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Saljam

May trade in my Valve Senior... Am I crazy?

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First off.. I love my Epi Valve Senior. I've had it since October an I think it produces some great tones. My problem is that it's wayyyy too loud for my home use (I'm 40 with a wife and small children). I will never be playing with a band or in a situation where I need this kind of volume. I find myself playing my acoustic more often than my electrics. Am I nuts? If I make the move, please recommend me something else .. I play hard rock, alternative rock stuff (pearl jam, alice in chains, gnr...). I need both the nice cleans and crunchy distortion. Thanks

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Thanks Brian... Those gadgets are too high tech for me man!! I'm thinking about a smaller amp with less juice! Maybe The valve Jr Hot Rod.. maybe a Blackheart.. Maybe the VOX 4 watter. I don't know, but I've been thinking this for a while. If I crank my master volume I have no room on the gain switch. I want to get the tubes working but it's tough with this 20 watt amp. Great amp though!

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Even a 5 watt tube amp cranked up where the power tube's singing the sweetest will still be get-you-into-trouble kinda loud in a house or apartment. Unfortunately, few 5 watters have multiple channels, much less a truly flexible tone, for that matter. If the Valve Senior has the tones you want, hang on to it, and get a good speaker attenuator or something to soak up the extra power you don't need. Even with a 5 watt amp, you may still find yourself in need of speaker attenuation.

 

Here's something to mull over. The Lady Luck is a fairly efficient speaker that holds its own against others in the 99db/w/m range. Inefficient speakers with a lower efficiency such as the 95db rating of Jensens can help a good bit on the home front.

 

Gil...

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I have a Vox 4 watt head and cab (AC4TVH) with a built in attenuator and even on 1/4 watt it's loud enough to annoy my wife. Maybe it's just my playing ;)

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Thanks Brian... Those gadgets are too high tech for me man!! I'm thinking about a smaller amp with less juice! Maybe The valve Jr Hot Rod.. maybe a Blackheart.. Maybe the VOX 4 watter. I don't know' date=' but I've been thinking this for a while. If I crank my master volume I have no room on the gain switch. I want to get the tubes working but it's tough with this 20 watt amp. Great amp though![/quote']

 

 

I have a 50's 4 watt Lectrolab R200B No gain, no pain(sorry...just had to) 1/2 volume and below it is sweet and soft, even sounds very good with my accoustics. Cranked up a little higher it has great blues sounds. Almost maxed is chunky rock. It might get you in trouble with the wife if she is in the same room. My music room is right next to the frontroom and the bleed over is minimal.

I see them for sale from time to time, perhaps somethimg along those lines would work for you,

 

And in my humble opinionn Keep the senior. It costs nothing setting there, looks good doing it, and someday you might need it.

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Thanks for all the response guys. I appreciate it. I will ponder this over the next couple weeks. I do keep the amp in my basement office so I can get the tubes working down there. Perhaps I should keep the Senior and get another smaller amp for practising upstairs with the civilians (family). I do like the sound of that blackheart killer ant and the Vox 4 watter. Thanks again.

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...and the Vox 4 watter

4 watts is going to be virtually as perceptibly loud as 20. If you really want a markedly quieter tube amp than 20 watts, you really have to either pop down to a fractional watt amp, or something with variable voltage regulator/power scaling, so that you can dail the 20 down to 1/4 watt or so. An attenuator is an option, although they do muck up the tone a bit.

 

The Li'l Devil, which is a "trainwreck express" built with subminiature tubes, has VVR that allows scaling from 1/4 watt to 2 watts.

 

The song works products, such as Little Lanelei, is a fractional watt tube amp with output that feeds into a mosfet SS power section, and is scalable from virtually nothing to 50 watts, or whatever the rating of that given SS section is.

 

The killer ant is a fractional watt amp that pushes somewhere around 1/4 to 1/2 watt.

