ENGL amps

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under_a_serpent_sun
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ENGL amps

Post by under_a_serpent_sun » 27 Sep 2008, 02:04

So I was thinking of saving up in the new few months and buying myself an ENGL powerball half-stack. Does anyone have one? Or anything remotely by ENGL? Care to give me a mini review?

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Re: ENGL amps

Post by JimmyBlind » 29 Sep 2008, 09:54

They are very good, albeit they are really favoured for drop tunings. You should definitely have a go on one before you buy it to see if it suits your band's sound. I can't imagine that they are 'overly' versatile. From my experience, there aren't many amps that are versatile. You can tame their electronics with different tube customisations to some extent but your amp, essentially, will always have it's own unique sound. You probably won't be able to play indie rock using a Powerball & you won't be able to play Meshuggah on a Fender Twin!!
Mike from OutCryFire uses an Engl of some description and they have a sound kinda like Unearth. Misha from Periphery runs into a Powerball (I think) and they have a very unique sound using 7 strings to drop B (Again... I think) kinda like meshuggah.
If I were to buy a half stack & I was looking to play, as I assume you are, metal, I would look at buying a Peavey. They are affordable, built like tanks & packed with tone. The JSX & 6505 are fantastic amps. To put it into perspective aswell, there is a 6505 stack on ebay for 780 quid. The Powerball head alone is there for £1100 & you've still got to match it to a decent cab.
So yeah, I'd do some research into the kind of sound you want before parting with that kind of money. All guitarists, unless privileged to to be advised, spend ludicrous amounts of money at some point in their lives trying to get the perfect tone. Tone is a touchy subject aswell. Tone is the combination of the fingers, guitar, amp & it's settings. This produces an almost infinite & daunting set of variables.
You read up about Kids spending ££££s trying to recreate the awesome tone that Killswitch produce. They go out, buy a Caparison, a Framus Cobra & a Maxon OD into a cab loaded with Vintage 30s and still cannot sound like Joel Stroetzel because, well.......they aren't Joel Stroetzel.
So conclusively, Engl's are great if it's the sound you're looking for but very expensive. You may be better off with a cheaper & more versatile amplifier and still be blown away by it's performance. As with any investment of that value, make sure you play on one before you buy it. I can't stress that enough. Hope that helps.
Last edited by JimmyBlind on 29 Sep 2008, 10:33, edited 1 time in total.
Regards,

Jim

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Re: ENGL amps

Post by CerpinTaxt » 29 Sep 2008, 10:26

I have a powerball...

If you're playing metal, they are amazing. After using a mode 4 for years, i can't understand how i ever got by with it, for punchy, clear riffing, powerballs are great.
On the lower gain channels they sound awesome too, really warm, and the gain is so responsive to the attack of the pick.

On the minus side, you have to buy a footswitch seperately (£50-100 or something?) and there is a small delay when you change channels which is pretty shit to be honest, but that might just be with the larger of the two footswitche available.
Peaveys are great amps for the money, i felt like spoiling myself and spending a lot of money though.

Type in 'take it away' on google, you can find stores which do 0% finance, you pay 10% on purchase and the rest in 9 monthly 10% installments.
Alot of places require you to buy an instrument as well (that's what the scheme is for really, not amps and pedals) but you could just do what i did which was pick up a cheap squier tele on the side for an extra £130, i needed a guitar in standard tuning anyway, and it was worth it so i could pay the amp off in little bits, i'm still paying it off now!

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Re: ENGL amps

Post by JimmyBlind » 29 Sep 2008, 16:08

Slightly off topic but I found a video a while back of Scott Splawn turning on his boutique amp the 'Nitro' for the first time. The tone from this amp is nothing short of sensational.


Check it out!
Regards,

Jim

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Re: ENGL amps

Post by THOM » 29 Sep 2008, 20:12

JimmyBlind wrote: The JSX & 6505 are fantastic amps.


6505+'s are the way to go on the peavey front, it's what we use and the difference between this and the standard 6505 is huge. The 6505+ gives a much fuller sound.

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Re: ENGL amps

Post by campy » 29 Sep 2008, 20:14

If you know Will Twomey, or even if you don't, he is selling an Powerball for £725. If you're the latter then I can put you in touch.
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Re: ENGL amps

Post by elliott » 01 Oct 2008, 12:57

just get an X3 live and sound like this:



the best £220 i've ever spent
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Re: ENGL amps

Post by JimmyBlind » 01 Oct 2008, 16:13

I don't entirely agree with you there dude. I use my POD Xt for home recording and get a very, very good sound out of it. However, you cannot create a better sound with a POD or any other piece of modeling equipment than you can mic'ing up a decent amplifier & cab. FACT.
A line6 is a good investment for the home studio, make no mistake, but the sound is still an artificial-sounding, digitally-processed signal.
As for live, I would never dream of using a digital effects unit by Boss, Zoom or Line6 ever again because they all sound fucking awful. I am yet to find a digital effects unit that produces anywhere near the raw, physical tone that you get from an all-tube amplifier.

The best tones come from having a decent guitar, amplifier, cab & stomp boxes!

