Posted Dec 14, 2004 01:44 PM
Have you been looking for that perfect amp? You want it to be a tube amp, or a very nice Solid State, eh? Well I can help you find what you're looking for.
First you need to decide what kind of music you are playing (genre). Is it a punk/indie alternative sound your looking for? A hardcore distorted belt? The power of a metal guitarist? Warm distortion for your harder rock? Or a classic crunch? Well, there are many manufactures making many different amps to suit your musical interest.
Next you need to decide how loud/large your amp should be. With a band? Need to play small gigs? Take this in mind: A Tube (Valve) amp uses the same amount of wattage as a Solid State amp. Wattage is nothing more than the speed in which the amp turns electricity into heat and more usable energy. People often say a tube amp is louder than a solid state amp. They are infact wrong. Tube amps may seem louder than a solid state amp because the human ear precives it differently. So a 30 watt tube amp will sound louder than a 30 solid state amp. We use the 2.5x rule: this means that if you take the wattage of a solid state amp and increase it by 150% that would be the equivilant decible level to a tube amp of that wattage. ex- a 20 watt tube amp is as loud to the human ear as a 50 watt solid state amp (the solid state amp is 250% the wattage of the tube amp, but they are approximately the same number of decibles.
Now if you are looking to run a medium small size gig, you may want atleast a 65 watt solid state amp. The suggested size is 65 - 120 watts solid state. If you want a tube amp, the suggested size is 30 - 50 watts.
Tube vs. Solid State - now we've concluded that a tube amp is louder than a solid state amp. And I'm sure you have heard that a tube amp sounds better than a solid state amp. Well, by popular vote that is correct. In general, tube amps sound better than solid state amps. But they do cost more. The next thing you need to do is Decide A Price Range
For a smaller price range ($200 - $499), you are basically limited to Solid State. Below are a list of popular solid state amps in this price range:
Roland Cube 60 (Solid State but loud enough to gig). The Roland Cube 60 is good for modern rock, metal/hardcore, and classic rock/metal. Why? Because it has numerous levels of amp models you can use to tweek your sound. This amp goes for around $350 and is highly recommended.
Vox ValveTronix Series. There are a number of amps in this series. These amps are what's called hybrid. Hybrid amps are a cross between solid state and tube. They usually just have 1 tube in the preamp. But in this case it's different (see vox.co.uk for more info). These amps are also highly recommended and good for multiple genres much like the roland cube.
Crate GT, XT, GLX, GTX. These crates are very fairly priced and sound good in most oppinion. They are good for modern punk, indie, alternative, and hardcore/metal. These amps have pretty heavy distortions and praised cleans. But there are numbers of people who absolutely dread these amps and some who love them.
Those were just a few amps in that price range.
$500 - $700. Now at these prices you can start to afford tube amps!
The Peavey Classic 30 and 50. Two of the most beloved/affordable amps around. The 30 watt costs around $500 and the 50 watt costs around $700 I believe - I may be wrong. These amps have wonderful cleans and loved distortions. These amps are 2 of the most popular. These amps play great with classic rock/metal, modern alternative, punk, and indie.
The Crate 'V' series. These amps are much like the Peavey classic series in almost every way. The panel is a little different in how you tweak your sound. The difference is all in preference.
The Crate 'VC' series. These amps are very much like the V series. The VC stands for 'Vintage Club.' These amps are discontinued so you'll have to buy them used off eBay. Personally I love these amps. Crystal sound and beautiful glass tubes. These amps are just bliss.
Higher price range $700-$1000. Now you can start moving into some more advanced tube amps.
Peavey XXX. This series of peavey designed for the modern guitarist who wants clean clear clean with warm distortion. Beautiful sounds make this one of the best amps ever! Good for all types of genres. *cough*warm distortion and beautiful cleans*cough*.
Peavey 5150. Ah, the 5150. Designed by Eddie Van Halen himself. The 2 beautiful distortion channels make for 2 warm but differently outputed sounds. Although this amp has no clean channel if turn the drive down on the rythm channel it makes the clean sound. This amp is good for the Van Halen sound and other warm distortions alike.
Marshall JCM 800. One of the most saught after amps of all time. One of the classics that many guitarists of proffessional skill have played. The JCM 800 is beautiful in which she coughs out crystal cleans and crunchy overdrives. This is any classic rockers dream!
Crate Blue Voodoo. The Blue Voodoo is an amp made for a king. This amp is good for all types of hardcore, metal, and other forms of rock. It is every mans dream!
Marshall JCM 2000. The DSL and TSL amps by Marshall are just made to be everything. Warm distortion, crunchy overdrive, firey clean. They're very expensive though.