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Help Me Find a Gigging Amp + Cab

Messages
172
Tired of fighting with my HRDlx, looking for a new amp head and cab.

Prefer American voicing. Should have nice harmonic musical cleans loud but not be shrill.

Do not need bedroom level.

Need good cleans, good OD, don't need metal distortion.

Should sound good loud, be able to cut through an aggressive drummer, strong bass, keyboards and vocals.

Should be at home with range of styles-- 80s covers, classic rock, current Indie and Garage.

My main guitar is a PRS CU24.

Head: Looking for 40-60 Watt range. Tubes of course.

Cab: Prefer 2x12, vertical if possible, want at least one speaker off the floor.

Budget: $2500 total, maybe a bit more, thinking $1500 amp + $1000 cab.

Boogie Express Plus 5:50 head seems like one option, would need to figure out a cab. (Thoughts?)

Other ideas?
 

gman1951

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,901
This:

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/1385816&highlight=carol+triptik

A bit more than you have budgeted, but well worth the price!! I have a Triptik with a Forte 112 3D cabinet with a Scholz speaker in it and it easily covers all of your requirements as far as musical styles + much more! This is also the newer version with the updated footswitch that uses a standard XLR to XLR cable (a $150 upgrade, I know because I just had it done to mine).

I have gone through MANY amps over the last ten years looking for the features, and tonal response evident in the Triptik. While it is a bit more $ than many amps out there, I considered ALL of the money I've wasted looking for tonal bliss and I could've easily bought several more Carol Anns with the money I've spent pursuing tonal perfection.

FWIW, I had a Boogie 5:50 Express and was completely underwhelmed. Sold it after a month and never regretted it (and I generally love Mesa products).
 

jerryfan6

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,372
I don't think you need to spend that much on a cab. Check out Avatar...you can get a killer 2x12 for much less than $1000.
 

freaksho

Member
Messages
3,998
sounds like you definitely need a master volume. but do you need it to switch channels or would you be ok turning dials to go back and forth between clean and dirty (single channel)? either way that's a solid budget and we should def be able to come up with something good.

maybe a few more words about what you didn't like about your HRD would help. how was it 'fighting' you?

and i agree: no need for a $1k cab budget. $500 would be plenty and put the extra into the head if needed. Avatar is a great sturdy choice. and there are others too.

either way, i agree a used Carol-Ann would def be sweeeeet but i dunno if it can be found for $2k. but maybe. used CAE might work though. and if single channel is ok then Fargen is a great choice. actually if single channel is ok then you kinda have to get a JCM 800 i think.
 
Messages
172
That amp looks like it sold. Don't really know anything about them. Are they hard to find?

What didn't you like about the Express? Was it the new plus? People say the new plus is an improvement.

This:

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/1385816&highlight=carol+triptik

A bit more than you have budgeted, but well worth the price!! I have a Triptik with a Forte 112 3D cabinet with a Scholz speaker in it and it easily covers all of your requirements as far as musical styles + much more! This is also the newer version with the updated footswitch that uses a standard XLR to XLR cable (a $150 upgrade, I know because I just had it done to mine).

I have gone through MANY amps over the last ten years looking for the features, and tonal response evident in the Triptik. While it is a bit more $ than many amps out there, I considered ALL of the money I've wasted looking for tonal bliss and I could've easily bought several more Carol Anns with the money I've spent pursuing tonal perfection.

FWIW, I had a Boogie 5:50 Express and was completely underwhelmed. Sold it after a month and never regretted it (and I generally love Mesa products).
 
Messages
172
Avatar seems like an option. Also have been hearing about Bogner and Port City. But I don't want to skimp on the speakers/cab so I'm willing to spend more if I need to. Also want to make sure it works with the head I get.

I don't think you need to spend that much on a cab. Check out Avatar...you can get a killer 2x12 for much less than $1000.
 

ahcleinad

Member
Messages
938
Avatar seems like an option. Also have been hearing about Bogner and Port City. But I don't want to skimp on the speakers/cab so I'm willing to spend more if I need to. Also want to make sure it works with the head I get.
Bogner OS 2x12 is really nice and sounds awesome, but it is a monster to transport. I currently have a Port City porter 1x12 with a Scumback H75 in it and it can definitely keep up with a drummer in a medium sized room playing at full volume. I'm running a Carmen Ghia head by the way.

There are a lot of quality cabinet makers out there also. I would suggest talking with Bob at Sourmash cabinets if you want to do something custom. And then buy speakers and load them up.
 
Messages
172
Thanks man.

I would prefer two useable channels to be able to switch between clean and dirt.

