Small, Portable, Grab and Go Metal Amp Recommendations

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by malmsteenbutdrunker, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. malmsteenbutdrunker

    malmsteenbutdrunker SS.org Regular

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    Hello All,


    I'm having a really tough time deciding on what I should get for my next amp. I would like to buy a combo, something small, possibly light, has good bass response, and above all else it has to sound amazing. I'm generally going for just a straight ahead metal tone, Marshall flavored, something with decent saturation but not too compressed. If I had to put my tone in a box, I would say something modern thrash flavored is what I'm going for (Havok, modern Exodous, etc.)

    Currently for recording I use either a 6505 MH or a Marshall SV20H into a load box, then into a cabinet simulator, and finally into a Neve style lunchbox preamp. I always boost with a TS808, and it all sounds great. For low volume practicing I use a Katana 50 with a boost and custom patches, and again, it sounds great.

    I do not want a preamp pedal / poweramp / cab setup. I am a simple man, and I want a simple amp. I own the other stuff as well (Kemper, HX stomp), I just don't want that for this particular setup.

    My most recent band is getting ready to start practicing more and playing out once this COVID stuff is over with. However, I'm torn about what amp to get. I've been researching this for a while, and I'm just overwhelmed with options. Basically, I just want to show up to the gig with a tuner pedal, boost pedal, and combo amp, plug everything in, and let er rip. Here are what I've narrowed it down to thus far:

    Orange Rocker 32
    - Seems to be almost exactly what I'm looking for. The only thing I'm worried about is the open back cab. I get why this is desirable on a small tube combo, I'm just worried about low end response. Also there aren't that many reviews for what seems on paper to be an amazing grab and go rock amp, which slightly worries me.

    EVH 5150III 1x12" 50-watt Combo
    - This amp has everything I'm looking for. However, the size and weight... it's definitely stretching the limits of "grab and go". If this is the size and weight I need to go to in order to get everything I want I'll do it, but I'm really hoping for something more portable.

    Katana Artist MKII
    - Since I already use a Katana 50 for practice, I have a general idea of what this will sound like. I actually love the Katana 50: with the ability to choose a boost pedal within the amp, and the ability to add EQ's both pre and post preamp within the amp, you can dial in basically any sound you want. Also, I don't really have to mess with separate pedals aside from a tuner, which is amazing for loadout. However, my fear with the Artist is that it won't sound different enough from the 50 to justify the price increase, and won't produce enough low end (due to the semi open design).

    Vox AC10C1
    - I know this one seems insane, but just listen to the demos on Youtube: saturated to hell pure vintage rock. Closed back as well with great low end response, and cheap to boot. My only concern here is that it's a small 1x10 and won't be able to keep up with a drummer and a bass player.


    I've also looked at some other options, such as the small Friedman amps, the small Mesa Boogie combos (not a huge fan of the Mesa sound), etc., but nothing has really caught my eye. I just want to show up, plug in with a boost, and sound great: are any of the amps I'm looking at going to do this, or are there some other options I'm forgetting about? Thank you in advance for reading my wall of text and offering any and all recommendations.
     
  2. Rxcoma

    Rxcoma SS.org Regular

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    Find yourself a peavey prowler.. Or any of the Guyatone Tube Zip combos you'll love em! Traynor MkIII with a tube screamer eh? Or ditch all that.. And trust me.. For metal.. Get a Mooer Lil Tank.. Its one of my most beloved just.......they fucking RULE.. the Mesa and 5150 profiles are SPOT ON.plus highly modifiable.get that lil guy and whatever 1x12 you want and call it a combo.. It will absolutely SMOKE anything near its price range
     
  3. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands SS.org Regular

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    If you can get the SV20, get the Mini Jubilee.
     
  4. mogar

    mogar SS.org Regular

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    For small and light, I'd honestly stay away from a 1x12 tube combo. Unless it's got some new fangled super light transformer and neodymium magnet speaker, it's automatically 45+lbs. Have you thought about maybe a Line 6 Powercab 112 and a Friedman BE-OD or something along those lines? It'll basically be one sound, but it'll be boosted marshall sounds all day.
     
  5. malmsteenbutdrunker

    malmsteenbutdrunker SS.org Regular

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    Sorry, but while the Mooer Lil Tank is cool... it's a head, which I don't want, and it's only 15 class D watts. I doubt it would keep up with a drummer and bassist, even with a 2x12 or 4x12.

    I've looked into this one as well, but it feel off of my list for some reason. Do you have any experience with it? I'm just curious about the low end: it has a closed back, but does it have any "thump" or is it totally gutless?

    I'm somewhat interested in this, as it doesn't add a head to the equation and I can just think of the Powercab as a regular cab. Do you think something like a Powercab / Amptweaker Tight Metal Pro would work? I owned a BE-OD and unfortunately it did nothing for me, and was blown off of the board by a JHS Angry Charlie and RambleFX Marvel Drive. Sucks too, because I'd heard nothing but great things and really wanted to love it.
     
