#1
I'm looking to upgrade my amp, and would value the suggestions of random UGers!

My current amp is a Vox AD50VT. It's fine at low practice volumes, but the moment I go above normal practice volumes the bass belts out a bit too much for my liking (even with the bass cut). I don't change the modelling features much, and it also doesn't capture my guitar's sound as well as I'd like, so I'm thinking of taking the plunge and going fully valve.

All I want in an amp is a rich, meaty distortion that can be switched to a well-balanced clean sound. I play a lot of distorted stuff (Dream Theater, Megadeth, Satch, Vai etc etc) but also play clean stuff (jazzy bits and bobs, a bit of Django). I don't want anything too thin and twangy, so had kinda ruled out any Fender amps, however having tried one whilst looking for my current guitar it was much better than I thought (although the distortion was provided by a Boss metalzone pedal).

I am drawn to a couple of Mesa Boogie amps, and have read very good things about the F50, however as I want to use it for practice (and the occasional gig) I'm concerned that the distortion may sound shite at low volumes, so the Express 5:50 could get around that problem. I haven't thought about non-mesa combos, but I like marshall distortion (from trying their valvestate amps a decade or so ago...).

Budget is reasonably elastic for the right thing: max max max would be £2k, but ideally something second hand for under a grand. F50 amps seem to fetch around £500, which in my mind makes it seem like a frontrunner - tbh it would need to lack a meaty distortion to make me consider spending much more, and although it may not pack a punch like a rectifier the things I've read suggest it comes close.

In terms of location, Oxford or Nottingham areas. I intend to scope out PMT in Oxford, but suggestions for places to go in or around Nottingham would be welcomed.

Think away!
#2
If your looking at Mesa, what about the DC3/5? they are a Mark series variant and sound really nice.

You can also look at a Peavey JSX/XXX II (same amp just renamed)
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)
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Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#3
I hadn't thought about the DC3 or 5, so will look into that, and I'd sort of ruled out Peavey amps as I've never liked their cheaper amps that I tried.

Anyone know of any obscure amp brands that could compete with Mesas on sound quality?
#4
Quote by Quiffmiester
I hadn't thought about the DC3 or 5, so will look into that, and I'd sort of ruled out Peavey amps as I've never liked their cheaper amps that I tried.

Anyone know of any obscure amp brands that could compete with Mesas on sound quality?

Bogner, Engl, Orange, Splawn, Fryette/VHT, Brunetti

Some you can buy new, others you will have to go used especially in Europe

The Peavey JSX is a great amp and so is the 5150/6505 series. The USA made Peaveys are built very well with quality components.
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 Mar 13, 2014,
#5
JSX/XXX looks just about right for that kinda stuff.
Or a the big jet city head with the depth knob maybe...
Or a bogner Ubershall/twin jet.

Not a mesa express though, the distortion can't really go behind mid-gain rock.
Name's Luca.

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Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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#6
Quote by Spambot_2

Not a mesa express though, the distortion can't really do anything.

FTFY


I find the Express kinda lifeless, only Mesa I just really didn't like. However, a DC or F series would do you well
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#8
Mesa F-50 is a nice amp that will be light years more amp than the Vox. It has a lot more gain than the Express 5/50 with nice scooped mids but I'm not sure it is a full metal shredder. Spend some time with it and see what you think. I have gigged with the F-30 for 4 years now and I still totally dig it.

Note: Every amp will have increased bass response when you turn them up loud. It's a physics thing. Just roll off the bass when you hit jamming volumes and turn up the bass when at bedroom levels.
"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

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#9
Quote by classicrocker01
FTFY


I find the Express kinda lifeless, only Mesa I just really didn't like. However, a DC or F series would do you well
c'm on you can do blues with it maybe
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#10
^Ya, perfect for blues, gives you a sad subject. I'd be singing about how I wish I'd bought an F-30
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
#11
^ I'd rather a DC3 myself
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
#12
Thanks for the info, esp. for the names I hadn't heard of (bogner mentioned twice). And for the thoughts on the express. I obviously need to get out and try some stuff, but it's good to have recommendations to hunt down.

In terms of the bass response increasing with volume - presumably the amp should be able to have the bass rolled off (and make a difference) up to very near its maximum volume?
#13
It's not the bass increasing, it's the top end pfutzing out.


And .......used Randall RM100
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
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 Mar 15, 2014,
#14
top lello
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#15
^ ?

