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Thinking of getting a practice amp


cantrell-fan

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I love mine, but it was the earlier generation one. I believe it was made in the early 90's, maybe even the late 80's.

 

I only point that out because I don't know if the electronics are any different from the ones being done today.

 

Definitely at its best at full gain too.

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Check out the 299 Fender Super Champ XD, 15 tube watts. Two power tubes and a preamp tube. 16 amp voicings including about 12 Fender amp types. Super, super clean, clean channel. Really a great amp. Check it out on the fenderforum.com .

 

Also the portable and plug in or battery power little Vox DA5 is unreal with really super great tone that you won't believe. Amp models, including three types of blues amps, and effects, and a tap button to adjust three parameters to effects. Also has input and output jacks.

 

Super great little amp for about 115.

 

Duffy

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Definite second on the Valve Junior. Also have to agree about the Roland Cubes; the Cube 20X will blow away the Marshall microstack for overall sound and features. If you can afford the 30X even better. The Cube 60 is good too but that starts to go outside the domain of a 'practice' amp; with 60 watts it qualifies as a full-blown gigging tool. Also the Roland amps have to be the best-built, most reliable products in their class while Marshall MGs tend to be on the other end of that bell curve... we get more Marshalls in for repair than all the other brands combined.

 

I had a chance to try out a Fender Champion 600, assuming that it would be as good if not better than a Valve Junior but unfortunately I was very disappointed. Dunno if it's due to the minuscule 6" speaker (what's up with that?), the suede grill cloth or just a bad overall design but it really sounded like utter crap compared to the VJ.

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i absolutely LOVE that amp.... BUT i got mine way back when they came out as a blem (scuffed back) for 200...

 

ONLY complaint is not having a footswitch channel for gain settings...

 

there is STUPID good tone attainable with the amp...

 

im glad there is support for the superchamp xd-- i jsut gave a friend a few pedals i pretty much found to be redundant that he has had for ever for one(awaiting delivery...) i think he some how got it for cost, but hell, i dont care, i wouldnt get crap selling the pedals to a store, so its a win win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

ill be able to get a good review here in a lil while.

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(there are.. not there is)..sorry..

 

i will say that it can lack richness hands down over a tube amp... but it has pretty good clean and dirty clean for a solid state.. i really feel it can get fender sounds..

 

from the sound clips, the xd's dist sounds thin and shitty, so i will probably A/B the amps.

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The little 15W marshalls sound nice as my mate had one whilst i had a yamaha 10W practice amp which sucked on clean but was quite good on gain.

 

For the money they cost ive seen in magazine small tube amps up to 15W near a similar price. If its gonna be your main amp then id get a tube amp.

 

Ive got a Vox AD-30 VT which is awsome but sometimes i wish i got a tube amp as everyone go's on about them.

 

Also the Vox AD-15 VT is very nice, exactly the same as mine except for a preamp setting which enable your to drive the amp fully at low volumes (perfect for me as i live in a flat)

 

Big fan of Vox

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IMO-- all the vox i have heard sound all thin and glassy.... brittle....tinny... just sound like balls bascally..which is a right shame because i have always been madly inlove with the look and mojo of the amps...similar opnion of

orange..way to grainy... i will say fender tube amps have some of the best tone ive heard in my years.. (leave the 3000 dollar amps like matchless out of this please)...

 

i am however a die hard marshall fan, but i say it like this-- fender clean, brittish raw...

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Fist let me say that I have owned quite a few marshalls over the years...so what I have to say is not just opinion. The marshall ministacks are cute and thats the major reason people buy them.....LOOKS! The cabinet construction sucks and the stock speakers are junk and that's a fact. If you want a better marshall tone in a small SS amp...get a used Lead 12(see pic) for about $100. They sound much better.....Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame used one quite a bit in the studio with great results. There really are not too many choices in the sub $300 tube amp market that are worth considering IMHO....Blackheart,Valve Jr....Fender Champion 600....and the Peavey come to mind. I think the crates sound like crap in that price range. In the SS end of the spectrum both the small vox and the roland cube are the ones to beat IMHO.mar12.jpg

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My $.02:

 

I've tried out the Roland Cube series, and they are killer. For SS amps they can't be beat.

