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Unread 08-13-2011, 05:29 AM   #1
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Greatest Metal Micro Amp

So, i'm in the market for a valve metal mini head. As cool as it would be to own a full 100w stack, i'm not playing any festivals or gigantic gigs, so there's nothing to justify me buying one. So I want a low wattage bone crushing metal amp! By low wattage, I mean anywhere up to 30 watts.

So far, these seem to be the contenders:

Engl Gigmaster 30/15
Jet City JCA22H
Carvin V3M (max 50 watts, I know)
Orange Dual Dark Terror (Doesn't exist yet, but i'm sure Orange will make it, as it seems to be in high deamand)
Krank Rev Jr. Pro
EVH 5150III Micro (Unreleased, and again, 50 watts)

I've personally tried the Dark terror, and it sounded hella awesome, I made a long post on it somewhere. A Dual version would make it perfect, but I haven't tried any of the above, and there might be a gem within them.

So if you've got anything to say about these heads, please input!

When I say metal, I mean, Crushing, heavy, Gojira-y metal!
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Unread 08-13-2011, 06:04 AM   #2
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Blackstar HT-5 or HT-20 Studio not included???

Im crying out for Mesa to bring out a 25w Recto as that would be for me the ideal tone machine.
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Unread 08-13-2011, 06:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESPImperium View Post
Blackstar HT-5 or HT-20 Studio not included???
Nope. The HT-5 I tried was decent, but 5 watts is a little low, and I found the rest of the HT range a little boring. Tonally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ESPImperium View Post
Im crying out for Mesa to bring out a 25w Recto as that would be for me the ideal tone machine.
That'd be the shizz, but it'd cost as much as some hi-watt, hi-gain amp heads
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Unread 08-13-2011, 06:16 AM   #4
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I can not tell you a recommendation of those, but I can say stay away from the 5150III. For one, it is not on the same level for the crush you want as the 5150/5150II/6505, but it, along with the head 5150III, are not built very well.

What about an Axe FX?? You could have all those tones you want and then some, and you could go as loud as you want with a power amp, or get a little mixer and use headphones for playing anytime.

As lower-wattage Recto would be cool in theory, but I do not think it would have that same Recto tone. With that low of a wattage I do not think it would get as much of that signature sag in the OT, but who knows, Mesa could probably figure it out I am sure!
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Unread 08-13-2011, 08:12 AM   #5
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An Axe-Fx II paired with a Fryette 2/90/2 OR DAR Forza Quattro and Zilla Fatboy Cabinet/DAR cabinet is my dream rig (of course along with the other rack necessities). But I have budget. And yes, I agree that a micro recto wouldn't have the same balls as the mega head, and a recto without balls just isn't a recto! And yes, i'm sure they'd figure out a way to accomplish that, but the price tag would be extreme.

EDIT:

I ought to mention what kind of amp sounds i'm looking for in a mini package:
5150-y Dual Recto-y Soldano-y-Bogner-y etc.
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Unread 08-13-2011, 08:47 AM   #6
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I'd stay away from the ENGL Gigmasters. I just got rid of my 15. It was far from a metal monster out of the box. The Krank is pretty good with the right preamp tubes. You might want to look into the new H&K and Laboga lunchbox heads.

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Unread 08-13-2011, 09:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larrikin666 View Post
I'd stay away from the ENGL Gigmasters. I just got rid of my 15. It was far from a metal monster out of the box. The Krank is pretty good with the right preamp tubes. You might want to look into the new H&K and Laboga lunchbox heads.
Really! Just look:Engl Gigmaster - Metal - YouTube

Sounds metal to me! The Tubemeister seems good but doesn't seem quite fit for Crushing metal, although it's features are great. And the creators of the Mr. Hector have a lunchbox?!
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Unread 08-13-2011, 10:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Clark View Post

