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Author Topic:  Looking for a SUPER high headroom clean amp.
Mark Straub


From:
Alberta, Canada
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 10:34 am     Reply with quote

Hello Everyone,

I've been looking for a clean combo for about two years now, and have tried something like 20 different amps. I play post rock/progressive metal that is very heavy on looping (Boomerang Rang III Loop Pedal). Now the trouble is that most amps sound great with just my guitar going through them, but add 5 or 6 layers from the looper and the preamps start to breakup. I posted over on a few other forums but haven't had much luck. I think when I say high headroom/zero breakup at stage levels, steel guitar players know what I'm talking about Smile

So right now I'm using my bass rig (SB500H/TC1510) as my clean setup. It has the headroom, but it doesn't have the tone. It's 250 watts RMS btw. So I tried a standard twin and wasn't a fan of how harsh it was in the top end. I then discovered the custom 15. Done some reading on here and there are several differing opinions on it. Some say it has 0 headroom, others say it won't break even at 10. I'm not really sure what is what with this amp anymore. No local stores stock it, and unless I'm willing to take a risk with a non refundable deposit I'm out of luck for now. Any insight on this amp would be awesome!

So that said, there is also a Nashville 1000, a session 2000 and a stereo chorus 400 for sale used in my area. A few people from other forums have told me to check out these steel amps so here I am Smile

Not sure I can talk about price so I'll keep that out for now. I'm sure a lot of folks around here have tried both the custom 15, and the Nashville amps. Which ones have more clean headroom? I've also done some reading on the session 2000 and it seem pretty rare. I've also heard it's simply a NV1000 with a few more features. If anything I wan't as few features as possible as I get all effects from my pedal board.

I'm also open to other brands. I just need MAXIMUM clean headroom with a preamp that doesn't breakup in a decently portable form factor (Keep it under 100lbs please). Any suggestions or guidance on the above picks would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

M~
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 11:40 am     Reply with quote

Have you considered a two amp rig? That way you could separate a certain amount of looping from what you're playing at the moment. It would probably clean things up a lot. You could even use an Ernie Ball stereo volume pedal (or two volume pedals) to choose how much of this or that amp is happening on the fly.

Lab Series and Standel made some excellent sounding solid state amps that are pretty affordable now and sound good with guitar too. Both companies made preamps that give you a good clear sound but those ultra high, ear piercing frequencies are shelved off in a nice way.

btw, i have a Fender Twin Custom XV for sale if you're interested.
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Patricia Goins


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 1:45 pm     headroom Reply with quote

Hey Mark, All clean amps, when you crank them up too high you are going to get some distortion, I found for a good clean sound and good tone is to mike your amp and let the PA handle it, make sure the sound man knows what you want, Jim Goins.
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Mark Straub


From:
Alberta, Canada
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 3:47 pm     Reply with quote

Hey guys!

Thanks for the quick reply. I already run a two amp rig. My dirty side is an Orange Tiny Terror into a Port City 212 cabinet, and the clean side is either my Traynor bass stack, or a Peavey Bandit 112 with an ET90. The bandit is a bit thin sounding but does the job at lower practice volumes. The issue is not at all stage volume. I don't need to be crazy loud, but regardless of which amp I have tried they all seem to lose clarity after a few layers are added to the looper. I have the output set fairly low on the looper so I don't think it's clipping the input of the amp, the guitar amps are all working as designed. They are meant to breakup of course. I've been considering getting a big powered PA speaker, but I don't want to deal with another preamp/pedal/cab sim.

I received an email from another SGF member saying that he runs the 500 watt GK micro head into a pair of neo 115 guitar cabs. I think I'll try taking my bass head into the store and test out a few different guitar cabs, even a PA cabinet or two.

I was really looking for an all in one solution. I wasn't wanting to haul another head/cab along, and figured a combo would make things easier. I suppose getting a higher wattage 2X10 bass combo, and swapping the bass speakers for guitar speakers might work as well. I think the latest Fender 210 bass combo is around 40 lbs @ 500 watts RMS. It might be easiest to get a stereo 412. I could run the Tiny Terror into one side, and the SB500H into the other. Will have to be something fairly compact though.

