Thinking of stepping up to an all tube amp that won't break the bank. I've been looking at the 50 watt valveking. For tones, id like the amp to cover anything from U2 cleans to Metallica gains. Not sure if this is even possible in one amp. Thoughts? Better choices in the price range of $400 - $600?
if you don't mind used, the original VK 50watt 1x12 combo is only $250ish used

You might also look for a used Mesa DC3 combo
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
I got my VK212 for 325 used if I remember correctly. Definitely not a bad amp but mines currently being used as a speaker stand. I think the tubes in it are dead, I moved it to a new jam space one day and noticed very bright flashes of light coming from the gap between the baffle and the amp chassis; long story short after a bunch of weird noises it stopped working.
..I was watching my death.
i have had a VK (head though), currently own a 5150 (head again), and a JSX (and yes, it is also a head). the JSX is more flexible and does most things better than both the VK and 5150. the JSX has the best cleans out of the bunch, and IMO also they have the best mid-high gain thrash tone. you can find the combos in your budget. that is what i would go with.

i honestly couldn't recommend a VK.
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I bought a used VK112 last fall for $250 at a Guitar Center. I really like the amp, although I did upgrade from the stock speaker to a Warehouse Guitar model that helped the sound. It was my first good all-tube amp, and I'm still very happy with it, especially on the drive channel.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (USA-made) for $350 on Craigslist. The clean on the Fender is awesome. The only change I made was to swap out the first-stage pre-amp tube for a 12AT7 (instead of the stock 12AX7). This is a lower-gain tube that makes the amp much more usable in a bedroom. It will take all of 10 seconds to put the 12AX7 back in for the full gain if I ever need it. The only downside is the lower first-stage gain doesn't allow the drive channel to work as well as it normally would. For me, this is no big deal since I plug into my VK112 if I want a drive sound or use a pedal. I was feeling really good about my $350 score until I saw a HRDeluxe for $300 on my local Craigslist last week. Still, either price is pretty good, so I'm not complaining.

There are probably other good choices in the roughly $400 category for all-tube amps, but here are two that definitely can be found in that range. They both sound *so* much better than my old solid-state gear that there's just no comparison.
Last edited by jds2 at Feb 7, 2016,
VK will work but there may be better things out there at least used for the top end of your budget. the cleans of a VK are actually pretty good so no problem there. the gain channel is good but only to a certain point which falls short of metallica. add an overdrive and it will work better but still not be as tight in the bass dept as you may wish.

trash's suggestion of a JSX is a good one but they might not be in your price range as it seems they are getting a little pricier lately. if you get lucky and find a Peavey Ultra then go for that as it will fit the bill really well.
Quote by Jason43
The VK is a decent, jack-of-all-trades amp. But, for the price of a used VK, you could probably find a used Ultra, which is a better jack-of-all-trades amp.

good luck with that. Ultra's are getting hard to find and the used price has been steadily rising. you're lucky if you can find one for $400 these days which is way more than a used VK.