benson, morgan or milkman?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by smitty.west, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. smitty.west

    smitty.west Senior Member

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    all pretty different, yes, but each is appealing to me; need your help deciding.

    i'm looking for an amp that'll work great as a "pedal platform" that has a beautiful big clean sound. doesn't have to have a great overdriven sound since i'll primarily get that from pedals. also doesn't particularly need heaps of headroom as i'll mainly be recording with it and playing shows mic'd up- as long as it meets my fairly modest criteria, i'm happy with any wattage.

    specifically been looking at the benson monarch, milkman 20 and morgan ac20/40.

    mainly looking at these because i've heard good things about them being used as pedal platforms and about their cleans. simplicity seems to be a common trait among them all, which i'm very into- don't need/want fx loops and channel switchers!

    so, what say you? which is for me?
     
  2. fat_mance_rayder

    fat_mance_rayder Member

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    I'd like to speak for the Monarch for a minute. I called Chris Benson and asked him to build me a monarch and in a month I had one. This is the best sounding amp I've ever played. It is amazing. 15 watts, mine has el84s, and a celestion speaker. It handles all 8ish of my pedals beautifully but the clean sound is my favorite thing in the world. I've just put my pedals away and I've just been playing my guitar straight into the amp and it's inspiring and beautiful. The tone knob has an incredible amount of control and really allows you to easily change the sound of this thing. Two voicing switches: british and american, the american is a little darker and to my surprise I've found myself living on the British setting more. All said and done the amp cost $1800 and I think that is a great price for an amp the is hand built after you put in your order. I believe he'll even do different prints for the upholstery if you want. I'm currently saving up to add his "Tall Bird" reverb tank because if it is anything like the quality and sound of the Monarch it will be incredible.
     
  3. smitty.west

    smitty.west Senior Member

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    that's awesome and right along the lines of what i was hoping to hear!

    anymore folks care to chime in?
     
  4. Bessejenner

    Bessejenner Member

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  5. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    I was on a similar quest here. After a ton of trading I landed on an early Goodsell Super 17 mk2. Mine is a 1x12 in a 1974x-style cab. Controls are Gain, Tone, Volume. It is completely solid, has a great base tone, and loves my pedalboard.

    You can find ones with tremolo and reverb as well.
     
  6. katuna

    katuna Silver Supporting Member

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    I only have experience with the Milkman out of those, but I am confident it would work in the manner you've described. I don't know, of course, where it would stack up with the others, but I do know it can do what you've described.
     
  7. kwicked

    kwicked Supporting Member

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    Sounds like folks have had good luck ordering direct from Morgan
     
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  8. teemuk

    teemuk Member

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    No experience with any of those amps but generally low power and clean sound are somewhat mutually exclusive. Not to mention, definition of "clean" really varies from individual to individual and if we take iconic "clean" tube amps... AC30, 5E3, you know, they usually aren't that -clean- in the very definition of the word. And for the same people clean amps like JC120 or Super Twin Reverb would probably be too "sterile".

    Yes, you mic it, but small low power amps tend to sound like small low power amps. ...And if you truly wanted clean cleans for pedal platform then you'd be looking at solid-state amps in about the same weight / size / price range ...but probably with much higher output power ratings. ...For the headroom to really keep things clean. (You'd be surprised how much power / headroom you really DO need for this in the very sense of meaning "clean"). But those higher power amps do have a volume control. Like most amps do. So they quiet down well, but just pack much more punch when they suddenly need to amplify -cleanly- transients or sustained low notes.

    In my experience bigger / higher power amps still sound much better turned down than many smaller / low power amps that try to sound like bigger amps. For "quiet" applications the low power stuff is still generally way too loud (and still practically needs a good and consistent volume control) and for the applications where you'd benefit from "extra punch" they just can't provide it. IMO, they're waste of money.

    But I understand it's a matter of preferences and tastes. It just might be beneficial to know what you really mean when you say you need a -clean- amp for -pedal platfom-. Because what you're planning to acquire now is somewhat controversial witho one school of thought (cleans in the true sense of the term) but might totally comply with the other ("cleans", as in they are harmonically enriched by distinct -distortion-). Even though you don't imply it directly are you planning to use the amp as another "effect"?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  9. Kitten Cannon

    Kitten Cannon Member

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    Based on your description, a good SF Deluxe Reverb (if you're looking for 20-ish watt range) or a good early SF/BF Twin Reverb (if you want all the headroom you'll ever need) would be easier to find, much less expensive to buy, and just as reliable/toneful, if not more...I say this as a guy who owns/has owned a lot of nice boutiques (including a Morgan and a Milkman) as well as one of each of the amps I mentioned.

    So if those don't cut it, I can only imagine it's because they're not boutique/expensive enough, in which case then I'd say just get the most expensive amp you can find and cross your fingers.
     
  10. Crash-VR

    Crash-VR Supporting Member

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    If I were in the market for a clean amp I would jump on the Little Walter VG50 in the emporium. What a steal.
     
  11. riker4208

    riker4208 Member

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    Yeah, Morgan amps is problem free with their delivery, totally dependable I've heard. What could go wrong?
     
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  12. bullet6759

    bullet6759 Silver Supporting Member

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    You sound like a guy that does his homework so go for the Morgan.
     
  13. Kleio

    Kleio Supporting Member

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    It's not on your list, but for a "big, beautiful, clean sound" and a perfect pedal platform, I would consider a TopHat Ambassador. I just finished a gig tonight playing a 50w Ambassador through a 1x12 with my Soloway and Koll jr and a few pedals- it sounded absolutely fantastic. Big fat beautiful cleans and eats pedals like a champ- I'm not sure you could do much better than the Ambassador.
     
  14. MrFuzzTone

    MrFuzzTone Supporting Member

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    Reading about the Monarch, it sounds like a good one. And good reviews in this thread.
    15 or 10 watts is certainly enough for recording and playing live with or without a PA. Low watt amps sound great. I have a 65 Amps Ventura, Swart MKII, Suhr Badger 18, Reinhardt 18, Tungsten Cortez, Carr Rambler, Vox AC15 Heritage, Snider Chicago head, Fender PRRI. Nothing wrong with the sound of any of them. Monarch sounds like the right kind of components.
     
  15. Meriphew

    Meriphew Member

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    If you buy a Morgan, make sure you order it direct from a dealer who has it in stock. Also, if you get an AC20, and you drive the amp hard with boosters/distortion/od pedals, I'd recommend getting a Gold speaker rather than the Blue. I prefer the sound of the Blue, but I blew mine within a year of buying my amp. It has a Gold in it now.
     
  16. heyrobscott

    heyrobscott Member

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    A Little Walter VG50 with 1x12 is my main amp, and it's cleans are gorgeous. It's perfect for a pedal platform, and it doesn't get much simpler than Volume, Tone, and Bass cut. Can't say enough good things about the builder, Phil Bradbury. The Emporium price is a steal for that amp currently.
     

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