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Thread: Best amp for heavy distortion

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    DropD is offline Senior Member
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    I'm in the market for a combo amp that would give a really good distortion sound. It seems every metal band that have a great distortion sound (mainly Metallica) are using Mesa Boogie amps. So I tried a Nomad 55 and it was quite a good amp, sounded terrific for soloing, but was very muddy in the when mute-picking on the big E string. I tried toying a bit with the tone controls and couldn't make it work. It's too bad cause it was really a cool amplifier, with 3 channel, recording out, separate level control for solo mode, everything I'd need. But just too muddy on the low-end. I suspect a Dual Rectifier model would be better on that aspect, but I couldn't try one (or is it that I didn't ask for it since the price was 3 times what I wanted to pay). Is this right? Would a Dual Rectifier do everything I want?

    The next amp I tried was a Line6 Flextone XL, the one with 2 12" drivers. It sounded quite good, specially the dual rectifier mode, but I don't know, there's something about this amp that make it sounds artificial (well actually it is artificial, it's digital modeling). But for the price (999$), it was the only good sound amp I could find.

    Do you guys have a suggestion for an amp that would give a killer heavy metal sound, in the 800-1300$ range, a combo with 1 or 2 12" drivers. I'm thinking about trying a JCM2000 TSL (I really need 3 channels), but all the Marshall I tried had this overly bright tone which I don't like. Anyway... suggestions welcome.

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    Electric Acid is offline Newbie
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    Well, If your in the neighbourhood for a good amp for around a grand, you can check out alot of Used Musical Instrument stores, I picked up a used Marshall JCM 800 for about 400$ canadian and a 4x12 cab for about 350$ and for saying marshall has a bright tone, well u have to check out the older marshalls because they totally rock. im into extreme metal and id trust an old marshall over a new boogie.. ive have this amp fall of the cabinet, thrown onto the ground and kicked and fallen on and the worst that has ever happened, is the input jacks had to be replaced from the amp falling onto its face on the ground. these things are built to last... mine is a 1976 and its gonna last another 30 years..


    Electric Acid - (Nick)

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    DropD is offline Senior Member
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    Oh, reliability isn't what concerns me )
    I never had any problem with my amps and I'll have a backup amp during gigs anyway, I'm looking strictly for sound. A big powerful distortion with a tight low-end, not that muddy sound I get from most rock-oriented tube amps.

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    Viking is offline Junior Member
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    Look, here is how it is,
    The Mesa Boogie Line is great for recording or being miced through a P.A. but to play out with an amp (I'm guessing you like severe saturation from your user name !) you need a marshall, or a copy ( I play a 100watt Carvin head with EL34's , very rare and british sounding ). Try the valve-state series. yOU CAN GET A BRAND NEW HALF STACK FOR UNDER A GRAND WITH A FIVE YEAR WARRANTY! These amps use a tube preamp and solid state poweramp, sound cool and are great for recordig as they have a built in cabinet emulator line out that sounds great. Oh, and gain for days. If you are looking for that tube tone I suggest a Carvin head like mine. One can be found on Ebay for about $250 and it is basically a hot-rodded Marshall. ( 5 12ax7 tubes in the preamp and built in power soak, selectable Ohm output. It's the ultimate amp!
    Mesa's are great for the studio but unless you are playing in a stadium you'll never reach the good gain unless you crank them. Metallica uses Mesa cabs and power amps but their sound is strictly rack format. Can you say about 5,000 in rack mount modules make the Metallica crunch happen! Watch 'Year and A half in the life..' and you will see what I mean.
    The Valvestate is the closest you can come for the money. Another cool amp is the Fender Roc Pro Head, it uses 12ax7 tubes for the preamp and is the closest head I have ever heard to Dimebag's sound. (Pantera).
    Good luck whatever you choose, but Mesa's are over priced for the performing musician.
    The only Mesa I think is cool is the Triple Rectifier, which is like $2500 !. I'll never own this head unless I'm touring!

    Viking_______________________________________

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    dmcsilva is offline Dedicated Member
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    Man,

    Boogies are sooo much better than Marsha..........just kidding.

    They both have their strong points, I have one of each so it's the best of both worlds. However, I personally wouldn't get a valvestate. A tube preamp basically does nothing for achieving great tone or saturation. True saturation comes only from Power tubes being cranked HARD and overdriving a speaker.

    As far as not hearing the sound your looking for from the Boogie, no matter which amp you choose, you will need to get some form of distortion box/fx unit if you want really high gain. Viking mentioned Metallica's rig...he's right; and not too many guitarist's out there known for their high gain sound are using an unaltered guitar to amp signal. But each amp will lend its' own signature to the sound, above and beyond what a dist box adds to it. So I would suggest going with the tone you like best and dropping an extra c-note on a distortion pedal. If you go with a Marshall, I would recommend all-tube design, That's their bread and butter.

    dmc

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    Fishmed is offline Why 2K?
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    I have found two pre-amps that sound great:
    the Roland GP-100 and the ADA MP2.

    I use a Messa Boogie amp to power my cabinets. What I do to get a bigger sound is use to different brands of cabinets. I have a Marshall 1 - 12" to capture the low end, and a Messa Boogie 1 - 12" to get the high end crunch.

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    DropD is offline Senior Member
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    I tried a Valvestate before I got my Peavey amp (the one I have right now), and I didn't like the sound (now I know why! I always thought all Marshall were all-tube designs). They plug me in a Marshall the other day at the music store and it had enough gain for my taste, but the sound was too bright, I think it was a JCM-900, I'm not sure. Anyway, I've read a lot of good things about the JCM-2000 TSL and I'm gonna try it this week.

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    I think it is safe to say that I run the heaviest guitar sound around here and I have never owned a single fx unit or distortion pedal. All you need is good active pickups (I use EMG's) and a good tube preamp. I run 200 watts through a marshall 4X12 and a Hiwatt 2X15. I use a stereo 30 band EQ to act as a crossover for the cabs.
    For recording use a POD or whatever, for playing live you should use less distrortion than you think you need... Too much distortion onstage just makes everything sound hissy and the actual notes get obscured. (I've seen this happen with Pantera, too)
    I've seen hundreds and hundreds of indie label touring bands playing small clubs and the best guitar and bass sounds have come from Mesa Boogie, although I'll never be able to afford one...

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    Viking is offline Junior Member
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    So this is sorta how it is..
    If you want tube tone don't go with a distortion pedal (Solid state clipping through a tube pre-amp sounds like shit!) just crank it! For that over the edge sound use a Boss Super Overdrive and GE07 E.Q. pedal. (Ah-la Zakk Wylde).
    If you want that solid state clip then you have many choices...
    You don't like the valvestate? Try the Fender Roc Pro.
    Get a pre-amp and a power amp. Like any Digitech. They are affordable and sound great out of the box.

    How much money are we talking about here anyway? I'm giving ideas for under $800 but if you want (and you have a fat bank roll!!) I could send you a list of the 'ultimate, cream your pants, God is in my amp!' set-up. So question here is how much money. You can sound as good as what you can afford!
    How about a list of who you listen to so we could tell what sound you're trying to get.

    Good Luck,
    Viking_______________________________________

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    CellarCat is offline Junior Member
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    Go for the Flextone . I am buying one in the new year, they are great ...you can get a tone for any type of music you want.... get the foot controller as well..The Peavey 5150 is a smokin amp as well but if i remember right quite expensive..

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