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Thread: Best amp for '80's hard rock/metal?

  1. #1
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    Default Best amp for '80's hard rock/metal?

    Hey there guys, I am looking for some advice on an amp, either a 2 x 12 combo or a head and quad for classic '80's hard rock/metal sounds. I am into SMOOTH high gain sounding distortions and not chuncky. I currently have a number of vintage '70's valve amps (combos and quads) mainly from vintage Australian manufacturers (and no longer in production) and mainly being Eminar and Strauss amps, and also have a Trace Elliot Super Tramp Twin with a tube preamp section (which is really very, very good!). I currently use a number of pedals to produce my favoured sound, and they typlically consist of, and in no particular order, a Line 6 Uber Metal, Morely Bad Horsie Wah, Vintage Ibanez Flanger FL-9, Vintage Boss Phaser PH-1R, Boss Super Chorus, CH-1, Boss Harmonist HR-2, Vintage Boss Delay DM-2 (GREAT unit), Digitech XP-400 Reverberator (GREAT unit), a couple of Boss PSM-5 Power Supply pedals and a KORG DT-10 tuner.

    I must admit that of the above pedals, I hardly use the Chorus (which is a surprise), the Phaser, and the Harmoniser. So I can simplify the setup straight away.

    I would ideally like the next amp have great high gain SMOOTH distortions and with spring reverb and possibly Chorus.

    Is there such a beast which anyone can recommend??

    My aim is to get "this" great sounding amp and cut down on the use of some pedals! and put them in storage with all the others.

    Would a Marshall Vintage Modern or JCM 900 do it?
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    Most any Marshall would do, But I would check out The Peavy Valve King Thats a great Tube amp for the $$ and you can get 80's sounds forever
    Van Halen Ticket in 1977 $4, Carnation For Eddies Jacket Free, Edward Van Halen Playing A "Flying Vee" "Priceless"

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    Quote Originally Posted by KrameRemarK View Post
    Hey there guys, I am looking for some advice on an amp, either a 2 x 12 combo or a head and quad for classic '80's hard rock/metal sounds. I am into SMOOTH high gain sounding distortions and not chuncky. I currently have a number of vintage '70's valve amps (combos and quads) mainly from vintage Australian manufacturers (and no longer in production) and mainly being Eminar and Strauss amps, and also have a Trace Elliot Super Tramp Twin with a tube preamp section (which is really very, very good!). I currently use a number of pedals to produce my favoured sound, and they typlically consist of, and in no particular order, a Line 6 Uber Metal, Morely Bad Horsie Wah, Vintage Ibanez Flanger FL-9, Vintage Boss Phaser PH-1R, Boss Super Chorus, CH-1, Boss Harmonist HR-2, Vintage Boss Delay DM-2 (GREAT unit), Digitech XP-400 Reverberator (GREAT unit), a couple of Boss PSM-5 Power Supply pedals and a KORG DT-10 tuner.

    I must admit that of the above pedals, I hardly use the Chorus (which is a surprise), the Phaser, and the Harmoniser. So I can simplify the setup straight away.

    I would ideally like the next amp have great high gain SMOOTH distortions and with spring reverb and possibly Chorus.

    Is there such a beast which anyone can recommend??

    My aim is to get "this" great sounding amp and cut down on the use of some pedals! and put them in storage with all the others.

    Would a Marshall Vintage Modern or JCM 900 do it?

    I'd get a Line 6 Spider III. They sound great and must be the most versatile amps on the market. You'll be able to throw away all those pedals if you get one. And they have a whole category on their modeling samples that is based on songs and artists from the 80s.

    If it's just for practice, there are 1X12s and 2X10s that sound great. If you need to gig with it, I'd get the 2X12 combo. It's great for practice and powerful enough to drive a 4X12 stereo cab or 2 4X12 mono cabs. The other Line 6 Spider III combos can't be connected to cabs, so there's a real downside to them. If you just want a head, they have both 75W and 150W heads.

