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It's time to play "Does This Amp Exist?"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Dead Astronaut, May 22, 2020.

  1. Dead Astronaut

    Dead Astronaut Member

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    I've been a Mesa/Boogie (and Fender) guy since I learned the differences between amps, but I'd like to have something that can cop a decent range of Marshall tones – ideally Plexi up through modded 800 – if it can fit the following parameters:

    a) it's a combo
    b) it's less than 50 watts
    c) it has preamp gain/master volume
    d) it's either 2 channels or 1 with multiple modes
    e) it doesn't need to be cranked
    f) it's $1,500 or less, and the less the better.

    I gather that the DSLs are pretty fizzy in a modern/metal way, and I don't think the Origin probably has the gain range I'm looking for (sounds like it turns into pure fuzz with the gain above 7 or so). So far, the most likely candidates appear to be Friedmans, the Runt 20 and the JJ Jr. Comparisons between those, or other suggestions?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  2. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    I don't care for the Runt 20 combo. The speaker enclosure is too small and it sounds boxy to me.

    Personally I would just build a combo by bolting a BluGuitar Amp 1 Mercury Edition head on a 1x12 or 2x12 cab of your choice. Does not need to be cranked, does all kinds of Marshall tones and weighs very little.
     
  3. El Rey

    El Rey Silver Supporting Member

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    If f) & a) weren't a limiter.....the MC25 could do it for you. Although you'll swear it's more than 25W. And, the master works really well. It doesn't have to be super cranked to sound good.


    [​IMG]

    And there's nothing wrong with the Friedman stuff. I dig the little JJ JR. Not bad at all for the price.
     
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  4. Hulakatt

    Hulakatt Supporting Member

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    I haven't found the DSL series to be fizzy but I haven't played any of the RI's, just the 2000's builds. If you do find the drive channel fizzy, you could always swap in a lower gain tube to tame that aspect.
     
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  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    You are going to have a thousand boutique amp recommendations in your thread.

    Rather than add to that, I'm taking you off road into the weeds for a possible different solution to your problem:

    Run a Joyo American Sound (or Tech21 Blonde) into any amp that can play clean that you have or can get. You can certainly work the low volume breakup thing with this pedal. There is a British pedal but it doesn't get the positive reviews of the American, and the dials have many combinations to try -- and Marshall is just a Fender clone anyway, right?



    Direct to PA at a gig, no amp to cart around

    Settings range (I do find it funny he's using a clean Fender amp to demo other Fender amps)


    Or ... get one of these amps that hits your low watt, low volume, playing targets -- along with low price.
    Sageborn does a lot of old 70s Marshall playing in most of his videos, it's the tone he loves, and I think he hits it on most of these amps.



    .
     
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  6. Humble Texan Fan

    Humble Texan Fan Member

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    You could look into those modular amps, like the Syn 50 or the discontinued Randall and Egnater stuff.

    Spesking of Egnater they make sevetal quite flexible and budgetary amps.
     
  7. Dead Astronaut

    Dead Astronaut Member

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    Interesting, because the DSLs were my first thought. I've only briefly played one and didn't have much time to EQ it or anything; does the Classic Gain channel (I think that's the name) do that unique late ’60s Marshall bite? My favorite Marshalls are the 50-watt Plexis and the Super Lead Tremolo*, because I find they've got a certain high mid "rip" to the attack that, to my ears, turns over-bright and harsh in the later JMPs. I don't know if "rip" will make sense – the best Marshalls, to me, almost sound like the tone (especially on chords, especially staccato) is being torn from the speaker, and it's definitely a mid/high-mid thing, not that bright treble kerrang.

    And I actually don't care that much about an accurate JCM800 sound – never been my favorite amp – but I love the sound of various modded JCMs, usually with a longer cascade of gain stages in the preamp to smooth and thicken them a bit.

    * (Anybody happen to know how the Tremolo circuit was different from the normal SLP1959, apart, obviously, from having tremolo? I have no idea if tremolo requires a recovery gain stage like reverb, etc., but I suppose that could be part of it? There's something really special going on there, and it's darker and chunkier than most non-trem Plexis I've heard.)
     
