Need new studio amp


Jan 10, 2005
Ok, at the studio I work at in the evenings we do a lot of metal. A lot. Mostly death metal, and heavy ass hardcore (laugh). I have brought my 5150 signature combo, Engl Powerball, Mesa Dual Rec, Mesa Mark IV combo in before for bands to use, but I can't bring myself to leave them there. I also play in bands and I need my amps to gig with. I can't use my Engl or Mesa for my blues rock band, and I have to have those for my other band (Engl main and Mesa backup) and my Mark IV does *not* leave the house. :) So, I've been looking around at a lot of amps to purchase solely for the purpose of being a studio amp permenantly there. Of course I'm going to need something that will cover everything that comes in, and something that will sound good as well. So far we have had to use a PODxt Pro with all the model packs for when I can't bring my amps in because the bands that come in seem to have no kind of grasp on what guitar tone is. A guy brings in a Peavey "studio" model amp, like the name of the amp has the word "studio" in it, and he thinks it's suppose to be badass for the studio when he is going to record death metal. I laughed in his face and found a POD setting.

I found out that I will have about $1,700 extra in a couple of months to blow on a studio amp so that is my general price range. I can go up to $2k, but I'd rather keep it lower. Now, at first I was just looking at new amps for myself, Soldano SLO100's, Bogner Uberschall and XTC, VHT Pittbull, and some older Mesa's. Then I got realistic and started looking for another 5150/6505, looked at a XXX, Marshall JCM800 2205, bla bla. And I came across the JSX. I knew about this amp already, but I had never played it until yesterday. This amp sounds great for everything. I played all the styles of music in my library: blues, rock, metal, death metal, black metal, hardcore, funk, country, pop rock, hard rock, bluegrass (not so good on this one), and of course lots of soloing. I'm just wondering if it really is a great amp. I can only judge by how it sounds in a store. I would have to have it in the studio and have a band use it before I knew how well it performed in a studio situation. I noticed somebody just got one and stated that it's possibly the best metal amp out of the box yet.

Basically what I'm looking for here is some assurance. I know it's a great amp, one of my favorite guitarist's uses it, Satch, and a lot of people swear by it. I haven't heard a bad review yet. But I'm just looking for that extra "it's ok to buy it" from someone. Anyone here have anything "bad" to say about this amp? Any reason to not buy it? Any better suggestions on an all around studio amp?

To cover everything from death metal to blues, I would recomend a Mesa RoadKing. You can get them used in your price range. The distortion is great, the gritty sound is great, and the clean is great. Since the goal is to have an amp to cover all the bases that's what I'd go with. It's not the be-all-end-all of each sound, but that's not what you need at this point.
although some may state it is overused, a rectifier would probably be your best bet. sure, the roadking is even more versatile, and if you can afford it get that one, but even a normal recto is a pretty damn versatile amp.
other than that....mmh, what about a 5150 + a marshall? with 1700$ at your disposal, you could likely score a used 5150 and a jcm800 for the less heavy side of things (although morbid angel used to use jcm800's iirc, so they can also do really heavy with some outboard help) and still have a few hundred bucks left.
The JSX is a great amp, I haven't heard anything bad about it.

I'd throw in a reccomendation for the Krankenstein. I got to put some heavy playing time into one this everything from AC/DC to Priest to Pantera and Slayer.
I keep finding JSX heads on eBay for $900+s/h used. That paired with a Mesa Traditional Recto 4x12 should be a great combination, no? I know how great Mesa amps are, I have a couple of their finest amps, but my only gripe is I suppose that I don't want to spend *that* much money on an amp for these kids to use. I know it's for the studio, and helps the studio out by making sure everything that comes out of there sounds good. But I think it would be a waste of an amp like that. I dunno how to explain it. And from what I've heard and experienced myself with that amp (JSX) it has a much better clean tone and is much better for leads. Although I know that John Petrucci (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, solo project) uses Road Kings for his live and recording setup, he's also a world-class player. We all know that part of the tone comes from the player himself. I'm sorry to say that most of the guitarists that have come through the studio are absolutely not the best at playing. When I can sit there and watch them play and re-record their tracks for them after they've left so that they are tighter (even after asking them to try to play tighter, mind you) it's kind of sad. There have been a few guys come through that had their shit down to a T, but most of the time, it's these guys that get ahead of themselves.

Conclusion: I would rather spend that kind of cash on myself. I am checking out the Krank stuff now.

Oh I've played through one before, but I wouldn't get one of those for the studio, hehehe. If I got it, it would be *my* baby only. I'm thinking the JSX will be a great choice with a Mesa Traditional or Standard 4x12. Still waiting for another suggestion that will make me think though. Heh.