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amps that *don't* need a boost!

Discussion in 'Backline' started by Fragle, May 15, 2010.

  1. Fragle

    Fragle Member

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    i was just thinking about it....

    most amps i've owned or played through only sounded "right" to my ears with a tubescreamer or another boost of some sort in front of it. as most of you know i'm not talking gain levels here, it's just that the TS adds a nice "coating" to the sound that makes the amp cut through much better and sound much better on those low chugs.
    this includes my 5150, which while being a great amp all-around just doesn't sound right without a boost, regardless of the channel used or the settings. same thing goes for rectifiers, and many others. even the engl blackmore i used to own - while being tight going straight in - benefited from a boost in front. the only amp i know that sounds about right straight in is the engl fireball, but the thing is i'm not a big fan of the engl voicing.

    now, the thing is i want to severly cut down on my live setup. after going the rack route (sansamp psa) for quite a while now i'm just getting tired of lugging around so much stuff (amp, rack, case for cables etc) and rather tedious setup. maybe i'm just lazy, i don't know, but i'd love to be able to just use an amp & tuner & *maybe* a delay or sth in front for fattening up leads/cleans.

    so, i wonder if anyone could name some amps that get those tight sounds at low tunings (B and C standard, drop A for another band) in a heavy modern metal context and is able to cut through just fine.
    other features i need are a decent clean channel and either 2 gain channels or a solo boost of some sort.

    originally i was dead set on getting a dual/triple rectifier, not only for live but also because it's a studio standard with a well known and very big sound. i'm having second thoughts about using that one live though....i have to switch between lead/clean/rhythm very often, and i hate tapdancing, i.e. having to switch of the boost right at the end of a solo and hitting the footswitch for my clean sound. my rack setup got me very close (no tapdancing at all) but as i said it's a lot to carry around (also takes up a lot of space in the car) and is generally just too much to set up for me in a busy live situation.

    any recommendations?

    edit: my main band which i'd mainly get the amp for (aside from studio work): www.myspace.com/retaliationdeath
     
  2. Fifth_Horseman

    Fifth_Horseman Watch out, it's sharp!

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    Ok... no tapdancing but lots of switching, no boost but tight, and no ENGLs..
    Thought about getting an Axe-FX?

    EDIT: 1000th post :kickass:
     
  3. JMarz

    JMarz New Metal Member

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    Go for the axe, you'll love it.

    Also, FTR I didn't mind my ol' 5150 without a boost, sounded great even without one :D
     
  4. MaxStatic

    MaxStatic Member

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    You know, of all the amps I've tried/own/owned, I always come back to using a boost for the metal stuff. For more rockish kind of things I can get a'ok sounds sans boost but for the metalz, I just need that little layer of compression a TS or the like provides. I'm talking all amps here. Even my new Krank Rev+ which has plenty of gain on board still doesn't sound metal without the boost in front.

    I think the other thing that a TS does for you is gives you that saturated sound without having to have the gain on the amp up a ton. The trade is you get much more articulate tone than without the boost and the gain rolled up. At least in my experience.

    You can't go wrong with a Boogie head, if you dig the tone, as they are built like brick shithouse and seldom go sour without a fair amount of abuse. As for the tapdance, either adapt and overcome or set up your clean channel to work with the TS on all the time. I tend to like a little grit in my clean anyway so I've made this work with just about all my heads. The only one that doesn't pull this off too well is a modeling head(go figure) but I don't really goto that setup for cleans anyway.

    Current stuff I boost: 5150, 6505+, TSL100, DualRec, RectoVerb combo, HT-5 combo, HD147(uhgg), and the Rev+

    All but the Line 6 are setup to keep TS clone on ALL the time, clean dirty, etc. If I go into a more rock vibe, TS comes off and it's perfect. Good luck.
     
  5. no.mop

    no.mop Member

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    AxeFX, Framus Cobra, All VHT models except for the Deliverance (although I do love my Deliverance)
     
  6. hoehlentroll

    hoehlentroll Member

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    I use a fireball unboosted!
     
