Page 1 of 2
#1
Right now I have a Marshall MG, which is suiting me for practicing (although I know I'm learning from around here that those are terrible, even though I'm still not sure why), and I want to get a proper amplifier.

I definitely like heavy metal and high gain stuff, but I don't want to wind up with something that I can't play other things on. I do occasionally play at church, so I need something that can get good clean tones.

Also, I'm probably looking to get a combo, not a half-stack, and preferably something with tubes. So far I've had my eye on the Blackstar HT series, which I really like the tone of, but I've heard mixed things about them.


Any advice for a noob looking for an amp?
#2
Standard answer would be Peavey 6505 but since you want good cleans that wont do.

I have read a lot of reviews of Laney Ironheart lately and they all say that the cleans are very very good especially for amp that is marketed for high gain metal people. I have not heard one live myself but the reviews have been consistent. You might definetly be interested in that amp. The combos, 112 and 212 are both in your price range I think.

*edit* typo fix

ESP LTD F-50 + Tonezone
Cort EVL-Z4 + X2N
Cort EVL-K47B

Marshall Valvestate 8100
Randall RG1503
Bugera 333
Peavey Rockmaster preamp

Line6 Pod X3
Last edited by MaaZeus at Sep 16, 2013,
#3
Googled it, I guess Laney's mainly a European brand? I'm in the US, and while I guess I could try to track one down, it'd be a bit tricky.

Also, I'm not quite ready to give up on the Blackstar. I do like the sound and I have read plenty of good reviews. The main reason I'm doubting it is this forum.

Is Orange any good?
#4
Quote by ShinyChocobo
Googled it, I guess Laney's mainly a European brand? I'm in the US, and while I guess I could try to track one down, it'd be a bit tricky.

Also, I'm not quite ready to give up on the Blackstar. I do like the sound and I have read plenty of good reviews. The main reason I'm doubting it is this forum.

Is Orange any good?



Its an old British brand. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath has used Laneys for long time for example. They should be around US online stores, though with quick check they are not as good deal as they are in the europe. The 212 combo is 999$. Pretty much your budget exactly. Didnt find a US shop with 112 with a quick look.

I cant say a thing about Blackstar HT clean channel. But I did like the distortion channel when I heard one last time in a shop. There is a stigma due to their not so clear marketing about HT serie (its clearly a hybrid amp but its sold as all tube amp everywhere) but amongst people who do not care about that stuff it does have a big fanbase.

Dont know a thing about Oranges, sorry.

ESP LTD F-50 + Tonezone
Cort EVL-Z4 + X2N
Cort EVL-K47B

Marshall Valvestate 8100
Randall RG1503
Bugera 333
Peavey Rockmaster preamp

Line6 Pod X3
Last edited by MaaZeus at Sep 16, 2013,
#5
I've got a blackstar HT1 head, and a Laney Ironheart 60 Head.....I love the Ironheart. The cleans are slightly better on the blackstar, but the Laney is a very versatile amp and is much better for higher gain stuff (capable of decent cleans though). The ability to reduce it to 1 watt is awesome for home use too.

If you have a look at the link in my sig you can hear what it sounds like on a live recording (no fancy mic's or or software, just a single room mic for the whole band).
#6
I don't know why everyone seems to think you can't get good cleans out of a 6505, maybe its just what they hear and they perpetuate the stereotype.
'93 Gibson LP Studio (498T/490R)-Ebony
'14 Gibson LP Standard (JB/Jazz)-Ocean Water Perimeter
Epi MKH LP Custom-7 (SD Custom Shop JB-7)-Ebony
+More

Maxon od808|Boss NS-2|Boss CE-5|
Line6 G55|Korg Pitchblack Pro

JVM 210h|1960a(V30/G12t-75)
#7
Blackstar HT-100 series....does it all and really well!!

