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sexygibson

Stock Tube Amp

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I am in the market for a new, small tube amp for home. I am looking at 5-15 watt models and something inexpensive. I owned a V.J. at one time but wasn't overly pleased with it in its stock form. They are many choices out there these days; Peavey, Fender, Epi, Crate, and Blackheart, just to name a few.

I know many of you guys have owned several small amps from different builders so I pose this question. What would be my best bet in a small, inexpensive tube amp that I will be happy with in stock form.

Btw; I would ideally like something with decent clean tones and enough gain/ break-up to play classic rock material.

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Any new tube amp that you buy today that's in the "inexpensive" catagory will come with a set of flaws and limitations, obviously, with some being more objectionable than others. You can't build "awesome" amps and sell them for $400-$500. You have to compromise on everything in order to meet a price point like that. What you have to hope for is that the circuit design is at least good enough to overcome some of the obvious materials deficiencies, in order to make the amp useable.

 

That said, there seem to be many manufacturers that have found ways to do this. The Fender XD Champs, and both Juniors are worthy contenders, as is the Egnator Rebel, the Orange Tiny Terror, Peavey's Classic and Windsor lines, Blackheart, and I'm sure, many, many others, including, probably Epiphone. How about that "Little Lanilei" from Songworks? That's a pretty interesting little amp.

 

We live in an era of abundant choices for tube amps, and that includes those with rather modest price points. As long as a person isn't expecting a $400, 15 watt tube amp to be the greatest amp ever made, there are probably dozens of viable choices.

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Thanks for your thoughts m-theory. You make some very valid points. True; one can't expect a $400-$500 amp to sound like a boutique amp but I guess they are just a good starting point and hence the reason guys do some mods to them.

I am seriously leaning to the Fender Junior line, probably a Blues Junior, but from what I've read most guys mod those too. I guess I am expecting too much from an inexpensive amp and no matter what I go with may have to mod to my liking.

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I just picked up a Blues Jr. a couple of weeks ago. I was planning on getting one later this year, but with Fender's price hike, I pulled the trigger early. So far I'm liking it a lot, but not sure I'd be as happy with it at $600 instead of $479. FWIW.

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True that Dennis. I just hate the recent price hikes by the major players. I;m not sure what they were thinking. With economy tanking the way it is I would think that the last thing you would want to do is increase your prices. Anyway, I may end up having to buy used, which actually could be a plus. Might can pick something up that someone else has already modded.

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My Hot Rod Deluxe was 450.00 new when they came out.

There's no way in hell I'd pay the current price.

I'd look for a used Peavey Classic 30, probably.

 

I don't care about past versus present arguments about what money is worth.. 700.00 is just a crazy amount of money for what those amps really are.

If the HRD was a genuine well made tube amp, I could probably see it.. but considering what's really in there.. and what's not so hot about that..

no way.

 

TWANG

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FWIW I picked up a Blackstar HT 5 combo for $399.00 about a month ago. I've been very pleased with it, in fact, its' the only amp I've ever bought that I can't find a single thing I don't like. 2 channels (comes w/ footswitch), F/X loop, lineout/headphone out w/ cabinet emulation. Sounds great at low volumes and can get quite loud cranked. They are kinda hard to find in the U.S. now until mid April.

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SG, I don't know what your budget is, but here's a Crate V33 tube head (modded) and a 2 x 10 cab over in Clemson for $450 which is a pretty decent deal:

 

http://greenville.craigslist.org/msg/1076457040.html

 

Also a Fender 2 x 10 Concert model for $400 in Gaffney. I think the correct model name is Fender Concert II 210 Combo; they sold for quite a bit more and got decent ratings. Made in 1982-87 and have 2-6L6 / 5-12AX7 / 2-12AT7 tubes. Maybe could talk them down a little.

