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  1. #1

    [Music] Need some advice on a Guitar Amp Head for heavy gain tone

    Hey guys, im just looking around for any possible advice and suggestions towards a new amp head im going to buy for my band

    At the moment i'm just using a line 6 spider IV 75watt and it really struggles to keep up with a loud drummer

    Budget is around $700-1200AUD for the head itself, needs to be a decent 50watt-120watt

    The tone i'm looking for is sort of like think of periphery/northlane/parkway drive, (now i know parkway drive use peavey's, and i absolutely love their tone for gain but i hear their cleans aren't all that good)

    Thanks for ANY suggestions or advice and even some suggestions to some good music forums focused on this type of thing would be appreciated.. Thanks!
    Last edited by Amity; 2012-04-10 at 03:26 AM.

  2. #2
    Elemental Lord Duilliath's Avatar
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    Personally not a fan of Peavey tbh. But that's me.

    You might want to consider looking for an Engl. They're fiendishly expensive, but do the job well.

    Alternatively, and way more affordable, you could try a Randall.

    Keep in mind that the speaker cabinet you got will play an important role as well.

  3. #3
    A quick search tells me that's about £650 GBP.

    At that price there's quite a few options I'd really question if you'd need 100W+. A valve amp at 100W is loud, much louder than the spider you have (A 30W valve amp would probably completely drown out a 100W spider). Keep that in mind and don't close your options to ~50W amps. The difference in volume between a DSL50 and a DSL100 (marshalls) is actually very very small, both cranked you'd be able to hear each one just fine together (although you'd be deaf in seconds ), they do however sound different, usually a tighter, punchier bass in a larger amp but not always and you'd really have to try it in person.

    As for suggestions, peavey actually make very affordable and decent amps, as do marshall. I'm not sure how the australian market is so I'm simply going from what I can find in the UK. Marshall amps are very nice for that price range looking at the DSL50 in particular, it has a very very wide range of sounds.

    Mesa Boogie sounds like it would be the perfect amp for the sounds you're after although I imagine it's priced out of reach even if looking second hand, especially when you factor in a cab.
    Engl is a good suggestion above although I don't have enough experience with them to comment further than 'I liked it'.
    There may be other options available to your local shop, around here I have Blackstar amps available particularly cheap, I'd suggest going into your local shops and see what they're stocking and getting to play through as many as you can.
    Also consider looking for an amp with a good clean sound and running pedals, it often offers more flexibility especially if you may be looking for different sounds down the road.

    And most importantly, look second hand. Amps are usually significantly cheaper second hand. A well built amp will be just fine, get it checked out by a qualified tech. Most respectable companies will still be willing to look after their amps even after they've passed hands, at the cost of shipping of course.

    EDIT; take a good look at laney too, they make fine amps mostly 'based' on well known amps but much cheaper.

    Do as much research as you can, knowledge is power!
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/forumdisplay.php?f=3 - usually discusses top of the line, expensive amps.
    http://acapella.harmony-central.com/...ay.php?28-Amps - a bit more down to earth
    google.com - obvious i know but there's lots of info out there if you look for it.
    Redsparowe#2548 <Crayola Inc>, Lightbringer EU

  4. #4
    If you're not sure about the amplifier market here in AUS, a Peavey 6505 new is around 1300-1400 AUD and about 1600-1700 for the 6505+, so yeah. Even a peavey is pushing the budget for me.

    and Engl or Mesa Boogie is out of my price range
    Cabinet i'll be using is a randall 4x12 200 and something watter

    will eventually buy a new cab

    Redsparrow i'm guessing the reason second hand tube amps are a lot cheaper is because the tubes have been worn and have lost a bit of their tone isn't it?

    Anyway.. Have you guys heard of Bugera amps? they are made by Behringer.. They kind of rip off popular amps for eg. the Bugera 6262 is a rip off of the peavey 5150/6505 but costs about half as much.
    Now people used to say these amps overheated alot and weren't very reliable, but in the last year they remade the series with a new technology called INFINIUM
    What it does is expand the lifespan of the tubes by supposedly up to 20x and allowed you to mix and match any compatible tubes (e.g have 2 6L6s and 2 EL34s)s

    What are your thoughts?

