Weigh In: Best 3 channel/mode amp. Clean to mean.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bailnout, Mar 15, 2006.


  1. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    I don't know if there has already been a thread about this. I couldn't find one with the search function.

    Criteria:
    Price not an issue
    Can be head or combo
    Three or more channels/modes available via footswitch
    Must be able to get nice and clean, provide good rhythm crunch and a nice higher gain lead tone.
    Post why you think it's the best
    No pissing wars. Everyone is entitled to their opinions

    I'll start off with ones I've owned and liked:

    Hughes & Kettner Duotone: Two channels but it had two separate master volumes foot switchable and also a foot switchable overdrive boost on the dirty channel. So you actually had 2 different clean levels, two different dirty levels and two different levels of gain for a total of 6 different sounds. Clean was nice and warm and the distortion channel had a voice that mic'd up real well in a live situation.

    Hughes and Kettner Triamp: All the same things I liked about the Duotone but the 6 modes you had were far more tweakable.

    Mesa V-twin preamp w/just about any power section: Awesome piece of back-up gear for gigging. Sounded pretty darn good just about any way I ran it. Direct, in front of a power amp, in to the return in the loop of a good tube head, as an overdrive pedal in front of a good tube head.

    ADA MP1: My first foray into multi-channel setups so it has a place in my heart. The secret to that thing for me was to use the tube clean channel for my rhythm tone and just crank it. Nice and brown. Then use the Tube Dist. setting for lead tones. It also had a VERY nice chorus for the clean stuff.

    Bogner Ecstasy 101b: I currently own this one and it's just mind boggling how many great tones are in this thing. Mine has an attenuator loop and cabinet switching capabilities. Neither of which I have explored. But I think you can have two cabs and assign each channel to which ever cab you want AND ALSO assign the attenuator to any of the three amp/cab setups you have. See? Mind boggling. Also, the blue channel in Plexi mode is really something to behold.

    CAE/Suhr OD-100SH: I currently also own this one. Mine is the EL34 w/Plexi OT version. Has the Power Amp Feedback and Boost dials on the back. Also a two channel amp but the foot switchable boost gives you a third mode. Right now it's edging out the Bogner for my affections but that could just be because it was the last one of the two I played. I'll probably flop back to the Bogner next week. One thing this amp has over every other one that I've owned is the clean channel. It's just the balls. Also, this amp takes pedals like none other that I've ever owned. At bedroom volumes this amp is just sick. Cranked it's even sicker!!
     
  2. LavaMan

    LavaMan Gold Supporting Member

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    Fuchs TDS 50 (or 100) and I own one. Next in line would be a Mark IV and I own one of those also. Oops forgot criteria:

    Fuchs TDS 50 - great, chinmy clean channel with footswitchable gain and mid boost (available on all channels), The two gain channels are blended somewhat, but there is a lot dialable voicing that is just awesome - the gain is warm and according to what I'v read (never personall heard a Dumble) very Dumblesque...

    Mark IV - Each channel has own independent volume controls, along with pull fat/bright switches bringing a lot of versatility. The front mount EQ is an awesome feature and the ability to switch from 4 6L6 to 2 EL34/2 6L6 is nice - my preferred choice. I have done 100's of gigs with two diffrent Mark IV Combos and they have never let me down.
     
  3. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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  4. Troy Baer

    Troy Baer Member

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    Triamp Mk. II... Best multi-channel amp I've used.
     
  5. DodsonLP

    DodsonLP Member

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    VHT Pitbull Ultra Lead is tops in my book. I am looking to try a Matchless Independence to see how it compares. The Egnater TOL 100 has 4 channels and a great variety of tones. The Randall /Egnater modular pre-amps and Modular amps are Great and vary as much in tones as you want to invest in modules. The sleeper in this category is the Ampeg Triaxis VT120 which can get very clean to Mesa Rectifier-like tones.
     
  6. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    Yea, but why do you think it's the best?
     
  7. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    -Versatility (in theory it's 6 channels, but it's really more like 3 channels with 2 modes apiece.)
    -TONE. This thing sounded great from bedroom volumes, all the way up to cranked. And unlike most amps, I didn't have to tweak much to get that same sound at volume (usually just dial down some of the preamp gain to account for the PT dist when pushed.)
    -Beautiful. Call me shallow, but I got more people (re: WOMEN) talking to me about the Blue runway lights this thing emits.
    -Volume knob versatility: On every channel but the last most-gainy channel, I could dial down the guitar, and get nice cleans.

    EP
     
  8. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    Yea that's what I'm talkin' about!

    I agree with absolutely everything you just said there. Those are all the same things I liked about that amp too. Kinda miss it. I love the sound of my OD-100 but when it comes to looks, it's the antithesis of the Triamp MKII and the Duotone.
     
  9. boog204

    boog204 Supporting Member

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    demeter tga2: technically 2 channels w/ a boost on the 2nd channel that is tonally different, so i look at it as 3 channels. single best clean tone i've EVER heard coupled with a really nice cutting lead and od tone. totally dig these amps and am now on the hunt for more.
     
  10. 6AM

    6AM Supporting Member

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    Here's a list of the three channel amps I've tried (owned) :

    Bedrock 1000 Series
    Bogner Ecstasy 101b
    Bogner Ecstasy Classic
    Diezel Herbert
    Diezel VH4
    Egnater TOL100
    Marshall TSL
    Mesa Dual Rectifier
    Rivera Knucklehead Reverb
    VHT Ultralead

    This was the best one in my opinion.

    [​IMG]

    Decent clean channel, awesome mid gain Marshally channel, and amazing high gain channel. Best sounding amp I've ever found with in a band situation. I like them so much I've owned five, and currently own three.
     
  11. ScottB

    ScottB Gold Supporting Member

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    Zinky Superfly.

