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I was considering buying some new equipement (once I get more money), and the first thing I want is a new amp/effects unit.  Here's what I've narrowed it down to:

Line6:
Pod 2.0
Pod Pro
AX2-212

Johnson:
J-Station
JM-150 (Millenium)
JM-60

Fender:
Cybertwin

I'd like to know what people think of these, like which outrank which.  I'll give you some background on my playing and what I'm looking for to help your suggestions:

I play guitar (duh), and am looking for a wide variety of tones/effects.  I want to be able to create sounds of many different amps.  My current sound is very...well, crappy.  My musical influences are Steve Vai (of course), Joe Satriani, Korn, Metallica, Creed, Tea Party, Finger Eleven, and a few others.  So, obviously, I want decent replications of tones ranging from Marshalls, to Rectifiers, to Matchless, to God knows what.  Better guitars will follow.
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

i don't recommend any of this gear. Yah, I know some like it, but you WILL grow unsatisfied and go thru the "gear-shuffle" of constant updating due to your dissatisfaction with it.

I would look for a VERY capable tube amp (2 or 3 real channels... one you can keep for years) and a few pedals instead. Good luck... glen
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

When you are trying out an amp (tube or solid state) always play it without any effects. This way you are able to hear the true base sound. The base is the most important. Without a good base sound (no matter how many effects you add) the end result will not be good.
Out,
Gregory
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

I aslo cannot recomend any of this gear. I hate the "tone" you get from digital/solid state amps. However... I highly recomend staying away from the Johnson stuff over the rest. I had a Millenium for a weekend... only reason I had it so long was because the store was closed Sunday. I detest that amp like the devil. Easily the worst of the worst. The only worthwhile sound I could get out of it was a terribly oversaturated Boogie simulation, which was still the most repulsively digital distortion imaginable.
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

I guess I'm a tube snob like Glen and Jay, but I think a POD or J-Station might be something worthwhile having...later you might move toward a better amp, but these would still be excellent for recording & practicing.

The POD is generally preferred for its amp models, but the J-Station is going for only $149 these days.
Greg
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

I would recommend the Line 6 Flextone II model.

It is the Pod Pro with an amp and 2 12" speakers. It sounds great and very versatile.

I have to say though, that down the line, you're gonna itch for pure tone.
I have several amps and the amp that I use the most (even for the direct recording) is my ultra trusty Mesa Boogie...had it for many years now and it still delivers what I like to hear.

But situation aside, you may want to look into getting both when the time is appropriate. I cannot say that there is something definite in picking 'an amp'. Your tastes, playing style, and appreciation for tone will guide you to different avenues. The modeling digital amps are nice to get your feet wet in the tone world, once you hear what you like you might develop an opinion otherwise.

Speaking of modeling amps...what impressed me recently.

Dino Cazares of Fear Factory recently switched from Boogie to Line 6. and the tone that is delivered sounded absolutely realistic boogie tone.
Lots of tweaking and a little studio magic with plug-ins I am sure...but it can be done.

Good Luck!!
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

as far as practicality (ie in the house) a POD you can't go wrong with.

But I'll just rehash what most have said, save yer dosh up and invest in a quality tube amp.
Test as many out as you can get your hands on.

I know it's a bit anal, but decide what you're looking for in an Amp and develop some some of scroing system you can take around with you. Test the amps and score them, it helps you later on when you've forgotten what that first 1 or 2 sounded like.

gl

Steve
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

Not everyone is in the position financially or habitat-ually (did I coin a new phrase?) to own a good tube amp and all of the FX that you'll find in the modelling amps. Regardless of lack of the ever subjective "tone," it is the best buy IMHO.

The answer to this question can't be given without further discussing the applications in which you'll be using the new gear. If you're a wood shed shredder the Line 6 stuff is the most bang for your buck!

