Looking for an amp…

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Daniel 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #1596


    Bonjour tout le monde!

    I’m thinking about amps.  I have a couple low watt tube amps (Montgomery Ward and Ampeg) that will be coming my way soon.  I have a Marshall GR15 CD solid state that I love too.  But I’m thinking abut something a little bit bigger and a little more versatile.

    Wish list:

    • Combo
    • 20w or less
    • 10″ or smaller speakers (a pair if possible)
    • Completely solid state or with a tube pre-amp (hoping to save weight)
    • two channel switchable.
    • Balanced (xlr) line out
    • effects send & receive for both channels (if poss)

    Does anyone think such a beast exists?


  • #1607



    I’m a tube guy, tried the others, returned to the tube……THE HOT amp right now is the Supro Keeley modified, 800 bucks US, you have to order and wait, everything you’re asking for except the XLR out, master volume as well……if that doesn’t float it, tweed deluxe and turn it up

  • #1612


    Thanks Rich.

    I’ve been in love with Steve Stills’s tone from the CSN tour of 1994.  Tele through a 4×10 Deluxe. Fat, rich tone with the perfect amount of break-up when pushed.

    But I need something smaller and more sonically versatile for gigging.

    I’ve learned in my travels that power conditioning helps solid state tone.  A high quality transformer will take away a lot of the coldness of solid state tone.

    I might end up with a Line 6 Pod and a small ‘personal monitor’ but I was hoping for a proper amp.  🙂

    May have to ask the local guy to build me something!


  • #1614


    I think Steven was using a 4×10 Bassman, a 59 I remember, Check out the youtube demos on the Supro, I’m saving all my change for one

  • #1615



    1993 Martin Custom HD-28 Eir/Sitka
    2001 SCGC Custom F Cutaway Maple/Sitka

    2008 SCGC Custom Otis Taylor H Madi/Italian
    2015 SCGC Custom OM “The Tree” Hog/European
    2016 SCGC Custom 1934 D-45 Braz/ Adi

  • #1621



    Premier Guitar does a video series posted on YouTube of gig rigs.  Every touring guitar and bass player they can find from Alex Lifeson to Ben Fogerty (John’s son on tour with him).  The info is endless and the variety of solutions to sound and logistical issues is endless.  Cool guitars too like Eric Johnson’s signature Fender Thinline Strat!

    I am not a gear head, but I like looking at how gear heads manage their sound.  It gives me ideas for managing mine with as little fuss and as little gear as possible.



  • #1662


    OK so I grabbed a Marshall MG30CFX off Reverb for a reasonable amount of euros.  I based my decision largely on my experience with the older, more analog, GR15CD.  I’ve spent about 6 hours with the new amp and put several different instruments through it.  Here are my thoughts.

    2.5 out of 5 stars/picks

    – Squier Telecaster (stacked humbucker in the neck pocket)
    – JBovier EMC-5 solid body 5 string emando
    -Arrow G5 5 string hollow body emando made by Paul Lestock with a Kent Armstrong pickup

    – Origin Effects Slide Rig (dual preamp/compressor)

    The amp has 4 channels.  Each channel has a gain stage and a volume stage separate from the Master volume
    There’s on board reverb plus 5 other effects chorus, phase, flange, delay, and octave.
    Two 3.5mm jacks: one for audio in, one for headphone out (emulated amp signal).
    One footswitch jack
    One input jack
    Button: channel switch between clean and crunch
    Button: channel switch between OD1 and OD2
    Button: tap tempo for delay/switch between preset mode and live settings mode
    Button: Store (save setting to preset mode)
    Knobs: Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble, Reverb, Volume (relative to gain), effects, Master volume

    On the surface this looks brilliant.  But as it happens, unless you’re a fairly simple minded metal head you’ve got work to do to get decent tone, and you’ll need to add some signal enhancement to get good tone.

    The clean channel is very good.  It’s certainly very clean.  You can almost get a bit of overdrive if you crank both the gain and the channel volume ALL THE WAY UP.  I suspect we’re overdriving the power amp here rather than the pre-amp because turning down the Master volume kills the growl.
    Upside: Loads of headroom for signal path effects.
    Downside: no subtle dirt ala Ry Cooder

    The Crunch channel is crunchy.  Hard to clean it up, looking for that ‘just ever so slightly overdriven’ sound if pushed.  Gain all the way down to one little tiny notch this side of too low, Channel volume all the way up.  Serviceable in a pinch.

    Do the same for OD1 and you get good overdrive without being stupid.

    Forget OD2 entirely.  Not worth your time unless you’re in Sepultura.

    There are actually two types of reverb to choose from.  And here Marshall did something well.  You can use spring reverb or plate reverb.  My current favourite is just a touch of plate.

    The effects are meh.  If you’re a beginner, they’ll give you a good idea of what they are and how they sound.  But the quality lacks a bit.  For example, the octave has a bit of latency and the chorus is not subtle enough.  Pedals are better.  But I did not buy this amp for the effects.

    Being able to store your channel settings is really handy.  It makes the amp useful to me.  I can set the gain controls where they need to be in clean and crunch, and then switch back and forth as I wish.  No need to fiddle the knobs to find that one spot on the gain knob where it engages, but not too much.

    My beef is that this amp’s channels are too predefined.  There’s little room for finding your own tone.  The GR15CD is a superior amp in this respect.  You can dial in as much or as little overdrive as you like, though you’ll never get into the metal zone.

    Fortunately for me, I have a Slide Rig.  (It cost more than the amp!)  So I can use the Clean channel to get a bit dirty and the Crunch channel for proper distortion.

    The 3.5mm jacks are a bit touchy.  You gotta wiggle them to get them to connect properly.  So using the headphone out as a line out is not really an option.

    To make it more useful as a gigging amp, I’ll have to have a line out installed.  (To hell with the headphone jack.  Vox make an AC30 headphone specific amplifier that destroys this Marshall.  I own one, and I’ll keep using it.)

    Daniel (still looking really)


  • #1665


    Nice review Daniel,   I want one of those Marshalls so bad, but I’ve got to have tubes……look at the new Keeley Supro….when I get some coin……

  • #1666


    Thanks Rich!

    I think the Vox amps of the same variety have the tube preamp stage.  And this is really what you want for tone.

    Or you could buy one of the Mesa/Boogie V twin pre-amp foot pedals (12AX7’s I think) and put it between the guitar and the amp.

    My SlideRig is solid state, but it’s designed to to emulate the UA Audio 1176 compressor/preamps that Lowell George used for his slide playing.  So tone for days.

    I’m going with solid state for weight.  Can’t fathom hauling around a tube amp (head & cab or combo).  I need a quick set-up and take down with two trips to the car, no more.



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