 

Another option is the Zvex nano amp, which is another fractional watt amp.

http://zvexamps.com/amp_view.html

 

Beavis audio has a project called "Noisy Cricket," which is a variation of the runoffgroove fractional watt SS amp "Ruby," http://runoffgroove.com/ruby.html which has many other slight variations and name changes, including the Zinky "li'l smokey."

http://www.beavisaudio.com/projects/NoisyCricket/

http://www.smokeyamps.com/Smokey_Pages/smokey.html

 

Noisy cricket has also been developed into a hybrid design:

http://olcircuits.com/olc_tubecricket.html

 

 

Lots and lots of ways to go with this.

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4 watts is going to be virtually as perceptibly loud as 20. If you really want a markedly quieter tube amp than 20 watts' date=' you really have to either pop down to a fractional watt amp, or something with variable voltage regulator/power scaling, so that you can dail the 20 down to 1/4 watt or so. An attenuator is an option, although they do muck up the tone a bit.

 

The Li'l Devil, which is a "trainwreck express" built with subminiature tubes, has VVR that allows scaling from 1/4 watt to 2 watts.

 

The song works products, such as Little Lanelei, is a fractional watt tube amp with output that feeds into a mosfet SS power section, and is scalable from virtually nothing to 50 watts, or whatever the rating of that given SS section is.

 

The killer ant is a fractional watt amp that pushes somewhere around 1/4 to 1/2 watt.

 

Another option is the Zvex nano amp, which is another fractional watt amp.

http://zvexamps.com/amp_view.html

 

Beavis audio has a project called "Noisy Cricket," which is a variation of the runoffgroove fractional watt SS amp "Ruby," http://runoffgroove.com/ruby.html which has many other slight variations and name changes, including the Zinky "li'l smokey."

http://www.beavisaudio.com/projects/NoisyCricket/

http://www.smokeyamps.com/Smokey_Pages/smokey.html

 

Noisy cricket has also been developed into a hybrid design:

http://olcircuits.com/olc_tubecricket.html

 

 

Lots and lots of ways to go with this. [/quote']

Thank you for all the info. It looks like you know your stuff!! Perhaps after all the input I will keep my Valve Senior and look for a fractional watt amp. I like the clips I've seen of the Blackheart Killer Ant. The link you posted of the Zvex Nano amp is very interesting also.. sounded great. Do you know how much the Zvex costs? Thanks again

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Yeah, the ZVex Nano ain't cheep, but it sure is a sweet little critter with those sub-mini 6021 tubes. The tone is very detailed with all the fatness and sparkle you could ever want, plus totally touch sensitive response to picking dynamics, and a truly massive distortion. And since they run on 12vDC, they're indispensable when the power goes out.

 

But even at 1/2 watt, I'd still have to say they're pretty loud. With an inefficient Jensen P10r behind the back seat of my car, the Nano will easily keep up with the car stereo cranked to 11 while I'm jamming away in the front seat. For the bedroom, I use an even more inefficient Jensen P8r to cut some volume. I love my Nano so much I bought a second one.

 

However, if you're not worried about playing when away from the power grid, then a Killer Ant would certainly be a far more cost effective way to go.

 

Gil...

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Give the sub-mini trainwreck "li'l devil" and the song works "little lanilei" a listen as well. Much more versatile than a simple fractional watt amp, and superb tone to boot. The killer ant really doesn't do anything for me, from the clips I've heard. Sounds very congested/constipated/mushy/muddy/dark to me, much like a stock Vjr. I suspect it could be corrected with proper modifications, but out of the box, it doesn't move me, personally.

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Have you tried any of the new Vox Valvetronix VT series? They all have very convincing amp models, decent effects and have output wattage controls. If you're not hung up about having just one tube amplified by solid state, then give it a try. I have owned several Valvetronix amps over the past 5 years and now own two 50 watters. I prefer them to all-tube amps any day, considering price, versatility, build quality, etc. [confused]

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You should think of......

many small watters don't have gain and master volume

 

Peter

 

My senior bit the dust. One of the power tubes went supernova!

