Definitive Guide to PRS Amps

Must have PRS Amps? (Choose all that apply)

  • Archon

    Votes: 8 38.1%
  • HXDA

    Votes: 11 52.4%
  • MDT

    Votes: 2 9.5%
  • HDRX

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • MT15

    Votes: 3 14.3%
  • Dallas

    Votes: 4 19.0%
  • Blistertone

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Blue Sierra

    Votes: 2 9.5%
  • Sweet 16

    Votes: 2 9.5%
  • Custom

    Votes: 8 38.1%

  • Total voters
    21

nussbajh

So this is how I change away from “New Member”
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
Messages
170
Location
Charlotte, NC
Is there a definitive guide to PRS amps anywhere? We often talk about the HXDA and Archon line to know what they are going for in an amp build, but what do the other amps bring to the table? What does the Blue Sierra, MDT, Blistertone, Dallas, Sweet 16, and Customs / 2 Channel (H and C) accomplish in the tonal spectrum? How does the Custom 11 knob and Custom 12 knob differ? How does the Anniversary and HXDA differ?

For fun, how would you rank the PRS amps that you have heard? Many seem to prefer the HXDA as the best ever (I have one and agree), but what is the least desirable in the historical line?
 
If a person is into heavy tones, I’d say an Archon or an MT15 is a must, maybe not both if we have to pick and choose.

The Custom amps are criminally underrated studio and live tools, IMO. If by “12 knob” you’re referring to the later ones with a presence control and all the other features, that’s what I’m talking about. The earlier ones were good too, I’ve played a few, but always end up wanting at least the presence control to fine tune, the earlier ones are a tad smoother than I like. But the presence and depth, bright switches, and mid shift on the lead channel really allow fine tuning of the tone to fit the situation. The mid shift is very good for taking out some of the upper mid bite when less aggressive tone is needed.

I also have a Sweet 16, it’s got more low mid and matches best with single coils, although with the right speaker can do some nice things with humbuckers too, not terribly loud, good for those lower volume situations.

The HXDA is on my must have list, too. Which is a problem for me, because I haven’t been able to get my hands on one yet!
 
I did forget the DH30. Honestly, I was looking around in the internet for PRS amp names and it cut me off from listing more options, so I went with it. Heard great things about the DG 30, I’m glad you listed it and gave your ranking. Honestly, I’m really trying to figure out what amps I need to buy in the future to have a good range of PRS tones.
 
The Custom amps are criminally underrated studio and live tools, IMO. If by “12 knob” you’re referring to the later ones with a presence control and all the other features, that’s what I’m talking about. The earlier ones were good too, I’ve played a few, but always end up wanting at least the presence control to fine tune, the earlier ones are a tad smoother than I like. But the presence and depth, bright switches, and mid shift on the lead channel really allow fine tuning of the tone to fit the situation. The mid shift is very good for taking out some of the upper mid bite when less aggressive tone is needed.
 
That is the exact question I’ve had for a while. I have a Custom 20 with the bright switch and love it. Didn’t know the difference between mine and the brethren that lacked the extra, bright, switch. You are the man for pointing that out to me.
 
There's also the Paul's Amp - that one whizzed by, or might have had its name changed. And there was the Recording Amp, and the 25th Anniversary Amp.

All of the CAD amps are truly fantastic sounding, low volume production, amps. I'd happily own any of them. Unfortunately, the only one from that era that's still made is the DG30, and it's a pretty special amp.

The CAD amps featured mostly hand-wiring, mil-spec tag boards, and there was a certain amount of customization and factory modding available for a while, though mine are stock. I've been lucky enough to have had a lot of great amps over the years, but the PRS amps I have are my all-time favorites, even over my beloved Two-Rocks.
 
I've seen HXDA prices inching up since I sold my 50 Watt for too little, in 2014. Who knew? Hang onto them, and if you can find one, it's a keeper, maybe even an heirloom.

"Your heirs will be getting your amps sooner rather than later, I bet."

"Do. Not. Remind. Me. !!!"
 