 

http://greenville.craigslist.org/msg/1077810468.html

 

And here's a Fender Deville that needs work for $300. Probably something simple, those things are built like tanks:

 

http://greenville.craigslist.org/msg/1074188058.html

 

Lastly, if you're looking for a decent 'new' tube combo for cheap, here's an Epi Valve Special for $239 (recently discontinued). I just bought one of these for more than that and it's not bad (needs an easy speaker upgrade), has reverb and some DSP effects:

 

http://www.firstqualitymusic.com/itemdetail.asp?item=EPA-BKSPDSP

 

Oh wait, I just looked in the Charlotte area, and there's tons more including this Fender Hot Rod Deluxe PR246 40W Tube Amp, cover included - now that's a great amp for $375:

 

http://charlotte.craigslist.org/msg/1077809178.html

 

Also:

http://charlotte.craigslist.org/msg/1076566825.html

 

http://charlotte.craigslist.org/msg/1076382334.html

 

http://charlotte.craigslist.org/msg/1075759451.html

 

http://charlotte.craigslist.org/msg/1075707374.html

 

Cheers,

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Thanks to you all, especially you Brian for the links in my area. I had actually saw the one for the Peavey ValveKing Royal 8 and may just consider that one. I have owned the Fender Hot Rod and it was a great amp but its 40 tube watts were just too much for home use. I live in an apartment so have to keep the volume reasonable so I would prefer nothing over 15 watts. I have always been a Peavey fan and really liked the ValveKing 112 when I tried it out so I think I'm gonna take a ride and try that Royal 8.

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If yo can wait a couple of weeks, you may want to consider a Vox AC4. With 1/4 W, 1 W, and 4 W setting it might provide breakup without scaring the neighbours too much.

 

I have tried the VK Royal 8 and IMO, the preamp distorsion was fizzy and the speaker was not very good. Another 5-watter with gain/master is the Ibanez Valbee, but IMO its preamp distorsion is fizzy (like a hornets nest).

None of these two can match the clean sound of my Epi VJ combo.

 

Klas

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Sexy, what about the Epiphone BC 30!??!??! I paid 420 for mine when they first came out and it's a fantastic beast.

 

amps.jpg?t=1237320936

 

My Fender Blues Deluxe was my first tube amp. I bought it in 1995 when I was 19 years old and I paid a whooping $461.16 for her!

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I have considered the BC 30 Svet. Because its switchable to 15 watts it would work for home use but its a bit out of my price range right now. Being that I have been out of work for 6 months now my budget is very low, although they're is alot of choices out there in the $300 range.

Although I've stated that I have the Valve Junior and wasn't happy with it I may give it another chance. I believe that I owned a version and hope I may be happier with the new models.

I would really like to try the Valve Senior out but we know how thats going !

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I might be to new here to add my 2-cent on the EVJ. but when I change the tubes to JJ"s from Eurotubes....Night and Day difference.... :- =P~ =P~

 

what kind of difference did the JJs make Jazz ? More headroom ?

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change in tubes is mostly tone only..

you could replace the 12ax7 with something like a 5771 with less gain, that would probably give you a sense of more head room.

also the there are a few cap's within the VJ that could be replaced to 'thin' the bottom end tone out a bit that could give a sense of more head room (both pre-amp cathode's down to something like 1uf and the el85 cathode cap to something like 1000uf).

 

But if you're looking for clean.. you might want to consider a 'baby will'; this is a conversion of the VJ to a 18watt lite that will give you enough head room you're looking for.

and if you scrounge around and do the work yourself you'd probably build it for under $300; beside you have nothing else to do right now... you're unemployed

 

BTW.. how come you have a rank of moderator and you’re out of work?

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BTW.. how come you have a rank of moderator and you’re out of work?

 

Because I have nothing else to do but prowl the forum all day ! LOL ! No, I wasn't nessasarly looking for alot of headroom. I could stand it starting to break up at around 4 or so. I actually just got back from playing a Peavey VaveKing Royal 8 today at a local shop. I couldn't really crank it as the place was pretty busy with other guys trying to play but I liked what I heard. I also like the fact that it has a tone knob. Anyone had any experience with the Royal 8 ?

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what kind of difference did the JJs make Jazz ? More headroom ?

