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Best tube amp under $700

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by cityinmind, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. cityinmind

    cityinmind Senior Member

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    Need some help here. Looking for a good tube amp for under $700, but preferabley around $500 used. What I have found in this range is the Peavey classic 30, Peavey delta blues, vox ac15, Epiphone blues 30, orange tiny terror, Laney VC15, Fender hot rod deluxe, Traynor YCV40, and I am sure there may be a few others out there.
    I am going to be gigging in small to medium sized clubs. I don't really care about distortion. I will overdrive with a pedal. I want the amp to have a good clean channel, no loud buzzing, good tone (to me this means nothing too bright). I'm looking for a smooth breakup when it happens, but pleanty of clean headroom.
    I guess at this point I am leaning toward the peavey Classic 30 based on price ($300-$350 used seems to be common) and pretty good reviews in the areas of sound quality and reliability. But I really want to see what you guys think based on what my needs are. I don't play any classic rock. I am more into sounds/tones you may find with mogwai, interpol, radiohead, the walkmen, french kicks, etc.
    by the way I am using a MIM telecaster and looking to get a Epiphone les paul in the future as an addition.
    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Alter Ego

    Alter Ego Member

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    FWIW I went on the same search as you 3 years ago. I bought a Traynor YCV 40 and haven't regretted it. It does everything you described plus add reliability and a great warranty to the mix.
     
  3. mlongano

    mlongano Member

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    A Komet 60 with seven hundred dollars laying on top of it.

    ...sorry...couldn't resist...

    On a more serious note, Peavey usually gives you a lot for your money in my experience.
     
  4. syxxstring

    syxxstring Member

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    A used mesa? Lots of Nomads available there.
     
  5. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Yeah, the YCV40 has a great clean channel. I prefer the YCS50 for versatility, but if cleans are important, you can't go wrong with the 40.
     
  6. cityinmind

    cityinmind Senior Member

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    How is the clean headroom on the Traynors though? I though I remember reading somewhere that they break up earlier than some of the others
     
  7. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Member

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    Don't forget about older Traynors too. You still may be able to find a '70's Bassmaster head, although they seem to be closing in on your price point. Still, there are Custom Reverbs and Custom Specials out there somewhere, and they're less sought after.

    If it's a combo you want, look for a GuitarMate or GuitarMate Reverb (YGM-1,2, or 3). Put a few bucks aside to replace the speaker; you'll thank me for this.
     
  8. vbjamin

    vbjamin Member

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    Mesa DC5 is sometimes available in that pr range. Lots of bang for the buck. i allways liked the assignable/ footswitcable eq. Like having a boost on both channels.
     
  9. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    Peavey Classic 30 is a great small amp, but a used Classic 50-212 sounds MUCH fuller and has much more clean headroom.

    I have played many gigs with a C50-212 and they ALWAYS sound great and are extremely reliable. Also has a GREAT sounding drive channel.

    Just my experience.
     
  10. cityinmind

    cityinmind Senior Member

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    As an added note, I will be playing along side a Fender deluxe reverb reissue. Do you think the peavey classic 50 far louder than I need?
     
  11. freaksho

    freaksho Member

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    i'm not sure why you're bothering to consider all these cheap channel switchers you mentioned? if you just want clean, look for an amp that puts it's whole budget into making a great single channel.

    that said, i don't think you can go wrong the VOX AC30 if you can find one used. that and a tele, it's a classic combination. (i'm not sure the 15 will give you the headroom you want, but i've never played one.)

    edit: you might also try a used Mesa Mark I reissue.
     
  12. meterman

    meterman Member

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    I second the Classic 50, I owned both a 30 and a 50 and the 50 was significantly more giggable and 'pro'. With the C30 be prepared to change speakers and tubes, plus the cab rattles at high volumes, all fuses are internal (meaning you blow one you've got to drop the chassis to change it) and the transformers are small and cheap looking. The C50 is stouter, bigger trannies, external fuse holder, more headroom and 'bigger' tone. Of course tubes and speakers help that one too....

    The C50 stays clean almost all the way up the clean channel and the drive channel is usable but not great. The C50 would be louder than a DRRI for sure but if you are using pedals for dirt it shouldn't be an issue...

    But for clean, you may prefer the Fender HotRod series, crappy OD channels but very nice cleans, marginally better than the Peaveys...
     
  13. gushtone

    gushtone Silver Supporting Member

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    Reverend Kingsnake, though they are starting to fetch $750 or more nowadays, you can still find the occasional one for under $700. Switchblade type of amp. Not the end-all/be-all, but really solid tones and super flexible, ridiculously light and very big sounding on the 60 watt setting and plenty of girth at reasonable volumes 20 watts. Plenty loud for bigger stages and quiet enough for small ones.
    Peace...
     
  14. soli528

    soli528 Silver Supporting Member

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    I bought a used Hot Rod Deluxe for $350 and sold it three years later for $300. Look around and you can find them in that range. You may not ever use the dirt channel (it's pretty crappy in stock configuration) but down the road you could drop another couple hundred into Omega mods and have a very versatile amp. The Hot Rod clean channel is classic fender, so if you're trying to meld with a DR that'll work nicely. The 40W are damn loud and there's a lot of headroom.
     
  15. mwc2112

    mwc2112 Supporting Member

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    Since you say you don't care about distortion, I'd recommend the Fender Blues Deluxe or a used 65' Deluxe Reverb RI.
     
  16. SRVTWO

    SRVTWO Member

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    The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe has a great clean channel and I agree that the overdrive channels suck. It is very loud for forty watts (it actually was too loud for most of my gig situations but I was going for tube breakup and its pretty loud by then). One thing I would suggest is to replace the stock speaker. At higher volumes they mush out and lose clarity. I replaced mine with a EVM 12L and it was awesome. The EV is more efficient as well, so even more headroom. About $400 for a used HR Deluxe another $100 - 200 for a good speaker and you have a great gigable amp.
    Mike
     
  17. nuno81291

    nuno81291 Member

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    ceriatone ceriatone ceriatone!!!
     
  18. twangbanger

    twangbanger Supporting Member

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    might want to look for a old Blackface fender Bandmaster and a used Avatar 2x12 on ebay. bandmasters can still be had cheap and sound great! Good luck.
     
  19. SkydogFan81

    SkydogFan81 Member

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    anything by Ceriatone
     
  20. DICKIE C

    DICKIE C Member

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    Another vote for the HRD; I owned one for a few years, the od channel does suck, but the cleans are pretty good. It takes pedals well imo, I used an original ts808, gave it more of a Marshally sound. I personally didn't like it but for what you are describing/looking for, it fits. BTW, I spent mucho time w/both the C30 and C50 and did not like the clean channel on either of them.
     

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