    When I can save up a few pennies I am gonna pop for a Spider Valve amp. All the Spider III benefits along with a tube-driven power section.

    Cheers,

    -Fat
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    Thanks guys, I may have to try out the Peavey Valve King to see how they sound (love their '80's guitars too!).

    Oh, I realise I didn't highlight it in the initial post, but I was after an all valve amp (if possible). The Trace Elliot Super Tramp Twin (2 x 12 Celestions) with a value pre-amp section is my practice amp (has some balls too though!).

    Let me know if there are any other suggestions. I at least need to go and try a Peavey Valve King.

    Vinnie, is this the amp which has the lit up IBANEZ logo on the head? Or is that another? Cheers.
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    im suprised you cant get the sound you want with your Trace Elliot. try the Trace and just the chorus pedal. set the pedal almost full depth and the slowest rate.
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    80s amps - JCM 800.....

    IMO!

    -Bruce

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    try the JCM 900. Got the JCM 800's package + more gain
    Bruno

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warlord View Post
    try the JCM 900. Got the JCM 800's package + more gain
    True, but you loose some of the Plexi tone.

    -Bruce

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkeen View Post
    True, but you loose some of the Plexi tone.

    I didn't know that. Thanks for the info!
    Anyway, a marshall for modern distortion gains is the JVM series.
    I am a bit curious about the MF350 though (350W, Ok that's LOUD!)
    Bruno

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    First off, 350 Watt? What is it you are trying to do with it... Suicide by amp?

    I had a Marshall Major 200 watt in the 70s and my ears are still ringing!

    Now, think about this. All these Marshalls you have been discussing have EL34 and 12AX7 tubes. So where is the added gain coming from on the high gain amps? Well in a nut shell, they have added circuitry that is like distortion boxes in the head. So you get more knobs on the front of your amp and gain (distortion box) that you can't bypass....

    This is why I am going the plexi route at the moment and adding my own gain by using drive effects in my signal chain before I get to the amp.... Change the drive effects to get a different gain tone....

    Furthermore, the more bells and whistles you have on your amp the more there is to go wrong...
    Just something more to ponder....

    Last edited by bkeen; 03-16-2008 at 05:00 PM.
    -Bruce

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkeen View Post
    80s amps - JCM 800.....

    IMO!


    JCM 800 = 80's Metal




    www.GaryKramerGuitar.com

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    JCM 800- I've owned the reissue head which is a great great head as well, and I now have a stock JCM800 50 watter from 1984. You want 80's hard rock, there it is. But unless you have the sucker on 10, its got like a bluesy, AC/DC crunch. But on 10, very aggresive like a Van Halen or ''enter your fav 80's band''
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    1998 Marshall JCM 900 SLX 50 Watter
    1979 Marshall Superlead JMP 100 Watt Original

    Mid 80's Marshall JCM800 4x12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcrazyhimself View Post
    JCM 800- I've owned the reissue head which is a great great head as well, and I now have a stock JCM800 50 watter from 1984. You want 80's hard rock, there it is. But unless you have the sucker on 10, its got like a bluesy, AC/DC crunch. But on 10, very aggresive like a Van Halen or ''enter your fav 80's band''
    I ran two 2204s in stereo gigging thoughout the 80s. Add a little boost to the signal and they sing! Love those 50s...

    -Bruce

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    why not get one of those 600 watt Crate Blue Voodoos?

    the halfstack is only 16x12, thats not TOO big, I mean, it could be a nice backline

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeN5150 View Post
    why not get one of those 600 watt Crate Blue Voodoos?

    the halfstack is only 16x12, thats not TOO big, I mean, it could be a nice backline
    Now that's '80's! A wall of sound

    My Trace Elliot is a great amp, sounds awesome, but I want higher gain without adding an addition pedal, if possible. This is my practice amp and is not all valve.