I have another thread about the HRDlx. I find it harsh and ice-picky at higher volumes.

sounds like you definitely need a master volume. but do you need it to switch channels or would you be ok turning dials to go back and forth between clean and dirty (single channel)? either way that's a solid budget and we should def be able to come up with something good.

maybe a few more words about what you didn't like about your HRD would help. how was it 'fighting' you?

and i agree: no need for a $1k cab budget. $500 would be plenty and put the extra into the head if needed. Avatar is a great sturdy choice. and there are others too.

either way, i agree a used Carol-Ann would def be sweeeeet but i dunno if it can be found for $2k. but maybe. used CAE might work though. and if single channel is ok then Fargen is a great choice. actually if single channel is ok then you kinda have to get a JCM 800 i think.
 

gman1951

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,901
That amp looks like it sold. Don't really know anything about them. Are they hard to find?

What didn't you like about the Express? Was it the new plus? People say the new plus is an improvement.
Triptik's occasionally show up on the TGP Emporium and on ebay. If you wanna find out more about Carol Ann Amps, there are a number of very informative and interesting TGP threads dedicated to Carol Ann Amps and populated by CA owners (and prospective owners). I spent a lot of time perusing these threads before I committed to buying my Triptik (and subsequent Tripr), in part, because of all of the positive interactions and opinions of the owners (and the builder, Alan Phillips, who is an active TGPer). It may be worth you having a look-see and a listen to demos on youtube because you budget could definitely accommodate a used CA. One thing I am convinced of is that my Triptik and Tripr have satisfied my GAS. I cannot foresee a time when I will EVER want to replace either amp; they are that good!

Regarding the 5:50 Express, it was an older version, not the Plus. I loved the clean channel (as I do with almost all Mesa products), but the gain channel was very harsh, brittle, and stiff sounding. I have had many Mesa products over the years (including a Mark I, Mark IV, and a Mark V, all of which are killer amps), but with the Express, I just couldn't find a usable gain tone (I don't use gain pedals at all. I depend on the amps natural gain structure to obtain my sound). Of course YMMV!

By the way, with a $2500 budget, your used options are vast! Other considerations would be any Riveras (many are sub $1K; I've had a M60, R55 112, and a Knucklehead Reverb all killer amps), a Mesa Mark IV ($12-14K), a Mesa Mark V (around $16-18K), a Bogner Shiva ($14-16K), or an EVH 5150III (the 100 watt head is far superior than the 50 watt head IMHO; I've had both). Just a few to get started.
 
Last edited:

freaksho

Member
Messages
3,998
Thanks man.

I would prefer two useable channels to be able to switch between clean and dirt.

I have another thread about the HRDlx. I find it harsh and ice-picky at higher volumes.
Cool. Well then that brings me back to my CAE suggestion. Are you familiar with them? The OD series is a real contender for you I think. Our maybe even the PT series, tho I'm not sure what those go for used.
 
Messages
172
Don't know anything about CAE. Just looked at their website and the OD-50 looks possible. But I'd need to learn more about them.

The Carol Ann OD2 50w also looks very interesting.

Also been thinking about the 5:50+ or even the MKV.

Still looking for other suggestions!

Cool. Well then that brings me back to my CAE suggestion. Are you familiar with them? The OD series is a real contender for you I think. Our maybe even the PT series, tho I'm not sure what those go for used.
 

freaksho

Member
Messages
3,998
. . . The Carol Ann OD2 50w also looks very interesting.
hmmm, you don't say. well, well . . . that just happens to be my main amp now and i really love it. tone and feel are just stellar and natural. no weirdness or anything. and the controls are just what i need. though if i had the money i would consider going OD3 just to have control over the lead boost volume, but for now i'm just using a clean boost in the fx loop. i'll tell you the journey that led me to CA - ignoring the major missteps, here is my progression towards classic Marshally dirt channel with a high headroom clean channel:

Marshall 2204 (JMP version), essentially the JCM800

raw awesome Marshallness, kinda bright & thin at medium volumes, but i got tired of changing amp settings between songs to get clean or dirty (and only pedals during songs) so i decided i really do need a 2 channel amp.

Bogner Shiva (6L6, bright switch version)
awesome. beefier than the 800 but still in the ballpark, and very very nice thick cleans. and the controls were exactly what i needed, with nothing i didn't. ultimately the dirt channel was voiced just a bit more modern than i wanted. need more vintage/classic & raw. but really awesome and a very viable option for you i'd say. they go for peanuts used (like $1200).

Bogner Goldfinger 45
also awesome. more vintage than the Shiva and even better clean channel imo. only real downside was that it's way too complicated for me, with too many features and controls. i know this sounds stupid but i kinda hate amps that look like a cockpit. it's just the way it is. loved the tones though. would have kept it if i hadn't stumbled on a TGP guy who desperately wanted a fancy new guitar and was dumping his . . .