 

well seems like it holds together better with the lows and highs...not as boxy sounding....not as dark...but some of the dark I liked....I'm new to this tube thang and man I'm diggin this big time...

Hope it all works out for ya........

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I might be to new here to add my 2-cent on the EVJ. but when I change the tubes to JJ"s from Eurotubes....Night and Day difference.... =P~ =P~ =P~

 

Jazzric, how so, if you will. I've got an Epi Vjr half stack, and as noted above, just bought a Blues Jr. I've heard good things about JJ's and have been giving though to upgrading both, but haven't gotten to it yet. Anyway, what's the biggest diff?

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Jazzric' date=' how so, if you will. I've got an Epi Vjr half stack, and as noted above, just bought a Blues Jr. I've heard good things about JJ's and have been giving though to upgrading both, but haven't gotten to it yet. Anyway, what's the biggest diff?[/quote']

 

 

well, once again I'm new to this but I guess the biggest diff would be it's "smoother", ..tighter when I turn it up, and less dark..I did a lot of reading over at,

 

http://reviews.harmony-central.com/reviews/Guitar+Amp/product/Epiphone/Valve+Junior+Head/10/1

 

and

 

http://www.eurotubes.com/

 

hope that helps..

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I was going to ask what version of the Valve Junior you had, but you seem to have realised that already...

 

I have mixed feelings about my Valve Junior... sometimes I feel very good about it (I got a nice chimey sound from my Strat the other day), but other days I feel like I'm getting nothing but mud.

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SexyGibson, when you tried out the ValveKing, did you look at the Peavey Vypyr Tube 60? It's a loud one at 60 watts, but has a master volume, as well as a pre and post gain. You get a 12ax7 preamp and dual 6L6 output stage, plus modeling for 12 amps clean and dirty modes which gives you 24 amp models. There are 11 stompboxes and 11 rack effects.

 

I've had mine for a week and a half and just yesterday took my Vox AD50VT to the dealer to sell on consignment. I kept the Roland Cube 60 for a home amp.

 

I've played Fender Devilles and Hot Rod Deluxes and this Vypyr has me sold. I know that the purists on the board will turn their noses up at the Vypyr and place it in the Line 6 class, but I've owned a Line 6 Spider III 75 and only kept it for a few months before becoming disenchanted.

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That's the trick Dave.

the Vypyr is about $200 more that SG wants to spend.

 

an amp that sounds clean, doesn't muddy up like a VJ does when cranked and is stock... all for less then $300...

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I have not tried the Vypyr line Dave. That line was not out at the time I tried the ValveKing. Doesn't the Vypyr line have some smaller offerings ? I'll have to check that out.

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I got something guys ! went to a local shop today that I was just in a few days ago and didn't see anything like what I was looking for at the time. I had just made a round at a couple of pawn shops and decided to stop in for strings. I made my usual walk through the used section, on to the acoustics, the electrics next, and finally the amp section. As I stood there drooling over a Marshall DSL 401 that I have been eyeing for some time I glanced down at the floor and said " whats this ? This wasn't here a couple days ago."

It was a Crate V5. Just about what I've been looking for. I grabbed an Ibanez off the wall ( it was the closest thing ) and plugged her up.

It had very useable cleans and started breaking up real nice at about 6. The amp is very silent up to this point but after 7 there is a slight hum but nothing unbearable.

The crunch at 6 and beyond is very bluesy and also suitable for classic rock. My first thought was I would need a pedal but I really don't think I will.

I took the amp to the front and asked what it would take for me to take it home. The salesman said that $85 plus tax and it was mine. I didn't haggle and brought it home.

After getting home I ran my newly acquired Squire Double Fat Strat through it. I maxed the the volume out and turn the volume on the guitar down. Very nice ! The tone knob on the amp is also a nice touch and responds well.

I did notice that high volumes the speaker seems to " fart ". Would a speaker upgrade improve this ? Wouldn't the same size speaker do the same ?

All in all, for the price, I am very ,very pleased. Thanks to you all for all the helpful advice.

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