Combo Grab & Go... that has decent headroom and is a killer pedal platform?

tinkercity

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5,414
I've been dipping my toe into the grab & go world of combo amps lately. I've been through several boutique versions of the BlackFace Fender Princeton Reverb circuit and have found that while they sound incredible clean and for recording, I'm not necessarily getting the results I want live, in a room or stage.

I tend to love big low end, open tones and a very even an uncolored EQ spectrum. One of my all time favorite amps is the Blankenship Twinplex, which is a 120w clean platform which runs into a 1x12 cab with an EV12L. Lot's of headroom, fat and clean which thunderous low end.

Without breaking the laws of physics --- is there anything out there in a smaller combo that can hang with a band, be an incredible pedal platform and be in that 20-30w world? I know that having 2x12's or even 2x10's would widen the scope but, I'm looking for less weight and cartage.

*** Tend to look more at the Fender world.. black face or otherwise... Looking for an ideally close-ish tone to my Twinplex but in a smaller package. Fat, clean, wide in the EQ and take pedals --- especially distortion and fuzz extremely well.

Typical thoughts are a Deluxe Reverb or even the new Landau Hot Rod... but it's pretty hefty and might be too loud.

Extra points for something that tracks well in the studio. Basically putting this out there to see if there's just anything I haven't thought about.

Cheers!
 
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Scuttlebutt

Silver Supporting Member
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670
I don't know if you can get "big low end" with "decent headroom" and light in the same package. In my mind "big low end" with headroom means big iron and big iron isn't light. A neo speaker might help get you there. Have you looked into the Samamp 23-Verb?
 

blowery

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2,319
Well if you are open for the SS, then the Quilters are excellent pedal platforms.

The Quilter HD 12, make sure it's the HD combo version.
*Excellent Pedal Platform
*Great tones, "tube-like" feel and response (it really does feel different than any other SS I've tried)
*21lbs
*That celestion speaker has been stated as sounding VERY similar to an EVM12L
*Good tones at all levels with PLENTY of headroom should you need it.
*Lots of low end available
*FX loop
 

tinkercity

Silver Supporting Member
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5,414
I don't know if you can get "big low end" with "decent headroom" and light in the same package. In my mind "big low end" with headroom means big iron and big iron isn't light. A neo speaker might help get you there. Have you looked into the Samamp 23-Verb?
I totally agree. My Twinplex has an enormous iron and totally agree with that. I'm just looking to sort of bridge the gap I guess... Like I mentioned I know I'm not going to break the laws of physics here ;)

Well if you are open for the SS, then the Quilters are excellent pedal platforms.

The Quilter HD 12, make sure it's the HD combo version.
*Excellent Pedal Platform
*Great tones, "tube-like" feel and response (it really does feel different than any other SS I've tried)
*21lbs
*That celestion speaker has been stated as sounding VERY similar to an EVM12L
*Good tones at all levels with PLENTY of headroom should you need it.
*Lots of low end available
*FX loop
A good friend has a quilter head and cab and while it's cool and super light totally bullet proof... there's just something completely lacking in that platform to me. The tone doesn't jump out like it does from a tube amp. No hate on Quilter... I'm just not looking to go down that route.

Very much a possibility... just looking for other options I may have not thought of... amps I may not know about etc... I've owned a few DRRI's in the past. Spent time modding them and they've always been cool.
 

tinkercity

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,414
Budda SD18.
80's Music Man amp or Mesa 5:25.
Should have mentioned... I prefer it sit within the Fender Black Face world. Or at least a fat, clean, wide spectrum tone. My ideal tone is the Blankenship Twinplex which is basically a very good (non ice picky) Fender Twin Reverb mixed with some Marshall Plex aspects.

I'm thinking something like the Landau sig HRD would be the closest, but it may be too big especially with the 2x12's...
 

tinkercity

Silver Supporting Member
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5,414
Carr Rambler 1X12? I think they sound big and take pedals very well.
Been looking at Carr amps. Specifically the Rambler and the Viceroy. I had an Imperial many years ago and loved a lot of the qualities.
 

katuna

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,796
Been looking at Carr amps. Specifically the Rambler and the Viceroy. I had an Imperial many years ago and loved a lot of the qualities.
Yes, I've used an Imperial as my main amp for years and it gets a huge sound, but I think Ramblers are certainly close to that hugeness.
 

Johnny Alien

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,583
Should have mentioned... I prefer it sit within the Fender Black Face world. Or at least a fat, clean, wide spectrum tone. My ideal tone is the Blankenship Twinplex which is basically a very good (non ice picky) Fender Twin Reverb mixed with some Marshall Plex aspects.

I'm thinking something like the Landau sig HRD would be the closest, but it may be too big especially with the 2x12's...
I think there are a few Music Man amps that would get you there. The 5:25 wouldn't but the 5:50 would. I didn't suggest it as I thought size was very important. The only issue with Blackface Fender tone is that you don't get that low end you like until you get the bigger amps. 6L6 amps are just sweeter with more low end than 6V6 amps. The right answer to this is a Pro Reverb. The pre-master volume 70's ones are still relatively cheap and sound fantastic. To me it is the perfect Fender amp BUT it is not as grab and go as a DR or HRD so I took that off the suggestion list too.

