Amp for smooth, fat distorted tones?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by LaXu, Sep 21, 2005.


  1. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    "And now something completely different." :D

    I've been thinking of getting something vastly different to go with my Stephenson LJ-10. The amp sounds very nice for cleans, bluesier overdrive tones, old school rock and such but isn't quite tight enough for hard rock/metal or fat enough for higher gain lead tones.

    So now I'm thinking of getting something along these lines:
    • Plenty of gain for rock/metal (think Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian, Ozzy, Deep Purple with Steve Morse etc.) no boost pedals needed. Not looking for übergain death metal tones or anything like that.
    • Voicing should lean towards darker tones - no sizzle, grit or graininess - smooth leads, fat crunchy defined rhythm tones (with a Les Paul) but still tight enough to work for the afore-mentioned styles.
    • Decent dynamics/touch sensitivity.
    • Good master volume - namely sounds good at lower volumes and doesn't need to be cranked to deliver the goods. Will use an attenuator if needed.
    • FX loop is a plus.
    • Can be head or combo (1x12 or 2x12).
    So far the Mesa Lone Star Classic is the number one contender - the second channel with the drive engaged is very much like what I'm thinking of and has more than enough gain for my needs.
    The only drawbacks are that the amp is rather expensive over here (over 2000€), the fact that I don't like some design choices (seeing control labels was difficult, most of the switches seemed to give fairly subtle tonal changes and having the reverb controls in the back sucks) and the tone seemed TOO dark. Tried both the 2x12 combo and the head with a matching cab using a Gibson LP Custom and an Ibanez SZ520, the combo seemed a bit brighter but still felt that it could use more high end. Could possibly work when paired with a brighter cab/speakers.

    The Orange Rockerverb 50 was in the right direction as well but not quite what I'm looking for.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. Profklamen

    Profklamen Member

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    I would go with the Lone star classic - killer sounding smooth overdrive. The trick to keeping it from sounding too dark is to turn the bass down to 9:00 and keep the treble at 2:00. I've been playing one lately and I'm very impressed.

    On a smaller budget, I would consider a Carvin Legacy. Very smooth sounding amp with a great clean and excellent reverb. I think it's a great amp for the money.
     
  3. SuperSoundMusic

    SuperSoundMusic Member

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    I really like the Rockerverb 50 myself. Thats the first thing that popped in my head when I read the Title of your post then realized at the bottom of your text that it just wasn't quite what you were looking for.

    Have you considered the VHT amps? One of my favorites is the Pitbull 45'.
     
  4. Profklamen

    Profklamen Member

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    While I mentioned the Lone star and the Legacy above, I also should have mentioned the VHT 45 amp (I have one of those too). Great amp - one of the best I've ever played. It has a sharper and brighter sound than the other amps and a little more modern sounding.
     
  5. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    You beat me to it! The Pitbull.

    Best, Pete.
     
  6. bluesmostly

    bluesmostly Member

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    Check out Doug Roccaforte HG 100, it will do that stuff but no loop. No other high gain amp I have tried is thicker, richer or punchier with incredible dynamics and master volume, the bass is unreal. Very Marshally tough. There are clips on the site.

    Don't see too many Stephenson amps around, great guy.
     
  7. 6AM

    6AM Supporting Member

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    Bad Cat Hot Cat.
     
  8. hawkeye17

    hawkeye17 Member

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    I have an Orange R30 and it gets the tones your talking about but I had to swap some tubes to find the right combination(JJ EL34's, V1 Mullard, V2 JJ ECC803, V3 9th Gen Chinese). For some reason that combo of tubes just kills on this amp(for me anyway). You can swap power tubes on the R30 without biasing and it's got a great MV and has more than enough pop to gig with or just practice in an apartment. Really sweet clean channel on it too..surprisingly nice.
     
  9. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    Check the VHT Deliverance (or PB45, as mentioned)...
     
  10. SuperSoundMusic

    SuperSoundMusic Member

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    I just got one of those Orange Rocker 30 Amps today. The head version. I was really not expecting it to be as cool as it is. I figured it would sound good but man it really cranks. Plenty loud for gigs with a nice organic overdrive distortion and warm clean tone that has a nice sparkle to it. Expecting a 100watt model to show up any day now and I assume it will sound as good but man, the 30watt is loud enough. The 100watt is gonna make the walls in here come down.
     
  11. Derelict

    Derelict Member

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    only based on sound clips b/c i have never heard one is person, but Fuchs are very smooth......
     
  12. Deaj

    Deaj Member

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    Fuchs does smooth like nobody's business but the gain structure and voicing of the amp are not of the Iron Maiden or Ozzy Ozbourne variety. Those flavors should be easy to obtain with a pedal or two if your into that. Also the ODS likes a light right hand technique - picking dynamics are a big part of the equation. If you have access to a Fuchs dealer it's worth checking one out. They're awesome amps!
     
  13. rooster

    rooster Member

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    What area of the country are you in?

    rooster.
     
  14. Rama

    Rama Member

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    I have a Lonestar Classic and a Lonestar Special and I think the Special will absolutely nail the tone you're after.

    It has just a bit of a glassy top end that the classic lacks..el-84s you know...but still super smooth and vocal-like...seems to have a bit mre gain on tap as well.
     
  15. Ricker

    Ricker Member

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    Sounds like you're working in euros therefore I assume you're in Europe somewhere........if this is the case then you must check out the Koch amps.............The Multitone and the new Twintone II amps are Killer........I have a Multitone head and it will do everything you mentioned in your post.........The twintone II will do it too..............Great sounding amps
    It's got more gain than my Budda sd80 and Bogner Shiva........It has great reverb and has footswitchable vol boosts on any channel.........Pentode and triode switch tooooo........It's gooooooooooooooooooood!!!!!!!

    Cheers
    Rick
     
  16. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    Thanks for the replies! The only VHT I've tried was the Ultra Lead or whatever it's called, didn't like it much - too tight and bright. Will check out the Deliverance and Pitbull if I see 'em.

    Fuchs and Roccaforte are propably out of my price range, considering I'd have to order from USA and the taxes and shipping costs really bump up the price.

    The Orange Rocker30 seemed really good too (no fx loop unfortunately), but I've only tried the 1x12 combo which IMO seemed a bit light in the bottom end (unlike my Yamaha DG combo which I use as a cab). I will give the head version a try if the Orange dealer has one.

    I have to try the Koch amps as well and the LS Special is also on the list.
     
  17. exitmusic

    exitmusic Guest

    try a brunetti XLR-EVO
    they produce the smoothest,, fattest sound I have heard in any amp.
     
  18. Randy

    Randy Member

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    Elmwood Modena M60 has an incredibly smooth and thick high gain tone. One of the best lead tones I've ever heard.
     
  19. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Think you want to look at a few different VHT models. As much as I love my Orange Rockerverb, and as good as I think it is for metal (and a lot of other stuff), I don't personally think of it as smooth, particularly on chords. It can be pretty smooth on single note stuff, but I think its particular flavor of distortion is kind of scratchy/edgy in a way that is oh-so-cool, IMO. But you may not dig it if smooth is what you're after... The VHTs I've tried have definitely been smoother...
     
  20. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    The dark/smooth with gain suggests to me these amps:

    Rivera S120, maybe also M60
    Rivera Knucklehead Reverb
    Bogner XTC Classic.

    All of these have power mode choices which help a little with the volume thing. They all have good master volumes and FX loops.

    The S120 and M60 should have the gain, but depending on what you expect maybe not. But if you like dark and smooth, do not be surprised if you end up with an S120 at some point.
     

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