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Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby behenny » Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:06 pm

Looking for the best budget clean amp under £250. I'm not fussed about presets or anything like that as I'm planning on investing in some more pedals and my experience with presets has been rather torrid. I mainly play post punk, alternative rock kinda stuff but I'm not sure if that's even relevant if I want a clean amp just thought I would mention it. Would be ideal if it works well with a bass guitar as well, although I wouldn't really want to sacrifice quality in order to accommodate that. Any help and advice would be great, thanks!
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:42 pm

The clean sounds on the Roland Katana are superb, the fx are non to shabby either. The Kat 50 is well within budget at £220, the Kat 100/112 a little over at £320. I would have bought a Kat 50 if worked half as well for acoustic guitar too but that was a big ask, and it didn't :(
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby Wonks » Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:48 pm

Everyone's opinions of 'best' will vary, but what will it be used for? Live, practice, recording? How loud does it need to be? New or used?

If you want a valve amp, you'll be hard pushed to get much that's not used or over 5W for that price.

But I've heard very good things about this 15W Harley Benton https://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_tube15_celestion.htm. Also sold under the Monoprice and Stage-Right labels, it's basically a repackaged version of the now discontinued Laney Cub 12 (and apparently made in the same factory). Iit should come with decent JJ valves and a Celestion Seventy 80 speaker.

It's going to get reasonably loud before it starts breaking up, and it should take pedals nicely.

Otherwise you really have to look at the solid state modelling amps, which do give you a lot more bang for the buck and a lot more volume. So a new Boss Katana 50W, or a nearly new Boss Katana 100W would be my first port of call, though there are several amps in a similar vein by others at similar prices.

And then there are the non-modelling solid state amps, which give you more volume at the expense of flexibility. E.g. a Fender Champion 100W 2x12". This would give you lots of clean volume, but may not respond to pedals in quite the same way as a valve or modelling amp would.

But move to used amps, and the field really opens up. Very few people who haven't worked in a music shop will know what they all sound like, so you'll probably have to rely on YouTube demos.
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby behenny » Tue Dec 08, 2020 5:51 pm

Great thanks for the detailed reply I'll get researching on some of the stuff you recommended. I'm primarily looking for an amp for recording but a bonus would be if its decent for live performances but I would prefer something that would record great rather than be great live. I'm also not fussed about it being used as long as its a safe bet to get second hand amps? And I don't play ridiculously loudly but haven't played live yet (only been playing for a couple of years).
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby BigRedX » Tue Dec 08, 2020 6:15 pm

For clean guitar sounds my starting point would always be one of the Roland JC range.
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Dec 08, 2020 6:38 pm

If it's for recording first i'd be looking for something low powered. You can always stick a mic on it when you're on stage.
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby TheLegit » Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:11 pm

If you are looking at Solid State these are meant to be good but at £320

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https://www.gak.co.uk/en/orange-cr120h- ... lsrc=aw.ds
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby Aled Hughes » Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:41 pm

I have a Roland JC-22 (the small 2x6.5” one) on order that should be here before the end of year. It’s a bit over budget new, but used could be an option?

Don’t take this as a recommendation yet though, it could be rubbish...
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:09 am

behenny wrote:Great thanks for the detailed reply I'll get researching on some of the stuff you recommended. I'm primarily looking for an amp for recording but a bonus would be if its decent for live performances but I would prefer something that would record great rather than be great live. I'm also not fussed about it being used as long as its a safe bet to get second hand amps? And I don't play ridiculously loudly but haven't played live yet (only been playing for a couple of years).

Since you want clean a Katana 50 then, is a no-brainer. If you wanted a bit of dirt I'd suggest looking at one of the many Epiphone Valve Junior style 5 watters but you say that's not where you are looking.
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby behenny » Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:47 pm

I feel torn between the Boss Katana 50 and the harley benton 15 at the moment. Does anyone know the pros and cons of each one or is there not really much in it?
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby behenny » Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:06 pm

Should mention that would mainly be recording at fairly quiet volumes, if that makes a difference to anything.
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby Wonks » Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:10 pm

Well, the Katana is certainly more versatile, and if you don't always want an amp that is mainly clean then it will serve you a lot better.

Despite being a good modeller, it's not quite as characterful a sound as a valve amp will be, but it's close.

The Katana is lighter and won't need any valves changing in a couple of years and so is likely to prove far more reliable from that perspective.

I've only tried out the Katana 100W, whilst a friend has tried out the Harley. I'd imagine the Harley will be similar to the Fender Blues Jr, which is a very nice amp (with the right speaker) but does need to be turned up a fair bit to get it to sound good, whilst the Katana will sound similar at all volume levels. But unlike that Gender, the Harley does have a 1W mode, but I don't have any idea how that affects the tone.

My head would say Katana, whilst my heart would say Harley, but I'm lucky in not needing to be too quiet when I play guitar.
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby behenny » Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:33 pm

Interesting, feel like i'm swaying towards the Katana from a purely practical route. You mentioned the fender champion 50, I've heard its got a great clean tone as well.
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby Wonks » Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:47 pm

It was the 100 (just from a price point of view), but the 50 will be similar, just a bit quieter, smaller and lighter. Fender do make solid state amps with decent sounding clean channels. What I don't know is how well they take pedals. It probably depends on the pedals used. Modulations and delays will be fine, as will any compression. But some drives and distortions can sound good with one amp, but not as nice with another.
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Re: Best quality clean Amp under £250?

Postby behenny » Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:25 pm

Think I'm gonna go for the katana, thanks for your help! :D
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