If you're seeking stardom, buy bits and pieces and build your own sound from scratch using the tube amps and high tech processors.
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

Well, I've only been playing 3 1/2 years, and just want to open up my tonal possibilities a bit, since I'm not sure what tone I'm looking for 100% yet. I would mainly use it for practise and recording, and upgrade later. I've heard a demonstration of the Millenium, and thought it sounded amazing (to my young, unprofessional ears), and have seen an AX2 in use on stage that also sounded really cool.
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

Sounds to me like you should get a Line 6. :)

You'd think I endorsed them or something!
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

In my 5 years as a guitar player, I've always played through tube or hybrid amps plus some stompboxes. Rarely, I've used a multieffects unit instead. Today, I have different thoughts about gear.

These modeling amps were crappy some years ago. Today, the technology has advanced and they're sounding much better. If you pick the Fender Cybertwin and play a SRV lick, for instance, a few players can tell you if that's a modeling amp or not. They're getting closer to the tube ones and are a viable option if you're looking for quality gear at reasonable price.

My final conclusion about this is: I think most "older" players discriminate these new technologies (no offense here! :smile: ) because they really love vintage stuff. OK, vintage gear is great, but why don't give these new pieces of gear a chance?

I did this and I'm satisfied with the result. Now, I mix some new gear with some vintage and I'm finally getting the tone I've always wanted.

My advice: get a CyberTwin!
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

Jeez...I must be the Charles Manson of the Forum regarding amps.

I'm selling my Cruise (FOURTEEN tubes) to finance two new amps:
•Johnson JM250 w/4x12 cab (home rig)
•Fend*r CyberTwin (for playing live)

Don't forget that I also own a '68 Fend*r Bassman. I run a SansAmp GT-2 in front of the Bassman....wow. Tone all damn night.

You would have thought that Jemfest this year was sponsored by Line6. :) I think the final count was SIX Line6 amps. They seem quite popular. I'm biased, but I'm going to give Eric Sands the "Tone Of The Night" award from Jemfest.

A nice tube amp is a good idea, but remember: with pedals you'll go thru 9V batteries like Ed Roman goes thru customers. With the built-in FX on the Line6/Johnson/CyberTwin, no batteries...and save for the AX, all them are fairly portable. (Kirk's AX is a HUGE 2x12 amp...but has great tone) Pick up one box, instead of one box and a bag full of pedals and another bag full of 9V's. Before you rip me, yes- I know about AC adapters for the pedals. Of course, at every gig, there's a convinent place to plug those in...always within 6' of where you want your pedals. :) Don't forget to pack an extension cord (start at 25'). If you're only playing at home, disregard the previous few sentences. :)

In the end, let YOUR ears decide. If you can play them side-by-side-by-side, I'd recommend doing that.
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

Stay away from the J-station... I bought one for headphone practice and band rehersals, it stinks. It's cool for about 20minutes... then it just sounds unreal. I have a friend who thinks his is the greatest thing in the world, I'm envious of him... I'd love to be able to walk into a gig and just plug in.
But more than the sound, for me the biggest problem is the feel. It just doesn't respond like a tube amp.
It also requires a lot more volume to cut through the mix.
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

I own a Line 6 Pod and it works very well in my situation. If you're just using it for practice, I think it will work very well for you.

I have to admit, I'm not totally 100% satisfied with its tone ..but it is still pretty good if you tweak it well enough. Of course, in terms of mimicing a real tube amp, the POD is not perfect. But c'mon, compare the price of the POD with the price of a full stack tube amp and couple of pedals, then you'll see that the POD is still worth checking out.

I am intending to buy a real tube amp in the distant future. But I am very fickle, like many. I remember many situations where I would try a friend's tube amp, falling in love with its tone and then hating it the next week. So I am always afraid of making such an large investment. Hopefully, one day, I'll find an amp and a tone that I will stick with forever. But for now, my cheap little POD will do.

