#1
Well it's better than "Marshall vs Mesa what should my parents buy me."

Now I'm gigging more, and no longer in an area where I can walk everywhere in 5 minutes, I need to sort out a more convenient rig. Right now my main rig is a Bad Cat Hot Cat and a Line 6 HD147 together, which is superb but a pain in the arse to shift around.
There's also the problem that the Bad Cat is quite an expensive piece of kit and the HD147 is precious to me; I'd rather not risk them in the sketchier venues...


So, what I'm looking for is/must have:
  • Light and compact enough to carry with one hand for several minutes without being a bother. I'm thinking a 1x12", 2x8", that sort of size. It's not like I need to push much air with this, it isn't going to be my new main rig.
  • Enough power for only slight clean headroom. I like my 'clean' tone to have a bit of grit and compression to it, so for valve amps, 20-40w is ideal. 50w can be okay but more than that becomes detrimental.
  • At least two channels with separate EQ sections for each. I've had two-channel, single-EQ amps before and they drive me nuts. I EQ my distorted and clean tones very differently; separate EQ is perhaps the most important feature to me.
  • Available to buy easily in England.


What I'd like includes:
  • A third channel or footswitchable gain (not volume) boost.
  • Any of the various modern systems which make valve replacement/diagnosis easier would be nice.
  • A semi-decent stock speaker. Doesn't have to be amazing, I'm just too lazy to change speakers in a 'B rig'.


Budget isn't too important, but for the sake of it let's say under £800; about the same price as most of the mid-range 1x12" combos from Orange, Marshall, Blackstar, etc. I could spend much more than that but it seems silly to do so. Obviously it's nice to not spend money needlessly; I'll probably buy something second hand.

In terms of tone, we're talking your most plain all-round hard rock sound. Drop C# is the lowest it needs to be able to handle with any clarity. I previously used a Marshall DSL100 and found the clean tone on that to be almost perfect, when pushed, but the distortion was too lightweight for me, both in terms of tone and the degree of clipping (even with the bass maxed out, the deep boost on and an SD-1 in front of it...). I've used Peavey amps before, too, and found all their clean channels to sound too thin regardless of EQ (first person to suggest a 6505 gets a smack around the chops).
Think Halestorm and you can't go far wrong. Obviously you can't get the full width of that tone in a 1x12", but that's the ballpark we're aiming for.

I'm usually pretty gear-savvy and I know most of the options out there, but I always get the feeling there's some hidden gem from some tiny brand I've not heard of. If there isn't anything then I know I can just go grab a JCM2000 combo or Blackstar or whatever, but hey, can't hurt to ask.
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#3
Does the Taurus Stomp Heads not appeal to you?

Output can go to 40 watts.
2 channels with separate EQs
Looks portable.
Tho its not a combo.
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#4
well you don't really mention at types of music you'll be playing but I'll say Peavey Valveking. separate eq for each channel plenty of headroom footswitchable boost. yeah the speaker isn't the best but once broken in isn't that bad. plays nice with pedals and sounds good with strats.
#5
Tube amps aren't light by nature, my Stiff 50watt mini head is still pretty heavy, paired with speakers and it would probably be as heavy as your Bad Cat.

What about the new Valveking series amps? I think there's a 40 or 50 watt 1x12 combo with a valve monitoring system, 2 chan, record out, etc. I'd expect it to be within your budget as well. For a backup it would be more than good.
Gear:

Squier Strat
Epiphone Explorer
Agile AL-3100

No AMP
#6
I've fancied the idea of the Taurus units before, will take another look at 'em. Bit of a pain to get around here, though.

Guess the Valvekings can't be too painful to try out. Wouldn't have thought of those at all, I only ever think of the head.

monwobobbo: type of music is pretty irrelevant 'cause I don't use the typical sound for the genre we play. So like I said, just think of your most standard modern hard rock (not metal, not classic rock) tone and you're on the right track.
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#7
Maybe an old Peavey Ultra 1x12
Orange TH30 1x12
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#8
Quote by MrFlibble
I've fancied the idea of the Taurus units before, will take another look at 'em. Bit of a pain to get around here, though.

Guess the Valvekings can't be too painful to try out. Wouldn't have thought of those at all, I only ever think of the head.

monwobobbo: type of music is pretty irrelevant 'cause I don't use the typical sound for the genre we play. So like I said, just think of your most standard modern hard rock (not metal, not classic rock) tone and you're on the right track.


