PRS amps; Archon & Custom 50...any comments?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by AXEL276, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    I've been looking at both these amps, the combo's in particular.
    Anyone have them or played them enough to make a constructive comment, good /bad/ indifferent?
    I'm thinking about the 50 watt versions but might go with the 20 or 25 watt.
    Feedback would be appreciated.
     
  2. thekaiser

    thekaiser Member

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    I have an Archon 25 combo. It's fantastic and far more versatile then most people seem to think it is. The clean channel is suburb with loads of headroom and take pedals really well. The dirty channel has more gain than one could ever want I think, and still retains clarity and string to string articulation. And I can get some good crunch, and mid-gain sounds by rolling back the volume knob or using a guitar with lower output pickups, such as a strat.

    There is a known issue with the effect loop being a bit noisy with some pedals but I have never run in to this issue.

    And in case it isn't apparent, the Stealth line is just a line of cabs.
     
  3. james...

    james... Member

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    I haven't played an Archon or even listened to that many clips, but I will say I see more of them for sale than any other amp right now. They are all over Reverb, ebay, and Craigslist.

    Take from that what you will.
     
  4. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    They call the Custom 50 stealth? Must be referring to the cab I guess.
     
  5. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    I have a concern with high gain amps being "fizzy", especially at low volume. Have you encountered this?
     
  6. MacOSatch

    MacOSatch Member

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    I have Archon 50W Head and played it with different cabs. In general the drive channel sounds awesome with great bass response, tightness and articulation at the rehearsal level (with the acoustic drum set). The amp has this, for me the best, combination between raw articulate tone and sustain. Punchy when playing (muted or unmuted) power chords, at the same time with fat – and cutting through – sustaining lead notes. Very easy to set the EQ (everything noon, gain at 1 o'clock :), bright switch on.

    At home is the story a bit different. At the same settings the amp sounds "wooly" ("blanket over the speaker"). With setting treble/presence higher, it sounds better, but a bit fizzy (not so much as I experienced with EVH III 50W at living room level).

    Regarding the cabs I found:
    * 2x12 Marshall (12G-75): band level, awesome
    * 4x12 Marshall (12G-75): band level, awesome
    * 2x12 Engl (V30): band level, very good
    * 2x12 Koch (Mesa V30 + Creamback): both speaker, band level, very good
    * 2x12 Koch: both speaker, home level, good (can be a bit fizzy at higher gain)
    * 2x12 Koch: Mesa V30, home level, good (less fizzy, woody sound)
    * 2x12 Koch: Creamback, home level, good for mid gain, high gain fizzy

    Played clean, I like the bright switch off for band level, at home to dark so better with bright switch on.

    I would say, it is one of the best amps I played at band level (comparison: Mesa Roadster, Mesa Express 5:50, Koch Twintone II, Marshall JVM JS, Engl Blackmore, Engl Steve Morse, CAA PT100, Diezel Hagen, Diezel Einstein). But at home I found i.e. JVM JS better. Of course it depends of the type of musik you play. Usually I like versatile amps, because in my band projects I play(ed) mostly harder stuff (modern metal, punkrock, hard rock), at home I like to play classic stuff too (Dire Straits, Schenker, Santana, Gary Moore, Deep Purple, RHCP, U2, ...).
     
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  7. thekaiser

    thekaiser Member

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    At bedroom levels it can be a bit fizzy with the bright switch engaged IMO. It's really easy to EQ it out though, and all the controls are very responsive.

    Also when you knock it down to half wattage the tone thickens a bit and the fizz goes away., for me at least.
     
  8. sleewell

    sleewell Member

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    I would love to try an archon
     
  9. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    Thanks MacO! Exactly the type of feedback I was looking for. I happen to have a JVM410C. I've had this amp for about 7-8 years. Because of its weight it doesn't get out of the house much. And I go through love/hate phases. It is one of the best low volume amps I've played. And I love the direct out for recording. I almost sold it a month or so ago and I am so glad I didn't. I bought a Friedman Dirty Shirley mini about 2 weeks ago and have been flipping the knobs around every night since then. Last night I had it (DSM) cranked and could not dial it in (loose, bassy). I switched over to the JVM410 and there it was, within minutes I dialed in the tone I was looking for. I am searching for an amp with the versatility of the JVM but half the weight. And one that will be equally as inspiring at home volume as out in the clubs. And I HATE fizz! I bought an ENGL Screamer a month ago, what a fizzy amp at low volume. The PRS look interesting but as mentioned above I do see a lot for sale and a lot of open box sales on line.
    I'm probably going to return the Friedman. But I think going forward I need to try before I buy.
    Again thanks for your comments, very helpful!
     
