Buying A Boutique Amp Without Hearing It First.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by vds5000, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. vds5000

    vds5000 Member

    Messages:
    2,009
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    I recently bought a Top Hat head over the internet. Here's the thing - not only have I not heard that particular amp, but I've never even tried out any Top Hat. I just went by my gut feeling, and all the user comments I could find about that amp online. I've done this before when I bought my Bruno, and I love that amp, but one thing that just hit me is that the amp I just purchased (Emplexador Mk2) is, from what I've read, a hot-rodded Marshall Plexi clone. So is my Bruno, which means that there is a good chance that the two may sound quite similar.

    Has anyone else out there done the same thing, or am I the only fool?

    In any case, I'm picking the TH up tomorrow and we'll see. If they do sound similar, I'm gonna have to unload one - this sucks!
     
  2. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

    Messages:
    2,348
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    British Columbia
    Look on the positive side. You get to try two amps and keep the better sounding one.
     
  3. mrmuzikhead

    mrmuzikhead Member

    Messages:
    654
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Location:
    ON Canada
    I think if you do good research and don't believe everthing you read (read between the lines) sometimes your gut can tell you a great deal. I've taken leaps of faith on many occassions so you're not the only fool. Luckily most of the times my instincts are pretty accurate for me. A review is only as good as the reviewer.
     
  4. Veritas

    Veritas Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,605
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2007
    By all accounts, you're getting a killer amp. The first version Emplexador is great, and V2 by all accounts is a significant step up. I'd be surprised if you weren't happy with your purchase.
     
  5. XKnight

    XKnight Member

    Messages:
    11,095
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    There are so many great amp builders around that's its almost impossible to try out all the different amps before buying. Even if you live in a major Metro area chances are there will only be a few shops that carry high end amps. So, we really have no choice but to buy sight unseen based on reviews, sound clips and word of mouth. It's the same with boutique guitars as well.
     
  6. Keld

    Keld Member

    Messages:
    992
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    PDX
    I did a similar thing recently with an Elmwood Modena - and I'm VERY happy. The price was good and I figured I could also turn it around with minimal loss on my part.

    Sometimes I guess you just have to go for it, and hope it all works out...

    Good luck!
     
  7. KeithC

    KeithC Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,308
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    If you live in an area like mine you just won't ever get a chance to try them unless you travel quite a way.
    So, I have bought quite a few boutique amps without trying them.
    I listen to clips even though they can be misleading admittedly.
    Read reviews everywhere I can and consider what "type" of circuit it is and the features.

    That's all I can do!
    My latest "gamble" was on a 4 month old Tone King Meteor II.
    I just love it. It sounds great at home but really shines in a band volume situation.
     
  8. cg

    cg Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,778
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    St Paul, MN
    I have done this probably 20+ times - it's great fun to sample all of the wonderful amps out there.
     
  9. picnic

    picnic Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,293
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Location:
    Jersey Shore or Ft Lauderdale
    Some amps I have bought had YouTube sound clips to hear samples. buying an amp unheard and by reputation only is a gamble. I have won some and lost some.
    Bogner Metropolis Winner Real thick, syrupy, 3-D tones and nice OD
    Allen Accomplice winner well thought out and built Sounded wonderful
    Sommatone Roaring 40 Sounded great, but I'm not a marshally type. Sold it
    Koch Twintone Nice surprise great sounding amp with some good features
    Carr Rambler I like it, not love it. Great amp but I'm thinking of letting it go.
    Fargen Blackbird 40 wonderful Fendery sounds Winner!

    Half the fun for me is searching for an amp for sale that I think I might like. Getting and playing it for a year or so and moving on. No tone quest thing going on here, just having fun fun sampling what's out there.
     
  10. Tone Disciple

    Tone Disciple Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,426
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Location:
    Deep in the Heart of Texas
    Sometimes you have to buy to try!
     
  11. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,503
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Reno
    And buy, and buy and buy....:jo
     
  12. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

    Messages:
    2,348
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    British Columbia
    Buying a used amp is like doing a rental with a huge security deposit. But often, when you are done, you get the full deposit back and find the rental was free.:dude
     
  13. Whoopysnorp

    Whoopysnorp Member

    Messages:
    179
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    I bought my Mesa Studio Preamp without ever having been in the same room with one. Now it's the cornerstone of my sound.
     
  14. TREV FLINT

    TREV FLINT Member

    Messages:
    785
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    I did the same thing with my Top Hat Club Royale. Now, after understanding how a Class A amp works and learning how to use the Top Hat eq section I am so happy I made that purchase. I love what I am hearing.:AOK
     
  15. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

    Messages:
    3,541
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Location:
    San Antonio, Tx
    +1

    Agreed!
     
  16. MartinC

    MartinC Member

    Messages:
    2,596
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sydney
    I am extremely risk averse. I've only bought 1 piece of gear without trying first, which was a custom order Suhr Classic. I had tried someone else's Classic, Classic T and Pro Series. Oh, and I've just ordered a Zendrive based on clips and threads.

    I'd only buy an amp without trying one first if it was a clone of something I had tried with an overwhelming majority of reviews saying "it's better". Like a Super Reverb clone or similar.

    Hope the Top Hat works out!
     
  17. LaXu

    LaXu Member

    Messages:
    2,777
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    Finland
    It's always a bit of a gamble. I had only heard clips from my two amps (Diezel Einstein and Egnater Tourmaster) but when I lucked out with those. Had a Stephenson LJ10 I bought without hearing and it was too much of a blues machine for my needs though it did sound really good for that.
     
  18. Ricky_Rockhardo

    Ricky_Rockhardo Member

    Messages:
    1,812
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Well look at it this way, now your thread here can be used as an ad for the one you don't want to keep.
     
  19. trisonic

    trisonic Member

    Messages:
    13,164
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    NJ out of England
    I always used to say that if you were going to be dropping a couple of grand or higher on an amp (or guitar) that it is worthwhile getting an air ticket and going to visit the workshop where they are made to try some out - but these days you can spend a couple of grand on an air ticket......
    Alternatively it's definitely worth checking out Amp Fests (one in LA in October for example). Worth flying into because you can try out a large selection of different amps - plus you can often pick one up cheaply because they don't want to ship them back to their place again.

    Best, Pete.
     
  20. bikerdude2

    bikerdude2 Member

    Messages:
    870
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    Upstate, NY
    It's not so bad when you buy used, as if the amps not for you, you can get most of your $$$ back.
     

Share This Page