#1
I'm not going to bore you with my "career" story, or how much I know about guitar. Just know that I've been playing for 4 years. I've been using a Fender Princeton 650 combo amp, and a cheap LTD ESP F-50 for experience. I've learned quite a bit with these things, but I'm ready to invest in "actual" equipment now.

I'm going to start with my stack. I do not have the most extensive knowledge on Solid State and Tube amps. I know there is a lot of debate between the two, and it seems like more of the Pros tend to lean toward the Tubes. But, please keep in mind that I'm on a small budget(I'm not willing to spend more than 400-500 on an amp, and that much can be said for the cabinet as well). So, after looking online for awhile, I've assembled a few links for you to view. I'm sure that the majority of you have not tried some of these amps, but, since you've been around for awhile, you've had to of heard of a few of them at least twice. Reviews will always be both good and bad, which is why the reviews on the site I'm linking you to are sometimes unreliable. I know that the people in these forums are serious about what they do, and that you guys won't steer me wrong.

Let me give you a few other reasons why I'm asking for help. I live in a small city, and my resources around here are limited. While we have shops that sell Guitars, they don't sell a vast assortment of amps, and the nearest city that does have the bigger shops is over 120 miles away, hence my predicament. I will not be able to test any of these amps, therefore, I'm hoping by reading the specifications on them, you'll be able to tell me which will better suit my needs. I know that it's all on personal choice, but I am as I said, limited.

My playing styles are pretty simple. Progressive Rock-metal. Occasionally I might play Classical rock with a clean channel on, but other than that, it's not very mixed. Tool's Adam Jones and A Perfect Circle's Billy Howerdel are probably prime examples of the type of music I play. I need an amp to provide me with those delays when needed, but I'm more concerned about the distortion. I want it loud, and I want it to be clear as day. That's probably a noob comment, but that's all I really want. A nice, loud, good sounding amp.

If there is some fatal flaw with using SS amps at a high volume with distortion, please inform me, especially if something in the specifications doesn't look right to you. Sorry for the long explanation, but I'm trying to bring you down to my level to help you understand what I'm looking for.

The Links:

I've decided on my cabinet, mainly because of the warranty and the free shipping. But at 320W, I'm certain I'll be pleased with it. Any negative comments will be greatly accepted. xD: Line 6 Spider III

Now the Amp's. Keep in mind the reason why they're so low price. I have a $500 budget for them.

Ibanez TBX150H
Behringer V-Ampire LX1200H
Crate FlexWave F120H
Marshall MG100HDFX
Kustom Quad 200DFX

As I said before, I'm sorry about the long explanation, but this is a big deal to me, since it involves a decent amount of money. ANY comments or help is GREATLY appreciated, and I will be forever grateful. Thanks much.

-The Lost Central-Kansas guitarist-
#2
Are you willing to get a used amp?

Is there a particular reason that you feel you need a stack?

There are plenty of combos out there that have speaker outs that let you hook them up to a cabinet if you feel you need more sound dispersion.
Recognized by the Official EG/GG&A Who To Listen To List 2008
Quote by utsapp89
^I'd let a pro look at it. Once you get into the technicalities of screws...well, it's just a place you don't want to be, friend.
#3
You don't need a stack. The fact of the matter is, that for your budget, it would be preferable to get a smaller tube combo (tubes are actually louder - a 50w tube amp will equal a 130w SS amp in volume) and profit tonally. Stacks are only really viable with good heads and cabs, and you'd be buying a set of 4 cheap speakers in a cheap MDF box with a cheaply built budget SS head.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#4
I can tell you right now, stay away from the TBX150
I had the combo version of it for a total of 6 months and got rid of it
GEAR worth mentioning
GUITAR: XPT700 SOON AGILE INTERCEPTORPRO725
AMP: TRAYNOR YCV50BLUE
EFFECTS: BOSS ME-50 | MXR-109 6-Band Graphic EQ
#5
Quote by FacingUsAll
Are you willing to get a used amp?

Is there a particular reason that you feel you need a stack?


I'm mainly wanting to get a new one. That just, the way I am xD. I know that's pretty closed-minded of me, but I'm on of those guys that prefers to buy his own things instead of using someone else's.

The main reason I'm wanting a head and cabinet is because I plan on joining a good local group here in the next few months, and I'm wanting to get the equipment now, ahead of time.