But as a huge fan of that tone myself I really found the Mesa 5:50 to be a great amp. It does the Fender blackface tone well, has great cleans, takes pedals well and also has great gain if you ever need it. Plus it's fairly light and compact.
 

joshofsorts

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,862
I think the Tone King Sky King and Carr Rambler would be good options to look into. I have never played a Rambler myself but the demo tones I have heard are brilliant.

I do have a Sky King and it is really seems to check the boxes of what you are looking for + add a lot of versatility. The 1x12 in the larger cabinet makes for big low end. When I first bought the amp I also had a Fender Super Reverb RI on hand that I had been playing for years and I was struck by how in comparison the Super Reverb sounded muddy or less distinct in the mid frequencies, whereas the Sky King sounded brilliantly clear with a little more mid content (which makes it sit better in the band mix). Since you mentioned fuzz, I am amazed at how well the Sky King melds with my EH Big Muff. I have had the Big Muff for years and it has never really bonded well with the Blackface-style amps I have had over the years. I have always used it, but knew that I was going to disappear in the mix somewhat when I stepped on the thing in the band context. I would often mix a Pro Co Rat in the mix to add some mids, but this did not fix the problem completely. But with the Sky King (especially in Ultralinear mode), my Big Muff sounds great & I don't get lost in the mix. In fact, I like it so much I am even starting to use it more than I did before with my current band. With the Super Reverb, the Big Muff always sounded like an effect on top of the amp sound, but with the Sky King it melds right in with the amp tone in a nice way. The Lead channel is more tweed/Marshall, and when playing alone the mids of the channel sound weird to me (after 10 years of playing scooped Blackface-style amps), but I cannot deny how it sits perfectly in the mix in the band context. Still experimenting with the Lead side of the amp, but honestly I think I will end up bonding with it quite nicely (once my ears get over themselves). Oddly enough, I actually like the Big Muff paired with the rhythm channel more than with the lead channel, despite the extra mids the Lead channel adds.

It is a handful of watts more than you mentioned, but the built in attenuator takes care of that, making it great for home or with the band. Also, it might be a couple of pounds heavier than the other amps mentioned, but between the large transformers and the attenuator's transformers, there is a lot of iron in the amp for it's weight/size and it is not difficult to lug.
 
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tinkercity

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,414
I think the Tone King Sky King and Carr Rambler would be good options to look into. I have never played a Rambler myself but the demo tones I have heard are brilliant.

I do have a Sky King and it is really seems to check the boxes of what you are looking for + add a lot of versatility. The 1x12 in the larger cabinet makes for big low end. When I first bought the amp I also had a Fender Super Reverb RI on hand that I had been playing for years and I was struck by how in comparison the Super Reverb sounded muddy or less distinct in the mid frequencies, whereas the Sky King sounded brilliantly clear with a little more mid content (which makes it sit better in the band mix). Since you mentioned fuzz, I am amazed at how well the Sky King melds with my EH Big Muff. I have had the Big Muff for years and it has never really bonded well with the Blackface-style amps I have had over the years. I have always used it, but knew that I was going to disappear in the mix somewhat when I stepped on the thing in the band context. I would often mix a Pro Co Rat in the mix to add some mids, but this did not fix the problem completely. But with the Sky King (especially in Ultralinear mode), my Big Muff sounds great & I don't get lost in the mix. In fact, I like it so much I am even starting to use it more than I did before with my current band. With the Super Reverb, the Big Muff always sounded like an effect on top of the amp sound, but with the Sky King it melds right in with the amp tone in a nice way. The Lead channel is more tweed/Marshall, and when playing alone the mids of the channel sound weird to me (after 10 years of playing scooped Blackface-style amps), but I cannot deny how it sits perfectly in the mix in the band context. Still experimenting with the Lead side of the amp, but honestly I think I will end up bonding with it quite nicely (once my ears get over themselves). Oddly enough, I actually like the Big Muff paired with the rhythm channel more than with the lead channel, despite the extra mids the Lead channel adds.

It is a handful of watts more than you mentioned, but the built in attenuator takes care of that, making it great for home or with the band. Also, it might be a couple of pounds heavier than the other amps mentioned, but between the large transformers and the attenuator's transformers, there is a lot of iron in the amp for it's weight/size and it is not difficult to lug.
Definitely an option.. Thanks for this. I'm looking into the Carr amps as well as the Tone Kings. I know a few guys here in LA that love the Tone King amps... What you're describing really jumps at me. Regarding the watts --- I'm never one to shy away from more clean headroom. Just usually the higher the rating the heavier the amp is. My main squeeze is a 120w head so I'm certainly not looking to have the amp be something that is breaking up all the time.
 

joshofsorts

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,862
Definitely an option.. Thanks for this. I'm looking into the Carr amps as well as the Tone Kings. I know a few guys here in LA that love the Tone King amps... What you're describing really jumps at me. Regarding the watts --- I'm never one to shy away from more clean headroom. Just usually the higher the rating the heavier the amp is. My main squeeze is a 120w head so I'm certainly not looking to have the amp be something that is breaking up all the time.
Since we are in the same city, you are welcome to try out mine sometime.
 




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