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#1
Over the past month and half, I've been lucky to have played through several amps that I would hope one of them will become my 'Holy Grail' of guitar amps.

To date, I've narrowed my choice to three amps:
PRS Archon 25w
EVH 5150 III 50w
Blackstar Series One 45w

I rather have a combo than a head/cabinet because, frankly, I like combos better. I am aware that two of the three amps are heavy amps and, eventually, I'll have to take that into account. Primarily, I'll be playing in my apartment but, I've just started to participate in twice a week jam sessions at the local Sam Ash and, ultimately, I want to play with my amp rather than using theirs.

The pro in all three of the amps is that they're all versatile, meaning that I can go from clean to scream. I play blues in the Sam Ash jam sessions but at home, I'll tune down to Drop A on my 7 and Drop C on my 6 for the heavier stuff (drives the wife crazy ).

Pros in the Archon is that it's lightweight and easiest of the 3 to transport. Plus, my guitars and amp would be from the same brand (satisfies the OCD in me). The con would be that I'd need to purchase something like a Mesa Cab Clone to use while recording.

I love the fact that both the 5153 and the S1 both have the attenuator feature plus a line out into an DI. Plus points goes toward the 5153 for having a headphone jack and DSP reverb. The major con of the 5153 and S1...the weight of the amps!!! 65 pounds for the 5153 1x12 (84 pounds for the 2x12) and 77 pounds for the S1. The Archon 25 only weighs 34 pounds.

Sorry for the wall of text but I have a lot to consider towards buying my 'last' amp. I am open to other suggestions though so fire away and thanks for time.
#2
The "attenuator" feature is gimmicky garbage. The volume knob on a 5150 III 50 watt is enough. The headphone out is also junk. Fizzy, loose mess.
Ibanez Prestige RG852MPB
Ibanez Prestige RG652KFX
ESP E-II M-1
LTD AW-7
Schecter Loomis NT
EVH 5150 III 50
PRS 212 DB
Line 6 POD HD500X
Deadhorse OD/Boss HM-2
#3
last amp ok sorry but you should probably know better. my last amp will be the one i get just before i die (same with guitar and i'll probably still buy another overdrive a week or two after i die).

the EVH is the only one i've tried and it's on my want list for sure. the only PRS amp i tried i hated and can't say i've loved any of the blackstar stuff i've played (very limited time with them though).

as for the weight well a dolly is a great thing to have. i have a Peavey Ultra 2x12 which is pretty damn heavy and i also have a Legend Rock and Roll 20 2x12 which sports a cab made of solid 3/4 " oak, you wanna talk heavy
#4
Quote by monwobobbo
last amp ok sorry but you should probably know better. my last amp will be the one i get just before i die (same with guitar and i'll probably still buy another overdrive a week or two after i die).


THAT made me spit out my drink!!! We all know that GAS comes nonstop but I want something that I can keep around more than 2-4 months before becoming dissatisfied.
#5
As an owner of a 5150 III 50 watt running into a PRS cab with Vintage 30s, I want more amps.
Ibanez Prestige RG852MPB
Ibanez Prestige RG652KFX
ESP E-II M-1
LTD AW-7
Schecter Loomis NT
EVH 5150 III 50
PRS 212 DB
Line 6 POD HD500X
Deadhorse OD/Boss HM-2
#6
Quote by lemurflames
The "attenuator" feature is gimmicky garbage. The volume knob on a 5150 III 50 watt is enough. The headphone out is also junk. Fizzy, loose mess.


When I tried the 5153's attenuator, I didn't think it was THAT bad, however it's nice to know that is isn't necessary. Thanks for the heads up on the headphone out feature though!!!
#7
Quote by MistaSnowman
THAT made me spit out my drink!!! We all know that GAS comes nonstop but I want something that I can keep around more than 2-4 months before becoming dissatisfied.


sorry i'm bored at work so have to keep myself amused.

i understand about wanting something with some staying power. i'd take a good hard look at what you want out of the amp tone wise and then factor in other features. why isn't a Mesa on your list? knowing what you want is half the battle and helps to keep the GAS downto a minimum.

what guitars are you using? do you use fx?
#8
Yup. Your list needs a Mesa Roadster.
Ibanez Prestige RG852MPB
Ibanez Prestige RG652KFX
ESP E-II M-1
LTD AW-7
Schecter Loomis NT
EVH 5150 III 50
PRS 212 DB
Line 6 POD HD500X
Deadhorse OD/Boss HM-2
#9
Quote by monwobobbo
sorry i'm bored at work so have to keep myself amused.

i understand about wanting something with some staying power. i'd take a good hard look at what you want out of the amp tone wise and then factor in other features. why isn't a Mesa on your list? knowing what you want is half the battle and helps to keep the GAS downto a minimum.

what guitars are you using? do you use fx?


There are two Mesa's that didn't make the top three but keeping my eye on them nonetheless...the RectoVerb 25 and the Express 5:50. As for the Roadster, great amp but out of my price range (looking to stay around $1600 US).

