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Should I spend more than $1k on an amp?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Shinrock, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. Coloradotwanger

    Coloradotwanger Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I have been wanting one of these for a long time.I would like the blonde head version.I love the features.Especially the effects loop.I do not gig.I have only got to play one once at a very low volume.Sounded great to me.
     
  2. Coloradotwanger

    Coloradotwanger Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Well said!Very true!
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Oh, no, not three times better.

    My point was that the cost of building a tube amp that does all the stuff the OP asked for, and is reliable, is around three times the cost of building a Tele that does all that and is reliable.

    It's easier to start at a minimum price range like a CV Squier, since it's a fair cost analysis standard.
    Once you get into upscale guitars and amps there isn't really a cost to benefit analysis that measures PRS, CS Fender, limited edition boutique amps etc.

    The fact is that you can crank out $400 solid body electrics that suit professional performance needs all day long.

    But to crank out medium size tube amps with multi channels for country clean and a variety of rock dirt, it costs more money to build all that and keep it reliable.

    There are probably amps at two times the price that make that spec list, but while pro grade $400 guitars are common, it seems like $800 amps that meet all those specs are less common.

    So finding that "how much does it cost?" range opens up when you raise the budget above two times the minimum price of the guitar.
    There are I believe amps in the $800 range that cover the specs, but not in the $400 range unless you change the specs.
     
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  4. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Princeton. You can open it up a bit for the tones. Live, I run a 1x12 ext cab usually. But I get to have it up to 4, for that nice edge of breakup tone. Then push over the top with dirt pedals. If you need louder (sounds like you don't) then you've got lots of options.

    I love deluxes and ac30s, but they are just too loud.
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm not shilling for Orange, for two reasons:

    1) I'm not a shill and don't fantasize that my fave is your/their fave.

    2) I have not had any of the 21st Century Orange amps long enough to say for sure that they are consistently long lasting and reliable, even though my sense from using them and looking at the guts is that they are indeed more reliably built than many import PCB Fender, Marshall, Blackstar, Vox etc.

    If I had to buy an amp, sight unseen, in one week, that met the OPs requirements, it would probably be one of the 30ish watt two channel Orange amps.

    While the OP said cranking a 15w amp always gets requests to turn down, I suggest bigger for the Country cleans on those occasions when stuff goes wrong on stage.
    15w may be plenty loud but it's too distorted for some clean sounds at some stage volumes under some conditions.

    Dropping that extra power opens up the well under $1000 market, but I'm just not that confident in all performances going as planned.

    Seems like a basic fact that a 15w amp runs out of country clean headroom at lower volume than a snare or crash cymbal easily produces.
     
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  6. saleake

    saleake Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I’m a Deluxe Reverb guy, and I have been very impressed with the Tone Master Deluxe. I play in a country band and everyone is mic’d through the PA. It sounds great, it only weighs 23 pounds, it has an attenuator, and an XLR out. I highly recommend it.
     
  7. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    @Shinrock, ultimately you are asking two questions. One economic, and the other of needs vs. wants.

    Regarding the first, are you giggling enough that you can claim the business expenses of tool depreciation? If so, then an amp of a couple of thousand may not be out of reach. If not, then economic realities may take over. Ideally, the more expensive amp will be more reliable than the less expensive amp, but even with that, what is your backup plan when an amp fails? Do you have enough to have two identical amps? One for the gigs and one as a backup. Or do you have a different plan, e.g. a Helix or a Kemper? Is there a tone you cannot get now that you want, and does the more expensive amp make that easier? Or is there a combination of tones you want where something really versatile like one of the multi-channel amps would server you better? Or can you get that with pedals?

    Now we’ve already begun on the needs vs. wants. I want a specific tone is slightly different than I need a specific tone. I want a cool tube amp or a boutique amp is enticing, but can your needs be met with something more prosaic? Do you have the financial wherewithal to follow your wants
     
  8. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    When it comes to end results-
    gear means next to nothing
    skill means nearly everything

    no one is arguing the fact that buying different stuff is fun
     
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  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    So, the consensus is as usual...yes, no and maybe as to whether the OP should spend their money on an amp. If I had a $1k limit and had to have the best amp I could for that money, I would consider a Fender Pro Sonic. If I were in Maryland, I would already be looking at one on Reverb that is priced at $699...local pickup only. Best build for the money you ca;get, great sounds and great versatility. tube sockets in the chassis, all pots, jacks no switches on the front and rear panels are mounted to the chassis. Quality PCB. Built for the pro, ime and imho.
    if I had $2k, I would want a Tone King Imperial MKII...maybe...over the Pro Sonic. I sold my mint LO serial number Pro Sonic for a “I don’t want seller’s remorse” price. He paid, and he loves the amp. I got over market...and I miss it. When you play through an amp that moves you, I say get it if you can....as Janis so strongly expresses it....

     
  10. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    well, no skill doesn’t make it anytime.
    However, almost always, a skilled musician will choose the best tools they can afford. Yes, a skilled guitarist can make music with almost any equipment. However, there is a reason why skilled musicians spend large money to find what they like....and they search hard doing it, ime. A race car driver could drive your car or my car much better than can you or I, but that will not be the car they want to go race with...unless you or I have a high dollar car that is essentially a race car on the streets, right?

    back in the sixties, the pros were not touring with a Silvertone amp. They wanted what those well-built Fenders and Marshalls did. good tools make a good player better. Good tools in the world of music are inspirational, ime.
     
