#1
Even in today's world of "affordable boutique" tube amps, it seems as if we are limited to vintage tones.
What about the modern generation of players that DON'T wish it was 1962 all over again?

There are people in this forum asking every day about an affordable tube amp for metal. The only one I can think of is the Peavey Valveking, and most people say it sucks (I quite liked it, actually).

Why, despite the popularity of metal, especially among young people who want cheap tube amps, aren't there any with high gain and modern punchy tone? The heaviest a Blackheart can go is into vintage marshall territory. It can't sound like a JCM 800. Is it that difficult to add another gain stage and a solid state rectifier, or something?

I imagine there's a huge demand. Why are there so few cheap high-gain tube amps?
#2
Boutique builders replicate vintage amps because vintage amps are not readily available for prices that people can realistically afford.

It all depends on what you mean by "affordable boutique" anyway,
the cheapest boutique amp I can think of are Ceriatones, which still will cost around $700-$1000 for the most part. Metropoulos, Germino, Reinhardt are all >$2000. But compared to a REAL vintage Marshall JTM45, which can run into tens of thousands of dollars, thats a small price to pay.

On the other hand, there are plenty of modern high gainers readily available for $2000 and under. There is not a large market for boutique builders to advertise towards for a modern voiced high gainer. Besides, the price of labor, components, etc. it would not really be possible for builders to put together an amp and sell them for cheap.

Not to mention, brands like Bugeras, Peaveys, all make pretty well priced amps.
Last edited by al112987 at Sep 3, 2008,
#3
Quote by sashki
Even in today's world of "affordable boutique" tube amps, it seems as if we are limited to vintage tones.
What about the modern generation of players that DON'T wish it was 1962 all over again?

There are people in this forum asking every day about an affordable tube amp for metal. The only one I can think of is the Peavey Valveking, and most people say it sucks (I quite liked it, actually).

?


Okay for one, do you know what Boutique means??, I don't think you do since you some how think the peavey valveking is..... Boutique amps are typically all hand built and built "ussually" with the best part around, tyipically they are similar to other production amp models with just a few tweeks and adjustments. The VK is a budget tube amp that is pretty cheaply made, don't get me wrong I think they are great for what they are, but they are no boutique amp sir. Or the Blackheart for that matter
I think the reason why you only see vintage models of the small budget tube amps, like the blackheart, BJ, VJ, and so on is becasue its more cost effective, the curcitry in those small amps is kept to the very minimum, keeping the cost, start adding gain stages and it starts to really make a lot more curcitry driving the price up. The orange Tiny Terror is a good example, it has quite a bit of gain on tap, and cost more than twice as much as other similar amps.
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#4
Quote by al112987
Boutique builders replicate vintage amps because vintage amps are not readily available for prices that people can realistically afford.

It all depends on what you mean by "affordable boutique" anyway,
the cheapest boutique amp I can think of are Ceriatones, which still will cost around $700-$1000 for the most part. Metropoulos, Germino, Reinhardt are all >$2000. But compared to a REAL vintage Marshall JTM45, which can run into tens of thousands of dollars, thats a small price to pay.

On the other hand, there are plenty of modern high gainers readily available for $2000 and under.

Since when is anything under 2000 dollars affordable?
A valveking costs 400 dollars. If a young punk had 2000 dollars to buy guitar gear with, they'd have a huge choice. For young people, especially, that money can take ages to earn.

Not everyone has the time/skillz/patience to build a Ceriatone amp, and they're mostly Plexi clones, anyway.
Quote by Johnbryant
Okay for one, do you know what Boutique means??, I don't think you do since you some how think the peavey valveking is..... Boutique amps are typically all hand built and built "ussually" with the best part around, tyipically they are similar to other production amp models with just a few tweeks and adjustments. The VK is a budget tube amp that is pretty cheaply made, don't get me wrong I think they are great for what they are, but they are no boutique amp sir. Or the Blackheart for that matter
I think the reason why you only see vintage models of the small budget tube amps, like the blackheart, BJ, VJ, and so on is becasue its more cost effective, the curcitry in those small amps is kept to the very minimum, keeping the cost, start adding gain stages and it starts to really make a lot more curcitry driving the price up. The orange Tiny Terror is a good example, it has quite a bit of gain on tap, and cost more than twice as much as other similar amps.

I never said the Valveking was a boutique amp. My local guitar store has tons of boutique stuff, like Blackstar, Brunetti, Bad Cat, Cornford and Victoria. Basically, hand-build class-A stuff.

Blackhearts are designed to give boutique-style features, such as class-A amplification, a short signal path etc. only made in China to save money.