  10. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    Where can you find one, does GC have them?
     
  11. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    How is the build quality verse cost? I read the combo is partial board and joints not to tight..
     
  12. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    How about the Custom 50, how does it compare?
     
  13. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    No fizz on my Archon 25. I don't use the bright switch. Ever.
    The master volume is perhaps the best I've ever used. It's very easy to dial in bedroom tones that have girth to them. Most of my other amps sound thin at tv volume. This is not the case with the Archon. The depth control takes care of that problem.
    This little grab and go amp is the best high gain portable amp, the Mark V 25 is head only, that I've heard.
     
  14. thekaiser

    thekaiser Member

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    Mine is built like a damn tank. Not too heavy though. I haven't noticed any loose joints or the cabinet rattle that is prevalent on so many combos like my Princeton. And even if it's particle board it feels solid to me. And remember it's a hand wired amp made in the USA, so on that end the quality to cost ratio is virtually unmatched outside of the mini Marks but those are only heads.

    I've only played the Custom 20, but the Custom line seems a bit more vintage in its sound. Also, the first channel will break up into a solid crunch sound whereas the Archon can really only get there with pedals. I really enjoyed the fact that the Custom had built in reverb and a foot-switchable boost. At the end of the day I was able to get the Archon for a better deal so I went with that, but I would've been happy with either.
     
  15. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Former Lyricist for Calhoun Tubbs Silver Supporting Member

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    Real interested where you heard complaints about PRS amp build quality. These are great amps and are VERY well built. I have a Custom 50 and it is a great sounding amp. I want an Archon but don't really want a combo, or a 50 watt head. Still might buy a 25 watt combo if they don't come out with a 25 watt head. Big glass and it sounds like it.

    For reference, I also own a Mesa Mini Rec 25, Mark V25 and Mark V. There is a guy at the Boogie Board who has owned several Dual Recs, a Mark V, an Electro Dyne, a Royal Atlantic, and numerous other amps. Recently bought an Archon 100 and said it's the best amp he's ever played. Said the gain channel the best, and the least fussy/easiest to dial in great tone, that he's ever used. He's been running through some great Mesa amps as long as I've known him, and he can't stop talking about how great the Archon is.
     
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  16. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    I read a review at Musicianfriend. A guy bought one and was not impressed with the build quality at all, he really ripped it up. Take a look, it's the first review over there.
     
  17. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    I am starting to get very interested in one of these amps!
    I might be more interest in the Custom 20 or 50. I'm not really a high gain player, more into classic and 80's shred tones. That said I was a little disappointed with the Dirty Shirley mini not having enough gain. I could easily play that amp with the gain dimed except that it got very loose and boomy. I am use to running an amps gain any where from 25% to 50% and getting good dynamic saturation.
    Would you say the Custom falls around there or you would need a pedal to get it to do 80's rock?
     
  18. lowpaygigs

    lowpaygigs Member

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    Axel, did you try the ds mini with a tube screamer or some boost with any success? Any I'll See the Light Tonight tones?
     
  19. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

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    I did try the DSM with a bunch of OD's including; Wampler Dual Fusion, BB Preamp, Boss OD-2, DOD YJM304, Tech21 Plexi Drive. At bedroom levels with delay and reverb in the loop I can get a Malmsteen 80's tones but it takes a bit of tweaking. I am able to get the same tones quicker and easier with other amps I own including my Egnator Rebel. The thing about the DSM is at bedroom levels I can dial it in but it seems the louder it gets the more the bassy, boomy and loose it gets. And yes I did work all the knobs including turning the bass all the way down. I also experimented taking the back off the closed back Orange 1 x 12 loaded with a Creamback. I was having a hard time turning up the gain and battling the looseness. For the amount of money I paid for this amp it's just not worth it to me. I'm not saying it's a crappy amp, I'm just saying that for my style of playing its not working for me.
    I will say that if I turn the gain down (amp clean) and use the pedals for gain I could get the 80's tones easy. But why spend $1500 for that. I like to use the amps OD and if anything us an OD set to clean to push a little.
     
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  20. thekaiser

    thekaiser Member

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    I would say full gain on the customs is a about a little over half gain on the Archon. It's close to 80s and with the built in boost you'd be there but it's not quite as tight as the Archon at that point.
     

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