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Ugg_2's picture
North Carolina
Oct 2006
9 years ago

I'm trying to get a good metal tone like Killswitch Engage, Arch Enemy, etc. My current rig can get close but I want the real deal. What amp(s) do you recommend to get this type of sound? Keep in mind I would like to keep my existing Marshall 1940A cab to keep costs down.

I've read that Killswitch uses the Framus Dragon top and AE uses Crank amps, but I'm open to anything that will give me the sound I want. Is the Framus Dragon a lower gain version of the Cobra? Will a Mesa or VHT give me the same (or better) sound?

My current gear: Marshall JCM-900 2100 SL-X with GT E34Ls, 1940A 4x12 cab, Peavey Rockmaster tube pre, and a Behringer DEQ-2496 programmable EQ (this thing is awesome). For my heavy sounds I run the Peavey through the EQ then into the FX loop return. I can get a reasonably good Killswitch tone using the EQ, but I have to kill much of the high-end because the Peavey has a lot of white noise in that region. I thought about getting a different preamp, but I have not found any that will do the job. Maybe the TriAxis? BTW, most of my guitars have EMG active but I do have one with Duncans.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

-=- Gear -=-
Guitar -> DMC GCX Switcher -> Marshall JCM-900 2100 SL-X (4 x Groove Tubes E34Ls, 4 x 12AX7's) --> Marshall 1940AV 4x12 w/V30's
GCX Loops: [ Loop 1 -> Alembic pre ] [ Loop 2 -> Ibanez TS9 (Kealey Mod) ] [ Loop 3 -> Marshall pre ] [Loop 4 -> Peavey Rockmaster pre ] [ Loop 5 -> Behringer DEQ-2496 prog. EQ ] [ Loop 6 -> G-Major ] [ Loop 7 -> BOSS SE-70 ]
DMC Ground Control + exp pedal
=-= Guitars =-=
Jackson SL2H (EMG81's), ESP LTD MH-307 7-string (EMG 707's), Ibanez RGT-32FM (S.Duncan JB/Jazz), 1960 Fender Strat (S.Duncan s.coil)

hey! one of my friends plays in a metal band and he uses some sort of laney head and he gets some ballsy distortion with it, another one of my friends plays a line6 spiderII which can also get some pretty sweet metal sounds imo (but i usually dont play metal so im not an expert), especially for being as cheap as it is, so i would reccomend at least checking those ones out. hope this helped

Elkvis's picture
River Falls, WI
Aug 2004
6 years ago

Killswitch used Mesa Rectifiers for their first album and Framus Cobras for their second. now, as I understand, they use H&K triamps.

here's something I would suggest trying: don't use the preamp section of your marshall head. plug the output of your rockmaster into the fx return of your head and plug your guitar straight into the input of the rockmaster. it should have more than enough gain on its own to do whatever you want. if you're having trouble with excessive high end/hiss, I'd suggest new preamp tubes for the peavey, possibly a look from a tech, or even think about getting a 31-band eq to go between the preamp and the marshall. if your preamp was midi controlled, I'd suggest getting a midi controlled eq (I know behringer makes one) so you could have multiple settings. you could get several EQs and put them in the different channel loops since the peavey has those I guess. replacing old resistors and capacitors with new, better units can kill hiss in an amp like that. keep in mind though, that any high-gain amp is going to hiss and/or hum to some extent.

fatgraymatt's picture
Phoenix
Jan 2005
2 months ago

In my personal experience the best two heads for metal are the Framus Cobra (after re-biasing the tubes hotter than factory standard) or the Engl Powerball. Both have incredibly brutal but very distinct high-gain sounds. For a KE-style distortion I think either of those amps are a step up from the typical Recto that most heavy bands use nowadays. I think it's just a matter of personal taste choosing between the two. I chose the Framus as the Engl was slightly too dark-sounding for me. I also thought the Cobra had a better clean channel. Again, it's just my opinion, but after going through most of the major-brand and boutique high-gain heads, those two were the ones that stood out for their power, brutality and clarity.

