#1
Hey guys.Long post incoming :P

Basically I want to spent 400 euros to improve my tone and get the best result possible for that money.Most of the money(if not all)will be spent on a tube amp.But let me start with my guitar first.

-I have an Ibanez RG321 that I changed the INF 3 & 4 pickups with EMG's 85/81.I definetely had an improvement in distorted tone,but nowadays I'm a little dissapointed in them.They sound really stiff and plastic,especially in clean tones.I'm thinking about selling them to either replace them with some better used ones or push the amp budget to around 500.Do you think that's a good/terrible idea?

-Now let's go with the amp.Browsing the Internet I found quite a few options,but each one of them has something that drives me off.

http://www.thomann.de/gr/blackstar_ht5c_combo.htm This guy here has too little watts

http://www.thomann.de/gr/bugera_v55_infinium.htm And this one is a Bugera.And I have heard lot's of bad things about their reliability.

So I'm now thinking about purchasing a head+cab.Do you think that for the same money I could achieve the same quality in tone as if I purchased a combo amp?

No matter what,I want to achieve a real and vibrant tone,with good cleans without sacrificing the possibility of getting some high-gain tones later down the line.

Can you please help me?Because the more I seem to search,the more confused I become.
#2
Sell your EMG's and get passive humbuckers. Your tone will be a bit less punchy, but you can use clean boosts/overdrives to compensate for that. Your cleans will be a lot more dynamic and natural.

Unless you really need the power of a head and cab, I wouldn't bother getting that. A 50W combo will be overly sufficient, particularly with micing. Even a 20W in that case.

A lot of people suggest Jet City Amplification for heavier/louder stuff. I don't have any personal experience, but I have heard some demos, and from that I suggest that you look into those amps. Likewise, they have head/cab combos. (Hopefully someone who has had experience can recommend to you soon :p)

Any artist tones that you want to emulate/work from? That would help us.
Last edited by Will Lane at Jan 12, 2015,
#3
Quote by Will Lane
Sell your EMG's and get passive humbuckers. Your tone will be a bit less punchy, but you can use clean boosts/overdrives to compensate for that. Your cleans will be a lot more dynamic and natural.
I wouldn't say it's gonna get less punchy.
Quite the opposite in fact.

Anyway, you could definitely use a pair of passive p/ups, but the amp's gonna have a hella bigger effect on the resulting sound.
Quote by Will Lane
Unless you really need the power of a head and cab, I wouldn't bother getting that. A 50W combo will be overly sufficient, particularly with micing. Even a 20W in that case.
They make a lot of big (100+w) combo's as well.
Biggest difference between a combo vs a stack is portability - a combo will be heavier and bigger than a stack of the same size, and a 2x12" combo is heavy as hell.
Whatever will be big enough if mic'd.
Quote by Will Lane
A lot of people suggest Jet City Amplification for heavier/louder stuff.
There's no correlation between heaviness and loudness - a twin reverb is gonna get hella loud before distorting even a bit, and a suhr corso's not gonna be able to get THAT loud but it's able to get heavy in any situation.
Quote by Will Lane
Any artist tones that you want to emulate/work from? That would help us.
Yes TS this would help.
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.
#4
Damn,I knew I would regret putting on the EMG's.Dump old self of mine.

The tone I would like to achieve one day is best described like that:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PwB1Irgt4g
5:07

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMXXnLSRdBE
3:25

Distorted,mellow and warm is the best I can describe it.Now don't be confused with Bonamassa being a blues guy.I want the tone adapted to a progressive metal kind of thing.Kinda like the first video.

I'm not dellusional.I know that getting a tone like that day 1 is close to impossible.I would need pedals,a better guitar and mostly experience for that.I just want my amp to have the potential to produce that tone,without having to buy a new one.

Until then,I would like a crystal clear clean sound(or at least good enough) to be able to emulate acoustic guitars in order to play some small pop-rock gigs for a living.Playing metal for a living is out of the question around here.

The reason I'm considering getting head+camp is for more customization options.If I see that in the future the head/camp doesn't suit me,I could swap it for a better one,minimizing the costs.
#5
Mmm. Nice tone to chase after.

There are many amps that can give a crystal-clear clean sound, while also having the potential to dirty up to your chosen tone. It just depends on how you want to get that tone: Some people use modeling, others stack pedals, using boosts, cranking an amp in isolation, etc.

This article lists Wilson's gear from 2013: http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/Rig_Rundown_Steven_Wilson_and_Guthrie_Govan
Quote by Premier Guitar
Wilson plugs into a Bad Cat Lynx 50 head with matching cab.