It is not that I don't know good tone, I just can't afford it. :)
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

*Donning flame retardant tuxedo and wading into the fray*

Ok, before I say what everyone knows I am going to say let me preface this by saying that I have been playing for going on 19 years now and have had my share of amps and guitars. That said, I love that dual rectifier shred sound and could find NOTHING in my price range. After months of searching and trying different amps I decided on the Line6 Flextone II HD head. It's a modeller but this thing just blew me out of the water when I borrowed it over the weekend. And my gawd is it LOUD!!!!! :biggrin: But even at "don't wanna have the neigbors over with torches and pitchforks" or "bedroom rock gawd" volume it sounds awsom. That rectifier sound is all shred and balls while still being tight and sweet so I fell in love pretty easily.

IMHO it's excellent bang for the buck. Quite possibly I bought this amp for only one range of sounds (one amp model) but if you think about it, I bought this thing at better than HALF the price of the amp it's modelling. That's a good deal if you ask me. Many other good amp models also, choice of cabinet models, with MIDI you can even chose the mic placement in the tone, effects, direct recording output, fully programmable via MIDI, light weight and portable. What's not to like?

Like these guys are saying, it really does depend what sound you are going for. If versatility is what you're after as well as price and good "tone" (I said good not extraordinary) then Line6 is prolly your best bet.

Good luck!

:cool: LJ

PS. I am with Kirk, I need an endorsment contract ... LOL
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

I love vintage stuff... I own a Pod Pro... I almost always go back to my tube amps, unless it's just too late at night to record any other way in my apartment.
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

I think in about ten or fifteen years the tube amp is
for the museum. There will be no more tubes produced,
cause the only reason for producing today are amps.
And there are not so many amps to make big bizz.
I think "digital is the future". Like the internet older people won't use it. Some weeks ago i got a AX2.
You have to invest time to try out the different possibilities and i got some pretty good sounds.
I think for the price it's a good amp. A week ago i saw a performance of the new Hughes&Kettner digital amp.
It was a great sound, but you have to spend $2500
without floorboard. Enjoy the new amp,independent what amp you choose :)
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

I highly doubt this theory. As long as we have our good buddies in Communist countries still around... we'll have tubes. If not, I'll stockpile them now, because digital "tone" makes me nauseous.
I use the word "tone" VERY loosely when referring to digital amps
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

IMHO, i think digital amps will only get better in time. But I doubt that it will cause tube amps to become obsolete. There are always enough tube purists out there to make sure that such a thing never happens.
 

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Johnson, Line6, Fender...

I've been playing the Millennium 150 for about 2 years now, and the other guitar player in my band (Dave) has been playing one for 3+ years. We both swear by them. I use a Carvin Legacy as a backup amp, and have owned a variety of Fender and Crate (Blue Voodoo) tube amps in the past). Dave uses a 5150 for a backup amp and has used Peavey and Marshall amps in the past. That said, we still swear by the Johnson gear.

To me, the Johnson tradeoff is as follows: You can have an amp with 100 sounds that sound 75% good out of the box, or you can have an amp with 2-3 sounds that sound 100% good. With time and a little preset tweaking, it's possible to get the Johnson presets sounding much better than the out of the box presets (up to 90-95% good). Personally, the flexibility that the Johnson brings to the table far outweighs the all-tube tone brought to the table by other combos.

Although I did the majority of my research/shopping a couple of years ago, I remember the Millennium being leaps and bounds beyond the other modeling amps at the time. The next best amps, IMHO, were the Line 6 amps. Of course, the market has drastically changed in 2 years, but I've still never found anything that gives the tone/flexibility that the Johnson has.

The moral of the story... buy what sounds good to you. My former rig consisted of several stomp boxes running into a Digitech 2101, split stereo into two tube combo amps. With the Johnson, not only did my rig get drastically simpler, but my tone drastically improved as well. As a result, I spend more time playing, and my chops have improved quite a bit. If you like your own sound, you'll play that much more and be that much better.

Just my $0.03.

--B

PS--To hear the Johnson amps in action check out http://www.naughtybutterspoon.com/songs.html, but keep in mind that the recording was pulled off in my home studio, so the overall tone may be a bit less than optimal.
 
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