I play in a gigging original rock band (influenced by GNR/metallica/poison/pearl jam etc). I currently use a line6 spider 210 combo (75W) and its built in effects.
I want
1) more power (120W head, 4X12 spkrs),
2) nice clean channel,
3) deep (not noisy/tinny like my current Line6 efex) distortion, and
4) the ability to switch between these efex easily while playing (primarily for (a) clean rhythms, (b) clean solo, (c) distortion rhythms, (d) distortion solo/leads). I can add delay/phaser/chorus/reverb/volume/wah externally, if needed.

I am trying to decide between buying a nice tube amp head (Ibanez NT120) which costs a lot (~1000) and is delicate ( tubes break with transporting and need replacement over time) vs solid state (crate GT1200H, hughes/kettner Warp 7 - these cost ~300).

Q1) Would you suggest Tube/Solid State (in general, for someone who wants to gig a lot!)
Q2) Spend more on amp, and just use footswitch for switching effects (this means thermion - i loved the clean and distortion channels on it!) or buy a 120W solid state amp and invest money in effects to run throught the amp's clean channel (this means GT1200H or warp 7 with a nice Boss-GT series or eqiivalent FX box or pedal train) Q2a) Do you recommend a multi- FX box like the Boss GT or would you rig up a pedal train with individual effects (in general, what is better?) - each would cost 300-400 to acquire so money is not a factor, i guess).
Q3) Do you need to buy an expensive cab (speakers) to match, or can you skimp here (marshalls/Ibanez cost ~600 while others are available for 200-300).

So I think my choices are
Thermion Tube Amp Head w/ awesome distortion (6-800) + free included stomp board + cab (300 or 600$?)
Crate/H+K cab w/ shit distortion (300) + 400 on efex + cab (300 or 600$?)

Both configs work out to about the same money.....I am asking more from a quality and value standpoint.

Let me know your thoughts, I will appreciate any comments (specifially about the models I list above) and general philosophy on tube
1) tube vs stack amps
2) Effects built in to amp heads vs external effects
3) external multi-effects boxes vs individual pedals
4) Expensive cabs to match heads, vs cheap ones with equivalent watt ratings....

Thanks a million!
If your gigging then you'll need tubes. and they dont break as much as you make them to. unless you do stage crashes and beat stuff to hell with your guitar.
A .a tube amp IMO will sound better for gigs and most things in general than a ss halftsakc(ss in general) SS amps even if its high wattage break up rather early thus causing unintentional clipping.
b. external effects are always better than inside amp effects. They provide more possibilities, more control and IMO better tonal characteristics. However, individual stompboxes are your best route. Multi effects lack some of the tone you can get with stompboxes.
c.see above
d.DOnt skimp out on cabs. Using a great head with a crappy cab makes it sound not so sweet. IF possible try to get a good cab to match with it.

extra:im not a fan of the Ibanez amp, IMO its a bit too much for what it provides. If you can give us a maximum budget for the amp then we can further help you.
I traded in my Real Books for Robbins and Cotran Pathology Textbooks
If you go tube, I recomend less that 120 watts. Thats rather reiculous unless your playing extreely big venues that don't have a PA. High power tube amplifiers are a conspiracy created by many of the major amp manufactuaerers who do not care about practicality at all.
Reliability has a lot, that's a LOT more to do with build quality than whether it's tube or solid state. Junk breaks down either way. The Crate squalid state amp is not going to be more reliable than a good tube amp.

Unless you've got more than 900 people at your shows you've got no need for more than 50 watts. Make it 50 really good watts and you'll be better off. Then buy a couple pedals.
Thanks for your help so far guys - I appreciate it. SO what im hearing so far is that I should get a tube amp, with maybe ~100W, w/ external (individual stompbox) effects, no skimping on the cab.
My budget is about ~1000-1200$
So I guess ~500 for the amp head, ~300 for the cab and 200-300 for indl effects (distortion, phaser etc)......

When you rig up a pedal train (individual stompboxes), i understand that you get less flexibility than with using the effects off the amp. Dont you however get more flexibility with effects in a multi-effects box in terms of just saving preset combinations of effects....I guess its just that each effect sounds better when you use individual stompboxes - right? So do you just memorize all the settings on each of your stompboxes for each sound that you want?

Please suggest amps, cabs from your experience that would fit my budget.

Thanks a lot - you all are amazing!

Call me Kedar
First just find an amp you like.

See what bands who are into what you do are using and go from there. Follow your local craigs list and 'bargain trader' rags and see stuff and try it.

Good used stuff is better than cheap new stuff, even if you've got to get it fixed.

Hey Kedar

With your budget in mind i thought about the best halfstack for the money


The gain is excellent, you wlll be scared of how better it is then your current spider, and the cleans are decent, the problem with tube amps is that most likely it either succeeds in cleans or in distorsion.

You might also notice its 100 watts, do you like blowing off the walls? Do you like to make persons ears bleed once its past 3 on volume? Then 100 watts tube is for you, keep in mind that 100 watts SS such as you wanted is about 30 watts tube or so.

You may also note that its pricey and it leaves you little budget for extra pedals, you might want to consider used.



If you can really sleep at night with only one speaker.

About your effects choose which ever you want but i really recommend single, i have the boss gt-8 and digital multifx isnt as fun as you would think it would be, you might not be able to buy all the effects right now but i recommend buying the ones you need right now and building your effects over time.
Hi all,
Thanks to those who replied...
I ended up buying a Peavey Supreme XL head w. a matched cab (burned about 800$) as it was a display model at the store....also bought a boss GT6 pedal. I am quite happy with my purchases and the sound I now have.
1) tube vs stack amps
tube always
2) Effects built in to amp heads vs external effects
3) external multi-effects boxes vs individual pedals
individual (analog preferably)
4) Expensive cabs to match heads, vs cheap ones with equivalent watt ratings....
expensive cabs obviously

You'll only need like 30-50 watts to gig with tube. Tube is way louder than SS.
Guitar: G&L Tribute S-500
Amp: Fender Blues Deluxe
Pedals: Zvex Box of Rock