#1
Hey all,

So it seems that GAS has hit me even harder than I previously thought. I am now considering trading/replacing the one part of my rig that I thought I wouldn't - my amp!

At the moment, I own an ENGL Fireball 60 watt head. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely it's crushing tones that it's capable of, and it's tightness, but I think I'm getting to the point where I just want an amp that's a bit less of a one-trick pony (but still geared towards metal/high gain tones). That, and I'm starting to desire some extra features (like separate channel EQ, mid/lead boost, as well as a tone that's a bit more organic, and possibly a tad darker.

I currently run it through an older Marshall 1960A cab, w/a WGS speaker swap (Veteran 30's/ET65's). I've been thinking of changing it up w/cabs too. Something beefier and more modern-style.

With that being said, these are the heads I am considering if I change it up...

- ENGL Fireball 100 or Powerball (I've heard the FB100 has lots of extras/improvements over the 60-watt version).
- Bogner Uberschall
- Splawn Nitro
- Framus Cobra or Dragon

And these are the cabs I'm considering...

- Mesa Rectifier cab
- Avatar Contemporary 4x12 (I'd probably just sell the 1960A empty and keep the speakers for this if I went this route)
- Bogner Uberkab
- Orange 4x12
- Mills Acoustics afterburner

I realize that this level of gear pretty much comes down to personal taste, but I'm mainly curious about the overall general characteristics of these amps (things like "saggy" or "tight" bass response, dark or bright voicing, etc, etc), as well as the same general stuff about the cabs.

Any of this stuff, I'm definitely looking to go used, and get whatever I can for my current stuff if I go this route, so it's kind of tough to set a specific budget limit at this moment, but basically, I'm looking to get something a bit fancier/less common than a 6505 or Dual Rec, but I'm not trying to go completely all out either (i.e - ENGL SE/SLO100/VH-4). I'll be able to add extra cash outside of gear sales, or do a partial trade + cash type thing, but want to hunt around for a good deal of course

Modern high gain metal tones are my main concern, but it'd also be nice to be able to get some classic/80's metal tones out of the same amp. I don't need perfect cleans, but good cleans are always a plus. I play both 6 and 7 string guitars, so I definitely want to stick with something that has precision and clarity with lower tunings too.

Any helpful info on any of these amps/cabs is greatly appreciated!
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#2
Since you like Engl then why not an Engl SE 100w? Too high on the price? I couldn't find any on Ebay to check the used values, but I thought they would have dropped to reasonable-ish levels.
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
Last edited by Bigbazz at Mar 11, 2013,
#3
Haha, yes. Within that essay I just wrote, I'm basically thinking of upgrading, but not go completely all out. The only used SE head on Ebay I've found recently was going for a BIN price of around $3600, and they're over $4K brand new for me in my area. (Ain't gonna happen! )

For comparison, I've seen used versions of all the amps I've listed on CL and Ebay in the $1300-$2000 range. That's much more doable for me with what I'll probably end up being able to throw in, on top of what I'd be able to get for my FB60/other gear for sale.
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
Last edited by FlightofIcarus at Mar 11, 2013,
#4
Interesting list you have there.

Have you tried the Krankenstein plus? It's as metal as metal gets- cleans, separate EQ between channels, also has a master volume to make it function well at any volume. Also has a "master volume" on the distortion channel that is foot switchable- so you can boost your volume for a solo.

Just a thought. I am having a brain fart at the moment for anything past that.
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
See, it's important that people clarify when they say "metal", because I pretty much always assume they are a Cannibal Corpse fanboi.
#5
Well I'l advise you to stay away from the Framus Dragon, the singer in my band owned one and kept it at my house for a few months, I play a 5150 and have gigged an Engl Powerball and they did what I needed great, the Dragon though I couldn't find a sound I was happy with, it lacked the balls and felt muddy, clean was decent but I can't see this being an upgrade over what you have.

Problem you have is that you like your amp and most amps are sidegrades, amps like the Engl SE are your next "go to" place for real upgrades. The Bogner and Splawn are worth a look though for sure! Looking at cabs, the Mesa and Bogner cabs I've played are larger than the standard Marshall 1960, they are taller.

A friend of mine bought a Bogner Uberschall cab with X pattern speakers (2x V30 and 2x G-T75) and he didn't like it, he ended up replacing the G-T75s with V30s.
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
#6
I had an Uberschall, and it is deff a 1 trick pony. Even if that trick is F-in awesome.
The Nitro is really nice, I have been eying a Pro-Comp KT88
The FB100 is not much diffrent then your FB60
I have very limited use of Framus, but I know they do high-gain well

What about a Peavey JSX? incredible versitility in 1 amp.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#7
If you like ENGL sound, you should go for the Savage.

