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Smoothest distortion tone

2098 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  lynchfan6
I am in the market for a high gain head. I am looking for something excessively smooth, like a tubescreamer but obviously with lots of gain and without the mid-range hump.

I can spend about $1000-$1200.

Unfortunately, where I live, all they sell is the typical Fender combos, Marshalls, and a whole lotta Traynors, but if I have to buy online I will.

This will be used primarily for recording not gigging.
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If its for recording, why not consider a smaller combo? Something in the 5-15 watt range that you can crank to get the tubes to distort, without going deaf or getting evicted.
It's funny you mention that, I am currently using a Fender Champ 600 with a Metal Muff, I think the tone is pretty descent.

However the small speaker distorted badly with palm mutes you can hear it in this clip: http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6813151

You can hear the weird farty distortion at 0:05 and 0:06 - I am pretty sure it's the tiny 6" speaker trying to push all that bass, and messing with the tone stack doesn't help.
I would attenuate a Mesa F30 or F50 to be honest. They don't make them anymore but you can pick them up for a reasonable price. And if you really want a true heavy sound then chucking an EQ in at the effects loop makes it pretty darn mean.
It doesn't get much smoother than a Mesa Mark IV. You should be able to get one in your price range used.
It's funny you mention that, I am currently using a Fender Champ 600 with a Metal Muff, I think the tone is pretty descent.

However the small speaker distorted badly with palm mutes you can hear it in this clip: http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6813151

You can hear the weird farty distortion at 0:05 and 0:06 - I am pretty sure it's the tiny 6" speaker trying to push all that bass, and messing with the tone stack doesn't help.
I'd bet money that the main culprit is the 6" speaker. Check out some 1X12 or 2X12 combos. If you dont find anything the head option is always available but personally I think a low wattage combo would suit your needs better
Thanks elcid, I may have to just try using a bigger cab first and see if that solves my problem, as I don't find my current tone too offensive.


It's kind of annoying that the F-50 and Express 5:50 are the only ones with 6L6's while the lower wattage versions have EL-34, is there any particular reason why Mesa does this?
Id bet it has to do with power output. Most if not all low wattage tube amps use EL-34s. It's not just a Mesa thing
Find a used Soldano HR50+ or HR50 or avenger. They would be in your price range, and Soldano tone is pure liquid harmonic mojo. You really need to hear a Soldano before making a final choice if you want smooth. I had an HR50+, and it was smooth! I only sold it to get my SLO, which I'll have for life. You cannot got wrong with a Soldano if you want smooth hi gain overdrive dripping with harmonics and three dimensional liquid tone...!!!!
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