I had forgotten about the Orange. Thanks for reminding me.

I, personally, don't like "boutique" amps. The ones I've tried sound boxy and lack versatility, whereas I can get a 3-channel Randall halfstack for less, which is not only capable of more, but also sounds better to my n00b ears.
Last edited by sashki at Sep 3, 2008,
#5
^ What are you wanting??? People you get want you pay for, there is no way a 400 dollar amp is going to be sound like a Recto, or triple XXX, or what ever high gain amp you can name off, if somone made amps that where built as good and sound as good as one of these then no one would be them any more. I really don't get what you are wanting to do, first you talk about the VK a 50-100 watt amp then you start in with the 5-15 watt practice amps, what kind of amp do you want???
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Last edited by Johnbryant at Sep 3, 2008,
#6
Quote by sashki
Since when is anything under 2000 dollars affordable?
A valveking costs 400 dollars. If a young punk had 2000 dollars to buy guitar gear with, they'd have a huge choice. For young people, especially, that money can take ages to earn.

Not everyone has the time/skillz/patience to build a Ceriatone amp, and they're mostly Plexi clones, anyway.



No you don't get it.

Let me ask you this. What is the point of a builder spending $900 in components, working for two weeks, hand building a multi-channel high gain amp to sell for under $1000? Boutique amps are all built by hand, individually placing components and soldering them down, its not a simple or trivial task by any means, especially complex high gain circuits. Have you ever seen a schematic for a Mesa/Boogie? Just looking at one makes my head spin.

High quality amps are built for serious musicians, they're expensive for a reason, builders do not build with the 15 year old bedroom rocker in mind. Boutique amps are for players who are super picky about tone.
#7
Quote by Johnbryant
^ What are you wanting??? People you get want you pay for, there is no way a 400 dollar amp is going to be sound like a Recto, or triple XXX, or what ever high gain amp you can name off, if somone made ons that was built as good and sound as good as one of these then no one would be them any more. I really don't get what you are wanting to do, first you talk about the VK a 50-100 watt amp then you start in with the 5-15 watt practice amps, what kind of amp do you want???

That's what everyone wants! A decent soudning and AFFORDABLE all-tube amp with enough gain to play modern metal styles that's suitable for both home use and gigging, so expect between 30 and 100 watts.

Is that difficult to achieve? Peavey did it. Actually, I just remembered Bugera also do. But the rest in that price range is all tiny class-A 10 watters with one channel.
Quote by al112987
No you don't get it.

Let me ask you this. What is the point of a builder spending $900 in components, working for two weeks, hand building a multi-channel high gain amp to sell for under $1000? Boutique amps are all built by hand, individually placing components and soldering them down, its not a simple or trivial task by any means, especially complex high gain circuits. Have you ever seen a schematic for a Mesa/Boogie? Just looking at one makes my head spin.

High quality amps are built for serious musicians, they're expensive for a reason, builders do not build with the 15 year old bedroom rocker in mind. Boutique amps are for players who are super picky about tone.

I didn't really express myself properly.

I don't want somethign hand-made
I don't care if it's all the best hand-selected parts on the market
I don't care if they used a PCB or a turret board or whatever

All I want is a good sounding amp. I'm sure many players would agree.

You're probably gonna say that an amp won't sound it's best unless you do all the things mentioned above, but then why is it that even professionals choose mass produced amps over boutique, when they can afford any amp they want (and might even get it free)?

You seem to be caught up in the term "boutique". I'm not asking about boutique. I'm asking about amps that ARE NOT boutique, that people can actually afford.
Last edited by sashki at Sep 3, 2008,
#8
^ the Peavey Valveking is Mediocer at best when it come to metal tones even when boosted with a TS, and really 30-100 watts is too much for wattage for bedroom levels in most cases.
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#9
Quote by Johnbryant
^ the Peavey Valveking is Mediocer at best when it come to metal tones even when boosted with a TS, and really 30-100 watts is too much for wattage for bedroom levels in most cases.

I did say bedroom and gigging.

It's not like the master volume is stuck on 10. It might not sound ideal at bedroom volumes, but that doesn't mean you can't own one.
#10
A good high gain amp needs lots of headroom, since most metal players dont like power tube saturation, and as stated before, added gain stages=added circuitry=added cost.

Under 2000 dollars is affordable for a boutique amp. Good amps cost more than shitty ones. Deal with it.

Class A doesn't make an amp boutique, there are plenty of non-boutique amps that run in Class A, and plenty of boutique amps that run in AB.

