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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, first productive post. :yesway:

So, my reason for coming here is this; I want a new amp.

I'm tired of the farty high gain tones my VK gives me, and I want something tighter, meaner, and just all around badasser (yes I know thats not a word), for live, recording, and just shits and giggles playing. I've narrowed it down to about 4 amps, and do keep in mind this purchase is months off, I just want to narrow it down based on experiences from each of you guys. I still plan on playing with as many as possible, plus feel free to add recommendations!

The list:

Diezel Herbert-Reason: I've seen these floating around for 2500, and its well...a Diezel.

Carvin V3-Reason: I've wanted one for ages. Seems to be a very straightforward, nice tube amp.

Axe-Fx Ultra-Reason: Ultimately versatile, but loses that awesome "I've got a big ass tube amp so suck it" feeling.

ENGL Invader-Reason: I've heard many good things about it, want to play one desperately.

If it helps, I play in fucktons of tunings, on 6's and 7's, and I dabble in everything from Holdsworthy fusion type deals, to the occasional brutal death metal, and like every fucker on SS.org and possibly many of you here, I dabble in the djent occasionally.

So, halp?
 

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I own an Ultra, a 6505, and until last week had a Roadster as well.

I'll say this. The Ultra is a fucking AWESOME modeler/preamp/processor/everything. It's unmatched in the digital world, hands down. That said, there is that liiiiiiitle extra that you get from a tube amp that the Ultra just doesn't have. That big, air-moving, testicle-growing BOOSH that comes if you really lay into a muted chord and just let the "real" amp push the shit out of itself.

If you play a lot of genres, the Ultra is a no-brainer (or an Axe-II, obviously). It does a very, very good job at just about everything. If you can go without that little extra that a full on tube amp gives you, and consider the enormous upside of the Axe-Fx (direct recording, multiple outs, DI, cab sims, effects galore, the list goes on), that's what I'd do if I were in your shoes. If I had to chose between my amp and my Ultra, it'd be the Ultra all day long. All of those other amps you listed will do what they do very well, but the Ultra will do all of them well enough.

That said, having both is fucking cool as hell, and really not _that_ much of an investment otherwise. Plus, it's fucking cool as hell. :yesway: The Ultra is an expensive road to go down. There's the price of the unit, the price of a solid power amp to run it through, and if you're sending it to a regular cab (I had mine run into a Mesa 4x12) the FRFR bug will bite you eventually and you'll end up doing what I did (buying some sort of powered FR cab). Then you'll realize that you only have one, and stereo is awesome, so you'll end up buying another one, like I did. :lol:

At the end of the day, my rig costs are about:

AxeFx ($2000) + 2x HD1221 ($800 each) = $3600, plus another $800 for the MFC-101 and ~$200 for cases and cables, so call it $4500.

By comparison, I paid $850 for my 6505 and you can get Recto 4x12's for about $500 on Craigslist, so for around $1300 you can get a rip your fucking face off metal amp that does one thing, but does that one thing MAGNIFICENTLY. (I have $800 in cork-sniffing pedals hanging off of my 6505 as well, but I'm an asshole with my money, thus I never have any).

Hope that helps! :)
 

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There's also the aspect of being a tweaker. Do you like to mess with shit, and tweak stuff a lot? Then a modeler is a lot of fun. Do you get easily frustrated with menus, and just want something that's plug and play? Maybe an amp is a better solution.

You can go the route of an AFX + a tube power amp and a cab. Kind of a mix of both.
 

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Valveking? :erk:



:lol:

In all seriousness, those things kinda suck :)
 

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There's also the aspect of being a tweaker. Do you like to mess with shit, and tweak stuff a lot? Then a modeler is a lot of fun. Do you get easily frustrated with menus, and just want something that's plug and play? Maybe an amp is a better solution.
This is a VERY good point as well. If you don't like tweaking and want it simple, the AxeFx is not for you. It really shines when you get into it, and the nice thing about it is that there is a wealth of info out there from people like Nolly and Ola, who have shared some seriously solid patches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for replying with such detail, really appreciate it :)

That was precisely my line of thought. The Ultra is endlessly versatile, but all the extra stuff it requires is a bit of a....well, pain, to say the least. At the end of the day that 4500 could've gone into a Herbert and some recording gear, which is my biggest issue.