Thanks for the ideas so far guys.
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 9 Oct 2017 7:55 pm     Reply with quote

I use an SWR SM-500 bass head, but ABSOLUTELY into "guitar" or "steel" speakers - a pair of Peavey Black Widows or my little rig is a (no-name?) Fender moniter with the horn killed and an Eminence bass 12" in an old Vox cabinet. Bass speakers with aluminum cones and/or tweeters or horns are out of the question, NOT using them is how this works. But, when I go to heaven there will be either a time-travel DR103 HiWatt amp, or they've been resurrected by "Reeves."
http://www.reevesamps.com/
The Hiwatts were designed and made with, like, real, actual, TRULY "mil-spec" stuff by somebody who didn't like the way Marshalls distorted...(?) They had their day in the sun... there is also a "HiWatt" company out there, but the magazines are touting these "Reeves" guys as the real stuff.

OH and an edit-in: I'm very loop-happy, I have a Pigtronix Infinity and a T.C Electronics Ditto X2 that take up the brunt of my weirdness, going into Audacity - which can loop too. But I also have an old Looperlative LP1, which is maybe like a 1959 Caddy crossed with a Sopwith Camel and a bit of Valerian dragon. EVERYTHING is programmable on it, the curse & blessing. They very specifically discuss what you have to do when you start piling up loops, and it's not so much the amplifier as what you feed it. When every added loop "crosses" a previous one, playing the same note or it's octave, you've got an instant leap in volume on one particular beat... and if you loop with "busy" lines you will run into major 7th intervals and sympatheic harmonics here and there, like playing a C, a B and an E simultaneously... You HAVE to start dropping the volume of the earlier loops. Will that looper allow you to slowly fade early loops, as well as not? Both the Infinity and Ditto sort-of "solve" this problem by having an integral, VERY good-sounding compression circuit kick in automatically - but that is letting the engineers make that decision for you. In THEORY you ought to be able to add full-volume loops upon loops until the building collapses, the tweety-birds start dropping and a sinkhole to China opens, but instead they take that option away. Crying or Very sad
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 9 Oct 2017 9:19 pm     Reply with quote

Try recording your rig direct and watch for clipping. My guess is that your looper might causing some of the distortion. That pedal is not known for its high bit rate. Stacking digital artifacts might be causing some of the issues.

BTW: I use an Electro Harmonix 2880 and have never had those issues. EHX makes great stuff. There new loopers look amazing.
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http://liminalsoundseries.com/
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Mike Brown


From:
Meridian, Mississippi USA
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 1:27 pm     Peavey Session 115 Reply with quote

500 watts/ 250w per power amp.
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Mark Straub


From:
Alberta, Canada
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 2:18 pm     Reply with quote

Hey!

So initially I picked up a Port City 212 OS Stereo cab. I had been running my Tiny Terror into one speaker, and a Traynor IronHorse into the other. Now it had plenty of headroom for practicing solo but not with a drummer. Also the two band EQ just didn't have enough control over the sound. I was always wanting a touch more presence and just couldn't get it. I just hauled out the Port City again and it sounds awesome with the TT. So I suppose in a perfect world I would be able to find a 60 watt @ 8 ohm SS head with emphasis on cleans. Then I could run one head into each speaker as I had initially planned. So far the best I can find is a Traynor SB200H, as it runs at 200 watts program, actual RMS @ 4 ohms is around 100, which would drop down to 50 @ 8 ohms. It could do the trick, but they aren't really designed to stay clean. I've got the 500 watt version of the head but @ 8 ohms it's putting out 125 watts which is way too much for a V30. Any suggestions for a clean head?

I just had a brilliant idea to try my old Yorkville powered mixer. It's exactly 60 watts per side at 8 ohms. Tested it out and... Apparently the preamps don't have much headroom. Even maxed out it isn't all that loud. Back to the drawing board.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 7:26 pm     Reply with quote

You are having 2 different speakers doing different things while occupying the same very small enclosed space. That is bound to cause standing wave and phasing issues with high volumes. Speakers in the same cab need to work together.
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http://liminalsoundseries.com/
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Mark Straub


From:
Alberta, Canada
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 9:23 pm     Reply with quote

That's never been a problem to be honest. They work quite well together although I do understand the concept. Honestly I think I'm giving up again. What I need just doesn't exist in a compact package. Will most likely take the TT and PC cab for my dirty tone, then run the clean side into my bass head then DI straight into the PA (It's safe to run without a cab). Should get the job done for live stuff. If I do end up needing a clean cab, I'll just pickup a 212 @ 8 ohms and run the bass head into it. It will be pumping out 125 watts which should work perfectly fine with a pair of V30's.