  8. Dead Astronaut

    Dead Astronaut Member

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    I should also specify that I'm looking for a tube combo here, not pedals or modeling. As digital stuff goes, I'm quite happy with the Plexi, 800, and modded 800 patches in the Atomic Amplifire, which is my favorite modeling platform by far. I'm looking for That Tube Thing.

    (I grew up with solid state and digital gear, so I've got no prejudices there and consider all means legitimate, but what I've found is that modelers and so forth are tools, and a tube amp is an instrument. The tools are entirely legitimate, some of them do their jobs very well, and they're even preferable in certain logistical ways, but they're not really instruments, whereas a great tube amp is something you play almost as much as you play the guitar. Their tone stacks alone are little living ecosystems.)
     
  9. forgivenman

    forgivenman Member

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    Peavey Windsor Studio fits the bill
     
  10. TL;DR

    TL;DR Member

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    Budda SD 30 or 18
     
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  11. Pongo

    Pongo Member

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    In my view, the Bogner Goldfinger 45 SL offers "better than Fender" cleans and three "Bognerized Marshall" options all but the strictest purist will love. It can keep up with a band easy-peasy, but also sounds great as a practice amp.

    Unfortunately, while the GF 45 SL destroys boxes A through E of your requirements, F might bring us into unicorn territory; the Goldfinger 45s I've seen at $1,500 or less tend to be heads rather than combos, and/or the earlier 45 (non-Superlead) version of this amp. Still worth keeping an eye out for, though.
     
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  12. Dead Astronaut

    Dead Astronaut Member

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    WOW, just listened to a demo of the Superdrive 30, and it's got exactly the "ripping" quality I was trying to describe in the 50-watt Plexis. Definitely one to keep an eye on. Thanks very much!

    P.S. Any idea what the difference between a Series I and a Series II is?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  13. Hulakatt

    Hulakatt Supporting Member

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    Honestly, I worked in a store that sold mostly Marshall and Orange amps for awhile but it was still before I really got into Marshalls much. I loved plugging into the DSL 50 heads and ripping after hours, the cleans were great and full and I really liked the dirt on the Green channel, very controllable OD. The reverb was nice and the EQ was more flexible than I was used to from Fender amps.

    I did notice that I much preferred the DSL to the TSL series.

    In hindsight, the cleans are very similar to the JTM50 I built a few years ago but I've never played a 1987 or 1959 to compare to. I'm not big on bright amps and really prefer the Bass spec Marshall tones myself.
     
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  14. TL;DR

    TL;DR Member

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    Series 2 is PCB and has a mid scoop pull knob. Mine is series 2 (as are most) and it does great plexi (on the clean channel) and great modded 800 on the lead channel. It also has really nice warm cleans, if you aren’t afraid of your volume knob.
     
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  15. Dead Astronaut

    Dead Astronaut Member

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    So the Drive knob works on both channels, then?

    And do you happen to know what the "V20" version of the Superdrive is? Thanks for all the information.
     
  16. TL;DR

    TL;DR Member

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    Iirc (my SD 80 is in storage as I’m now ampless) it just worked on the lead channel. There’s almost nothing I hate more than scooped mids, so I doubt I ever used it after day 1
     
  17. Anje

    Anje Supporting Member

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    I'd look at the Friedman Runt amps.
     
  18. madhermit

    madhermit Member

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    A used Dr Z EMS combo?
    It does JTM50 to Plexi to JCM800. Also does tube rectified JCM800 which I don’t think actually exists. Killer amp. Great master volume.
    But...
    • Might be more than $1500 used.
    • It’s huge
    • It has 4 modes, but not footswitchable, not sure if that matters. Hi/Lo gain, SS/Tube Rectification.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  19. madhermit

    madhermit Member

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    Dave Friedman helped design one/some Budda amps. I forget which one though. I think it was the preamp he did.
     
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  20. Dead Astronaut

    Dead Astronaut Member

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    Did you ever happen to notice whether or not there's a major sonic difference between the 20- and 40-watt versions? I know the 40 has the double master volumes, which I don't care about at all, and the double-setting Ultra Gain channel, which I don't know if I care about. If OD1 and OD2 on Ultra Gain aren't that difference, I'd save the $150 and the 15 lbs. Any volume difference between 20 and 40 watts when both amps have 2 EL34s must, I'd think, be negligible.
     

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