 

You also might want to check out the various combo amps from Tech21. They are analog SS, but sound very good. Their 30w amp with a 10" speaker, the Trade Mark 30, sounds great and is not that much cash.

 

For tube amps, the VJ and Blackheart offer tremendous bang for the buck. I own both, and I would say that the Blackheart takes pedals better than the VJ, but the VJ has a better natural OD sound. The Blackheart is built better, although the VJ is a close second. If you're into high gain/metal sounds, you'll need a pedal. The VJ and BH do bluesy OD, but not super saturated, high gain sounds.

 

I've owned Marshall Lead 12 amps in the past and they sound very good. To make them sound better, swap out the crummy speaker that comes stock and put a better speaker with a bigger magnet in it. The stock speaker in a Lead 12 sounds tinny. If you're set on getting a mini stack practice amp, the 80s Lead 12 micro stacks have the same electronics, speakers and construction of the Lead 12 combo amp. They are on Ebay all the time.

 

I was able to try out a Fender VibroChamp XD the other day at Guitar Center, and I was blown away. What a killer sounding amp. The amp has a 12AX7 and an SE 6V6 output section. Lots of killer tones in that amp. The FX are only so-so, but they don't suck. For $250 it is a great deal and it has a 5 year warranty.

 

For more power and two channels try out the Super Champ XD, it has the same preamp sounds and FX, but has a 15W push pull output section with two 6V6s. Aparently the phase inverter is a cathodyne type a la the 5E3 rather than the later LTPI type of the later Blackface circuits.

 

tung

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Okay' date=' thanks. For a practice amp (that's never gonna be cranked too loud) which is the best VALUE:

 

Epiphone Valve Jr - $149

Peavey Valve King Royal - $199

Fender Champion 600 - $199

Blackheart BH5-112 - $279

[/quote']

 

What kinds of sounds are you looking to get out of the amp?

 

If you're going to use pedals, the BH5-112 will sound the best. It has a 12" speaker and a large cabinet which will give you a nice full sound. It also stays clean longer than the VJ, which likes to break up early. The down side of the BH is that the tone knobs do almost nothing. The treble works to a certain extent, but the bass and mid controls don't do anything that I can hear.

 

The VJ and Fender have dinky speakers, and sound bad. I would bet that you will get tired of them fairly fast and will be looking to upgrade the speaker very soon. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a good sounding 6"-8" speaker made. They all sound terrible to me.

 

The only one I haven't played on that list is the Peavey, so I can't comment on how that sounds.

 

Another one that came to mind is the Crate Palomino V8. This amp has an SE EL84 output and a 12AX7 preamp tube. It also has two op amp gain stages before the 12AX7, so it has a ton of gain on tap and sounds good for low-volume high gain sounds. I believe it has a 10" speaker. They were blowing them out at Guitar Center for $100 a while ago. The only caveat is that they look like they are built pretty cheezy.

 

tung

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5 watts, if you use them, are loud.

 

I used a Marshall mg series amp. in fact, I like the plain jane model a lot, sold it and got the cd model, the one with FX.

 

at low volume it was a better practice amp in a couple of ways, over my vj.

 

first off.. I didn't have to buy any efx pedals, *I have them but didn't need to use them.*

secondly, it produces any of it's sound at practically any volume level.

it has a cd input.. headphone jack.. line out..

 

none of those features on the epi, the BH or the champ. I haven't looked up the peavey.

 

I can get pretty ok sounds out of the vj at low volume.. but not it's best.

All these people talking about tone seem to forget you have to get into the tubes to have the tube goodys.

 

Here's what I'm thinking.. I can be wrong, only you will know..