There's your (very expensive) answer, potentially. The cheaper combo versions may or may not give the same sound. The 15w combo seems to have enough gain on tap, perfect for boosting with. It also has footswitch options, to use the clean and lead channels separately.
Last edited by Will Lane at Jan 12, 2015,
#6
Spambot a combo will be bigger and heavier than a stack?? really? not where I'm from. a stack comes in 2 parts but weight wise altogether is often more you just get to do it in 2 trips. while a 2x12 is heavy it still fits in the back seat of a car easy and you just get a little cart to move it (or go to the gym )

OP for what you want you need an amp that has great cleans and a responsive drive channel. at the price point you are talking about that really isn't realistic. I'd look for an amp that has a good drive channel and get a decent overdrive to get your lead sound. you don't need a modern metal style amp for that but rather something like a Peavey JSX. if you can find a Peavey Ultra then that might be in your price range and it will get the job done for sure (I know they are tough to find in Europe though). Wilson has some very high end gear to get his sound so don't expect to get that on the cheap. you can get something suitable with the right amp and decent fx though.
#9
Get one of the smaller Blackstars, the valve tone is totally worth it. The problem with those big non valve amps, is you won't be playing venues that need 50-100w amps if you can't afford to buy a high end valve amp, get a nice high quality, low watt valve amp, it's great for practicing, and when you play live, it can be mic'ed up, and most of the time, it won't need to be (but it will really help the sound guy mix you if he can control your volume from the desk though).
#10
Quote by nargoth
Get one of the smaller Blackstars, the valve tone is totally worth it. The problem with those big non valve amps, is you won't be playing venues that need 50-100w amps if you can't afford to buy a high end valve amp, get a nice high quality, low watt valve amp, it's great for practicing, and when you play live, it can be mic'ed up, and most of the time, it won't need to be (but it will really help the sound guy mix you if he can control your volume from the desk though).


They're not all valve
Bass Gear:

Mensinger: Speesy
Fender Precision 1989 (CIJ Rosewood)
Fender Steve Harris (CIJ)
Lakland J Sonic 5
Epiphone Explorer
Maruszczyk (custom) Jake

Ashdown CTM 100
#11
Quote by Fisheth24
They're not all valve

+1
But if they have that valve tone(and the tube distorting thingy-thing), then who cares?
Well, you can call me crazy
You can call me wrong, 'cause
See I was born a liar, albatross
Fly on, fly on
#12
Quote by monwobobbo
while a 2x12 is heavy it still fits in the back seat of a car easy and you just get a little cart to move it (or go to the gym )
Or you could get a half stack and carry a 20kg amp and a 25kg cab afterwards instead of deadlifting and carrying a 40+kg amp.

That's just me though.
Quote by BlackRose93
http://www.thomann.de/gr/engl_thunder_50_e322_roehrencombo.htm

I found this one used for 450.What's your opinion? Should I go for it?
I personally would much rather get a fireball.
Drier, tighter and bigger.

The thunder is more "vintage" voiced.
Still not much, but more than the fireball.
Quote by Fisheth24
They're not all valve
Some of them are - the series one and the artisan series.
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.
Last edited by Spambot_2 at Jan 12, 2015,
#13
In the Watchmaker track you are hearing Guthrie at 5:07. He is a very sophisticated player with very sophisticated tone. He also usually has thousands of $$ in tone-shaping pedals between guitar and amp. You might get there more easily using a DME like the Pod or Tonelab because of all the tone shaping available within their design rather than just guitar and amp. Few will ever capture his exquisite guitar tone but you may find some of your own along the way.
"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
#14
Quote by Fisheth24
They're not all valve


+1

get a jet city head (probably the 50 watter) and harley benton g212 vintage cab on thomann. and a speaker cable. and keep your pickups until you get the amp, you might love them through the jet city. if not you can swap them once you get it, and you'll know exactly what you want your new pickups to do, instead of guessing now.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#15
Thanks guys.I think everyone had a nice suggestion to make.The choice is now mine.

Quote by Dave_Mc
+1

get a jet city head (probably the 50 watter) and harley benton g212 vintage cab on thomann. and a speaker cable. and keep your pickups until you get the amp, you might love them through the jet city. if not you can swap them once you get it, and you'll know exactly what you want your new pickups to do, instead of guessing now.


That seems like a good deal.Although with your cabinet the total price goes for 370.So I can afford to spent a little more to get this one http://www.thomann.de/gr/vht_special_speakercabavsp112vht.htm and still be right on budget.

And you are right about the pickups.That's pretty much the policy I'm going to follow.

Quote by Cajundaddy
In the Watchmaker track you are hearing Guthrie at 5:07. He is a very sophisticated player with very sophisticated tone. He also usually has thousands of $$ in tone-shaping pedals between guitar and amp. You might get there more easily using a DME like the Pod or Tonelab because of all the tone shaping available within their design rather than just guitar and amp. Few will ever capture his exquisite guitar tone but you may find some of your own along the way.