Why change a cab? Just get the right speakers, you can save some money there. If you really want an oversized cab, then go for it, but I wouldn't because I could save like at least 200 euros with just filling your cab with 4 V30s than getting an Orange 4x12 with Vintage 30s. I like G12T-75s more anyway, at least for the moment, so that's what I'd go for.

How about your guitar or it's pickups? If they're not exactly what you want, you could consider some of that saved money to blow on pickups too.

And if you're considering a Mesa cab why not a Mesa head? If you like that type of tone, why not check the used Mesa market as well.
I've heard a lot of people to do some great deals with used Mesa/Boogie amps.
Rectifiers do sound better than most of the demos I've listened to, I have considered to taking a trip to the capital to try one out myself, but hardly going to switch over cause I love my british-voiced Laney. And you can always go for the Mark IV, V or a Roadster.
Gear pics

Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

Last edited by Sakke at Mar 11, 2013,
#8
Bigbazz - Have you played/heard in person on a cobra too? I seem to hear more good things about the Cobra than the Dragon, but generally speaking, I haven't really heard anything bad about either.

Robbgnarly - I've played on a JSX before. I thought it was a pretty cool amp, but I still prefer the 6505 w/Peavey. But I also like the Fireball more than either of those.

Sakke - I've already done a speaker swap in my 1960A. It definitely changed the sound in a good way for me over the stock celestion G12-T75's, but out of all of the cabs I listed, the Mesa 4x12 is one that I actually have used before. Even with similar speakers, I can't help but feel the build/materials of the cab comes into play here - The Mesa 4x12 is bigger, and warmer sounding to me, and seems better suited for modern metal tones.

The 1960A seems to have a certain brightness/fizz to it that I can't seem to do much about, at least with my amp it seems. Maybe it's just not the right cab for an ENGL? I've played some other amps through my cab, and they seem to pair up with it better. Meanwhile, I've tried my ENGL through a Mesa cab, and some other 2x12 that I don't remember the name/brand of, but they both seemed to be a much better match for the ENGL.
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#9
Have you checked out the Rivera Knucklehead or one of those ones?
#10
Quote by FlightofIcarus

Sakke - I've already done a speaker swap in my 1960A. It definitely changed the sound in a good way for me over the stock celestion G12-T75's, but out of all of the cabs I listed, the Mesa 4x12 is one that I actually have used before. Even with similar speakers, I can't help but feel the build/materials of the cab comes into play here - The Mesa 4x12 is bigger, and warmer sounding to me, and seems better suited for modern metal tones.

The 1960A seems to have a certain brightness/fizz to it that I can't seem to do much about, at least with my amp it seems. Maybe it's just not the right cab for an ENGL? I've played some other amps through my cab, and they seem to pair up with it better. Meanwhile, I've tried my ENGL through a Mesa cab, and some other 2x12 that I don't remember the name/brand of, but they both seemed to be a much better match for the ENGL.


I think ENGL and a cab with V30s is an excellent match, I believe their own Pro series cabinets come with those speakers. My point was just that if you get V30s for your Marshall, you'll save more than buy a whole new cabinet, unless you'll get good enough money for your Marshall. It's one option, which is the one I'd take.

Personally, I was going for Fireball 100 before I realized that I need much more british-sounded amplifier than I thought I did.

If I were you, I'd just try your own amp through various cabinets and see if that's just the thing you need to change. I mean, that way you can buy anything else you're lacking, since you didn't answer my question whether a pickup swap could be a good option or not.
Gear pics

Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

#11
I won't make any new suggestions for amps/cabs for you, because I think you have a good head on your shoulders for what you are going for. I will just comment on the amps/cabs I have played extensively, as you asked!

Engl Fireball 100 - I played this amp for an entire afternoon in the only store in western Canada which carried them, through an Engl 4X12 cab, which (as we all should know) has front mounted V30's - great.

The amp was bright, but not overwhelmingly, and it handled lower registers very well. I played an Ibanez RG1527 through it, with no boost and nothing in front, and it was a very solid sounding amp. It has been the only amp I have ever played - and that means a lot - which I would not use a boost in front of, and that is a very bold statement for modern high gain tones.

