Choices choices...

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by DHW, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. DHW

    DHW New Member

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    I believe comparing other brands is allowed so here goes... Getting closer to a new amp day... Still up in the air...

    Archon 100
    Mark V
    Mark V:25

    1 1x12 + 1 1x12 slant(mesa for the slant could be PRS for the non-slant)
    2 1x12 prs with one on a stand to angle it
    1 2x12 vertical slant(mesa)
    1 2x12 horizontal(prs or mesa)
    1 4x12 slant or no(prs or mesa)

    Archon or Mark V would require a cab clone or some other such device to be able to plug headphones in for silent play or for direct recording so little extra cost there. The MarkV:25 has this already.

    Volume will be house volume most of the time. I will no longer be stuck in the bedroom and will have a large office and/or basement to set up in.

    Music will range from black sabbath, green day/nirvana, jack white, up through modern hard rock. Don't forsee any sort of modern metal being played. A good clean channel would be a bonus though I don't play a ton of clean stuff.

    As of right now I have no where to go to compare them... One dealer has a couple of the 25's but that's it. Once we move I might be able to get to chicago or even Indiana to try them out but not positive yet if I will be able to get away.

    What combo would you recommend of equipment? Open to other suggestions as well.
     
  2. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    For absolute best sounding cab, I'd go with Mesa vertical 2x12. The other combinations you mention are all good EXCEPT I would not put one on a stand to angle it up. Decoupling from the floor kills so much low-end, I recommend against strenuously. If you must, build a solid wedge to sit one cab at an angle on top of the other.

    For amps, I loved my V:25, but it wasn't working in my band at all. Loud enough, but no headroom, so not stiff enough for me and too mid-y when loud. I actually really like the V:35. A V:35 plus a Thiele sounds really good and I almost bought one. I hated the 90W V, too shrill.

    The JP2C sounds WAY better than any of the V amps. Seriously, way better. If you're considering any of the V amps, try the 2C.

    I would have bought the JP2C, but I am just so thrilled with my Archon. I still think about it, and may still buy one just for fun. But the Archon is everything I ever really wanted in an amp. Impossibly easy to dial in and perfect tone for whatever I have played through it. More gain than I will ever use, but nice to have when I want to crank it up.

    I moved from the smaller amps to a Royal Atlantic 100W. The headroom makes all the difference. I don't play that loud, but keeping the cleans from clipping is important to me and having punch-you-in-the-face dynamics on the crunch channel is mandatory. But I never got the aggressive crunch tone I wanted from that amp. The Archon replaced it in a New York minute. Still, you might try the RA100. It's a great amp, and the built-in attenuators work really well. I gigged one for the last year or so.

    If you want the great, raspy, aggressive mids with lots of presence and low-end thump for stuff like Halestorm and Sixx AM, the Archon is THE amp. Plus very sweet on the top, not screamy. Definitely NOT a DSL. For classic rock and hair metal, it's perfect. I found out about it when I checked out a Neal Schon rig rundown. So apparently it works for Journey.

    I play my Archon at very low volume at home by turning down the FX loop volume and it still sounds great. I have a G System in the loop, so I turn down the output volume of that. That way I don't have to turn down both clean and crunch masters. For headphones, the Cab Clone is actually pretty terrible. It's great for direct, and you could run a headphone amp from that. I use a Cab Clone, a PDI-09 and a PDI-03. They all have ups and downs, but none do headphones well (The PDI-09 does not have a dummy load, so that is just for live sound to FOH direct). I use them through a small mixer and powered monitors to get very low volume. That works well, and I can use the headphone out of the mixer as well. It's a small Mackie, not sure which model.
     
  3. DHW

    DHW New Member

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    Thanks, I totally forgot to list the jp2c but it is on the list of possibilities too.

    I most likely will add a mixer and such at some point. I had a DSL40C for quite a while. I put a creamback in it and lifted the leg on the high pass resistor and still wasn't pleased. I traded it for a blackstar 5 watt which has been pretty much a straight headphone amp. I could just continue to use that amp for the headphone stuff until I get a mixer I guess.

    How do you feel about the cleans of the various boogie's other than the headroom issue with the 25? How are the boogie's at low volume compared to the archon? My collection is still growing so I need an amp that can do it all for now since I won't have multiples to choose from.