I know it's Guthrie.Someone else quoted Steven's gear.And it's not only the $$ he has.It's his hands too.But getting my own tone is my goal anyway.It just helps having a blueprint in mind.
#16
Trying to emulate someone else's sound isn't just a case of copying their gear, or what you perceive to be their gear. About 15 years ago I was doing a gig supporting Magnum and they were very nice and apart from the Snare and Cymbals allowed us to use their backline. Tony Clarkin had what looked like my exact stack. JCM 800 head and 2 4X12's. I asked him later why his stack sounded 10 times better than mine and he just said "That's not the same...you can't buy those". Same with lots of successful guys. Most of their gear is custom built for them and stuck in the standard box. If I were you I'd go down the modelling route. Vypyr or something. Will get as close as dammit to most sounds you may be after.
My gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety.
#17
Quote by BlackRose93
Thanks guys.I think everyone had a nice suggestion to make.The choice is now mine.


That seems like a good deal.Although with your cabinet the total price goes for 370.So I can afford to spent a little more to get this one http://www.thomann.de/gr/vht_special_speakercabavsp112vht.htm and still be right on budget.

And you are right about the pickups.That's pretty much the policy I'm going to follow.


I know it's Guthrie.Someone else quoted Steven's gear.And it's not only the $$ he has.It's his hands too.But getting my own tone is my goal anyway.It just helps having a blueprint in mind.


do you have anywhere you can go and try out amps at all? I'm all for getting your own tone but that can be a tall order if you can't try before you buy at all. videos etc are great tools but trying it yourself can't be beat. I would definitely try to have some money in the budget for a good overdrive and then consider what other fx you might require. the other thing you may want to consider is approaching this from the big picture. since you can't afford the high end gear used by the players you mentioned (and we've all been in that boat) you have to go with what you can afford. perhaps getting an amp that is a good pedal platform and then getting the fx as you can would work. there might be a little less compromise doing it that way.
#18
Quote by monwobobbo
do you have anywhere you can go and try out amps at all? I'm all for getting your own tone but that can be a tall order if you can't try before you buy at all. videos etc are great tools but trying it yourself can't be beat. I would definitely try to have some money in the budget for a good overdrive and then consider what other fx you might require. the other thing you may want to consider is approaching this from the big picture. since you can't afford the high end gear used by the players you mentioned (and we've all been in that boat) you have to go with what you can afford. perhaps getting an amp that is a good pedal platform and then getting the fx as you can would work. there might be a little less compromise doing it that way.



Unfortunately,I can't try most of the amps listed here,because the shops around my area suck and have very limited choices.I can try out the used ENGL(see a couple posts above),although I have to travel 500Km to do so.But at this point,provided that the amp is in good shape,I will buy it anyway,because it seems like a ****ing awesome deal.I don't think I would find a better choice for that money.
#19
Quote by BlackRose93

That seems like a good deal.Although with your cabinet the total price goes for 370.So I can afford to spent a little more to get this one http://www.thomann.de/gr/vht_special_speakercabavsp112vht.htm and still be right on budget.

And you are right about the pickups.That's pretty much the policy I'm going to follow.


I'd strongly suggest getting the cabinet I linked to (or if you really can't stretch, the 1x12 HB cabinet with a v30, though it's open-backed unfortunately). You'll probably have to swap the speaker in that VHT one so it'll be no cheaper in the end anyway.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#21
UPDATE:The engl thing didn't work out and I decided to push my budget to get something better.

As I was searching for the billionth time,I came across this guy http://www.thomann.de/gr/hugheskettner_tubemeister_18_twelveb_stock.htm

And I'm really fond of it!From the various clips I found,the clean sounds pretty crystalline,while the lead is suitable for metal,without being over the top.The switchable watts makes it perfect for both small gigs and home practice.And It has a cool (albeit cheesy :P) design.

It sucks that I can't try it before buying,but that's the case with most amps I found on the net anyway.

Now,my final dilemma:Should I buy the combo or the head+cab?Both have their negatives.
-The combo one is B-stock,which means it comes for a lower price because someone returned it within 30 days.So it might have a minor issue or something.
-If I go for the head,I will buy the cheapest cab possible which is a 70€ Harley Benton,and I've not read good things about them.I REALLY can't afford a better cab now.

Either choice,both cost exactly the same amound of 550 €.

