Need to create some versatile tones for hard rock or metal? We’ve got just the things you need. Check out these eight feral amps and four fierce accessories that can take your tone to the next level.
Orange Rockerverb MKIII
The Orange Rockerverb 50 and 100 MKIII amps deliver a fat wallop with chimey articulation. They’re also built as tough as a battleship.
LIST PRICE: $1,999–$2,149
Peavey 6505 MH
Peavey’s 6505 amp is one of the definitive superpower machines for metal and hardcore players. But if you want all the rage with a little less weight, the very portable 6506 MH can bring the aggression with variable 20/5/1 watts (great for recording).
STREET PRICE: $499
Recording metal mania in a home studio is a dangerous game. One explosive barrage of hot riffs, and you could be looking for another place to live. Happily, Laney’s three-channel Ironheart IRT-Studio amp can be recorded direct via USB or XLR, keeping the savage sonics quietly managed by headphones or low-level monitoring. Peace in our time!
STREET PRICE: $599
The Right Stuff
Marshall JCM800 2203
Putting a Marshall in your rig is kind of like buying IBM in the early days of computer tech: You can’t go wrong! The Marshall JCM800 2203 delivers a guttural EL34-driven roar that evokes everything people adore about hard rock and metal tone.
STREET PRICE: $2,599
Kemper Profiler Power Head
The 600-watt Kemper Profiler Power Head lets you easily sample your own vintage amps (or anyone else’s), spin through onboard presets and user samples, and have effects ready to go in the box. It’s no wonder so many former tube rockers and metal heads have gone digital.
LIST PRICE: $2,670
Classic Hard Rocker
ENGL Artist Edition E651A
The ENGL Artist Edition E651A has quite a hard rock pedigree: the original Artist Edition—a modified version of an E650 Ritchie Blackmore Signature head—was prized by Jimmy Page, Paul Stanley, Scot Gorham and Doug Aldrich. The 100-watt E651A features four ECC83 preamp tubes, four EL34 power tubes and Clean and Lead channels.
You may not initially think of the classy and sophisticated PRS as a maker of brutish amps, but Mark Tremonti swore by the PRS Archon during the making of his new album, Cauterize. In fact, all of the distorted amp blends on the record were 40 percent Archon with the rest of the textures comprised of two other amps.
LIST PRICE: 50 Combo (shown here), $1,649
Vai’s Hot Rod
If you love melodic shred, Steve Vai has to be one of your guys, so why not explore his signature Carvin amp, the VL300 Legacy head? The Legacy serves up 100 watts in a three-channel amp with a variable boost for “more more” and foot-switchable reverb.
LIST PRICE: $899
FOUR FIERCE ACCESSORIES
If your crammed pedal board doesn’t have room for a DigiTech Whammy, the DigiTech Drop can increase your tonal poundage from a half-step to a full octave detune. Chunk your heart out!
STREET PRICE: $149
What’s a soaring, climactic metal solo without some delay to kick in a rush of ambient bliss? The new Boss DD-500 gives you a ton of sonic options for your atmospheric forays. The flavors include Analog, Tape, Reverse, Vintage Digital and Shimmer, and there’s a tap tempo switch for keeping in the groove with your drummer.
STREET PRICE: $299
Bare Knuckle Juggernaut
Bare Knuckle’s Juggernaut pickup is hand-wound, delivers articulate midrange frequencies, and gives you the engine to create crushing rhythm tones, fluid and saturated solo tones, and shimmering clean tones. That’s pretty much everything you need to negotiate any metal soundscape.
DIRECT PRICE: $280 (approximate, based on British pounds)
High-gain amps and effects tend to produce hiss and other noises that can compromise the more tender parts of your savage displays of musical bedlam. Rocktron’s MicroHUSH can clear up your ragged signal (up to 65dB), and its tiny footprint can squeeze into even the most crowded pedalboard.