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A good power amp for Helix to drive guitar cabinets


richrdhighsmith
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I've got a couple of 4x12 cabs with Celestion v30s that I love - one is a Marshall 1960AV the other a Line6 spider valve A cab with v30s. I'm running them with a Marshall JVM 410 and JCM2000 TSL 100 - using some 1960s long plate Sylvania 12AX7 tubes in V1. Both sound remarkable with the Marshall preamp sections, but I have been running my Firehawk FX into the power amp section for both when I want to use other amplifier tones.

 

I want to buy a Helix, but I don't want to run them into the power amp section of the Marshall Amps, but rather to have a power amp that will drive one of the 4x12 cabs at 16ohms or both sides of a stereo cab at 8ohms each side.

 

What would be the ideal amp for this setup - I'm thinking that 2x50 would be more than sufficient for my purposes.

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Tube amp wattage is one of those weird things that varies from one amp to the next, regardless of what the spec sheet claims. I've owned 2 channel amps rated at 50W per side that were just barely adequate if you're playing with a loud drummer. On the flip side, I recorded an entire album with the tiny little Orange Dark Terror amp, which is all of 15W, (and can also run at 7W, to give nice saturated high gain tones at slightly lower volumes) but is perfectly capable of rattling windows in the next zip code...so it kinda depends on your needs. If you're playing live, I generally prefer to have a little more power than I need. Having extra headroom just in case is not a bad thing.

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I love my Fryette Power Station 2 with Helix. I dunno how loud you need it, but when cranked it sounds loud to me,  and the tones are tubey, organic and sweet. With 2 of them? More than enough for stage volumes and if the drummer is louder than this fire him and get another one that knows dynamics.  ;)

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Thanks for the suggestions.  Any suggestions for a solid state power amp that would be fairly transparent, but could drive 2 - 8 12" speakers.

 

Tube amp wattage is one of those weird things that varies from one amp to the next, regardless of what the spec sheet claims. I've owned 2 channel amps rated at 50W per side that were just barely adequate if you're playing with a loud drummer. On the flip side, I recorded an entire album with the tiny little Orange Dark Terror amp, which is all of 15W, (and can also run at 7W, to give nice saturated high gain tones at slightly lower volumes) but is perfectly capable of rattling windows in the next zip code...so it kinda depends on your needs. If you're playing live, I generally prefer to have a little more power than I need. Having extra headroom just in case is not a bad thing.

I played the Jim Root #4 15 watt orange Dark Terror.  Not a bad amplifier for that type of wattage.  I'm not playing live right now, but I still want to play loud, at least loudly enough to compete with a drum kit.

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Do you really need stereo? Stereo usually only matters to the two people sitting in the sweet spot and in a band situation, often if your stereo sound is really big it just gets turned down at the board to compensate and you get lost in the sauce.

 

And if you do NOT really need stereo,  the power section of your Marshall tube amp is hard (impossible?) to beat.

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I love my Fryette Power Station 2 with Helix. I dunno how loud you need it, but when cranked it sounds loud to me,  and the tones are tubey, organic and sweet. With 2 of them? More than enough for stage volumes and if the drummer is louder than this fire him and get another one that knows dynamics.  ;)

I read some information about the Fryette Power Station 2.  It looks like a great product, and very versatile.  That might work wonderfully, but I don't know if I could spring for 2 and a Helix at this time!  I'm really looking for something very basic - Stereo Output from Helix ----> Stereo Power Amp---> 2 Cabs in Stereo. 

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Do you really need stereo? Stereo usually only matters to the two people sitting in the sweet spot and in a band situation, often if your stereo sound is really big it just gets turned down at the board to compensate and you get lost in the sauce.

 

And if you do NOT really need stereo,  the power section of your Marshall tube amp is hard (impossible?) to beat.

Oh! I need stereo! I might need Quadraphonic too.  

 

I guess I could just run Helix ---> Stereo effects Loops out----> Marshall Inputs x2 ----> Marshall preamp outputs---->Helix FX Returns ----> Marshall FX Returns -----> Cabs.  Kind of a 4 cable - but more like a 7 cable setup - which is something I've done with my Firehawk FX.  With the Helix I could switch the Marshall 410 head via MIDI, and also bypass the Marshall preamp section.  

 

You are right about the Marshall Power Section.  I've run my Firehawk FX into both power amp sections and it sounds pretty awesome (I give a lot of credit to the Celestion V30s, which sound good in both my Marshall and Line6 cabs).  

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Check out the Koch ATR-4502, single space, tube hybrid stereo power amp. (45W stereo or 90W momo)

I use one with a Wizard cab loaded with a Celestion Vintage 10 and a Jensen Falcon 12.

Helix sounds quite nice.  Plenty of dynamics and volume when needed.

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Check out the Koch ATR-4502, single space, tube hybrid stereo power amp. (45W stereo or 90W momo)

I use one with a Wizard cab loaded with a Celestion Vintage 10 and a Jensen Falcon 12.

Helix sounds quite nice.  Plenty of dynamics and volume when needed.

 

Thanks,

 

Sounds like good advise and a good suggestion.

 

Best Regards,

Richard

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