However, I felt that the shared EQ was a bit limiting, as when I found an awesome tone with the lead channel, the clean channel did not take the EQ settings nearly as well. I was not scooping the mids, and I had a very mid bass setting as the amp did have a lot of low end and headroom. However, as it is still a bright voiced amp the cleans would sound very sharp and almost harsh with the mids kicked up. This is why I wish I could have tried a Powerball, as the separate EQ would have made a very big difference. I'm sure you may have run into this problem with your current 60w Fireball.

I haven't tried any of the other amps and don't think there's much point pretending like I have an understanding of them. People on this board should realize that just spreading the common word doesn't do much good with talking about high gain amps of this calibre, because playing them in person with your own gear is a whole new ball game with understanding the amp.

As for cabs, I have tried and played extensively with a few of the options you are considering! I think it is definitely a good idea to upgrade cabs, and I think you are on the right track with what you are considering as a replacement from your 1960A. I am not a fan of those cabs for the characteristics you described of them, even though I'm sure your speaker upgrade was the best thing you could do, so props for that.

Mesa cabs - The big thing to keep in mind with these cabs is what series of cab they are. The Roadking cabs sound different than the standard cabs, and the oversized cabs sound different as well. The two most common are the oversized and the standard Rectifier cabs - both are loaded with V30's, but are seriously different. I was not a fan of the oversized cabs at all, as I thought that with the guitars that I played and the tunings I used the bass frequencies were way to accentuated. I think that if you played 6 strings in a tuning near standard then these cabs might be a different story, but they were not nearly as tight sounding as the standard cabs. I won't call them muddy, but they were my least favourite.

The standard cabs are a very solid cab. I used them in rehearsal space for over a half a year and never had any complaints. They were a thicker sounding cab than any Marshall cab I had played, and yet they were still balanced. I played slant, straight, and the 2X12 versions of the cabs and thought they were all consistent with sound and nothing changed in the sounds other than the headroom of the cabinets - which is to be expected, especially with the 2X12.

My only beef with Mesa cabs, and this goes for the standard and definitely the oversized, is that they were very directional. They only sounded at their best when you were standing right in front of them. In venues where your amps are mic'd, this isn't an issue at all, but in rehearsal space and in venues with poor sound setups, it is a nightmare for your listeners and bandmates. If you were anywhere other than in front of the amp, the tone and sound was muffled, and depending on how heavy you set the bass settings on your amp, could even be considered muddy. These cabs are very low frequency sensitive.

Orange PPC412 - I currently own one of these cabs and they are great. I prefer them over the Mesa because they are less directional and not as bass sensitive while remaining to have a very powerful low end throw. These cabs have a more open sound and the mids carry very evenly. The difference between the mids on these cabs vs. any Mesa's is amazing, especially considering they both are loaded with V30s. The cabinetry on the Orange is thicker, and the cab is slightly deeper (to the eye, I have not measured nor looked up the specs so I may be wrong) and these things weigh way too much for not having casters or at least caster inserts, but those may risk something to do with the cab design so there may be a purpose for that.

I think these cabs are great if you can find them for a good price. I was fortunate enough to have gotten a very stellar deal on mine when I purchased it, but that was due to my location and my timing. They can be very expensive cabs in certain parts of the world, and it is something to consider if your budget is limited.

Bogner Uberkab - I heard a lot about this cab, however the cab which I played was the Bogner Extacy cab. I wanted to instead talk about the Extacy cab experience which I had almost 2 years ago. The only difference between these cabs is that the Uberkab is V30's and GT75's in an X pattern where the Extacy is just V30's, although they share the same cab design and were once made in the same factories which made/make Orange cabs - from what I was informed.

I tried the Extacy cab with my own gear in a cab shootout session at the largest music store in my area. I also played through a: Hughes and Kettner 4X12, Mesa Standard, Mesa Over-Sized, Orange PPC212, and a Orange PPC412. Long story short, I came down to the Orange PPC412 and the Bogner Extacy cab.

The Orange cab handled cleans better than the Bogner cab did, but the Bogner blew all of the other amps, including the Orange, out of the water on every other standard. It was the best sounding cab I have ever played through and I can't begin to describe it. It sounded more organic and natural than the Orange, it sounded so thick but not muddy, the mids were incredibly open, and even though all of the cabs I tried were loaded strictly with V30's, the Bogner sounded the absolute best. I still hate myself for not having the means of buying that cab.

Fuck the Uberkab, check out the Extacy cab if you can.

Erock used to post on these forums and he had some Mills cabs. Maybe if you can find his profile and listen to his recordings you can get a bit of an understanding of how those cabs sound - although I still stand by the try it in person philosophy. And I'm sure there are lots of people who can comment on Avatar cabs and their experiences with them - it does seem very cost effective.