Live Rig
GUITARS -- 2 Burny RLC-70S's (Japanese Les Paul Custom copies) and a Japanese-made Fender Strat.Stage guitars
FX - Dunlop 95Q Crybaby wah - Vox TonelabLE multi-FX processor/amp-modeler - Boss GE-7 EQ - Boss DD-5 Digital Delay - Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor.
AMPLIFICATION - Modded Ampeg VT-22 (V4) 100-watt head (6L6GC power tubes) - Soldano 4X12 straight cabinet loaded w/Eminence Legend speakers.

CowboyFromHell_2's picture
Philly, PA
May 2006
6 years ago

If your saying you have An EQ (im guessing its a rack) Id say go for a Peavey XXX. Iv never played your Peavey so I cant say anything about that to help you with what youve got, but you can get any type of sound out of the guitar with the duncans. Just because it doesnt have EMGs doesnt mean its the problem.

I have a XXX and can get any metal sound I want with just the head I have a very dark sounding cab to so I sugest to hook up your EQ with the head and you might be set.

Jackson rr3 (emgs 81,85)
Jackson dxmgt (one white emg 81)
Ibanez rg 7 string custom (EMG 707)
Ibanez AX120
40 yo yamaha acoustic
Pedals (in no order)
Jimi hendrix wah, TU-2, NS-2, BF-2, CE-2, older ibanez delay (green), MXR ZW-44 over drive, digitech bad monkey over drive, Danelectro DC-1 Cool Cat, BBE sonic maximizer 482 (older moddel)
Peavey XXX
5150 cab
Peavey Ultra
XXX cab
B-52 412 cab

Ugg_2's picture
North Carolina
Oct 2006
9 years ago

Damn, you guys rock! Thanks for the quick replies.

I left out some of my gear in my post b/c it doesn't directly affect my tone. I have a DMC GCX audio switcher (8 loops) and a DMC Ground Control MIDI pedal that contols everything. The Behringer EQ is a MIDI programmable 31-band with 100 presets so I can do some major sound shaping from preset to preset. I switch out my preamps (including the Marshall) using the GCX. So I can do guitar->Marshall pre->EQ->power amp, or guitar->Peavey->EQ->power amp, etc. Everything except the Marshall head is rack mounted.

The Peavey Rockmaster has enough gain and it's relatively quiet, but at high gain it has some harsh highs. Instead of getting that thick midrange I get a nasty white-noise high-end. I can EQ the hell out of it to kill the highs, and I do get some nice mids, but the sound is noticably lacking in the top end, like I rolled back the tone on the guitar. The Peavey has been retubed with Electro Harmonix 12AX7's. I thought about letting a tech do some surgery on it, but that might get expensive and not yield any results.

Right now I'm leaning towards Framus based on all the reviews. What are the differences between the Cobra and the Dragon? Everyone says the Cobra is the ticket. Also, how would a Cobra sound on my Marshall 1940A 4x12? It's stock with the higher wattage Celestians. Another reason (excuse!) for me to get another head is that I also have a Marshall 2x12 cab that I can use w/ the Marshall head, giving me 2 separate amps. I still play blues & rock so having the Marshall for that would be nice.

Regarding pickups, I used to be a die hard EMG man, but those Duncans sure sound good!