You must have been playing shitty boutique amps too, or just don't know what boutique amps are.
#11
Quote by pak1351
A good high gain amp needs lots of headroom, since most metal players dont like power tube saturation, and as stated before, added gain stages=added circuitry=added cost.

Under 2000 dollars is affordable for a boutique amp. Good amps cost more than shitty ones. Deal with it.

Class A doesn't make an amp boutique, there are plenty of non-boutique amps that run in Class A, and plenty of boutique amps that run in AB.

You must have been playing shitty boutique amps too, or just don't know what boutique amps are.

Just cos it's hand made doesn't mean I should like it.
#12
You're right, a SlO-100 is obviously far less superior than a XXX, and a CD-100 pales in comparison to a Blues Junior.

You might not think it's worth the extra cost, but people who strive to achieve the best tone available are willing to shell out money to get what you might call a small difference in tone. It's not worth it to you, fine.

Cheap high gain tube amps would need added wattage, which means added tubes, circuitry, etc, and hopefully someone who knows how to wire and solder correctly, which rules out that 15 year old in China. It's easier to build cheap low gain, low wattage amps. Build your own if it pisses you off so much
#13
I mean really like I said before, all the curictry cost a ton to desing, and build, like al112987 said, take a boogie rectifier for examaple and compare to a the blackheart, there is no question which amp is more complex in desing and which cost more to produce. Good high gainers start around 1000 USD for a good reason, they are not easily made and have lots of parts and peices, and most are built with the good componets and built in the USA raising the price that much more. Take the ValveKing, I think a person could spend 200-500dollars and have it modded and just by putting in better compents, ( Output transformers, caps, tubes, speakers, and so on) and do little to nothing little to nothing to the amp curictry and I beat it would suprise most how much better it would sound. But then you just suck 800-1000 dollars into an amp thats not worth that much and you could have bought somthing better in the first place for that kind of cash. See where I'm coming from?
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Last edited by Johnbryant at Sep 3, 2008,
#14
Quote by pak1351

Cheap high gain tube amps would need added wattage, which means added tubes, circuitry, etc, and hopefully someone who knows how to wire and solder correctly, which rules out that 15 year old in China. It's easier to build cheap low gain, low wattage amps. Build your own if it pisses you off so much

So 15 year olds in china can wire a simple amp without being amp to solder?
The components are laid out by machines.

I've been saving money for 4 years to buy a good amp. I wish you'd stop trying to convince me that boutique is just so much better, cos I have tried a bunch of amps, and although it's totally wrong, I was more impressed by mass-produced amps than boutique ones.

I just asked a question.
Quote by Johnbryant
I mean really like I said before, all the curictry cost a ton to desing, and build, like al112987 said, take a boogie rectifier for examaple and compare to a the blackheart, there is no question which amp is more complex in desing and which cost more to produce. Good high gainers start around 1000 USD for a good reason, they are not easily made and have lots of parts and peices, and most are built with the good componets and built in the USA raising the price that much more. Take the ValveKing, I think a person could spend 200-500dollars and have it modded and just by putting in better compents, ( Output transformers, caps, tubes, speakers, and so on) and do little to nothing little to nothing to the amp curictry and I beat it would suprise most how much better it would sound. But then you just suck 800-1000 dollars into an amp thats not worth that much and you could have bought somthing better in the first place for that kind of cash. See where I'm coming form.

So what you're saying is that from an economic standpoint, it's impossible?
#15
^ to keep quality up, and with the rising cost of every thing these I would agrue that its getting close to Imposible. Like I said before a lot of these amps are Made in the USA, which I absolutly love, I always try to pick US made over Chiniese, not only from a quality stand point, but form a social stand point, I am sick of seing our work being shipped overseas, just to keep the price down.
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#16
Quote by Johnbryant
^ to keep quality up, and with the rising cost of every thing these I would agrue that its getting close to Imposible. Like I said before a lot of these amps are Made in the USA, which I absolutly love, I always try to pick US made over Chiniese, not only from a quality stand point, but form a social stand point, I am sick of seing our work being shipped overseas, just to keep the price down.

They're built by machines and immigrants, anyway...sad, but true.
#17
^^^^ Bingo.

High quality tube amps are expensive because its expensive to build them.

Bugera and Peavey managed to bring costs down because they cut corners, there is a reason why people have been complaining about the reliability and quality issues of Bugera's, B-52s, Peavey VKs, etc. Because in order to have brought prices down, they had to cut prices on labor and on parts.
#18
^ but atleast Ameicans run the Machines, and are the quality control on the lines.
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#19
Quote by Johnbryant
^ but atleast Ameicans run the Machines, and are the quality control on the lines.