Ola's recordings pretty much all sound identical because of the post processing he uses. His clips/vids are pretty useless. Having owned/played most of the amps he's demoed, I can honestly say his stuff is a poor example of the tones you get from the gear he's showing off.
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Unread 08-13-2011, 10:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larrikin666 View Post
Ola's recordings pretty much all sound identical because of the post processing he uses. His clips/vids are pretty useless. Having owned/played most of the amps he's demoed, I can honestly say his stuff is a poor example of the tones you get from the gear he's showing off.
hmph, the playthrough vid has had no post processing done to it, and I must say it doesn't sound like the video in the mix. The mid gain settings lacked thickness, power and punch and cranked, muddy. I didn't think so the last time I looked at the video, I guess my ear has developed a bit! But the demos I just heard of the 'The Beast' sounded worse to me
EDIT:
He's doing a new 'series' with raw, unprocessed guitars, i'll see how it performs there. But i'll take your advice for now. Can the Tubemeister really handle my kinda stuff?
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Unread 08-13-2011, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Clark View Post
hmph, the playthrough vid has had no post processing done to it, and I must say it doesn't sound like the video in the mix. The mid gain settings lacked thickness, power and punch and cranked, muddy. I didn't think so the last time I looked at the video, I guess my ear has developed a bit! But the demos I just heard of the 'The Beast' sounded worse to me
EDIT:
He's doing a new 'series' with raw, unprocessed guitars, i'll see how it performs there. But i'll take your advice for now. Can the Tubemeister really handle my kinda stuff?
I haven't owned any of these so I can't really comment on them, but I will say that if you're taking youtube clips over the word of somebody that knows their stuff and has owned and played the amps you're going to be disappointed

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Unread 08-13-2011, 01:16 PM   #11
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What's your budget? IMHO, some of the bigger amps have great master volumes. The Fryette 50CL I played was killer for this, and I've seen them for sale below $1k. Diezels are great too, but $$$. I'm sure there are others (I hear Fortin's master volume works extremely well, too).
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Unread 08-13-2011, 01:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technomancer View Post
I haven't owned any of these so I can't really comment on them, but I will say that if you're taking youtube clips over the word of somebody that knows their stuff and has owned and played the amps you're going to be disappointed
You know what, you are right.
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Unread 08-13-2011, 01:30 PM   #13
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Why not buy a 100 watt amp and get a Hot Plate?

If you have to have something lower-wattage, Laney GH50L is my recommendation. Also, look at the Laney Ironhearts. They have a "Watts" control so you can turn down but still have a killer tone.

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Unread 08-13-2011, 01:34 PM   #14
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What's your budget? IMHO, some of the bigger amps have great master volumes. The Fryette 50CL I played was killer for this, and I've seen them for sale below $1k. Diezels are great too, but $$$. I'm sure there are others (I hear Fortin's master volume works extremely well, too).
Well, i'm a Brit, so i'm talking in pounds, but I think it'll work out to be around $1500. The main 'big' amp i'm considering is the Laney Ironheart 60 watt, Which goes for around £550/$900

EDIT:

Ofcourse, the lower the price the better!
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Unread 08-13-2011, 02:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Well, i'm a Brit, so i'm talking in pounds, but I think it'll work out to be around $1500. The main 'big' amp i'm considering is the Laney Ironheart 60 watt, Which goes for around £550/$900
Ah, so the Fryette probably will be rather expensive where you are. Bummer, it really did sound killer. I'm working off old info, but I've had a 35 watt Mesa for years that sounds incredible, but found it really liked to live at "loud home theater" volumes or higher. I now have a 100 watt head that sounds amazing at reasonable TV volumes.

I haven't played any of the modern micro amps, so maybe they've focused more at lower volumes. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, the Mesa was built to be as loud as possible for its wattage rating (thing called Dynawatt technology, I think), so it was never intended to do what the current crop of low watt amps are supposed to do.

TL;DR: I don't really know what I'm talking about.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 04:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Clark View Post
So, i'm in the market for a valve metal mini head. As cool as it would be to own a full 100w stack, i'm not playing any festivals or gigantic gigs, so there's nothing to justify me buying one. So I want a low wattage bone crushing metal amp! By low wattage, I mean anywhere up to 30 watts.

So far, these seem to be the contenders:

Engl Gigmaster 30/15
Jet City JCA22H
Carvin V3M (max 50 watts, I know)
Orange Dual Dark Terror (Doesn't exist yet, but i'm sure Orange will make it, as it seems to be in high deamand)
Krank Rev Jr. Pro
EVH 5150III Micro (Unreleased, and again, 50 watts)

I've personally tried the Dark terror, and it sounded hella awesome, I made a long post on it somewhere. A Dual version would make it perfect, but I haven't tried any of the above, and there might be a gem within them.

So if you've got anything to say about these heads, please input!

When I say metal, I mean, Crushing, heavy, Gojira-y metal!
I have had the GigMaster 15 and returned it back.
It was not enough heavy for metal, but not enough "rock-y" for hard rock.
I have played Carvin V3M at Musikmesse and this amp didn't got me interested.
Great features, but sounded buzzy and very compressed at higher gain settings. Mind it was not under the best audio test conditions ofc.
I have JCA20H and I am sure JCA22H will be awesome as weel (on my GAS list), but I think it will be not enough modern for what You're looking for. It's more like hot rodded Marshall type of sound.

