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TL;DR – I need suggestions for a new tube amp head $1000 or less.

I’m looking into getting a new amp head. It’s been a really long time since I’ve truly looked at what’s out there and need some help with a starting point. I don’t have a full specific direction I want to go but I do have a couple of needs & wants.

First off, for reference my last big purchase that I’ve been using as my main rig since the early 2000’s is a Crate Blue Voodoo 300… the monster 300 watt version. I also have the 150 watt version as a backup. I also have a Crate Stealth 50, a Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 and a Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36. The Crate Stealth is bad @$$, designed by Lee Jackson & oozes that hot rodded Marshall 80’s hair metal sound. I like the Peavey well enough but to me, modeling amps are more of a novelty, kind of a jack of all trades, master of none thing. The Tubemeister is pretty cool too but is nearing the being too bright category. The Blue Voodoo is my sound & I love it, but at this stage in life a 300 watt tube amp is just way overkill. Not that it wasn’t always overkill, but it’s too much for bedroom use or small jam sessions.

So that leads me to now looking for something to better suit my needs. As I said I don’t have a true direction but there are a few needs & a couple of wants.

Needs:
-Tube Amp somewhere between 50 & 100 watts (closer to 50 may be better)
-Independent tone controls for each channel
-$1000 price limit (could be convinced to go up to $1300 is it’s the right amp)
-Suited for heavy rock and power metal

Wants, but not requirements:
-Selectable wattage
-Head that can handle 4 ohm cabinet
-3 channels (2 would be sufficient)
-Can cover multiple genera from blues to metal
-Tube monitoring and auto bias
-Built in reverb would be nice but not needed
-Mid boost/cut switch but not needed (I like my mids)

Other options:
-Can be new or used/current or vintage
-brand doesn’t matter much as long as it’s reliable
-Would prefer a head but a combo with 12” speaker & extension cabinet capability will work

Lastly:
-No 5150/6505 suggestions – Great amps but I’ve never been able to bond with them

Thank you in advance for the help!
 

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Just to get ideas flowing, for $1300 you should be able to get a used Mesa/Boogie Mark IV Combo (possibly a head with some haggling). It is overkill too but experiencing the sound of the 3rd Channel properly dialed in with the Graphic EQ engaged is a true joy. You will smile, plus the amp might be something different than what you are used to which might be fun. :wink:
 

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TL;DR - I need suggestions for a new tube amp head $1000 or less.

I'm looking into getting a new amp head. It's been a really long time since I've truly looked at what's out there and need some help with a starting point. I don't have a full specific direction I want to go but I do have a couple of needs & wants.

First off, for reference my last big purchase that I've been using as my main rig since the early 2000's is a Crate Blue Voodoo 300… the monster 300 watt version. I also have the 150 watt version as a backup. I also have a Crate Stealth 50, a Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 and a Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36. The Crate Stealth is bad @$$, designed by Lee Jackson & oozes that hot rodded Marshall 80's hair metal sound. I like the Peavey well enough but to me, modeling amps are more of a novelty, kind of a jack of all trades, master of none thing. The Tubemeister is pretty cool too but is nearing the being too bright category. The Blue Voodoo is my sound & I love it, but at this stage in life a 300 watt tube amp is just way overkill. Not that it wasn't always overkill, but it's too much for bedroom use or small jam sessions.

So that leads me to now looking for something to better suit my needs. As I said I don't have a true direction but there are a few needs & a couple of wants.

Needs:
-Tube Amp somewhere between 50 & 100 watts (closer to 50 may be better)
-Independent tone controls for each channel
-$1000 price limit (could be convinced to go up to $1300 is it's the right amp)
-Suited for heavy rock and power metal

Wants, but not requirements:
-Selectable wattage
-Head that can handle 4 ohm cabinet
-3 channels (2 would be sufficient)
-Can cover multiple genera from blues to metal
-Tube monitoring and auto bias
-Built in reverb would be nice but not needed
-Mid boost/cut switch but not needed (I like my mids)

Other options:
-Can be new or used/current or vintage
-brand doesn't matter much as long as it's reliable
-Would prefer a head but a combo with 12" speaker & extension cabinet capability will work

Lastly:
-No 5150/6505 suggestions - Great amps but I've never been able to bond with them

Thank you in advance for the help!
Bogner Shiva
EL34
https://reverb.com/item/29833041-bogner-shiva-el34-2-channel-80-watt-guitar-amp-head
https://reverb.com/item/27146168-bogner-shiva-2x12-combo-amp (a bit over-budget but a 2x12


6L6
https://reverb.com/item/27321132-bogner-shiva-2-channel-6l6-1x12-guitar-combo-with-reverb

Personally, I'm a Bogner fanboy. I have an XTC 101B and although I love it dearly, I think a Shiva will do 75% of what MOST guys want, myself included. I wanted the XTC for the 3rd Channel...but sometimes I wonder if I made the wrong decision on that... Now the XTC DOES have the power options etc, but you are at 120w or 100w and a higher pricepoint. I felt like the Masters on the Shivas I've played are really good. I'd get a Weber MASS if I wanted to knock a few more dB off of it.