Thanks for the assistance guys. You folks have definitely been the most helpful of the forums I've tried.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 11 Oct 2017 7:10 am     Reply with quote

Have you tried plugging into powered PA speakers ? Full range ,clean and loud. They are not very heavy either.

A powered monitor wedge might work. That stuff can usually be rented super cheap if you want to experiment.



I'm still thinking at least part of your problem might be the low res sample rate on your looper.
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http://liminalsoundseries.com/
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Tim Marcus


From:
San Francisco, CA
Post Posted 11 Oct 2017 11:06 am     Reply with quote

I can throw a hat into the ring on this one:

https://milkmansound.com/collections/amplifiers/products/700w-bass-half-and-half

this model sounds great with guitar too. The preamp is clean up to about 10 using a 1V sine wave. You can power 2 neo loaded speaker cabs all day and still have power to spare.
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Eric Gross


From:
Perkasie PA, USA
Post Posted 15 Oct 2017 3:46 am     Reply with quote

I do a lot of looping with a dirty/clean amp setup. For clean I use a '64 Fender Super Reverb. I have also used a powered PA speaker to send the loops through.
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Glenn Demichele


From:
(20mi N of) Chicago Illinois, USA
Post Posted 15 Oct 2017 5:39 am     Reply with quote

Is it clean if you just reduce the amp volume? The answer to that will narrow down the source of the problem.
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Franklin D10 8&4, NV400, Rumble 40, Twin, Carvin BX500 or Peavey MiniMax to BW1501 neo speaker in open back or TT-12 in closed back.Goodrich/Moyo pedals, homemade buffer/overdrive, GT-001 effects, and an elephant graveyard of empty speaker cabinets in my garage.
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John Billings


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 15 Oct 2017 11:03 am     Reply with quote

http://drzamps.com/product/surgical-steel/
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Dr. Z Surgical Steel amp, amazing!
"74 Bud S-10 3&6
'73 Bud S-10 3&5(under construction)
'63 Fingertip S-10, at James awaiting 6 knees
'57 Strat, LP Blue
'91 Tele with 60's Maple neck
Dozen more guitars!
Dozens of amps, but SF Quad reverb, Rick Johnson cabs. JBL 15, '64 Vibroverb for at home.
'52 and '56 Pro Amps
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Mike Brown


From:
Meridian, Mississippi USA
Post Posted 16 Oct 2017 7:22 am     Peavey Clean Reply with quote

I suggest that you try the new Session 115 or the Robert Randolph which can be used with either the 115N enclosure, or the RR 212 cabinet.

Here is a link to these products from the Peavey website;
http://peavey.com/products/pedal-steel-amplifiers.cfm#series-1

If you have questions, please contact me in the U.S. at 1-877-732-8391.
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Philippines
Post Posted 16 Oct 2017 11:02 pm     Reply with quote

Read this thread for additional info:

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=309914&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=25


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Bobby Nelson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 22 Oct 2017 1:59 am     Reply with quote

I don't really know, but does anyone think a Walker Stereo Steel would be good for his purpose?
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post Posted 22 Oct 2017 11:23 am     Reply with quote

Have you tried running the looper into the amplifier effects in/out?
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Mark Hershey


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 22 Oct 2017 3:53 pm     Reply with quote

Fender Twin Reverb
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John Macy


From:
Denver, CO/Rockport, TX
Post Posted 24 Oct 2017 12:07 pm     Reply with quote

Telonics amplifiers have headroom that giants could walk through...
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Denver, CO/Rockport, TX
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Telonics Amplification
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John Billings


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 24 Oct 2017 2:43 pm     Reply with quote

