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Unread 02-10-2013, 07:29 AM   #1
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Practice Hi-Gain Setup for the Bedroom/Apartment

Hey new to this forum, been lurking so i know the whole Hi Gain Amp for the Bedroom/Apartment thing has been done to death but there you go.

I've recently started getting back into playing and I want a nice sounding amp with high gain for that can handle mostly lead guitar metal/prog metal stuff (Megadeth, Pantera, Satriani, Symphony X etc).

My current amp is an old Crate GTX 212 (120 watt solidstate) which i got back when i was playing more about 7/8 years ago. I always liked that it had bucketloads of gain and a nice scooped sound on the solo channel, sadly the amp is quite battered now so needs replacing.

I want a similar sort of scooped high gain sound and have been looking at whats available.

My younger brother also plays and has a Blackstar HT5R which he boosts with a Satriani Satchurator pedal. I know a lot of people are a fan of the HT5s, but it really doesn't have enough gain on it's own and it sounds really "thin" to my ears... although maybe i'm not cranking the volume high enough to work the speaker (and if it did it would defeat the whole purpose of a bedroom amp)

Other amps I've considered are the ENGL Gigmaster and the Orange Dark Terror etc series but I wouldn't rule out looking at good solid state amps either.

A store i recently visited recommended a Mesa Mini Rec, which surprised me at first because it's 10w/25w and if the 5w Blackstar seems un-neighbourly then I can only imagine what the Mini Rec would be like. Also it doesn't have a headphone jack which again is a bit annoying.

I dont really want to use modelling software as it sounds so stark and depressing, or at least the stuff with my Line6 TonePort I have from 2006 does, I don't know how much better the technology is now days. And in any case, nothing beats sitting down and playing through an amp.

Cheers for all your help guys and sorry for the long winded post!
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Unread 02-10-2013, 07:32 AM   #2
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I should point out I live in the UK and my budget is pretty flexible, I'm willing to pay up to 1,500 for a good setup. But obviously I don't want to waste money when a 300/500 rig will do.

Also I don't really plan on gigging, jamming with people yes, but the guitar is more of self-indulgent hobby now,
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Unread 02-10-2013, 08:13 AM   #3
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What about the AMT Stonehead? It's 50 watts so it could most likely keep up with a band if you ever want, and it's solid state so it'll sound a lot better at really low volumes. Everything I've heard from it sounds great.






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Unread 02-10-2013, 09:03 AM   #4
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In before the Axe FX is mentioned!

6505+ 112 combo. Not low wattage at 60 watts but sounds good at low volumes. Should only run you 500. You could then get a TC Flashback delay and a Corona Chorus and you'd cover a ridiculous amount of ground for 700. You would also have everything you'd need to gig should you find yourself at that point.
If this defeats the point of what you're going for (headphone jack etc.). You might want to look at the Peavey Vypyr or Fender Mustang series. Both offer great sounding modelling at any volume as well as on board effects. They have Aux in and headphone jacks.
You could also look at a decent rack set up. Solid state power amp, good pre-amp (ADA mp-1, Rocktron Chameleon, Peavey Rockmaster) and a decent 1x12 cab. A good power amp should sound decent at most volumes. This would be another cost effective, versatile option.

I personally think that if you're only using the set-up at home, a modelling amp or pre amp is the way to go. The AMT Stonehead is also a good suggestion.
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Unread 02-10-2013, 11:51 AM   #5
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You're almost definitely going to need to use some sort of pedal, if you're looking at a small tube amp. I suggest avoid SS amps, just cause once you go tube, you won't buy another SS agai. There's no way to get a saturated amp tone, at bedroom levels, without adding more dirt to your signal.

I've also got an HT-5, that I barely touch. I think the OD channel sounds awful. IMO, the HT-5 is extremely overrated. It's a decent 5w amp, but there's very few affordable 5w amps. Do you know if, your brother uses Satchurator on the clean channel, or uses it on top the OD channel? I'm just curious

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Unread 02-10-2013, 10:18 PM   #6
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Hey all,

Thanks for the replies, the AMT Stonehead looks pretty good and had not considered the whole power amp scenario, worth looking into more.

Any thoughts on the Laney Ironheart and using the reduced wattage thing?



