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Hello,

I am looking to purchase a new amp+cab in the near future. I play mainly melodic metal (a la Dream Theater) and a lot of classic rock (Zeppelin, AC/DC and the like). I really want an amp that has that nice distortion of John Petrucci, so obvously, I was looking into the Dual Recto. However, the bottom end seemed to "loose" for my tastes. I want something that can give me that nice tight bottom end, yet still have balls to the walls distortion. I'm really wanting to try a series II Stiletto, as this seems like it may be what I am looking for. Anyone tried one (not series I, but rather the newer series II). If not, what are some good recommendations? I'm looking to spend less than $2800 on both the head and cab.

Thanks
 

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Would someone care to explain to me what "Balls to the Walls" overdrive is?

I know its obviously a very heavy kickass sound, but the term itself. . .Im confused by it. I get a mental image in my head of a man with his pants down with his genitals mashed. . well. . against the wall. Havin' trouble making a connection between this and the way an amp sounds.



To answer your question, John Petrucci is a Mesa user, and Mesas will do that fat, tight lead tone, but they blow for any low gain applications (like Zeppelin, ACDC). You need overdriven EL34's for that. IMO, most Mesas just have that farty fat low-mid 6L6 sound which sounds kinda gross when overdriven, the majority of Mesas use 6L6s in the power amp, which are great for fat, deep clean tones, but overdrive. . bleh. The thing with Mesas is that they are designed for the overdrive to come from the preamp, so they use 6L6's because they have lots of headroom (you can crank them really high before they break up and overdrive themselves, which will color the sound a bit) Old Marshalls go on the opposite basis: Very little preamp gain, and loads of poweramp overdrive. EL34's have less headroom than a 6L6, as well as a characteristic tone when overdriven. You hear "Marshall Crunch". . .well. . .what that means is really "EL34 Crunch" because the foundation of the Marshall tone is just an overdriven EL34 power amp, which any overdriven EL34 will yield that same crunch.

On that principal, the Stilletto is EL34 driven, so it might bridge the gap, go check it out and see.

For $2800 US, you've got more than enough to make your dreams come true.

I suggest a Mesa Mark IV head, which will run you about $1000 used.
Then, an old Marshall for EL34 Zeppelin/ACDC/Crunch tone. $1000 used.
Then a cabinet, and I would get an Avatar 4x12 with Greenbacks or Vintage 30's, which will run around $450
Which leaves $350 for negotiation money (you may have troubling finding the heads for $1000)
 

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the roadking has el34 and 6l6 powertubes

FEATURES
Handbuilt in the USA

Progressive Linkage™, Channel Assignable Power Amp (patent 5,559,469) featuring 4x6L6 & 2xEL34, which allows you to select either 2x6L6, 2xEL34, 2x6L6+2xEL34, 4x6L6
or 4x6L6+2xEL34 for Power Ratings of 50, 100 & 120 Watts! / 6x12AX7, 2x5U4

Fixed Bias for Consistent, Maintenance Free Performance

4 Fully Independent Channels with 12 Modes (Channel 1 =Clean, Fat or Tweed™, Channel 2 =Clean, Fat or Brit, Channels 3 & 4=Raw, Vintage High Gain or Modern High Gain)

Each Channel features Independent Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, All-Tube Long Spring Reverb, 5 Position Progressive Linkage Power Tube Select (choices listed above), Channel Assignable Dual Rectification (Diode
or Tube Tracking-Patent Pending), Speaker Output Select (Speaker Out A, B or A+B), FX Loop 1 and 2 Select (2-Series Loop On/Off Switches per Channel or Footswitch Assignable)

Output Level Control (over all channels when activated)

Footswitchable Solo Level
Control - Patent 6,724,897 (over all channels when activated)

Bold/Spongy "Variac"
Switch

Pentode/Triode Switch for EL34s

True "Hard" Bypass Switch that removes FX Loop, Output Level & Solo Level Controls from signal path

Slave Out w/Level Control

Fan Cooled

External Switching Jacks for Channels 1, 2, 3, 4, Solo, Reverb, Loop 1 & Loop 2

9 Button Footswitch (Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 3, Channel 4, External Trigger,
Reverb, Loop 1, Loop 2 & Solo)

Slip Cover

Available as:
Head (Width 27-3/4 inches)

2x12 Combo • C90 Speakers • Casters (Width 28-1/2 inches)

Optional Custom Finishes: Please Visit our Custom Design Gallery

Dual Series Effects Loops, include Master Send Level. All Loop circuitry can be hard bypassed. Run separate processing for Channels 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 or run Delay in Loop1 and Chorus in Loop 2…the possibilities are endless.

