#1
Looking to upgrade my amplifier from the silly little combo I've been carrying into practice. Ideally, I'd like to move up to a half-stack, as we're looking at some gigs that may require a little more volume than usual. Problem is, my budget is only about 750usd. My local music store doesn't carry much worth looking at, and I'm a good two hours away from the nearest reputable chain. I still intend to test drive before I buy if I can, but I'd like to narrow my search a bit.

So far, I've been checking in on the Mustang. (I don't need all those options, but I'll certainly play with them if I have them.) I also have my eye on a Randall. (Either the RX120RH or a used Kirk Hammett sig. I've played on the latter before.) I think there's also a Marshall MG around that price point, but I have a little trouble getting into the sound of the solid state Marshalls for some odd reason.

So, does anybody have any suggestions/advice? Any particularly good or bad experiences with amps at about this price point?
#2
By Kirk Hammet signature do you mean the KH103 which is going for $2,999 USD new for the stack? I doubt you'll be able to find that for 750 used. If you are thinking the Solid State KH combos, those are iffy to me. I would avoid investing that much money into an SS amp when you are in the range for some solid, professional tube amps. The Marshall MG's are notoriously bad, stay away.

I presume you are playing metal, and with your 750 you can find a 6505 112 combo new, even go used and save some money for pedals or a speaker upgrade. The 6505 112 combo is 60w, you should have plenty of headroom on tap. If you are at the point where the 60w will not cut it anymore, I would suggest micing the amp for PA support.
Last edited by Will Lane at Dec 6, 2016,
#3
I'd say the 6505 combo is probably your best bet at this price point, but that is an extreme metal amp. You could also look at some other tube amps, head+2x12 or combos.
The Peavey Windsor or Laney AOR might be good starting point as pedal platform, or maybe try a DSL40C new, that is 40 watt tube so it should get plenty of loud.
#4
I would also identify why you need a half stack.
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, PRS S2 Custom 24, MIA Standard Strat, Schecter Banshee 7
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#5
How about a Peavey JSX Head for $450-$500 used and a JSX 412 Cabinet for about $200 used - both from Guitar Center online. The shipping may put you just over budget but that rig beats the hell out of any Mustang or MG.

You haven't told us what kind of music you wanted to play so I'll stick with this JSX setup. You get beautiful cleans all the way through to nasty filthy (in a good way) modern metal.
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. . .
#6
I'd like to get past 100 watts at least. I already have a 60 watt combo, and that is not cutting it. We don't have a spare channel on the PA to mic it. A half stack sounds good to me because I can upgrade it a piece at a time and still find use for old pieces rather than just buying and selling cheap combos whenever I need to upgrade. So, yeah, I appreciate the 40 and 60 watt combo recommendations, but I'm looking for advice on a half stack. At least a solid head and cab combo I can get on a budget.

Genre-wise, not a metal band. More commercial hard rock. Also, tubes are nice and all, but I'm not exactly a tone head. I intend to go solid state this time around. I'd like to get a nice tube amp in the future, but it really doesn't fit my needs at this particular point in time.
#8
Quote by GunsofSummer
I'd like to get past 100 watts at least. I already have a 60 watt combo, and that is not cutting it. We don't have a spare channel on the PA to mic it. A half stack sounds good to me because I can upgrade it a piece at a time and still find use for old pieces rather than just buying and selling cheap combos whenever I need to upgrade. So, yeah, I appreciate the 40 and 60 watt combo recommendations, but I'm looking for advice on a half stack. At least a solid head and cab combo I can get on a budget.

Genre-wise, not a metal band. More commercial hard rock. Also, tubes are nice and all, but I'm not exactly a tone head. I intend to go solid state this time around. I'd like to get a nice tube amp in the future, but it really doesn't fit my needs at this particular point in time.


perhaps a better PA would be the answer. stage volume doesn't get you good results in a club when playing. are you the only guitar player and what is your bass player using? what is your current amp? if its a solid state amp then that could explain your problem. I run a Peavey Ultra 2x12 (tube) which is 60 watts and have yet to turn it up past 4 on the master volume
#9
Quote by GunsofSummer
I'd like to get past 100 watts at least. I already have a 60 watt combo, and that is not cutting it. We don't have a spare channel on the PA to mic it. A half stack sounds good to me because I can upgrade it a piece at a time and still find use for old pieces rather than just buying and selling cheap combos whenever I need to upgrade. So, yeah, I appreciate the 40 and 60 watt combo recommendations, but I'm looking for advice on a half stack. At least a solid head and cab combo I can get on a budget.