...AND THE HT-100 SERIES IS AN ALL TUBE-amp....just too clear that one up....when in doubt...please google ;-)
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
Last edited by Blackst4r at Sep 16, 2013,
#11
Quote by Blackst4r
Blackstar HT-100 series....does it all and really well!!

...AND THE HT-100 SERIES IS AN ALL TUBE-amp....just too clear that one up....when in doubt...please google ;-)


HT-100 might use both preamp and power amp tubes but... All-tube? Gimme a break.
I made that mistake with my HT-1 and won't make again.

TS, if you need really heavy heavy distortion, get a Laney Ironheart.
The Ironheart has good cleans and a murderous distortion, but still has clarity with it. It has tons of options and if you play KSE, they use that head these days. At least sometimes, that's what I've seen. Plus, I've tried a IRT60H with a matching 4x12 cabinet. Crushing.
But if you can getaway with less distortion, go for the Ironheart or then the more "pure" sounding Laney VH100R.
I recommend Laney because I use it and MaaZeus recommended it too.
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 Sep 16, 2013,
#12
Peavey JSX 212 kicks the crap out of everything mentioned for versatility.
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
#13
Thanks for all the replies! I'll definitely check them all out, (the Laney if I can find one) and re-try the Blackstar to decide if the lack of tubeyness bothers me or not.
#14
Quote by Robbgnarly
Peavey JSX 212 kicks the crap out of everything mentioned for versatility.


My vote
RG351DX - Bridge Dragonfire Screamer, Mid+Neck Fender Hot Noiseless
Peavey Valveking 112 - Eminence GB128
AMT E1 > Joyo AC Tone > Dan'o EQ > Shimverb > Digidelay
#15
Blackstar=no. I owned one and can say you will get tired of it fast.
Orange will depend on what sound you're after. I love my TH30; clean and great/thick distortion.
The peavey JSX is s great amp, I think that would be your best bet. Price-wise it makes the most sense not to mention it blows the blackstar out of the water. To add to it the blackstar is not all tube where the peavey is.
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, PRS S2 Custom 24, MIA Standard Strat, Schecter Banshee 7
EVH 5153, Orange TV50H 2-2x12's
Line 6 M13
#16
Eh, I don't know man. I'll definitely try the JSX, but the lack of being all tube doesn't really bother me, as long as it sounds good, and I haven't really heard any complaints about the build quality on Blackstars.

I guess I need to just go to the shop and really compare tone.
#17
I would also recommend a JSX over anything in the Blackstar HT lineup.

The one I played got darn near as brutal as my 6505+, yet it had better cleans and the leads were warmer and more musical. It didn't have that "I'm gonna rip your face off and feed it to you" snarl of my 6505, but it got really heavy in a slightly different way. If most players are honest with themselves, they'd say the JSX has enough gain for them. I've actually given a lot of consideration to swapping my 6505 for one.

The reason all-tube is better is that they just sound better. No other reason, really. The overall harmonic content is thicker and more complex. "Juicier; meatier" if you will. If you try a JSX against a Blackstar HT (any model) you will hear the difference immediately. That's not to say the HT series is bad by any means, it just isn't ALL TUBE and you can hear it. They are also quite expensive for having solid-state circuitry in the preamp. I'm not sure where/how they arrived at the prices they've set.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#18
Well, I'll definitely have to give the JSX a try if it's really that good.

And I definitely agree about the gain. I've started to use less gain even for extreme metal and I like the sound better. Then again I'm using a Marshall MG so it may not mean anything, but hell, it's worked for practicing so far.

Edit: And it would appear there are no GC's that have a JSX anywhere within 200 miles of me. I guess they're not in production anymore?
#19
The XXX II is a rebadged JSX since Satriani now has a sig Marshall. They're exactly the same, so if you can find one of those, you'll know whether or not to pick up a used JSX for a lot cheaper.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#21
Quote by Sakke
HT-100 might use both preamp and power amp tubes but... All-tube? Gimme a break.
I made that mistake with my HT-1 and won't make again.

