#1
My question is in regards to buying a new amp, particularly one of the low wattage variety. I'm moving soon and will be living in an apartment but I still want to have the ability to play live shows and what not. I've checked some solid states like PODs and such and am interested in those too but right now I want to just ask about tubes. My budget is in the $300-$400 range. I play death metal and black metal but still like to play with cleans from time to time. What small tube amp can pull off the brutal high gain at TV volume then go devour souls at gigs without a PA? Some added info to work with, I use a Marshall 1960B Cab and i'm totally willing to throw an overdrive pedal in front of the sucker.

So far I've heard a lot about the H&K Tubemeister, the Blackstar HT series, the Jet City JCA stuff, and the Randall Diavlo stuff and i'm interested to see if there are any other amps I need to check out. Thanks for any thoughts you throw into the mix!
#2
Blackstar, Orange Dark Terror
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

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Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#3
You won't get a low watt tube amp that can gig for metal without being mic'd. However, even high watters have volume knobs. I use a 100 watt head and 4x12 in my apartment. Turning it down may not sound quite as good, but it will sound just fine for low volume playing
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Orange Tiny Terror
Traynor YCV 50 Blue
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Will fly for food. Call me Dylan
#4
You can make your low watt tube amp sound twice as loud if you can replace the stock speakers in the external cab with a speaker that has a 3dB higher rating. If the stock speaker has a 97 dB rating, then a 100 dB speaker will be twice as loud at the same amp level.
#5
It's not going to happen. Don't worry about it. Low wattage doesn't mean anything in terms of volume, if that's what you think. Low wattage means that the amp will achieve power amp breakup at relatively low volumes. For the kind of metal you want to play, that is the opposite of what you want your amp to do. Metal amps are huge 100W monsters for exactly that reason. To NOT get power amp breakup.

The volume is a completely separate issue. I have a 6W VHT, and it can be painfully loud. I have owned 120W Peaveys that can be whisper quiet. The volume knob is there to control the loudness, use it.

I recommend a used Peavey Vypyr Tube 60, firstmost. If you don't want a modeler, the Peavey 6505+ 112 is the way to go. But the Vypyr will get you way better cleans and mid gain, as well as having high gain that is easier to dial in/manage.
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
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Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#6
Industry standard. Peavey 6505 or Mesa Dual Rec.

Dont let the 120 watt putt you off. I was thinking the same (gone from a blackstar HT5h to a peavey 5150ii) but im glad ive got it. Yes i cant get the same tone at gigging volumes with im at home, but its so close it doesnt matter.
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07 LTD MH400NT SD SH2/SH5
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#8
Ohhhhh...


Used Laney Ironheart?
I shouldn't post when drunk..



07 LTD MH400NT SD SH2/SH5
15 Jackson SLATHX-m 3-7 Slime green
Squier std tele (modded to hell)

Engl Powerball
Laney Ironheart 60h
Zilla Superfatboy 2x12 v30's

Pedals
#9
Quote by gregs1020
he also wants cleans at decent volume.

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/msg/4319719212.html

i know it's not the end all be all but they can be decent amps imo with a drive out front.

$300-400 budget guys. focus.



Wow this is hilarious, but that is actually my ad. I'm selling that valveking . Cool to see another Gateway City shredder though.
#10
used peavy, that includes the 5150 combos or similar models, and even XXX. the triple x is actually fairly under rated and can be had used for cheap.

jet citys will do some of that goodness.

a pod probably idnt a terrible option, but i am a real amp tube man myself.

a used carvin v3m would be a good option and possibly the most full featured high gain amp around for the 600 and under range. i am sure used 400 is attainable.

and...if you play live, i should hope you will be miced. so i really dont think thats much a concern. even then, a 20 watter should be able to pull off usable tones, but your clean headroom is going to go out the door. also - make sure you get a QUALITY CAB. i would prefer a 2x12 over a 1x12, good speakers.

edit:

the orange terror series (dark terror) can work.

yep laney.

i dislike the blackstars for "false" marketing what really are hybrid amp or perhaps i would say "solid state assisted" amps instead of being 100% tube path, but i acknowledge that they can probably pull off a good tone in that price range. i still aint buying one.
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Last edited by ikey_ at Feb 20, 2014,
#11
Quote by ikey_

i dislike the blackstars for "false" marketing what really are hybrid amp or perhaps i would say "solid state assisted" amps instead of being 100% tube path, but i acknowledge that they can probably pull off a good tone in that price range. i still aint buying one.


