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Epiphone Valve Senior questions - please help me decide


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First post here. I need some advice.


I've been thinking of getting a valve senior but I need some advice...

Maybe some of you that own both the Jr and the senior could help me out.


My Situation...

I just started playing with a second band doing mostly "color" chords and a few leads. There guitar lineup includes a lead guitarist playing a Marshall half stack, an acoustic / hollowbody rhythm guitarist, me playing occasional lead and a lot of chordal variations, a bassist, a keyboardist and a drummer. Almost everyone sings and there is another singer for some songs. In other words, lots of sound!


I own an old Marshall JMP but I think it would be a bit overkill for this band.

I tried my fender champ and it worked well but I had to always "dime" it. Being old, it's far more valuable to me for recording so I don't want to schlep it around and damage it. Not for this project.


I have been using my valve junior for practice and it worked ok (I actually love the sound) but when the drummer brings his acoustic kit, everyone turns up and I'm barely cutting through (and I mean barely) with the vol at 1:00. If I turn it past 1:00 or so, the amp begins to really saturate a little too much and I lose all my cleans and headroom.


I looked at the Marshall Haze (and am still considering it), the tiny terror (too sensitive of a gain and a little fizzy up top for me) and The Egnator rebel (OK but still a little too much hi gain fizz) but I was really curious about the valve senior. Unfortunately, no one in my area has one to try out.


My Questions...

I was wondering how the sound of the Senior compares to the jr.

Do they sound drastically different due to the different tubes (and all the other bells and whistles) or are they "similar"


How loud is the senior compared to the junior? My estimate is that it should be about 6db louder but how loud does that sound in reality? Will it "cut through" over a fairly loud but solid drummer? What about clean or cleanish headroom and responsiveness? How does the natural overdrive sound?


Any detailed help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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You'll get a lot more volume out of the VSr, and unlike the VJr, you have separate Gain and Master controls, so you can dial in how much breakup you want. Also 3-band tone control that works moderately well. There's also a Presence control that has some mysterious purpose, but nobody knows what it does. The reverb is almost useless, you'll need a pedal for that unless you don't need it. That being said, it's still only an 18-watt tube amp, and it's ability to cut through will be highly dependent on cabinet/speakers, and how you position them. If you're thinking of the combo, I'd suggest an amp stand.


Here's a link to some previous comments: http://forums.epiphone.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=11567

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Thanks for the link.


In your opinion, would it be loud enough to overcome the drums in a band / gig situation?


I like small wattage amps because I like the sound of power tubes being driven hard but I just want to make sure I have (just) enough headroom in a band situation.


As for my cabinet, I am using the Jr. with the Epiphone extension cab. I do have a Mesa 2x12 and another 4x12 if need be but I really want to keep this gig as "portable" as possible. Plus, I actually like the sound of the 1x12 extension cab.



Have you used alongside bass and drums yet? If so, how did it fare? Is the volume / power difference immediately noticeable between the jr. and the senior or is there just a "little" bit of an increase?


Sorry to ask so many questions but it looks like the only way to test this amp is to order it online so I want to gather as much info as possible before I kiss my $300.00 goodbye. Thanks again!



Reverb - I don't worry about it as I never really use it live.


Presence knob - My JMP has a presence knob as well. I use it like a treble knob and I turn the actual treble knob all the way off. Obviously I have no idea if the senior works the same way but maybe it's worth a try.

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Hey Jupiter, the VSr is plenty loud for most gigging situations IMHO. Any venue that requires more SPL than it can deliver should also have a stage monitoring system wher the amp can be mic'd and mixed in. But I play mostly classic rock, blues and jazz and don't play metal or any of it's variants, so take that into consideration.


I don't know what part of the world you live in, but if you're in the lower 48, I'd suggest you buy it from Sweetwater or Musician's Friend so you can return it if you don't like it.


Just my $0.02...

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Presence control that has some mysterious purpose' date=' but nobody knows what it does.[/b']


heheehehe Exactly.... I think it's like a back lite feature that if you stand in front of the amp it makes your rock power stance shine with mucho Presence! At least that's how the presence control works on my senior [biggrin] Now on the OT yep the Senior is both Loud and Sweet at the same time. It would be a great choice for you in your current band situation. I compare this amp to the Fender DRRI. I ordered mine from Sweetwater. Cheers

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18 watts is certainly enough power to gig with, as long as you're not aiming for loud, crystal clean cleans. In that case, you'd need 30-40 watts.


