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· Premium Member
24,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems as though we have a lot of new members who are asking the same question, "I'm new to expensive amplifiers, and I want something that will sound great!" Well, I've found that more often than not, each member will give his own take on what he feels is the best amp out there, either based on the information you give, or lack thereof, and it tends to be the same good advice. So, why not have it in one place?

I want to have everyone post up their own short Heavy Metal Amp Buyer's Guide. Just a few quick words on what you've used in the past, how you arrived at the gear you're currently using, where you want to go, and why you've taken the path you have.

Whether you want a classic metal sound, something darker, or something tighter, we've got a lot of pooled experience to set you on the right path.

13,495 Posts
This thread will be true. :flex:

I started off with a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, and quickly learned that it couldn't make me sound like James Hetfield - too "hairy", no "grunt" or really thick saturation. As I was 16, that's all I wanted. Natural impulse: add a Boss Metal Zone and suck the mids. :lol:

Tones easily dialed: Vintage clean tones, SRV, Pantera (with MT-2)
Time satisfied with this rig: 6 years.

I sold that amp and bought a Peavey XXX 2x12 combo. Everything I'd read about it said that it was a relatively versatile amp with tons of gain and a unique character. Definitely correct. I eventually became dissatisfied with it because while I could dial in most varieties of brutality, it became clear that if the gain wasn't at least halfway up (thick crunch/singing blues distortion level) it sounded thin and weak, so I couldn't do more classic tones. I suffered through a Pink Floyd tribute gig by throwing a bunch of pedals at the clean front end of the XXX to re-create the various fuzz, overdrive and clean boost sounds used throughout their career, but since the clean channel is more pushed and modern and dark, it wouldn't react like a vintage amp would have and it required a lot of compromising to get good tones. It made me GAS for my old Fender! And it made me move to a new rig.

Tones easily dialed: Arch Enemy (or any 5150/6505-type Peavey amp), 80's shred, Metallica (not authentic, but a good imitation)

Time satisfied with this rig: 4 years.

So I researched a lot and tried to find something that would be able to fill in that low-gain gap while retaining requisite levels of kick-ass... and stumbled on the Mesa/Boogie Mark IV. I bought a combo as I'd read so much good about the EVM-12L speaker and found a good deal on one.

As it's based on a modified Fender Princeton, it can actually be tweaked to sound like anything from wicked smooth jazz and old school doo-*** to Lamb of God trademark ripping-your-earlobes thunder and Petrucci-smooth leads. It's really quite amazing, and as far as I am concerned the Mark series of amps is the final word in tube amp versatility. I find the sound to generally be very clear and hi-fi, and as such it exposes your technique. It won't sound like an Engl or an Uberschall - that thick, grindy low end is missing in lieu of a more bell-like bottom end attack -- again, think clarity. And as for pedals, it reacts with them better than the XXX ever did.

The second mid-gain channel is ripped on for no reason. It's basically a Marshall, especially if you throw a pair of EL34s in the power section. No, it's not insane. It's a Marshall. Boost it, and it gets nuts like it should.

Tones easily dialed: Any vintage clean tone, Authentic Metallica/Megadeth (whole career with proper tweaking), Alice in Chains, SRV, Gary Moore, Dream Theater, Lamb of God
Time satisfied with this rig: 1 year.

Now, in the search for simplicity, I've sold or am selling all of my effects and amplifiers for a rack-based Axe-Fx rig. I've been convinced through videos, sound clips, anecdotes, other forum members and artist endorsements that the unit will deliver all of the tones I've come to expect from my rig and tenfold more, in addition to simplifying my budding desire to start recording things. The jury hasn't even met to deliberate, as the receptionist just emailed me to tell me the box from Fractal has arrived. :yesway:

Note the exponential increase in my gear-whoring frequency. :lol: Kids, don't let this happen to you. Feel free to PM me with questions about any of this.

· Colourful bastard
403 Posts
Sure, I'll bite. I've been through a few expensive(ish) amps, and I've come to realise that despite being constantly told otherwise, tubes and me just don't seem to work out. Not going into much detail, but:

Valveking 2x12. Got close enough to the whole 5150/XXX kinda sound for the money, but having two crap out on me in a month put me off, especially since one of the transformers LITERALLY fell clean off the chassis. Not good.

Traded for...

DSL 50/1960A

Solid, mid-high gain sounds, good for most heavy metal but needed to be cranked LOUD to do it. Exactly the same as the TT50H that replaced it really...couldn't call many differences between them...which also went for...

ENGL e520/e920 rack.

Awesome old 90's? ENGL rack system, perfect for modern power metal ala Gamma Ray-Iced Earth. Traded out the preamp for a PODxt, and had literally my favourite sound I've ever had. Practicality got the better of me and I went over to a HD147 because I couldn't afford to retube the ENGL, plus I couldn't really crank it properly in many of the venues we played, the weight was excessive...little things that built up.

Since the HD147 I've been sold on Line 6, went over to an XT Live floorboard but had some bad experience going direct with sound guys fucking up, so I bought a Randall V2 off a friend. Solid high gain amp, but always sounded kinda 2D and hollow to me. Sold it recently and went back to Line 6, XT Pro and a Marshall 8008. Finally happy. I'm not a big tweaker, and I only use a couple of effects, so having the ability to pick from a massive library of pre-made tones, that I can just tweak slightly, is a massive ^__^ for me. I don't see myself changing anything in the forseeable, for the first time I can remember.

Again, feel free to PM me, especially if you want to hear the praises of the XT Pro sung. (I've also played around with the Digitech 2101, 2112, and Boss GX700, so I can compare between those a bit).

· Mutes the Meat
10,233 Posts
My first nice or "pro" amplifier was a Mesa Dual Rectifier (two channel). It was a terrific amp for heavy sounds. If you are looking for skull-fucking-brutality, get one of these. They have a ridiculous amount of low-end, so you have to be careful to avoid "flub", and they can produce more gain than anyone really needs. I could get the Dual Rectifier to produce vintage tones, Tool-esque tones, and death metal tones. What this amp lacks is a good clean channel, and I personally found the effects loop to be a pain in the ass. I was unable to ever get a perfect clean tone from it. I got rid of this amp because of this, and the fact that it had to be ridiculously loud to reach it's full potential, and it wasn't blending well with my band at the time. noodles saw us play live once and told me that my amp rendered the bass player useless, and stomped all over the sound spectrum. This is cool....but the other instruments have to be able to breathe. By the way, I got the best tone by running this amp through a Vader 4x12.

Who should buy it? The metal guy that barely uses a clean channel and wants a tone that rips the heads off of elephants.