Power Status LEDs keep you informed of your pre-assigned Power Tube and Rectifier combinations per channel. Other front panel LEDs show Channel and Loop status.

Channels
1 & 2
Channels
3 & 4

A La Mode… Each Channel offers 3 Mode choices. The two pairs of Channels (Rhythm 1 & 2 and Lead 3 & 4) are duplicated so you can use similar pre-amp sounds with different Power Tube, Rectifier and Wattage configurations. Channels 1 & 2 offer CLEAN, FAT & BRIT. Channels 3 & 4 provide RAW, VINTAGE & MODERN.

Cabinet Switcher, a unique Road King feature, includes load protection and let's you dedicate specific cabs for clean and overdriven sounds. Also works great with our split-chamber Road King cabs which include separate open and closed sections

.

Built In Variac (patented) lets you further tune the power section to your style. Kick the A.C. voltage down for a looser, scoopier feel or hit Bold for maximum headroom and low-end tightness.

External Trigger Ports (Latching and Pulse) on amplifier rear allow remote control of FX, drum machines, samplers and more from the King's footcontroller.

http://www.mesaboogie.com/Product_Info/Rectifier_Series/roadking/roadking.htm
 

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ENGL and BOGNER can be super sexy options. DIEZEL is \m/ too. But I'd rather buy a Triaxis and with saved money get a KVLT guitar.
 

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I'd say go for a Triaxis.

I was playing through one and it seems to do everything. I got a beautiful clean, a nice crunchy sound, great 70s rock sound, blues sounds, jazz sounds... Oh and did i mention a badass distortion sound that absolutely kicked arse? :D
 

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Triaxis is excellent, will do most things very well, BUT it won't do anything like the gain you'll get on an Engl, Diezel, Peavey XXX, Bogner or Mesa Roadking ;) That's why I ended up selling mine.
 

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When i tried a Triaxis i thought it was extremely tight. Setup properly you could get any sound, a great smooth liquid solo sound and a brutal heavy metal rhythm tone that didn't mush up or flab out.

I would suggest an ENGL aswell. I wasn't overly impressed by the Peavey XXX as it wasn't that versatile. More of a cliché amp. The 6505+ however... Wow! I heard someone playing through that not long ago and it blew me away. The mad thing was... it was a damaged head. I'm really tempted to get one.
 

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Go for the Mark IV mate. It's a truly amazing amp. I don't think i've ever come across something so beutiful and versatile. You can literally do ANYTHING with it.
 

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I might get flamed, but Crate IMO has the best distortion/tone for any amps I have ever played. I have had Marshal, Fender, and played on some other companies, but always seem to come back to Crate.
 

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evolvedmb said:
I might get flamed, but Crate IMO has the best distortion/tone for any amps I have ever played. I have had Marshal, Fender, and played on some other companies, but always seem to come back to Crate.
A mate of mine has a hybrid crate pre-amp. It does have a good sound, if a bit one sided. I don't think that would matter as the drive channel was so good.

This has been a really interesting thread so far, and I have learnt a lot of new things an clarified much of what I already assumed.

Thanks guys.
 

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If you love versatility and great tones a TriAxis is TOUGH to beat. It's all in there. I'd recommend version 2.0. A TriAxis/2:90 combination with a cabinet... if you buy used but, near mint shape stuff you should be in the low $2K range.

Mark IV is probably too flubby for you for rhythm playing as it is looser than a dual recto however, for leads, it will do EXACTLY what you're looking for... $1,300 or so used and near mint.

Mesa Road King :D This amp is great! With the channel assignable tubes you can dial in a lot more tones than you can with a regular Recto amp. I am NOT a fan of Rectos but, THIS amp is different. Everything you're looking for is in here... $2,500 new & $1,950 or so used in near mint condition.

Engl Savage 120 (or Savage SE if you can find--difference is 6L6's) has more mids than most Engl's (other than the $3,300 Special Edition) so you can probably dial in what you're looking for with one of these as well... $2,200 new & about $1,550 used in near mint condition.

And FWIW, I owned or have owned all of the above setups.
 

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I'm a little biased, but I've always insisted that a Mesa Nomad is probably the bess all-in-one answer for a Petrucci tone. They're discontinued, so you'll have to do some searching, but it's the only Mesa I've ever played that can go from Rectifier territory (abiet with a bit more refinement - I think you'll prefer the lows on this one) to Mark-IV smoothness with the flip of a switch.
 
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