I need help deciding on a live rig.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jessed1421, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. jessed1421

    jessed1421 New Member

    I currently run a s-s telecaster into a block letter peavey 5150, and a marshall 1960a cab. But I've decided to sell the peavey, in an attempt to find a better amp with more clean overhead. I've been researching Ampeg v-4's, YBA-1 Trayor's, and even Sunn combos. anyone know a great vintage tube combo or head, for not too much money that has a bunch of clean overhead?
  2. dspellman

    dspellman Member

    I have a Carvin XV112B from the late '80's that has tremendous clean overhead. It's a 100W tube (EL34-based) amp based on their venerable X100B chassis. In my case, it's in a 1x12 open-back combo with a 100W British-voiced speaker. It's unconscionably loud (if required) has active controls (including a five-band assignable graphic EQ and is generally pretty amazing. I've run it through a pair of 4x12s fairly often and it will blow most Marshalls off the stage. Part of the reason is that this vintage of X100B (unlike the new reissues) has monster transformers. I've run it as just the combo with an EV-L, and my problem with it is that it weighs well over 75 lbs in that configuration. These run about $350 on eBay for a pretty good one; you'll find that it resembles a Mesa Mark 1 quite closely in a lot of ways.

    That said, I rarely use tube amps these days as a live rig; I'm mostly using modelers through a 1500W (yup, you read that right) solid state power amp into a pair of (borrowed, for now) lightweight speaker cabinets that have a single 15" LF driver, a 6" mids driver and a 1" tweeter. These cabs were designed for bass players (google fEARful 15/6/1) and will easily handle 900W each. They're pretty flat response and very full range (did I mention bass players?) and can also be used for keyboards and PA. I've also used a rig like this with a Carvin Quad-X and a Mesa Triaxis (both are tube preamps) -- just so we don't get into one of those tubes vs. solid state furballs.

    One of the advantages of using a preamp (which includes modelers) into a very clean "no opinion" system is that we're seeing a lot more use of the PA as the primary sound source and much less of the vocals-only PA with the instruments requiring a lot of amplification on their own. The advantage is that the preamps can all be run direct into a mixer, with the on-stage boxes as decoration, personal monitor, etc. No fussy miking ("can you move the mike a bit more toward the edge of the speaker, angle it in at about a 30 degree angle and move it away from the speaker another inch?"). What you heard at home through your headphones/IEMs/studio monitors/FRFR live speakers will be very close to what comes out of the PA.

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