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Thread: Comparing 26 tube amps (clean, crunch, rock & metal)

  1. #1
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    Smile Comparing 26 tube amps (clean, crunch, rock & metal)

    Hey everyone!

    I currently own 26 tube amps so I guess it's safe to say that I'm an amp addict... Since I have all these amps I thought it would be fun to make a comparison between all the amps. I did a similar comparison a few months back when I had 22 amps but I did that one only with a heavy rock tone and only in full band context. So this time around there are clean, crunch, rock and boosted metal tones for each amp. Hopefully this will make the comparison appealing and useful to more people. It was a lot of work but in the end I really enjoyed it and it's just a lot of fun for me to be able to see and hear all my amps side by side.

    This time around there are also isolated segments for each amp during the second half of the comparison. You will be able to hear the differences between the amps more clearly this way. I personally prefer the full band segments in the first half because to me it's much more important to hear how an amp functions in context. I do understand though why people would also want isolated clips.

    I included a Maxon OD808 this time around for the metal segments because I know a lot of people like to boost their amps. However I would recommend checking out the 'rock' segments if you want to hear the amps with unboosted high gain settings.

    And here is a list of the amps that are included:

    EVH 5150 III EL34 50W
    Mesa/Boogie Mini Rectifier 25
    Marshall JVM410H
    Orange Tiny Terror
    Peavey 6505
    Marshall Studio Vintage SV20H 1959 SLP
    ENGL Fireball 100 E635
    Orange Rocker 15 Terror
    PRS MT15
    Marshall JCM 2000 DSL50
    Mesa/Boogie Mark 5 35
    Orange Jim Root Terror
    Laney IRT60H Ironheart
    Marshall Studio Classic SC20H JCM800
    Hughes & Kettner Grandmeister Deluxe 40
    Orange Dual Terror DT30H
    Peavey 6505MH
    Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier
    Marshall JMP-1 preamp (through the DSL50's power amp)
    EVH 5150 III LBX
    Orange Brent Hinds Terror
    ENGL Ironball 20 E606
    Marshall Silver Jubilee Studio 2525H
    Laney IRT Studio
    Orange OR15
    Marshall DSL20HR

    It's not a short video but there are timecodes in the description for each segment so that should help if you don't want to watch the whole thing Of course I would love to know what you guys thought and which of the amps were your favorites....

    Here we go:

    Owner and founder of Sonic Drive Studio & social media manager for OwnHammer.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Comparing 26 tube amps (clean, crunch, rock & metal)

    I figured I'd drop some mini reviews of all the amps here as well. Since I own them all and have used them all, in case anyone is interested:

    -EVH 5150 III EL34 50W

    Killer amp! It does clean to high gain and everything in between. Especially the red channel does that typical tight and potentially aggressive EVH sound very well. The blue channel is great too imho but it's definitely looser and bassier sounding than the red channel. To me this is a good thing to be honest because it makes the amp more versatile for the studio. Also love how powerful the resonance control is on this one as the low-end can sound HUGE!

    -Mesa/Boogie Mini Rectifier 25

    Probably my favorite Mesa and I prefer it over my Dual Recto. I guess it sounds a little bit more controlled and mix-ready. It has a bit more mids which helps for the mix. Quite versatile too. Not the most amazing clean and crunch tones but definitely not bad! Love this amp and I would never get rid of it, for the modern red mode alone!

    -Marshall JVM410H

    What a beast of an amp. It still amazes me how much this amp can do. I love the fact that each of the 4 channels have their own mode and they all sound different. This amp truly can do pretty much anything Marshally and more. The high-gain modes are to die for, just keep the gain low Will also never sell this one.

    -Orange Tiny Terror

    A classic with a full tone! Really like this amp too (you'll find that I like all my amps though... haha). These Oranges just sit so nicely in the mix. Maybe not the best for unboosted metal but great for clean, crunch and rock tones! Everyone needs a TT!

    -Peavey 6505

    This amp has a good reputation and I can see why. It gets very heavy if you need it too but it always keep standing strong in the mix because of the pronounced mids. I also really enjoy playing with the presence and resonance controls to get the amp to sound just right for the part! The crunch tones are sweet too! Cleans definitely aren't as bad as people make them out to be!

    -Marshall Studio Vintage SV20H 1959 SLP

    One of my most recently purchased amps. What is there to say except that this amp does those old-school classic Marshall tones exceptionally well! Jumping the 2 channels makes the amp quite versatile when it comes to dialing the thickness or brightness of the amp. All 4 inputs are pretty useful too. Can't wait to make an in-depth demo of this amp soon. If you're into classic Marshall, you'll probably like this one!

    -ENGL Fireball 100 E635

    Beast of an amp with a lot of power! Nice glassy cleans. Love the bottom and bright switches. I always appreciate it when amps have extra features like those. The distortion tones are sooo good! Especially for heavy rock and metal. Really killer amp and I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in an amp like this.

    -Orange Rocker 15 Terror

    Not my favorite Orange but definitely very cool. It's a bit more vintage sounding so it doesn't sound really huge for the modern rock/metal tones. I do appreciate the cleans and the lower gain tones though.

