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downgrading to an amp suitable for home use

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Hi all,

I'm trading in the epi BC 30 as I've found it too loud for home use. I've tracked through past posts and see there is good feedback on the Vox VTs although having had the full tube amp i'm reluctant to give it up.

 

I guess i need to stick to something in the 5 watt range. The Marshall Class 5's look great and get good reviews - but they've gone like hot cakes here and those that have them in stock have have a street price of over $600.

 

I take it the new valve senior will still be too big for me, so would my best bet still an epi valve junior with some modding? Most aussie stores seem to be out of stock though for some reason - I assume a new model is on the way. Anyway, I've got a budget of around $400 to $500 aussie dollars so any musings form other members would be welcome.

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If 30 watts is too much 15 is going to be as well, and, the truth is for home use even 5 watts is going to be quite loud. If you're looking to stay with a tube amp, you really should be looking for something in the fractional watt range, such as the Blackheart killer ant (which, I personally thing sounds awful in stock form, fwiw), the Zvex nano, sound works Little Lanilei (a fractional watt tube amp into a 50 watt mosfet SS amp), or Hall Amplification's 2 watt (scalable from 1/4 watt to 2 watts) trainwreck.

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A quick google shows the following prices in Australia:

Vox night train - $750 - $1000 (then I need a cab)

Blackheart Handsome Devil (head only - couldn't find the combo) - $900

and these all blow the budget

 

I couldn't locate any of the amps you refer to M-theory.

 

I have come across the Vox AC4 - which I assume is similar to the Hall Amplifications amp given its switchable between 4, 1 and 1/4 watt. Any views on these?

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[biggrin]

 

I recently got one of these, don't know about availability in Australia....

Bugera Vintage-5

 

 

1000234m.jpg

 

1000236q.jpg

 

 

Has a headphone jack, reverb, .1/1.0/5.0 output selection.

If one needs volumn later, a cab can be added

 

Maybe not the greatest little tube/combo, but for small quiet settings, it works pretty well.

$150.00 stateside, so well within your budget.

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+1 on the attenuator

 

I use one of these with my BC30 and absolutley love it.

 

m_mass-front.jpg

 

For a few extra $'s you can have it fitted with a headphone socket and line out as well which really increases it's flexability.

 

Also, even at max attenuation, it's not the massive tone killer that most attenuators are.

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Hadn't thought of an attenuator, but it sounds like an awesome option given I could keep the BC. I was just reading about them online.

 

Wiggy. what wattage is your mini mass? Just wanted to get a sense as to whether the 25 or 50 watt attenuator is best for the BC - and I assume you set the BC to 15 watts?

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I only use the Mini Mass at home with the amp set at 15W so I went with the 25W version. I also paid the extra for the lineout (a real benefit) and the headphone tap (less useful if you've got a mixer or recorder as you can di to that and use the headphones from there which I what I generally do)

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I'll second the THD Yellowjackets in the BC30!

 

Switch your output to triode (15 watts) and pull out your 6L6/5881 tubes and replace them with the Yellowjackets. These will cut your output power to ~7 watts on the triode setting and they do sound really good. If you push them real hard you may get a "fizzy" tone. If that happens just back off the volume a bit and you'll be getting great tones again.

 

I ultimately switched back to the 6L6 tubes because I can play a bit louder at home and I just like that full tone from the larger tubes.

 

Still, you get to keep your tube amp, AND get great tones at a lower volume. Also, the price will probably be in the $200 range in Aussie dollars.

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The built-in attenuator on my AD30VT has made it the only amp I play at night. Comes in real handy.

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I've been checking out the yellow jackets which appear to be a safer option than the attenuator (in as far as risking damage to the amp).

 

Twanger / PapaMidnite,

 

Is it only the two output tubes (5881's) I replace? If so, is it two of these I need?:

 

yellow jackets

 

and two of these?:

 

JJ Tesla EL84 Tubes

 

BTW, I've never even looked at the tubes in the BC and have no experience with working on amps. Is it just a matter of disconnecting the power, locating the tubes, unplugging and replugging?

 

thanks all

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traynor are distributed down under...they have this new lunch box head coming out, the Traynor Darkhorse:

 

lg_darkhorse_stack.jpg

 

Goes from 15 watts down to 2 watts output. I think the head and cab will go for ~$750 once released...may need to go shopping.

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I've been checking out the yellow jackets which appear to be a safer option than the attenuator (in as far as risking damage to the amp).

 

How do you work out that using an attenuator could somehow damage your amp? [confused]

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How do you work out that using an attenuator could somehow damage your amp? [confused]

 

 

 

I was gonna jump in too,but I'd probably insult somebody along the way! A good attenuator is the way to go in my opinion as well. Yellow jackets and el-84's will TOTALLY change the character and feel of the amp as well as reducing the volume.B)

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I was gonna jump in too' date='but I'd probably insult somebody along the way! A good attenuator is the way to go in my opinion as well. Yellow jackets and el-84's will TOTALLY change the character and feel of the amp as well as reducing the volume.[confused

 

 

Plus going that route will still leave the amp too loud to be played cranked at bedroom levels - 7W still kicks a lot of volume. VJr's are only 5W and they're definately not bedroom amps.

