#1
Ok, so here's a prerequisite so as not to have another long "which amp is best" thread:

I'm looking for a cheaper (<$400) solution for getting better recorded clean amp tones.

I write psychedelic indie-rock/pop styles mostly (Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, Dan Deacon etc) with an Epi ES-175 Premium. I currently only have a fender Excelsior to record with (Egnater half stack live so I'm good there with the 6L6s). The excelsior is perfect with my setup for tube od/dist and it had a great clean tone with my tele that was stolen, but obviously sounds very boxy and colored with the Epi. This could probably be remedied with an eq pedal or speaker/tube swap, but the only production 15" speakers have a hump in the freq response that seems it would still appear to have the same tonal qualities...and I'd rather just have a 2 amp setup that I know I can get a good "flat" sound from the "clean" amp no matter what.

Obviously I'm going to test out any suggestions before purchasing, but I've looked at used JC120s, Blues Jrs, Music Mans, Vox Valvetronix series, and some old standels. Right now I'm leaning towards an older JC or Standel. I'm finally ready to get overcome my fear of SS amps if that's what it takes BUT...the ES sounds absolutely heavenly clean thru a Fender Supersonic 22. Perhaps there's a cheaper similar version of that circuit? Bugera? Blackstar?

All that being said, any suggestions? Anyone play a similar style of music? Or have a humbucker hollow or semi hollow with the same problem? What about those Tech 21 fender tone stack pedals direct to interface?
#2
Fender SuperChamp XD on the clean channel. Very close to 65 Blackface Princeton clean and often found used for $250. I like it a lot. The Music Man 112RD50 is also very good but I like the SuperChamp better.
"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
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Feb 10, 2015,
#3
Sweet! Thanks. Any experience with larger guitars through it? My only concern is that the Excelsior is apparently very similar to a tweed champ. Would the blackface sound "flatter" or less "confined" still being a 6V6 amp? I realize the speaker difference prob has a lot to do with it though.
#4
Consider something from Carvin's Vintage series amp line:
http://www.carvinguitars.com/guitaramps/vintageseries.php

The Vintage 16 looks like it would be a slightly beefier amp than the Excelsior, and if you can find a little more room in your budget, the 50w Nomad or Belair would significantly boost your available headroom.
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!
#5
Do you need it to be big?
Do you need it to be versatile?

If not, then have a look at the blackheart BH5.
If a bit, then have a look at the blackheart BH15.

And stop defining amp tones by the power tubes they use, they matter fairly little to the final outcome compared to the amp's whole design.
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.
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I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#6
Quote by TTLWes
Sweet! Thanks. Any experience with larger guitars through it? My only concern is that the Excelsior is apparently very similar to a tweed champ. Would the blackface sound "flatter" or less "confined" still being a 6V6 amp? I realize the speaker difference prob has a lot to do with it though.


Yes. The SuperChamp, Blackface Princeton, and Deluxe Reverb are all 6V6, all have pretty sweet clean tone and sound very good with my 335. Certainly worth spending a little time testing it to see if it pleases your ears.
"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
#7
The Carvin Vintage 16 is sweet. I want the head. It's an EL84 power tube though so maybe not what you're looking for.

Have you considered trying an extension cab with your Excelsior? I don't think it has an external speaker jack but they aren't difficult to add. A different speaker may be the solution. You would be free to use just about any speaker you want (as long as the impedance is compatible) and it wouldn't have to be a 15"
#8
+1 on the carvin. They always seem to slip my mind, but they have great USA-made stuff. I'll check it out.

Spambot, I'm pretty sure my needs were well described. Ill define an amp any way I please. Seems to me the other posters were able to figure it out.

And it looks like the champ will be on the top of the list to test. It sounded so freaking good with the Supersonic (DR) circuit. Any way to get a smaller cheaper version of that is exactly what I'm going for.
Last edited by TTLWes at Feb 10, 2015,
#9
DG, I have run it through the Egnater 4x12 cab before with ok results, but I seem to remember that it still wasn't as different of a character as I wanted. It unexpectedly has a speaker out jack! I haven't checked if they're wired in series or parallel yet. Good suggestion, though. Maybe a little more thorough research into different frequency responses can get me a little closer for now.

Thanks, guys!!!

Anyone have any hollow or semi hollow experience with any Jet City cleans?
Last edited by TTLWes at Feb 10, 2015,
#10
I'm with DG here, check out some different cabinets. Since you're recording, pay attention to 1x12 cabinets, you're usually only miking one speaker anyway.

As far as amps go, if I want clean I Can use either my Champ or Super Reverb at low volume and both get good cleans, different tonal characters because the Champ has an 8" speaker and the Super uses four 10's. IF you want to know what the Champ sounds like, Clapton recorded the entire Layla album with one, Joe Walsh recorded Funk #49 with a Telecaster into a Champ...but that's the vintage tube Champ, I'm not sure what is in the new ones. I know I played one at a local music store and didn't like it as much as my '74...it was a tube amp, don't remember which Champ model though.

Don't know a thing about Jet City, never played one. I'd look around at speakers, especially 1x12, probably a lot less expensive than another amp...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#11
Good info, PP. I wasn't aware that Funk49 was played through a champ. One of my favorite licks/tones ever! And you're probably right about the 112 vs a 412 cab. That seems to have escaped me. Anyways, good idea from both you guys. Obviously I don't want to fix a tone that's not broken (for its specific purpose anyhow) with the excelsior. A cab is shaping up to be the best option for now after all!