My next rig was an ADA MP-1 preamp running through a Mesa 50/50 poweramp driving a Marshall 1960A cab. This was a seriously cool rig. It just sounded like the 80s. Instantly I was in the hair-metal and thrash mode. The cleans are great. It can produce a bright and chimey sound, not lacking in low end, and if you turn up the gain a bit on the solid state clean channel it acts as a nice compressor. I could get nice high gain metal sounds from it that sounded a bit like a hot-rodded Marshall. Plenty of "grind" and "snarl". I actually still use the ADA MP-1 now, and I think I'll always keep it around, I love it that much. The Mesa 50/50 on the other hand...while it sounds terrific, mine is old and noisy. I've been able to get the tones I wanted from this setup, but if you want a more modern high-gain sound or that Swedish death-metal sound, look elsewhere.

Who should buy it? Someone who wants a decent amount of versatility, and a bit more of a high-mid focused Marshall snarl.

Because of the noise issues in that rig, and the complexity of my MIDI setup, I switched to an Axe-Fx through a Fryette 2/90/2. This was the end-all rig for me. No noise issues, a simple MIDI setup, and any tone I could have ever wanted. My tone with this rig had so much clarity and cut, and with a simple patch change I could go from luscious cleans to vintage honk, stoner-rock fuzz, or brutal metal sounds. The 2/90/2 does not color the preamp tone much, but it adds a lot of balls. Since I quit that band I gave the Axe-Fx to Ambrosious (former band-mate) here on the board to use in his studio. I still have the Fryette.

Who should buy it? Honestly, any one who can afford it would probably find something to love about this rig. It's a best of both worlds setup with a ton of versatility and reliability.

Currently, I'm not in a band so my rig is the ADA MP-1 through an ADA Microcab, sent to my computer for recording whenever I decide I have something worth recording. If I were to join a band again my rig would likely be the MP-1 through the 2/90/2 to the 1960A. I'd use my old T.C. Electronics G Sharp for effects.

· Head of Agile Gestapo
5,635 Posts
I like it. :yesway:

Line 6 Flextone II HD: I had a friend who worked at GC who showed me about this new Line 6 stuff that was coming in. He dialed in a nice metal sound, showed me the effects and I was hooked.

Sounds achieved: Lots but it's a digital amp so it sounds kinda flat.

Line 6 Spider II HD: Don't know what I was thinking. :lol:

Sounds achieved: Ass.

Bugera 6260: I was at a GC and decided to try the 6505 and I really liked it. I wanted to get a LordOVChaos OD but I never got around to it and had to sell my whole rig.

Sounds achieved: Nice basic "metalcore/Gothenburg" sound.

Line 6 POD X3 Pro: I'd always liked what the Line 6 stuff sounded like (for the most part) so the idea of running dual amps plus a good power amp under it sounded like the best idea for me. Tom let me borrow his X3 Live until I get my Pro and I've gotten some nice stuff out of it. I did pick up a Rocktron Velocity 250 as my poweramp and I'm really excited to put all of it together with a cabinet.

Sounds achieved: Tons of sounds available.

· I rippity rhymes, da rhymes dat I rip
217 Posts
Mesa Nomad 45 - Good all around amp. Needed to be retubed when I got it because it sounded like a sludgy mess. Night and day difference afterward. Boosted with a Digitech Bad Monkey for heavy sounds. For what it's worth the other guitarist in my band at the time dialed in his Soldano Avenger w/SLO tranny and exclaimed "name anyone within a hundred miles that has better tone" to which my bass player replied "Dylan." :lol: He nearly threw a fit and went back to tweaking away. Sold it because I got a stupid good deal on a...

Peavey 5150 EVH - Damn good sounding amp. All JJ's for tubes with a Tung Sol in V1. The thing sounded monstrous. It could do great rock (VH obviously) and stellar metal tones. With my TS808 RI the thing was absurd, it somehow sounded even bigger and the tightness was fast approaching solid state rigidity. Had to sell it for the most obvious pitfall of being able to do one thing well at a time. At which point I moved on to a...

Mesa Boogie DC5 - Nothing but good things to say about this amp. It's got two channels with the most logically laid out knob configuration I've ever seen and a 5 band graphic EQ to boot! Beautiful cleans with a distortion channel that can do just about anything you ask of it, and do it oh so well. I had the hardest time remembering why I got rid of this amp. I think it's because I wanted a combo. So I got...

Mesa Nomad 45 - The combo! not much to say. I was going through a phase of exploring music and taking a break from metal. This amp was great because it did everything so well, it struggled for metal tones; weird considering the head I had did a pretty good job at them. Then one day I was working at Guitarget and a man brought in a amp to trade in...

Mesa Mark IV - I tested the clean channel, then I tried R2 and eventually the lead. The smile on my face grew wider as I kept going until I just proclaimed out loud "I need this amp!" It was everything I'd been looking for. A gorgeous clean tone, a gritty or smooth mid gain channel depending on how you set it and a lead tone that was stupid tight at rhythm and like liquid butter when soloing.

So that's where I'm at now. Those are the main ones that I've owned. I'll probably edit this later with other amps that were left at my house for prolonged periods of time. My house was the practice space so I was like "of course you can leave your Soldano here!" :lol:

· Pallin' around
9,890 Posts
I'll put some insight in.

My first rig I got when I was young, simple crate 10W practice amp. A couple years after I got a BOSS MT-2 metal zone pedal, which was a fun novelty at the time. The issue with the MT-2 is that if you don't know what you are doing with the EQ, the tone you get will sound pretty fizzy. Anyhow, I was into punk at the time, so tone really didn't matter to me that much.

Then junior year of college, a friend sold me a 1991 Marshall JCM 800 and a Carvin 4X12 cab with V30s in it. At this time, I was just starting to get into metal, with my main influences being Thrice's Artist in the Ambulance, and then later Atreyu's The Curse. I could get Thrice's tone pretty good, but for a true metal tone... not so much.

This rig was pretty good, but the issue with Marshalls, especially the older ones, is that if you are going for a metal tone, they don't sound good AT ALL at low volumes. You have to buy a boost pedal, or as I did, use the BOSS MT-2 for the distortion. I quickly realized that this was an issue, because I didn't want the MT-2s fizzy tone for metal, and I needed it if I was going to go through the Marshall.

So I was looking for an amp that had a great distortion, the kind that feels like it is moving your chest as you hold out a chord. I also wanted a good clean channel and a good amount of versatility. I didn't want anything quite as thin as the 5150, because while those are great rhythm amps, they felt a little to dry for leads.

I tried a double and triple rectifier, but they all felt too muddy on the low end.