 

Luckily, It was still under warranty.

 

I picked up (though it was more money) a marshall haze 15 watt head. It has two channels. Channel 1 is straight volume with pretty nice cleans up to about 11:00 where you get increasing classic marshall crunch (think plexi). Channel 2 has a master volume gain knob to give more modern marshall crunch at any volume. Works really well at bedroom levels.

 

It's not as versitile as the senior (and not as loud - damn, the senior is one loud amp for 20 watts) but I played two shows already with it (6 piece band) and it worked flawlessly and has that classic marshall sound without any of the high gain fizz that most small watt amps seem to produce.

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Seriously, get a blackstar HT-5 amp.

 

Perfect for classic rock.

 

2 Channels,

 

fx loop

 

U.K - U.S voicing control (very good)

 

Sounds wicked at low volumes and good through headphones too! And also pretty loud for 5 watts.

 

Best amp ive owned in the low power range by far.

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Very interesting thread and great suggestions from everyone!

 

I'm in a similar state with SalJam, being a family man with 2 small kids myself, who only plays at home (and my home doesn't even have a basement...[crying] ). Actually I'm pretty satisfied with my H&K, on which I use mainly the clean channel, pushed a little for kind of a crunch effect (yeah, from a solid state amp!), but I want to get a tube amp eventually...

 

I've searched the internet with demos and such for quite some time know, and I was rather leaning to the VoxAC4TVH. It looked like the attenuator seems handy, but some guys are saying that it still gets pretty loud...

 

 

And there are so many choices in the global market, that it gets so puzzling...

Laney

Vox

Marshall

Blackstar

 

 

Ooh...#-o[blink]

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Very interesting thread and great suggestions from everyone!

 

I'm in a similar state with SalJam' date=' being a family man with 2 small kids myself, who only plays at home (and my home doesn't even have a basement...[cool ). Actually I'm pretty satisfied with my H&K, on which I use mainly the clean channel, pushed a little for kind of a crunch effect (yeah, from a solid state amp!), but I want to get a tube amp eventually...

 

I've searched the internet with demos and such for quite some time know, and I was rather leaning to the VoxAC4TVH. It looked like the attenuator seems handy, but some guys are saying that it still gets pretty loud...

 

 

And there are so many choices in the global market, that it gets so puzzling...

Laney

Vox

Marshall

Blackstar

 

 

Ooh...:- [cool]

I've been looking at the AC4TV as well to use at home. I think I will end up going with this and keeping my Valve Sr as well.

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Have you tried any of the new Vox Valvetronix VT series? They all have very convincing amp models' date=' decent effects and have output wattage controls. If you're not hung up about having just one tube amplified by solid state, then give it a try. I have owned several Valvetronix amps over the past 5 years and now own two 50 watters. I prefer them to all-tube amps any day, considering price, versatility, build quality, etc. [biggrin']

 

 

 

 

Check these out. I've got a Vox AD30VT-XL. It's got some great models, as said, and has an attenuator so you can still get that tube "vibe" at bedroom volumes. That said, I'm still into driving my neighbors nuts every now and then with my Valve Sr. [cool]

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The blackstar can be played great at any volume. Full distortion at whisper volumes! sounds wicked low down and when cranked.

 

Seroiously you get so much versatility for your money.

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I guess everyone's home playing situation is different but in a closed room, I think the Valve Sr. sounds pretty good at low volumes. I tried the small SE amp scenario and like people here have said, there's no MV control so it can get loud fast when you are trying to get tube dist. Even though the Valve Sr is preamp tube dist at low volumes, I still think it sounds better than a pedal, just my unexperienced ear opinion.

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Get yourself a Weber Mini Mass attenuator. Unlike most passive attenuators these aren't total tone suckers at bedroom attenuation levels plus you can spec them with both a line out and headphone tap (with it's own volume control)

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