As for the other guy's comment, will buying those things be a waste of time if I plan on doing performances in small venues?
#6
You don't need a head and cab. Just, don't need it. $500 can buy you a used valve combo amp that is more than loud enough for you and will sound infinitely better than any budget SS head and cab. Look at used Randall RG50TCs, B-52 AT112s etc.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#7
Quote by Neshnabe

As for the other guy's comment, will buying those things be a waste of time if I plan on doing performances in small venues?


Well I would say that they are a waste of time mostly because those amps just aren't very good.

You don't need 4 speakers to play live; most venues are mic'd anyway.
Recognized by the Official EG/GG&A Who To Listen To List 2008
Quote by utsapp89
^I'd let a pro look at it. Once you get into the technicalities of screws...well, it's just a place you don't want to be, friend.
#8
Quote by FacingUsAll
Well I would say that they are a waste of time mostly because those amps just aren't very good.

You don't need 4 speakers to play live; most venues are mic'd anyway.


Well, let's give a small example of situation outside of a venue that I might play at.

A field. Let's say theres a decent sized crowd that might be a ways away from me. 4 speakers isn't necessary for something like that you say?

By all means, if I don't need a cab with 4 speakers, then I won't buy one. But, being the new guy to sound that I am, I assumed that having more speakers ultimately equals more sound being put out. I know that one speak by itself can be more than loud enough, but with more than 1 speaker, wouldn't that just sound a lot better?

What about two speakers? Would that be more ideal?

And one last question, so I know when I continue looking for amps. What about the examples that I gave you sucks? Be detailed, not just an answer like "they're just crap. they're cheap, and etc". What about them isn't good.
#9
They're all crap and cheap and generally not good. Not worth bothering with.

And really. You don't need all those speakers.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#10
The IBANEZ TBX150, the cleans on it are decent and then the distortion is just blah... i mean it's way to thin

And more than likely on most venues you're going to mic your guitar amp and run it through a pa system.
GEAR worth mentioning
GUITAR: XPT700 SOON AGILE INTERCEPTORPRO725
AMP: TRAYNOR YCV50BLUE
EFFECTS: BOSS ME-50 | MXR-109 6-Band Graphic EQ
#11
If playing in a field, I'd probably throw my Peavey Classic 50 2x12 on top of something to let it project more. It's plenty loud though.

As for the amps you've listed:

Ibanez: Very bland sounding. If you played metal exclusively, I could see where you *might* want it, but it's very sterile for anything else.

Behringer: It's basically just a very loud practice amp. It's got a bunch of bells and whistles that help you figure out what tone and what effects you'd want to use, but doesn't do a very good job of giving you a tone that you'd want to be amplified for live situations.

Crate: Probably the winner of the bunch. It's the most natural sounding of the ones you've listed.

Marshall: Absolutely horrendous. The typical description of its tone is "Bees in a box." It just flat out doesn't sound good.

Kustom: I haven't played this one.

Recognized by the Official EG/GG&A Who To Listen To List 2008
Quote by utsapp89
^I'd let a pro look at it. Once you get into the technicalities of screws...well, it's just a place you don't want to be, friend.
#12
Quote by FacingUsAll

Crate: Probably the winner of the bunch. It's the most natural sounding of the ones you've listed.


To be honest I was looking at the one more than the others, and I don't know why.

Thanks so much for the details. But, if I may ask, how were you able to determine that conclusion? You've played with it before, right?

MrCarrot here is made up in his mind that all of these amps suck, and while I don't doubt his knowledge, he still failed to explain to me what ABOUT them sucks. I don't know if that makes much sense, what I'm asking. Maybe it's because they're not tube amps? Or is it something else?

And Carrot, if those speakers suck, are there any decently priced ones that you recommend?
#13
Quote by Neshnabe

Thanks so much for the details. But, if I may ask, how were you able to determine that conclusion? You've played with it before, right?


Yeah my buddy almost bought one and we had played around with it a bit.

He ended up getting a Fender Roc Pro Half-Stack for $200 that we found on Craigslist .