  7. MarcusGHedwig

    MarcusGHedwig Member

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    We sure have a lot of threads like this before :D
     
  8. Dylan S

    Dylan S Celephai

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    If you want to run a delay pedal, you may as well just have an overdrive pedal as well. Tap dancing with one isn't really that much of a pain in the ass is it?

    If it is, go ith an axe-fx I guess.
     
  9. Eschatologist

    Eschatologist Member

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    Engl Savage 120 definitely does NOT need a boost
     
  10. Kazrog

    Kazrog CEO/CTO, Kazrog, Inc.

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    ENGL amps are the only ones I've found that don't benefit from a boost. In fact, a boost really makes them sound too crazy.
     
  11. ttrentt

    ttrentt Member

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    I was in the exact original position as OP. I had a recto and wasn't a fan un-boosted, but it was too many damn cables live. I got a Powerball, (I still love that amp), live it crushes, but I had to sell it for $$. I ended up with a Cobra I got very cheap, and it also does not need a boost. Sounds great live on the lead (or even the crunch channel).
     
  12. SkybluestudiosBEN

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    I think ENGL can benefit from a boost when doing guitar solos. At least the powerball does.
     
  13. Kazrog

    Kazrog CEO/CTO, Kazrog, Inc.

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    Perhaps, I haven't used a Powerball to be fair (so much negativity about it, never bothered trying one.)
     
  14. Bromigo

    Bromigo Member

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    Most people don't understand why a tube screamer actually does what it does. Guitar impedance is much much higher than the circuits in a guitar amp. This causes many of the problems that a tube screamer fixes (don't feel like getting in to it too in-depth). The reason a tube screamer fixes these problems is that it converts the impedance of the signal in to one much more usable by the guitar amp. Certain amps have an impedance converting signal built in to the amp (VHT I believe, ADA MP-1, ect.). This is why many of these amps (or sims) are really not as effected by a TS. Of course, a TS does have some frequency shaping in it that does have a bit to do with it, but this is the main reasons boosts help so much.

    Anyways, my ADA MP-1 does not need a boost, neither does a Savage. In some cases a boost can do more harm than good (my MP-1 just got noise from one).
     
  15. Fragle

    Fragle Member

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    thanks for the suggestions!

    well, as for the axe-fx, my understanding is that it's basically a modeling preamp, hence i would need a poweramp & rack in a live situation. tbh that's what i'm doing as of right now, sansamp + poweramp....

    framus cobra, well i used to own one. sure didn't need a boost (sounded better with it though), but i just didn't like the voicing. it sounded great with other people playing through it, but my hands just didn't get along with it.
    engl fireball, yes it actually sounds pretty cool without a boost. 60w and sucky clean channel (shared gain) is killing it for me. i haven't checked out the new 100w fireball though, anyone have some experience with it vs the old 60w?
    to me, the 60w version lacks balls. for some reason, the powerball sounds NOTHING like the FB as far as i am concerned.

    what about the krank revolution? last time i played it in a store i wasn't exactly overwhelmed, but i remember it being quite tight going straight in (i was using a not-so-great guitar though).

    as for the delay, it's just a thought, my other guitar player has started to use one live and it's pretty cool, but personally i've always been a no-fx guy live.

    oh, and regarding the comment above that switching off a boost when going from e.g. lead to clean isn't that much of a big deal.....well, first thing is that our music is quite complex so i really have to focus on what i'm doing.
    the reason why i'm having a hard time doing tapdances like that is that i'm wearing glasses, but not on stage (headbanging etc). i'm unable to wear contact lenses, too, which leaves me with a pretty reduced eyesight while playing shows....couple that with bad lightning and fog etc, and every channel switch becomes pretty difficult.....and lets face it, accidentally starting a clean part with your lead sound because you hit the wrong switch is a mighty bad thing.....

    and btw sorry for the fact that there are already similar threads.


    edit: amps i'm thinking about right now:

    - 100w fireball. unsure whether that one sounds right for the style. the 60w fireball is cool at higher tunings, but in my experience gets lost in a live mix, especially with downtuned guitars. 60w just doesn't suffice at those tunings imho.
    - krank revolution
    - vht/fryette....never played them, but apparently they're really tight and articulate.
     