My Dr. Z Surgical Steel blows my twin-cabbed Twin outa the water! Power and headroom galore! Wonderful tone. Doc's preamp designs are innovative and great-sounding.
_________________
Dr. Z Surgical Steel amp, amazing!
"74 Bud S-10 3&6
'73 Bud S-10 3&5(under construction)
'63 Fingertip S-10, at James awaiting 6 knees
'57 Strat, LP Blue
'91 Tele with 60's Maple neck
Dozen more guitars!
Dozens of amps, but SF Quad reverb, Rick Johnson cabs. JBL 15, '64 Vibroverb for at home.
'52 and '56 Pro Amps
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post Posted 24 Oct 2017 7:02 pm     Reply with quote

"Ultra-clean" amps abound. Most guitar players hate 'em because it would probably get them kicked out of the band (and expose their lack of chops), but they're out there and, for the most part, reasonably priced.

My first, and simplest, choice would be any of the classic Peavey pedal steel amps like the Session 400 and Nashville 400. I personally prefer the 70s Session 400 because it's like a 70s Twin Reverb on steroids - 200 something watts into either a 70s JBL or an early Black Widow 15" speaker. I personally have one that I got from a forum brother that was cut down to fit a 12" Telonics speaker. It weighs no more than my Deluxe Reverb and just kills - set it on stun, and it will put it out. Probably not quite as loud and clean as with the original Black Widow, but it is righteous for clean tones. These amps are also light on the wallet - $300-400, and they are built like a brick sh!t house. The same-period LTD 400 is the Session 400 in a more narrow chassis into a smaller box. I have one of these also - it's great, but I prefer the Session 400 box.

On the other hand, if you like tubes, there are a lot of great choices. At 135 clean watts, an ultralinear Twin Reverb or Dual Showman Reverb is a very good choice if you gotta have clean with tubes. These were made from about 1977 onward until about the early 1980s. Most guitar players hate 'em. I sold the last one I had for about $400 at a guitar show. I actually lost money. My personal preference is for the earlier Twin Reverbs and Showmans/Dual-Showmans. At 85-100 watts, they are great, but I like them to give a bit if I really push them.

Now, if you gotta have tubes and 135 clean watts ain't enough, I'd go for a Fender Super Twin - they made models with and without reverb - early 80s, Rivera-era. With 6-6L6 power tubes, these suckers will plaster you to the back wall of most venues you play. Expensive to re-tube and maintain, but clean as clean can be, and I'm talking a beautiful sounding clean.

My personal favorite "ultra-clean" amp is an early 70s HiWatt DR-103 head. I had one and like the dumb ass that I am, traded it to one of my buddies, who still has it and will NEVER give it up as long as he's alive. It walked into my vintage guitar shop. I plugged it into a Mesa 4x12 cab, and I honestly thought I was gonna break the large plate-glass windows in the front of the store. I mean, at "2", it was deafening, and at "7" or "8", it was beyond knowing what to do with it. Loud, loud, loud, and clean, clean, clean. Unfortunately, it's getting hard and expensive to source these. But for ultra-clean, IMHO there is not a better amp. I know I saw The Who in 1969 and 1970 when Pete was playing these. This was a pretty big club in Boston, Boston Tea Party. Everyone I knew who went up to the front was cringing at the insane volume and retreated to the back. It was loud and clean to the point of painful. I hung at the front, but couldn't hear for a couple of weeks afterwards.

There are so many choices. Good luck.
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Shaan Shirazi


From:
Austin, TX, USA
Post Posted 26 Oct 2017 8:00 pm     Reply with quote

I use a Fender Steel King for Hard Rock and Metal. It's very affordable, small, super loud and clean, and the direct out is helpful too.

I also run the effects that are on all the time through the effects loop and the ones I use on the fly in my signal path. It works really well for me.

My 2 cents.
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Paddy Long


From:
Christchurch, New Zealand
Post Posted 28 Oct 2017 2:43 pm     Reply with quote

You should also check out the Telonics family of amps ...quite a few different configurations and they are all in the 500 Watts of clean power area ... from a straight head through to combo's and rack applications.

http://www.telonics.com/products/proaudio/
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