I thought also about modding to a traditional fender tone stack...but then that would change what I like about it. Just like this tiny crap no-name 6w ss guitar amp I use. It's terrible...except for nailing the "Reelin In The Years" lead tone
#12
i am going to throw one in for a Music Man. i love mine.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

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#14
If you can afford Class 5:
http://www.houstonmusicreviews.com/GearReview/Marshall_Class5/Marshall_Class5.htm

or Kustom Defender on a budget:
http://www.houstonmusicreviews.com/GearReview/Kustom_defender/Kustom%20Defender15H_KustomDefenderGuitarSpeakerCabinet.htm


I have the class5 and for recordings it is very clean and loud. No fx loop and reverb but it is extremely clean sounding.
#15
Don't the music mans have a tube power section? Or at least some models? That could be interesting. Eventually yes, I would like a 2 amp setup for recording plus an extra cab by that point

The class 5 looks interesting. That's just a general starting point for price. If I have to have something once I hear it, I'll find a way to get it

It's been a while since I tried any of the crates. From what I remember they were pretty good. I'll give those a retry if I come across any. What guitars/pedals are you guys running through these for your clean sounds?
#16
Overall I wasn't a huge fan of the Superchamp XD, but it's plain jane clean channel was really nice. It's got a 10" speaker in it (or 8 can't remember) so I dunno if it'll fix the 'boxiness' you're having problems with. That being said, I think it's a really nice amp for that blackface clean tone (which happens to be one of my favs)
Gear:

Squier Strat
Epiphone Explorer
Agile AL-3100

No AMP
#17
Quote by TTLWes
Don't the music mans have a tube power section? Or at least some models? That could be interesting. Eventually yes, I would like a 2 amp setup for recording plus an extra cab by that point

The class 5 looks interesting. That's just a general starting point for price. If I have to have something once I hear it, I'll find a way to get it

It's been a while since I tried any of the crates. From what I remember they were pretty good. I'll give those a retry if I come across any. What guitars/pedals are you guys running through these for your clean sounds?


i have the HD130 212", it has a SS preamp and a tube PI and tube power section. don't be turned off on the SS preamp, it is still dynamic and sounds great. it is an extremely loud amp and stays clean forever on the clean channel. very few models have the tube PI though, mine is one of the earlier models.

they are cheap as well. i picked mine in excellent shape for around $340 i think or maybe a little less.
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/
#18
Yea I see what you mean evmac ab speaker size. That's why the excelsior appealed to me (low watt, 15" speaker), still...the champ seems pretty revered so just as a control it would be good to try out at least. 12" seems the way to go but 10" or 8" could work since I usually mix most of the deep bass out anyways. Any blackface circuit I've tried brings this guitar to life, though.

I see you're using a jet city and randall. How do you like those? I've always been intrigued by randall. I've never really played them but they seem like good quality amps.
#19
Trashed, I've heard mostly good things about the MM on other forums. This one will be at the top of the list.

Thanks, guys.
#20
Quote by TTLWes
Trashed, I've heard mostly good things about the MM on other forums. This one will be at the top of the list.

Thanks, guys.


if you like 15" speakers, there is a MM model with a single 15", i haven't tried one but it may be worth looking in to.
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/
#21
Quote by TTLWes
Yea I see what you mean evmac ab speaker size. That's why the excelsior appealed to me (low watt, 15" speaker), still...the champ seems pretty revered so just as a control it would be good to try out at least. 12" seems the way to go but 10" or 8" could work since I usually mix most of the deep bass out anyways. Any blackface circuit I've tried brings this guitar to life, though.

I see you're using a jet city and randall. How do you like those? I've always been intrigued by randall. I've never really played them but they seem like good quality amps.


The Randall is just a speaker cab with 12 inch Celestion Vintage 30s, and the Jet City is a great amp, but not really the best clean tone in the world. M setup is more for punk/thrash music. I use my POD HD for cleans when I want them.

If you could find a cheap Roland Jazz Chorus 120 or 60, I bet you'd like it a lot.
Gear:

Squier Strat
Epiphone Explorer
Agile AL-3100

No AMP
#22
I run some chorus and compression on my clean sounds but it depends on what I am after...sometimes run it just clean.

Voodoolabs Chorus
Marshall Ed Compressor

Crate Palomino had some good cleans from what I remember but it was way back.
#23
Big ol' Fender. The older, the better.
You're in the States - aren't they everywhere? Haunt Craigslist. Something will pop up.
**** JC's and all this other bollocks - BIG OLD FENDER.


And don't fear 6V6's. 6V6's are good things, they just have less headroom - but that shouldn't matter to you. Really, what output tubes an old Fender has is pretty immaterial, they're all good.
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 Feb 11, 2015,
#24
Quote by Cathbard
Big ol' Fender. The older, the better.
You're in the States - aren't they everywhere? Haunt Craigslist. Something will pop up.
**** JC's and all this other bollocks - BIG OLD FENDER.

Hmm...the man has a point:

https://reverb.com/item/479266-fender-hrd-2001-black

https://reverb.com/marketplace/amps/guitar-combos?make%5B%5D=fender&query=fender+combo+1x12&sort=price%7Casc
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!
#25
How about Vox Valvetronix VT20+?
I think they are good for price. and also, as a Vox, they have very chimey clean tone when activated AC series amp simulation.