Listening to your tone preferences, you may want an Orange. If the DSL was too thin (even on ultra) then you may want a looser tone, like an OR15 or DT15 combo or something. You'll definitely not want a 2x8 if you want low end either.
Gear:

Squier Strat
Epiphone Explorer
Agile AL-3100

No AMP
#9
Used Splawn Supersport 112 (50#, 22W, 2-6V6, Small Block) if you luck out and find one in your neighborhood.

The Bogner Alchemist doesn't get love around these parts but I like it a lot, very useable Reverb. The head goes very well with Texas Heat and Swamp Thang in my Pine 212 cab.
#10
DSL401. They are light weight tube combos. I'm sure you have heard them before. 3 channels and the prices is right.
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#11
Quote by Ippon
Used Splawn Supersport 112 (50#, 22W, 2-6V6, Small Block) if you luck out and find one in your neighborhood.

The Bogner Alchemist doesn't get love around these parts but I like it a lot, very useable Reverb. The head goes very well with Texas Heat and Swamp Thang in my Pine 212 cab.



Alchemist 1x12 combo would work and I see them pretty regularly in the sub $500 range here in the US, not sure about the UK...
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#12
The 2x12" Bogner is fairly easy to get here at a reasonable price, 1x12" is nowhere to be seen, sadly. Splawn amps are like gold dust; I've never even heard of anybody using one here, let alone seen one.

DSL401, well, yeah, a JCM2000 is my default option if nothing else comes up. Would actually pick up the TSL version for the extra control because the way they split up the channels and EQ on the DSL drove me absolutely crazy when I last owned one.

Orange is definitely something I've been looking at, problem is the only one I've tried that I've liked is the Rockerverb 50; tried the TH30 and AD combo and they got awfully fizzy once I had the gain where I liked it. The Rockerverb is slightly more expensive than my Bad Cat, though, so it would sort of defeat the point of getting a skankier amp for skankier gigs

It has been suggested elsewhere that the smaller EVH 5150 head and a 1x12" cab may be the way to go, since they can be split up it may actually be easier to get them around then one set combo. Sounds pretty good from what I can tell online, but nowhere near here has one in stock and I don't believe I've heard it in person before; anybody got any thoughts on it?
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#13
I've found with the TH30, seeing is how there are 4 gain stages, if I am in the area where I want to be with the gain if I throw a boost in there it tightens up. One of the draw backs of only having one contour switch. However, I would think that with an EQ you would be able to dial in the tone in both the AD and TH. I'm not sure how light weight we are getting you though. Considering you'll have to have a cab to go with these, unless you get the combos. I am not weak by any means, but would not look forward to carrying a combo around too frequently.
If you need reverb, neither the AD or TH have reverb.
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#14
What didn't you like about the DSL channel control? The 401 has 2 switches that change channels from clean to OD1 and the other switch from OD1 to OD2. Iirc when you switch from cleans to OD it stays in the OD mode you were last in.

I liked the DSL over the TSL.

You can add another footswitch for the reverb.
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.
#15
the dv mark stuff seems to be really light. I've never tried it, though, so no idea what it's like. But i figured it was worth looking into, anyway. probably would have to get it from music store, though, if that's a concern (let's just say I wasn't super-enamoured with their customer service, and i don't seem to be the only one).
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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#16
The valveking 112 is basically exactly what you described.

If you like the rockerverb 50, consider trying to find a used Rocker 30 combo, or the rockerverb 50 combo itself I guess
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#17
EVH is a popular choice, and it should definitely be able to do what you want. You may be forced to grab that one used as opposed to new due to the price. The DV Mark is also a pretty good choice, as it is lightweight.

Maybe a used H&K Duotone 50 or a Tubemeister 36? I haven't played either myself though. The Tubemeister should probably be looked into especially because it's supposed to be lightweight (and is a 1x12 combo as opposed to 2x12). Either way, both are capable of doing hard rock, cleans, and all things between. The only problem is that it might be pushing your budget a little bit.
#18
Peavey XXX 112, if you can find one. It strikes me as having a good balance gain-wise. Something that can get good crunch, but if you want to get heavier, it won't flub out like a DSL or a ValveKing.
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#19
I'll certainly be taking a closer look at Peavey's offerings past and present. I suppose I always associate them with the Classic, Vypyr (tube or otherwise) and 6505+ sound, usually being wrecked by a bedroom hero with the gain on 11 and the mids on 0...