    OK, I think I will try the below so far:
    1. Peavey Valve King
    2. Marshall JCM 800 (hopefully I can find a 50 too!)
    3. Marshall JVM series

    Anyone tried any of the below? And can compare them to any of the above? Including gain?
    1. Marshall TSL
    2. Marshall DSL
    3. Marshall Slash signature
    4. Marshall Zakk signature
    5. Mesa Triple Rectifier

    Thanks for the great input so far!
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    The Marshall TSLs sound very nice!

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    yes... i agree with ben, the TSL's are awesome.
    and the Mesa will deliver too.
    you cant go wrong with either of them. they will have all the gain your looking for and more. i recomend you go and try them, but be sure to turn them up a bit when you do....they sound better and better the louder you go. ( to a point of course)
    Mesa dual rectifier
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkeen View Post
    First off, 350 Watt? What is it you are trying to do with it... Suicide by amp?

    I had a Marshall Major 200 watt in the 70s and my ears are still ringing!

    Now, think about this. All these Marshalls you have been discussing have EL34 and 12AX7 tubes. So where is the added gain coming from on the high gain amps? Well in a nut shell, they have added circuitry that is like distortion boxes in the head. So you get more knobs on the front of your amp and gain (distortion box) that you can't bypass....

    This is why I am going the plexi route at the moment and adding my own gain by using drive effects in my signal chain before I get to the amp.... Change the drive effects to get a different gain tone....

    Furthermore, the more bells and whistles you have on your amp the more there is to go wrong...
    Just something more to ponder....

    It's time to have a cup of tea to think about the amps!
    It seems that I need a noisegate...
    hey krameremark, warn how is the JVM's sound if you try it
    Last edited by Warlord; 03-16-2008 at 09:28 PM.
    Bruno

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warlord View Post
    hey krameremark, warn how is the JVM's sound if you try it
    Sure will!

    OK, I think I will try the below so far (list is getting bigger!):
    1. Peavey Valve King
    2. Marshall JCM 800 (hopefully I can find a 50 too!)
    3. Marshall JVM series
    4. Marshal TSL
    5. Mesa Triple.

    Still wouldn't mind knowing how the Slash and Zakk Signatures sound compare to these, so I know once I try. Anyone ever tried one of these?
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    Zakk's signature got more gain than the other marshalls, according to the youtube video quality (!).
    I saw in a online shop a DSL50 for 500. In the same shop, there is a TSL60 that is on 500 too!
    http://www.guitarampkeyboard.com
    A strange thing is that a JVM410H in that store is worth less than the combo!
    Last edited by Warlord; 03-17-2008 at 09:40 AM.
    Bruno

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    I use the Line6 spider III, and while the fx were cool at first, they are all pretty inferior in the end. I went with a Digitech GNX3000, which has tons of marshall and other amp models that are incredibly realistic. What the real prize winner is that there are stompbox effects in it also (like tube screamer, dod distortion, etc).

    I use the JCM800, 900, and 2000 models with a Boss Metal Zone stompbox effect, and the metal tones are amazing! With this pedal, all you need really is any clean amp. I don't know how well it would work on Tube since tube has natural OD when cranked, but solid state emulates the tube amp models very well.

    Above all that though, I'd recommend the Boss Metal Zone pedal for great 80's tone.

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  23. #23
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    is it impossible to have a great distortion out of an amp...?
    Bruno

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warlord View Post
    is it impossible to have a great distortion out of an amp...?
    No at all! But if an amp is distorted, truely power amp distortion, then any effect you use with the amp will be distorted as well.

    If you put effects in the effects loop and distort the preamp but not the power amp the effects will be fine but you aren't getting the power amp distortion.


    Last edited by bkeen; 03-17-2008 at 05:44 PM.
    -Bruce

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    ^ +1!

    I am thinking now that I need to look for the best cab/speaker combo for 80's sound rather than what amp.
    --Gary

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