    Basically six channels if you consider each "mode" to be a channel. 32 presets in all. So you could call it a 32 channel I guess.

    I use mine as effectively a 4 channel amp. I could do more but I'm lazy, and these four presets sound pretty killer with anything I've plugged into them to date. I used to use a different bank for Strat's vs LP's, but I've settled into my LP bank.

    A very wide range of good and usable tones. Great mid and high gain sounds. Pretty good clean (sounds really good with a compressor). Takes pedals well both in front and in the loop. Built like a tank, great support, off the beaten path.
     
  12. Wizard of Ozz

    Wizard of Ozz Silver Supporting Member

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    Diezel Herbert.

    Runners up would include VHT UL & CAE OD100... neither is a "true" 3 channel amp though... more like 2 channels w/ 3 modes. ;)
     
  13. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    My NAU Engineering 50 / 25 Watt (switchable) 6L6 based combo. It has two totally separate pre-amp channels, and the overdrive channel has two selectable modes. I bought it for $900 used. They go for about $1,200 new. All hand-wired tube amp.

    The clean is super reverb in it's tonal qualities. I get beautiful clean tones, even fairly loud. Great with all my guitars (Gibson ES-347, Hamer Artist HB, Fender Strat).

    The overdrive can take you to a heavy Marshall-like overdrive sound. Great for leads and heavy crunch rhythm.

    The "rolled back" mode of the overdrive channel takes you to that in-between setting, anything from just break up to light or even medium overdrive.

    Why is it the best? Since I haven't tried every other 3-channel/mode amp out there, I can't say. All I can say is this is a great amp and quite versatile. I recently bought a couple of vintage Fenders from mid-60s. When I use them, I often wish I had my Nau for its versatility, and it's tone hangs in there with the best of them. I really use my Fender Princeton only because it's not as heavy as the Nau and delivers a sweet clean sound in a lighter package. (The cleans on these amps are really quite different from each other, so cannot really be compared.)
     
  14. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    I'll have to agree with my Man here. As far as I'm concerned, Demeters are really hard to beat. I have the TGP-3 3 channel preamp and the Demeter TGA-75 watt Power Amp. Great clean channel that gets a great bluesy edge as you increase the gain, a great plexi-like channel for classic chord bashing, and the 3rd channel, which some liken to that early Dumble Lowell George/David Lindley tone. All in all, you have a whole lot of tones in one package. There are a few more Demeter owners around here who would agree.
    IMHO,
    Rick
     
  15. angelo

    angelo Member

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    Mark IV is worth a shot --- my fave. If you want 3 channels and control over them, you can't bitch about # of knobs (I never got that anyway because it is a clear set up to me).

    Solid clean -- real ggod if you add a touch of delay. Marshally channel 2. Old school boogie channel 3. As an added bonus, the eq as a volume boost for leads.


    The knock about sounding "boxy" is valid TO A POINT with the 1 / 12" EV combo (which I own and use for practices). Plugged into my 2 / 12" recto cab, the thing opens up and highs and lows bloom.
     
  16. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    Soldano Decatone - 2003 - 2006.

    Three channels, and a S I M P L E layout - shared eq, channel pre, channel master, presence, depth, overall master. This is the amp the Mark IV wanted to be. The Clean is very twin-ish - not spectacular, but definately good enough for gigging. The Crunch channel will go from Bassman to JCM800 depending on channel gain and guitar volume settings (it cleans up very well). The Overdrive channel on this amp just slays - enough said.

    Mesa Mark IV - 1995 to 2003.

    Three channels, and a complicated layout. All the Pull Shift, Pull Fat, Pull Bright, Triode/Pentode, Class A/SimulClass, and Harmonics/Mid Gain options never really helped me to get better sounds. There are a lot of diverse opinions on this amp, and I would call it a jack of all trades, master of none.You really had to play this amp ridiculously LOUD to get it sounding good. It just always left you feeling that something was missing.

    ...Stormin!
     
  17. modRod

    modRod Member

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    marble dcp 100 head

    point to point handwired. 100 watt A/B or 40 watt class A.

    beautiful fenderish cleans, very tweakable crunch and lead (sharing one eq). sounds v e r y good at bedroom levels, but it loves to be cranked. one of the best reverbs i´ve heard.


    arndt
     
  18. Platypus

    Platypus not in rivers, but in drops

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    I like the thump of the Dual Rectifier. Lots of Mesa haters on this board apparently so take what you read about it with a grain of salt. It's a tweaker that's for sure, takes a long time to dial in good tone but it's out there.

    The clean isn't the best out there but it's certainly good with the right set of tubes. The mesa tubes aren't very good in my opinion.
    The second channel is really what this amp is all about. The liquid gain on tap is just awesome, I mainly stay in this arena, with a good OD pedal you can get some amazing tones and great crunch with EL34 power sections. The third channel and I have a love/hate relationship.. sometimes I really like it, sometimes I don't. I tend to use it for metal because of the crazy bass response and presence control. It's billed as a rythm channel and has the famous 'chug-a-chug' sound.

    The DR doesn't have the best lead sound out of the Mesa bunch, that honor would go to the MkIV but the DR has my favorite distortion/crunch sound, there's just something about it I can't put my finger on but you can tell it's a recto making it. The second channel has some pretty good lead tones with the right EQ settings.

    The amp has a ton of choices, if anything I can fault Mesa for being too versatile with this amp.. if you're a tweaker you'll love it.. if you like to set it and forget it you might be better off looking elsewhere.
     
  19. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    Hmmm...didn't even think about Demeters. I've heard a lot of great things about them but never layed my hands on one. I'll have to keep an eye out for them.

    What style of music do you guys play with them?
     
  20. Roe

    Roe Member

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    + 1!:AOK
     

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