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IanHenry

Small Amp Choice

Which Small Amp?  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. Which Small Amp?

    • Laney Cub 10
      2
    • Marshall Origin 5
      2
    • Vox AC4C1-112
      8


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Hi,

I’m looking to get a new small practice amp for band rehearsals but it has to be small and light because of the need to carry it up a narrow, steep flight of stairs (my Blues Junior is too large and heavy).

I’ve previously bought a Marshall DSL1 but I’ve fallen out of love with it because I find the gain channel “fizzy” and during rehearsals, I’ve had to run it at higher volumes almost flat out and because it has no headroom the clean channel just sounds like the gain one!

I’ve decided that I need something with a little more power, so I was thinking 5 to 10 watts, I’ve dismissed the Marshall DSL5 because of my dislike of the DSL1.

I’ve compiled a shortlist of possibility's, but unfortunately, I’m not in a position to try any of those amps out with the exception of the Vox (I also know that the shop that has the Vox will give me a reasonable trade-in price for the Marshall which is a plus) so I’m a having to rely on Youtube video’s  

The contenders are:

Laney Cub 10

https://www.laney.co.uk/products/cub-cub10-tube-combo

10 Watt but 8” Speaker

Ther are some quite favorable reviews of the Laney on Youtube.

 

Marshall Origin 5

https://marshall.com/marshall-amps/products/amps/origin/origin5 

5 Watt 8” Speaker

I thought this would tick all the boxes, but there are some negative reviews of the 5 watt model not least on Anderton’s review of the Origin series.

 

Vox AC4C1-112  

  https://voxamps.com/en-gb/product/ac4c1-12/         

4 Watt but 12” Speaker

Some very favorable reviews on Youtube, the most expensive of the trio, but I believe I can get a good trade-in.

 If anyone has any experience with those amps or an opinion I’d appreciate hearing them, I’ve also set up a pole so your votes would also be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Ian

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I had a Vox AC4 and I was able to cut through the drums and other guitars without cranking it all the way. It remained clean too. I would pick that out of the choices you gave

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I too would go with the AC4 given your choices above but a 1x12 is still quite sizeable. 

I use a Quilter Overdrive 200, a 200 watt head that weighs 4 lbs and is smaller than your average hand bag. I can connect it to any cab but usually bring my 1x12. It sounds equally good at 2 or 200 watts. 

If I could choose freely to recommend something, I'd recommend a Quilter Mini 101 with a 1x10 or a ZT Lunchbox Junior. 

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I own a Marshall Origin 5 and a Vox AC4TV. Both are great amps. If I had to choose my favorite between the two, I would probably lean towards the Marshall.

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The AC4 is a good bedroom Amp.

For a bit more you can have a Vox AC10C1 (much less expensive than a comparable Fender PRRI) which is more versatile than the AC4 & can be used for Jams & Gigs.. It also has it's own Reverb.. Small & Light weight too... Also, If you should ever want to, they're easy to Mod......

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Thanks for all your suggestions,

Karloff, I should have mentioned that it needs to be a combo, and Lars, I've already looked at the Vox AC10C1 but dismissed it due too it's weight at  27.12lbs  it's not that far off my Blues Junior at 31lbs.

Reverb would be nice but none of the amps in this range come with it so I'd have to buy a pedal (I'm not keen on pedals, I see them as an added complication/distraction but I guess I'll have to accept that in the case of reverb)              

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1 hour ago, IanHenry said:

Thanks for all your suggestions,

Karloff, I should have mentioned that it needs to be a combo, and Lars, I've already looked at the Vox AC10C1 but dismissed it due too it's weight at  27.12lbs  it's not that far off my Blues Junior at 31lbs.

Reverb would be nice but none of the amps in this range come with it so I'd have to buy a pedal (I'm not keen on pedals, I see them as an added complication/distraction but I guess I'll have to accept that in the case of reverb)              

In that case I'd seriously try the Laney.. I think there are Online Retailers that do 45 day no hassle Return or Exchange... I haven't tried that small one but Laney has some pretty sweet Amps. Especially if you lean towards a Vox sound... Good luck!

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I vote Vox just for ability to try it out as long as the return policy is fine.  After that, if you think you could get by with min volume,  I would try the Laney.  

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After reading the comments here I think I would go for the Vox because it has a 12" speaker that I think would give you more low end.. I do notice the difference going from my Roland Micro Cubes to my Deluxe with a 12" Celestion.. I play my Rolands the most and use the Black Face setting.. They are easy to lug around and there is something about the sound I get from using 6 of them.. If you use a multi effects pedal, I think you may want the cleanest sounding amp and control everything from the pedal...

would the Roland Street Cube be a possible contender?

