#1
hello all!
i'm currently saving up and window shopping for a new amp. for the last 6 years I have been playing all digital with a pod hd500 as my pre-amp and a crate power block as the power amp. while I got decent passable tones with it for metal, I cant really get anything natural sounding for several new projects that i'm a part of that aren't metal. so I've decided to buy my second ever tube amp( my first was the Peavey Windsor 120 watt head, I wasn't a fan and switched to digital afterwards ). my current price range is about 600 or 700(maybe more if my wife understood my G.A.S) and i'm looking for something that would cover different playing styles in the vein of Mastodon, Alkaline Trio, Coheed And Cambria, AFI, Thrice, Alice in Chains, Chevelle, Ghost, Russian Circles and stuff like old country and blues. Currently the amps i'm looking at are the orange th30, marshall vintage modern/dsl100, jet city amps, mesa single recs, and the peavey penta. because of my price range I would be looking more exclusively for used amps than new. if there is any amps I didn't list please let me know. this amp would be gigged and used for studio purposes.

thanks in advance for any and all responses!
#2
Sorta depends on what city you live in and what is available. A player in LA has a lot more choices than a player in Croatia. Brit voiced or USA voiced narrows the field further.
"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
#3
I'd take a look t what those bands use for a starting point. I like the Marshall Vintage Modern but not sure if it would be best option for the bands you mentioned. DSL 100 may be better option. Jet City amps are nice but if you can afford better options I would.
#5
Maybe add Traynor as they have a YCV head that to me at least sounds more pure vintage Marshall (as in JCM800) than current Marshall models.
Laney TT, VH, AOR, Tony Iommi, Iron heart - all good mid to high gain amps.
Peavey Butcher 120 watts (the new one) might be of interest, the JSX, the 5150/6505 also.
Carvin V3, Via might also work for your needs.
If you can find in your price range, Randall Satan, VHT Pit bull, Randall MTS, Engl, EVH.
#6
TS, you have a fairly wide range of sounds you're going for, what's your priority? Any particular album/song you really like the sound of, or even a few? I only ask because Mastodon, for example, has used different gear from album to album and live.

It's possible that your problem with the HD500 could be solved with a better power amp. Also, what speakers are you playing out of? When I had an HD500, I didn't like it unless I played it through a nice guitar cab, and I would run it through the power amp of my tube amps.

Just something to consider, the HD series are pretty sweet, the cab models just hinder them from being great.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#7
You've got a decent preamp already in the HD500. I'm thinking that you may want to clean up the speakers and the power amp. (wait, did dementiacaptain already go there? ).

In my demented little den, I have several options.

One option includes three different Atomic Reactor amps, which are essentially tube power amps inside a closed-back ported (usually) oversize speaker cabinets that look Marshall-esque. There's an 18W 1x12, a 50W 1x12 and a 50W oversize 2x12, all of which have specially designed 200W Eminence speakers that have a fairly wide range (compared to, say, a V30).

Another option is to run the HD500 into powered studio monitors. Wider range (I dunno, 20Hz to 20Khz, I believe), extremely clean. Mine are 100W (75W LF, 25WHF) each with an 8" LF driver. Plenty for a reasonably sized room.

And another additional option is to pick up a Two Notes Torpedo C.A.B. Whatever separates an HD500 from the high-priced spread seems to be cured with this gizmo, which actually runs about $545 new (more than the HD500 by itself, but considered *with* the HD500, much less than, say, a Helix, Axe-FXII or a Kemper). It features some outstanding IRs (and you can make your own or buy additional IRs from sources such as Ownhammer and/or find them online). The C.A.B. picks up where the HD500's weakest link lies -- the cabinets. You can actually "move" the mikes around in the IR setup for the C.A.B., and the results are spectacular. Another surprising area where the C.A.B. fills in where the HD500 may lack are the sims of tube power amps. These include EL34, EL84, KT88, 6L6, etc. The difference is more than noticeable. If you search YouTube, you'll find at last one demo of the C.A.B. by Pete Thorn, who uses it behind an M4 (Egnator preamp that features interchangeable personality models). I'd originally purchased it for use with three of my all-tube preamps and decided to try it with the HD500, and had a "hallelujah" moment.

And finally, take a look at the Helix. I recently missed one that zipped through the local Craigs at $1050 used, but if you can couple one of the seasonal 20% off coupons to getting rid of redundant pieces, you can eliminate the need for the C.A.B. and have an all-round better sonic and user experience (the editing process alone makes other units look stone-age, and the advancements in user ergonomics (dual level switching, context-driven color surrounds on the switches, electronic display scribble strips (also context-driven), four FX loops and so much more) lead the league. Pete Thorn even has a demo in which he uses a free IR of a Taylor guitar miked in air to change how his piezo-equipped Takamine sounds on stage; that was an eye-opener for me.

All of these represent things that none of the amps on your list can even contemplate.