This is when I found the ENGL powerball. I gotta say I love this amp. It gets you those Nevermore tones easily, and can go from a bell like bottom end to a thick, crunchy bottom end. Some people complain that it is too compressed, but I have found that if you keep the distortion at or under half way, you still get a brutal attack but you can hear chords very well and there is a good amount of dynamics. The lead II channel thickens the tone up quite a bit, and is awesome for solo tones.

Then, it was time to tackle effects. It never made sense to me to go the pedal route, because you would need so many pedals. For example, if you wanted to have two different speeds of delay on in two different parts of a song, you have to buy two pedals. Also, the "tap dancing" idea of switching 2-3 effects AND my amp head was not an option, because the band I was in went very quickly from rhythm to lead work. I wanted a one button, switch all rig, which is very, very expensive if you want to work with pedals.

That is why I went for a rack effects unit. I got the GMajor 2, and it does a majority of the stuff on it pretty well. It has compressors, delay, reverb, harmonizers, chorus, a noise gate, and much more. The thing I liked about it the most was it has stereo relay switches. That means you can program the switch open or closed in your patch, and it will do analog amp switching as well as effect switching, all via a MIDI controller. Gone are the days of hitting multiple pedals to go into a lead! Now I hit one pedal, and I go from Lead I on my amp (rhythm tone), to Lead II with delay, reverb, and chorus. That is a great luxury for fast metal performances!

I am thinking about getting an Axe-fx, but I am really happy with my rig overall, so I am still undecided on that.

Hope that helps! :yesway:

· Guiterrorizer
15,720 Posts
I'm in!

Traynor YCV80:

This amp was not designed for metalheads, but it can pull of the less gained out sounds. Seperate EQ, global reverb and master, 2 tone shaping buttons per channel and an amazing clean. Openback 212 that was 6L6 powered and saw me through part of two bands (DeathCharge on Inreligio on Previous to this, I had a marshall MG250DFX which did higher gain stuff better, but sounded less organic. I also had an MT-2 at the time I had the marshall, but I sold it once I had the traynor set up right.

guitar used: Hamer SFX2 (deathcharge), Gibson LP Studio
Tones achieved: brighter thrash, hardcore, cleans

Peavey JSX
This amp covers a lot of bases. You can get good useable clean tones, a plethora of crunch and gain sounds on crunch channel, and super tight or super saturated tones on the ultra channel. The noise gate is useless though. This amp saw me through 5 years of playing and the tail end of Inreligio practices, as well as a cover band Up Hill Both Ways. I really liked this amp and a retube with KT77's from the stock EL34's was a nice change. I boosted this amp with a Chaos mod (Bodenhamer Electronics) TS7.

Guitar used: Gibson LP studio, Hamer SFX 2, PRS scale singlecut w/ JB/59, Agile AL-3100
Tones achieved: Warm clean, classic crunch, radio rock, satriani, Melodic death, tech ?.

Mesa Dual Rectifier Roadster
4 channels, 50W/100W, tube/diode rectifier and reverb per channel, footswitchable fx loop/solo/reverb/tuner mute.. what doesn't this amp do? Make you breakfast, that's what. Ch1: clean, fat, tweed. You can have your regular cleans, your fender cleans or big fat warm cleans; and you can push it into breakup if you turn up the gain, get your blues on. Ch2: clean, fat, British. I keep this channel on British mode for some more classic crunch, aiming to replicate the sound my TSovChaos makes into a clean channel. Ch3: raw, vintage, modern. Raw will give you rock sounds and some punk sounds, vintage will do anything involving gain, and modern will just pummel you. This channel is voiced a bit thicker then channel 4, so if you want more punch and less grunt, I highly suggest hanging out here. Great for rock/metal lead or rhythms. Ch4: where the metal and rock also resides! It's voiced a bit tighter and bassier than Ch3, use as necessary. It's capabilities are like ch3, just a different voicing. I boost with the TSovChaos except for Foxfight

Note: the voicing differences come out more when the volume gets higher :yesway:

Guitar used: Agile Texan 7, AL-3100, Gibson LP Custom, PRS Tremonti/Custom 24 SE, Danelectro '59 RI
Tones achieved: glassy clean, fat clean, vintage crunch, straight rock, metalcore, hardcore, technical metal, melodic meta, hard rock

· Banned
21,819 Posts needs a wiki!

Fender M-80. Not really worth mentioning, but it was my first amp. Solid state, decent cleans, but the gain channel was just flat out the worst I've ever heard.

Crate SS head +4x12. Okay for a SS amp, had built-in DSP with chorus, delay, etc. Gain tones were a lot better, but still not exactly what I was looking for.

Line 6 Flextone XL. I really liked this amp for what it was, a first gen attempt at modeling. Decent effects, decent gain tones. I didn't really care for the clean models though. The problem is that it really ran out of steam quickly and kinda got buried by a drummer, despite being 100w.

Spider II 2x10. I bought this because I wasn't in a band, and was moving to an apartment in Phoenix, and wanted something smaller and light. Better sounds than the Flextone, actually, and I quite liked it, despite it not having an effects loop.

Peavey ValveKing head, 2x12 V30 loaded Avatar. My first real tube amp. Good cleans, good lower gain tones, I quite liked it for that. However it got rather farty and loose the higher the gain went, which I didn't care for. Not really a good metal amp, more classic rock, IMO.

Mesa F-50. A two trick pony; really nice cleans, borderline Recto-ish gain tones. I didn't really like the lead sounds at all though on this one, so I sold it rather quickly. I was actually pretty disappointed, because I thought this amp would be the ticket for me.

Peavey JSX. Nice head, very good albeit slightly sterile clean tones, really cool crunch channel tones. Ultra channel is about as useful as tits on a bull. Just too much gain, and sounds very solid state. I ended up selling it because in the end it sounded too compressed for my tastes overall, and I really didn't need the bulk of a heavy tube head and 2x12 cab.

Mesa DC-5. To me, the be all/end all at this point. Amazing cleans, awesome breakup tone on the clean channel with the pull boost option, and fantastic, versatile gain tones. Very linear with the gain sweep, so it can be used for nearly anything. The GEQ effectively adds a third channel, because it effects both the clean and gain channels and definitely has a profound effect. I love this amp, and don't see me selling it anytime soon, but rather buying another amp to supplement; something more with a British accent. :D

Guitars used: Ibanez JS2000, RG421 (both basswood), SC420 (mid scale mahogany bolt-on). PRS Korina SE, PRS baritone (mahogany). Various 7 strings from Ibanez, Schecter, Carvin, and Agile.