    -PRS MT15

    A true modern classic! Anytime I use this amp in a comparison it ends up as one of the better sounding ones. The cleans are nice but the high gain tones, that's where this amp shines! It sounds surprisingly similar to the 6505 imho because it has more mids than a Mesa for example. Highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for an affordable but high quality rock/metal amp!

    -Marshall JCM 2000 DSL50

    The underdog that everybody seems to love, and for good reason! The crunch sounds are really nice but I also really enjoy the thick and somewhat 'fluffy' high gain tones. I think it really shines with the Rock segment here.

    -Mesa/Boogie Mark 5 35

    Not the most easy amp to dial in but when you get the controls just right it can sound pretty amazing! I always need the most time with this amp. Very versatile but don't get this one if you don't like to tweak. Just my 2 cents. I would have also liked it if the IIC+ mode had more low-end but again, I may have to try to tweak it more haha.

    -Orange Jim Root Terror

    One of my favorite Oranges. Very solid sound. Great clean, crunch and rock tones. Also nice metal tones. Small and simple but it just sounds good. What else can I say?

    -Laney IRT60H Ironheart

    An underrated beast! LOVE the amount of options this thing has for tone shaping with the push-pull eq, boost and power settings. Cleans and crunch tones are really nice but the rock rhythms are so nice! It's really affordable here too which is kind of crazy when you consider how much you get for the money. Highly recommend these!

    -Marshall Studio Classic SC20H JCM800

    Also one of my more recent purchases. Haven't used it very often yet but it seems to do those JCM 800 tones very well. Not a lot of gain, I could have used more gain but I can always boost it with a pedal to get more gain. I guess that's how a lot of people use these amps ayway. Sweet amp!

    -Hughes & Kettner Grandmeister Deluxe 40

    One of my favorites for sure! So versatile and so good sounding! This one really does everything well and I don't think I would ever get rid of this amp!

    -Orange Dual Terror DT30H

    Similar to the Tiny Terror but with more headroom and the extra FAT channel. The FAT channel actually is a really nice addition and I often use that channel. It's just a bit more middy and classic and it works well in the mix.

    -Peavey 6505MH

    Very similar to the big 6505 but just with less headroom and maybe a but less oomph (of course mostly when you push the master). Sounds remarkably similar to the big boy.

    -Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier

    Very cool amp. It's definitely one of my favorite sounds in rock/metal music. I must say though that it's really scooped so it doesn't work for everything. When it works it sounds glorious though!

    -Marshall JMP-1 preamp (through the DSL50's power amp)

    A classic with some solid tones. The rock rhythm tones are great as it has a nice midrange presence as with all the Marshalls. That's basically why I love Marshall amps so much. I still need to spend more time with it and I MUST try to get some good Deftones sounds out of this! Stay tuned...

    -EVH 5150 III LBX

    Cool little amp! Too bad that there are no cleans. I would get the LBXII but I heard that the gain tones on that one just aren't as solid as the LBX. The red channel especially does that EVH sound quite well. It does have enough low-end but definitely not as much as the 50w obviously.

    -Orange Brent Hinds Terror

    An interesting amp! It sounds more like a Marshall-like amp. Quite raspy and bright and fuller with the gain maxed. Not my favorite Orange but definitey unique and it has it's use!

    -ENGL Ironball 20 E606

    A very solid metal lunchbox amp. It really does sound huge! I can dial it in to sound pretty similar to the Fireball. Cleans are nice but this amp shines with the high gain tones imho. You gotta try this one to believe it!

    -Marshall Silver Jubilee Studio 2525H

    A very versatile 20W Marshall amp! I love the push-pull features. This amp has more gain than the SC20H, that's why I prefer it over that one, for my own music. The EQ is quite powerful too so you can get a wide range of tones out of it. With high gain it sounds quite thick and full but the rhythm pull clip can help to tighten the sound a little bit.

    -Laney IRT Studio

    Almost the same sounding as the IRT60H, just less headroom and slightly less oomph. A great studio tool though! Would recommend this to anyone who is looking for something small and versatile for the studio!

    -Orange OR15

    A great Orange with that typical fuzzy Orange sound. Quite versatile. The Jim Root just about wins when I compare the two but that's just personal taste. Killer little amp and it looks cool too!

    -Marshall DSL20HR

    Afforable but definitely a cool amp! It's quite bright when compared to the other amps but it has a cool sound. If you're looking for a very affordable Marshall, this might be a great option! Not the best at crunch tones though....
    Owner and founder of Sonic Drive Studio & social media manager for OwnHammer.

