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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm considering upgrading my current rig, well just the amps really. Right now I have an Ibanez J-custom RG8670 going through a shabby Marshall MG20DFX and pedals. Within a few weeks I will be purchasing a PODXT Pro for home recording etc and also something I can take to University rather than an amp.

I have been thinking of starting my own rack system, consiting of the PODXT Pro and a Mesa/Boogie 20/20, T.C. Electronic G-major or If I can offord one a Mesa/Boogie Triaxis. I will probably add a few more racks later in the years haha (if I get rack) - This will be handy if i'm purchasing the XT Pro, but the downside is I won't be able to try the Mesa/Boogie 20/20 as none of the local stores stock them and I'll need to travel the other end of the country to try it. But I have read some promising reviews and sounds fantastic.

My other option that I've been considering is getting an Amp head and I'm looking out for the Mesa/Boogie Dual rectifier or the Peavy JSX Head. One of the local stores stock these amps but I have requested to try them and the always says "they're not connected up." But Hopefully within a few weeks I'll go down again and ask another dude, if not I'll try another store that stock these amps. The downside of buying the amp heads are, that I'll probably won't need 100 or 150W of Tube power! I guess I could pull tubes on the dual to bring it down to 50W but not too sure on the JSX. I play in a band (after this summer I don't think I will be as I'm off to Uni) but these amps will certainly be powerful enough for the gigs. But When I come from uni during the summer I'll mostly be practicing in the house and i'm just worried that I'm not going to use the heads power to it's full potential. So it might not be worth getting the heads, although it could posisbly be cheaper than buying the rack setup.

Right now I'm stuck between the two, I'm unsure what to go for. Both have their advatanges and disadvantages and I just need some opinions before making final decisions and also opinons of users that have either setups (head or rack)

Thanks :)
 

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Howdy,

A few years back my rig consisted of a POD Pro, Mesa 20/20, TC Electronics G-Major, BBE sonic maximizer, a midi controller and a mesa recto 2x12 cab. All I have remaining from that rig are the POD Pro and the boogie cabinet, in short I went back to tubes for all live work purchasing a boogie nomad 45 2x12 combo, a rivera TBR1SL and a bogner 4x12, all my effects are on the floor now, the old fashioned way. I like being able to just add and subtract individual effects without having to program boards and units.

Additionally, the sound of the rig was something I was never fully satisfied with. The POD stuff just sounds different through guitar power amps and cabinets, no matter how you set things. I was always just a bit flat sounding, no roundness or fullness that I get with my tube amps now. Now don't get me wrong, I love my POD Pro, it is an indespensible tool for me as I need quiet rehearsal/recording options and I think they sound great going direct. But for loud stuff, nothing substitutes for a great tube amp.

My advice would be get the bean version not the pro unless you need full spdif for recording purposes, and use the saved cash to through towards a decent tube combo. That way you have all the bases covered, you'd have the quiet portable practice tool for being at school, and it would fit in a backpack or guitar case. And if you do strike up another band, you'd have a decent tube amp to run through. Look at Laney, boogie, carr, rivera, bogner etc...depending on your budget of course. Or even just an old fender deluxe or twin with a good distortion unit on the floor...I like the tonebone units, they are simply fantastic sounding.
 

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I'm thinking along similar lines with a new amp set-up.

I've got a '79 JMP 50watt Marshall master volume head which is an awesome amp in it's own right but it just not versatile enough, and to get the best out of it you've gotta' crank it up to a volume which isn't usable apart from in a gigging situation.
I've got a set of THD Yellowjackets for it which you plug in instead of the two EL34 power-tubes. It converts the amp to run in Class A using two EL84's which also reduces the power to around 25watts, but even at that power it's VERY loud.

I'm thinking of getting either a Rocktron Chameleon pre-amp(solid-state) and running it through a valve power-amp (either a Mesa or Marshall rack) or even a PodXT Pro (the rack version) through a valve power-amp.

It would give me so much more versatility and it would suit the guitars I have at the moment much more.

It also allows you to add to your rig as you go along as well which appeals to me a lot. I like the idea of having an amp that could be run in stereo too.

I'm in a similar situation to yourself as far as trying before i buy. I live in South Wales and i'd have to go a LONG way to even find any of the gear i'm after.I've been doing a lot of research and talking to people who use the gear i'm thinking of getting and the Rocktron pre-amps (certain models) really sound superb and are so versatile.
I'd also prefer to buy used gear because I'll be on too tight a budget for new stuff.

I'd say go with the rack stuff but then it's very dependant on the sort of sounds you're after in the end.
 

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Hey Artificial, (its noname here)

I would scrap that rack idea, and the Dual Recto idea, and TOTALLY go with the JSX idea.

The JSX is an amazing amp. I am blessed with owning one. The tones are so crystal clear, the distortion is so amazingly versitle and adaptable, IMO the tones it produces are the best ive ever heard, I think it shines out so many other $3000 heads. The Clean channel is great, and has infinite headroom, the crunch channel really shines, it has a great rock sound, and the Ultra channel is pure Satriani. The Crunch channel gets a perfect Vai tone, when matched with a Tubescreamer (I use a Maxon OD-808, which sounds identical to the TS-808, same parts, everything)

It has an insane amount of gain. You dont really realize it at first, because it doesnt go into that transistor-fuzzy silly gain that kinda foams over and sounds muddy, it stays clear and defined, STUFFED full of dynamics and harmonics, you soon realize that 5 is the most you ever want to go on the gain knob. I actually have my crunch on 3, and my ultra on 4-5 on the gain.