I'm leaning towards the head + cab option, because I could always buy a better cab in the future.
Until then,will the sound be THAT bad with a cheap cab?Like,on untolerable levels?Mind you,this question is coming from someone who is without an amp for 2 years.My music school's Line 6 Spider is starting to sound like sex on my ears :P
#22
The tubemeisters are tube amps as much as the blackstar HT's - they have a hell of a lot of SS trickery (transistors and opamps) in the pre and phase inverter as well IIRC.

What did you not like about the thunder?

The switchable power is pretty much a gimmick - getting power tube distortion out of that thing isn't gonna sound great considering what you want to do, and less powerful amps don't sound better than more powerful ones at lower volumes.
At all.

Thomann b-stock stuff may have some physical/cosmetic wear but it's gonna work fine, and if it doesn't then you can return it and have them send you something working.

Harley benton speakers sound bad.
Bad, not like somewhat bad, not like it might sound a bit better.
Top down bad.
You'll be able to play it and it will work but it will not by any means sound good.
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.
#23
The thing with the engl is that it wasn't worth it for the distance I had to travel.I would have to spend an extra 50-70 just to bring the amp back home and I figured it would be better to spend some extra money to buy a brand new product instead of one without a warranty.

About the transistor thing.I've read that somewhere else too.But really,if only the head itself costs 500,which is a respectable amound of money,how many full tube amps are going to sound better for a lower amount than that?

Sure,more money≠better quality,but I think music products are pretty honest about their quality most of the time.A 500 € head is bound to be better than let's say a 300 € one(like the Jet City that was recommended to me),isn't it?

Even if you say that there is a lot of transistor trickery it's still a tube amp,isn't it?Does it affect the sound quality that much,that a JCA50H + a better cab would be a better and wiser choice?If yes then I'm all for it.
#24
Quote by BlackRose93
it would be better to spend some extra money to buy a brand new product instead of one without a warranty.
If this is your main concern, mind that ENGL stuff is 100% german goodness, they don't break unless you seriously abuse them.
Quote by BlackRose93
I've read that somewhere else too.But really,if only the head itself costs 500,which is a respectable amound of money,how many full tube amps are going to sound better for a lower amount than that?
Most of the already suggested amps are better if ya ask me.

Also the recording out of the tubemeister's suck.
Quote by BlackRose93
Sure,more money≠better quality,but I think music products are pretty honest about their quality most of the time. A 500 € head is bound to be better than let's say a 300 € one(like the Jet City that was recommended to me),isn't it?


Plainly and simply no, not even by a stretch.
Quote by BlackRose93
Even if you say that there is a lot of transistor trickery it's still a tube amp,isn't it?
There's no real definition of tube amp.
I mean, a tube amp is an amp that employs tubes, and that amp employs some tubes for sure.
It also employs transistors and opamps, so you might say it's a hybrid amp if you don't wanna call it with bad sounding names, though it's not an all tube amp.
Quote by BlackRose93
Does it affect the sound quality that much
Nah.
Biggest thing that affects the sound is the design.

That amp in particular doesn't sound that good if you ask me though.
Quote by BlackRose93
that a JCA50H + a better cab would be a better and wiser choice?If yes then I'm all for it.
I'd rather get a JCA20H 'cause it's a single channel, more vintage-voiced amp instead of a two ch of crunch and relatively high gain, considering what you wanna do.

But yes, both the 20H and the 50H + a good cab would be a hella better choice if ya ask me.
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.
#25
i haven't tried the tubemeister or the H&K but the jet city (when combined with good speakers) sounds killer considering how cheap it is (at least in my opinion, I know trashed and 311 aren't too fond of them and they know good tone as well). It can hang with my engl savage SE. In fact for certain types of tones I probably prefer it.

So yeah while there is some correlation of quality with cost, it's not always linear, and when comparing different brands it sometimes breaks down. In certain parts of the world some things are a good deal, while other things are less so. For example, Mesas in the USA cost little more than half what they cost in Europe. Does that mean Mesas are half as good in the USA as they are in Europe?

I'm not saying Jet Cities are the best amps ever, because they're not, but they're crazy good value in Europe. You can easily spend twice as much (new) and end up with something not as good.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#26
They're so crazy value that I have two of em
Bass Gear:

Mensinger: Speesy
Fender Precision 1989 (CIJ Rosewood)
Fender Steve Harris (CIJ)
Lakland J Sonic 5
Epiphone Explorer
Maruszczyk (custom) Jake

Ashdown CTM 100
#27
I ordered the tubemeister at last(the combo one).I don't know,everything about it scream gold to me.It seems like the king of versality at this price and I figured it was time I used my ears as a judge,rather than comparing youtube videos.

I hope it is just as good in practice as in theory.If not,I can always return it and start considering the Jet City ones.At least I will have a template to work with.Win-win if you ask me.