Genre-wise, not a metal band. More commercial hard rock. Also, tubes are nice and all, but I'm not exactly a tone head. I intend to go solid state this time around. I'd like to get a nice tube amp in the future, but it really doesn't fit my needs at this particular point in time.


You may be barking up the wrong tree. I'm not sure you identified the 60W combo you own now, but 1) 100W isn't going to be significantly louder than 60W and 2) there are 50W and 100W combos that will blast your butt off.

I have two Carvin combos, for example. One is a 50W EL84-based Belair ( 2x12 open back Vintage 30's) that's ear-blistering loud and the other is a Carvin XV112B, a 1x12 100W (EL34s) with a 100W speaker that will out shout a lot of Marshall stacks. I've also got an oversize 50W 6L6-based Atomic Reactor 2x12 (Eminence 200W something or others). It's a powered speaker designed to use a preamp or modeler (like a Pod bean) for sound control. It's about 2/3rds the size of a 4x12, and will output more bottom end than any 4x12 (it's ported specifically for the speakers).

I've got a number of 4x12 cabinets, but they're just a PIA to move, and they're mostly just cosmetic anyway. So they sit in storage.

Here's something else. A budget half stack will often be a mistake for several reasons. One, it may not be loud enough because the speakers aren't efficient enough. For example, there are several 4x12s out there that have Celestion Rocket 50's inside. These are often up to 6 dB less efficient than, say, a Vintage 30. That means that they'll take your 100W amp and output the equivalent of 25W. You may also find that a solid state-based 100W amp really doesn't put out a full 100W.

You may also find out that 4x12s don't move as much air as you expect. You have more cone area than (for example) a 2x12, but a 2x12 can still put out more sound if the speakers are more efficient and if they have a greater Xmax (cone excursion) available.
#10
I recommend doing a road trip and checking out some amps in lots of different shops.

Can't help you other than that but look at some Marshall valve heads and maybe you'd find something you'd like-I don't think solid state would work well for what you want.
Well, you can call me crazy
You can call me wrong, 'cause
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Fly on, fly on
#11
As was reading this thread I was think Peavey JSX. An amp head and a 2x12 cabinet would work great. One in each hand.

Then I checked your profile and see you are near Indianapolis, IN. Dude - that's like an hour's drive if you step on it. I'm sure you can find a good used set up in your price range from a local shop. Also check the craigslist there.

For example, I see a:

Laney Ironheart IRT60
Peavey 6505+112
Fender Super Sonic 22
Carvin MTS 3200
Egnater Tweaker 40
Fender Blues Jr III
Laney ProTube combo
Vox AC50
Peavey Vypyr 60 tube hybrid
Peavey Windsor
Peavey JSX
Peavey Classic 50
Peavey 6505 mini
Peavey Classic 30
Peavey 6505+cab
Egnater Renegade
Orange TH30
Jet City plus cab
Peavey XXX
Peavey JSX


http://indianapolis.craigslist.org/search/msa?s=200&query=amp
#12
So I'm just going to go ahead and guess from the responses so far that there's just no such thing as a decent solid-state amp?
#13
311ZOSOVHJH

Not actually in Indy. That was just the closest option when I was building my profile. I'm actually a good two hours away from there. Plus between the band and my job, I get very, very few opportunities to head that way. I'm going to when I get the chance, but it's not all that easily accessible for me.
Last edited by GunsofSummer at Dec 6, 2016,
#14
Quote by GunsofSummer
So I'm just going to go ahead and guess from the responses so far that there's just no such thing as a decent solid-state amp?