  11. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    To be honest I've yet to find a two channel amp that excels at both. My 02 is get a good clean amp and run a buffered dirt pedal. As you describe & others have mentioned a used 30 - 40w handwird. Single channel 1×12's are lighter too.
     
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  12. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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    I've got a few thoughts. Some of which might be helpful.

    If you're not opening up the 15 watt Vox or Orange amps, you don't need more power. Anything more than 25 watts will be a waste. And make you more dependent on pedals to get gain.

    If you want reverb, trem, or chorus, for example, built into the amp, you'll have a hard time finding two channels in the 15 watt range. So that may constrain your options.

    Having said that.

    Plus 1 on the Fender Super-Sonic mentioned above. I have only rarely walked out of a concert at which I thought the guitars sounded so great I wanted to know what kind of amps they were using. The most recent time that happened, one of the guitarists was playing through a Super-Sonic. They sound great, and are more versatile than a similar Deluxe.

    Several companies make some very versatile amps, including Mesa and Egnater.

    The Egnater Tweaker may be the most versatile amp I've ever owned. I've got the 40 watt version, which comes with two channels. The 15 watt version has one channel. But a whole bunch of switches you can "tweak" to change the sound of the amp. It theoretically does Fender, Marshall, and Vox tones. Plus high and low gain, vintage and modern. The first generation Egnaters had some reliability issues, but they solved those in the newer amps.

    I've also got a Mesa TA-15. It's got 3 wattage settings, 5, 15, and 25. One channel does Vox sounds (clean or top boost). The other channel does Fender (they call it tweed, but it sounds like BF/SF to me), Marshall, and, of course, Mesa. The Marshall sound is too dirty for my taste, but might work for your more metal sounds. I don't necessarily recommend this particular amp, which is no longer in production, but know that Mesa makes many versatile amps.

    That's my .02.

    Good luck.
     
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  13. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    yes, and actual skill makes it everytime, regardless of the tools used

    and whether it would be "better" if performed on premium gear is simply a matter of opinion

    I realize it's not a very fun or popular view on a forum that has a heavy gear focus, but the tiny details and minutae and fetishizing of these things is next to meaningless compared to ardent honing of one's craft, in terms of musicality and technique
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
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  14. smuc

    smuc Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, tube amps do have a thinner margin with relatively expensive components and labor intensive production. However, in my eyes Fender manages it somehow with the hotrod line. If maintained regularly, HR Deluxe can be a perfectly capable „pro“ amp.
     
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  15. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    There are loads of perfectly fine amps for under $1000. I don’t think gigging makes it necessary to have something more expensive. In fact, there’s a good case to be made for the opposite. If you just want the experience of owning something “more”, and it doesn’t affect your financial life to do so, then go for it.
     
  16. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Absolutely, you should pay that much.
    As luck would have it, I have Six Amplifiers I would be willing to sell you at that price.
    No questions asked!
    Really!!!

    Get yersel a used, Princeton Reverb, PAY to have it re-Capped and re-Tubed. They may need to change a Rwsistor here and there and possibly a Tube Socket.
    Unlike the new stuff, these old Amps were designed so that they could be repaired when needed.
    The others are nice amps but, once they start to go, they just keep going.

    It will get through Hell and High Water when you need it the most.
    -ST
     
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  17. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Afflicted

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    I’ve owned an Egnater Tweaker 15 head and the matching Tweaker 112X cabinet - semi-open back, with the Celestion 30 watt 16 ohm speaker - for about 5 years now. No issues. It takes pedals beautifully, which enables me to play at neighbor-reasonable volume while sounding good. In situations where I can open up the master volume at 2 o’clock and run the gain at 9 o’clock/clean, I can sound close to a BFDR (which I have owned and wished I had back) with the other switches at vintage/USA/normal/tight. The pedal array I use gets me Plexi-esque and Dumble-esque sounds plus a variety of other tastes.

    I bought the head and cab looking for a BFDR on a budget. I got a lot more.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  18. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    This is just my opinion, but I've posted opinion pieces before. I have a Mesa Boogie Express 5:25, worth considering used for just under $1000. If you need LOUD, the 5:50 can be blow the windows out loud and it won't be much more than a 5:25. Do you need an expensive amp? I can't make that judgement for anyone else. My 5:25 exactly meets my needs. I play it at home and the amp can easily enough be brought anywhere I want to take it. With a mic, it sounds exactly the way it sounds at home and that's a good thing, IMO. There does seem to be, at least to me, a difference in power, controls, and complexity of tone over $1000. I doubt that it matters much in a bar setting, but it matters to my ears. It may matter to yours. There seems to be another level starting at about $2000, but tube amps in that price range seem to be designed to produce a very specific distortion that isn't often meaningful to someone who plays mostly clean.
     
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  19. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I probably sound like a shill for this maker but hard to beat point to point wiring, quality components made in the US for under a grand, I have 2 of them. My partner has a Red Plate that is over 3K and I don't think is sounds any better than my setup, maybe a little more complex drive tone.
    I am perfectly happy with some modelers and some SS amps but if you can afford it why not?

    https://www.frenzeltubeamps.com/super-deluxe-550
     
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  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah good proven example if you like the sounds.
    Do they still make those?
    Never see them in shops any more.
     
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