· Dream Crusher
21,038 Posts
Between my stepdad and I, we've had quite the assortment in the basement over the years. I'm going to keep it to the more "high-end" tube stuff:

Epiphone Valve Junior head with stepfather's Fender 2x15: My first tube amp. A bit loose and crunchy. Great for The Who and Rolling Stones-style sounds when wound up, but NOT a metal amp by any stretch of the imagination. Great for harmonica though!

Crate Powerblock with stepfather's Fender 2x12: Got around the same time as the VJ when Musician's Friend was blowing them out for $99. Surprisingly good gain sounds, super light and small, very powerful and punchy. Used as both a bass and guitar head and sounded great in both applications. Too bad they don't make them anymore. Great for sparkly cleans and classic rock through hard rock.

Orange Tiny Terror with Orange PPC112: One of the first "serious" mini-heads, and my first ever real tube amp. Great if you're in an AC/DC cover band; not good for much else. Sold it pretty quickly.

**RECOMMENDED**Blackstar HT-5 head with Fender 2x12: God, I miss this amp. Great cleans, great gain sounds, incredibly versatile, responds well to pedals, sounds great at low and high volumes, just loud enough to keep up with a drummer with a good cab. Traded to Mike Sherman for an Eden tube head. I want to get another someday. I don't think there isn't a sound out there you couldn't get with this thing aside from maybe a high-headroom Fender clean tone.

Vox AC50CCP2 2x12 combo (stepfather's): Low-gain channel does great Vox sounds; high gain was fizzy, buzzy, and loose till it got STUPIDLY loud. Also weighed a ton and was far, far too loud. He ended up selling it and getting the Egnater.

Vox AC4TV 1x10 combo: Great mid- to low-volume clean tones, small, light, and portable. Howls like a banshee when turned up and records beautifully. Great for classic rock sounds and chimey Tom Petty stuff. Kills for harmonica. Still have it kicking around.

Fender 1973 "homebuilt" Dual Showman with Fender 2x15: My stepfather built this monster with his father from Fender and Macintosh amp parts back in '72 or '73. Pushes 100W of Fender clean through a 2x15. Great as both a guitar and bass amp and takes pedals well. Incredible cleans, great reverb, awesome tremolo. Never got it loud enough to make it break up, as it as just far too loud. Not for metal, but a monster regardless with or without pedals.

**RECOMMENDED**Jet City JCA2112 combo/JCA20H head: Crazy good-sounding little 1x12 combo. Really only does a few sounds *well,* but those sounds are awesome. Great for Jimi through to classic metal with a boost. Seriously loud too. 75% of the lead tone of my Budda for 25% of the price of a new one.

Egnater Rebel 30 combo: Perhaps the most versatile low-gain combo amp I've ever played. Never gets to "metal" levels of gain, but awesome cleans, great grindy breakup, awesome lead tones, and good crunch too. With a pedal or two could probably do classic metal. Plenty loud.

**RECOMMENDED**Mesa F-30 head with Fender 2x12: Two-trick pony: beautiful sparkly cleans, crushing modern rhythm. With some knob tweaking you can get some decent lead tones, but it doesn't necessarily "sing." Makes a surprisingly good mid-volume bass amp too, especially if you like some grind in your sound.

**RECOMMENDED**Budda Superdrive 30 Series I 1x12 combo: My current "main amp." The singing lead tones from this thing are AMAZING, and the gain structure is very "high gain boutique." Incredibly touch responsive and can go from screaming lead to sparkly clean just by rolling off the volume knob. A bit warm and flubby for metal unboosted, but when boosted it tightens right up and serves up some great Marshally crunch. The clean channel is more "bold Marshall" than Fender, but if you crank it it will pull all kinds of classic rock tones. Sounds great at pretty much any volume too. This is one of my "desert island" pieces of gear.
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· Premium Member
33,895 Posts
Good idea, Leon.

My rig history, at least from the point it got interesting:

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe - Great amp, but absolutely not the right amp for anyone looking to play metal (though, it takes distortion pedals pretty well - the clean channel is very "deep" at sane volumes. Fairly bluesy, Everclear was about as heavy as I think it'd get. Traded it one week later for

Marshall JTM-30 - Again, not really a metal amp. Great, glassy clean - sort of fizzy distortion channel, but one that filled out awesomely as you turned it up. This would kill for a heavy blues project, as it got pretty Jimi-esq with the poweramp set to full meltdown.

Mesa Rocket-44 - the first amp I owned that was really voiced for metal. In a pinch, I'd categorize this as a dumbed-down Mark-IV. Two channels, clean and lead, with two footswitchable modes on the lead channel, normal and "contour," which was basically the Mark-IV "V-shaped" EQ. Not super flexible, the EQ knobs didn't really radically change the sound (again, much like a Mark-IV), but if you wanted either a Petrucci-like lead sound or a Lamb of God sort of rhythm, you could probably get it here, especially if you boosted it (which I never tried). Great lead sounds, if nothing else - this is the amp that kick started my long love affair with Mesa.

Marshall TSL100. Sold the Rocket-44 after playing through a DSL401 at a gig and being surprised how well it cut through the mix, and wanting something with a bit more flexibility. Clean was... Well, it had an honest-to-god clean channel with a fair amount of headroom, a rarity at the time for Marshall. I missed the glassiness of my old JTM, personally, but this was a more traditional "good" clean. Crunch was a blast - not particularly high gain, but enough on tap to solo, especially with a boost. This channel probably would have worked for a warmer thrash sound with an OD out front. Lead was a little gainier and much darker - still not an ultra high gain amp by any means. This was actually a great channel for hard rock riffing, provided you didn't oversaturate it - a lot off attack and snap, but still a pretty dark, heavy sound. I'd take this for hard rock before I would metal, however.

Mesa Nomad-45 - 2x12 combo. One of the most sorely underappreciated amps in Mesa's lineup, IMO, as it occupies a rare space, covering sounds from both the Mark line and the Recto line. Good but not great clean (it didn't seem to have much body to it), and I was never quite sure what to do with channel 2, but channel 3 owned. Vintage mode was very Mark-esq, smooth, dark, and liquid, and could have worked well for any sort of tone you'd normally associate with a Mark-IV. This was my main lead channel. Modern, meanwhile, was a slightly less dry take on a Rectifier - deep, crunchy, a ton of presence, but a more gradual gain taper. The range made it perfect for playing Dream Theater stuff, since they're really associated with the full range of Mesa tones. Footswitchable solo volume boost, too, which rules. Only downside? my favorite lead sound and my favorite rhythm sound were both on channel 3, so I had to pick one and stay there while playing live.

