We have our good friend Kristian Kohle here with us today, and he is going to talk about his Top 10 Metal Amps!
Kristian is a very successful German metal producer, and I would consider him to be an expert on metal guitar tone. He has done tons of videos on amps, miking tehcniques, speakers, and so much more, and they are great! Click here to check out his YouTube Channel!
The Rectifier is a brutal sounding amp for several reasons. First of all, it is pretty scooped out in the mids, but it has a lot of clean and dynamic low end for a high gain amp. It also has that characteristic high end rattle – that mid bite – and it is that combination that makes it sound rather cold, brutal, and aggressive. The good thing about this amp is that it sits really nicely in a mix because it leaves a lot of space in the lower mid range.
These amps are not often used in mixing metal, but they really are great for metal. They are perhaps not as fast or as responsive as other modern metal machines, but it has a certain creaminess that sounds great. The distortion feels rather slow, which means it is not the most dynamic amp, but it does respond to your playing in a really nice way.
This is great for anything that needs a little more soul in the tone or is a little more melodic. People are often surprised at how brutal this amp can sound!
This amp sounds brutal, cold, and is great for death metal. It is even sharper and colder than a Rectifier, without that scooped mid range. Overall, the distortion is less dynamic, and more compressed. So, if you want some great aggression, but don’t want that scooped tones, this might be your amp.
This is a special amp, because it is not a tube amp, but it is a transistor amp. The guy who made this amp famous was Dimebag from Pantera. His guitar tone was very cold and sounded like pedal distortion, and it is this Randall amp tone that defined a lot of the classic metal tones in the 90s.
The great thing about Marshall amps is the mids. With this amp, it is not about the distortion or the low end, it is all about the mids. You can crank the mids on a Marshall amp and they will still sound balanced and in your face. And, the cool thing about the JCM series is that while they still sounded like Marshalls, they have more gain and some tonal options, which are important in metal.
6. Brunetti XL Extra Lead
This is a great “middle of the road” amp. For Kristian, this is the amp he turns to when he doesn’t know what to do. This is kind of like the U87 of amps. It always works because it is not too extreme in any direction, and does not have a distinct character that cannot be changed, which makes it very flexible.
This is a high gain amp that also goes in the Rectifier direction. It is very brutal, has huge low end, but it is not as scooped. Kristian does not currently own one of these, but has used one a number of times, and loves the way it sounds.
This is less brutal than other Diezel amps, and has the most lovely sounding mids in the world. No matter is you play clean, or crunch, or high gain, those mids will always just hit you. The amp is also very creamy, and it is not the tightest amp, so it really fills a mix. Kristian uses it a lot for lead guitars that need to shine and that need a lot of texture and character in the mids. He also uses it for cleaner and crunchier guitars, where you want a lot of mid information, and not a scooped metal tone.
This is another one of the flexible modern monsters. This amp is very flexible. It has a few tonal options, a built in noise gate, and a built in tube screamer. The built in tube screamer is great because Kristian often uses tube screamers in the studio to tighten the bass even more.
10. VHT Pitbull
What is impressive about this amp is how tight and transparent it sounds The amp was extremely loud, very brutal and tight in the high end, and also gives you tons of super dry distortion. It is very hard to play because it reveals even the tiniest mistakes in your playing, but it is the perfect amp to blend with something that is more compressed, just to bring more pick attack and brightness into the overall sound.
Watch the video below to learn more about these amps!