  6. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    I say go with the Rocker. Don’t let open cab scare you away. Minor difference overall especially for rock. Go for it!
     
  7. Emperoff

    Emperoff Hasta la vista, Baby Contributor

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    DV Mark DV40 212 (the older one). -> 17kg 212 combo.

    I've got one. It's not a metal amp, but add a preamp-type pedal (like a Victory V4) and you've got everything you asked for. If you already have a boost you might get away with its gain channel.

     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  8. Randy

    Randy Full on Friendship!™ Super Moderator

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    Came here to recommend the Katana.

    Grab and go = compact, easy to carry, reliable and feature packed. Other than an expensive modeler+FRFR combo (that would also be big and cumbersome), I think the Katanas get the best tone without having to contend with heavy and delicate tube amps if you're doing a lot of traveling with it :2c:
     
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  9. malmsteenbutdrunker

    malmsteenbutdrunker SS.org Regular

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    I hear you, and the demos sound good. However my favorite cab overall is the Mesa V30 oversized 4x12 (like everyone else in the metal world), and while I know it's not a fair comparison, I just wonder if the Orange can get some thump going for those palm mutes.

    Thanks for the rec, but if I'm going for a preamp pedal situation the sky's the limit and I'd rather go with a separate cab and pedalboard sized power amp.

    The Katana 50 is great, especially for TV volume practicing, I'm just worried about how it will sound at stage volume (particularly the low end). Do you have any experience with the Artist? If it's a decent step up I have no problem going this route, as I'm really into the tones I have set up.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  10. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Just dial the katana in at stage volume.
     
  11. malmsteenbutdrunker

    malmsteenbutdrunker SS.org Regular

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    I've tried, but at higher volumes it just doesn't have the balls I'd like. It's just a small, open back, 50 watt solid state amp, and the fact that it can hang at band volumes at all is amazing to me. That's why I'd have no problems upgrading to the Artist if I was more sure that it could hold up / have a beefy low end at stage volumes, but at that kind of money I'm more tempted to go with a tried-and-true solution.
     
  12. LCW

    LCW SS.org Regular

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    Mark V 25 head or combo. Ultimate grab and go. Combo weighs 24 lbs. The head is 15 or 20. Metal all day long and everything for that matter (clean, crunch, metal).
     
  13. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Whoaaa No Way!!!

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    The Rocker is a cool amp but I'd be more concerned with the 10" speakers than the open back. The EVH won't really get you a British sound, it's very versatile but it's still pretty American voiced IMO. The Katana, I really don't get the hype about, it's an okay amp for practice, but why someone would pay $500 for the Artist, I'm not sure. The Vox really isn't what you want IMO.

    Have you considered the Marshall DSL40CR? It will get what you want without a boost and it's cheaper than the Rocker and EVH.
     
  14. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Beefy low end comes from bass guitars and kick drums.
     
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  15. malmsteenbutdrunker

    malmsteenbutdrunker SS.org Regular

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    I've looked into it, also the Rectoverb 25, however I'm just not into the Mesa sound in terms of mixing with the rest of the band. Can it cop a decent Marshall tone / have any samples of such?

    I have actually considered that amp, however I have a DSL15C that sounds like a wet sack of dog shit and it's scared me from the rest of the lineup. I know the 15, especially the combo is one of the worst possible examples of a DSL, but is the 40 leaps and bounds better?

    I don't know how to say what I'm about to say without being disrespectful, but I'll try my best. I play bass in another band, and drums in yet another. I record, mix, and master the music of all of the bands that I'm in, and have a pretty solid studio setup in a room devoted just to that. I know where everything is supposed to "sit" in a mix, and where bass and kick come in frequency-wise. With that being said, I also know where guitar is supposed to sit, and I prefer my guitar to have some beef in it. If the bass and kick take up all of the low end, why do 0% of the live metal bands I see use small open back 1x12's? I'm looking for amp recommendations, not mixing suggestions.
     
  16. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Your list seems kinda all over the place.

    If you're looking for Marshall flavored thrash tones Vox and Orange seem like a bit odd choices.

    I've tried to use a Katana combo with a band and I thought it sucked. I know I'm in the minority here that don't like that amp but yea...

    An older used Marshall combo maybe?

    Either way an open back 1x12 is what it is, and it's never gonna sound like a recto 4x12.
     
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  17. LCW

    LCW SS.org Regular

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    Sure - not everyone like Mesa sound...

    Other suggestions... Dark Terror, Jim Root Terror etc line of Oranges... Peavey 6505 MH or the new Invective MH...
     
  18. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    Oh shit, I didn’t even notice the Rocker 32 was a 2x10.

    That would kill it for me right there. No hate on 10s just, there’s so many 12s I want to try and 12s are easier to find used and sell once you’re done and want to try something new.
     
  19. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Whoaaa No Way!!!

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    Yes, absolutely. I agree with you, the 15 is shit. The 40 is pretty great IMO.
     
  20. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    BluGuitar amps and a cab of your choice. Doesn’t get much smaller and lighter than that for a 100 or 150W amp depending on which version you get.
     

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