    I originally planned on going 4x12 but after the raving about the mesa vertical 2x12 I am leaning that way. I REALLY wish PRS made a similar cab, especially if I go the Archon route. I kinda have a thing about stuff matching lol... Stupid brain!
     
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  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I'll disagree with Elvis about getting a cab up off the floor.

    Getting a cab off the floor is the best way to record and play with guitar cabs, because it kills half-space artificial bass reinforcement that muddies up recordings and live mixes.

    When a cab is coupled to the floor, you get doubling of the lowest frequencies, and with that comes unwanted room vibration and mud. If you've ever had light bulb rattles, heating/AC vent rattle, and other artifacts screw up your music, or heard that "boom boom boom" transmitted into other areas of your house loudly, you know the effects of structural vibration caused by a cab coupled to a floor.

    Most recording engineers these days will elevate a cab, and if you go to top studios to work, you'll find it's standard practice (this is something I have a load of experience with). A few engineers will keep a cab on the floor, but then they'll scoop out all the bottom end when mixing anyway, to make room for the bass and kick drum.

    Plus, since ribbon mics have been so popular, they have a marked proximity effect, that also artificially reinforces the low end. This is another reason why it's becoming more or less standard to put a cab on a riser to decouple it.

    I got nothin' on what amp to buy. I've had the Mark V, and now that I'm into PRS amps, would probably go with the Archon over it, but since an amp is so much of one's tone, it's a very, very personal thing. At least try these amps before buying, or make a deal where you can return it within 24 hours if it's not for you.

    I'm not a big fan of 1x12s, I always prefer a 2x12, so that'd be my choice. You miss the "swirl" with a 112. Vertical vs horizontal, whatever floats your boat. PRS cabs sound warmer, the Mesa cabs sound a little brighter, and both are great cabs. On the warmer/brighter thing, amps have tone controls, of course, but it's always a question of where the EQ's frequency bands fall vs the build of the cabinet. So you have to try them in all honesty.
     
    #4 LSchefman, Apr 8, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  5. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    I think the Mesa cleans (V-series, Mini Rec and RA100) are outstanding. I don't think any of the Mesas do well at low volume. They seem to need to be pushed. By comparison my Shiva and Archon sound very good with the masters down.

    I also have a Mini Rectifier. Great amp. I sold the V:25 and kept the MR. I still want to do an A/B with the Archon 25 and the MR. I played the Archon 25 through a 2x12 recto cab and it sounded fantastic. Through its own combo cab it was not so great. Not bad, but no competition for an oversized 2x12. Nonetheless, I'd consider that one for sure if you're still thinking 25W Mesa. I'm thinking about getting an Archon 50 combo as a grab-and-go amp.

    I also have the emotional issue about cab not matching head. You could always take the logo off the cab. Otherwise, they are both black and match fine. Yes, it's a shame that PRS doesn't make a vertical. But if they did, I might still like the recto cab more, and then I'd be in the same situation.
     
  6. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    I will agree with Les for recording and for certain cabs live. Large open-back? Sure. Small closed-back like a Mini Recto 1x12, you'd better put it on the floor or it just sounds like a bunch of bees.

    It also depends on the amp. In my experience, the recto cabs are very tight and don't have a ton of lows. Adding them to a tight amp, especially one with EL34, can lean out the low-end an awful lot. It's essential to have room for the bass and kick, but I'd put the crossover maybe a little lower than Les. I played live with my lows chopped off for a long time (1x12 Rectoverb 25 on a stand) and it mixed very well, but it never sounded full enough. The Archon + vertical 2x12 on the floor seems just right in my current band. You can hear the lows, but they are tight and mostly transient and there is plenty of room for the bass.
     
  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    It's possible to order a Recto cab with the same kind of black tolex as a PRS cab, with similar black grille cloth and even silver or gold piping, so you might be able to come pretty close to a match if not get a perfect match, if you really, really wanted the Mesa cab. The different brand plate wouldn't bother me, though I know it bothers others, so that's one of those things that's personal.

    I agree with Elvis that the vertical 2x12 Mesa is a superb cab in a very convenient format. I would, however, try everything you're interested in, and see. I know it's a pain to find this stuff in person, but it's worth the effort if you're spending a few grand on this stuff.

    Then again, I bought both my HXDA and DG30 blind, and it worked out. I found the PRS cabs worked best with them, no surprise there; they were made to go together. Before that I'd been using a Mesa Recto 2x12, and a Mesa 3/4 back oversize 1x12.
     