The only real downer I have found with powerful, tube amplifiers is that they are generally designed to be cranked so that they strip paint off walls, make your grandmother shit herself & issue you with an ASBO. Tube amplifiers, on the whole, do not produce their best tones unless you crank them up. This makes them less practical for home practicing & recording.
Regards,

Jim

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Re: ENGL amps

Post by chippy » 01 Oct 2008, 16:20

agreed. dunno what that X3 thing is like but they use line6's at impact and no matter what you do with the settings everything just has this 'fake' edge to it.
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Re: ENGL amps

Post by JimmyBlind » 01 Oct 2008, 17:07

They are definitely a pain in the arse to tweak. The overdriven sounds are a lot harder to create than the cleans. Qudos is that cleans, delays & chorus' sound pretty good through the line6. Distortion is a different kettle. Distortion was born from overdriving all-tube amplifiers. For me, it's a really unique way of creating a sound that can't be well reproduced through a piece of digital equipment. The line 6 products model cab, room & MIC settings but they don't replicate that massive, airy, ambience you get from a live studio recording.
Regards,

Jim

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Re: ENGL amps

Post by elliott » 03 Oct 2008, 10:47

JimmyBlind wrote:As for live, I would never dream of using a digital effects unit by Boss, Zoom or Line6 ever again because they all sound fucking awful.


i take it you're not a fan of meshuggah's sound then? just using them as an example as you were comparing their sound to engl, despite them using pod pros and vetta II to record and gig themselves.



when I saw them live a while back they weren't playing through any amps at all, they just had like 2/3 pod pros in each of their racks and a few other things that i had no idea about and they sounded amazing, infact, i can't imagine a guitar sound any better. I fucking love line 6, im not convinsed you're using decent patches for it if you're not impressed with the sound. I'd be interested to get you on my X3 live just to see what you reckon, i've gotten to know the pedal fairly well and it's sounding wayyyyy better than all the shitty presets that you get with it. I've completely got rid of my amp now, i just play through a set of mackie active speakers, sounds nuts.
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Re: ENGL amps

Post by JimmyBlind » 03 Oct 2008, 16:55

I think you misunderstand me mate. I really rate Line6 equipment. I've owned a Rack Pod Pro, various stomps & POD Xt...with ALL the model packs installed. They're a great investment for the studio. I don't dispute that.

They only attempt to reproduce a synthetic image of the real thing though. If you put a Line 6 through the monitors on it's 'Treadplate' setting & compare it to the actual Mesa Boogie Dual Rec that it was modelled from, there is an unquestionable difference. On one hand, you have a line 6 that can produce almost any amp & effects sound you want for £150, and on the other hand you've got a Mesa with it's comparatively modest tonal range that costs over a thousand pounds.
The sound you get from a tube amplifier has an almost physical quality to it. The glowing hot pre-amps & powertubes are the very essence of the sound they create.
I have a yamaha keyboard that does a very convincing model of a grand piano, but it can never compare to a huge wooden chest full of hammers, strings & keys.
As guitarists, I think we strive to sound & recreate the tones of our piers & mentors. They are the only sound we know, & try to replicate them in the same traditional way.
By very definition, there isn't single model on any piece of line 6 equipment that can create a better sound than the equipment it was based on.

Line 6 have brought out their new hybrid amp of course that they engineered with Bogner, which is basically a pod, fused with a pre-amp & power section all tube amplifier. Apparently it sounds killer.
Regards,

Jim

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Re: ENGL amps

Post by The amazing vomit stain » 29 Oct 2008, 18:54

I have never managed to get an overdriven sound that I like with a pod.
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Re: ENGL amps

Post by JimmyBlind » 30 Oct 2008, 10:37

I just found myself being really indecisive with which models to use. I 'think' Line 6 made the EQ on the various models similar to the way the genuine amps respond. This is a great touch, but I have had enough trouble in the past tweaking tone out of my Peavey XXX with it's own active EQ... and this is just one amp. It ends up being this farsical balancing game with the settings. It makes it even harder with the pod because you have so many different amps at your disposal, all with totally different gain & EQ response. You can spend hours fiddling and tweaking an amp model and then realise that the actual model is not the sound you were looking for. If you listen to a song or band & know what amps, settings & stomps they use, it makes it easier to replicate their sound from the POD. The downloadable user-defined patches are useful but a lot of them have been created & uploaded by tarts who don't know what they're doing. It'd be cool, albeit a tall order, if you could contact line 6 and have them model sounds by request as part of their support page.
I think experienced guitarist/producers who've had the benefit of hearing & playing a wide variety of amps & effects are better equipped to use the POD to it's full potential. There's no question they are essential pieces of kit though. Seeing a POD of at least some variety, present in pretty much every recording studio I've ever seen is testimony to this.


On the subject of tone, I spent a lot of time creating good sounds out of my amp that don't sit well in a mix. When you hear a metal tune, for example, you're hearing a lot of frequencies at once. It's natural to set your amp up to deliver all of those frequencies to sound like that band when you're jamming along. There's a tendency to add more bass than you need to your guitar sound because you don't have a bass player there with you. Although you have created a good sound, it doesn't mix well when you add bass. I deliberately ease up on the bass nowadays as a result. Although the guitar sounds 'tinnier' when played on it's own, it will generally sit better in the mix in it's allocated frequency range.
I get pretty annoyed with tone. The ear gets used to tones whether good or bad.

I'm waffling again. You probably don't want to be stuck with me in a broken lift.
Regards,

Jim

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