If You liked Dar Terror, then take a look at Orange Thunder 30.
It not exactly Dual Dark Terror, but has 2 channels, a lot of gain, sounds awesome and has also fx loop. Price is also ok.

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Unread 08-16-2011, 04:47 AM   #17
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Krank Rev Jr. Pro!!!! Ballsy, plenty of low end especially for being 20 watts, lots of gain, clarity and attack too. Sounds pretty good at low volumes but will also push a 4x12 cab with ease without sounding even remotely weak or underpowered
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Unread 08-16-2011, 08:17 AM   #18
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If You liked Dar Terror, then take a look at Orange Thunder 30.
It not exactly Dual Dark Terror, but has 2 channels, a lot of gain, sounds awesome and has also fx loop. Price is also ok.
I don't see how it has 3 power levels listed on shopping sites (7/15/30), the switch has full/standby/half. Also it is almost twice as expensive as the dark terror, meaning you could get a dark terror and something like a Krank Rev jr pro both instead.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 03:56 PM   #19
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I don't see how it has 3 power levels listed on shopping sites (7/15/30), the switch has full/standby/half. Also it is almost twice as expensive as the dark terror, meaning you could get a dark terror and something like a Krank Rev jr pro both instead.
Actually, at the back it has a option to switch between 2 and 4 power tubes, which effectively halves the wattage, so you can have 30 watts as full power and 15 watts as half power, or 15 watts as full power and 7 watts as half power.

And yeah, I just went to my local guitar shop and I once again tried the Dark Terror front ended by the Green Rhino, only to be once again blown away by it's sound. It was in a soundproof room, and I actually said 'I love this!' out loud

So the guy asked me what I thought, to which I replied 'If only there was a Dual Terror version'. Then he said, the Dark terror is the dirty channel of the TH30, which also has a dedicated clean channel. I was in shock, as the guys who worked there who I chatted to when I tried the Dark Terror for the first time said they wished it had two channels. So I was a little skeptical, but nevertheless, gave it a try. I laughed, because it sounded so good, and the Green Rhino set with zero gain and full volume with other controls to taste made it crushing. But i'm still going to wait some time for a Dual Dark Terror

Anyway, I really appreciate your help guys, and i'm sorry, Mr. Larrikin666 for not properly taking into consideration your thoughts, and thank you Mr. technomancer for reminding me that he had first hand experience with the amp and that I was putting his experience against a youtube video

I think i'll go with the Rev Jr. Pro or the TH30/Dual Dark Terror.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 04:36 PM   #20
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Can the Tubemeister really handle my kinda stuff?
I own one.
So far (only had it for a week and not much time to play it) what I can say is, it can do some serious metal, provided you have high output pickups. My LP studio with a 498T won't cut it with this amp, but my ESP with EMGs does.
An OD of your choice will likely allow you to use lower output pickups if you are so inclined.
Its main advantages over the dark terror are having two channels and an effect loop. Didn't get to test the line out yet been quite busy these last weeks going to festivals all over Europe during my week ends. I have put a small video on my NAD thread here, I'll try to do a better one soon.©
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Unread 08-16-2011, 04:44 PM   #21
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DC/GL has an order of Dark Terror's coming in tomorrow (8/17)!!!

I'll have one in my hands early next week.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 05:10 PM   #22
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Anyway, I really appreciate your help guys, and i'm sorry, Mr. Larrikin666 for not properly taking into consideration your thoughts, and thank you Mr. necromancer for reminding me that he had first hand experience with the amp and that I was putting his experience against a youtube video

I think i'll go with the Rev Jr. Pro or the TH30/Dual Dark Terror.
Don't worry about it brother. I just don't like Ola's videos giving people false hopes. Gear is expensive. I don't like seeing NGD posts that end with "Yeah, I don't think I like this very much".