  8. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Elvis and Les are WAY more qualified to answer your questions than I am. But, having owned a 90w MkV, and having replaced it with a 50w Archon, I'll chime in with my 2 cents. I really prefer the Archon. Not that the Mesa bad, but it was just too much. The 957 knobs and switches were just too much for my pea brain. Not really, but I just enjoy the "simpleness" of the Archon. I can get the sounds I want without having to change much. I play at house/bedroom volume through a 1x12 Avatar cabinet that is on top of an Auralex Gramma riser. I just LOVE the Archon so much more than I did the Mesa. I actually find myself playing more often. Not sure if that has to do with the Archon, or the fact that I needed to be playing more! Either way, for me, it's more enjoyable with the Archon. Especially the way it sounds at lower volumes. As for the 50w vs. 100w, can't say. I got the 50w simply because it was purple :cool:

    My Mesa went to DreamTheaterRules, and I know he loves it. Tough choice for you.

    Good luck!
     
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  9. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    Interestingly, my current favorite equipment was all bought blind (never tried in any way):
    Vertical recto 2x12
    Archon 100
    SC245 (picked up against my better judgement in a trade, expected to flip it, love the guitar)
    Tom Anderson Mongrel - had it built VERY custom, so nothing to compare it to before ordering it, love it.
    G System
    Line 6 G90
     
  10. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    I play mine at home in 50W mode with the FX Return signal turned way down. At rehearsal, I'd say that I've got more than enough clean headroom, I probably could have done just fine with the 50W version. But the size and weight are so similar, I went with the 100 in case I somehow suddenly find myself playing arenas ;)
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Hey, it could happen, and I'm not kidding!

    I'm pretty sure my son didn't expect his band to get discovered, at least not so quickly; he and Noah originally got together just to write songs for other artists, but now they're constantly touring and doing some pretty cool things. His 100 watt touring amp switches down to 50, so he's got a bit of flexibility.

    You just never know.

    Plus, it's just good to have the extra headroom and tone flexibility - I mean, why not have it, if it's available? There are lots of times I leave my 100 watt amp at 100 just for max headroom on clean tones in my home studio when recording. It's great to have options!
     
  12. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    Thanks for the encouragement!

    Actually my band may be doing a few outdoor festivals this summer, so 100W is theoretically appropriate. Though it would be so cool to play an arena with a mic'd Archon 25. In 13W mode...
     
  13. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    There. I fixed it for ya. ;)
     
  14. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    Pretty much
     
  15. DHW

    DHW New Member

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    lol you guys are a hoot!

    I am going to try and play everything I am interested in before I buy. I'd like to find it all in 1 spot without having to take a plane though. That is a very tall order apparently.... It looks like I would have to drive 8 hours each way after we get moved in order to get to a dealer that is both a PRS dealer and a Mesa Boogie dealer and stocks the stuff I would be wanting to try out, even then probably some waiting for them to have all the options in stock at one time. I may have to settle on a cab and just order the top two heads from somewhere with a good return policy.... I don't exactly feel right about doing that knowing I will be sending one back but I guess if it is the only option....

    Les, I have one of those guitar center amp stands that gets my amp about to waste level and tilts it up slightly. Would I want to get it that high? My thinking is to get it pointing at my ears instead of my knees but I've only ever had cheap tube combos, don't want to spoil the great sound of a great amp. I assume your above comments were more focused on something like an isolation riser?
     
  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    The amp stands you're describing aren't really a bad idea. Studios even put them on chairs. Obviously, that isn't great with 4x12s, but it certainly works for 2x12s if the stand is sturdy, and it's a combo. Boogie says that's what he does with his cabs, and he puts the heads on the floor.

    I often put mine on isolation risers plus an additional slightly tilted riser I got from Isoacoustics, and put the heads on a table or stand in my studio.
     
    DHW likes this.
  17. DHW

    DHW New Member

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    so I guess that opens up the PRS 2x12 more so than before... I still like the format of the vertical 2x12 though... I have no idea what to do.... lol
     
  18. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    If the vertical suits you best, nothing wrong with that. Really, it's not like either choice would be a mistake. Either is a remarkably good choice!
     
  19. DHW

    DHW New Member

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    that's what I need to keep reminding myself... just splitting hairs at this point.
     
  20. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Yup. I totally understand.
     

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