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Best guitar amp for a commercial sound
Old 6th February 2009
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Best guitar amp for a commercial sound

Hey guys, I run a small project studio that works with mostly indie rock/alternative/pop punk/nu-metal artists. I am looking to get a high quality Class A guitar amp capable of getting amazing tones that artists in those genres are notorious for having. I have looked at videos of a lot of these bands in the studio and I have listed the manufacturers of the amps I see the most. Enjoy!

Oh yeah, I am looking to spend between $800 to $1800 on the amp.

thanks for your input! the three I am seeing the most are...

Marshall
Mesa Boogie
Orange

which is your favorite and why?
Old 6th February 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
tropicalhotdog's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have all three (and others) and use them for different sounds.

There's no one amp that does everything well. Nu metal and indie rock tend to have pretty different sonics and so you'd probably want more than one amp if you're trying to accomodate all those different sounds

The Boogie would be the last of those three I would choose if I had only one amp (bit I'm not a big fan of boogies). You can get a lot more felxibility out of a Marshall (depending on which one) or Orange (depending on which one). Why not a Fender? Can't imagine recording a lot of rock without one.

If you have $1,800, I'd get two $900 amps instead of one $1,800 amp. If it's for a studio, you don't need a lot of wattage and can go for smaller amps too.
Old 6th February 2009
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderstudio ➑️
Hey guys, I run a small project studio that works with mostly indie rock/alternative/pop punk/nu-metal artists. I am looking to get a high quality Class A guitar amp capable of getting amazing tones that artists in those genres are notorious for having. I have looked at videos of a lot of these bands in the studio and I have listed the manufacturers of the amps I see the most. Enjoy!

Oh yeah, I am looking to spend between $800 to $1800 on the amp.

thanks for your input! the three I am seeing the most are...

Marshall
Mesa Boogie
Orange

which is your favorite and why?
Do you really want class A amp only? For heavier tones you will most likely need A/B amp. Of course, with pedals you can get clean/dirty amps to metal territory.

If the range of needed tones are that wide, I'd look into Mesa Boogie mainly. Used F50 or new Express 5:50 (has class A possibility) are pretty versatile and new Mark V (class A option) looks promising although it slightly exceeds your budget.

Marshall's are great for honest rock, but they are lacking in the clean department. JVM is pretty versatile though.

Orange is great for britrock tones, but it isn't that versatile. Also, Vox AC30 fits into that category.

From the surprise sector, VHT Sig:X and Hughes&Kettner Trilogy are versatile as well.

Hehe, my opinion seems to differ from the above

Actually one of the best advices might be to listen to different bands in different genres and find out what they use.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
58lespaul's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Well if you are going for current "rock" mainstream sound then I think that Mesa Boogie is the way to go. Mesa Boogie and a PRS guitar... can't get more mainstream "heavy rock" sound than that IMHO...
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Jay-'s Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
you can get a sovtek mig-60 for way less then a Marshall (sounds pretty close)
I see one on crag's list for $300 and id get it if I was in that town. (Austin)

then you can get a second head and have two as you have a studio you might need other sounds.

I cant imagine this is still around as I seen em going for $600+ now but this is $300 but its worth a shot if you know any one in Texas?

Sovtek Tube Amp Head
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I might add that most modern rock tones are combination of at least two amps.

For serious recording I recommend to be prepared for reamping. That expands your tonal options greatly.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
DeathMonkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The most recorded amp in my studio by far is a VHT (now Fryette) Deliverance 120. Single channel, no fx loop, very simple layout. With the gain low it can get very good clean and mild breakup sounds with a decent amount of chime, with the gain up a bit it gets good Marshally tones, and at a bit more full bore does modern metal like a champ.

It's nice and tight, sits well in most mixes, layers well.

The SIG X is also a great amp, a bit more versatile as a 3 channel amp, but a bt more spendy as well. A nice alternative to the ubiquitous Rectos. But be sure to try one first to see if it's your thing.