    Also thanks for the feedback and help you two

  5. #5
    Second hand amps are cheaper because they're second hand

    It's like most things, if you buy it new it loses about 1/3rd it's value the moment you walk out the door. Amps in general are pretty rugged and can last a very long time. Valves don't really 'wear' they just work or don't, like a lightbulb (generally speaking). A few scratches here and there shouldn't make any difference to how the amp works or sounds but it does wonders for it's value, meaning there are many good deals to be had. The simpler the design the more comfortable you should be buying 2nd hand, they're easily maintained by someone that knows what they're doing. I've been using my marshall JTM45 for about 6 years now. 4 of those were gigging 4-5 nights a week. It survived being hit by a car at 40mph (it has a big dent ), been run over by a van, dropped down stairs. Sure it looks ugly, needed 1 set of new valves (after the car crash), the knobs broke and needing replacing and the tolex is held on with tape. But the point is it's working just fine but if i wanted to sell it I would barely get pennies for it. Thats an extreme example but the point is 2nd hand usually isn't an issue.

    I would also suggest not getting too hung up about 'high gain', you can always add more later with a foodpedal. I'm not sure how long you've been playing etc but chances are as you progress you'll realise that you don't really need half the gain you think you do. Some of the heavier sounds are often much cleaner than you'd expect. Think of Led Zepplin tones. not modern high gain sure, but those amps are barely breaking up, they're just pushed pretty hard with some aggressive playing.

    How much is a marshall DSL50 second hand? It's a super versatile amp with quite a lot of gain on tap (more than I've ever needed, although I don't play much metal type stuff).
    Also a Fender deville / deluxe / supersonic, they often sell cheap second hand. They are excellent amps clean. Their drive sucks balce (to my ears), but the clean they offer allows you to run a whole bunch of pedals through for whatever sound you're looking for (such as http://www.blackstaramps.co.uk/products/ht-metal/ pricey but it's something you can add later as you find the money).

    I've not heard any Bugera amps, although my experience with Behringer is... not great. I wouldn't trust their gear for gigging (except those DI boxes!), however they make decent stuff to play around with at home if you're still experimenting.
    Redsparowe#2548 <Crayola Inc>, Lightbringer EU

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Redsparrow View Post
    Second hand amps are cheaper because they're second hand
    I really like the looks of marshalls and i've always wanted one since the beginning of my guitar playing since i was 11, but i've never really got the chance to hear one in person which bugged me because a gig i did a few nights ago one of the bands had a marshall but i didn't really get to closely hear it and test out all the settings because i was using the other guitarists 6505!

    DSL50 - there's 1 available on ebay for around 800-900 bucks, is that a good price?
    he says its around 5 years old, never went past 6 on the volume on a quad box, because it is so loud.

    Last night I continued researching on the new INFINIUM series from bugera, and it has made me really interested in their 333XL
    http://www.bugera-amps.com/EN/produc...-INFINIUM.aspx

    Looking at reviews, evidently this new INFINIUM series is really great, you can swap between both EL34s and 6L6s and mix both, could be pretty fun to see what kind of unique tone you could find. and its around $699 AUD so it's well in my price range

    Although i will keep researching this DSL50 and other small wattage heads man, thanks for the feedback again

  7. #7
    Epic! Idrinkwhiterussians's Avatar
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    If you can find some in your price range, there is a dealer of Orange amps in Australia...

    http://www.orangeamps.com/dealers/?c...2&dealer_id=93

    Just thought that might be a good company to check also. Happy hunting!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyanotical View Post
    anyone want doughnuts? i hear there is a great shop in Vancouver

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Idrinkwhiterussians View Post
    If you can find some in your price range, there is a dealer of Orange amps in Australia...

    http://www.orangeamps.com/dealers/?c...2&dealer_id=93

    Just thought that might be a good company to check also. Happy hunting!
    I LOVE orange amps but they're really expensive in australia

    2,800 for a quad box, and around 3200 for a 50watt thunderverb haha

  9. #9
    Epic! Idrinkwhiterussians's Avatar
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    Well damn. I just thought it might be worth while. And another company that had yet to be mentioned.

    I do agree with Red up there about checking into MesaBoogie... They have some GREAT stuff... Used SHOULD be in your price range.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyanotical View Post
    anyone want doughnuts? i hear there is a great shop in Vancouver

  10. #10
    Legendary! Callace's Avatar
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    Can you comment on the specific types of music you play? Heavy tone is a very subjective thing in the guitar world.

    Btw- DSLs are great amps with a lot of versatility. Your best bet just might be to shoot for that and then hone it in to your tastes with EQ and pedals, etc.
    Last edited by Callace; 2012-04-09 at 04:19 AM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Callace View Post
    Can you comment on the specific types of music you play? Heavy tone is a very subjective thing in the guitar world.