Just cos it's made in another country doesn't mean it's shit. I know the chinese aren't particularly renowned for quality, but most of the stuff in your house is probably chinese, and it's solid enough.
#20
Quote by sashki
You're probably gonna say that an amp won't sound it's best unless you do all the things mentioned above, but then why is it that even professionals choose mass produced amps over boutique, when they can afford any amp they want (and might even get it free)?


I've never seen any player that I'd consider "professional" using a cheap, mass-produced amp, except an occasional guy who likes a 5150, & guys who play Fenders for the Fender tone. Almost every studio recording you hear was done with serious pro gear (the studios many times have their own stable of badass amps). Do you think Zakk would record with an MG because he could get it for free? At least EVH uses a badass mass-produced amp. There are some great mass-production amps, like EVH, Mesa, Orange, but the cheaper you go, the more unreliable the components become. You get what you pay for.
What I think should happen, as I've stated before, is that Fender should make smaller single-channel versions of the 5150 III. The price could easily be within reach of any hard-working teenager.
But realistically, you'll almost never get pro-level recordable tone from a $400 amp.
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#21
Quote by riffhog
I've never seen any player that I'd consider "professional" using a cheap, mass-produced amp, except an occasional guy who likes a 5150, & guys who play Fenders for the Fender tone. Almost every studio recording you hear was done with serious pro gear (the studios many times have their own stable of badass amps). Do you think Zakk would record with an MG because he could get it for free? At least EVH uses a badass mass-produced amp. There are some great mass-production amps, like EVH, Mesa, Orange, but the cheaper you go, the more unreliable the components become. You get what you pay for.
What I think should happen, as I've stated before, is that Fender should make smaller single-channel versions of the 5150 III. The price could easily be within reach of any hard-working teenager.
But realistically, you'll almost never get pro-level recordable tone from a $400 amp.

Zakk uses a JCM800. Even I know that.

Occasional guy who likes a 5150? http://peavey.com/artists/artistlist.cfm

I know more pro's that use Fenders, Marshalls, Peaveys and Randalls than any boutique amp...apart from maybe Mark Knopfler.
#22
Quote by sashki

I know more pro's that use Fenders, Marshalls, Peaveys and Randalls than any boutique amp...apart from maybe Mark Knopfler.


I know more pros that don't. Fenders don't count in my book, because they are in general great amps for specific tones, & used all over. You seemed to be talking about metal amps, I thought, which IMO, rules out Fenders anyway (except the 5150 III). There's a lot of pros that endorse this & that everywhere, but record with completely different gear. George Lynch used to have walls of Marshalls onstage, but the PA mic was in front of a Soldano 1/2 stack on the side of the stage out of view.
Also, when you say Marshalls, I know lots of pros use Marshalls, but most aren't using anything made in the past 20 years.(and those Marshalls weren't cheap).
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#23
i'm still lost... are you wondering why high gain tube amps aren't particularly cheap?

i'm guessing not, since it's already been answered (bigger transformers, less than simple circuitry of cheap "boutique" tube amps).
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#24
Quote by sashki
Zakk uses a JCM800. Even I know that.

Occasional guy who likes a 5150? http://peavey.com/artists/artistlist.cfm

I know more pro's that use Fenders, Marshalls, Peaveys and Randalls than any boutique amp...apart from maybe Mark Knopfler.


yeah, but zakk uses his special addition JCM800s. and before that, he used the JCMs that were made before marshall sucked.

and peavey 6505's are great for sraight distortion, but their cleans suck balls.

Cheap=not good.

you get what you pay for. those boutique amps have much more tonal complexity and are much more variable than the mass produced sh*t tube amps they come out with these days. for someone like you, who probably has the gain at 10 and throws on a digitech deathmetal, yeah, you're not going to like it. but for someone who know how to use a good amp, it'll bring out the sublte nuances in your tone.

go out and buy an MG. you probably won't be able to tell the difference between that and a JCM800.
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#25
Quote by UnsignedRecords
i'm still lost... are you wondering why high gain tube amps aren't particularly cheap?

i'm guessing not, since it's already been answered (bigger transformers, less than simple circuitry of cheap "boutique" tube amps).


Thanks, Jon. As I typed my last post, I realized that the initial question was already answered, whether the TS accepts the answer or not. The truth is still the truth.
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#26
My question has been answered on the first page. Thank you for that.
Quote by Jhachey22
yeah, but zakk uses his special addition JCM800s. and before that, he used the JCMs that were made before marshall sucked.

and peavey 6505's are great for sraight distortion, but their cleans suck balls.

