My first skill was at the drums, but I currently have a range of small combo amps and a Fender BassmanTen, Fender Bassman 59 Reissue(needs repair), and Fender Supertwin. I'd like to get some overdrive like the bassmenTen but a little chime. I record roots, pop, and Americana.
At the same time, I'm looking to not paint myself into a sonic corner. One of my engineers records heavy metal and has commented that most of his clients are into Orange amps.
Is there any amp that stands a chance to suit both of our sonic needs of overdrive? Perhaps the Tiny Terror? Or a boutique amp with interchangable tubes?
I have heard the Tiny Terro getting some use on pop records, however I'd love to hear your opinions.
In my opinion, the Tiny Terror is a great amp, but it's not going to cut it in a modern metal production. It would work out well for pop or alternative rock though. Orange does have a new model called the Dark Terror, which is a more aggressive take on the Tiny Terror, but I can't vouch for it - in most of the clips I've heard it doesn't sound like the bottom end is tight enough for modern metal rhythm guitars.
Your best bet for modern metal is a good 4x12 cab and any of a number of high gain heads out there. If you don't want to break the bank, the Peavey 5150/6505 amps will yield some excellent metal/hard rock tones (and not much else) for $450-700 used (check your local Craigslist or Ebay).
Depends on the type of metal... If it's old school metal you could get away with just using different speaker cabs. Get a 4x12 and plug into that. Crank the amp and perhaps put a tube screamer in the chain to push it even more.
Modern metal with all it's scooped freq and high gain require a special amp.
I switch speaker cabs a lot when I want different tones. Even with all the amps I have (10) I still do it.
I can get some smoking metal tones with a zvex nano and a 4x12. And it also sounds killer on alt country.
Thanks guys for filling me in. Yeah, I think the metal stuff would be something along the lines of the group Attack Attack, and the Americana stuff would be in the lines of Son Volt, TBone Burnett stuff. I know it's a long shot that the same head could do such a wide range. Right now I have combos, but now that I think about it, there may be some 1/4 inch jacks on the back on the BassmanTen that might be available.
I like the idea of the Z Vex, still looking at the others and chewing on it.
Would you say that 12 inch speakers are better for metal that uses 7 string guitars, and drop tunings? Do you have any issues with multiple speakers and phasing issues?
IMO, you're probably not going to find something that will do both Americana and metal and sound good doing both.
While I've never thought of Orange amps as "metal amps" (unless you're talking stoner/doom rock), they are quite versatile, and are also very popular with the indie rock crowd. So if you're looking for something that can cover a wide range of styles and tones, that might be a good choice for you. I don't know how well they'd handle either Americana or modern metal, however, as generally speaking they're too dark for the former and not gainy enough for the latter. And they definitely aren't known for their chime (quite the opposite, in fact), so if that's something you're after then you'll probably want to look elsewhere.
Honestly, a lot of modern metal guys are using PODs and VST amp sims these days, and as much as I hate those sort of tones you may want to consider simply getting the best amp for Americana that you can get and going the digital route if you ever need to record metal. Barring that you can always just tell the guitarist to bring in his own amp. Personally I think it's always best to avoid compromise and to get gear that does at least one thing exceedingly well, rather than something that does a lot of things in a mediocre fashion.
I've owned the Orange TH30 for a while, and despite being an EL84 based amp, I think it could cut it for metal, at least for recording. And with the Fender base already covered, I think it'd do most of what else you might like.
That said, to my ears the most flexible single amp I've played is the London Power Studio: any power tubes in SE (like a champ) or PP mode, or blended in between, cathode or fixed bias with individual bias for the output tubes so you can use a mismatched set for more harmonics, triode vs pentode, matched or unmatched output impedance, and power scaling to drop the output power from 10w to 0.25w. With a selection of cabinets, it'll do anything including old school metal. Not new metal as it sits, but with a graphic EQ in the loop, it might even do that!
I play in a heavy 'groove rock' band, I use a Fender Supersonic (Bassman/Vibrolux/SS built in gain channel)
It's easily one of the most versatile amp I've ever played through. I normally use a Big Muff through the Bassman channel but it's gain channel really does kick out a huge powerful sound with both its gain knobs cranked. From high gain amp tones to the most impressive sounding cleans you've ever heard and ANYTHING inbetween !
You've already got the Bassman 10 and the the 59 reissue; if you're not emotionally attached to the Super Twin, I'd sell that and get an amp dedicated to metal. While some amps can try to cover both, I think you've got Americana covered with those 2 Fenders; why not get something else with a 4x12 that is purpose built for metal.