Mesa Rectoverb 50 - this amp really needs to be LOUD to be fully appreciated, so a Hot Plate is strongly recommended. Great clean - lush, sparkly, full, and capable of being pushed into SRV territory if need be. The gain channel is a bit brighter than the rest of the Rectos I've played, strangely. It fills out when the master volume comes up, though, and is a pretty awesome lead voice when running hot. Because of that brightness, it's probably not quite as dark and bassy as one would assume a Recto to be, but then again that's not really a bad thing. Strangely, throwing EL34s in this amp completely changes the character of the distortion - it crunches up enough to rip your face off. It's a shockingly aggressive sound. For leads, I actually got the best results by running the treble and presence at 0 - it opens up the midrange, somehow, and gives a surprisingly balanced sound.

Tech-21 Trademark 30 - Everyone should own one of these. If Marshalls actually sounded as good as "Brit" mode does on this, I'd still own one.

Mesa Roadster - For me, this is the current be-all, end-all. It fixes everything I didn't like about the Nomad and the Rectoverb - darker and WAY less volume sensitive than the later, a much better clean than the former and my favorite lead and rhythm sounds are no longer on the same channel. It's also staggeringly flexible - I'd hate to say it's good for such-and-such a sound, because I haven't yet run into anything it CAN'T do, from Jimi clean to Recto crunch to the smooth Andy Timmons sort of Mesa saturation to Mark-IV sort of rhythm tones to bluesy lightly overdriven Gilmour stuff to 80s thrash to... Hell, it'd probably even do djent if I wanted it to.

· Madcap Funster
28 Posts
My Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100 ( it`s better for Metal than a TSL model ) through a Marshall 1960A Lead cab sounds pretty cool. Use the high gain controls and set to about 7 or 8 and then set the output control to 3 for recording purposes, don`t use the sub bass button, use the mid scoop button & crank up the presence & EQs to about 9 O`clock ( more like 6 or 7 for the bass ). A lot of the time I use an Ibanez tube screamer pedal as a pre amp too for that extra clunky sound like Exodus etc ( make sure to only use a small amount of distortion gain on it ).

cost ? - AMP head about £800, cab about £450 and the 1980`s tube screamer about £40 from ebay ( or about £180 for an original 1970`s model )

And it`s important to have at least 1 pro high gain pickup fitted at the bridge position of your guitar, none of this stock pickup nonsense, e.g EMG 81, Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB, SH-5, SH- 8 Invader, SH-6 etc etc.

Mic up a speaker in the cab with a Shure sm57 mic about 1 or 2 inches from near the centre of the cone and also use another 57 or 58 mic about 8 inches away at the edge of the cone and at a 45 degree angle ( blend that one in during mixing at a much lower volume than the other mic ) a trick that I picked up from Andy Sneap.

Well that setup is working for me these days now that it`s time for me to get back to making professional records again.

I`ve heard good things about Blackstar gear as well but have not tried any myself.

Horns Up, Stay Dark, Paint it Black !

· Premium Member
1,182 Posts
Crate G10-XL: My first amp. Huge piece of shit that only worked right about half the time. Traded it along with a couple cheap guitars for my B.C. Rich USA Gunslinger.

Marshall MG50RCD: A bit underrated, actually. The old MG-RCD line didn't sound too bad for metal, although it took me a while to get used to the sound...especially coming from a DOD Death Metal distortion pedal! The clean channel had a "gain" knob, rather than a volume knob, intended to make it act like a non-master-volume amp. This meant that any distortion pedal run through the clean channel sounded absolutely awful when the amp was turned up. I also ran a Johnson J-Station through the FX return for a while, which sounded ok, but I always had trouble cutting through the mix with that rig in a band context, and I got a lot of feedback.
MG50RCD clip: - the guitar gear mp3 database

Peavey Transtube Bandit 112 (black/silver '90s): I traded one of my old high school bandmates the Marshall for this. It actually sounds pretty good for metal (I still have it), and for a short time, I was using it as a head through a Genz-Benz G-Flex 2x12. Decent clarity, but relatively boring sound that makes most guitars sound similar, but takes to a clean boost pretty well. Currently used as my at-home practice amp.

Red Bear MK120 / Genz-Benz G-Flex 2x12: My first tube amp. Basically a 120W, 6L6-powered JCM800 clone built in Russia and sold by Gibson in the US. More low-end than anyone could/should ever need (especially combined with that cab). Needed to be LOUD to do metal effectively, but I found myself needing to use settings that sounded a bit harsh in order to have an aggressive enough sound for me. As I recall, this meant the mids and highs were turned up a good bit, with the gain and volume around 7 :)eek:). It LOVED bright guitars, too, and I found that anything on the darker side wasn't very pleasing to my ears. I ended up having it modified for more gain, along with less extreme highs and lows, and to take 12AX7s (the stock preamps tubes were some oddball Russian ones). It sounded much better to me that way, and I used it for about a year, before selling it for something else. Capable of Slayer/early Metallica and other '80s thrash type sounds, but nothing really modern.

Peavey Rock Master / Mesa/Boogie 20/20 / Genz-Benz G-Flex 2x12: Cool little rack rig that sounded awesome at lower volumes, but the EL84 breakup from the poweramp wasn't really to my taste. I did a short tour with this rig, though, and it worked out pretty well. The Rock Master preamp is basically a Peavey Ultra series amp in preamp form, with three channels, FX loops for each channel, and a master FX loop for the whole thing. Capable of most types of metal tones, with an active EQ on the Ultra channel. It has push/pull gain knobs that give some extra compression and balls, somewhat along the lines of a clean boost in front.
Rock Master clip: - the guitar gear mp3 database

Peavey Ultra+ / Genz-Benz G-Flex 2x12: Pretty much the same sound as the Rock Master rack rig, but louder and with more balls due to 120W of 6L6 power. It's the predecessor to the Triple XXX, and came out around the same time as the 5150. Usually found for $400 or less used, and arguably sounds better than later amps from the Ultra Series lineage (Triple XXX, JSX, 3120). I had some issues with this amp and a 7-string, but I think that was due to the particular guitar, and nothing to do with the amp. Definitely a solid lower-budget metal amp, and I wouldn't mind giving it another shot at some point, since it's been a few years since I've played one of these.
Ultra+ clips: - the guitar gear mp3 database - the guitar gear mp3 database - the guitar gear mp3 database - the guitar gear mp3 database - the guitar gear mp3 database

Ampeg VH-150 / Genz-Benz G-Flex 2x12: The perhaps slightly-less-known brother to the VH-140C, with a single 150W power amp, and no chorus. Solid state brutality, capable of metal tones with the gain knob at 3, and voiced perfectly for death metal. I also used it for a while as my primary amp in a power metal band, which it also did well with. Good clean channel, but nothing really amazing...pretty much a one-trick pony, definitely known for being one of the best solid state metal amps available.
VH-150 clips: - the guitar gear mp3 database - the guitar gear mp3 database