Not even heard of DV Mark before, they don't sound half bad. Italy's nice and convenient for me, can probably abuse a few contacts and get 'em cheap

Quote by R45VT
What didn't you like about the DSL channel control? The 401 has 2 switches that change channels from clean to OD1 and the other switch from OD1 to OD2. Iirc when you switch from cleans to OD it stays in the OD mode you were last in.

I liked the DSL over the TSL.
Most people do, but in this case I'm valuing user friendliness over anything else.

The thing which bugs me about the way all the DSL line work is there's no way to easily switch from any one channel/voice to any other channel/voice. The DSL100, for instance, you can only switch between channels by footswitch and to change voicing you have to go over to the amp and press a button. 401, you can't easily flick between the three channels. Let's say I want to play with my distorted rhythm sound, then a clean sound, then a lead sound (chorus-bridge-solo, perhaps), the DSL leaves me screwed. You've got to tap through several times on the footswitch or press a button on the amp itself. On the heads the mid shifts are also universal, which is absolutely crazy to me.
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#20
dv mark is the guitar arm of markbass, i think. as i said, never tried them...
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#21
Quote by Dave_Mc
dv mark is the guitar arm of markbass, i think. as i said, never tried them...

Never knew that, I have only played through 1 and I was not impressed at all. It was last year at SamAsh they were selling them cheap to get people interested
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Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
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Morley Bad Horsie 2
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#22
yeah, as i said, i've never tried them, just they seem to be really light.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#23
Well not like 1 amp speaks for the whole line.

Yes they are pretty light.
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2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
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GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#24
Their spec sheets suggest one of their 1x12 combos ticks every box and it seems I could get them shipping and VAT-free, so I think I'll give them a go. At worst, I like trying out totally left field products.
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#25
^^ which one did you try, out of interest? i think i read that the 15 watter was pretty much just for cleans (which sounded weird), but

^ do it at your own risk, lol, as i said, I haven't tried them so it certainly wasn't a personal recommendation. I think their combos use solid poplar and neodymium speakers, which keep the weight down.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#26
It was the 40-50 watter they have I think, but I really don't remember. The cleans were alright, but the drive was less than average
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
#27
ah right, thanks. the only ones i was sorta interested in were the high gain heads, but i chickened out.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#28
How's Egnater over in the UK? The Renegade comes to mind. 65 Watts, but switchable to 18.

Also, maybe a Laney Ironheart combo. They have a 30W version with 2 channels and separate EQ.
#29
Egnater combos are pretty good if you can find them. They sell them at GuitarGuitar.

You can probably get a used Mesa Boogie Express for that money. They came out with a new series recently, so the old ones are probably cheaper now. Everyone here seems to hate them but I think they're very flexible and sound big for a 1x10 combo
#30
+1 to the Egnaters and I'll be curious as to your impressions of the DV Mark series.

The Vypyr does do other things besides high gain scooped metal. I'm admittedly not the greatest guitar player but this is my best Deluxe Reverb impression

http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/311ZOSOVHJH/music/all/play986098

I'd give them another look and they are a hell of lot cheaper than a 5153 or DV Mark.
#31
one thing that i think should be addressed, being light and seemingly compact as you will be carrying them is that would you be using pedals?

i have carried gear from even if you have to park in a downtown situation and parallel parking and a busy night, doesn't mean you can find a good spot close. pedals are another thing to carry, may not seem like much, but if you have an amp in one hand either cab or guitar case in the other, pedals in hand are either another trip to the car or just a flat out pain in the ass.

i really don't have any ideas at the moment that haven't been mentioned, just what i said above.

i guess if i did have to pick one mentioned it would probably be an egnater rebel 30 or the oranges which you don't care for.
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#32
Egnater are one of those brands I always forget exist. Probably because I'll be buggered if I ever remember how to spell their name. But hey, seems there's a lot in stock near me so I'll go check 'em out.

As for pedals: none to one. An OD is about all I'd be adding, and then only if the amp doesn't have its own decent footswitchable gain. I'm very light on effects. I use 'em with my Line 6 because that does them well and conveniently; my Bad Cat runs with no pedals at all and the last time I did have a pedalboard I sold it all 'cause I wasn't actually using any of 'em. Again, we're talking about a 'B rig' for the sketchier venues where I want to be in and out as quickly as possible with as little effort as possible, without taking my expensive gear.
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#33
I'd really have a good try of a Peavey Valveking. The cleans can be very nice if you EQ it to ****. They're built like tanks too! Ideal for throwing about.

Bass 10
Mids 6
Treble 0
Bright button enabled.

Very nice gritty cleans.