Looking for a new amp forhigh gain/ metal

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New Metal Member
Jan 28, 2010
Hi, I'm not sure where else to post. I thought I'd go straight to the horse's mouth on this one. I can't stand most of the major gear forums like HC since they're full of trolls and whatnot.

I'm on kind of a budget, I'm in Ireland and looking at getting a used amp, around €400 or so. I need it to be relatively lightweight, have a decent clean channel for taking pedals, and either a particularly bassy 1x10 or a light 1x12.

For €400, I can pick up a 40 Watt JCM2000. I personally really like the sound of the JCM2000s for metal - back when I had my Valvetronix I always used that for metal as the Dual Rec sounded like Fizzy shit(as, to be fair, real dual recs sometimes do too, the Eminence speaker I put in probably wasn't voiced for it). Of course, it's the 401 combo - I hear that the output tubes are kind of "Voxxish" which might harm it's ability to do high gain.

I could try and wait out and see if I can get the 20 Watt version - as I'll be using this mainly for bedroom recording(but eventually jamming with a drummer or live) and jamming high wattage amps can be a problem. I do hear the JCM2000 takes well to low volumes though, unlike the 800 which is fairly power tube saturation heavy, this is a general advantage of "Metal" type amps it seems.

The other option would be the JCM900 combo - which is switchable down to 25W. I don't know how well this would do as low volumes though since as far as I know it's a JCM800 circuit with an extra transistor, kind of like a TS boosted JCM800(though in reality the 2000 is closer to that sound). I'm intrigued by this amp as a lot of Marshall heads aren't really fond of it, and call it "Harsh". I'm a big fan of 90s alternative stuff, and hear it was used all over the shop back then.

The third option is the Jet City JCA amp. I love the sound of Soldano amps as they have a nice woomy low end. However - the amp new is a bit over my budget, despite being technically good value, and has only one channel and no effects loop. While there's a chance it might be lighter, it seems poor value compared to a second hand Marshall.

There's a few other options I'm considering - getting a Peavey Bandit and pimping it out with a new speaker, for example. I'm interested in the idea of "Good" Solid State amps in general but it seems they end up being more expensive than just getting, again, a good old second hand Marshall.

I'm also looking into Laney amps, as I know they make some really great lightweight ones like the VC15. If I could get something like that, but higher gain and voiced for metal, either or, I'll be playing a lot of heavy alternative too, MCIS era Smashing Pumpkins sort of stuff and have a Dirty Bomb for metal tones as well. A clean channel is fairly important as when I've run some of my pedals through dirty amps it really kills the sound of them - my Big Muff through my AC4 gets muddy and the high end oddly disappears, my Dirty Bomb ceases to sound "metal".

Sorry for the lengthy post, hope someone can help! Bands who's tones I'd like would include Opeth (Black Orchid), Pantera(Vulgar Displayof Power), Entombed, Amon Amarth. I don't really want to copy any metal tone I've heard thus far though, except the HM-2 based ones. On the less metally sound I also like bands like Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy etc. so if the lower gain channel can do that sort of stuff it'd be great.
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