I'm looking at getting a small 2 channels head for my fly rig and I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations?
It needs to be compact enough to fit in a Peli 1510 which allows me to take it as hand luggage on the plane.
At the moment I'm using the Kemper profiling amp which works great but I'm missing the dynamic that you get with an amp. I think I want to use the "real" amp mic'ed up in the middle with a simple board (musicomlab with a few drive pedals) and the Kemper on wet only settings for my verbs and delays left and right.
I'm using in-ears monitors so I don't need anything too powerful. The idea is also to keep the stage as quiet as possible and make my friend of house guy happy!
The artist I play with has a pretty eclectic album but I'd say most of the songs are fairly rocky (not metal)
My usual UK (full rig) included a custom audio OD-100 and a Lazy J 20 and 80 but all of that kit is just too heavy to fly around the world!
So far the little Mesa transatlantic seemed like it could work ok but I'd love to get some feedback.
Another Mesa option would be the Mini Rectifier. I've been eyeballing one myself to keep on top of my rack in my home studio. Despite their heritage, they are capable of doing much more than just that typical Recto grind. They also have an effects loop, which the little Transatlantic is lacking.
I love my TA-15 head, Particularity the Tweed mode in class A 5 wtt power configuration.It takes pedals well. You can set up the first channel for good head room at full power (20 wtts) for clean and the second channel for lower output power of 5 or 15 wtts and higher gain over drive which works great for me. I add reverb and delays at the board either miced up or from a direct out off of a power attenuator (Weber Mass, Which I generally don't use for more then a minor 3db drop) . I've used an Analogman Beano Boost and KOT to good effect with it, I've also used Ethos Overdrive or various Hermida pedals (Zen drives, Nu-Valve, Tiki Drive) with good results. I use it mainly with a four ten enclosure with two alnico's and two ceramic's ( has a really vintage feel ), though It sounds tighter through a Two 12 celestian Fender Vibro King extension cab I have, even Clearer more articulate through a Bag End Cab with a 12" Gaus in it. What more can I tell you? Great little amp that will go from Vox to Fender or Marshall with a click of a foot switch.
I'm in love with the Mini Rec though I don't own one of my own yet, with both of those I'll have a lot of bases covered and it's at the top of my to purchase list.
Arggg, I wrote a long post and then it deleted for some reason. Oh well, here's the long and the short of it.
I own the mesa mini rec and TA-15. Both are good. If you are doing modern rock, the Mini Rec is fantastic. It does a really good clean and really good dirt, but I find it lacking for the inbetween edge of breakup sounds. The TA-15, on the other hand, does clean and edge of breakup very well, as well as a good overdrive, but it wouldn't be my choice for super modern stuff. So, if you are in a country/folky/bluesy/classic rock/fusion/adult contemporary/etc. band, the TA-15 would be great. If you are doing metal/radio rock/progressive/etc., the Mini Rectifier would be a good choice.
Both heads are pretty much the same size. The TA-30 is bigger, and I don't know if that would fit in something you could take as carry-on baggage for a commercial flight. The TA-15 would probably be OK. It doesn't have an FX loop (although the Mini Rec does), and it's a little finicky to get just the right tone without a mid control, but it sounds really good miced up, and assuming you have a sound tech who knows what they are doing, you can dial in the mids how you want them (or use an EQ pedal going into the amp).
The Blackstar HT-5R head is sweet. You can keep it on standby and run it without a cab whilst listening to its speaker emulation out for FOH and your in-ears. It has a great quality stereo reverb built-in and has an fx loop for your delays etc. It's a very affordable, great sounding valve head with the right response.