Most clean headroom

dpgreek

Member
Messages
9,556
Looking for an amp suggestion. I want a combo amp with 1 or 2 x 12s. Non Fender... but with a lot of clean headroom for pedals. I was thinking more EL 34 or 84 (but those break up quicker), or even KT88. I think I'm not a fan so much of 6L6.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,654
What amp are you using now, and what do you like/dislike about it? That will help us make good suggestions.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
6,659
Roland JC-120
Yup. Or some other high powered solid state amp. That's the best choice for clean headroom. Just about all tube amps create some distortion. That's generally why so many guitarists favor them. But not all. If clean headroom is your thing, then I'd look to solid state. That's what many lap steel players do, and for good reason. Check out the Peavey Session 115. It's 500 watts of clean headroom!
 
Messages
1,103
As noted by others, if you could give more details on what you currently have, what styles of music you intend to play, etc, would help to provide better suggestions...

However, in lieu of any of that info, I would recommend a Reeves Custom 50 1x12 combo (you said you wanted a combo, right?). It's based on the vintage Hiwatt Custom 50 (DR-504) head:

http://www.reevesamps.com/amplifiers/custom-50-and-custom-100/

I have a '78 Hiwatt DR-103 (100 watt head) and it is the benchmark of clean tone at anything but insane levels. Yes it overdrives, but you have to get it to unusable volume levels to get there. At levels normally used for jamming and performing in clubs and small to medium sized venues, Hiwatts and Reeves Customs are clean machines. I use mine pretty much exclusively with drive pedals, or as a slave in a stereo configuration with a Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50 where the drive tone comes from the DSL's FX send and goes to the Hiwatt.

From Reeves:

Constructed to the exact same specifications as 1970's British design with Partridge replica transformers, dual channel pre-amp with 4 Inputs (2 Normal, 2 Bright). Normal volume and bright volume, bass, middle, treble, presence and master volume controls. Like all Reeves Amplifiers, the Custom 50 is entirely hand assembled using only the finest quality components assembled on a Garolite turret board utilizing "Mil-Spec" wiring techniques.

Following closely to the original design the Reeves Custom 50 is the new leader in high headroom-low distortion amplification. If you are looking for an amplifier as solid base for laying your pedals on top of - then the Custom 50 will provide dynamic impact, sound stage focus and detail.



Independent Review:

"There’s no doubt that the Reeves Custom deserves its place in the Dave Reeves family tree. It has that typical scooped mids tone with all the headroom you’ll need, tight punchy lower end and silky smooth highs but also capable of producing the warmest tube overdrive imaginable with the right settings – spot on the old Sound City and Hiwatts." - Gilmourish.com


Cheers
TRJB
 
Last edited:

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,047
Check out the new Boss Katana 100w combo's. Tipped the scales enough for this old tube snob to move out my tube amps and it is as loud & clean as you want it to be...but it has power scaling too. Feels great under the fingers and it's inexpensive and light. Bang for the buck is off the scale ;).
 

Imperial_Tone

All things with a Maple Cap
Messages
1,187
Although you said you aren't much of a Fender fan; you might be inclined to take a look at a Jim Kelley (6V6) or even a Suhr Bella (6L6). The clean headroom on both of these amps are brilliant; little partial to the Kelley for verb and overall a more unique amp (my next amp purchase). The bella would be my go to strictly for pedal use, as it is a blank slate.
 

dpgreek

Member
Messages
9,556
Right now I have a Crate Vintage Club 50. I use humbucker guitars too and have a bunch of dirt pedals. I dig both channels and really like the clean. It's based on a blackface fender but has el84s. But the more I try and use a two channel amp, the more I realize that I like dirt pedals and having different flavors than one dedicated dirt channel on an amp. So a single clean channel amp with versatility and headroom would be optimal at this point. I got the amp cheap but eventually want to get a big boy amp. I've had a Fender HRD, Marhsall DSL 401, Peavey Classic 30 and for a short time a Vox. I've looked into some Dr. Zs and Laneys too.

I've heard some good things about solid states, but am gun shy since I've heard some really crappy ones. I'm partial to tubes cuz that's what I've always played, but I'm open to suggestions. Thanks for the ones given so far.
 

mcknigs

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,267
If the point is to use pedals into a clean amp, then it sounds like you can do that with the amp you have, just by using the clean channel, no? If the point is to move up from a Crate amp, I would think there are more possibilities then we could list, even if we eliminate Fenders. Old Ampegs, Traynors, and Sunns can be found in the 50-100 watt range and would have plenty of clean headroom.