Is that because of the solid state rectifier?

The majority of new amps have that dont they (Marshall, Orange, H&K, Hayden etc)

http://www.soldano.com/amp-help/tube-vs-solid-state-rectifiers/
Last edited by LivinJoke84 at Feb 20, 2014,
#12
Quote by royc
You can make your low watt tube amp sound twice as loud if you can replace the stock speakers in the external cab with a speaker that has a 3dB higher rating. If the stock speaker has a 97 dB rating, then a 100 dB speaker will be twice as loud at the same amp level.


Nope, 3 db isn't twice as loud. It's the equivalent of providing twice as much wattage, but it's not twice as loud.

10db is twice as loud, and takes 10x the wattage.

To TS: No small wattage amp will do what you ask. Get an amp that will melt faces at your gigs and then do that most unmetal of things at home, turn it down...

Quote by LivinJoke84
Is that because of the solid state rectifier?

The majority of new amps have that dont they (Marshall, Orange, H&K, Hayden etc)

http://www.soldano.com/amp-help/tube-vs-solid-state-rectifiers/


No, it's because they have solid-state shenanigans in the signal path.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Last edited by Arby911 at Feb 20, 2014,
#13
I will go against the grain here and suggest a solid state - Marshall VS8100 head. It will tear heads at gig volume and will play nice in low volume situations. You have to find it used...

From the newer stuff - maybe Peavey JSX or its new remake 3312 (or whatever they called it).
Look into Egnater as well - they have low volume and cranked options on their amps. My Marshall JCM900 has low and high power option as well so you can go from 25 to 50 watt, maybe the newer JCM2000s do as well but am not sure.
#14
Quote by diabolical
I will go against the grain here and suggest a solid state - Marshall VS8100 head. It will tear heads at gig volume and will play nice in low volume situations. You have to find it used...

From the newer stuff - maybe Peavey JSX or its new remake 3312 (or whatever they called it).
Look into Egnater as well - they have low volume and cranked options on their amps. My Marshall JCM900 has low and high power option as well so you can go from 25 to 50 watt, maybe the newer JCM2000s do as well but am not sure.


The JSX is now called the XXX II
The XXX is now called the 3120

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
#15
Quote by PruessPUB
Wow this is hilarious, but that is actually my ad. I'm selling that valveking . Cool to see another Gateway City shredder though.

fahking hilarious.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#16
Still after many years of owning a 100w tube amp and managing to get fantastic sounds at low volumes I have yet to figure out why people keep making these threads.


In an apartment it's best to just ditch tubes altogether, go with modeling. Not as good, no. But sometimes you have to suck it up, how life goes. Get a POD HD Pro, maybe a power amp and cab if needed for gigging.

Another thing you should also take into consideration is your neighbors. Some may be fine with you playing at decent volume a few hours a day, others may be bothered by even an unplugged electric.


I'm currently attending college and living on campus, in my dorm I'm pretty lucky because I have cinderblock walls and neighbors on only one wall (other side is a matienence closet and a vending room).

However, in my friend's dorm across campus which is newer and has drywall we got complained to at first for low volume amp jamming (15w Vypyr VIP1), then again even after we unplugged by his bitch of a neighbor.


A rule you learn quick in apartment/college dorm living:

If it's too loud, don't turn it down. Turn it OFF.
#17
^That sucks, my neighbors in my apartment are really cool about it. I can run my Krank about half volume during the day and they don't mind at all.
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Les Paul Traditional
Cort Explorer
Squire Standard Strat rebuilt with Fender USA parts
Squire Tele
Krank 1980
Orange Tiny Terror
Traynor YCV 50 Blue
Peavey Vypyr 75

Will fly for food. Call me Dylan
#18
Quote by Arby911
Nope, 3 db isn't twice as loud. It's the equivalent of providing twice as much wattage, but it's not twice as loud.

10db is twice as loud, and takes 10x the wattage.


Thanks for the clarification :-)
Last edited by royc at Feb 21, 2014,
#19
I am going to have to +1 to a solid state amp. You could get a VH140 and matching 4x12 for that much, you'll maybe never outgrow the cab as they're decent, and its that evil as ****, most overly aggressive amp that early death metal grew on. Think Gorguts, Death, etc. I get the most necro evil tones out of my SS140C. It sounds like I am literally sacrificing virgins to Baphomet, inside a burning church to boot.

If you can find a Crate SS140 that's about the same amp.

I have had some pretty intense GAS for a Randall Warhead before. That's like early Decapitated.