  16. Bekanor

    Bekanor Renegade Folk Hero

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    What about a Mark IV or V?

    I've never had any experience with either but they seem to be ok without a boost on the youtube clips I've seen (yeah I know, I know) but can anyone confirm that?
     
  17. dcb

    dcb nerd

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    had the mark iv and v for extensive testing... i liked it without a ts.
    its totally different cause it doesnt have the recto "fluffiness",
    the mark v can be very very precise. i tried it with an orange 212 v30 speakers.
    would love to hear it with a t75 speakers (more scooped, tighter bass range)

    today i will test the axe fx thorugh an engl poweramp -> orange v30,
    ill show you the results, if your interested.
     
  18. Fifth_Horseman

    Fifth_Horseman Watch out, it's sharp!

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    Yes, Axe-FX = rack, but I suggested it because it has everything you mentioned you might want built in (delay, tuner, and the full array of sounds). So the rack wouldn't be that big, and you could just plug in with a midiboard and cable and be set. In terms of space, is a tube head really so much better than a rack?

    From my last amp trying spree two years ago I got the following experience:

    VHT/Fryette: Tried a few (Pitbull Ultralead, Deliverance 60, the Sig:X was broken unfortunately), they were not my kind of sound, but they sure are hella tight (and dry) and cut through.
    Definitely worth a try, maybe they are just what you want. The sound is more raw compared to the typical ENGL voicing.

    Krank: Can't comment, because I just don't like them at all. Just not for me, for others they seem to work though.

    I own a Fireball 60, it was my main amp for a few years. I agree with you on all counts, both on its advantages and downfalls. Also I'd add that leads sound quite thin and earpiercing with it.
    That's why I ultimately went shopping again, and finally ended up with an ENGL Invader 100. Channel 3 is basically the Fireball sound with more balls, less fizz, more mids and some more dynamics. You also get very good cleans and many options for leads with channel 2 and 4 (they are very different in tone and response), as well as dual master volumes. I'm totally happy with mine, but I am someone who loves the ENGL voicing... the Invader just does the best rendition of it to me.
    You can also try channel 2 for rhythm, it's a somewhat different sound but some people prefer it to channel 3... less scooped, plenty tight too.
    Also, in the rehearsal room, I can clearly attest that the Invader dwarfs the Fireball 60 in the mix (in my old band I had my bandmate play my Fireball for a while).
    Worth a try!

    When the Fireball 100 came out I was curious how it would compare to the old version.
    From trying it out in the shop, I think that ENGL has listened to their customers and basically fixed up everything the 60 lacked.
    Separate gains for clean and lead channels solve the issue with the clean sound, mid boost helps to fatten up the leads, the 100w help with the bottom end and balls. The mid voicing seems to be slightly changed for better cut too, but that's minor... it still sounds like a Fireball. Which includes the highend fizz, and is the reason I still like the Invader better.
    So, if you're interested in the Fireball, don't even look at the old version. They should just discontinue that one.

    Also the new guy who replaced me when I quit my old band plays the Fireball 100, but he has some very odd settings (including the gain almost maxed, ugh!), so his tone was far from the best at the gigs and rehearsals I have attended. But I didn't want to be a smart ass to him, so I refrained from commenting.

    EDIT: And where's Lasse anyways!?
     
  19. AudioPhile777

    AudioPhile777 Mathew Cohen

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    The Rev doesn't need a boost... and I think it sounds fantastic.
     
  20. Eschatologist

    Eschatologist Member

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    Yes! Details afterwards, please! :headbang::kickass:
     

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