I got my Peavey Classic 50 2x12 for $380, and a 1960s Teisco 2x15 Cab with phenomenal AlNiCo speakers for $150. Used is the way to go .
Recognized by the Official EG/GG&A Who To Listen To List 2008
Quote by utsapp89
^I'd let a pro look at it. Once you get into the technicalities of screws...well, it's just a place you don't want to be, friend.
#14
Quote by MrCarrot
You don't need a stack. The fact of the matter is, that for your budget, it would be preferable to get a smaller tube combo (tubes are actually louder - a 50w tube amp will equal a 130w SS amp in volume) and profit tonally. Stacks are only really viable with good heads and cabs, and you'd be buying a set of 4 cheap speakers in a cheap MDF box with a cheaply built budget SS head.


You realize that the perceived volume of a 50 watt tube amp is only 3 db (effectively none to the ear) louder than a 100 watt tube amp as well right? By the time you are putting out that much volume, the difference between a 50 watter and 100 watter is indistinguishable due to the logarithmic nature of decibels.

The difference all has to do with clipping. Amplifiers are rated for clean watts. My JTM45 is "30 watts", yet once those volume knobs hit 3-4 and the amp starts to overdrive, that sure as hell is not 30 watts anymore. The 'loudness' of tube amps have little to do with volume. The only reason people even say that is because when tube amps clip, it sounds good, and when a solid state amp clips, it sounds bad. Thus, tube amps are more usable when running at very high volumes than solid states. Tube vs. solid state has nothing to do with loudness, in the end, amplifiers are rated the same, a 50 watt amplifier will put out a maximum of 50 clean watts, whether solid state or tube.

To the OP, in the end, you need to try these amplifiers out. You cannot rely on specs to choose, in the end, you need to see how these amplifiers are voiced to tell what kind of music they are suitable for.

A fender bassman and JTM45 are built using the exact same circuit. The major difference comes down to USA vs. UK components, and the difference is huge.
Last edited by al112987 at Jul 20, 2008,
#15
They all are pretty bad for the price.
Just give up on the idea of a stack for that price.

Go for a used tube combo!
Call me Wes.
Gear:
Fender American Deluxe HSS Strat
Chicago Blues Box Roadhouse
Bad Cat Cougar 5
1957 Gibson GA-5
Ceriatone 18w TMB Combo
Hughes & Kettner Tube Factor
Various Ibanez TS9s
Weber MASS Attenuator
#16
With the exception of the Kustom, I've played all of those amps and can honestly say they're all horrible for the price.

Generally speaking, they have weak, thin sounding distortion, but they have a lot of it. Undefined notes and muddiness in everything. They almost sound as if there's a blanket over your amp. The highs are harsh, the lows are flabby and the distortion sounds like a box of bees with its horrible hiss and fizz.

All over-priced practice amps.


Buy a nice, used, tube combo. Will be louder than all of those and sound 100x better.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#18
The Crate is a good amp but won't have enough gain for you by itself.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#20
Like I said, won't have enough gain for what you want by itself.

You could maybe add a distortion pedal and it'd be fine, but really you don't need a halfstack man. Get a combo. 100W tube is LOUD, my 85W Mark IV cracked the mirror behind it at 7.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#21
The 100 Watt Crate that I just showed you has an optional setting between 100 and 50 Watt, so I'm sure that if I bought it, I would keep it at 50.

You don't think that it would have enough distortion though? I'm not sure what tubes can do for distortion, but that 100 watter has 8 tubes, not 4 like I said earlier. 4 pre-amp tubes and 4 power tubes.

Some other people chime in on this amp please and let me know what you think, thanks
#22
I know that amp will not have enough distortion.

More tubes does not equal more distortion.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#23
Quote by MatrixClaw
I know that amp will not have enough distortion.

More tubes does not equal more distortion.



Well I assumed so much.

How can you tell how much distortion it can put out though? Have you tried this model?

Or is there another way that you can tell? Enlighten me
#24
You really can't tell just by looking at it.

I've tried the 50W model and the 100W isn't going to be much different. It can do up to hard rock, but no metal without help from a pedal, plus it's not really voiced for it.

Generally for metal you'll want 6L6 power tubes though, that can help narrow down your search a bit. Though their are some metal amps that use EL-34s.

6L6s are more modern sounding tubes, EL-34s are more vintage or British sounding, like Marshalls.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#25
Can't tubes be replaced?