2 CH Custom 50 in the stable, and it's a great all rounder

The 2 CH was the rig Bernie Marsden used for a European PRS clinic tour with Paul, and I was fortunate enough to buy it off his tech. Great clean channel, and is one of the most pedal friendly I've come across. It's a keeper just for that option alone. I found the lead channel volume knob went from mild to scream in a nano second, and tamed it with NOS Mullard ECC81's (AT7's). For me, it did the trick, as I usually live in the edge of breakup / crunch zone. Overall, the amp covers clean to crunch territory extremely well

Unfortunately, I've not played through anything other than an Archon on the list, so can't comment from experience, but I have been on the lookout for an HXDA 230V in Europe for years. Except for the Archon, which has been a great success, very few of the original lines made it here. Those that did seem to have found good homes that don't want to part with them :cool:

I'd love to try a DG30, as I'm a fan of EL84's (owned Matchless and various Bad Cats), and also looking forward to seeing what the MT100 can do when it arrives. If the HDRX 50 had a MV, I'd be all over that one too. At least those are arriving into Europe now :)
 
I'd love to try a DG30, as I'm a fan of EL84's (owned Matchless and various Bad Cats)..

The DG30 is a sonic blend of Grissom's vintage Tweed, Vox and Hiwatt amps. So it isn't what you might think when you imagine 'EL84 amp'.

Personally, I feel the DG leans more Tweed than Vox or Matchless, so if you find one, don't expect that kind of sound; the mids are more prominent, as they are on a Tweed, and there's more bottom end than you find on a Vox/Matchless/Bad Cat/Morgan etc.. The tone is pretty unique. It's also got a tone stack similar to the Hiwatts.

On the other hand, it has a nice and effective boost, switchable in the rear of the amp, a beautiful reverb, and there's a Vox-style high cut knob, as well as presence control. A great amp.
 
The DG30 is a sonic blend of Grissom's vintage Tweed, Vox and Hiwatt amps. So it isn't what you might think when you imagine 'EL84 amp'.

Personally, I feel the DG leans more Tweed than Vox or Matchless, so if you find one, don't expect that kind of sound; the mids are more prominent, as they are on a Tweed, and there's more bottom end than you find on a Vox/Matchless/Bad Cat/Morgan etc.. The tone is pretty unique. It's also got a tone stack similar to the Hiwatts.

On the other hand, it has a nice and effective boost, switchable in the rear of the amp, a beautiful reverb, and there's a Vox-style high cut knob, as well as presence control. A great amp.

:):) .. sold .. thanks for pointing out the tweedy mids push. More bottom end than my Bad Cat is hard to imagine! This thing shakes foundations with a huge subsonic rumble that dis-orientates the north Atlantic whale population
 
:):) .. sold .. thanks for pointing out the tweedy mids push. More bottom end than my Bad Cat is hard to imagine! This thing shakes foundations with a huge subsonic rumble that dis-orientates the north Atlantic whale population

It's been long enough since I've had a Bad Cat that I don't remember enough to compare the two, except they're different.

I generally cut the bass on guitar to carve out room for bass and kick drum in the course of my work. So the bass response is less of a thing in my setups. However, I heard Grissom say that he loves an amp that can put out some bottom end, and I guess depending on the room, the speaker cab, etc., this amp can.
 
When the MT100 comes out it might have every tone I could ever want in one package.

If they get a good "D" tone on the 2nd channel, it could be a "must have" for me. I was literally shopping for other amps when I heard that was the delay, that Mark wanted a D channel added. While I still sniff around a little, I'm waiting to see how the MT100 turns out before I buy anything.
 
If they get a good "D" tone on the 2nd channel, it could be a "must have" for me. I was literally shopping for other amps when I heard that was the delay, that Mark wanted a D channel added. While I still sniff around a little, I'm waiting to see how the MT100 turns out before I buy anything.

The problem is that every single Dumble sounds different. This is not a criticism, it's because he voiced each amp differently to the needs of whoever he built it for. So the question becomes, which Dumble tone is a good one?

I had a number of Two-Rocks that had terrific tones in that direction, and they were great amps. My favorites of the ones I had were the Onyxes that were kind of a blend of Dumble with a hint of Marshall. Great sounding amps, but even my various iterations of TRs had their own specific tone flavors. I had a more Dumblesque Custom Reverb Signature, v2, but the Onyx was more my thing.

Tag, who was a TR player at the time as well, thought I was insane, because, not as Dumble. :p

"Tag was right, you are insane, but it's got nothing to do with what amps you play."

"STFU."
 
Seems like the right spot for this - I was looking at the Archon as a result of a newbie “which amp thread” I’d started. Is it correct that the Archon was produced for a few years as an assembled in USA amp, then stopped. The new ones (2020 or 2021?) are now designed in the USA, produced in Indonesia? At least the 50 watt head that I zoomed in on a photo of noted this on the back. I don’t see this as an issue, merely curious, and I thought others might be as well.
 
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