Jerry Cantrell used a Shiva and a Fish...and that's a heck of an endorsement in my book.

A Klone isn't really necessary either. I got some great tone barefoot.

Just a thought!

Luke
 

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Just to get ideas flowing, for $1300 you should be able to get a used Mesa/Boogie Mark IV Combo (possibly a head with some haggling). It is overkill too but experiencing the sound of the 3rd Channel properly dialed in with the Graphic EQ engaged is a true joy. You will smile, plus the amp might be something different than what you are used to which might be fun. :wink:
The Mark IV has a great clean channel as well. If the reverb knob were on the front it would be close to perfect.
 

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Remember that 100 watts is louder than 50, but it's nothing like twice as loud. If I didn't have the Boogie I'd get a Fender Super Reverb :) 40 watts, 4x10's, and loud as hell lol. Instant SRV if you want, and it takes pedals pretty well

I haven't heard one myself but I have heard the EVH III 50Watt 2x12 combo is amazing as well
 

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The Mark IV has a great clean channel as well. If the reverb knob were on the front it would be close to perfect.
Out of curiosity, how far did you delve into the possibilities the Mark IV offers? For example, Mesa used to make the Satellite 60 which was an all tube 60 watt power amp/speaker cabinet designed to facilitate a wet/dry/wet stereo rig if you had 2 Satellite 60's, a stereo FX processor, and a Mark IV. The I/O on the amps is there you just need the cables. Unfortunately, the Satellite 60's are really rare and rather expensive when made available on the used market. Did you explore any of these features? The Mark IV can be a normal amp or it can be a command center. ;)
 

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You seriously have to look into the Mercury or Iridium amps by Bluguitar. These are 100 watt (friggin' loud), but a soaker that does not tap your sound (so you can play and record at low levels). Go direct to computer, go into a cab, go into a mixer, etc. Four channel... clean with vintage, classic and modern tones. I just got in the Iridium and it blows me away how diverse and great sounding this is. And it's compact and light (meant for a pedalboard).
 

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Out of curiosity, how far did you delve into the possibilities the Mark IV offers? For example, Mesa used to make the Satellite 60 which was an all tube 60 watt power amp/speaker cabinet designed to facilitate a wet/dry/wet stereo rig if you had 2 Satellite 60's, a stereo FX processor, and a Mark IV. The I/O on the amps is there you just need the cables. Unfortunately, the Satellite 60's are really rare and rather expensive when made available on the used market. Did you explore any of these features? The Mark IV can be a normal amp or it can be a command center. ;)
I have done no delving. I am delveless :) I have a 1x12 Thiele cab with mine and I run an AX8 into it, so it is loud enough to seriously rattle windows and can basically cover all bases. That said, I use it on half (tweed) power all the time so it is wasted on my to a degree. I'd be better off with a nice Super Reverb...

This is my MkIV 'mini stack', behind the S-500

 

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If you don't mind buying a used amp, look into a peavey jsx. It's an amp that joe satriani and peavey developed together in the mid 2000's. I've had mine for over 10 years now. The tone is similar to a marshall but the gain is silkier IMO. It has 2 gain channels and one clean. An FX loop with send and return knobs, direct out... each channel has it's own eq.

In the cover band i am in we play everything from the beatles, to van halen, SRV... zepplin... 311, chilli peppers... this amp is so versatile. I see them pop up on ebay here and there averaging around $650. It's a 120 watt head, comes with 4). el34 and 4). 12ax7 but accpets 6L6 tubes too. I put 6L6's in and preferred that over tube el34's. Incredible sounding amp and not very expensive. Also comes in a combo 2x12.
 

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I have done no delving. I am delveless :) I have a 1x12 Thiele cab with mine and I run an AX8 into it, so it is loud enough to seriously rattle windows and can basically cover all bases. That said, I use it on half (tweed) power all the time so it is wasted on my to a degree. I'd be better off with a nice Super Reverb...

This is my MkIV 'mini stack', behind the S-500
That is probably wise. Keep life simple with the Mark IV and AX8. ;)
 

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I suggest you check on Christmas Coupons because I saw there and they are giving many discounts on there, if you need them then go and check there, I hope you will find.
 

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Check out synergy modular amps. Steve vai just started using them. It's a plug and play preamp style system. You HAVE to youtube it to get what i mean. You can even just add them to your existing amp if you have an FX loop. The modular preamps are designed in conjunction with the original designers they are modeled after... like an SLO saldano preamp, or a plexi... or a engel... there's so much to choose from, and the preamps are plug and play. It's astounding... and it's real tube tone not digital.
 
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