Other than that, You can't go that wrong with a Mesa Boogie Tremoverb. IMHO the best sounding of the Recto line.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Addict
 
huarez's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A class a Amp is the last thing I would use for the genres you mentioned.
Look for a 2203 or 2204 Marshall Head from the 70Β΄s or 80Β΄s, it will give you amazing tone for 600-1000 $. Use a Attanuator for controlling the Level . ItΒ΄s important to crank the Voloume. For more drive a good distortion pedal.
When it comes to Nu Metall a rectifier is a good choice, but it will only do this thing.
An Orange Rockerverb is the best overall amp I played and will cover high gain too ,as well as a Marshall JVM.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Strange that no one mentioned a 5150, a classic metal amp. For clean, ye-old Fender (tube). If you wanna get picky on the clean side... Roland Jazz Chorus 120!

And for all-rounder (wish I had money for it), Hughes&Kettner TriAmp MKII

Good care,

Mike
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
So far, your responses have been a big help. Guess I should have put that I already own a great Fender amp as well as the standard Vox AC30. It's not hard finding a great used Mesa or Marshall head, it's just a shame that Orange's are so expensive and harder to find.

I must admit I am attracted to the simplicity of the Orange line. Dialing in great tone is probably the easiest with those amps. The downside, is that with Orange amps, the sound is usually only as good as the guitar you're playing. The clean channel is typically just a volume knob whereas the "dirty" channel has many possibilities as far as tone.

Keep the responses coming, guess I should have made this a poll...
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Addict
 
kojak's Avatar
 
10 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I definitely agree with the above idea of buying 2 different amps...for clean sounds, either a Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb reissue (usually around $800 or so) or if you want something with a little more wattage, a Roland JC120...for heavier stuff, I would go Marshall for more "classic" sounds, or Mesa if you record newer, high gain material.
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Newcleardaze's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Not sure what your ear says, but from the things I've miced up and played with -- if i was to spend $1800 for a wide swath of guitar sounds, I'd get 3 combo amps: Marshall DSL (some griping over the 2000 series, but I've found them to be very versatile in getting some great rock tones), a Peavey 5150 or Triple XXX (fantastic for metal and hardcore), and either a a vox ac15 or older fender tube amp for the more indie sound: all of these used of course (all of which can be found used for under 600 bones a piece). If there is some left over, maybe pick up a used Marshall 4x12 to slave some of these out to for more tonal options. This is just me, though... to each their own.
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
awakened's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'd probably go with the mesa rectum fryer. wide range of sounds with that thing, and mesa is very dependable.
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
strat+ac30's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Guitar amps tend to come in four different flavors, listed in order of "available crunch":

(1) Fender - your classic cleans and low-to-mid gain. Typical models are the Deluxe Reverb and Twin. Lots of classic rock sounds from these smaller amps, e.g. Jimmy Page's "Stairway to Heaven" solo was a small Supro amp - not a Marshall stack, as most people think. David Gilmour used small Fenders a lot in the studio, though he favored Hiwatt stacks for live play.

(2) Vox - a British take on classic cleans and low-to-mid gain, but surprisingly versatile. Stuff like Matchless, Bad Cat, and Orange would likely live in this category, with many amps derivitives of the venerable AC30. Think Beatles, REM, U2.

(3) Marshall - Mid-to-high gain amps that started as a Fender bassman but rapidly outgrew their roots. Typical amps are the 1959SLP "Plexi" and JCM800 2203/4. Think of AC/DC "Back in Black", Van Halen...oh, and some dude named Jimi.

(4) Mesa Boogie (think Dual Rectifier) - High gain, modern rock sounds. There's quite a few amps that even take the Mesa sound further, e.g. Soldano and Peavey 5150s. Just about anything on the radio with an angry white guy singing will have a Mesa or four somewhere in the mix.

Of course this is a vast over-simplification, as Marshall sells some lower-gain amps as well (JTM-45, etc) and has some very underrated clean tones. Most Mesas are multi-channel and can cop other low/mid gain sounds. Etc etc etc like with colors, there's no true boundaries, they just blend into each other.