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Unread 08-16-2011, 07:32 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larrikin666 View Post
I'd stay away from the ENGL Gigmasters. I just got rid of my 15. It was far from a metal monster out of the box. The Krank is pretty good with the right preamp tubes. You might want to look into the new H&K and Laboga lunchbox heads.
Well I'm the guy who bought the gigmaster off of Larrikin....And I would have to disagree with Larrikins statement! I have played the rev Jr and The Gigmaster and IMHO the Gigmaster is a much better amp! None of the Lunchbox amps are metal monsters out of the box(None that I have heard)...But the engle with a good clean boost is the best I have heard!!! I own a Egnater Rebel 20 as well...even that amp with a good clean boost pedal sound pretty dam good for metal....but the Engle blows it away!!!! I don't play live anymore...I have a pro tools studio though.....and this Gigmaster is going to be tits for this! The Krank is my least favorite of all the lunch box valve amps. very sterile sounding. The Vox Night train is better than the Krank...again just my Opinion. Good luck with whatever you choose.

As far as Olas videos....I dont think he is doctoring them to much. The reason they all tend to sound similar is the way he plays. If EVH pick up your guitar on your Rig...I think you will find he is going to sound like EVH on your rig lol....just sayin.

EDIT: Just wanted to say that the roll eyes was just a friendly Jab at Larrikin666....we all have different tastes....thats what makes the world go round. These are just my opinions and we all know that opinions are like A Holes....everbody has one . I had a great experience buying this amp from Larrikin and would deal with him anytime...good dude.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 07:58 PM   #24
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unlike the Tiny Terror the Dark Terror does have an fx loop (tube driven to boot).
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Unread 08-17-2011, 01:01 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Clark View Post
So, i'm in the market for a valve metal mini head. As cool as it would be to own a full 100w stack, i'm not playing any festivals or gigantic gigs, so there's nothing to justify me buying one. So I want a low wattage bone crushing metal amp! By low wattage, I mean anywhere up to 30 watts.

So far, these seem to be the contenders:

Engl Gigmaster 30/15
Jet City JCA22H
Carvin V3M (max 50 watts, I know)
Orange Dual Dark Terror (Doesn't exist yet, but i'm sure Orange will make it, as it seems to be in high deamand)
Krank Rev Jr. Pro
EVH 5150III Micro (Unreleased, and again, 50 watts)

I've personally tried the Dark terror, and it sounded hella awesome, I made a long post on it somewhere. A Dual version would make it perfect, but I haven't tried any of the above, and there might be a gem within them.

So if you've got anything to say about these heads, please input!

When I say metal, I mean, Crushing, heavy, Gojira-y metal!
I have tried almost all of them out there and i would say it would be a toss up between the following tube amp heads:

Bad Cat Hot Cat 30 - 30 watt or 15 on half power
Koch Studiotone (standard is 20 watt also there is a 40 watt version)
Mesa DC3 - 35 watt (prefer it over the Mesa TA30 but the DC3 is no longer in production
Krankenstein Jr - 50 watt
ENGL GigMaster 30
Carvin V3M - 7, 22 or 50 watt settings
or the Orange Dual Terror - 7, 15 or 30 watt settings (I hope they do make a Dual Dark Terror that would be killer) Also have to note I prefered the Dual Terror over the Thunder 30 - the TH30 seemed to dark and muddy/ muffled sounding and the Dual Terror is clearer, crunchier, more in your face and more definition.

Depends what you prefer but they are all killer for metal some are just more punch or more gain or more crunch more thickness etc. My fave is a toss up between the Bad Cat Hot Cat 30, the Koch Studiotone XL and the Mesa DC3 - still own them all and love them for different qualities.

The Cornford Hellcat, the Hayden Mofo 30 watt head and the Budda Superdrive 30 and 45 are also worth checking out and the new Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister 18 watt head looks killer but I have not tried one. All the other amps listed here I have tried bar the GigMaster 30 (got one on the way though and have tried the 15 watter) and the Carvin V3m Tried the 100 watter though and keen to add the V3m to my collection) I would be keen to check out one of the mini 5150 III heads too when they are released

Stay clear of the Jet City JCM20 (sounds like a small amp very thin and no punch to it), the Oranger Rocker 30 (great cleans and early metal but not brutal) Laney Cub and lionheart (great clean and 70's rock tones though), the Peavey Classic (also good cleans and good early metal) Mesa TA15/ TA30 (not enough gain or punch) the mesa express series (great clean and thick rock/ 80's metal but not crushing metal) the mesa Lonestar special (killer cleans though), all the mini matamp amps (suck ass), the Egnater Rebel 20/ 30 (owned both - both kept having issues), the Suhr Badger 18 and 30 watters (great clean and lots of punch but not metal and too dark sounding) and the Vox Night Train (great amp but not metal). I am sure I have owned heaps more but can't think of them...
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