Quote:
I've also got an HT-5, that I barely touch. I think the OD channel sounds awful. IMO, the HT-5 is extremely overrated. It's a decent 5w amp, but there's very few affordable 5w amps. Do you know if, your brother uses Satchurator on the clean channel, or uses it on top the OD channel? I'm just curious
He uses it over the top of the OD channel, it does surprisingly little to the tonality of the channel (give it has its on tone control) but it does thicken it up (thankfully). I have tried it over the clean channel and it's a totally different sound, much more treble-y and very different to the amp's OD channel so it's a bit of versatility i guess.
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Unread 02-10-2013, 10:22 PM   #7
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I just use a Pod Hd Bean through a pair of Mackie MR5s. Sounds great at nearly any volume and has the ability to cleanly get way louder than necessary in a bedroom setup
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Unread 02-11-2013, 12:35 AM   #8
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The Roland Cube does a good job at high gain tones (no, really!) if you're just practicing. May be worth looking a. You'd definitely need an overdrive thought:

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Unread 02-11-2013, 02:11 AM   #9
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Engl Ironball maybe! It has a power soak and headphones out
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Unread 02-11-2013, 02:20 AM   #10
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6505+combo.
Has speaker emulated direct out as well.
Can always power a larger cab with it later if want.
Swap the speaker and throw in a boost or EQ out front and it's money in the bank.
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Unread 02-11-2013, 02:29 AM   #11
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i really like how my krank rev jr + attenuator sounds. the attenuator really helps tame the tone while you crank the power section. however it does change the sound. there is probably zero cab distortion, which is something our ears want to hear. there are quite a few amps with built-in power soak as well.
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Unread 02-11-2013, 05:25 AM   #12
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The Dark Terror is so much fun! It is not versatile at all but if you just want a high gain practice amp, the Dark Terror will give you that better than almost anything else.
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Unread 02-11-2013, 05:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by GetBornAgain View Post
Any thoughts on the Laney Ironheart and using the reduced wattage thing?
If you're interested, Laney is releasing a rackmounted version that can either be ran at either 15W or 1W. It also has an emulated XLR out and a USB out that can either run the amp's signal or your unaffected guitar signal.
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Unread 02-11-2013, 07:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetBornAgain View Post
Any thoughts on the Laney Ironheart and using the reduced wattage thing?
Most of your tone in a high gain amp is coming from the preamp anyways. Flipping the switch to low power mode will affect the tone, but you're not going to really notice the difference in volume. Well maybe if you're trying to get whisper quiet. Cranked @ 1w is still going to be really really loud. It's always a challenge to find an amp that's going to sound great at really low volumes. And don't forget, our perception of sounds change with volume.

In my case, I wasn't satisfied with low volume on my 6505, sold it + pedals + mesa 4x12 then bought a Kemper KPA + studio monitors. And couldn't be more pleased .
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Unread 02-11-2013, 08:04 AM   #15
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Blackstar HT5 head and a good 1X12 cab???
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Unread 02-11-2013, 11:44 AM   #16
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You can get the Mini Rec to sound decent at low volumes with a boost pedal, but it's not worth it for that, especially at UK prices. If you need bedroom and apartment type volumes solid state is a good way to go.

I'd also recommend a low watt non high gain amp, and a real nice distortion pedal. Like an Egnater/H&K + Wampler/AMT pedal.
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Unread 02-11-2013, 11:19 PM   #17
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AMT preamp + Tube Cake



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Unread 02-12-2013, 02:46 AM   #18
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I have a 18watt tubemeister and a 2x12. Even one 1 watt its hard to control volume, I can get good tone at low volume though. But u definitely need a OD and a eq to maximize tone. And that goes foe all the lunch box heads.

18 watts or 5 doesn't sound likw much. But really anything above half volume on the 5 watt setting my windows shake.

For a apartment I couldn't imagine my setup being practical at all. But I can get good tone at suburban bedroom volumes and I have enough power to keep up with a full band.

Tube heads u have heaps to choose from. Mini rect, tubemeister, dark terror, ht5, engl ironball, the new randall heads. Take ur pick.
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Unread 02-12-2013, 02:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sylcfh View Post
AMT preamp + Tube Cake



Thats cool I like it.
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Unread 02-12-2013, 05:09 AM   #20
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I am in the process of buying a Condo and have the same issue even though I like 5 watt heads. These are all loud when your playing at a low volume, the ramp up to volume is pretty fast then it creeps up on you and gets louder.

For me I am going with an HD500 rack mount and a 12 inch powered PA speaker. I have had this combination before and nothing can compare to its quiet tone. As a bonus it can do all your recording needs.

That AMT pre and power amp really looks and sounds amazing!!
Hell of a lot cheaper too!
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Unread 02-12-2013, 05:29 AM   #21
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Has anyone tried this PA speaker?

Kustom PA KPC12P 12" Powered PA Speaker | Musician's Friend
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Unread 02-12-2013, 07:20 AM   #22
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Amptweaker tight metal and a 15 to 25 watts solid state amp
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Unread 02-12-2013, 11:55 AM   #23
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Digitech GSP1101 can be had cheap.

Plus, you can use it for effects on another amp at a later date. The foot controller is actually really good.

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Unread 02-13-2013, 12:16 PM   #24
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I think i'm liking the AMT Stonehead or the pre-amp idea the most at the moment.
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Unread 02-26-2013, 11:43 AM   #25
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Yeah the stone heads look awesome. Gonna pick one up myself for bedroom use

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