there is but like anything they ain't cheap. for many purposes solid state amps are fine and the new modelers can be decent. the issue often is that 100 watts on a solid state amp may or may not be true especially on the lower end stuff. the other thing is that when you turn up a tube amp it distorts in a pleasant way which is the distortion that we want. solid states don't behave the same way and sound like crap once they hit the volume where they begin to distort (the poser amp section). think of a stereo that is to loud. as mentioned speaker quality etc come into play as well. no one is trying to rain on your parade just point out that what you think you need and what would actually be better for you are 2 different things.
#15
GunsofSummer There are some, but usually older builds. There are some 90s Gallien Kruger guitar amps that were very well done and sounded great...but still not sure I'd trade my tube amps for these. Some of the Marshall Valvestate amps weren't bad (the predecessor of the MG series). Some of the older Peavey's (Bandit, etc.) were serviceable.
From what is now on the market I think the Roland JC-120, the Tech21 Trademark TM30 and TM60, maybe the Carvin SX300, some of the Orange solid state amps are quite decent. The Tech21 stuff sounds really good and is not really breaking the bank but at 60 watts it might be underpowered for some gigs. The Jazz Chorus amp by Roland is around $1000 last I checked so can't be said it is a bargain. People used to get them second hand and slap pedals as it was extremely loud amp that took pedals well, so with the right effects it could do any style.
Honestly, for the price of a good to really good solid state rig (if we can agree that the AxeFx or Kemper modelers are the "ultimate" solid state rig), there are a lot of tube amplifiers along the way that IMO will sound a lot better and I rather play.
#16
Quote by monwobobbo
no one is trying to rain on your parade just point out that what you think you need and what would actually be better for you are 2 different things.

I can appreciate that. I'm knowledgeable about the differences between tube and solid state, and I'm aware of why many would consider tube more fitting for my needs. There are just a lot of reasons I'm not looking for tubes or a combo right now. I just didn't think I'd have to go into all that to get the advice I'm looking for.

I suppose I worded that comment poorly. My real issue is that I have zero interest in buying another combo amp. I'd be okay with getting a tube head and setting up around that, though that seems suboptimal for me since, among several other things, money is an issue. (Though the JSX that's been getting mentioned has my attention. I'm in kind of a "the less money I spend, the better" position, but it certainly seems worth it.)
#17
Quote by GunsofSummer
I can appreciate that. I'm knowledgeable about the differences between tube and solid state, and I'm aware of why many would consider tube more fitting for my needs. There are just a lot of reasons I'm not looking for tubes or a combo right now. I just didn't think I'd have to go into all that to get the advice I'm looking for.

I suppose I worded that comment poorly. My real issue is that I have zero interest in buying another combo amp. I'd be okay with getting a tube head and setting up around that, though that seems suboptimal for me since, among several other things, money is an issue. (Though the JSX that's been getting mentioned has my attention. I'm in kind of a "the less money I spend, the better" position, but it certainly seems worth it.)


don't take this wrong but so far you haven't displayed any knowledge to speak of. this is exactly why you are getting these answers. we have tons of kids ask the same thing you are every week here. most of the time they don't know any better and just assume you have to have a 100 watt head and 4x12 bottom to play in a band. cheap and good don't often go in the same sentence when it comes to gear. I understand poor real well so I'd rather steer you towards something that will do what you want and sound good. I promise you my Ultra 2x12 will bury any 100 watt SS head and 4x12 bottom you can find for the money you have.
#18
For commercial hard rock and saving some more money check out a Peavey ValveKing used or a Jet City would be a good call too.
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. . .
#19
Have you tried the Orange CR-120 head? Very reasonable price and sounds good for a ss amp. Certainly a consideration for rock/hard rock. At $449 brand new, gives you options for a cab, especially if you get one used.
#20
Quote by GunsofSummer
So I'm just going to go ahead and guess from the responses so far that there's just no such thing as a decent solid-state amp?


I'm mostly using solid state, actually. But nothing you'd be interested in. I have a modeler, a 1500W power amp and three-way PA-style speakers. The whole thing is lighter than carting a 4x12 of any kind around and...um...pretty much as loud as I need it to be.
#21
Quote by monwobobbo
don't take this wrong but so far you haven't displayed any knowledge to speak of. this is exactly why you are getting these answers. we have tons of kids ask the same thing you are every week here. most of the time they don't know any better and just assume you have to have a 100 watt head and 4x12 bottom to play in a band. cheap and good don't often go in the same sentence when it comes to gear. I understand poor real well so I'd rather steer you towards something that will do what you want and sound good. I promise you my Ultra 2x12 will bury any 100 watt SS head and 4x12 bottom you can find for the money you have.


