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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The ability to try them out is retarded limited where I live, so I haven't had a chance to try them all yet. I will obviously try before I buy, I would just like to catch the general consensus on them first.

Now, basically, my band is in the process of writing/recording pre-production tracks, which I am using all VST instruments for. Once we have an album's worth we are doing it all for real, and at that point me and my guitarist are going to get new amps.

But which one(s)?

If you would be so kind as to take a listen to our pre-production tracks thus far, just to get an idea of our style/feel/sound, and then perhaps you could say more accurately which you think would suit us the most.

Click here

Things I'm after in a tone
Presence, aggression, hugeness, tightness, grit, balls, and that "holy FUCK that's heavy!" feeling. We play 7 strings in Bb standard and drop Ab, as well as 6 strings in drop C, so whatever I get needs to be able to translate well with all that low end.

The choices I have narrowed it down to so far are these, in order of favouritism;

5150/6505
Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
EVH 5150III
Framus Cobra

5150/6505
The obvious choice. It's cheap, sounds huge, it's got aggression, gain on tap, and most importantly - definition. I really dig note definition in mixes, and this has it in spades. It's easy to engineer, I've never heard one sound band, even at amateur level. Crap clean though, but I can get around that with other gear.

Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
This one has me stumped. I've always been baffled by the consensus of the Rectifiers. They're supposed to be some of the best amps in the world, but so many people complain about their tone... yet still desire them? Totally confusing. I have no experience with them at all, but I am familiar with their tone when they're done right, and they sound astounding. Absolute power houses, and that is ultimately what I'm after, just sheer hugeness and heaviness. Are they really that difficult to get an excellent tone out of? Or is that all just bullshit from people who don't know what they're doing?

EVH 5150III
Relatively new to me, only heard one for the first time last year, and totally fuckin loved it. It's super tight, really crystal clear and present, all the things everyone loves about 5150's, but slightly different voicing. In a good way. Would be an awesome option, but I need more play-time on one before I really make my mind up about it.

Framus Cobra
Never played one, never heard one for real, only going on complete hearsay. Supposed to be a sick metal amp, perfect balance between 5150 and Dual Rec, which... sounds right up my street, to be honest!

Thanks for any input you can give, it will be massively appreciated.
:wavey:
 

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Dook dook dook
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2,434 Posts
I'm a bit biased towards the 5150, since I play one, but dual recto's are nice. I personally prefer a single recto (more than one rectifier tube is too much for my tastes), but the dual is a great amp if you match it with a high quality cab. They certainly can bring the chunk if you want, but can also be rolled back into some sweet crunchy tones.

As much as I love my 5150 II, i'd kill for a 5150 III, simply to have that Fender clean channel.
 

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crying in your beer
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3,782 Posts
When i was searching for an amp, i have tried all of these excessively, and in the end (before i went with the Diezel), i tracked it down to the EVH5150 III and the Framus Cobra - and also the Engl Savage 120, but as its not on your list i will leave that one aside.

The Cobra, for me, was like its a Dual Rectifier without everything i hate about the Mesa. :lol: You know, back in the 90s, without having much experience, i always loved the Dual Recti and it was my dream amp. After spending time with it, i found that i absolutely hate that amp. Too loose, the gain is actually for me either not enough until the point where its too much, i really had a hard time finding the sweet spot there. Same with the bass knob. It sounded best when adding bass, but that was absolutely not useable in a band setting. You need muchmuch time to get the setting right - i mean, once its DONE, the amp can sound awesome. But the problem is - i needed an amp that sound awesome all the time, in many different situations, becuase my situations change from rehearsal to rehearsal, from gig to gig - i simply do not want to mess around getting the sound right every time, i have no time and nerves for that. Also too my ears, it really was lacking definition. You can counteract there with a good boost of course, the Mesa is, per my opinion, one of those amps which REALLY profits and actually already NEEDS one.

The Cobra - you can hear that the Cobra has a similar voicing, especcially that kinda "fizz" in the high end, but compared to the Mesa, its much tighter, more defined, and actually i found that all knobs are useable within a certain range and i could adjust te sound from cab to cab (i tried every amp with different cabs - my own cab as well as the most common "backline" cabs - Marshall 1960, cheap Randalls etc.etc.) and i actually had the sound "done" within 2-3 minutes from one cab to another. Seriously a cool amp and i could see myself (back then) already walking away with it actually.

The EVH 5150 III - yeah, that almost made me forget about the Cobra. It has something very "special" in the high end, which will make you cut through ANY mix in ANY setting - that amp is recording engineers heaven. :lol: Its not as raw, rough, and brutal sounding as the original 5150/6505, BUT it has its own very aggression, which i for example found much more useable, as comapred to its original, its not just a one-trick-pony, but really useable for almost every style. You see, i also kinda like the original 5150-tone, but i counted it out as i was also looking for a good clean channel (and the rumours are true - the clean on the original IS shit, absolute shit) and also more flexibility. And thats where the 5150III outclassed the original. That amp can be used for almost any style and will sound good at it!

If youre looking for distortion sound only, i think you wouldnt go wrong with the original 6505 also, but if you are looking for "more" (and if more is only alraedy "a good clean channel"), i dont think you'd be happy with that amp.

My fave out of these is the 5150 III, honestly. Right behind is the Cobra. I guess one can read out of my post that i dont like the Mesa. :lol: I mean, i have to add that with many settings it sounded really awesome for E/D-standard stuff, but as we play 7s in A-standard, and that was the region where it didnt sound as i was hoping, so...