The effects loop is killer, I can set my Visual Sound H20 and get the warmest delay and chorus sounds, with absolutely NO extra noise or signal loss. The Line out will enable you to plug in and record easily.

The GREATEST thing about it (besides the killer tones), that you were scared about, is the volume control. This monster is 120 watts, but it doesnt act like your basic marshall. You DONT have to crank it to get good tones, or in the marshall's case, any tones. Each channel has a post volume, and they are all controlled by a main master volume. The JSX has beautiful live tones, as well as beautiful bedroom tones! This thing sounds very similar in the bedroom as when it is cranked, its just a bit more "alive" and vibrant sounding cranked.

I have the Head version, because I feel that playing good music is very much about good moods and good vibes, and nothing makes me feel happier than standing in front of my shiny chrome Peavey halfstack. Good vibes man, and it creates a feeling that having a rack simply doesnt offer. I use mine though an old Marshall JCM800 series 1960B with Celestion G12T-75's. I dont like them though, They are too harsh sounding. I tried a JSX though a 1960AX cabinet with Celestion Greenback and that was the absolutely nuts. Such a full tone! The G12-75's sound nice at bedroom volumes but are harsh as broken glass when cranked, they have a sort of scooped tone, where the Vintage 30's and Greenbacks have lots of mids.

But, since your going to be at college, I think the JSX combo would be the most practical thing to get in your case. Excellent, portable tones! I wish I had the combo version too, but I like my head, so I'll keep it. I just need to get a cab with Greenbacks and a smaller 2x12 head with Vintage 30's to have at my bandmate's house where we practice and I'll be set.

Im sitting here with my 1992 RG550DXLB on my lap, with the echo + tubescreamer + crunch channel, getting a perfect Vai tone. I love this guitar, Its kindof a funny story because I walked into the music store back in Febuary, and they had the JSX sitting there, and the RG550DXLB on the wall. Excited as hell, I grabbed the RG550 and played it though the JSX, heard the tones, and it was at that moment that I thought, "I have to have this rig". 2 days later I got the Head, 2 weeks after that, the beautiful blue RG550 :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OMG! Noname!!!!! WOW, it's been ages since i've talked to you!! How are things?

Anyway, thanks for your advice and everyones too, although I'm still getting mixed thoughts in my head. I watched a live satriani video today and my god those JSX amps sound amazing! He was giving a general introduction about the JSX amps and it kinda persuaded me to look more into it. And with your review of the JSX it certainly does sound fantastic - You certainly knwo how to persuade someone :)

But with this upgraded rig, I won't be able to take it with me to College (or Uni) as I won't have enough time to play with (especially with my course) and this will be for my practicing and gigging back home which is why i'll be purchasing the XT Pro for uni.

The idea with the rack system is that, as JTM45 stated, I can build my rig up as I go along with various racks and I can take full advantage of the Stereo use. And I was considering the XT pro as well (so I could use the SPDIF to record with) and with the XT pro, that would be a starter to the rack. Then later adding the Mesa 20/20 and other racks.

I' still unsure what to go with, both options seem great, but obviously can't have both. The JSX sounds amazing, and I certainly need to try it out, but the racks are certainly an advantage for versatility in many ways. As I've stated, buying the head could possibly work out cheaper but then again I may not be able to use the heads power to it's full potential. Gex (noname) do you successfully use the amps power to it's potential, cranking the tubes etc? And I do lvoe the idea of getting such great tone whilst at bedroom level.

JTM45 - I too live in south wales, near Cardiff! Where do you live? If I want to try the rack Stuff I need to hop over to england, probably Birmingham the nearest stop, if not it'll have to be London to try them, which Is why I stated, the other side of the country. It sucks for us.
 

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artificial infection said:
My other option that I've been considering is getting an Amp head and I'm looking out for the Mesa/Boogie Dual rectifier or the Peavy JSX Head. One of the local stores stock these amps but I have requested to try them and the always says "they're not connected up."
Wow! They haven't got them connected! Sounds pretty sh***y dude, how do they expect to sell their stuff if they don't let you try it out! Tried out a JSX down Denmark St in London, just walked in and asked, wasn't a problem.
Anyhow, the JSX is a damn fine amp. I have the XXX and therefore get similar types of gain from it as the JSX. It's just the clean channel that lets it down. I think thats where the JSX really wins. However, as I play metal 95% of the time, the clean channel don't bother me too much. And as an added bonus, when you have nothing connected through the effects loop and the send/receive knobs set up right, using the effects loop on switch on the footswitch boosts the channel you are using by a considerable amount :)
Another thing you may want to consider, there's a considerable cost difference between the XXX and JSX (about £400 I think), therefore if you can live with the clean channel, go for the XXX, maybe not quite as good as the JSX, but a good amp nonetheless.
 
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