Tried a few things today - A Marshall TSL602 and a JCM900, Vox AC30, Fender super champ and a Blues Junior (both 15W) with a few boss pedals. None really inspired me, but the conclusions may help guide further suggestions:
- I much preferred the Fender Blues Junior's clean tones over all the others';
- I couldn't get a decent tone from the JCM900 (seems like it needs to be cranked to sing);
- The TSL had a useable distortion but was total crap when clean;
- The boss mega distortion pedal was a lot better than I was expecting, and I liked the distorted tone it could produce;
- I liked some of the super champs' distorted amp settings, but not the basic clean sound (too small a speaker?)
- I think I can get a sound I like for ~£500 no problems;
- The guitar I used in one shop was priced at £1999 and played like poo.

There's a shop that stocks mesas and orange amps, so I'll try to head down there next week. Need to search around to find some of the other stuff to try.
#16
To get a good tone from a JCM900 (apart from the SL/X) you have to modify them.

Look at Peavey Classic 30 or 50 and the Jet City JCA50 or 100.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
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
#17
Quote by Quiffmiester
I'm looking to upgrade my amp, and would value the suggestions of random UGers!

My current amp is a Vox AD50VT. It's fine at low practice volumes, but the moment I go above normal practice volumes the bass belts out a bit too much for my liking (even with the bass cut). I don't change the modelling features much, and it also doesn't capture my guitar's sound as well as I'd like, so I'm thinking of taking the plunge and going fully valve.


Before you do that, pick up ("rent" using the GC 30-day return policy?) an EQ pedal (Boss GE-7 7-band or MXR M108 10-band graphic EQ). It's likely that you're not only hearing bass, but (and more likely) low mids, and those are difficult to sort out using the very limited EQ on most amps, tube OR sullied-state.

While you're at it, get the cabinet up off the ground on a stand; you're probably experiencing both acoustic and mechanical coupling in the bass, which can make the amp sound boomy in the bottom end. Especially in a bedroom where you'll get acoustic coupling both off walls AND the floor.

And here's a complicated hint; once you get your amp set up sort of how you like it, pull down a pink noise generation app and a real time analyzer app for your phone (and your buddy's). Run the pink noise generator into the amp and then read what you get on the other phone with the RTA on it. You'll get a frequency plot. Save it. Then when you go into an unfamiliar venue, and you think you've got some odd things happening because the stage is hollow, etc., run that pink noise generator again, check the RTA and tweak the graphic EQ until that RTA plot looks like what you're used to. Chances are you'll have a really good running start at having your amp sound, in the new venue, as it does in your practice space.
#18
Quote by Cathbard
It's not the bass increasing, it's the top end pfutzing out.



That would be unusual. It takes a LOT more power to reproduce bottom than it does top end (every octave you drop, the speaker has to move four times as much air), so top end is usually the last thing to go at the same distance from the cab.
#19
Unless your speaker is shit. It's not always about the electronics.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
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
#20
Spellman understands the physics of sound.
"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

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#21
Seriously check out the Peavey JSX. I used to own one. It was built to do exactly what you want it to do. It BREATHES that virtuoso tone, and cleans can easily get quite jazzy. The cleans can't even get shrill or too bright. One of the best clean channels out there on a high gain amp. Regardless of price.
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#22
+1 on RM100
Mesa Boogie Single Rectoverb 50 series 2 combo
Randall RM100
Peavey 5150 4x12
Peavey XXX 2x12 combo
Pedals
#23
And here's a complicated hint; once you get your amp set up sort of how you like it, pull down a pink noise generation app and a real time analyzer app for your phone (and your buddy's). Run the pink noise generator into the amp and then read what you get on the other phone with the RTA on it. You'll get a frequency plot. Save it. Then when you go into an unfamiliar venue, and you think you've got some odd things happening because the stage is hollow, etc., run that pink noise generator again, check the RTA and tweak the graphic EQ until that RTA plot looks like what you're used to. Chances are you'll have a really good running start at having your amp sound, in the new venue, as it does in your practice space.


GEEK SPLURGE! I'm totally doing that Do you know if there are any FRF features that could be used to identify certain tonal aspects to the sound?

The mention of using an EQ has raised another issue - how can I identify which bits of my setup have the biggest impact on my sound, without taking a long-winded trial-and-error approach? If I end up considering a good distortion pedal + amp combo, what's the best way to figure out how much of the sound that I like comes from the pedal and how much from the amp (without a 'trial and error' approach of using the same pedal with a load of amps)?

I've found a store I can get to that stocks the JSX, so I'll give that a blast. Need to look a little further afield for a Randall.
Last edited by Quiffmiester at Mar 16, 2014,