Carol-Ann OD2, Mk 2, gain boost
. . . priced to sell fast. and it did, 5 mintues after he posted it. right place at the the right time! anyway this one sounds and feels better than any channel switcher/MV amp i've ever had - a lot like a cranked nmv amp. just so natural. i've have only played it with a drummer once so far though (still trying to put a band together since moving to DC) so i suppose the jury is still kinda out. but if anything about the voicing ends up not quite what i need in a band mix i'll definitely try to stay in the CA line, cash permitting. the only trouble i've had is that some of my pedals are noisy in the fx loop (all reverbs and analog choruses i've tried, plus my cherished Diamond Trem) but i'm working with Alan to resolve this. he's awesome to deal with by the way. it's so cool to be able to work so closely with the amp maker. if you can stretch your budget i highly recommend CA, as do all the other devoted customers here.
 

Teledeluxe77

Member
Messages
368
Immix Eleven is starting to gain some traction They have a VS30 that sounds amazing and American series in the works.
 
Messages
172
Thing is, I prefer American voicing, so I'm leaning more toward 6L6 amps. I wonder how I can try all of these options? Do people just buy these boutique amps without trying them out??
 

freaksho

Member
Messages
3,998
Thing is, I prefer American voicing, so I'm leaning more toward 6L6 amps. I wonder how I can try all of these options? Do people just buy these boutique amps without trying them out??
yeah, they often do. sometimes there is no other choice. that's why its good to buy used and minimize your losses if you have to sell (you still eat shipping though). when i lived in Chicago i had some great music stores where i could try things. it was really nice. it's how i bought my Orange and my Bogner Shiva (tried in the store then bought used). but i bought the Goldfinger and the Caro-Ann OD2 w/o trying (again, used in both cases).

anyway if you kinda have your heart set on 6L6, then both the Shiva and the OD2 should remain on your radar. but don't make too much of power tube type. most say that the overall circuit design has a much greater impact on tone, regardless of power tubes.
 
Messages
172
Ok, I'm looking carefully at the following--

Bogner Shiva
Bogner Goldfinger 45
Carol-Ann OD2 50W
Mesa Boogie Express plus 5:50
Mesa Boogie MkV

Need to look more carefully at the Rivera heads, seems like a lot of them are out of production, and are bigger wattage than I want.

Still not sure about CAE OD-50, doing some research.

Ruling out Marshall 2204 because really prefer 2 channels (at least). Any others that should be on this list? I can play the boogies locally but probably not the others. If a good deal on any of these comes up I may
 
Messages
172
Ok, I think I'm down to considering these amps. My OP lays out my general needs. Some of these I'd have to buy used to stay in my $1500 budget.

In addition, I'd like to be able to turn on/off the FX loop with the footswitch, and also I'd like to have the option of having the FX loop off with one channel and then on when I use the footswitch to change to the other channel-- I often use effects in the loop for lead and want to hit one switch to engage gain and effects.

Anyone know which of these can do this, and generally which has the most versatile built-in amp pedal options (like reverb on/off, etc)?

Thanks for all the help!

Bogner Shiva
Bogner Goldfinger 45
Carol-Ann OD2 50W
Mesa Boogie Express plus 5:50
Mesa Boogie MkV
 

Carol-AnnAmps

Member
Messages
4,856
Ok, I think I'm down to considering these amps. My OP lays out my general needs. Some of these I'd have to buy used to stay in my $1500 budget.

In addition, I'd like to be able to turn on/off the FX loop with the footswitch, and also I'd like to have the option of having the FX loop off with one channel and then on when I use the footswitch to change to the other channel-- I often use effects in the loop for lead and want to hit one switch to engage gain and effects.

Anyone know which of these can do this, and generally which has the most versatile built-in amp pedal options (like reverb on/off, etc)?

Thanks for all the help!

Bogner Shiva
Bogner Goldfinger 45
Carol-Ann OD2 50W
Mesa Boogie Express plus 5:50
Mesa Boogie MkV
The OD2 won't do this as stock. THe Tucana 3 will, the foot controller on that amp is programmable and allows you to set how you want the efx loop assigned with regards to the channels and it stores the assignment in mrmory. Problem is you prob won't find one used and if you do it will be over your budget. An OD3/3r/Triptik/Trip-R or Tucana 2 can all be upgraded with that foot controller, but it will cost you $200 on to[ of the price of the amp, finding any of those models under $1500 is prob going to be difficult though they will be closer than a Tuc 3.
Bear in mind the CA is the odd ball in your list being 100% boutique compared to the others being production amps, that carries a price premium. But you also don't see the owners of the other Companies taking an interest and offering input on here either....right ?
 






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