TS, if you need really heavy heavy distortion, get a Laney Ironheart.
The Ironheart has good cleans and a murderous distortion, but still has clarity with it. It has tons of options and if you play KSE, they use that head these days. At least sometimes, that's what I've seen. Plus, I've tried a IRT60H with a matching 4x12 cabinet. Crushing.
But if you can getaway with less distortion, go for the Ironheart or then the more "pure" sounding Laney VH100R.
I recommend Laney because I use it and MaaZeus recommended it too.


...steeling this quote cause they said it better than I can...and yes I agree that the smaller amps in the blackstar series are basically SS....

Blargaha wrote:

"This amp is not a hybrid, it's the smaller HT amps that has SS components, this is an all-tube head!"

"You're absolutely right. A solid-state rectifier doesn't mean it's not an all-tube, because this denomination reffers to the signal path. Sound is obtained and shaped exclusively through tube-powered stages. ALL valve amplifiers have solid-state components, because, if they don't interfere with sound shaping, transistors are lighter, more reliable, they cool down easier and, last but not least, they are cheaper than tubes. Check for Fender's specs, if you don't take my word for granted.
An yes, HTs are great, as all Blackstars. They are the equivalent of Marshall's MA Series and Pevey's ValveKing. But they are so much better!
There is an explanation for Blackstar's rise. When Marshall has decided to focus on commercial crap like the MG Series and DSP amps, the entire development crew has moved to Blackstar. Adding the Korean manufacture (as opposed to Marshall's Indian and Peavey's Chinese), now we know why Blackstars are good.

If you don't believe me check the website"
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
Last edited by Blackst4r at Sep 17, 2013,
#22
Who the **** is Blargaha? Without a schematic, or detailed gut shots, we have no idea of knowing with certainty. And with Blackstar's track record of truthiness about the HT series, I'm not going to take their word for it. All I know for sure is that the HT series is mediocre as hell, and Blackstar has had some incredibly shady answers to serious inquiries regarding the HT series. Most of the serious amps Marshall has released since the Blackstar engineers were let go are considerably better than the abominations released while they were employed.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#23
Quote by mmolteratx
Who the **** is Blargaha? Without a schematic, or detailed gut shots, we have no idea of knowing with certainty. And with Blackstar's track record of truthiness about the HT series, I'm not going to take their word for it. All I know for sure is that the HT series is mediocre as hell, and Blackstar has had some incredibly shady answers to serious inquiries regarding the HT series. Most of the serious amps Marshall has released since the Blackstar engineers were let go are considerably better than the abominations released while they were employed.


schematics would be nice yes......but more to the point....for affordability and sound the only thing I can recommend the ht100 series...without a doubt.

...there´s a lot of gruff going on towards Blackstar...and with the issues they´ve had with the ht5 series this is quite understandable but after owning and testing many amps the only thing I can say is that this is a keeper...and sounds nothing like tube-modulating amps. When having my tubes changed and biased by an "amp-guru" here in Sweden we got to hear his comments about build-quality, the amp not being Point to Point and the disadvantages about using boards in amps....but in the end, after playing it for an hour he was also convinced that it really wasn´t that bad. Now of course it isn´t an Orange.....or a marshall plexi

....but it is an affordable amp that will do metal very...very well
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#24
Quote by Blackst4r
schematics would be nice yes......but more to the point....for affordability and sound the only thing I can recommend the ht100 series...without a doubt.

...there´s a lot of gruff going on towards Blackstar...and with the issues they´ve had with the ht5 series this is quite understandable but after owning and testing many amps the only thing I can say is that this is a keeper...and sounds nothing like tube-modulating amps. When having my tubes changed and biased by an "amp-guru" here in Sweden we got to hear his comments about build-quality, the amp not being Point to Point and the disadvantages about using boards in amps....but in the end, after playing it for an hour he was also convinced that it really wasn´t that bad. Now of course it isn´t an Orange.....or a marshall plexi

....but it is an affordable amp that will do metal very...very well

I can think of 10 amps under the price of a BS HT100 I would rather have anyday. The HT is not horrid, but it is very uninspiring to play through.

