm in basically the same predicament as you. I'm looking for a sold tube head to go with my mesa that won’t break my bank.

I tried the new DSL pretty extensively, and was less than impressed with it. It was wayy too fizzy IMO.

I was actually in the studio the other night, doing some scratch tracks, and I got the opportunity to try out the orange. It was a sweet amp, just not my cup of tea. It’s something about the midrange on these amps that I don't like.

Our producer also had a Jet City JCA 20 head there as well. I played with it for a while, through a mesa 412, and just fell in love with it. With the mesa cab, this amp has so much bottom end. I had the gain at around 12 o'clock and this thing got pretty damn distorted. What really impressed me was the clarity of the amp. It didn't bog down in the low end, or have any harsh high end to it! I liked it that much, that I'm actually going to pick one up!

I just thought that it may be worth taking a look at. You can pick up the 20 watt head for like $300 here. The 20watt version is more than loud enough for any live setting.
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Cathbard
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#24
You don't buy big amps for the sake of the audience you do it for on stage sound. Front of house is looked after by the PA so you don't have to worry about that. The problem with small amps is that you are totally reliant on the foldback mix to hear yourself and that is a recipe for failure.
However, the Orange is plenty loud enough to hear yourself over the drummer, especially playing punk.
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epiphone098
Registered User
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#25
Quote by sheldonpardy

I just thought that it may be worth taking a look at. You can pick up the 20 watt head for like $300 here. The 20watt version is more than loud enough for any live setting.


Do you know any retailers that I could use to get a look at a Jet City in New York?