I agree with others, that you really need to just try it out, if you're interested. That's really the only way you're going to know whether or not it, or any other amp you're interested in, is going to work for you.

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I ordered one from Sweetwater. It's on the fedex truck now and should be here sometime before four. I have rehearsal tonight so I'll soon find out if it works for me. They gave me a thirty day-try out period so if it just does not work out, I can return it. From the comments and reviews on this forum, I have high hopes that this wont be the case, however. I'll post here with my initial opinion in a few days.


I'll also be testing this amp in my home studio as well. I'm in the middle of a project for my own band.


Big thanks to all for the feedback.

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OK - Here it comes...my review of the valve senior after owning it (a little less than) one day.


Pleased to Meet You

I had the amp shipped to my work. Props to Sweetwater for allowing that. Not all companies will do that for you. I was immediately struck by how heavy the box was. Substantial. Nice.


I pulled out the amp for a quick inspection and was pleased by how solid everything felt, just like my valve jr, but bigger. Nice. My only complaint is that the owners manual is fairly useless. Small potatoes.


When I got home I finally had a chance to test it to see if it worked. After leaving it on standby for a minute, I fired it up. For about ten seconds there was a slight burning smell [cool] ! I decided to leave it on and see what would happen next (that's what warranties are for). The smell went away (something on the tubes?) after another minute and all was well.


I'm in the middle of a recording project and I wanted to lay a few tracks (with my fender champ that was already set up) before I had rehearsal so I only had enough time to turn it on and twist a few knobs before I had to get down to business. The one thing that struck me is that this amp really can get LOUD. Nice.


Baptism of Fire

I finished laying tracks with my feeble fingers with just enough time to pack the amp up and get to practice (I was about 10 minutes late actually). I wanted to have a few minutes to fiddle with different settings on the senior before I left but time was not on my side.


The acoustic drum kit was already set up so right away I knew it was going to be a sink or swim situation with this amp.

I'm happy to report that this amp did the front crawl, the dog paddle, the breaststroke, the butterfly and the backstroke with ease. The valve senior sounded great and had no problem keeping up with the drummer no matter how hard he pounded. In fact, I had to turn down! Nice!


Show 'em What You Got

Lots of different tones, mostly by playing with the master and the gain, were available. The bass knob seems to add a low end "thunk" to the sound. I wound up turning it almost off as we have three guitars and I didn't want to compete, tone-wise, against the thunk of the Marshall. The treble seemed to add a subtle amount of high end but the effect was slight. I wound up turning this down all the way as well. Eventually I began using the presence knob like a treble knob. I'm not sure exactly how effective this was but it sounded great.


The reverb was hilariously "bad". Anything past about 3 resulted in looooong trails of mushy verb. I could see using it as an effect but not much else.


Kick out the Jams

I could easily go from wonderful tube clean to crunch using my guitar's volume knobs and/ or altering how hard I hit the strings. The amp had good sensitivity and touch responsiveness. More so than the Egnator I tried out. The gain knob works great and while this amp is not a modern metal amp, I could easily see bashing out some old school Sabbath on it. While everyone was taking a break, I started tearing into some Zeppelin riffs. This amp can crank. Throw in a tubescreamer and you can cover a lot of ground.



Bottom Line

Overall, this amp is a keeper. Though I only have had it for less than 24 hours, it survived a three and a half hour practice without a hiccup, went from smooth cleans (not quite fender, but not too bad either) to brutal riffing ala Rage Against the Machine, with relative ease and while the tone controls don't have wide sweeping capabilities, the tone was always great. I would have no reservations about gigging with this amp. It has more than enough volume for small to medium stages. We practice on a stage after hours and I had headroom to spare.


Really, besides the fact that the reverb unit is a waste, the only bad thing I have to say is that it blows the valve jr. completely out of the water in both tone and versatility. It's not even close. NICE!


Thanks to all that recommended this amp!

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