And there was a local BS dealer near me that stopped carrying them because of build quality.

But I still stand that the JSX will destroy a HT in sound quality with out any trouble at all
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
#25
Quote by Robbgnarly
I can think of 10 amps under the price of a BS HT100 I would rather have anyday. The HT is not horrid, but it is very uninspiring to play through.

And there was a local BS dealer near me that stopped carrying them because of build quality.

But I still stand that the JSX will destroy a HT in sound quality with out any trouble at all



+1

The Blackstars are alright, but they lack character. They are very generic sounding, and for their price their is usually at least ONE option more suitable for what someone needs. I have played the HT60 combo, the HT40, and the HT5, all passable amps with generally good tone, but I can pick an amp in each one of their size ranges I'd rather have.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#26
Bit off topic but I would not dismiss Blackstar completely, their higher end amps like the artisan and series 1 are fantastic and are probably the best for the price in the UK
#27
have com to the understanding that the blackstars aren´t to popuular round here.....but anyway

....the blackstar HTV-100 series is the only one that has an AU7 instead of a phase inverter.....yes it does have alot of other fancy shit like the ISF, which i find really helpfull seeing that I play in a cover band and like too go from orange too marshal too fender, but do not mix it up with the the rest of the HT series, which does use enough ss technology to make the water a Little bit mucky for the 100 head.

now having that said...if you can find a decent orange head for a good price and that´s the sound you want than f*ck yeah...you go guy!!!.....but if your like me and on a budget I see no reason in overlooking the BS. Both my lead guitarist and myself have one, we practice at stage volume once a week and gig with them at least once a month for almost 2 years now and have never been let down.....just make sure you change the original tubes within a year cause that is the only negative thing I have to say about them.

....and of course best way instead of listening to all of us.....take your axe into a store...and try every amp you can find until your satisfied ;-)
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#28
Quote by Blackst4r
have com to the understanding that the blackstars aren´t to popuular round here.....but anyway

....the blackstar HTV-100 series is the only one that has an AU7 instead of a phase inverter.....yes it does have alot of other fancy shit like the ISF, which i find really helpfull seeing that I play in a cover band and like too go from orange too marshal too fender, but do not mix it up with the the rest of the HT series, which does use enough ss technology to make the water a Little bit mucky for the 100 head.

now having that said...if you can find a decent orange head for a good price and that´s the sound you want than f*ck yeah...you go guy!!!.....but if your like me and on a budget I see no reason in overlooking the BS. Both my lead guitarist and myself have one, we practice at stage volume once a week and gig with them at least once a month for almost 2 years now and have never been let down.....just make sure you change the original tubes within a year cause that is the only negative thing I have to say about them.

....and of course best way instead of listening to all of us.....take your axe into a store...and try every amp you can find until your satisfied ;-)

If your on a budget, used is the best way to go, and BS is not in that equation either

PS Thanks for Millencolin
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
Last edited by Robbgnarly at Sep 17, 2013,
#29
Quote by Robbgnarly
If your on a budget, used is the best way to go, and BS is not in that equation either

PS Thanks for Millencolin



I´ll do that next time I see them ;-)
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#30
Quote by Blackst4r
I´ll do that next time I see them ;-)


Yeah most on here don't like BS because of their untruthful use of "all tube" in the HT series
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
#31
Quote by Robbgnarly

Yeah most on here don't like BS because of their untruthful use of "all tube" in the HT series



As said....understandable when looking at the HT1-60´s ....kind of like the vox VT´s but with a better sound

.....but HTV-100 is a different beast all together...it´s no Point to Point....but your not paying for that either....than you need to go one series or artisan...and for that price you might as well go Orange.
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#32
Quote by Blackst4r
As said....understandable when looking at the HT1-60´s ....kind of like the vox VT´s but with a better sound

.....but HTV-100 is a different beast all together...it´s no Point to Point....but your not paying for that either....than you need to go one series or artisan...and for that price you might as well go Orange.



