Bogner Helios vs. Friedman Smallbox

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by pedrozepelim, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. pedrozepelim

    pedrozepelim Member

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    I'm on the fence, between these two amps.
    Unfortunately I can't try any of the two.
    Before I make up my mind, and order one of the two, I was wondering if you can explain me, based on experience, how do they differ, not in terms of versatility, features and so on, but in terms of the characteristics of the overdrive channel of the amp:

    1. How does the gain differs, in terms of amount, compression and voice?
    2. What type of tones you can get with one and with another?
    3. Can you get good tones out of a tele or a strat, or are these only Les Paul friendly?

    Thanks
     
  2. JYD

    JYD Supporting Member

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    Walked into GC Platinum here in Dallas to buy the Smallbox. Really liked it, but I heard a rawness in the clips of the Helios that I wanted from the Helios 100.

    To me, Smallbox is more compressed in the gain. I think the Helios has more gain from what I remember. I only played the SB with a Les Paul. Played my Helios with my Strat, HH Tele with coil taps, Les Paul, and Mockingbird with PAF's. Each guitars characteristics came through well with the Helios.

    Bought the Helios 100 and I was right; more raw, cut, old school Plexi Marshall in the Helios. Quite a bit more versatility in the Helios and has a great tone at lower volumes.

    Smallbox Plexi channel was awesome. The BE channel was also great.

    I think if you want a more raw Marshally tone, Helios is worth the extra scratch. Smallbox is great too. I would like to spend more time with a SB.
     
  3. trailrun100s

    trailrun100s Member

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    Helios is more vintagey and open...Smallbox it tighter and a bit more modern...

    Both are great, but the Helios is more old school Marshally...I think they each have their place depending on what you are doing...Friedman's has more of his signature to it. I could coax a lot of sounds out of either with just the guitar volume.

    I have played all three(50 & 100 Helios and SB) with my super strat...All sound good with HB's(bridge) and singles(neck/middle)...
     
  4. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    Hmm, Not sure where you get "Modern" from the Smallbox. I owned the Helios and played the Smallbox extensively. I think both have a great overdrive tone. World class actually. I would have to A/B them at the same time to come to any other conclusions.

    The clean tones I got for the SmallBox were off the charts. Some good stuff from the helios too. The Smallbox has the correct channel switching. You can go from clean to mean. The helios can't do that as well. The clean and the dirty are vastly different sounding. The clean channel on the Helios is like a different amp. I like that on the Smallbox you can switch between the plexi and hot channels.

    Helios you cannot.
     
    John 14:6 likes this.
  5. A-Mags

    A-Mags Supporting Member

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    Just curious as why you let the Helios go...
     
  6. pedrozepelim

    pedrozepelim Member

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    Listening to clips of the smallbox, I get the impression that the treble is not as present, not like Marshall like.
    Can it do Whitesnake and Guns n Roses?
    Can the Helios?
    I really like a distortion that it isn't smooth: wich of the two is grittier?
     
  7. trailrun100s

    trailrun100s Member

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    Modern(and if you notice, I said, "a bit more modern") in the sense that the SB is tighter and more compressed compared to the Helios, or my plexi, for instance...

    The Helios and SB are quite different sounding IME...

    YMMV, yada yada, FWIW, etc. etc...
     
  8. trailrun100s

    trailrun100s Member

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    The Helios
     
  9. lgehrig4

    lgehrig4 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have both and you are correct. The Helios is more present and would be better suited for those bands. The distortion can be smoother or grittier depending on the settings and the settings on the Helios are endless.

    Both amps are real nice, but if I had to choose it would be the Helios. I don't require the ability to switch between channels via footswitch so that's not a consideration on my end. The best thing about the SB though is the way you can set up the channels and switch between them. It's like having 2 Marshalls similarly voiced, but one is just hotter.
     
  10. BrentSP

    BrentSP Supporting Member

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    I own the Helios and have grown to like it after breaking in the speakers. Great amp indeed. Lots of tones in there for such a simple amp with switches. The Smallbox I would love to play. Played the DS and was blown away with that amp, so I imagine the SB and BE100 are stellar.
     
  11. ufguy73

    ufguy73 Gold Supporting Member

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    these are helpful comparisons guys...im curious if any of you have had the chqnce to compare the Helios to the Metro-Plex...i think both of these could offer something in the sweetspot im looking for
     
  12. trailrun100s

    trailrun100s Member

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    Metro-plex is even more old school plexi rawness and bite compared to the helios. It will expose your playing more than the helios. The top end of the Metro-plex has the brilliance and bite of a plexi. the helios is more refined sounding, but still open and cuts. Has a bit of the Bogner signature to the sound.

    both are very nice amps, but you really need to play them to see which fits you better.
     
  13. Tiboy

    Tiboy Member

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    Companion question. Is there a tone difference between the 50 and 100w versions of the Helios?
     
  14. trailrun100s

    trailrun100s Member

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    the 100 is bolder, and the 50 is a litter sweeter IME.
     
  15. BrentSP

    BrentSP Supporting Member

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    Wyldefan has both 50 and 100 and could give you his take. I'm not sure why or his reasoning but he was selling the 100 and keeping the 50. :dunno
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  16. BrentSP

    BrentSP Supporting Member

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    True but the 100 has a JTM30 mode also. Of course different trannies.
     
  17. ufguy73

    ufguy73 Gold Supporting Member

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    thanks, im starting to think the only way im really going to know for sure is to get an MP in my hands
     
  18. RAR

    RAR Member

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    Yeah, I figured the chances of me trying out a MetroPlex without buying it first were slim to none. I got to play the Helios 100 and I was sold. They had a Helios 50 too, but I didn't even bother since I was having a blast with the 100.
     
  19. BrentSP

    BrentSP Supporting Member

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    I'd be more interested in hearing about the SB and Helios comparisons. People that have both or did have both.
     
  20. lgehrig4

    lgehrig4 Silver Supporting Member

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    I had both. The Helios is brighter and has more gain. The SB has a real fat tone, almost too much much so you find yourself dialing down on the bass, where the Helios your edging it up. To be the best part about the SB is the way you can set up the 2 channels, one like a classic plexi and the other like a hot rodded plexi. Between these 2 channels and your guitar's volume you can go from clean to high gain seemlessly.

    The one thing that kept me from loving the SB was that it sounded sort of processed. Maybe I'm overstating this but lets just say the plexi tones don't sound as natural as a Germino or other clone. To be honest I'm kind of feeling this way about the Helios too. The more I listen to clips the more I think the Metroplex would be my thing. I don't play super high gain and I love that harmonic swirl of the good Marshall or clone. The Helios doesn't really have that. The SB didn't really have that. My Wizard MC has it and so does my Aiken Invader. My Matchless HC30 and King Cobra. See what I'm getting at?
     

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