I mean, like I mentioned before, I'm new to Tubes now, but I've read posts with people discussing the difference between tubes, and how they've tried a few different ones out. Let's say that I was to buy some of the tubes that you just mentioned. If I put those in, would it help out the distortion any?
#26
Booshoo... You don't need a stack. will just make your bad tone easier to hear.... unless you get the Crate Flexwave... they're not bad.

I do recommend getting a tube amp for live performance though. Most SS amps sound brittle and harsh when you turn them up.. including my old Crate. Believe me you will like your amp much better if it has tubes when you turn it up. I would look at One of the Traynor amps such as the YCV 50 Blue or the YCS50. 50 Watts of tube power is plenty and they both come with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. The YCS50 has a larger cab and it partially a closed back so it has good deep bass. The Blue has a nice bark to it a lot of people like them.

Edit: the YCS50 does metal fairly well.. not sure about the ycv50blue though... I believe it's best for rock and hard rock.
Last edited by TubeAmpGuy at Jul 21, 2008,
#28
Quote by Neshnabe
Can't tubes be replaced?

I mean, like I mentioned before, I'm new to Tubes now, but I've read posts with people discussing the difference between tubes, and how they've tried a few different ones out. Let's say that I was to buy some of the tubes that you just mentioned. If I put those in, would it help out the distortion any?


Most amps with EL-34s must be modded to put in 6L6s as well as the other way around. Some amps have a big enough bias sweep to be able to use either, or can be switched between the two, but it's not as common.

But just changing the tube type isn't going to change the voicing of the amp. It's not technically so much the tube that makes them sound vintage or modern, but the way the amp is voiced. Amps with EL-34s tend to be voiced more British like and amps with 6L6s more modernly. There's always the exception, but for the most part, this stands true with 90% of amps.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#29
Quote by MatrixClaw
You really can't tell just by looking at it.

I've tried the 50W model and the 100W isn't going to be much different. It can do up to hard rock, but no metal without help from a pedal, plus it's not really voiced for it.

Generally for metal you'll want 6L6 power tubes though, that can help narrow down your search a bit. Though their are some metal amps that use EL-34s.

6L6s are more modern sounding tubes, EL-34s are more vintage or British sounding, like Marshalls.

Not true at all. 6l6's are for cleaner tones than EL-34.

Fender's traditionally run 6l6's, from the Fender Bassman to today's twin.

6l6 is a high headroom tube, which is most useful for jazz, country, or any other type of music that requires clean headroom.

el-34 tubes break up earlier and will give you that power stage crunch and aggressive high mid range bark of british voiced amplifiers.

To the original poster, if you're looking for MORE gain, el-34s will give you a bigger sound that breaks up earlier.
Last edited by al112987 at Jul 21, 2008,
#30
Quote by al112987
Not true at all. 6l6's are for cleaner tones than EL-34.

Fender's traditionally run 6l6's, from the Fender Bassman to today's twin.

6l6 is a high headroom tube, which is most useful for jazz, country, or any other type of music that requires clean headroom.

el-34 tubes break up earlier and will give you that power stage crunch and aggressive high mid range bark of british voiced amplifiers.

To the original poster, if you're looking for MORE gain, el-34s will give you a bigger sound that breaks up earlier.

I never said 6L6s weren't cleaner tubes.

Generally metal amps come with 6L6s or one of their variants because you don't want early break up to happen and cause power tube sag.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#31
I have the Ibanez TBX150H and that amp rapes metal. The classic rock tones don't shine through as well, but if that's your style, then totally get that amp. IMO, "tube combos" just don't "get up there" enough to do that, unless you bust down serious amounts of money for a higher end amp.

So

+1 to the Ibanez Stack
GEAR
Epiphone SG-400
Marshall 1987 JCM-800 2210 100W

Proud Member of:
The SG Owners Unite
Marshall Amplification
EHX Users Guild

The True Eccentric Tea Drinking Appreciation Preservation Society

#32
Quote by TubeAmpGuy
Edit: the YCS50 does metal fairly well.. not sure about the ycv50blue though... I believe it's best for rock and hard rock.

the ycv50blue does have enough distortion but as with anything can sound better with an EQ, and if needed an od to boost it up to the appropriate gain setting
GEAR worth mentioning
GUITAR: XPT700 SOON AGILE INTERCEPTORPRO725
AMP: TRAYNOR YCV50BLUE
EFFECTS: BOSS ME-50 | MXR-109 6-Band Graphic EQ
#33
Quote by Weeping_Demon7
I have the Ibanez TBX150H and that amp rapes metal. The classic rock tones don't shine through as well, but if that's your style, then totally get that amp. IMO, "tube combos" just don't "get up there" enough to do that, unless you bust down serious amounts of money for a higher end amp.