Engl Savage 120 / Ampeg V-412TL with CL80s & V30s: This is what I sold my Ultra+ to get. After having the opportunity to borrow one of these heads and a cab loaded with the aforementioned speakers for a show where I was unable to use my own amp, I decided I needed one. Absolutely badass high-gain sound on channel 4, with a nice midrange emphasis, neither too dry or saturated, and very tight and punchy due to the 6550/KT88 power section. A bit like a more refined-sounding 5150II. MIDI switchable, 2 FX loops, lots of features, and actually capable of being used as a preamp while in standby mode (meaning that you can run a line-out into another amp's power amp, or record directly from the XLR or 1/4" line-out without needing a speaker attached). Listen to Darkane and Nocturnal Rites for an idea of what channel 4 can do. Channel 3 is tighter, lower gain, and also very cool, but artificial harmonics have a somewhat unusual sound to them, that I'm a little iffy on. Listen to Angel Dust's album "Bleed" for an example of what I'm talking about.
Savage 120 clips: - the guitar gear mp3 database - the guitar gear mp3 database - the guitar gear mp3 database

VHT/Fryette Deilverance 60 / P50E-loaded 4x12: No doubt about it, these tend to be love-or-hate amps. One channel (with a switchable 4th gain stage), nothing footswitchable, no FX loop, and the ability to go from clean to metal with your guitar's volume knob. Typical VHT/Fryette stiffness and clarity (another 6550/KT88 power section), and extremely sensitive to small details in your playing and the rest of your rig. This amp has forced me to become a better player, and learning how it responds to dynamics has affected the way I play other amps as well. It responds extremely well to a clean boost for some extra saturation, but is capable of metal on its own...from early stuff like Maiden and Priest, all the way up to modern stuff. Great for low tunings and extended-range instruments.
Deliverance clips: - the guitar gear mp3 database - the guitar gear mp3 database - the guitar gear mp3 database

I'm pretty sure that covers everything I've owned (that's worth speaking of, at least).

· Registered
19 Posts
nice (apologies for the uselass gaba)

My favourites (from what i have properly played)

Peavey XXX
Great live amp, cosistent and powers through any sound wall

Peavey 5150
Great recording amp, not agreed by everyone as a live amp but for its genre certainly stands out on record.

Mesa Triple Rectifier/mark IV
Great amps, only had a fiddle about with them when i was recording a band whos guitarists had this combination, but real easy to work with and wouldnt mind one myself :).

Yeah im no expert, and these are your average metal joe's go-to amps i suppose.

Great post guys

· Neil deGrasse Tyson is my HERO.
1,051 Posts
Line 6 Spider II 1x12 (G12T 75 watts): I've always spoken highly of these amps, because they're the ideal practise/at home amps. You can get virtually any tone You want and it will sound better than most solid state amplifiers. When You switch to Valve amps You begin to appreciate how You didn't have to re-tube Your old Spider II :lol:

Line 6 Spider II 150 watt head + Crate GT300(0?) 4x12 (not sure what speakers were in those): Again, brilliant amp and I still miss it's easy to tame tone and effect accessability. I'll definitely be buying the 15 watt combo equivalent for christmas.

NOTE: Almost with all SS amps, they dont clean up when You roll down Your guitar's volume when You are on the higher gain channels. :2c:

Randall RM100 All-tube 100 watt head + Rivera Knucklehead cabinet (V30 60 watt speakers): I'll be completely honest, I haven't played all the popular amps people like around here, I don't enjoy the people who work at most of the music stores in my area. I love those amp and I'm looking forward to being able to afford the pedals I want for it (Boss SD-1 or Ibanez TS-9, some kind of reverb and a delay). Without a doubt, it will sound brilliant. The two downsides to this amp are: The lack of a built in delay, like the one You would see on a Marshall JCM900 and the fact that, unless You have 3200 NZD, You have to save up for the modules after You've bought the amp. With that being said, it is obviously a rediculously versatile amp.

Crate GT300 + Rivera Knucklehead cabinet (V30 60 watt speakers) [I used this Crate while my RM100 was being re-tubed
: LOL. That is all.

· Registered
109 Posts
Bugera 333XL:
I own one and its the workhorse of my studio! 3 Channels, with 2 modes each. Built in noise gate, Switchable Series FX Loop with Boost, and swappable between EL34 or 6L6 Tubes with the flick of a switch! Also has a bias trim pot which is a great feature!

120 Watts

All this for about $600.00

For the price this amp is tough to beat! For a while people were complaining about "quality" of the amp, but its been PERFECT for me since I got it. No issues AT ALL! Everything from Jazz Clean to all out Modern Molten Metal!

Clean Channel: Pristine fender-esq cleans at any volume. With a boost in front like a tube screamer its got a really amazing bluesy tone!

Cruch Channel: Can someone say 80s marshally goodness! OMG this is my fave channel on the entire amp. Everything from AC/DC crunch to full on 80s thrash!

Lead Channel: Mesa to the extreme! More gain on tap then you could ever want, scoop the mids and its DJENT approved!

Series FX Loop: has a level control that can be used as a volume boost on all channels. Up to 6DB of boost! More then you will ever use!


Krank Rev Jr

20 watt

High gain all tube amp with plenty of power for live performance for about $600 (20 watt version). 2 Channels (non-foot switchable, the PRO version has channel switching). Plenty of gain on tap! Pure shred approved tones. Everything from 80s thrash to DJENT is in this little 5 pound baby!

I love this little guy. I use him as a backup to my 5150 live and in times of need he has never let me down. He gets a ton of use in my studio as well.

KLEEN CHANNEL: is CLEAN and when I say clean I mean Jewish Virgin on her first visit to Israel clean. It totally shocked me this high gain monster has such a beautiful clean sound. even all FULL VOLUME the clean channel is CLEAN!

Krunch Channel: HEAVY, sweep control takes you from mid heavy 80s honk, to ultra scooped DJENT approved mayhem.

· Banned
180 Posts
I am not in a place to tell people to get a certain amp, because i dont know much... but i can give my experiences with the equipment i have used.

Line 6 spider II: it's a good amp for the bedroom. you can get pretty good metal tones out of it, but the cleans are pretty lame. a lot of the pre-sets are junk, and i doubt you'll ever use them. i think theres only going to be two amp models you will use in this amp; metal and clean. a good thing though is that it comes with some effects built into the amp. the mods sounded very cheap, but the delay, and the reverb were quite nice. i recommend this; if you can find it cheap used and if you plan to just use it for home. note: no noisegate on this, like the other models of the spider family. it will hum and hiss and sound like diarhea on higher volumes.