 

But with the solid state practice amp, you sit down plug in and play. Everything is at your fingertips.

It's not made to be the best tone in the world, just good SS tones and then you get features which replace the tube

expense.

You have all the practice advantages you need..low volume, phones, basic efx, no tube replacements, good warranty, (great warranty.. when I had a problem with one of mine, Marshall sent me another one right away. It was here almost immediately, too. fast.. and no shipping charges!)

 

I love my vj. I have two. But if there's one thing I hear over and over, it's about a volume reduction. people don't want to have to crank it up so loud to get the tones they want, and wind up paying for an attenuator, or building one.

 

In short, there's a practical consideration that in your daily practice may mean the SS is a better choice, the tube amp may make you feel better for it's tube sound, but the features may drive up your expense and in the end, not really get you the best of its tone in your application.

 

So.. at least consider these amps for the features they present. Perhaps some of them have efx loops, for instance. That should be a plus..

*reverb in front of the pre amp isn't as nice as after.. etc.... with the vj you have no loop*

 

I changed because in the end, for low volume I just used a multi efxt.. and the very best vj tone was secondary..

I just don't want you to think that there's going to be a great deal of difference re: tone, without realizing there are possible shortcomings from the tube amps.

 

and now that that's over..

I believe the vj beats the champ, hands down.

The BH and VJ are designed by the same guy.. the BH features, like tone stack, while they take away from the overall output, and have been

critisised by many for not being the most functional, still is a good choice.

I dunno the peavey.. so I can't say much.

 

TWANG

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Okay' date=' thanks. For a practice amp (that's never gonna be cranked too loud) which is the best VALUE:

 

Epiphone Valve Jr - $149

Peavey Valve King Royal - $199

Fender Champion 600 - $199

Blackheart BH5-112 - $279

[/quote']

 

I've never played the Peavy or Blackheart, though I've heard good things about them. I wasn't real impressed with the Fender or Epiphone, though. With only a volume knob, they both lacked the versitility I was looking for. I'd have been much happier if there was at least a gain and volume.

 

As far as the Marshall MG series, I think the 15w stack is overpriced. For the same money you can get much better amps. Zakk Wylde uses 'em as his backstage amp, though; he'd disagree with me. That said, I think the 15w MG combos are great. I use the one with reverb as my main practice amp and love the tone. Sure it's not tube, but it's still good stuff. Note: the clean channel is crap. Simply too quiet. And the dirty channel is only good due to the FDD switch. Never play without it. With the FDD, you can use your guitar's volume knob to control the amount of distortion. I like to have the gain at about 9 o'clock. On my strat, that lets me have clean tones with my volume under 6. Around 6, light playing is clean and heavy playing has some bite. Over 6, I get various amounts of distortion. On my LP Deluxe, that breaking point is between about 4 and 5 rather than 6. The MG15 combos are under $200 and come in a version with no effects, one with just reverb, and one with the digital effects.

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Okay' date=' thanks. For a practice amp (that's never gonna be cranked too loud) which is the best VALUE:

 

Epiphone Valve Jr - $149

Peavey Valve King Royal - $199

Fender Champion 600 - $199

Blackheart BH5-112 - $279

[/quote']

 

For completion's sake:

 

Crate VTX30B 30W 1x10 - $199.99

Crate V5 - $199.99

Gretsch Electromatic G5222 - $195.00

 

If you're in Europe, Harley Benton has an interesting option in the GA15, 15W all tube 10" without DSP-crap €158(euro)

 

Personally I'd stay away from anything with a 6 or 8" speaker. And if I didn't have 3 JR. heads allready I might go with a small second hand Peavey combo like a Bandit.

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Read reviews' date='if possible, about the 15watt Fender Blues Junior TUBE-amp with 12'' speaker.

Great little practice amp for home or small clubs.

[/quote']

 

That's a whole different ballpark at $480... we're talking sub $300 amps here.

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