So

+1 to the Ibanez Stack


A friend of mine has the Ibanez TBX150H and I have to say that it is one of the WORST sounding amps I have ever heard - right up there with the Marshall MGs.

TS: All of the amps that you mentioned have terrible tone and you will be kicking yourself if you buy any of them.

I recommend a used Traynor YCS50 combo.
#34
Quote by i_am_metalhead
A friend of mine has the Ibanez TBX150H and I have to say that it is one of the WORST sounding amps I have ever heard - right up there with the Marshall MGs.

TS: All of the amps that you mentioned have terrible tone and you will be kicking yourself if you buy any of them.

I recommend a used Traynor YCS50 combo.



Then your friend fails at getting a good tone. If set right, it rapes. And that's that.
GEAR
Epiphone SG-400
Marshall 1987 JCM-800 2210 100W

Proud Member of:
The SG Owners Unite
Marshall Amplification
EHX Users Guild

The True Eccentric Tea Drinking Appreciation Preservation Society

#35
Quote by MatrixClaw
I never said 6L6s weren't cleaner tubes.

Generally metal amps come with 6L6s or one of their variants because you don't want early break up to happen and cause power tube sag.


Sag or compression?

The cause of sag has nothing do to with power tubes. Amps only have noticeable sag with tube rectifiers that lower the plate voltage supplied to the power tubes.
#36
Quote by Weeping_Demon7
IMO, "tube combos" just don't "get up there" enough to do that, unless you bust down serious amounts of money for a higher end amp.



I'm guessing you haven't played many combo tube amps. I can name a couple right off the bat that will do tool on their own.

Mesa F-30, F-50, and Rectoverb/tremoverb
Kustom Coupe 36, Drowning Pool uses the 72 watt version.
B-52 will do excellent Tool type tones.
Carvin MTS.

They all cost under 1 grand, most of them can be found for less than 700 used and new.
Peavey 5150
Mesa Mark IV
Mesa Single Rectifier (Series 1)
Fender Custom Shop Tonemaster
Roland Microcube

-Whitebox OS 1x12
-Port City OS 1x12

Digidesign Eleven RackAxe Fx Ultra
#37
Quote by Reincaster
I'm guessing you haven't played many combo tube amps. I can name a couple right off the bat that will do tool on their own.

Mesa F-30, F-50, and Rectoverb/tremoverb
Kustom Coupe 36, Drowning Pool uses the 72 watt version.
B-52 will do excellent Tool type tones.
Carvin MTS.

They all cost under 1 grand, most of them can be found for less than 700 used and new.



Well, when I searched for them, I sure as hell couldn't get any prices that low. The B-52 on ebay was like 1000 or 900. I tried the Kustom and I wasn't very impressed. But I couldn't find any Mesa's or Carvins.
GEAR
Epiphone SG-400
Marshall 1987 JCM-800 2210 100W

Proud Member of:
The SG Owners Unite
Marshall Amplification
EHX Users Guild

The True Eccentric Tea Drinking Appreciation Preservation Society

#38
Quote by Weeping_Demon7
Well, when I searched for them, I sure as hell couldn't get any prices that low. The B-52 on ebay was like 1000 or 900. I tried the Kustom and I wasn't very impressed. But I couldn't find any Mesa's or Carvins.


The b-52 is on musicians friend for $550, so that's a lie. Thou're looking in the wrong places, ebay is generally the weakest place for those amps.

TGP and HC are my favorite places to find those amps. Right now, on HC, there are 2 rectoverbs for $750, F-30 for $700, Kustom Coupe for $450, Carvins abound for less than $500.

Also, you can get carvin DIRECT rom their website.
Peavey 5150
Mesa Mark IV
Mesa Single Rectifier (Series 1)
Fender Custom Shop Tonemaster
Roland Microcube

-Whitebox OS 1x12
-Port City OS 1x12

Digidesign Eleven RackAxe Fx Ultra