Line 6 Spider III 150w head w/ 4X12 spider cab: this amp is basically like the spider II, except it sounds better, and you get little to no hum. it was actually quite clean, and also had an added booster you can access through a pedal. generally it's just the same as the Spider II except it's more powerful, with more headroom. still, one thing i noticed is that it turns to mush when you turn up the bass. don't expect it to be tight. The amp models sound much better than this series, but again, the pre-sets are

Line 6 Spider Jam: This product is the best, BEST, bedroom rocker amp you can get. it has a built in drum machine, which loops... gets old, but is good for practice. you can also record up to 24 minutes of your own material, recording on top of recorded material as well, infinitely. if you have an sd card, you can record much more. generally, this amp has great tone. even now, i still use it to record ideas and songs if i am too lazy to set up my computer to record an idea(which i tend to do a lot). simply, this amp is simple and ready to go. i recommend VERY highly, for the guy who wants to practice on top of recorded material. the drum machine can be used as a metronome as well :D
shit pre-sets again.

Line 6 pod X3 Live: I found this unit to sound really flat and uninspiring. sold it after a couple of months. so many amps to choose from as well as different cabs, speakers etc... still sounded like trash to my ears. the emulated amps really sounded digital, and thats coming from a guy who doesn't have much experience with real tubes etc... recommended for someone who has money and wishes to waste it. direct sounds alright, but through an amp, sounds like ass. but still, direct out through monitors, speakers etc... not good. i heard some people get amazing tones from this on youtube... sadly i was not one of them. :(

Zoom g9.2tt: i dont know if i like this or hate this... definitely dont like it though... and i tried. this unit has tubes in it... haha, thats wierd for a amp emulator, but its quite neat. get it warmed up, and yes, it does make it sound quite nice... however, the sound quality is just... so digital. you can really hear it, and it doesn't sound good. another thing i really hate is that its not user friendly. expect to get real close to the manual while using this. lastly, this unit comes with something called a znr. what is that you say? basically its a cheating tool... a big cheating tool that i despite :pissed: ~ what this znr thing does is cover up your mistakes. it's sort of like a compressor, which cuts feedback, and all the unwanted noises that you make by mistake. sustain gets killed when this thing is on, plus; you wont know if you're a good guitar player or not if you use it, because it covers your ass too much! i don't recommend this; had it for 2 months... should have bought something else... or saved my money. i am intent on using it, but just cant work around it's sound.

Line 6 HD500: i'll keep this one short... buy it. if you're look for a digital amp modeller with effects, that wont break the bank; get it. I am really REALLY happy with the tone i can get with this. it seriously sounds awesome to my ears... and yet, i am still looking for bigger and better things haha. :D

· Premium Member
3,018 Posts

Okey dokey

I think my first amp that wasnt a crappy little practice amp (some 'practice' amps are very good: emphasis on 'crappy'! was

Laney TF300

I was 16, had been playing for 0 years, and wanted something that made more noise and didnt sound terrible. At the time I had some idea what I wanted an amp to sound like (metallica11!!!!!1!1) but no fucking clue whatsoever how to get that sort of sound (or that it was utterly hopeless to try to get something like the black album sound from any one amp, in the room). It basically suited my needs, save that it farted out on palm mutes. So I sent it back. I shant try and comment on the memory of the tone; far too dim and distant.

Its successor was:

Carlbro GLX80

This amp did me for some considerable time. It lasted me until I think my last year of university and I was generally, at the time, impressed with it. It had an odd 'channel blending' feature where you could mix the clean and distortion channels, that was basically useless. I reaquired the same amp recently (got it back off the person I sold it to, then sold it on again) so the tones: cleans, dull and lifeless, distortion, boxy, fizzy and anemic. Why I liked it I have no idea.

First 'High End' amp, 21st birthday present in...shit, wait, how old am I now? Ok, must have been 2003. Rampant guitar forum activity had not yet brought a million and one new amps to try to my attention, and the internet did not yet effectively provide clips and demo recordings, so I was quite content with:


For a while, believing that a Marshall surely must be able to provide the sounds I wanted, without having to (or being able to) shell out for a mesa (which is what I thought at the time was my holy grail tone). This aint such a bad amp, but it wasnt right for me, I (fairly) quickly realised. I kept wanting it to be less woolly, more aggressive, tighter in the low end and yada yada. I swapped the valves out a couple of times to little avail and changed the speakers and never really got on with it perfectly well. I used an EQ20 in the effects loop for a bit, which helped, but it was never going to have the modern metal voicing I wanted.


Engl screamer combo

I liked this amp quite a bit. I enjoyed its fatter bass response, greater aggression and after a while grew to like the glassy, ultra-unforgiving high mids and top end. I used the screamer and the tsl at the same time if I needed to make a shitload of noise, to great effect, and kept them both around for I think 2-3 years. I wasnt quite content, however, because it still didnt deliver qute the tightness and punch in the low end that I wanted. I didnt want a huge overbearing low end, both the TSL and screamer had enough on tap in magnitude, I just wanted it to be more solid.

- notable mention in this time:

Roland Cube 30

I loved this amp. LOVED it. I sold it really hastily after I got my ADVT30XL, and was basically alright with that until I moved to a new place and need amps in multiple rooms for practice and people coming round, and now I think "I wish I still had my cube!". 80 poxy quid for one of the best low volume amps I've ever used! What was I thinking? Sounded thick, chunky, not overly fizzy, and was quite articulate at whisper volume.

Which I suppose leads me to:


My harping on about 'little' amps may not seem worthwhile, but one thing I STILL stuggle with is a satisfactory low volume sound. This and the cube are pretty much the best I've found. Most of the channels on this are pretty rubbish, but I found some sounds in it that I like and I stick to the same two, and enjoy them. Same basic description as the cube (which is also my functional spec of a practice amp: here it is again: "thick, chunky, not overly fizzy, quite articulate/clear, all at low volume". It doesnt seem much to ask, but its been very hard to satisfy! The vox is brighter than the cube, and I swear I can hear that lone 12ax7 doing something minuscule and insignificant to the tone, but it sounds decent for what it is.

While I'm at it:

Pod XT

Hated it. I listened to recordings and went 'I'll have me some of that', got me some of that, in the mean time learned how to mic an amp reasonably well and discovered that I may as well just use one or 10 of the billion VSTs out there and then decided I didnt want me any of that any more.

