Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Chat about Equipment Info
 #95592  by mkaufman
 Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:04 pm
Still searching for the right amp. The options seem endless....

I play Ibanez-era Bobby. I need a very clean amp that will allow me to be loud enough, yet retain the glassy, almost crystalline sound from my poor-man's Cowboy. I've tried a number of amps - the best to my ears so far is my Fender Showman Reverb TFL5000D (Fender Twin) head. Problem is that unless I'm playing outside, I really don't need that powerful an amp - I probably never go past 3 on the volume dial. I suspect at that volume, I'm not hearing the amp in all its glory.

My sound has lots of upper mids & highs. I need an amp that won't sound harsh when loud. Of course, this could be a function of the speaker too, so please recommend a speaker that's best-suited for the task. With most amps I have tried, I have found that when increasing the volume, the mids overtake the highs and the glassy nature of my sound is lost. That's no good.

Some other considerations:

- I'm small and can't carry heavy equipment. I'm (very) open to a head plus cabinet solution.

- Although I like the Fender tube sound, I'm still testing a solid state solution (ie: IVP -> power amp). Problem is that I don't currently own a solid state power amp.

- I've heard lots of negative talk regarding 70's (?) Fender amps with a master volume. I recently sold my MusicMan HD-130 head (probably shouldn't have...) and I really liked the master volume as it made the amp very flexible, plus, this amp sounded great. Seems like an amp with a master volume would allow me to play clean or dirty (for non-Bobby roles).

- I currently use a JBL M31-4 speaker in an open-backed cab. This speaker is supposedly a 4 ohm version of the 15" JBL D130F, however, I saw a "K" written somewhere on the speaker, so it may have been reconed as a K130? Would a K speaker not be a good match for me?

In summary: clean sounding, portable solution with no ice-pick highs, loud enough for smaller clubs and still glassy when loud.

Should be easy, right?

 #95593  by JonnyBoy
 Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:20 pm
Have you tried an AC30?

I agree, I also think that the master vol is not biggie, I think it was a mark of when they changed the circuitry in the amp even farther away from the blackface specs. But I think it is useful too. come to think of it, I use a pre and mac right now with the same kind of thing, turn down the power section turn up the pre or vise versa. It doesn't detract from the jerry tone.
 #95601  by squire758
 Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:51 pm
I agree, you should really check out an ac30. All around great sounding powerful amps. The only thing that would ever replace my twin. Everytime I play at a certain bar, I always use the one thats there :-)
 #95602  by squire758
 Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:58 pm
oh yea and for the volume/natural overdrive issue, try pulling tubes to weaken the amp a bit and it should get to that stage much easier. On mine in the bedroom I put it on output low, and pull two of the tubes and it sounds great, I even did exactly that playing out before and loooovvvveeedd the sound, I finally got to overdrive a twin to the sound I bought it for in a room of 75 people. But to be fair I really should be using a Deluxe reverb for my application, and maybe that'd be good for you too
 #95605  by jdsmodulus
 Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:54 am
I played am AC30 the other day (as Bob) with my off the shelf Tele. 2 drummers and keys,bass and JG (Dan), this rig was fine and I was able to get a very nice tone at loud levels and soft levels. I would buy this amp if I could afford it. How nice it would be to have a simple amp and guitar setup. Also, I would suggest the SMS Classic with a smaller PA and a 1x12, JBL or TT. This would be a light and small rig that would rival any combo out there. The SMS is not just a JG amp! That pre sounds great!
 #95610  by jdsmodulus
 Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:11 am
mkaufman wrote:Never tried an AC30 and know nothing about them. Looks like there are about 8,000 versions? Is this another case of vintage vs. reissue?

I meant Power Amp, and the amp I played was somewhat new from GC.
 #95623  by hogan
 Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:31 am
the key to having usable options is a power amp, a power amp that isn't tied into an amp's circuit.
 #95624  by strumminsix
 Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:57 am
hogan wrote:the key to having usable options is a power amp, a power amp that isn't tied into an amp's circuit.
+1 My new rack rig will be a SMS + either Mesa 20/20 or Tubeworks 1160.
 #95630  by tcsned
 Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:45 am
mkaufman wrote:Never tried an AC30 and know nothing about them. Looks like there are about 8,000 versions? Is this another case of vintage vs. reissue?

yeah, I think they make 2 versions - I think just different speakers. They're all basically the same amp from what I've seen - I played through a new one and thought it was pretty sweet. Certainly a different tone than the Fender or Boogies or the boutique clones. Rivera makes a some really cool versatile amps too that aren't outrageously expensive.
 #95635  by squire758
 Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:22 am
im afraid for alot of Vox enthusiasts, it is indeed another battle of vintage/reissue. I may just be a crazy irishman, but Im a believer that in a blindfolded taste test, most people would guess wrong what they are plugged into :?
 #95641  by FretfulDave
 Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:08 pm
I recently got an Egnater Rebel 30 that I am liking quite a bit. I haven't cranked it but it is supposed to stay clean. 30 watts, has nice tone. EL84 and 6V6 mixed power section (2 of each) with a knob to adjust more towards either pair of tubes. I am running it on total mix and notice a nice tonal difference from having all EL84s. I think Guitar Center may carry them. Might be worth checking one out.

 #95646  by Dozin
 Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:36 pm
When I play the poor mans cowboy it sounds great through the Dean Markley in a room by myself. However, with the band cranked up it looses that sparkle. When I play it through a Mesa studio and a Crest power amp I like it a lot. I'd like to find a combo that can maintain the same as the Mesa setup.

MK do you still have your Mark IV combo?