Why not Fender?
 

dpgreek

Member
Messages
9,556
Fenders just have this sound that I'm not the biggest fan of. I know a lot of amps are based on them...but maybe it's the ones I've had (Deville and HRD) that didn't sound too good. I don't know. And I never use the reverb either. Just never been a big fan. The clean channel of crate works good, but yes, I'm looking to move up from Crate and get into a one channel clean amp. Don't need a second channel or reverb / tremolo if I don't use. Id like an FX loop for sure too for delays, etc..
 

BlueRiff

Senior Member
Messages
7,745
As noted by others, if you could give more details on what you currently have, what styles of music you intend to play, etc, would help to provide better suggestions...

However, in lieu of any of that info, I would recommend a Reeves Custom 50 1x12 combo (you said you wanted a combo, right?). It's based on the vintage Hiwatt Custom 50 (DR-504) head:

http://www.reevesamps.com/amplifiers/custom-50-and-custom-100/

I have a '78 Hiwatt DR-103 (100 watt head) and it is the benchmark of clean tone at anything but insane levels. Yes it overdrives, but you have to get it to unusable volume levels to get there. At levels normally used for jamming and performing in clubs and small to medium sized venues, Hiwatts and Reeves Customs are clean machines. I use mine pretty much exclusively with drive pedals, or as a slave in a stereo configuration with a Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50 where the drive tone comes from the DSL's FX send and goes to the Hiwatt.

From Reeves:

Constructed to the exact same specifications as 1970's British design with Partridge replica transformers, dual channel pre-amp with 4 Inputs (2 Normal, 2 Bright). Normal volume and bright volume, bass, middle, treble, presence and master volume controls. Like all Reeves Amplifiers, the Custom 50 is entirely hand assembled using only the finest quality components assembled on a Garolite turret board utilizing "Mil-Spec" wiring techniques.

Following closely to the original design the Reeves Custom 50 is the new leader in high headroom-low distortion amplification. If you are looking for an amplifier as solid base for laying your pedals on top of - then the Custom 50 will provide dynamic impact, sound stage focus and detail.



Independent Review:

"There’s no doubt that the Reeves Custom deserves its place in the Dave Reeves family tree. It has that typical scooped mids tone with all the headroom you’ll need, tight punchy lower end and silky smooth highs but also capable of producing the warmest tube overdrive imaginable with the right settings – spot on the old Sound City and Hiwatts." - Gilmourish.com


Cheers
TRJB
Joe's got a point here - Reeves is amazing. I don't own one but so many classic recordings I love with classic strong headroom seem to tuen up with Hiwatts on the tracks. You'll be blown away by the demos on their site. Yes - I have considered liquidating the few amps I have toward a Reeves.
 

Guitar Josh

Resident Curmudgeon
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
19,766
It's amazing that at least three members didn't bother to read the OP and recommended SS amps.

Anyway...you would love the Groove Tubes Soul-O Amps. They are no longer made but come up pretty frequently. They were built to be a clean pedal platform. I get great tones out of mine.
 

captaincanada

Member
Messages
431
I use a Mesa Boogie Mark III 1x12 combo for this exact purpose: maximum clean headroom in a 1x12 tube combo. Works great for that. I use it as a clean platform for pedals and also use it with just my archtop for jazz gigs, works great for whatever I throw at it, can fill any room with ease... Another good option might be an earlier Boogie Mark II 100 watt combo.
 

Tone Meister

Member
Messages
3,266
Roland JC-120

Yup. Or some other high powered solid state amp. That's the best choice for clean headroom. Just about all tube amps create some distortion. That's generally why so many guitarists favor them. But not all. If clean headroom is your thing, then I'd look to solid state. That's what many lap steel players do, and for good reason. Check out the Peavey Session 115. It's 500 watts of clean headroom!

Came here to suggest these two amps. Yeep, two headroom monsters right there.
Roland JC120 and Peavey Session 115 - if you run out of headroom with either of those, then you have a much larger appetite that I do.
 

Tone Meister

Member
Messages
3,266
It's amazing that at least three members didn't bother to read the OP and recommended SS amps.

I read the original post AND the thread title and still recommended a solid state amp. There isn't a great deal of specific detail in the OP so that leaves the field wide open for suggestions.

While the OP did mention power tube type preferences, he did not say the suggestions had to be limited to tube amps. The title of the tread is "Most clean headroom" so we took that seriously, and since no tube amp will produce the clean headroom of a similar-wattage solid state, those in the know will likely have suggestions that include SS amps.
 

Blue Strat

Member
Messages
30,722
It's worth knowing which 6L6 amps the OP didn't like before writing off 6L6s completely. Also, which amps he liked or disliked and why.

"Clean headroom for pedals" doesn't necessarily mean he needs and amp that stays clean at loud auditorium levels if he's playing mostly at home or small clubs.
 




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