#1
A lot of boutique amp makers are always talking about how simple amps sound better. But I haven't really seen this philosophy applied to the lower end spectrum of tube amps except in things like the Tiny Terror. And even when making cheaper versions of bigger simple amps, they add a lot of things. For example, the OR15 has power switching, an extra gain stage, and an effects loop that the OR50 doesn't. Don't those things drive up the cost? Theoretically, couldn't they remove those things and use the money saved to use better components and the tone would also benefit from the simplicity of the circuit?

Is there just no market for a mass-produced, no-frills, single channel, clean amp for under $1000? It seems like every new amp in that price range is catering to people who want distortion. The only good clean amps are reissues or the Peavey Classic line. Those no-frills clean amps seem to be reserved for a much more expensive price range which is strange to me. Are simple clean amps really expensive to make?
#2
Check out Carvin, Fender and Vox, all make sub-$1K amps with excellent cleans.
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#4
It doesn't get any simpler or cleaner in the tube world than a Carvin TS100. Can be run 100 watts mono or 50 watts stereo. (4) 12ax7's and (4) EL34's and its less than half a thousand. It would be ideal for someone running a stereo multi effects unit like a Fractal or Kemper or even a Line 6 , Digitech processor or the like.
#5
^ that is a power amp though, I'm guessing TS wants a guitar amp.
Quote by JELIFISH19
A lot of boutique amp makers are always talking about how simple amps sound better.
Where in the world did you hear that?
'cause there really is no relation between sound quality and simplicity of an amp's circuit.

I mean you might like a simple (circuit) amp better than a complicated one, but the reason will be far from simplicity of the design.
Quote by JELIFISH19
Don't those things drive up the cost? Theoretically, couldn't they remove those things and use the money saved to use better components and the tone would also benefit from the simplicity of the circuit?
Most of the cost is design of the circuit, publicity and distribution - eliminating that stuff would result in close to nothing saved.
Quote by JELIFISH19
Is there just no market for a mass-produced, no-frills, single channel, clean amp for under $1000?
Like all sub $1k fenders?
Or the small three blackheart amps?
Or the sub $1k vox amps?
Or the sub $1k (so most of the) ceriatone amps?

Not all are single channels but they mostly are, and they can get you some pretty damn awesome cleans y' know.
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#7
I once had a Bogner combo which was pretty good. They don't make them anymore, actually they don't seem to make any combos anymore.

I bet that was very helpful.
Last edited by Knarrenheino at Jan 5, 2015,
#8
A few from a Canadian store called Long and McQuade, all undet $1000CAD: Vox AC15C1 and AC15C1X,
AC15C2,
Traynor YCV20 and 40, and YCV50B,
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Blues Jr., Blues Deluxe, '68 Princeton Reissue.

I would use all those amps for clean tones if I didn't need a particular sound. Again, those are all under $1000CAD, so they should be even cheaper in the US.
Caution:
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#9
Dozens of really nice clean amps under $1k. Many under $500 new. Keep digging cause you missed a few.
"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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#10
The good Fender and Vox amps fall under the reissue category. But you have boutique amps like the Two-Rock Crystal, Port City Pearl, and the Dr. Z Z-Wreck that are new great clean amps. There's always a new cheap high-gain amp or even moderate gain amp coming out but never new clean amps. New clean amps tend to be from boutique makers trying to get the most revealing and dynamic tone around. Why don't other brands follow that trend? I'm not looking for an amp. I'm just curious about why there are so few clean amps being made in that price range. Even going to $1500 doesn't really offer you much more. Is it because Fender and Vox already have it covered in that price range?
#12
Peavey makes several amps with great cleans that can be had for under $750. check out the Classic series and even the Valveking series which as very good cleans for a low price.
#13
Quote by JELIFISH19
The good Fender and Vox amps fall under the reissue category. But you have boutique amps like the Two-Rock Crystal, Port City Pearl, and the Dr. Z Z-Wreck that are new great clean amps. There's always a new cheap high-gain amp or even moderate gain amp coming out but never new clean amps. New clean amps tend to be from boutique makers trying to get the most revealing and dynamic tone around. Why don't other brands follow that trend? I'm not looking for an amp. I'm just curious about why there are so few clean amps being made in that price range. Even going to $1500 doesn't really offer you much more. Is it because Fender and Vox already have it covered in that price range?

I think I understand your puzzlement better now, and believe you have answered it with the last sentence.

How much more "clean" can an amp get than the Carvins, Fenders, Voxes, etc.? How can one design an amp that is both "clean" but different in character or quality from the amp designs of yesterday? How much of that is even audible to the human ear?

As someone sets down that road and starts asking those questions, they ALSO start realizing how much it will cost to answer those questions. After a certain point, it simply isn't worth it. "New Amp X" might be clean as can be, but will the maker be rewarded for his efforts? Can that tone be delivered under $1000?

In contrast, it is probably MUCH easier to find a distinctive voice- and thus, a market- for an amp that handles gain in new and interesting ways.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#14
Quote by JELIFISH19
Is there just no market for a mass-produced, no-frills, single channel, clean amp for under $1000? It seems like every new amp in that price range is catering to people who want distortion. The only good clean amps are reissues or the Peavey Classic line. Those no-frills clean amps seem to be reserved for a much more expensive price range which is strange to me. Are simple clean amps really expensive to make?