I also now listened to some of your pre-production songs. Did you use Podfarm for these? (Kinda reminds me on the Line6Bigbottom-preset) Keep in mind, you wont get such a "clear" and polished sound out of ANY of these amps!
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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6,916 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the input dudes,

petereanima: I used Peavey ReValver for those demos, and..

I also now listened to some of your pre-production songs. Did you use Podfarm for these? (Kinda reminds me on the Line6Bigbottom-preset) Keep in mind, you wont get such a "clear" and polished sound out of ANY of these amps!
it's cool, I'm a mixing (and sometimes tracking) engineer! I may not own a high gain valve amp at the moment, but I work with their recordings a hell of a lot and have engineered a few. So hopefully I'll be able to blow the shit out of that tone with whatever I use, otherwise it will be a pointless exercise, and I shouldn't be doing what I do! :lol:

I'm definitely still leaning towards 5150. It just seems to yield all the qualities I like in a tone, whilst still being affordable and adaptable. It's a one-trick-pony, I know that for sure, but that "one trick" is all I'm after really!
 

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Premium Member
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23,428 Posts
My guitar teacher had a 5150 for a while, and it was definitely NOT a one-trick-pony. It definitely has that beastly character all cranked up, but you can get a plethora of low-to-mid gain tones from the gain/vol knobs, or just by dialing back your guitar volume.

Also, I found it has a very nice clean (after I dialed it in for him :wub:).
 

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Read Only
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3 Posts
I've used or owned a 5150, Rectifier and Cobra. I have no experience with the Fender 5150 III.

The 5150 is a very raw amp. It's just got a nasty take no prisoners type of distorted tone to it which can work really well, especially on down tuned guitars. The clean sound is usable, but hardly worth noting.

The rectifier (the only one of these I currently own) is not that hard to dial in, but you have to read the manual, and not try to set it like a Marshall (i.e. don't put everything on 10 and expect it to sound good). The clean tones are pretty good, better than the 5150, IMO. The bass can get out of hand if you're not careful, but I've never had a problem with it. I really think the people that like recorded rectifier tones but don't like playing rectifiers just don't know how to set them up.

The Cobra, to me, sounded like a drier, throatier rectifier. It's a cool amp, and the built in MIDI is a nice feature. The cleans (I didn't spend much time with them at all) were not as good as the Mesa but nicer than the 5150. The clean sound is not Fender style sparkly clean, they are in the Marshall "hairy" clean arena. The Cobra is fairly notorious for being unreliable, so if this is a gigging amp I'd look elsewhere. The guy I sold mine to has had nothing but problems with it (it worked fine when I had it, but it never left my studio).

All that said... I am a Mesa guy. I've found my sound in the Recto series, and I'm quite happy. The only other metal amp I'd consider is the uberschall. I have one, and it's fantastic. It's a different beast from the Recto, but for heavy tones it's pretty amazing. I haven't heard a souped-up Marshall sound that I like better (and I've played the Stiletto I and II, the Splawn Pro Mod, and a whole bunch of real Marshalls).
 

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Premium Member
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242 Posts
What you described in the tings you are looking for in tone, basically described a 5150 to me!

I'd find a used old one if I were you, cheaper, and they sound better and are built like tanks.
Not too sure what the new 5150 III's sound like, though Gojira sounded godly when they used them (though they have done when I saw them using 6505's and single rec's), but they're a bit pricey for my liking.
 

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NSLALP
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13,286 Posts
Matt, I wanted to recommend the 6505+ as the easy answer, but after listening to your clips again (One Foot Out of the Grave :wub:) I think the Mesa Rectifier family is what you're after. Of course you have to choose the model with the level of flexibility you require.

Call me nuts, but you could look into Laney, too. I heard some of that clean, liquid "Opeth" character, which I associate with Laney, in your clips. Will almost surely require a front-end boost.
 

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Premium Member
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242 Posts
Matt, I wanted to recommend the 6505+ as the easy answer, but after listening to your clips again (One Foot Out of the Grave :wub:) I think the Mesa Rectifier family is what you're after. Of course you have to choose the model with the level of flexibility you require.

Call me nuts, but you could look into Laney, too. I heard some of that clean, liquid "Opeth" character, which I associate with Laney, in your clips. Will almost surely require a front-end boost.
Laney are definitely underrated amps. Oceansize use them, and they are really cheap here in the UK too!
 

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Hasta la vista, Baby
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384 Posts
Have you looked into the ENGL Invader? Is a very agressive sounding amp and it defends pretty well at lower gain settings as well as cleans.

The Laney would probably need a front boost and an EQ on the loop to give you that metal-as-fuck tone, since they're kinda loose on the bottom end. The good news is that they're cheap and sound fucking awesome clean and distorted.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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6,916 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Awesome responses, have really helped!

Crooks: Thanks man that's a really insightful post. I know you really know your shit and completely trust your judgement and experience so thanks for that little nugget there, really helped put stuff into perspective.

Crucified: Man, I would love to try one, I hear such good things, but a) they're way out of my price range at the moment (and for the next.. like.. 10 years probably :lol:) and they're really hard to get here second hand.

Emperoff: The reason I haven't listed ENGL is because (and I know I'm opening a can of worms here) they seem so over priced for what they actually deliver. I think a lot of their product fanboyism is just that. Really hyped up and have made a name for themselves as a result, hence hideous price tags. Saying that, the Fireball 100 intrigues me, but again it's just... the whole ENGL thing. I can't get passed it :( I've never plugged into one that blew me away (then again, I've only ever played two :lol:) but it was enough to put me off.
 
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