    Btw- DSLs are great amps with a lot of versatility. Your best bet just might be to shoot for that and then hone it in to your tastes with EQ and pedals, etc.
    I did mention i'm looking for a tone similar to parkway drive/periphery and northlane?

    and yeah im looking around trying to find anyone that's selling one second hand for a good price haha

  12. #12
    Legendary! Callace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amity View Post
    I did mention i'm looking for a tone similar to parkway drive/periphery and northlane?

    and yeah im looking around trying to find anyone that's selling one second hand for a good price haha
    Oh, sorry, you did, I was just hoping for more specifics. Can you link something for me to give me an idea? I've done a lot of amp shopping in my day.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Callace View Post
    Oh, sorry, you did, I was just hoping for more specifics. Can you link something for me to give me an idea? I've done a lot of amp shopping in my day.
    sorry yeah sure; kind of a mix of

  14. #14

  15. #15
    Legendary! Callace's Avatar
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    Hmm... that's a lotta saturation going on, on second thought, the DSL might not be able to handle that, it has a grindier tone, but not as much going on with the rectification. You want something that hits like a sledgehammer. Marshalls tend to cut like an axe. My first reaction was that you could nail that with an ENGL, but that's out of your price range...you might be better off with Rivera, VHT, or even Peavey...
    Last edited by Callace; 2012-04-09 at 05:04 AM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Callace View Post
    Hmm... that's a lotta saturation going on, on second thought, the DSL might not be able to handle that, it has a grindier tone, but not as much going on with the rectification. You want something that hits like a sledgehammer. Marshalls tend to cut like an axe. My first reaction was that you could nail that with an ENGL, but that's out of your price range...you might be better off with Rivera, VHT, or even Peavey...
    Before i go and research rivera and VHT have you heard of the Bugera INFINIUM technology?
    It allows you to swap types of tubes without having to adjust the bias
    You can even have 2 types at once for e.g EL34/6L6/EL34/6L6
    would be pretty cool having a really unique tone

    and apparently its pretty successful.


    Thats the old 333 without infinium, has a pretty raw tone
    These things are really cheap aswell, the new 333xl INFINIUM is around 700aud!

  17. #17
    Legendary! Callace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amity View Post
    Before i go and research rivera and VHT have you heard of the Bugera INFINIUM technology?
    It allows you to swap types of tubes without having to adjust the bias

    Thats the old 333 without infinium, has a pretty raw tone
    These things are really cheap aswell, the new 333xl INFINIUM is around 700aud!
    VHT and another manufacturer that escapes me have a similar technology. It isn't unique. Just make sure you
    demo the unit for a solid amount of time before you make any decisions. It might be as close as you can get to Peavey's
    flagship stuff for the price. There is only one review posted at harmony-central as well. So I'm a tad skeptical.
    Last edited by Callace; 2012-04-09 at 05:19 AM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Callace View Post
    VHT and another manufacturer that escapes me have a similar technology. It isn't unique. Just make sure you
    demo the unit for a solid amount of time before you make any decisions. It might be as close as you can get to Peavey's
    flagship stuff for the price. There is only one review posted at harmony-central as well. So I'm a tad skeptical.
    They used to be and still kind of are infamous for ripping off popular amps, you'll know what i mean if you look up the bugera 6262 and compare it to peavey's 6505 haha
    They used to overheat a lot aswell but they were aware of the problem and lived up to their warranty and repaired people's amps and tried to stop it from happening again by using thermal paste hah

    Apparently the problem has been solved in their new infinium series but im not overly sure. Reason i'm interested in this brand is because i don't really think i'm skilled enough to own a proper $1,500 + amp head

  19. #19
    Elemental Lord Duilliath's Avatar
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    If you're already using Randall 4x12, you really could do well with a Randall top. Currently looking at a second hand myself and it's reasonably affordable. They've got a solid metal sound, which is what you're looking for.

    Sidenote, please do not compare studio guitar sound with sole amp guitar sound. It just doesn't work. Some of these guitars have been doubled seven times over, with a multitude of amps and mikes to get a very specific sound.

    For example, this was Converge's setup for the new album:


  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Duilliath View Post
    If you're already using Randall 4x12, you really could do well with a Randall top. Currently looking at a second hand myself and it's reasonably affordable. They've got a solid metal sound, which is what you're looking for.

    Sidenote, please do not compare studio guitar sound with sole amp guitar sound. It just doesn't work. Some of these guitars have been doubled seven times over, with a multitude of amps and mikes to get a very specific sound.


    Yeah but the Randall does not belong to me haha, it belongs to the drummers friend who's left his cab there for over a year and hasn't come back to get it

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