Fender Blues Junior:
1 channel
Bass, treble, middle EQ
Master and preamp volume
Fat switch
Reverb

Can be had for US$400 used ($529 new). Change the speaker and add some BillM mods and you've got exactly what you're after. You get beautiful Fender cleans and have a few hundred dollars left over for pedals.
Nothing wrong with that setup compared to the "Over $1500 boutique clean amps" that you're talking about. Reissue, boutique, standard, who gives a shit as long as it sounds good.
#15
Quote by JELIFISH19
A lot of boutique amp makers are always talking about how simple amps sound better. But I haven't really seen this philosophy applied to the lower end spectrum of tube amps except in things like the Tiny Terror. And even when making cheaper versions of bigger simple amps, they add a lot of things. For example, the OR15 has power switching, an extra gain stage, and an effects loop that the OR50 doesn't. Don't those things drive up the cost? Theoretically, couldn't they remove those things and use the money saved to use better components and the tone would also benefit from the simplicity of the circuit?

Is there just no market for a mass-produced, no-frills, single channel, clean amp for under $1000? It seems like every new amp in that price range is catering to people who want distortion. The only good clean amps are reissues or the Peavey Classic line. Those no-frills clean amps seem to be reserved for a much more expensive price range which is strange to me. Are simple clean amps really expensive to make?
Well it depends what kind of "simple clean amp" you are talking about. If you are talking about that in the sense of a custom designed, hand-wired, PTP amp made in a small shop with limited number of hands on deck... well... yes, it IS that expensive to make.

Something a little bit more mass produced, using cheaper parts and labor, a Fender Princeton Reverb is a fantastic no-frills, single channel amp. I'm not sure why it matters that it is a reissue.
#16
It's just supply and demand, man. If there was a demand, there'd be a supply.
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#17
Someone's already beaten me to the Carvin Belair and Nomad (and VT50 head). These are all the same chassis (the Belair and Nomad are 2x12 and 1x12 combos, respectively). Gorgeous cleans and a very smooth gain ("soak") channel designed with Allan Holdsworth. 50W, lots of headroom. Under $600 for the 2x12. Mine has a pair of well-broken-in V30's, has been through the mill and still sounds amazing.
#18
also look at the old musicman amps. i got my 212 130watt HD for like for around $300 IIRC fantastic cleans. its hybrid, but gets me what i want.

they are around.

ampeg make some nice clean amps (older)

i have a AX-70 with a single 12" celestion for $30 nice nice cleans and nice reverb. hybrid again.

as mentioned vox AC amps,

maybe you don't know where to look.
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#19
I think Danny made a good point: how much can you elaborate on a clean sound? I'm not knocking clean amps, but there's only so many ways that you can change the voicing and get a pleasing sound. Heck, most modern amps that focus on drive are only minor tweaks on an old idea. The difference in clean sounds is even more subtle. It's not profitable to have a million different clean amps on the market, people's favorites will come out on top and everything else will just be money sinks for companies.
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#20
Quote by dspellman
Someone's already beaten me to the Carvin Belair and Nomad (and VT50 head). These are all the same chassis (the Belair and Nomad are 2x12 and 1x12 combos, respectively). Gorgeous cleans and a very smooth gain ("soak") channel designed with Allan Holdsworth. 50W, lots of headroom. Under $600 for the 2x12. Mine has a pair of well-broken-in V30's, has been through the mill and still sounds amazing.



I went with your word and pulled the trigger on a VT50 head and I gotta say you hit the nail on the head (no pun intended) ..... I have already even contacted Hasse , I actually talked to him right before the purchase and after ... thank you Dspellman
Eric
#21
Just look used.

Bassman
Twin
Jc120
Ampeg V4
Ac30
Traynor Yba-1
Music man hd130
Ampeg reverberocket
Sunn stuff
Etc

All under 1000 used all day
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#22
Quote by trashedlostfdup
also look at the old musicman amps. i got my 212 130watt HD for like for around $300 IIRC fantastic cleans. its hybrid, but gets me what i want.


The guitarist in my funk band uses an HD150 as his guitar amp even though it's meant for bass and keyboards, and it sounds absolutely incredible. His entire concept of tone is basically 'find the best clean tone I can, and then when I actually need dirt I have this gnarly fuzz pedal'. And really, it absolutely nails the 'best clean tone' part of that ethos, it's one of the most pristine clean tones I've heard in quite some time, even through his Mesa cab.
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#23
Quote by kumamilesbear
The guitarist in my funk band uses an HD150 as his guitar amp even though it's meant for bass and keyboards, and it sounds absolutely incredible. His entire concept of tone is basically 'find the best clean tone I can, and then when I actually need dirt I have this gnarly fuzz pedal'. And really, it absolutely nails the 'best clean tone' part of that ethos, it's one of the most pristine clean tones I've heard in quite some time, even through his Mesa cab.


i haven't dragged it out for a while. the cleans i am getting are from my MKIV for practice.

i did do a blues gig with the music man twice, and it is pretty damn solid, but its minty and i don't want that one to get beat up too bad. i have different amps i gig/open mic with. depends on the venue as well.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/