Hope this huge post helps!
Last edited by bowen at Mar 11, 2013,
#12
Have you looked at the EVH 5150 III (100W)?

Maybe a higher end Recto like a Roadster or Road King II?
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
#13
Quote by FlightofIcarus
Bigbazz - Have you played/heard in person on a cobra too? I seem to hear more good things about the Cobra than the Dragon, but generally speaking, I haven't really heard anything bad about either.

Robbgnarly - I've played on a JSX before. I thought it was a pretty cool amp, but I still prefer the 6505 w/Peavey. But I also like the Fireball more than either of those.

Sakke - I've already done a speaker swap in my 1960A. It definitely changed the sound in a good way for me over the stock celestion G12-T75's, but out of all of the cabs I listed, the Mesa 4x12 is one that I actually have used before. Even with similar speakers, I can't help but feel the build/materials of the cab comes into play here - The Mesa 4x12 is bigger, and warmer sounding to me, and seems better suited for modern metal tones.

The 1960A seems to have a certain brightness/fizz to it that I can't seem to do much about, at least with my amp it seems. Maybe it's just not the right cab for an ENGL? I've played some other amps through my cab, and they seem to pair up with it better. Meanwhile, I've tried my ENGL through a Mesa cab, and some other 2x12 that I don't remember the name/brand of, but they both seemed to be a much better match for the ENGL.


Talking about the Framus I've never tried a Cobra, seen a few around the gigging scene but never had the chance to use one, the Dragon was an amp I was expecting to like (which is why I asked my singer if he could bring it over), but when It came to trying it I could just never get it sounding right, it was an amp that didn't have the clarity or the balls that I wanted, in a word it was a muddy sounding amp. He eventually sold it to some guy from Australia who was from what I'm told very happy with it.

As for the 1960A sounding fizzy, that would be the GT-75 speakers, they have an almost scooped sound to them with a big fat bottom end and a fizzy top end and lacking something in the mids, where as V30s have a smoother top end and a lot more presence in the mids, not such a fat bottom end. I also own a 1960A and though it can sound great it definitely does have that fizzyness to it when you compare it to a V30 sound. The V30's seem to slice through the mix with more clarity and direction, more confidence and without that fizzyness.

Which you like more depends on your tastes, the amp you're using and almost most importantly the balance in sound with the rest of the band, but as a long time 1960A user I wish I'd got the V30 model!
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
Last edited by Bigbazz at Mar 11, 2013,
#14
Bowen - that was extremely helpful, thanks! I think from the sound of things, I may still be lurking around CL and such and watching the used amp market, but I think for now, I'm gonna start with a cab change first. Like with the amps, I'm gonna have to watch around the use market, or do some more research on Avatar first.

Bigbazz - I already did a speaker swap in my 1960A. I mixed WGS Veteran 30's and ET-65's in an X-pattern. Thankfully, neither of them sound anything like those Celestion 75 watters I yanked out. What I'm running are pretty much slightly tweaked V30 and G12-65 clones. An empty Avatar would probably be the easiest/cheapest way for me to just swap speakers over and see how much difference the cab itself makes.

Sakke - I'm not too worried about pickup swaps atm. They vary from guitar to guitar, but I bounce back and forth between various good passives and EMG's (I've decided they each have their uses )
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#15
Part of what the problem could be is the baffle in the 1960A, I am pretty sure that the baffle is particle board, which I always have thought makes the sound less crisp, and can fizz up your sound considerably. I think that something with entirely ply construction could be just what you need, an empty avatar or one of the others you mentioned would probably be just the thing
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#16
This interests me actually, I bought my 1960A in 2004, the bassist in my band is a joiner/carpenter and if the baffle is infact particle board (i've never taken the back off to find out) it might be worth me getting something better quality made.
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
#17
Quote by dementiacaptain
Part of what the problem could be is the baffle in the 1960A, I am pretty sure that the baffle is particle board, which I always have thought makes the sound less crisp, and can fizz up your sound considerably. I think that something with entirely ply construction could be just what you need, an empty avatar or one of the others you mentioned would probably be just the thing

No the Baffle and cab are plywood, the back-panel is what has been made of MDF.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#18
Are you sure? Dave mentioned it to me, so I don't know 100%, but he tends to know his stuff
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#19
Quote by dementiacaptain
Are you sure? Dave mentioned it to me, so I don't know 100%, but he tends to know his stuff

Yeah I know for a fact. Marshall has never used MDF on any baffles that I am aware of (especially the 1960/1936). Even the MG is soposed to have a plywood baffle from my understanding, but the rest is MDF.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate