I've been playing for over 10 years and have finally decided to upgrade from my locally made knockoff tube stack. I play a lot of different styles but I need something with good rock and metal tones as I'll be using it for practice and gigs with both my progressive rock and death metal bands. I've checked out the obvious Mesas, Marshalls and the like but I really don't want to pay for the brand, if I can save a few hundred bucks and still get the tone I'm looking for I don't care whose name's on it.

Ideally I want it to sound as close to the classic, grunty British sound whilst having just enough gain and sizzle to pull all the 'metal tricks' (Low end pinch harmonics, satch/dime squeals, weird scrapey noises.) Scooped tones are for bedroom guitarists, i need something i can actually hear over drums without the volume at 10.

  • At least 2 channels, preferably 3 (clean/crunch/lead)
  • Series effects loop (or parallel that can be set to 100% wet)
  • 100 watts (or whatever's loud enough, my current amp's on the 60 watt setting)
  • As flexible eq setting as possible (individual channel eq would be the best.)
  • MIDS!!

Also, MIDI switching would be nice so I can get crazy with effects in the prog band.
Cheers guys, hope you can help me out.
Last edited by Radzilla7 at Oct 21, 2014,
Randall RM100.

To give you an idea of what preamp modules you can buy to go in one:


It checks all the boxes.
Three channels. ie three modules.
It has both parallel and series loops. They're line level loops though if that is a problem. There are ways around it if it is.
100W normally (they came stock with four E34L's) but it can run just about any octal power tube you want to. Individual biasing on every power tube so you don't need matched sets - and extremely easy to bias yourself. All done from the back panel.
Each module has its own EQ controls
MIDI switchable channels.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
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 Oct 21, 2014,
What is the budget?

I love the Randall idea but it is a bit pricy if you are cost conscious. For a more economical option, look towards the XXX or JSX. They will do everything you want.
Look into Ashdown Fallen Angel, little on the dark side on the dirty channel but clipping one resistor out of the eq section fixes it (I've done the mod and can confirm). Built like a tank and especially great if you get the factory foot controller with it.
Okay, outside the box here. Look around for a tube preamp (rackmount). I still have two -- a Mesa Triaxis and a Carvin Quad-X.

The latter, for example, is lesser known and a "dirty little secret" for a lot of guitar players.

Nine 12AX7 tubes, eleven gain stages (!) available.
Four channels -- and that's four independent channels -- ranging from clean to all gain stages active.
Six (yes) FX loops; one per channel, two overall (one serial, one parallel).
Individual channel EQ plus an assignable 5-band EQ -- all active controls, not passive, giving you boost AND cut (far greater range than passives).
Built in boost.
Built in bass cloaking (HPF -- eliminates subsonics that rob power)
Very good built in reverb
MIDI control

These were discontinued in the late '90's. They were just too expensive to build. A good one on eBay *with* the original foot pedal (you want this) will run about $350.

I used to run these into a Carvin TS100 rackmount stereo tube 50W/50W, 100W mono, bridged amp that could take 5881, 6L6 EL34s (in stereo mode, you could run each channel with different tubes, but you'd want to run the same tubes in each channel if you were bridging). Eventually abandoned the TS100 (still have it, of course) for a 1500W solid state. Lighter. No re-tubing <G>.
You do sound like you want an RM100 here.

Though you could get a Jet City JCA100 if you're on the cheap.

5153 is a hell of an amp, but I'm not sure it's gonna do them british rock tones that good.
If they're not your main focus get one of these though - monstrous, monstrous amps.
Name's Luca.

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Some awesome suggestions here, don't have time to check everything out right this minute but I'll get on to it later tonight. I love the idea of the RM100 but I think I'd get stuck again on which modules to buy.
Price isn't really an issue but I'd rather have something sooner than having to save up for too long, If somebody was impressed with my tone I'd rather have them ask where i heard about the amp I'm using than say "you can't go wrong with (insert brand/model here)"