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Amp reliability - Hughes & Kettner, Laney, Bugera etc...


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I am currently trying to find an amp for a reasonable price. There are a few amps that have all the features I need but they are brands that seem to get badmouthed on the internet a lot.

Has anybody got any real-life experience with with Hughes & Kettner, Laney, Bugera or any other lower budget orientated brands in terms of reliability. I'm not interested in people who are just perpetuating rumours, I'd be very interested to hear peoples experiences with these brands or any suggestions on value for money brands I might have missed. Thanks!

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Hi,

I never owned a Bugera but have had two H&Ks (50w Switchblade combo and a 100w Trilogy Half-stack) and two Laneys (30w LC30 II and a 100w Kilpp head) over the years.

Hughes & Kettner amps are extremly well made and in my personal experience, very reliable.

I've also had good experience with Laney amps, which are great value for money.

Valve amps do need to be treated with care and respect and although component failure is common with this type of equipment, I think you'll find that most problems are the result of mistreatment and/or negligence on the part of the owner.

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Valve amps do need to be treated with care and respect and although component failure is common with this type of equipment, I think you'll find that most problems are the result of mistreatment and/or negligence on the part of the owner.

Thanks for the feedback. I do get the impression that people would rather blame the manufacturer than admit they didn't look after their amp. I'm torn between a Laney (LH50) and a H&K (Statesman Dual EL34). Based on what you're saying, they could both be decent quality...

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Never thought of Laney as a budget brand, except some of their solid state stuff, Tony Iommi as endorsee is cred enough for anyone. Guitarist is always raving about H&K stuff, but if I was sourcing a valve amp for c500 or under (as I hope to be in the next year max), I'd try a Jet City or Egnater first, based on an aggregate of a few reviews, and I'd buy it in a place, rather than the netz. In your place I'd prob get the Laney, but all good.

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Yeah, I got an Orange Thunder 30 at it has next to no clean headroom when I play my PRS SE Custom 24 through it. Perhaps an amateur mistake as apparently Orange amps are not really designed to do clean cleans. :dunce:

It's going back to the shop and what I'm looking at instead is a Laney LH50 or a H&K Statesman Dual EL34. The H&K requiring another cash injection, the Laney being slightly cheaper. Going for a diverse quiet to loud alt rock sound. A bit prog, a bit grunge. Really needs to be a versatile amp.

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Yeah, I got an Orange Thunder 30 at it has next to no clean headroom when I play my PRS SE Custom 24 through it. Perhaps an amateur mistake as apparently Orange amps are not really designed to do clean cleans. :dunce:

It's going back to the shop and what I'm looking at instead is a Laney LH50 or a H&K Statesman Dual EL34. The H&K requiring another cash injection, the Laney being slightly cheaper. Going for a diverse quiet to loud alt rock sound. A bit prog, a bit grunge. Really needs to be a versatile amp.

The Statesman is a superb amp and if you can afford it, Iyou should go for it.

If you're after good cleans, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is an excellent choice in that price range. I had one of those as well and it was a great amp.

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The Statesman is a superb amp and if you can afford it, Iyou should go for it.

If you're after good cleans, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is an excellent choice in that price range. I had one of those as well and it was a great amp.

My only concern with that one is that there is no gain control on the clean, only master volume. There is apparently a master on the back too but not clear on how that will work. If I can have it loud on the back and low on the front to keep it clean that will be fine but really I'm not sure.

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Yeah, I got an Orange Thunder 30 at it has next to no clean headroom when I play my PRS SE Custom 24 through it. Perhaps an amateur mistake as apparently Orange amps are not really designed to do clean cleans. :dunce:

Really? I'd heard that those were meant to have a fair amount of clean headroom. I was seriously considering buying one after trying it a couple weeks ago but I couldn't properly crank it in the store. Does it break up really early on the clean channel?

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Really? I'd heard that those were meant to have a fair amount of clean headroom. I was seriously considering buying one after trying it a couple weeks ago but I couldn't properly crank it in the store. Does it break up really early on the clean channel?

I heard that too but for me and with my guitar it broke up far too early to play anything clean over the drums in rehearsal. I also found it generally quite noisy at high volumes.

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I heard that too but for me and with my guitar it broke up far too early to play anything clean over the drums in rehearsal. I also found it generally quite noisy at high volumes.

Yeah? That's pretty off-putting. Might still consider getting one, but guess I need to give it a "proper" try with my Tele.

Just read this on Harmony Central. Worth maybe considering changing the tubes?

The clean channel - this was a bit of a disapointment soundwise. It's supposed to be a "clean" channel, yet the clean headroom on it is almost non-existent from stock. I have the volume at 8 o'clock (very low) and I can hear the tubes being pushed into distortion already - and needless to say almost, below this volume I can't really hear the clean channel much. So as far as the clean channel goes - it's more like a vintage low gain channel in my opinion.

I swapped the pre-amp tubes (Chinese made crap) for some Russian Tung-Sol 12AX7's and the clean channel is now as good as on my vintage Marshall. Very chimey and bell like, sounds really nice, I can now push the volume to about 11.30 before I get any pre-amp distortion, exactly what I was looking for from stock.

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i've yet to come across 1 amp that does everything really well if its clean headroom you need i'd say look more towards a 60 or even 100 watt, fender twins and such like come up on ebay regulary and can save you meney, also not wanting to point out the obvious but roll back the volume on your guitar ?

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I had an Orange Thunder 30 too and didn't care too much for it. After having it for a week it decided to just die at a practice which was a bit concerning. The clean headroom was incredibly poor, but the overdrive was amazing through a 4x12.

Best amp I think I've had so far was my Fender Hotrod deluxe. That thing was loud for a 1x12, seemed totally solid and much more "involved" than my Marshall TSL60. Reverb was shite though.

If I were you I'd stay clear of Bugera. Having used Behringer stuff a fair amount it's generally alright for a wee while but will inevitably fuck up at the most inconvenient of times. I'd rather have a simple decent sounding amp than an all singing bells n whistles beast made of tinfoil and paper mache.

I'd get another Hotrod in a minute, although I'm thinking of building a Soldano SLO copy so will need to fire some funds into that. Mine how expensive transformers are!!

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I did consider changing the tubes but decided that might be throwing good money after bad and maybe it was just not the amp for me. Also did roll back the volume which helped a little but as I have other options, theres no point in taking a compromise. It would probably sound good with Tele single coils, it just doesnt like my PRS SE Humbuckers.

I wouldnt mind a lack of extra bells and whistles on an amp but I do want an effects loop and good clean and overdrive tones. Didnt think that would be such a hard thing to find at a reasonable price.

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