 

Your only real options are:

 

1. A decent attenuator (such as one of the Weber range)

 

2. A fractional wattage amp

 

3. Forget the BC30 and get a small ss amp/software/fx unit for home use.

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I bought a Peavey Valveking 112 and I used it always on the "A" setting and it gives about 25watt......sounded fine but still too much clout for me. Just bought a vintage Epiphone Pacemaker in great nick and from what I have read is about 12watt. I bought this amp on saturday and I am absolutely in love with one knob "Loudness" (not Volume :-) get that where you want it and then adjust with the volume and tone on the guitar......I am loving it. Blues, Jazz it makes my stock 89 Sheraton sound amazing, at a "Loudness" that is ideal in our home situation and as sweet as nut. It would not suit everyone but it is exactly the amp for me.

 

Epiphone Pacemaker 1963

 

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

 

If you are into clean blues and jazz and get a chance to try one of these, do it......There it is sitting next to Sheraton in my avatar.........My suitable for home use solution......

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Try the Blackheart 5W Little Giant head or combo. Excellent amp with 3W/5W switching. Billy Hyde's in Melbourne stocks them.

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I've been checking out the yellow jackets which appear to be a safer option than the attenuator (in as far as risking damage to the amp).

 

Twanger / PapaMidnite' date='

 

Is it only the two output tubes (5881's) I replace? If so, is it two of these I need?:

 

yellow jackets

 

and two of these?:

 

JJ Tesla EL84 Tubes

 

BTW, I've never even looked at the tubes in the BC and have no experience with working on amps. Is it just a matter of disconnecting the power, locating the tubes, unplugging and replugging?

 

thanks all

 

Yes. You will need 2 EL84 tubes along with the Yellowjackets. You will be replacing the 2 largest tubes in your amp. Easy to locate and a bit funny to change. You have to hold down 2 spring clips will simultaneously pulling the tube out. You do this for each tube socket.

 

Layboomo mentioned that the EL84s will change the tone and character of your amp. He's right. The extent of that change may not be as extreme as implied but they will change the tone of the amp. Still, it will be a good usable tone.

 

An attenuator, depending on which one you would buy, will also change the tone of your amp. As long as you pay attention to the specs and hook it up properly an attenuator will NOT damage your amp.

 

So now you have available just about all of the options. the last one hasn't been mentioned yet so I'll bring it up...an isolation cabinet. these are designed to house a speaker and a microphone. Your amp is plugged into the speaker and you can crank it as loud as you wish. the microphone is aimed at the speaker inside the cabinet. That gets plugged into a mixer which drives a headphone or a small PA system that you adjust to a volume level that meets your needs. this is the most expensive solution as an isolation cabinet alone could exceed the cost of your BC30. Then add in the mic, mixer, etc. and you have probably the best solution but also the most expensive.

 

So you have:

1) buy a smaller amp...

2) buy Yellowjackets...

3) buy an attenuator...

4) buy an isolation cabinet.

 

 

Ooh! I almost forgot. There are some multi FX pedals that do amp modeling along with adding FX. Some of these have the facility to allow you to plug in headphones directly or you can run a signal to your computers' audio system. I have the Vox Tonelab LE. This unit has a headphone out and does a few pretty decent amp imitations. I think Line 6 and the Pod will provide similar functionality. The bonus here is that you would now have good usable FX for when you can play a bit louder. The price of these units varies widely so you should be able to find one that fits within your budget.

 

Now comes the really hard part...deciding which solution will work best for your situation.

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How do you work out that using an attenuator could somehow damage your amp? [biggrin]

 

 

 

just wanted to boost the post count on this thread...

but in all seriousness' date=' this from the weber attenuator web site highlighted some risks with using the attenuator:

 

[b']So, now some answers. Catastrophic power tube failure will cause transformer and screen grid resistor failures. The reason you will read and hear horror stories from unknowledgeable attenuator users is because they do not understand how attenuators work and the stress they put on your tubes. If in fact, a player chooses to run his amp cranked all the way on and attenuate the volume down to a whisper, then in most cases power tubes will only go a few months. Power tubes will die in one of two ways. The first and most pleasant is by simply fading and dying. The second and more popular way is to go out in a blaze of glory which is what I referred to above as a catastrophic failure which can and most often will, take out screen grid resistors.

 

Tubes sound great when they are really working hard but the harder you work them the faster they wear out. If you understand this and either use the attenuator sparingly or change your tubes regularly then your amp will not suffer damage.

 

If you are going to dime your amp out and attenuate it down to very quiet volumes then we recommend using an attenuator that is rated for twice the power of your amp's rated output. [/b]

 

So this clearly relates to misuse, however, it does suggest using the attenuator sparingly and changing tubes regularly to avoid damage.

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I don't understand. This is a common concern all around the guitar forums. What I do is take a pedal (Big Muff Pi) along with my Fender Princeton 12 watt copy and I'm set. I get great tones at low volumes. I'm quite demanding when it comes to my tone. It took some time to dial in the settings on the pedal, but once it's there it's there. Try a pedal.

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+1 on the attenuator

 

I use one of these with my BC30 and absolutley love it.

 

m_mass-front.jpg

 

For a few extra $'s you can have it fitted with a headphone socket and line out as well which really increases it's flexability.

 

Also' date=' even at max attenuation, it's not the massive tone killer that most attenuators are.

 

[/quote']

Yeah, weber has some nice stuff... that's a speaker motor in a box, rather than an attenuator...

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