Thoughts on a new amp


Currently i have a EVH 5150 iii 50 watt combo

I really like the channel 2 overdrive, but apart from the amp not having a dedicated clean channel, its too stinking LOUD!!!

It has an attenuator, and it sounds good (a little harsh), but really too lound for home playing and recording.

I thinking of a possible replacement, tube combo, same heavy overdiven sound, but just a bit more manageable.

Ive played some of the blackstar HTseries , but what about the Marshall combos?

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance



I own a marshall dsl20,built in attenuator,el34’s instead of el84’s as in most low wattage amps,lots of gain in the overdrive lead channel and a clean one
I really like the tone at bedroom levels
But I have the head version,
Perhaps you could use your combo’s speaker if you like it and just buy a head,which are cheaper



I dont understand why its 'too loud" if it has an attenuator?

Im worse off than you, I have a 6505+ combo with no attenuator in sight lol. from time to time I have thought of buying an attenuator but im not sure how it would sound blah blah. When/if i really commit to doing an album then ill probably buy something like a Bad Cat unleashed or whatever

what about something like this?



Maybe invest in a loadbox and studio monitors setup?

I used to run tube amps with a Torpedo Captor into my monitors and I had the best tone someone can have in an appartment.

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What kind of a tone are you after? A 5150 can be dialed in anywhere from 80s rock to Gothenburg death metal depending on what you’re trying to do with it, and getting a comparable tone in a smaller package will vary a lot by what side of that amp you’re really enjoying.

My default suggestion here would be either a Mesa Rectoverb 25 or Mark-V:25 combo or head and cab, but I have a pretty strong bias here since the way Mesas tend to saturate is something I’m very comfortable with.



Even with the attenuator, its a very loud amp, at least for my household. .

In any event, i will take too much of a hit selling it. I might look into a voodoo mod at some point



I’m not sure what I do makes sense, but I’ll throw it out for your consideration. I have two (powered) 8" studio monitors that are the heart of my “stereo.” These are driven by a Mackie mixer (802VLZ4?), and everything plugs into that, including an Apple Airport Express (streaming audio), my laptop (for Logic Pro X), Alexa, etc., and an Axe-FX (XL). I never turn it off, and it just plays everything mixed together.

While I suspect a tube amp is better for a particular sound, the Axe-FX (and likely the Kemper and Helix) are “good enough” for a wide range of sounds, and it’s fun to totally change what the guitar sounds like. If I wanted to be loud, I’d just replace the studio monitors with somethnig like this,



I’ve been looking into this for a while, and a simple attenuator will not do it without compromise.

Human hearing is non-linear so that attenuator need to have active EQ, IR and other tricks to get it to work right.

Then there’s the matter of feel; it needs to have a reactive load feature with reamping.

Only the boss Wazza amp expander has multiple reactive loads for different type of cabinets. The features blow my mind. Add built-in effects, midi recall, channel switching etc., just a great time to be a guitar player.

Then again I find myself moving towards a more practical pedal board setup. More practical and affordable, for my needs anyway.

I tell myself unless I write one whole album worth of neoclassical rock that I’d like to listen without cringing, I’m not going any deeper into this ever increasing bottomless pit. So far I’m safe!

The two notes new pedal sized CAB M looks like a viable solution along with one of those SD pedal board power amps, eliminate computer dependency.

But as Drew, says the Mark V 25 is a good option only because the newer amps don’t need to blow the roof off before they begin to sound good, I’ve heard similar reports of many newer amp designs.

About kempers and axe-fx, I had a kemper for years, as amazing as it was no way will I buy another monolithic computer-based unit at that price. The will not last half as long as analogue gear. Much prefer the feel of analogue drives and pedal board if it’s not a proper modern hot-rodded tube amp.



This isn’t completely universal - my Roadster is a lot more volume-sensitive than my Mark - but a lot of modern high gain heads, even ones with stupidly loud power sections, actually do OK at low volumes. As increasingly amps have been designed with a focus on preamp saturation and a desire to keep the low end tight and clear, you’re seeing power sections with more and more headroom, that are designed to NOT distort a tremendous amount as part of the amp’s voice. Meanwhile, something like a JCM800, the power amp saturation is a huge part of that amp’s voice, so it definitely struggles at lower volume.

Re: attenuators, I use one with my Roadster, but not the Mark. The Mark doesn’t need it, and it definitely impacts the tone. The Roadster, however, while it compromises the tone a little (I’m using an older THD Hot Plate, not a reactive load), the benefit of getting a little more engagement from the power amp outweighs the impact of the attenuator itself, so to me it’s a net benefit. Definitely personal preference, though.

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Definitely a good point on making the distinction between the amount of gain contributed by the power section. I was thinking the friedmans, they seem to rely more on the preamp with build in pedals type circuits that blend in at lower MV settings.



I think that a lot of issues with tone at low volume is not only the amp and is a lot to do with the speaker not being driven. This results is in a less ‘creamy’ distortion. That combined with the volume constraints etc. I think that the reactive load box and IRs are the way to go. I haven’t done it myself yet, but I am curious.



This. The Mesa/Boogie JP-2C’s Channels 2 and 3 exhibit something similar to this. If you use the suggested gain setting for Channel 2, but turn the volume down, there is a marked reduction in distortion. The “crunch” is just not there until you turn up the volume. You have to compensate with increased gain at lower volume levels.



I’ve ditched the amp and gone full modeling - Headrush Pedalboard + stereo FRFR-108 speakers. Love the versatility and mobility. Sounds awesome, even on headphones.



ill be honest, I think the majority of modeling amps sound really good, but talking to my nephew who plays, and said, you hear that Pixxy lixx dude on youtube, his sound is great, but every guitar he plugs into his rig, sound the same. It’s true. you can plug a $2000 guitar or a $200 they both sound good.

not to get into a debate, but after returning to guitar after a long break, and owning a few line 6 amps, then getting an EVH, I would never consider a modeling amp again. they’re just too lifeless.

i’ll say this though… I purchased an Yamaha THRX10 and it is a fantastic sounding SS amp with a great clean tone.




You must try Fractal Audio, Kemper, Helix and Atomic products. I’ve played many guitars through them, they didn’t sound the same at all.



I too have thought about going the modelling route for home use, but its very expensive to go fractal/helix just for practice. Tone wise, although very close these days, they don’t quite feel the same. A lot of newer players don’t know any different from the modelling gear so it doesn’t seem to matter to them and all power to them, especially as they are fantastic recording tools. From a practical perspective, I’m more concerned with the ‘all in one’ modellers for live use - if it breaks, you have lost your whole rig - amp and effects. It is much easier and economical to have a cheap backup tube head at a gig. Even if you have issues with your effects, you can still get through 90% of the gig with the amp alone.

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