#1
so lately I have been toying with the idea of getting a nice rack setup. I had originally intended to buy a mesa lonestar, but lately have been thinking about a rack setup to cover all of my needs instead of a 2000$ amp. I am looking for a nice preamp and poweramp I suppose, so I am hoping to get some suggestions on some
-Good Preamps
-Good poweramps
I figured why toy with micing an amp when i could go straight into the in house pa system? All I'll need is a speaker to practice at home with. Recommendations for both listed above would be nice, and I would like to keep the price as close to 2000$ as possible. Versatility is key, so I will be looking for a pre and poweramp that can cover all of the tonal bases well. If I need to go a little over the limit I said so be it. I have heard good things about the voodu valve and prophecy 2s, but am looking to see if anyone else has a good knowledge on these type setups around here who could point me in the right direction.
Mesa Lonestar Special
Traynor YCV40WR
Ibanez -Artcore AS103BM
Fender American Deluxe Strat
Analog Man ARDX20 Dual Delay
Red Witch Empress Chorus
Big Muff Pi
Boss BD-2
MXR '76 RI Dynacomp
Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah
Jetter Jetdrive
EHX POG
#2
Some thoughts:

One distinct advantage of sticking a mic in front of a cab is that it will allow you to take full advantage of the power amp sections tone coloration, as well as the tonal nuances of the particular cab/speaker combination. Running a DI right out of the preamp only gives you the sound up to the preamp. You can run an attenuator at full tilt after the power amp (most have a line out) but will still eliminate the cab/speakers from the equation. Then, of course, there are speaker simulators, but at this point how much more equipment do you need to buy to justify not micing the amp.

If you decide to go through with this, try and be able to get your tone worked out without a power amp. Get a powered cab (Tech21 Power Engine for example) for home practice, and don't play venues that don't have a good monitor setup.

Which brings me to another point. PA dependent rack setups are generally not "small venue friendly" meaning that a lot of small venues don't have PA's, and many of them have lackluster monitor setups (if they have any at all). If you have a good PA that's one thing, but a PA is a lot more to lug around than a cab and a microphone. You can work around an unappealing monitor setup with a good cab.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
#3
good point, There are always disadvantages to both setups. One thing I do like about the possibility of a rack setup is that I will know exactly what my audience is hearing at all times, which is not the case with a miced amp because you are still standing or sitting next to it. I have yet to decide to officially abandon my original idea of the Mesa Lonestar but am just thinking this over since this will be a lot for a 16 year old to spend at once. I know how frequency works for the most part, so dialing in tones wont be the hard part, just the overall versatility of my rig. The Lonestar I thought just had one incredible clean channel and a decent amount of gain. maybe what I really need to do is buy that then save up for a nice preamp? I'm really a singer/songwriter at heart with a penchant for kicking the gain to max every now and then for some pinch harmonics and backing it off for blues.
Mesa Lonestar Special
Traynor YCV40WR
Ibanez -Artcore AS103BM
Fender American Deluxe Strat
Analog Man ARDX20 Dual Delay
Red Witch Empress Chorus
Big Muff Pi
Boss BD-2
MXR '76 RI Dynacomp
Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah
Jetter Jetdrive
EHX POG
#4
im in the same position i just bought a mackie pa and subwoofers for my band and i have 6505 and marshall 4x12 but i am thinking of buying a vox tonelab and then i would only have to take 2 speakers plus valve fx pedal. (speakers could be used as monitors in a bad monitor situation

also thinking of one my band makes money to buy boutique amps and run them alongside the pa and tonelab. also pondered using a power amp mesa for it as well but i have active speakers. decisions decisions
#5
I have one more question Im going to throw out there. If the preamp is all of your sound in a rack setup, why do people spend so much on an all-tube poweramp? It would seem that a transistor would be the way to go since it would be cheaper, and the cleans would be cleaner if you get what I mean because of the tubes getting warmer and distorting the sound ever so slightly.
Mesa Lonestar Special
Traynor YCV40WR
Ibanez -Artcore AS103BM
Fender American Deluxe Strat
Analog Man ARDX20 Dual Delay
Red Witch Empress Chorus
Big Muff Pi
Boss BD-2
MXR '76 RI Dynacomp
Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah
Jetter Jetdrive
EHX POG
#6
bump.
Mesa Lonestar Special
Traynor YCV40WR
Ibanez -Artcore AS103BM
Fender American Deluxe Strat
Analog Man ARDX20 Dual Delay
Red Witch Empress Chorus
Big Muff Pi
Boss BD-2
MXR '76 RI Dynacomp
Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah
Jetter Jetdrive
EHX POG
#7
It all depends on the player. Frank Gambale uses his Carvin Tone Navigator preamp (which isn't tube) with a SS poweramp because it's what sounds best to him. Some think he still uses a Marshall JMP Preamp, but you never know.

I used to use (and looking to sell) my ADA Mod4 MkII MP1 with a SS poweramp for about a year or two before switching to a tube poweramp. The SS poweramp wasn't bad at all, cleans were great (I used the SS clean channel on the MP1) but the tube distortion didn't have the same oomph as it does with a tube poweramp. It sounded fine with a SS poweramp, but the tube poweramp really made the tube distortion shine. My sound had more body to it. I guess it's something you need to play and hear for yourself.