The Roland Street Cube has sampled amp models, delay and reverb, chorus, flanger, phaser, 2X6.5" speakers and can run on batteries..

I might have gone this way, but the Micro Cube came out first and I just kept adding to them, for conditions that I though I needed more volume playing out doors. I found that 2 Micro Cubes, effectively making them a Street Cube, could easily keep up with the drum circles and the ocean in the background ...

During this time I was using Micro Cubes for my personal practice and a Marshall AVT 150H full stack with the band...

Sorry for the off topic run-on..... But I thought the Street Cube deserved an honorable mention..

Edited by mihcmac

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8 hours ago, Big Bill said:

Alright Lars, now that we made up your mind, go out and buy that Vox!

I think you meant Ian... The OP.

I tried the AC4's including the 12r.. All good, just or enough oomph. I have an AC15 with Alinico Blue which is great but is heavy & loud... I wanted something smaller & lighter & Vox.. I tried the AC10C1 chose it... About the size of my Princeton & has 10 (Tube) Watts.  It is comparable Power wise but has the Vox Sound. Besides, Bedroom & Recording it is also Gig worthy... Really good all around Amp.. No problem with lows.. The 10" Speaker holds it's own against my Princeton, DRRI & AC15.. 

It it was good out of the box but I upgraded the Speaker to a Weber & upgraded the Cheap Tubes which come with most Amps..it is one of my main go to Amps...

i have quite a few Amps.. There is nothing wrong with the AC4's but for my all around wants & needs it was just too small....

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so, Murph, nice shot of your music room  but it has left me wondering a bit.. . what would the hammers be used for???  LOL!

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All those amps look pretty good.  They're all-tube. The Laney would probably have the most punch with a band, seeing as it has 2 6V6's.  I think they're all about the same quality.

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1 hour ago, kidblast said:

so, Murph, nice shot of your music room  but it has left me wondering a bit.. . what would the hammers be used for???  LOL!

musical spoons - murph style!

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There's another contender which I'm quite keen on, the Cornell 5 Traveller. I've never seen one but the review on YouTube sounds great, I can go and play one locally and it's not made in a far eastern sweat shop. It's only got an 8" speaker though.

  https://www.cornellamps.com/traveler-5

 

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19 minutes ago, billroy said:

musical spoons - murph style!

could be,, just sometimes,  when a J45 wont tune up right,, you gotta show it whose boss.. so I figured......

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2 hours ago, kidblast said:

so, Murph, nice shot of your music room  but it has left me wondering a bit.. . what would the hammers be used for???  LOL!

 

I looked at each guitar and I'm like 'I don't see any Hamers!' :)

I like the Laney best out of the three, but I've just never been much of a Vox or Marshall guy.

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8 minutes ago, deeman said:

 

I looked at each guitar and I'm like 'I don't see any Hamers!' 🙂

 

Ergo the problem,,, move the eyes away from the things with strings, the hammers will reveal their locations...[woot]

 

Edited by kidblast

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3 minutes ago, kidblast said:

Ergo the problem,,, move the eyes away from the things with strings, the hammers will reveal their locations...[woot]

 

Its safe to say he uses them for percussion! (Dad Joke)

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Be prepared to be a little disappointed in those amps vs. a Blues Junior. In the tube world, weight equals volume.  Fifteen watts is kind of a rule of thumb for playing at band volume.  I have a Tweedle Dee Deluxe and a Princeton Reverb, both about 15 watts, and they struggle to play at band volume with any headroom at all.

Warranty service for British amps is prolly pretty good over there.  It's not very good here in the States.

Us guys in the States - I recommend staying away from any brand in the KorgUSA fold.  That includes Blackstar and Vox.  Marshalls are pretty bad quality wise.  Any amp under about $500.00 is going to eventually get thrown away because it's not worth fixing.  Everybody who leaves my shop disappointed has a cheap amp that's not worth fixing.  I don't do  warranty work but I do occasionally get amps that the local warranty guys can't fix.  I have a Blackstar here that's under warranty that the Service Center couldn't diagnose and the shop won't let the guy do their work any more.  Korg won't send me any schematics, so it's like a freaking Kafka novel trying to work with them.  No returned calls, no nothing.

Just don't go cheap just because you want something small.  👍

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