No effects at the moment but looking to get a wah and a chorus pedal once I've settled on an amp. As for my guitars, I have a PRS SE Custom 7-string and a PRS SE 245.
#10
Used Roadster combos under budget if you're patient.
Ibanez Prestige RG852MPB
Ibanez Prestige RG652KFX
ESP E-II M-1
LTD AW-7
Schecter Loomis NT
EVH 5150 III 50
PRS 212 DB
Line 6 POD HD500X
Deadhorse OD/Boss HM-2
#11
Quote by lemurflames
Used Roadster combos under budget if you're patient.


Got my attention now !!!
#12
Find a used Randall RM100 and load it up with whatever takes your fancy.
Here's a taste of some preamp modules that are around.

http://salvationmods.com/index.php?page=modifications
http://www.jadedfaithmods.com/mts-mods.html

The RM100 power amp is great. Individual bias on every tube - and super easy to do, all from the back panel.
The combo is a big closed backed 2x12. It weighs a lot (90lb) so I move it around on a trolley/dolly/handtruck. There are also RM50's. They take two preamp modules and are a 1x12 in combo form.
I've got the 100 and the 20.
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 21, 2015,
#14
@Cathbard...that looks interesting. I don't have much to say about it since this concept is different than what I usually see. I'd have to investigate this further .

@311...I'm curious, what would you consider to be your 'Holy Grail?' No disrespect intended.
#16
Mesa Mark V immediately came to mind for me.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#18
Haha aren't we all.

The bad news: There is no Holy Grail amp. After owning a couple dozen Brit and American varieties, they all got warts.

The good news: Mesa comes very close for me. Two channel, three gain stages, fx loop, cab voiced Direct Out, marvelous Fender Princeton cleans, smooth singing Mesa OD tones, and searing hi gain stuff. All tube, all hand wired, and made in the USA. A lot to like and can be had for $600-$800 used.
"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 22, 2015,
#19
Quote by Cajundaddy

The good news: Mesa comes very close for me. Two channel, three gain stages, fx loop, cab voiced Direct Out, marvelous Fender Princeton cleans, smooth singing Mesa OD tones, and searing hi gain stuff. All tube, all hand wired, and made in the USA. A lot to like and can be had for $600-$800 used.


Kinda true for me as well, but laying 2 tracks of distortion on a record leaves not much room for anything else, that's why I gravitate towards "British sound" amps. Mesa sounds better live to me but in studio situation maybe for the leads. To each his own, of course.
#20
Quote by diabolical
Kinda true for me as well, but laying 2 tracks of distortion on a record leaves not much room for anything else, that's why I gravitate towards "British sound" amps. Mesa sounds better live to me but in studio situation maybe for the leads. To each his own, of course.


Recording in the studio is only limited by your imagination and the number of pedals, amps, DME processors, and amp sim plug-ins you can get your hands on. I would never limit myself to just one amp on a full studio album project.
"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
Quote by Cajundaddy
Haha aren't we all.

The bad news: There is no Holy Grail amp. After owning a couple dozen Brit and American varieties, they all got warts.



wait what??????? you mean the advertising peope who tell their amp is the holy grail of tone are lying. well now i'm disappointed.

agree though no amp so far has been perfect for everything. the other thing is that you as a player tends to change over the years and what was once awesome ends up as just ok. next thing you know you get the itch and it's off for a new amp. of course until you've tried every amp out there it's impossible to say which would truly be your "holy grail"
#22
Quote by MistaSnowman
@Cathbard...that looks interesting. I don't have much to say about it since this concept is different than what I usually see. I'd have to investigate this further .

@311...I'm curious, what would you consider to be your 'Holy Grail?' No disrespect intended.

No disrespect taken

Everyone's holy grail amp is going to be different. Additionally, there are other things that come into play in addition to tone (ie. Customer Service, resale value, build quality, trustworthiness of builder etc)

For me (in no particular order)

Mesa Road King
Mesa Mark V
Diezel VHS
Splawn anything
Fender Blackface Bassman '66 - '73 (in good condition)
Fender Twin Reverb '69 - '76 (in good condition)
Marshall JTM Plexi '67 - '77 (in good condition)
Marshall 6100
Bogner Ecstasy
Henning Cherry Bomb
Friedman JJ 100
etc
#23
+1 for the Randall RM. With your budget you could get the amp and a couple really good modules. You'll be the most popular guy at the Sam Ash jam with your spiffy transforming amp!
Fender Mustang/Derfenstein DST> Boss Power Wah> Pedal Monsters Klone> Bogner Uberschall> Walrus Audio Janus> Randall RM20> Line 6 M9> Randall RM20
#24
Quote by Cajundaddy
Haha aren't we all.

The bad news: There is no Holy Grail amp. After owning a couple dozen Brit and American varieties, they all got warts.

The good news: Mesa comes very close for me. Two channel, three gain stages, fx loop, cab voiced Direct Out, marvelous Fender Princeton cleans, smooth singing Mesa OD tones, and searing hi gain stuff. All tube, all hand wired, and made in the USA. A lot to like and can be had for $600-$800 used.


The 'Holy Grail' is subjective depending on the player and the tone they want to achieve. My list will differ from your list as it will differ from another, and so on and so on.