But...I would agree with the others and say either go Marshall or Mesa Boogie. Also be aware that the cabs - and speakers - have a huge effect on sound. Many of the better Marshall cabs today come with Celestion G12M "Greenback" speakers, which have a very distinctive midrange type of sound. Most Mesa cabs, last I checked, came with Celestion Vintage 30's, a harder, more full-range speaker. One of the classic speakers to find in a 4x12 is the G12H, but I'm not too familiar with them (except I think they're more highly regarded than either of the two previous speakers). THD makes cabs, and they're pretty picky about tone...whenever I get the cash to buy a 4x12, I'm definitely going to look into that.

Anyways, hope that helps you.
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Orange AD30 or Rockerverb50 would both work well for what you're wanting to record. My Vox AC30 always didn't the trick and the AD30 might be a little too similar so you may be able to look past that one but the Rockerverb is nice. Also check out Mesa's DC series amps. They're a little older but fantastic sounding amps. I have a DC-3 which is 30 watts and can do just about anything. I've used it for funk, blues, country, hard rock and metal. I do use a boost in front for metal with that amp. I live the footswitchable eq(just like the Mark series amps)it can act as a kind of boost or really change the tone of the dirty sound you have dialed in. Love this amp.
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2deep2112 ➑️
Strange that no one mentioned a 5150, a classic metal amp. For clean, ye-old Fender (tube). If you wanna get picky on the clean side... Roland Jazz Chorus 120!

And for all-rounder (wish I had money for it), Hughes&Kettner TriAmp MKII

Good care,

Mike
I forgot to mention the amp I use LOL. A ENGL Screamer 50, much better then a Marshall to my earΒ΄s. ENGL has a good army behind them... Blackmoore, Steve Morse, Axell Rudi Pell, Glenn Tipton, Scott Gorham, just to name a few.

Best,

Mike
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Your budget is a bit on the low side for many of the best studio amps, but
you should be able to find something close on the used market.

For clean headroom, and a great platform for pedals, the Reeves Custom 50
or Custom 100.

For Class A Divided By 13 9/15 or FTR 37

For Vox/Marshall inspired circuits, Bad Cat or 65 Amps

For great Fender inspired hand wired amps VVT Amps.

For Marshall inspired hand wired circuits, Reinhardt, Germino, Blankenship

Also Louis Electric, Category 5, Two Rock, Komet

I'm not the one to talk to about Metal amps.

There's nothing wrong with looking for a clean used Black Face Fender in your price range, but you may need to set aside some extra money to have some things taken care of.

It depends on your priorities.

Volume restrictions? Overall style you wish to support or a Swiss army knife
of tonal possibilities.
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
IMHO...

Get a stereo-switchable 4x12 cabinet with 4 differrent speakers (maybe a couple different Celestions, a Vox Bulldog-ish, and a Jenson-ish...) Run a short, hi-quality speaker cable through the wall (maybe two while you're at it). This way you can accommodate the multitude of impedance options you'll be facing and get a mutitude of tones.

Get several different heads in the control room of the various food groups (Fender, Marshall, Vox & New-Metal Boogie). There are numerous makers of each. If you can't afford a Marshall, there are many copies. If you can't afford a vintage Bassman, there are many copies. If you're handy with a soldering iron, there are nice kits from Ceriatone and Metropolis.

Get some sort of guitar splitter, buffer/booster, phase doohicky (like M. Wagner's thing) so you can mix and match different amps at the same time.

Get some sort of "power sucking" device so you can balance between preamp distortion, poweramp distortion, and speaker distortion.

Now you've got the same options as your hero's and you will have no excuse for crap guitar tones (unless you want crap on purpose).
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
guitarbth's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I myself dig the Vox / Orange sounds. I use to have an Orange AD30 and should have never sold it.