I'm going to have to agree with monwobobbo here. You have no clue. You look to others in your search for the amp of your dreams, in which you rely on the dreams of others, Personally I have amps older than you are, Why do I still have them? Cause I like them. Brands you probably never heard of let alone can find these days or afford if you could, Today you get made in China or you pony up and buy the US or British made stuff, Wanna loud Metal amp buy a Mesa or high end Marshall or Peavey, I run an old Kustom , Don't go there with me son. I'll hurt you
#22
JSX would be the winner in that budget.
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#24
I have a Peavey 120w 6505+ head with a 4X12 cab loaded with Eminence speakers the entire rig has less than 10 hours playing time at bedroom volumes, shortly after purchasing it I bought a Mesa amp so the Peavey has just been sitting covered for about 4 years in a smoke free enviroment. It's a great amp for hard rock and metal.

I live in Indianapolis which isn't too far from Muncie but I couldn't let it go for $750 I ideally want $1000. It is essentially a new amp, the tubes have not even been broken in yet, you can PM me if you are interested in I am willing to negotiate.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
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#25
Another solid state option would be if you could fine a used Peavey Supreme or XXL head, they are solid state heads that basically preceeded the xxx/JSX line of amps.
#26
Message me and we can negotiate a price I'm sure we can both live with on the 6505+ half stack you won't be finding anything solid state that will compare to it!
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#27
Personally, I would stick with a nice tube combo at that budget. I wouldn't recommend going the stack route, unless you can stretch the budget to about $1000 usd - Good options can then be had secondhand.

Peavey XXX or JSX combo gets my vote. You might find some good, used Mesa stuff at that price if you look hard enough.

If you insist on the stack, you could look into head versions of the aforementioned amps, or a used Marshall DSL 50 or 100. You will need more money to get a nice cab, though. Used Avatar or Marshall cabs can be had used for relatively cheap.
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
Last edited by FlightofIcarus at Dec 7, 2016,
#28
Quote by guitarsngear
Another solid state option would be if you could fine a used Peavey Supreme or XXL head, they are solid state heads that basically preceeded the xxx/JSX line of amps.


i had a supreme, and i really didn't like it a whole lot. no comparison to a XXX or JSX.
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/
#30
Quote by diabolical
Someone mentioned a Kustom...bad memories of playing in a punk rock band, hater that fridge sized thing


c'mom how can you beat the sparkly vinyl roll tucked covering on the head and cab for those. . no 70s holiday inn lounge was complete with out a couple of them on stage
#31
Quote by nastytroll
I'm going to have to agree with monwobobbo here. You have no clue. You look to others in your search for the amp of your dreams, in which you rely on the dreams of others, Personally I have amps older than you are, Why do I still have them? Cause I like them. Brands you probably never heard of let alone can find these days or afford if you could, Today you get made in China or you pony up and buy the US or British made stuff, Wanna loud Metal amp buy a Mesa or high end Marshall or Peavey, I run an old Kustom , Don't go there with me son. I'll hurt you
I agree with monwobobbo in that I haven't gone out of my way to express all my knowledge, but don't insinuate that I "have no clue." I'm not looking for "the amp of my dreams," I'm just looking to upgrade. No need to act like a self-important dick.
#32
Quote by GunsofSummer
I agree with monwobobbo in that I haven't gone out of my way to express all my knowledge, but don't insinuate that I "have no clue." I'm not looking for "the amp of my dreams," I'm just looking to upgrade. No need to act like a self-important dick.


Didn't mean to piss in your Cornflakes, But until you go out and play said amps how are you to know if its an upgrade or not? Opinions are like assholes everyone has one, What myself and others may like you may not, This which guitar and amp question is the most asked question on every gear forum known to exist, Sorry but the answer is always the same, Go play them and decide for yourself,
#36
At this point, I'm just laughing about the whole thing because we fired our drummer today and will be continuing as an acoustic act. So I don't even need a new amp anymore.