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What's the best practice amp to buy?


paime
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Im barely using my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe these days and it's sitting gathering dust so i think the time is right to get rid of it and down-size to a practice amp. The trouble is, which one should I go for? I don't play anything heavier than The Black Crowes and i really like a bluesy/rock sound but also like loverly clean tones with a hint of overdrive.

Any suggestions?

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You can't go wrong with a Fender Mustang i. I've got one in my flat as big valve amps just aren't practical unless they are on stage or in the studio. The pre-programmed settings are pretty good, but you get software with it to go in and tinker about with it. Being a Fender, it offers a lot of the Fender amp sounds, but also covers the likes of Marshall, Vox and Mesa pretty well too. It can be used as a recording interface too - so if you don't have one of them already and could be doing with one, it's in there. They are really cheap for what they are - £90 or so from ii Music in the Academy shopping centre. Look on youtube for video demos - the vast majority of them are really good.

As I said, you can't go wrong with the Mustang!

Pete

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Solid state combos would sound like total shite if you're downsizing from a Fender Hot Rod though.

That's what im worried about, the question is, can i avoid it? Im probably looking to spend about £150 with bonus points for anything cheaper than £200. I love the sound of Orange amps but it really needs to be a combo and those things don't come cheap through Orange.

EDIT: In fact it probably doesn't need to be a combo, i would be more than happy with a decent speaker set up as long as it was relatively compact.

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Overall, you'll probably be a little more expensive for a mini-head/cab setup. Small speakers do tend to let down a lot of valve combos though. On the other hand, 1x12 cabs aren't much smaller than a Hot Rod, space wise.

Your budget is kinda limited if you want a really nice valve practice amp though.

Stretches the budget, but these look kinda cool:

http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_amps_detail.asp?stock=11122913252658

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Fender Champion 600s can be got for under £150, and there's a few decent mod kits available for them that are meant to make them pretty awesome amps for under £200 altogether. I've been pretty tempted to pick up a cheap one on ebay.

That's a good looking amp. What kind of kits can you get for it? It doesn't look all that versatile wth just a master volume control?

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Overall, you'll probably be a little more expensive for a mini-head/cab setup. Small speakers do tend to let down a lot of valve combos though. On the other hand, 1x12 cabs aren't much smaller than a Hot Rod, space wise.

Your budget is kinda limited if you want a really nice valve practice amp though.

Stretches the budget, but these look kinda cool:

http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_amps_detail.asp?stock=11122913252658

I'm quite fancying that just now, 15" speaker should be nicely deep.

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It's a bit unfair to condemn all SS amps out of hand. Most of the jazz players you've ever heard of use them, plus promising up-and -comers like B.B. King.

To answer your question, I can recommend Champ 600s- tons of clean Fender tone, takes pedals well, won't wake the baby. I also bought a Roland Cube 15 for £20. Perfectly respectable sound, sturdy and lightweight. I gig mine, a couple of times each month- although I never expected to......

Keep the HRD, pick up something cheap :)

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Don't get me wrong, there's a time and a place for solid states (and I do totally rate the Cube series), but 'clear tones with a hint of overdrive' for someone downsizing from a Hot Rod they ain't ideal. Especially with the heap of small - if not budget stretching - valve combos on the market at the moment.

The Champ 600 does look like a cool shout.

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It's a bit unfair to condemn all SS amps out of hand. Most of the jazz players you've ever heard of use them, plus promising up-and -comers like B.B. King.

To answer your question, I can recommend Champ 600s- tons of clean Fender tone, takes pedals well, won't wake the baby. I also bought a Roland Cube 15 for £20. Perfectly respectable sound, sturdy and lightweight. I gig mine, a couple of times each month- although I never expected to......

Keep the HRD, pick up something cheap :)

The HRD is a tough act to follow and i'd love to keep it but it seems a bit of a shame to have it sat in the corner doing nothing. If i ever start gigging again or miraculously manage to buy a huge house with no neighbours and my very own rehearsal space then i will definitely be re-purchasing a HRD.

The champ 600 looks very nice indeed but im worried about versatility. I have a nice pedal setup which im comfortable with but there's nothing quite like getting the ideal sound out of an amp.

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Watched some videos of these, and they sound great. My home set up is gash. Just got some horrible 60watt Peavey combo. Quite interested in getting one of these.

I've got one too, I tend to just use the clean and crunch settings but it takes over drive/fuzz well and you can get a good recorded sound through a line out or mic'd up. I haven't used the version of Cubase that comes with it much, but the amp editing software is pretty cool. The onboard effects are ok (the reverb is actually ace sounding and HUGE) but I usually just use my pedals.

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I noticed the THR10 is £250, so it isn't actually that cheap. At that price, would you recommend it over a low wattage valve effort?

One thing I didn't see in any video reviews is a mention of a footswitch to go back and forth between all the channels. Is that possible?

I'm not sure the THR10 would be worth the extra money over the THR5 to be honest, the actual wattage and speakers etc are the same. It just has a few extra models (acoustic and bass amps) on it and more EQ control (the THR5 just has a Tone knob) as far as I remember. My gigging amp in Seas, Starry is a Vox AC15 and I can get a good approximation of that sound with the THR5 which is why I like it. I just wanted something that would sound good, record well and take up as little space as possible. I have used it through my horrid old LINE6, just using the LINE6 as a speaker, and that sounded pretty good at band practice.

I'm not sure how well it would hold up on the higher gain models against a valve amp though.

It doesnt have a foot switch and as far as I am aware, you can't buy one as an extra.

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