Is it the EL84s that define this range of sounds? They appear in both the Orange and the Vox.
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
guitarbth's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
To add to my response... The Orange amps cover the pop rock / indie rock thing extremely well. They won't handle the Hoobastank Mesa sound...

Look up Butch Walker ... both as an artist and producer. You'll find Orange Amps all over his stuff if that's the territory you're trying to get into.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here's a nice little studio amp collection posted by Dr. Tweedbucket on TGP

Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Newcleardaze's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years


OOOOHHHHHH!!!!!.....AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT ➑️
Here's a nice little studio amp collection posted by Dr. Tweedbucket on TGP

Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You said you have Fender and Vox covered, so I'd be looking for a good 50 or 100 watt
Marshall and Hiwatt circuit next.

Most of the young bands probably already have their Mesa's and Peavy Stuff, so I'd concentrate on what they can't afford to own themselves.

That's why I mentioned Reeves for the best new Hiwatt circuits and
Reinhardt or Germino for the best hand wired Marshall circuits.

If you can find a good used deal on a Marshall Super Bass or JCM 800, JTM 45 great.
Same goes for an early Hiwatt DR504 or DR103.

The current production Marshall amps have reliability issues and you pay a tremendous markup for cheap third party components and labor.

The new Reeves are better in quality than the new Hiwatts for the same reason.

The original VHT's and Bogners fill the new metal niche I suppose.
I'm just not a big fan of PCB amps even though the early version of these
are pretty well built.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Beyersound's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
For that big crunchy Marshall sound also consider the late 80s Laney AOR series amps. They are basically a Marshall MK II with more gain and crunch. They can be had for fairly cheap, and are well built. Just don't ever use the boost switches!
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Eganmedia's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
We have a decent collection boutique ( and not so boutique) amps here The Mesa Trem-o-Verb sees the most action. The clean can't rival a Hiwatt or a Twin, and the tremelo is a little spastic sounding (not the smooth sinusoidal ebb and flow of the '61 Bandaster or a Peavey Valveverb), but the distorted tones are numerous. For anything from power-pop to metal it rules.

Last edited by Eganmedia; 8th February 2009 at 03:08 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Musiclab's Avatar
there are 2 amps I'd recommend. One is a Randall RM50 or RM 100 . Then just get the modules you want, there are over 21 different modules that are just great and can go from either clean to black and decker power tool. What's really great about this the modules are really different, you can get everything from a fender style to a AC 30 to a marshall, to a boogie. Just get the modules you want. I've done projects where we wanted very different sounds like say classic marshall and boogie shred, and they very there at the flip of a button to switch channels. The other thing I just played at guitar mart and I think I'll get next month is another Egnater design, the tourmaster 4100.
It has 4 different channels that go from very clean to shred and tons of tonal options. Also there is a power grid on the back of the amp that lets you go from 100 watts to I think either 10 or 20. I'm an old fart and prefer a more retro classic rock sound with more mids, I easily dialed that in and scooped boogie style tones also. A really flexible amp and in your budget. Honestly the randall is abit more versatile because of the different modules, but both are great
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Dunno, if you need to stay within that budget, you might want to consider
the Axe Fx Ultra for all kinds of studio quality amp sims.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
swankdoc's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Beat me to it.

Seriously, for the 'modern' guitar sound:

Line 6 POD or some other digital modeling effects multipedal like boss ME50
Then run it DI. done. Spend the rest of the $2000 you saved on a vacation or a different piece of gear youve got your eyes on.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
DeathMonkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab ➑️
Randall RM50 or RM 100 . Then just get the modules you want, there are over 21 different modules that are just great and can go from either clean to black and decker power tool.

These are a great option. Bruce Egnater also makes his own chassis and modules, each of which have two channels, IIRC.

The Tourmaster has a rep for being plagued with quality issues, might want to check into that before purchasing.
Old 8th February 2009
  #30
Moderator
 
Trev@Circle's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Take a look at the Randall MTS system (RM4and RT2/50). It has all the colours you could want!
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