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Unread 11-17-2008, 12:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best cheap tube head on the market

I've been stuck with solid state amps for years. I was about to upgrade to a JCM 900 last year, but ended up missing out at the last minute. (The joys of craigslist). I've sorted through countless models, but can never test them all side by side. I'm curious as to what the best quality used tube head for around $300-$400 USD would be. My only concern is that I want something definitively tube, no hybrids. Also, while I'm not expecting a miracle for that amount, I need decent tone.
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Unread 11-17-2008, 11:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

I don't think you'll be lucky enough to find a Marshall head for that amount. You could probably find a Crate tube head in that price range.
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Unread 11-17-2008, 04:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

here what i would do, this is the best way to get a sick marshall tube amp cheap.
go to ebay and buy a traynor superbass amp or ultrabass one of the two. it is made with tubes and has super close to the same wiring scheme as some of the early high gain plexis, even though it is made for bass it sounds amazing with guitar. good luck you can even get it modeed to the original plexi circuit
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Unread 11-18-2008, 02:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

maybe look for a DSL401 or 201. i bet you could get one for 400

maybe an epiphone 15 watter. its all tube, one knob and 15 watts is loud enough.

what kind of music do you like to play anyway?
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Unread 11-21-2008, 09:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Hi

try http://www.marshallforum.com/other-a....ceriatone.com

(strange - the second time I recommend them today...) They are friendly and their kits are excellent - full amps too...

I have a Marshall 1987 50W clone and it is brilliant.

Cheers brett
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Unread 11-23-2008, 06:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

I read a lot of good reviews on these:
blackheart amps
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Unread 11-23-2008, 10:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Plenty of good advice.
Seen cheap DSL401's and JTM30's on the bay.
I know you say your not keen on hybrids but the 3203 Artist is a great amp.
Managed to get one for 140 ( $220 or so ) on ebay.
One of the best kept secrets is a Carlsbro 50 Top although if you're in the U.S. might be hard to find.

Good luck
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Unread 11-23-2008, 02:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Hey thanks for the great advice. I play a small amount of classic rock, but mostly shoegaze/experimental (lots and lots of effects) and alternative rock. I have heard some good reviews of Blackheart heads, but understand they're owned by Crate, which doesn't have the best reputation on tone. I'll look into a DSL401 or 201 as well. I checked out a Marshall Artist Series 3203 which wasnt bad, but the hybrid aspect was a deciding factor in keeping my offer low and the seller thought it was worth about $500, so no go. Traynors are a possibility but I've heard finding parts is a pain in the neck.

I'm now quite interested in perhaps an Ampeg V4, I understand they're relatively in my price range and parts are readily available. And who doesnt love an Ampeg?
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Unread 12-18-2008, 01:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

This thread just sort of dropped out.

What did you do?

By the way, the Blackheart 3/5 watt 'lil Giant head I have is incredible and has beautiful tone thru my Epiphone one by twelve V Jr. Cab or my Epi So. Cal four by twelve big cab. Crate has been producing some awesome amps lately and the old stigma is, in my opinion, no longer applicable.

My four Crate amps have been totally reliable.

Duffy
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Unread 12-25-2008, 03:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duffy View Post
This thread just sort of dropped out.

What did you do?

By the way, the Blackheart 3/5 watt 'lil Giant head I have is incredible and has beautiful tone thru my Epiphone one by twelve V Jr. Cab or my Epi So. Cal four by twelve big cab. Crate has been producing some awesome amps lately and the old stigma is, in my opinion, no longer applicable.

My four Crate amps have been totally reliable.

Duffy
i have to agree with you on that , i had a chance to play thru a blue voodoo
head , and it was the best tone from a CRATE that i have heard .
i have a zz-top dvd and billy gets great clasic rock tones on his amps.
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Unread 12-26-2008, 12:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Peavey windsor? I got a head & cab for less than $500.
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Unread 12-26-2008, 03:30 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

For low to medium volume Orange Tiny Terror, without any doubt. I own one myself. TT does the low volume better than my superleads with PPIMV or attenuators.
For medium to loud volume i recommend Ceriatone. I`ve played their 1987 and 1959 models, both with PPIMV and their tones are excellent.
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Unread 12-26-2008, 08:01 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Yeah, the Crate V33's and Blackheart heads are a wicked deal for what you can get one for!
The only other suggestion I can think of is the tiny terror. I seen one locally, BRAND NEW, for $420 (plus tax), and that's in Canadian dollars too
Being able to flip a switch for 'bedroom levels' and 'practice levels' is a sweet ass feature!

Good luck on your search dude!
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Unread 01-11-2009, 12:51 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

I've always been a high-wattage all-tube head guy myself, and never really thought much about class A amps until I heard the Blackhearts. Duffy's right. Older solid state Crates did sound like crap, but the Blackheart class A amps sound great, take pedals really well, and they're CHEAP.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 01:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

blackstar , not blackheart.
http://www.blackstaramps.co.uk/products/ht-5/index.html

both GC and MF now carry them, best bang for the buck period.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 03:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Fate View Post
blackstar , not blackheart.
Blackstar Amplification

both GC and MF now carry them, best bang for the buck period.
He was talking about Blackheart...not Blackstar..some of the best amps for the buck..

Blackheart Guitar Amps at AmericanMusical.com
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Unread 01-11-2009, 03:50 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Quote:
Originally Posted by sojatriani View Post
He was talking about Blackheart...not Blackstar..some of the best amps for the buck..