The Mesa that you speak of? Is it the Mini Mark V?
#25
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
No disrespect taken

For me (in no particular order)

Mesa Road King
Mesa Mark V
Diezel VHS
Splawn anything
Fender Blackface Bassman '66 - '73 (in good condition)
Fender Twin Reverb '69 - '76 (in good condition)
Marshall JTM Plexi '67 - '77 (in good condition)
Marshall 6100
Bogner Ecstasy
Henning Cherry Bomb
Friedman JJ 100
etc


That's an impressive list!!! A lot of those amps will do certain tones VERY well but will need an assortment of pedals to do the other tones IMO. For me, the Mesa's would accomplish every tone in my head. The same would apply to the Diezel, Splawn, Marshall (to an extent), Bogner and the Friedman (No experience with the Henning). Those same amps are out of my price range unless I go used. But I'm grateful for your insight.
#26
Quote by MistaSnowman
The 'Holy Grail' is subjective depending on the player and the tone they want to achieve. My list will differ from your list as it will differ from another, and so on and so on.

The Mesa that you speak of? Is it the Mini Mark V?


IIRC, Cajun is talking about his Mesa Boogie F30, and, as far as I know its like a heavily upgraded, and more badass 1x12 combo Fender Princeton (Please correct me if I'm wrong).

Honestly, it might not be my last amp, but I plan to keep my Mark V around as long as I possibly can. Thats my Holy Grail amp, but quite a bit over your budget, even used. In my opinion you can damn well play anything you can imagine with a Mark V. Overdrive pedals optional.
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

Current Rig:
2006 PRS CE-24
Mesa/Boogie Mark V
Voltage S212 w/ V30's
Strymon Timeline
CMATMods Signa Drive
TC Electronics Corona & Hall of Fame
#27
Quote by MistaSnowman
The 'Holy Grail' is subjective depending on the player and the tone they want to achieve. My list will differ from your list as it will differ from another, and so on and so on.

The Mesa that you speak of? Is it the Mini Mark V?


... And the "approved list" changes over time as our tastes and band situations change.

Nearly any Mesa does it for me. I currently play through an F-30 but a Studio 22, 50 Cal, Lone Star, Road King, Mk series, and Rectos all share similar qualities with differences in gain structure and features. I have played through a bunch and would be comfortable gigging with any of them. I play mostly Classic Rock and Blues so I don't need the massive crushing gain found on the more upmarket Road King or Recto models and 30w is more than plenty for the gigs I play now days.

I am sure someone somewhere could get ugly tone out of a Mesa but it is really quite rare. They just always sound badass with any guitar. Even Petrucci doesn't suck playing through a Mesa.
"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 22, 2015,
#28
mistasnowman you really haven't given a clear picture of what exactly your holy grail tone really is. so do tell.
#31
Quote by monwobobbo
well ok then. tall order to get all of that out of one amp.

Which is why there are so many amps. We need to try as many as possible.

I have amps that are keepers and there are more that I'll probably love, like everyone here.
#32
Quote by Ippon
Which is why there are so many amps. We need to try as many as possible.

I have amps that are keepers and there are more that I'll probably love, like everyone here.


agree. i learned a long time ago that no amp is gonna do it all. i just always tried to find ones that hit my most wanted tones and could get by on teh secondary stuff. of course there is also the issue of affordable and available.
#33
Quote by MistaSnowman
The 'Holy Grail' is subjective depending on the player and the tone they want to achieve. My list will differ from your list as it will differ from another, and so on and so on.


+1

It is very subjective.

I think what you are actually looking for though is the most versatile amp within your budget. If that amp happens to be the holy grail of amplification for you and you'll be satisfied for the rest of your life then that makes it all the better
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Feb 22, 2015,
#34
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
+1

It is very subjective.

I think what you are actually looking for though is the most versatile amp within your budget. If that amp happens to be the holy grail of amplification for you and you'll be satisfied for the rest of your life then that makes it all the better


THAT, my friend, is my goal!!!
#35
You need an 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
#36
+1^ RM's can be damn near anything you want and new modules are way cheaper than new amps even custom modules.
Mesa Boogie Single Rectoverb 50 series 2 combo
Randall RM100
Peavey 5150 4x12
Peavey XXX 2x12 combo
Pedals
#37
I think a RoadKing would be the ultimate amp, pretty complicated to discover it's true versatility, but it is probably the most versatile amp you can buy.
#38
Looks interesting @ the RM100, however outside of eBay, it doesn't look as if anyone sells these amps anymore.
#39
check GC used. The last time I checked they had 3 on there. If you are patient enough then you can find them for a great price. I got mine for a steal.
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, PRS S2 Custom 24, MIA Standard Strat, Charvel So Cal Pro Mod, Schecter Banshee 7
EVH 5153, Mesa DR Tremoverb combo 2-2x12's
Line 6 M13
#40
Quote by bobafettacheese
check GC used. The last time I checked they had 3 on there. If you are patient enough then you can find them for a great price. I got mine for a steal.


Thank you for the info
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