Tonelab LE

Same, but with better amp models and effects. It took me longer to get rid of this one, but it went anyway, with pretty minimal use. Was really hard to get a bright and tight enough metal sound from it, but doable (but not worth it in the end!)

Where was I?

Ah, yes, we're up to my current amps (which include the ADVT30XL, still; its infront of me now as my lounge practice amp)

Peavey Vypyr 30

The less I can play this the better. I wanted it to be a second practice amp for the studio. Its high gain sounds are all terribly similar, loose, and somehow manage to be both too squishy and too clangy and harsh. Dont like. At all. The volume is very hard to use when low: one arc second of turn will increase or decrease by a factor of about 5 when below about 2. Cleans and effects are pretty good though. I keep it around for 'variety', 'in case I need it' etc etc

Peavey bandit

You all know this amp: I picked it up for £10, quite like it for what it is and shant complain

The key ingredient of much that follows:

Bogner Ubercab

Dear lord. The right amp/s through this cab and youre worried that youre gonna break your house in half. Very, very tight, punchy, clear and can and will sound gargantuan, if you let it. I've been through K100s and Swamp thangs in place of the T75s and came back to the 75s in the end (though may go all-V30). My only complaint: it could be a little less beamy, but I suppose thats the price you pay: I dont see any cabs breaking the laws of physics any time soon; closed = beamier. Better learn to deal with it.

Engl powerball

A V2, I think. Things I like: ultra-tight, very aggressive, decent cleans, 'wide', highly effective controls (for the most part) let it be pretty tweakable, and I'm still, 3-4 years later, tweaking. Of course, if you dont like the amp 5 minutes after you plug in, youre never going to, and I did. It appeals to me in a mechanically brutal sort of a way. It doesnt have some characteristics that I do/did want, though: its quite sterile souding, I wanted an amp that had a thicker, denser, 'woodier' (never really understood how that term applies to an amp, but I get whats meant by it) bark in the low mids and mids. The PB mids are oddly congested, which can work sometimes, not others.

VHT Pitbull CL100 EQ

This was more or less a blind accident. I'd heard clips and nothing put me off, but nothing really enticed me about what I heard. But I was looking for more amps on account of the complaints I just gave about my PB. I wanted a supliment/compliment to the PB, really. I was offered this in part-ex for a couple of my ibanezes. What. A. Fucking. Deal. I ADORE this amp. Its the amp that I never knew I needed. Slightly darkly voiced, but utterly unforgivingly tight, clear and responsive. Shitloads of (highly usable) gain, but without much saturation, very usefull and well implemented controls (not least of which the 5-band EQ), good cleans (warm and smooth and chimey and glassy is all there), hyper aggressive, and all the midrange bark you can want or need (and not congested, either: they do what mids should; hit you in the chest and make your skull shake).

The only downside of this amp for me is that its made me want a UL as well.


JVM 410h

I got this mainly to record people that want generic rock sounds (its something I've been moving into lately). It wasnt my thing, and I doubt it ever will be. It has none of the wool or the TSL, thankfully, and can easily be a metal amp, but its voicings not what I would use. That said, I do enjoy playing through it: its capable of a midrange snarl and bite that I havent heard out of many amps, and the main beats are all there, present and basically correct, from plexi-ish to JCM800-ish to hotrodded marshall-ish. None quite right, but all quite passable. All in all, looking at it as objectively as I can, its the best amp marshall have released since the JCM800, imo, but its not 'my thing. Were it my only amp I wouldnt cry myself to sleep at night, but I'd be looking for something different. As it is, its a welcome addition.

Current gas for - 5150 II/6506+

Never terribly liked playing through them; slightly squishy pick attack I dont agree with, but always liked the tones and would like to have one round as another option for recording; they do so so very well.

Notable also -rans (amps I havent owned, but in some way have stood out to me when trying them)

Dual rec

Now on its own, I dont like that much, too loose and fizzy (even loud) but boost it and youre in some fine-ass metal rhythm territory. Never bought one because I've always, despite quite liking them, seen them as unjustifiably expensive here (thick end of £2000). Also, I object to buying an amp that I HAVE to boost. (this also applies to the Uberschall, which I positively hated unboosted, and quite liked boosted). But, a boosted DR is a force to behold.

VHT Deliverance 60

Now, see, I'm a metal Rhythm player, really. Think "Someone that did most of his early learning from metallica CDs and now wishes there were more hours in the day to listen to Nile, Origin, Meshuggah and Hour of Penance"...among others, obviously. I can play leads, and often do just sit and shred for hours, but its not something I take seriously, its just for the pracitice and fun of it. But, I plugged into this and couldnt stop playing sweet, smooth blues-based leads with big wide vibrato, slow bends and the occasional incongruous sweep. It was just so responsive and articulate. Awesome stuff. Couldnt keep it together very well in drop B with my jackhammer picking hand, though, so it had to be ruled out (this is the TOTAL opposite of the pibull, btw, which maintains low end itegrity even when theres far, far more of it going on than you can ever want or need).

If I were in a position where I could have a 'lead amp' for recording, this would be it.

I'm not really sure how, but I hope this was of use to someone. Was fun going down memory lane and racking my brains about it at any rate :lol:

Edit: because I got the year I was 21 in wrong :lol:

Edit 2: Another also-ran

VH4 Similar dark-but-articulate thing going on on most channels to the pitbull, but more saturated and less throaty. More processed sounding. Extremely versatile; you can get a passable tone for more or less anything from jazz to extreme metal from it. Another absurdly tight amp, which I'm a big fan of (in case you hadnt guessed). Its somewhat processed sound (says the powerball-user) and massive price tag put me off, though. Its almost like its mixed and mastered out of the cab, very impressive, but also a bit flat. I like it very much nonetheless.

· Who is Noodles?
150 Posts
Heres my contribution (will mention gig rigs only);

Marshall MGDFX 100h and cab

- Rubbish, Wasp in a can sound!

Marshall JCM900 SLX

- Brilliant tone for AC/DC - Old school/early bay area sound. Nothing else.

Marshall TSL60

- Brilliant pub rock amp, will be perfect for a covers band situation doing any cover versions from the police to pink floyd (but none of them brilliantly). Note i also blew this amp after 4 hours of higher volume use. Ive heard from my amp tech that its common to happen with these amps as they heat up and the cheap plastic expands.

ENGL E640 Invader 150

- This amp has a bigger schlong that i do. Simple. It prob makes love to my gf better than i do when im asleep.

(on a serious note... brilliant creamy tone goes right to hell as well when you need it, dodgy noise gate included tho, one valve went quite quickly too)

Thanks for reading if you did.
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