Alright dude, we get it, your amp has a 12AU7 for a phase inverter. Great. Awesome.

That doesn't change the fact that Blackstars are lack-luster and don't compare to amps that are in the same price bracket.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#33
Quote by dementiacaptain
Alright dude, we get it, your amp has a 12AU7 for a phase inverter. Great. Awesome.

That doesn't change the fact that Blackstars are lack-luster and don't compare to amps that are in the same price bracket.



Wow...I really have to move the hell over there then if that´s true.....cause anything thats worth playing over here will set you twice the amount back..

...I was just trying to give the guy my opinion......has anyone ever tried the 100 head?
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#34
Quote by Blackst4r
Wow...I really have to move the hell over there then if that´s true.....cause anything thats worth playing over here will set you twice the amount back..

...I was just trying to give the guy my opinion......has anyone ever tried the 100 head?



Yeah, generally speaking the U.S. has better gear prices and selection than a lot of Europe, but you guys have better prices on Engl and Marshall, two brands I really like, so I suppose it evens out a bit.

You gave your opinion, but in your very first post you also felt the need to qualify it with the whole "It's an all tube, swear! IT IS!" comment. That is begging for people to argue with you. If you want to share your opinion about an amp that is great, but that little all tube bit was unnecessary, you were just begging for someone to come get you on that. I could understand if the TS had asked or raised a concern on the issue, but that didn't happen.

FWIW, I haven't tried the HT100, so it may completely change my mind, but I am assuming that is similar to the other versions (such as the HT50 head, which I have at least heard in addition to playing most of the rest of the series) and I just don't see the value in them. If they were about $200 cheaper I would say they are a worth the price.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#35
Quote by dementiacaptain
Yeah, generally speaking the U.S. has better gear prices and selection than a lot of Europe, but you guys have better prices on Engl and Marshall, two brands I really like, so I suppose it evens out a bit.

You gave your opinion, but in your very first post you also felt the need to qualify it with the whole "It's an all tube, swear! IT IS!" comment. That is begging for people to argue with you. If you want to share your opinion about an amp that is great, but that little all tube bit was unnecessary, you were just begging for someone to come get you on that. I could understand if the TS had asked or raised a concern on the issue, but that didn't happen.

FWIW, I haven't tried the HT100, so it may completely change my mind, but I am assuming that is similar to the other versions (such as the HT50 head, which I have at least heard in addition to playing most of the rest of the series) and I just don't see the value in them. If they were about $200 cheaper I would say they are a worth the price.



...knew i should of re-writen after the mistake of hitting caps-lock ;-(
...well you´ll be dissapointed with the 50 seeing that it lacks that 12au7
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#36
Quote by Blackst4r
...knew i should of re-writen after the mistake of hitting caps-lock ;-(
...well you´ll be dissapointed with the 50 seeing that it lacks that 12au7



I was disappointed with all of them. I am sure that I would be with the HT100 as well. I just find them generic and uninspiring. I doubt your 12AU7 is going to completely change my mind.

Remember, I am not the guy arguing about whether they are all tube or not, I am arguing about whether they are a good value.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#39
I've seen jcm 800s for 900 before on eBay, or you can get a peavey valveking 100 2x12 combo used for pretty cheap, and I always think combos just sound a bit better.
#40
Thanks again for all the feedback, but I'm still a little skeptical about the Blackstars. Like, I get they have some shady-ass marketing, but I'll have to do a direct comparison myself.

The main reason I'm still considering them is because of how readily available they are compared to 90% of the suggestions I've got so far.

Then again, I have to yet to make it the shop since I created the thread so I need to do that.
Page 1 of 2