These can be had for about half the price of anything anybody has listed.
"If you're looking for me,
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because that's where you'll find me..."
#20
I have the Orange Dark Terror, only play at home atm, but just for your kicks, I never ever use the 7 watt mode and I don't play particularly loud either, I rarely have the Volume above 1 on the dial.

The 15watt mode sounds so much fuller and better even at whisper volumes.

Just adding to the whole less watts not equaling less volume/tone shiz.
#21
Quote by diabolical
I will go against the grain here and suggest a solid state - Marshall VS8100 head. It will tear heads at gig volume and will play nice in low volume situations. You have to find it used...

From the newer stuff - maybe Peavey JSX or its new remake 3312 (or whatever they called it).
Look into Egnater as well - they have low volume and cranked options on their amps. My Marshall JCM900 has low and high power option as well so you can go from 25 to 50 watt, maybe the newer JCM2000s do as well but am not sure.



Instead of Valvestate I would recommend the new Randall. I have both 8100 and RG1503 and latter murders the Valvestate. 8100 is good for extreme metal sounds that need a Marshally touch on budget but otherwise the Randall RG1503 crushes it. Beefy low end (something VS8100 lacks), so much USABLE gain and crushing distortion sound (no distortion pedallish thin SS fizz here) and 150W makes sure you have enough headroom. As long as you use 4 ohm cab that is, the wattage drops the higher you go. Its a solid state thing. And if 150W is not enough there is 300W version too.

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
#22
Is the Pod HD500 better at high gain than the Valveking? I feel stupid for asking that but I hafta ask haha.
#23
Quote by PruessPUB
Is the Pod HD500 better at high gain than the Valveking? I feel stupid for asking that but I hafta ask haha.


Infinitely better.

The Valveking isn't even a high gain amp.
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
#24
Quote by PruessPUB
Is the Pod HD500 better at high gain than the Valveking? I feel stupid for asking that but I hafta ask haha.


Yes. Atleast my pod x3 is. Nowadays when I use valveking its with the pod into the fx return.

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
#26
Quote by DimeThat
WOW no one said Blackstar?? I just played the HT-5 which can get rambunctious.They also have the HT-5 metal. It's tube and quite the sweet amp. I would likely change out the speaker and tubes down the road, but they work stock.

http://www.blackstaramps.com/products/ht-metal-5/
We have.

They suck, which is why no one is recommending them.
#27
Quote by DimeThat
WOW no one said Blackstar?? I just played the HT-5 which can get rambunctious.They also have the HT-5 metal. It's tube and quite the sweet amp. I would likely change out the speaker and tubes down the road, but they work stock.

http://www.blackstaramps.com/products/ht-metal-5/


As a previous owner of a HT5, (now an owner of a 5150 mkii)
Stay away from the HT5.
I shouldn't post when drunk..



07 LTD MH400NT SD SH2/SH5
15 Jackson SLATHX-m 3-7 Slime green
Squier std tele (modded to hell)

Engl Powerball
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Zilla Superfatboy 2x12 v30's

Pedals
#28
Quote by Carrot
As a previous owner of a HT5, (now an owner of a 5150 mkii)
Stay away from the HT5.

Why?
#29
Quote by DimeThat
WOW no one said Blackstar??


Quote by DimeThat
It's tube


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
#30
I have the Dark Terror and am primarily a bedroom player, ****ing love how metal it gets! Such a heavy amp!

7watt mode can sound fuzzy but still good, 15 watt mode has a more solid tone.
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#31
There is another option. If you get a decent pod like a HD500 just run it straight into the PA and get yourself a nice powered foldback wedge for your onstage monitoring. Get something in the 100W+ 12"+ range, Something like a Yamaha or a JBL if you find one for a decent price. Plenty of options out there. Most wedges sound fine turned down low too, they're just a SS power amp. Get a decent one and it's your amp for jamming too. Multi purpose solution that fits all your needs.
Gilchrist custom
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Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at Feb 25, 2014,
#32
Quote by GuitarL91
Why?



It does clean okay and rock tone but nothing metal sounding at all unless you boost+EQ+Boost+Active pickups the **** out of it.


EDIT:
Cath's answer is pretty good idea.
I shouldn't post when drunk..



07 LTD MH400NT SD SH2/SH5
15 Jackson SLATHX-m 3-7 Slime green
Squier std tele (modded to hell)

Engl Powerball
Laney Ironheart 60h
Zilla Superfatboy 2x12 v30's

Pedals