So, with you owning an Ultra and all, how would you compare the tone to other tube amps you've played? Does it stack up reasonably well? I mean, I've listened to extensive demos, heard entire albums recorded with them (Bulb and Nolly I'm looking at you), and I KNOW they're good at what they do, my biggest issue is I'd be buying blind. Thats a very expensive decision to make while blindfolded :rofl:

Being indecisive is hell :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry for the possible double post here, but it told me that I couldn't edit my post after I typed out a massive reply -__-.

Jeff: I love tweaking with things, I'm constantly adjusting my tone for various reasons.

Leon: I know, but I'm sentimental for the little fart blower :wub:

Chris: I had no idea one could share patches like that. Thats stupidly convenient.
 

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If you buy an Ultra expecting to plug it in and sound like Nolly or Bulb, you will be disappointed. Those guys know their shit, and mixing is (imo, of course) every bit as much of an art form as playing and writing songs is. Again the upside is that there are clips all over place (on here as well) that they've put up with full mixes AND the raw guitars, so you can A/B and hear what things sound like on their own.

The tone of the Ultra is awesome. I'm recording my entire album with it, and my process has been a constant learning experience. I record, tweak, throw it up for critique, nag the fuck out of Nolly, and then try and progress each time. That's the process, there is no plug-and-go solution to getting a well mixed song. It's trial and error and eventually you either get better at it or you don't, know what I mean? The best Axe-Fx patch in the world will sound like shit in a mix if the rest of your instruments aren't mixed along with it, and what sounds good to your ear might sound awful to mine, and vice versa.

If you buy a Herbert and some recording gear, you will have Herbert tone and that's it, and then you'll need to get into the right mics, mic positions, interfaces, etc etc in order to get that tone to translate into your DAW. The nice part about the Axe-Fx is that once you have it dialed in, it sounds the same - every time. With a tube amp, there are a hundred factors that can change how it sounds on the day you go to record. (humidity, did you bonk the mic out of position, is one of your tubes getting old, etc)

THAT, to me, is a huge upside of the Ultra. If it's 3 in the morning and there are 10 rabid pitbulls sleeping in the room with me, I can slap on headphones and let it rip, and if I nail a take it's a keeper. You can't do that with an amp.
 

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Leon: I know, but I'm sentimental for the little fart blower :wub:
:yesway: I also have a Peavey Supreme 160, so I know exactly how you feel. It sucks for everything but vintage 80's thrash, but man when you're in that mood, it's the best $200 I ever spent. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you buy an Ultra expecting to plug it in and sound like Nolly or Bulb, you will be disappointed. Those guys know their shit, and mixing is (imo, of course) every bit as much of an art form as playing and writing songs is.
That much I DO know; I don't particularly want to sound like either of them, but they do have some severely sexy tones, which is how I know the Ultra's can sound like sex. Then again I'm pretty sure they can sound like ass in the right hands as well.

Again the upside is that there are clips all over place (on here as well) that they've put up with full mixes AND the raw guitars, so you can A/B and hear what things sound like on their own.
Always a good thing, since the raw tone is what I'd be hearing all the rest of the time I'm not mixing :agreed:

The tone of the Ultra is awesome. I'm recording my entire album with it, and my process has been a constant learning experience. I record, tweak, throw it up for critique, nag the fuck out of Nolly, and then try and progress each time. That's the process, there is no plug-and-go solution to getting a well mixed song. It's trial and error and eventually you either get better at it or you don't, know what I mean? The best Axe-Fx patch in the world will sound like shit in a mix if the rest of your instruments aren't mixed along with it, and what sounds good to your ear might sound awful to mine, and vice versa.
I know EXACTLY what you mean. I've seen people turn shitty POD tones into gold, and awesome POD tones into shit, so I believe I get what you're saying. I'd also really like to hear that album when you're done :yesway:

