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Amps discussion thread! Favorite amps, suggestions, settings, etc.?


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Just curious what are your favorite amps? 


I'm for now looking for mostly a good lead tone.  I've read good things about the Line6 Litigator, and I've always loved the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, but I'm new to Go so haven't spent too much time fiddling...  There are sooo many options...!  It will take months to just have a basic grasp of all, and I doubt I'll be an expert in a couple of months, plus who knows if some amp sounds 'bad' with default settings but shine when tweaked...  I know some of the major players, but not so much about specific models, and even something classic like Vox AC30 don't have much experience with, seems mostly famous for classic rock rhythm tones, but maybe not greatest for lead? 


So would you have suggestions about the top amps for different genres/categories/guitar types, etc.?  Or maybe some of the classic amp and guitar combinations?  So that at least newbies like me could start off just targeting a couple amps? 


Thanks!  :)


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Being an oldie I've had loads of classic amps including Marshall JCM800, JTM45, 1957 2x10 18w, Vox AC30 6 input with greenbacks, Fender Blackface and Silverface 2x12s, Selmer Zodiac MkII treble and bass 50, Sound City, Orange, etc. In those days I had to sell one amp to buy another. For rock my favourite was the JCM800, but the problem with all these classic amps was that you had to crank them to sound good, and they just didn't sound as great at low volumes. They also weighed a ton and I just can't carry that type of gear anymore. 


Currently, I have:


Vox Valvetronix AD120VTX plus AD212 extn cab and VC12 controller. Probably the best combination of great tone and versatility at any volume I've ever had. It's a digital modelling hybrid with 2 x 12AX7 valves cleverly used in the power section.


Marshall Mk1 8080 1x12 Valvestate. Marshall's biggest seller of all time, and still the best of the Valvestate series. It's a solid state amp but with a 12AX7 in the gain stage. 80w and loud with a really good crunch and the clean channel takes pedals really well.  Light, compact, built like a tank, and very reliable.


Marshall JCM2000 DSL401 upgraded with a classic 80 speaker. 40w, loud. Not the best Marshall ever made but a good workhorse that has crunch and boost options, and has decent cleans too.


Laney VC30 - 210, hugely under rated 'class A' (well  sort of, akin to a Vox AC30), great cleans, real Acutronics spring reverb, and with a valve change a pretty decent crunch channel. Very good extn cab options. This version is way lighter and smaller than the 2x12, and has 2x10 Jensen speakers that give a great vintage toppier tone. I run it with the matching 1x12 extn cab to give it a bit more bottom end to complement the 2x10s.


15w Laney Cub 12R 1x12 upgraded with Celestion Vintage 30, and JJ hand selected tubes. Blindingly good single channel amp that punches well above its weight. Very well appointed with a nice digital reverb, 1w and 15w inputs, fx loop, 8/16 ohm extn cab out, full EQ plus extra tone shape control, and a useful built in kick stand to tilt it a bit. 


Each amp has its own charms, and shortcomings. I use each for different purposes.  But because I can crank the little Cub in the 1w input without breaking any windows, it always puts a smile on my face and like the VC30, takes pedals really well. 


None of these are remotely top high end amps.  But they just suit my needs for different things.

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