Cheap=not good.

you get what you pay for. those boutique amps have much more tonal complexity and are much more variable than the mass produced sh*t tube amps they come out with these days. for someone like you, who probably has the gain at 10 and throws on a digitech deathmetal, yeah, you're not going to like it. but for someone who know how to use a good amp, it'll bring out the sublte nuances in your tone.

go out and buy an MG. you probably won't be able to tell the difference between that and a JCM800.

I didn't like the MG, and I don't use pedals.

I appreciate your kindness towards people who don't like boutique amps.

EDIT: you own a 100 watt MG, anyway. Why did you buy it if you knew there was so much better?

Is it WRONG to prefer high gain sounds? Is it WRONG that the amps that sounded best to me weren't hand-made? Beacuse that totally makes me an absolute n00b, doesn't it?
Last edited by sashki at Sep 3, 2008,
#27
Quote by sashki

Is it WRONG to prefer high gain sounds? Is it WRONG that the amps that sounded best to me weren't hand-made? Beacuse that totally makes me an absolute n00b, doesn't it?

Not at all tone is subjective. Really though those handwired boutique amp are full of tonal compexities, and some are just amazing at what they do. High gain amps are what I prefer ATM but when I hear trainwreck clips, somthing about me is just in awe.
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#28
Quote by riffhog
I know more pros that don't. Fenders don't count in my book, because they are in general great amps for specific tones, & used all over. You seemed to be talking about metal amps, I thought, which IMO, rules out Fenders anyway (except the 5150 III). There's a lot of pros that endorse this & that everywhere, but record with completely different gear. George Lynch used to have walls of Marshalls onstage, but the PA mic was in front of a Soldano 1/2 stack on the side of the stage out of view.
Also, when you say Marshalls, I know lots of pros use Marshalls, but most aren't using anything made in the past 20 years.(and those Marshalls weren't cheap).



who you kidding mate? you don't know any pros. psssht.

and imo, if you're a kid on a budget who wants high gain, you should probably check out Randall, and should definately stay within reasonable wattage and size.

most younger guys just plain overdo it and jump on a huge stack, right out of the box.
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#29
Quote by jj1565
who you kidding mate? you don't know any pros. psssht.

and imo, if you're a kid on a budget who wants high gain, you should probably check out Randall, and should definately stay within reasonable wattage and size.

most younger guys just plain overdo it and jump on a huge stack, right out of the box.

I was looking at Randall MTS series, myself. The deluxe module is awesome. I haven't found a high-gain one to my liking, though.

I like laney LC-50's, too.
#30
Quote by jj1565
who you kidding mate? you don't know any pros. psssht.



Nice, Jenny!
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#32
Quote by sashki
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=949914
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=949172

There's two other people interested in these sorts of amps. I don't see what makes my inquiry so ridiculous



dude, didnt' you name this thread "Stupid Question?"



they answered the question. they are expensive to make.


and riffhog
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Last edited by jj1565 at Sep 3, 2008,
#33
Quote by sashki
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=949914
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=949172

There's two other people interested in these sorts of amps. I don't see what makes my inquiry so ridiculous


Your question was definitely not ridiculous. I also wish there was an affordable way to make reliable, quality high gain tube amps. Then everyone could enjoy great tone.
There's just a certain number of required components involved, & a considerable amount of labor involved in assembly (also note that high gain amps have a couple extra preamp tubes, requiring additional labor), sort of like why you don't see reliable high-performance cars for under say, $25,000. It's just the way things are these days. You should try out any high end amps you can get your hands on. I've tried the Randall you're checking out, & it's a pretty nice sounding amp for the money.
If Fender does a single channel EVH amp though.....
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#34
Traynor YCV50, Delta Blues, Classic 30 and an TS clone. SHlT sorry... wrong thread...

Because good parts are expensive and good amps have lot of parts.
#35
Quote by jj1565
dude, didnt' you name this thread "Stupid Question?"



they answered the question. they are expensive to make.

pwnt.

and i never say that ever
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#36
sorry to sound like a broken record, but the laney tts seem to be coming down in price. might be worth considering. i really liked the one i tried a couple of years ago.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#37
Quote by sashki
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=949914
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=949172

There's two other people interested in these sorts of amps. I don't see what makes my inquiry so ridiculous


actually they were looking for amps with variety and good lead tones. "good lead tone" doesn't necessarily mean gain-knob-to-eleven-and-ripped-off distortion.
Quote by patriotplayer90
Lolz that guy is a noob.

Egnater
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