Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

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NateD81
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Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by NateD81 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:18 pm

Hello --

First-time poster, long-time reader.

My current situation is that I am playing a Fender 60th-anniversary JM and love it. Playing through a Fender Super Champ X2 with the Ragin' Cajun speaker and am decently happy with it. I'm a teacher with a 2.5 year old boy, so I don't have as much time to play around as I'd like, but I do love to jam in the garage and throw a SM57 in front of the amp and record. My question is this:

Does anyone have any recommendations for an amp that is a bit of an upgrade from an X2 that does cleans REALLY well? I'm not looking at amps in the 800+ range as I'm not sure my wife would welcome me back home if I did that! In my mind, I feel like I'd like an amp that really showcases that clean tone of my JM, but is something between an X2 and a Deluxe Reverb. Does that exist or should I just save my pennies? I'm open to a variety of amps, but my experience is that I've only really played Fenders plus a Vox Lil' NightTrain.

I'll also add that I primarily play in my garage and a moderate volume, can't get too loud, use looper pedals and record. I occasionally jam with others but I won't be gigging. Again, I'd like to appeal to the wisdom of this forum. Should I just be pleased with my X2? I'm not unhappy with it, but maybe I just have GAS for something new and shiny.

Thank you all!

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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by marqueemoon » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:36 pm

Let me be the first to say Princeton Reverb.

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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by rumfoord » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:32 am

;D
Dr. OSG doesn't really prescribe much else.


Do you have a used market in your area?
Do you have an amp tech in your area / mind taking your amp in for service once in a while?

You might look for something like:
•$300 something from the 60s with $100 budgeted for an amp checkup
•$500 something newer (although not having an amp tech anywhere at all close would make me nervous)
•$300 head and $200 cab (or even just find a way to plug it into the speaker in your super champ x2 combo)



My first tube amp was an old Danelectro DM25 that I bought from ebay. In the last, hm, 12 years I guess, I've bought (I think?) 6 amps from craigslist and ebay in about that range. There was only one that I wound up sinking too much money into repairs, but that was a larger version of the DM25 (a DS100) that went down the rabbit hole with to try to salvage the reverb (because I loved the weird reverb on the DM25). But I bought that from ebay, and most of the repair costs were just for the reverb.

Anyway, one of those was a VHT Special 6 that someone had found a way to fit a 12" Weber neo speaker into. It sounded really great, and would be plenty loud enough for you. BUT! I wound up selling it because I found that even though I thought it sounded really good, when I AB'd it with my larger 40w amp I found that the 40w amp (an Alessandro Rottweiler that someone was asking $700 for) sounded still way better at every volume. I'd bought the VHT to be more of a home amp while the larger amp stayed at my practice space. But the better amps cleans were just better—even at volumes where the Rottweiler wasn't doing its best work.

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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by andy_tchp » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:57 am

marqueemoon wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:36 pm
Let me be the first to say Princeton Reverb.
/thread.
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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by Larsongs » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:58 am

marqueemoon wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:36 pm
Let me be the first to say Princeton Reverb.
Let me be the second to say the Princeton Reverb. I have several other Amps but these Amps do everything really well with any Guitar you plug into them. Plus, they're light weight & small footprint. Easy to travel & Gig with.... You already got the SM57!

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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by s_mcsleazy » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:33 am

i think a princeton reverb might be a little much for OP so i'm going to bring up a few other amps you might be able to find for cheap and gig with.

fender hotrod series: i've never been super into them but their great amps. kinda a jack of all trades.
fender deluxe 90: both the dsp and the normal version are fine. i have the normal version. it's a decent sized solid state amp that sounds like a tube amp. they dont come up often but i got mine for less than £100.
fender champion 100: another solid state fender amp that sounds like a tube amp. kinda big but it will be more amp than you'll ever need.
fender vaporizer: i recently did a gig with my friend's one. great amp. the spring reverb is a little bit overwhelming at higher settings and it's not super clean with the volume past 10 o'clock.

but if you can find a princeton reverb in your price range. do it. i actually really like the 68ri's
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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by oid » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:34 pm

If you primarily want it for recording clean you may want to try a better mic on your X2, the SM57 is somewhat lousy for getting really good cleans, the anemic high frequency response that makes it so great for live sound and distortion leaves it somewhat lifeless sounding on cleans. Any of the ~$100 condensers should do, which ever MXL is in favor these days is a safe bet. Might be a cheap way to meet your needs.

But you really can not go wrong with a Princeton Reverb, or a proper Champ through a bigger speaker.
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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by Maggieo » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:43 pm

Has anyone suggested a Princeton Reverb yet? :ph34r:
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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by s_mcsleazy » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:59 pm

Maggieo wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:43 pm
Has anyone suggested a Princeton Reverb yet? :ph34r:
that's an obscure amp to mention. i had to google it.
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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by jthomas » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:11 pm

My first tube amp after many years of not playing an electric was a Fender Blues JR with the special edition speaker that came with the aged tweed tolex. Cork sniffers often call it boxy, but it is a nice little amp, and there are lots of mods out there to fix any perceived short comings. It has an ok reverb and a master volume that can help if you can't make too much noise with small children in the home. You should be able to get one used for about $300 and maybe plan on upgrading the speaker after you play it for awhile.

Sumptin' like this plus shipping or a new one at $400 to $500 or so:
https://reverb.com/item/15006226-fender ... lack-tolex

Alternately, you can do what I did for my next amp and build one.
Last edited by jthomas on Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by oid » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:03 pm

I will join in on the praise for the more modern Fenders, the Blues and Hotrod series are great amps. Most can find something they can work with and be happy about in those lines. I like the cleans of the hotrods better than the blues, but would be perfectly happy with either.
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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by mackerelmint » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:13 pm

I'm gonna suggest a pathfinder 15, through whatever 12" speaker suits your fancy. Cheap and good. Some might split hairs, but honestly, I think those cleans are damn good and really put a good JM's best foot forward.
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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by Fuzzbuzz » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:44 pm

I agree with a few others. The fender hot rod series would be good. Even the ampeg jet and reverberocket reissues form the late 90’s early 2000’s,which are basically the same thing.

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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by Horsefeather » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:25 pm

A used Carvin X30, X60, or even X100B would give you very nice cleans for about $300-400. The 60 and 100 have the bonus feature of a 5-band EQ in addition to the active high, mid, low knobs. Great reverb, too. The crunch channel is there too but ain't nothing to write home about.

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Re: Amp upgrade: Need some wisdom!

Post by mackerelmint » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:28 pm

Yeah, those Carvin X amps do really nice cleans, and the wood cabinet 112s are dead sexy in a "looks great next to a fern" kind of way.

LOUD, though.
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