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  3. #3
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing 26 tube amps (clean, crunch, rock & metal)

    Like I said on Rig Talk, that vid must've been a lot of work. Thanks for sharing, man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarjon View Post
    -EVH 5150 III LBX

    Cool little amp! Too bad that there are no cleans. I would get the LBXII but I heard that the gain tones on that one just aren't as solid as the LBX. The red channel especially does that EVH sound quite well. It does have enough low-end but definitely not as much as the 50w obviously.
    Regarding that... I used to have the LBX II, and I traded it for Mk.1. I think you'd like the LBX II, TBH. The clean channel is great on the II, and it can easily get you a kinda cranked plexi-ish/tweed-ish tone if you work it hard. The second channel isn't any worse than on the Mk.1. It is different, yeah, but not any less solid. The gain channel is the blue channel, but it isn't the same as on the Mk.1. It's got more gain than the blue channel on the OG, but less gain than the red. It's kind of in between, sorta like the blue channel on the 100W Stealth. With hot pickups, it's got enough gain and tightness for any style you throw at it (even without a boost), IMO. If you think of the OG's blue channel as sort of EVH's take on a stock JCM800 kinda crunch, the II's blue channel is sort of a hot rod of that.

    I don't regret trading it, because I absoultely had to have the red channel on the Mk.1, but I did find the blue channel a lot better on the II, and the green channel is fantastic. I miss the II, TBH.

    The only downside to the II is it sounds kinda fizzy at very low volumes, but once you get it up past 1 (out of 10) on the dial, it's very good. The OG doesn't have that problem.

    Well, that, and the low-end isn't massive, but the OG isn't any better in that regard either.
    Last edited by Rex_Rocker; 03-02-2020 at 03:56 PM.

  4. #4
    Mojo's Minions misterwhizzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing 26 tube amps (clean, crunch, rock & metal)

    I'd love to have heard a Fryette in there. His amps really are incredible, and, in my opinion, can stand up to any of the ones you reviewed. Thanks for your work. It's always fascinating.

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    Default Re: Comparing 26 tube amps (clean, crunch, rock & metal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex_Rocker View Post
    Like I said on Rig Talk, that vid must've been a lot of work. Thanks for sharing, man!


    Regarding that... I used to have the LBX II, and I traded it for Mk.1. I think you'd like the LBX II, TBH. The clean channel is great on the II, and it can easily get you a kinda cranked plexi-ish/tweed-ish tone if you work it hard. The second channel isn't any worse than on the Mk.1. It is different, yeah, but not any less solid. The gain channel is the blue channel, but it isn't the same as on the Mk.1. It's got more gain than the blue channel on the OG, but less gain than the red. It's kind of in between, sorta like the blue channel on the 100W Stealth. With hot pickups, it's got enough gain and tightness for any style you throw at it (even without a boost), IMO. If you think of the OG's blue channel as sort of EVH's take on a stock JCM800 kinda crunch, the II's blue channel is sort of a hot rod of that.

    I don't regret trading it, because I absoultely had to have the red channel on the Mk.1, but I did find the blue channel a lot better on the II, and the green channel is fantastic. I miss the II, TBH.

    The only downside to the II is it sounds kinda fizzy at very low volumes, but once you get it up past 1 (out of 10) on the dial, it's very good. The OG doesn't have that problem.

    Well, that, and the low-end isn't massive, but the OG isn't any better in that regard either.
    Thanks man, good to know. Maybe I'll get one in the future

    Quote Originally Posted by misterwhizzy View Post
    I'd love to have heard a Fryette in there. His amps really are incredible, and, in my opinion, can stand up to any of the ones you reviewed. Thanks for your work. It's always fascinating.
    Would love a Fryette one day for sure!
    Owner and founder of Sonic Drive Studio & social media manager for OwnHammer.

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    Toneologist Synapsys's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing 26 tube amps (clean, crunch, rock & metal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarjon View Post

    -Hughes & Kettner Grandmeister Deluxe 40

    One of my favorites for sure! So versatile and so good sounding! This one really does everything well and I don't think I would ever get rid of this amp!
    Many seem to dislike the tones, but for me it does everything I've ever wanted and amp to do, and in a small footprint/featured packed catalogue of classic and modern tones.

    Keep up the good work!
    Guitars:Gibson LP Trad ('57 Classics), PRS SE CU 24 Flametop (TB5/PGn), Ibanez RG870RWZ (PATB set), Jackson DK2M1H (TB4) & DK2 (TB10/VRn/CRn), LTD MH-1000HS (TB-15/Lil59n), ST213A (HRb/STK-S4 m&n) & TE212 (Hot Stack/A2Pn), Dean Cadillac 1980 (59 set) & Old Skull V (TB6/JazzN), Squier VM JM (SJM-1 set);Effects:Korg Pitchblack Poly, Digitech Drop, MXR CAE MC404 & EHX Wailer wahs, L6 HX FX & Stomp, Fender FVP-1, EHX Volume Pedal; Amp & Cab:H&K GM 40 Dlx, L6 DT25 cab;

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    Default Re: Comparing 26 tube amps (clean, crunch, rock & metal)

    Are you married? If so, your wife’s a saint.

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    Default Re: Comparing 26 tube amps (clean, crunch, rock & metal)

    Quote Originally Posted by t1r12003 View Post
    Are you married? If so, your wife’s a saint.
    Well, we're not married but she's pretty awesome. I guess she has also learned go ignore my gas a bit as long as we get kids and a new house etc. (which we both have now). So the key is to also keep her happy.
    Owner and founder of Sonic Drive Studio & social media manager for OwnHammer.

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