-=- Gear -=-
Guitar -> DMC GCX Switcher -> Marshall JCM-900 2100 SL-X (4 x Groove Tubes E34Ls, 4 x 12AX7's) --> Marshall 1940AV 4x12 w/V30's
GCX Loops: [ Loop 1 -> Alembic pre ] [ Loop 2 -> Ibanez TS9 (Kealey Mod) ] [ Loop 3 -> Marshall pre ] [Loop 4 -> Peavey Rockmaster pre ] [ Loop 5 -> Behringer DEQ-2496 prog. EQ ] [ Loop 6 -> G-Major ] [ Loop 7 -> BOSS SE-70 ]
DMC Ground Control + exp pedal
=-= Guitars =-=
Jackson SL2H (EMG81's), ESP LTD MH-307 7-string (EMG 707's), Ibanez RGT-32FM (S.Duncan JB/Jazz), 1960 Fender Strat (S.Duncan s.coil)

anthonyrucci's picture
Boston
Dec 2005
4 years ago

my friend in stregnth in numbers owns a music store and is really good friends with the guys from unearth, and the guitarist actually gave him his framus cobra head, and I stopped in the shop the other day and he played through it, and it sounded absolutely amazing. he was using an LTD with EMGs. I highly recommend it.

Talent?!'s picture
Merseyside, U.K.
Aug 2003
2 years ago

Both Arch Enemy and KSE have used 5150s, in the case of AE, for most of their recording.

Food for thought before you drop a load of cash on a more expensive amp.

-You are now breathing manually.
Gear

Quote:

Originally posted by thelabia {regarding glow in the dark furbies}
WOW!!! That'd rock!
Or you could give them spandex and facepaint and use the enclosure to hold Illegal furbie cage matches...
Theres never a dull moment with an empty krank head...

Quote:

Originally posted by Motorhead
If crack made a noise then the X2N would make the same noise.

bignothing's picture
Riverside CA
Aug 2005
8 years ago

Originally posted by Talent?!
Both Arch Enemy and KSE have used 5150s, in the case of AE, for most of their recording.

Food for thought before you drop a load of cash on a more expensive amp.

With an Ibanez Tubescreamer or Maxon 808 running in front of them. I think this is also a key part of their sounds.

Rig:
Guitars: LTD MH-250NT or
94 squire strat (backup)
w/seymour duncan pu
DiMarzio Cliplock Strap

Effects:
Boss TU2 Tuner
Boss DD6 Delay
Boss BD2

Amp:
Crate Stealth combo 50 watt converted into mini head
Some cheapo Randall Cab

Done Business with:
Aureate_7

sonixx's picture
Clemson
Nov 2004
9 years ago

FWIW, here's a bunch of my clips using a Cobra, 5150 and Dual Rectifier

A bunch of Amp Clips...

- Clips -
- more Clips -

5150 | Cobra | Rev1 | MkIII | 3ch DR Solo | Legacy | 62 Bandmaster | 67 Princeton Reverb | 67 Champ

Poufdaddy's picture
Leesburg, VA
Sep 2003
7 years ago

Dude, have you just run the Tube Screamer straight into your marshall?

It should have plenty of gain on its own, since its basically a factory modified JCm 800, which is what all recent high gain amps are trying to cop (5150, bogners, etc.)

But then you add the tube screamer to boost the front end, and you should get pretty close.

Adam D. from Killswitch said that he was trying to cop the Carcass Heartworks tone for their last album. they got this tone by using Marshall 30th Anniversary heads boosted with Marshall Guv'nor pedals. Killswitch takes the tubescreamer (or equivalent) and does the same thing.

I had a 30th anniversary Marshall for a while and I boosted the front end with my TS9 and got a similar sound.

In the end, if you change anything, change your speakers. All of those bands use Vintage 30s. I think just a cab change will get you closer to the sound you're looking for.

In short,

Try
Guitar--->Tubescreamer (Set to a boost setting--->Marshall head

Also, try using these settings,

Low: 12:00
Mid: 1:00-2:00
Hi: 3:00

Gain, Volume, Prescence to taste

Ok, now go have fun!

RIG:
Gibson Flying V, Schecter Tempest or Fender Strat Plus--->

RMC Wizard Wah--->Whammy--->Line 6 FM4---> Ibanez TS9--->Skreddy Zero--->Boss TU-2--->MXR EVH 90--->Ibanez DE-7--->EHX SMMH

Fender Tonemaster