Have sought input on this on a couple of other boards, tossing out a line here too.
Of my two amps, only half of one is functional at the moment. My 1980s Carvin X60 tube combo (one Celestion 12) has given up the ghost, started spraying smoke and sizzling one night and got the verdict today that it would take what the amp's worth on the market today to get it running and even then he couldn't guarantee it wouldn't require more work, so I am considering it deceased. My Vox Pathfinder 15 has the dreaded optocoupler issue that the little SS Voxes are prone to, clean channel is basically dead although it still works with the gain switch enabled, I can get it fixed or pick up another one pretty cheap in both cases.
That leaves me sans a "main amp," although the Pathfinder actually had surpassed the Carvin in usage. I have about $500 to spend right now without going into hock, which I'd rather not do. Not a penny more.
I'm looking for something small, not inclined to tote something 60 or 70 pounds around (Carvin got to where it about broke my back). I'm not a pro musician, not going to become one in my middle-age years either, am just a woodshedder who loves guitars and music. I sit in with groups occasionally and play a bit at church, which I guess would equate to a small club setting, in which case I mike through the PA if I need to get over the drums, etc. Basically I need something that will work equally well in that kind of setting, and in a bedroom setting at "1."
I'd prefer this to be a tube amp but I'm not married to that. I'm looking for something with good cleans all the way up the volume knob ... I'm basically a jangly, chimey Rickenbacker "rhythmer," to steal a word Lennon supposedly used one time; main guitars are a Rick 325v59 and a Tokai AST-56 Strat copy with GFS pickups, so it would have to mate well with those ... but still with a bit of snarl and bite when I push it, like if I wanted to use my meager lead skills to play "You Can't Do That," etc. Max high gain and distortion settings probably will never be used. It would have to take a compressor (only effect I use) well.
I've looked at a Fender Pro Junior ... had a nice vibe to it, but this particular one was noisy as sin and didn't stay clean very high up the volume knob, started breaking up at about 3. Liked the simplicity of it, though.
I've tried two Super Champ X2 combos, side by side, absolutely loved one and didn't like the other one, would actually be more inclined to do the head and 12-inch cabinet with that one.
I've tried a Fender Mustang II (which I liked an awful lot for a solid state amp, but I'd probably go for the III) and an Orange Crush 35-watt solid state with a 10 (which was blah).
Is there anything I've missed, new or used, that's in the price range and the sonic range I've described that anyone might recommend? Out of everything I've tried, the Super Champ X2 is by far my favorite.
I've had recommendations for Laney VC30, Princeton Chorus 2x10 (supposedly works very well with Ricks), Tech 21 Trademark 60 and have had MASSIVE recommendations for the Roland Cube series, either 40 or 80 new or a used 60.
And I know I'm in the ballpark of a AC15C1 here, but again at this moment in time, I'd have to dig really deep to get that extra $100 for a new one, although I'm checking Craigslist really hard every day. Plus I'm not sure that amp's not a bit "big" for my needs. (Have also considered Valvetronix, but reliability issues I've seen have me a bit concerned, would be looking to go new there to ensure warranty.)
Thanks for any help!