Blackheart Guitar Amps at AmericanMusical.com
yeah I know about the crate blackhearts, i am talking about the hand wired blackstar...the amp that kills the tiny terror and blackhearts.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQjADxog0Es


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2DWIAYPuEs

http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...rch_type=&aq=f
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Unread 01-20-2009, 04:23 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Quote:
Originally Posted by HOT TUBES 70 View Post
i have to agree with you on that , i had a chance to play thru a blue voodoo
head , and it was the best tone from a CRATE that i have heard .
i have a zz-top dvd and billy gets great clasic rock tones on his amps.
My buddy have a Blue Voodoo 50 watt head which its not bad, I got this V30H today due to my TSL is still in the shop my little MG is not giving me the satisfaction and need a good tube sound OD so played it and all i can say is wow it blows the Blue Voodoo away!!! bought it for $200 not a bad deal


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Unread 01-21-2009, 08:28 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Do you have any equip to trade in? I live in New England are and there is a chain of music stores (Daddy's Music) that take any used music gear you have as a trade in. You could put trade-ins toward a used tube amp. I just did this and was able to pick up a nice Marshall TSL60 head for only 400 cash plus trade-in gear.
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Unread 01-21-2009, 04:46 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

yeah you can get a Peavey windsor half stackk for $400 from muscians friend
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Unread 01-22-2009, 01:00 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

My brother bought a peavey valve king new for @ $500 and I've seen them on craigslist used for good used prices. I believe it's 100 watts of tube power and he's done countless recordings with it and an SM57 and it sounds excellent. He runs it with a recto cab with v30's.
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Unread 02-06-2009, 11:58 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

I used to jam with a guy who had a Randall all tube 100 watt head,I can't remember the model #, it wasn't the dimebag darrel head but looked similar.
it sounded good and it was cheap (inexpensive)
They are probably hard to find now but when i was a kid in highschool Legend amps were an inexpensive alternative to marshalls as well and they looked pretty, like a fine piece of furnature
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Unread 02-06-2009, 12:16 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

as a matter of fact , there is one of the legend amps I was talking about on ebay right now. item #120374287236.
same one my buddy used have .
great sounding amp!
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Unread 02-19-2009, 06:58 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

90's laney AOR's
80's Sovtek mig50 or mig100
70's ampeg V2 or V4
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:43 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

The new Windsor deal at the big places like MF for four hundred are supposed to be half stacks that are designed exactly after a famous Marshall amp. It is class A but is supposed to be an incredible deal considering the exact Marshall lay out and design. I played the Windsor Studio and it was a really great little amp but the half stack is way more watts: one hundred. That Windsor Peavey half stack deal has to be incredible.

Duffy

New with a Peavey warranty. Peavey makes great amps, as you know, I'm sure. I have a Delta Blues, incredible.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 03:16 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratbred View Post
Hey thanks for the great advice. I play a small amount of classic rock, but mostly shoegaze/experimental (lots and lots of effects) and alternative rock. I have heard some good reviews of Blackheart heads, but understand they're owned by Crate, which doesn't have the best reputation on tone. I'll look into a DSL401 or 201 as well. I checked out a Marshall Artist Series 3203 which wasnt bad, but the hybrid aspect was a deciding factor in keeping my offer low and the seller thought it was worth about $500, so no go. Traynors are a possibility but I've heard finding parts is a pain in the neck.

I'm now quite interested in perhaps an Ampeg V4, I understand they're relatively in my price range and parts are readily available. And who doesnt love an Ampeg?
I was looking at the 3203 and it seems like you can get them for a steal on eBay. Traynors used to be a jem but now the prices have sky rocketed. What I wanted to do with 3203 was somehow use it as a poweramp with avt and try to use the poweramp (EL34) and the preamp from my avt (12x7) to try to get a full tube amp effect for under the price of a full tube marshall. Sounds good on paper but I figured it was a pointless attempt to achieve the sound I could get for sure with a couple more hundred bucks. Have you looked into the Sovtek 50mig because I have really wanted to try those out. The best guitar tone to date I have ever heard I believe was on one of those sovteks at a concert I went to last year. Amazing clean tone!
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:12 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

the Mig50 is a great head. i owned mine for about 6 years. they have gone up in price since i bought mine for 200 bucks.
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Unread 02-22-2009, 10:05 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

I had a mig 100 when they first came out, sounded good , then the cheap pots started crapping out. I guess if you are good with a soldering iron and invest in quality pots , Sovteks can be great amps.
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Unread 05-07-2010, 07:20 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

I'm not sure why you want to spend the money for a tube amp. You mention that you use "lots and lots of pedals", so why get a tube amp? By the time the signal gets to the amp, it is already died , fried, and laid to the side. Why have the signal changed again before it gets to the speakers. Buy one of those amps that have Modeling capabilities. They sound more like a tube amp, then tube amps do. But without all the noise, from 20 patch cables between all the stomp boxes. Vox has a nice hybrid with amp modeling. And doesn't cost an arm and a leg. When playing through a nice Fender or Marshall tube amp, folks won't know the difference if you have a bunch of pedals plugged in. If you are going to invest in a nice Marshall or Fender, then throw all those pedals away, and play some REAL rock and roll! All you need with one of those amps is a nice Strat, or Les Paul, or maybe an SG plugged directly in, and then you will hear the sweet tube tone from those. No PRS though, those over wound pickups don't do a tube amp any justice. I know, I sound like an ass, but it is "non the less" true!
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Unread 05-07-2010, 07:35 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Best cheap tube head on the market

i got my DSL100 for less than what he has to spend.....look long enough and you will find the right amp for a steal....a jcm800 with a 1960 just sold on my local craigslist for $700.....would have been mine if i saw it sooner
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