If you buy a Herbert and some recording gear, you will have Herbert tone and that's it, and then you'll need to get into the right mics, mic positions, interfaces, etc etc in order to get that tone to translate into your DAW. The nice part about the Axe-Fx is that once you have it dialed in, it sounds the same - every time. With a tube amp, there are a hundred factors that can change how it sounds on the day you go to record. (humidity, did you bonk the mic out of position, is one of your tubes getting old, etc)

THAT, to me, is a huge upside of the Ultra. If it's 3 in the morning and there are 10 rabid pitbulls sleeping in the room with me, I can slap on headphones and let it rip, and if I nail a take it's a keeper. You can't do that with an amp.
That is true....well I'm sure the Ultra could nail that tone anyway :rofl:. Tube amps are picky little bitches but you can't beat the feeling; I'll probably pick up a Herbert someday anyway, to have for shits and giggles on top of live purposes. I'm a lazy fuck when it comes to recording :agreed:.

And the headphones...invaluable. My POD has been a godsend for that exact reason.

And to your other post, those little amps that we buy as little shitkickers always end up sticking around for the occasional sentimental jam :wub:

Unless you're a heartless fucker and sell it to buy moar gear, but, I'm sure no one on this board would do that. :nono:
 

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Hi. I have owned alot of amps and for what you want an amp to so I would buy the engl. It will do all the styles you listed very well. I owned one. My friend has a deizel vh4 it's pretty baddass too but I don't know how it compared to the Herbert. I owned a axe fx for 6 months it is badass but keep in mind 2 things against it. 1 more time tweaking less time playing and well all at the end of the day love PLAYING the guitar. 2. As you stated the woos and feel of a cranked head and cab CANNOT be duplicated. So there is my 2 cents hope it helps

P.S. I hated my V3
 

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The Nomad is at least twice the amp the Valveking is! I know, because one of my bandmates has one, and we try different settings / pedals with it EVERY DAMN WEEK to try to get it to sound good against my TriAxis :lol:
 

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If you want something to have on a long term basis I would get an Axe Fx rig no doubt. Sound ideals change with age(or with trends) and having an Axe Fx lets you have a good alternative instead of owning a wide array of amps.

Myself I would probably go with a tube amp but the Axe is such a good unit it's hard NOT to have. Having both is ok :)
 

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After years of owning different tube amps, effects pedals, cabs, pods, and so on, I bought an axe-fx about a year ago. For all the reasons outlined above, i love it. I can record at anytime of the day, and i play live with it in 2 completely different sounding bands. The amps you listed are awesome amps for sure, but in my experience, I always found myself wanting my tube amps to do "more". The axe-fx gets damn close in terms of replicating the sound and feel you get from a tube amp, and there are unlimited possibilities to the tones you can get out of it. So that would be my vote!
 

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I cant recommend my mesa mk V enough.

if you like tweaking or want insane versatility its a great amp. I can also recommend the fryette sig x as i used to own one of them
 

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Adam Weee, your exact situation is exactly why I bought an Ultra. Couldn't recommend it higher. I still don't know where the "missing air" went, but wherever it is, I don't miss it.

Before it I had a Mark IV combo and it was purchased because it is, in fact, an astoundingly versatile platform on which to build a rig. I just wanted the recording capabilities of the Axe and all of the effects that are built in, and I actually put money in the bank when I sold off my whole rig for the Axe setup.
 

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Well, without getting into specific amps, if you want a rig that can do brutal and holdsworth all at once, you need something with at least three channels, a clean, a distorted channel that can do dark, smooth leads, and something high gain and totally in your face. Anything with two will take a lot of knob tweaking to cover that range, and you may very well not get both those extremes from a single channel.

Fwiw, i've always associated Holdsworth with a Mesa Mark-style amp.
 

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One of the things I really like about the Roadster is that it sounds like what you'd expect of a Recto, but Channel 3 gets surprisingly Mark-like. If it wasn't for that, I'd be interested in a Mark V as well.

That said, they're not well known as djent amps - not a problem in my book, mind you. :D
 
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