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Cheap small tube amp, Fender Pro Jr. or Vox AC10 ?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by atomrxn, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. atomrxn

    atomrxn TDPRI Member

    Mar 9, 2017
    I love my Boss Katana 100 combo, but I miss having a tube amp. If I were to get one it would have to be portable, and no more than 500$. The only two amps I can think of off the top of my head would be the Fender Pro Jr, and the Vox AC10.

    I have read that the Pro Jr's have a problem with loud hissing noise that is very noticeable. I don't know if Fender has since fixed the problem as that would definitely deter me from purchasing this amp.

    What are you opinions of these amps? And are there any other amps I should look into, new or used would be fine. I play blues and rock mostly.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017

  2. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Get the Vox. If you're going to get an EL84 amp. It has Topboost, a reasonable digital reverb. Small footprint. Sounds better, despite both being 10" speaker amps IMO and it's more versatile. If you don't want reverb and want the smallest possible amp the Pro Jr is that. Both are not really home amps but the Vox has an inbuilt set of resistor/attenuators.
    Tootle and 3-Chord-Genius like this.

  3. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Missoula, Montana
    pretty different-sounding amps, try 'em both. I suspect I'd end up with the Vox but that's just me. on a side note, see if you can find a Champ or equivalent single-ended 5 watt amp. just played a casual gig with my trusty Les Paul GA-5 (Gibson Champ equivalent) and reminded myself how great these little beasts can be when you have room to crank them.
    Tootle and black_doug like this.

  4. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    I have the AC10C1 and have been quite impressed with it. Don't be fooled by the 10" speaker. I don't know if they fed it growth hormones or what, but it sounds like a 12". The reverb sounds great, but you can only use it until about the 9:00 position - after that it's probably waaaay too much.
    cloink50 likes this.

  5. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Holic

    Feb 9, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    I have not found a better small amp than the Pro Jr. for the stage, but it’s probably NOT the best small amp for home/bedroom. I like the vids I’ve seen on the AC10C1, and for a while was kinda interested as well. Never got around to trying it, but I expect it’s a much more versatile amp than the Pro Jr.
    birv2 and 3-Chord-Genius like this.

  6. Maradona86

    Maradona86 Tele-Meister

    Apr 7, 2008
    La Bombonera
    Not to derail the thread or anything but what about the Katana is it missing? I've been debating getting one of these. I figure if it's anything like my Vox Pathfinder I've had since 2002, it'll be perfect.

  7. davenumber2

    davenumber2 Friend of Leo's

    Sep 28, 2010
    Columbia, MO
    I have both and haven't played the PJ much since I got the AC10 about 6 months ago.
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.

  8. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    Check out the Super Champ X2 too. It's a potent little amp that you can find used for around $250. I've got an AC15C1, a Blackstar HT Studio 20, and a Super Champ XD. The SCXD gets as much love as my other two more expensive amps. I've got the combo version and it makes a great grab-and-go amp.
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.

  9. Lupo

    Lupo Tele-Holic

    May 19, 2014
    small... would mean a champ... but currently deos not mean cheep..
    And going for somthing like a VHT 6 special or a JOYO JTA-05 Sweet Baby 5 Watt Vintage Guitar Tube Amplifier?

  10. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    Vox, special 6, laney and randall, make great small tubers, but all sound different, depends on your style. The Champs ok, just less flexable somehow, and also somehow less authentic to the sound you expect from it.
    Laney might be the most versatile in features, special 6 most MOTR stitting in the middle of the tones of the others, and more modable, Randall is the. rocker here.
    I use the Vox, it just does its own thing.

  11. atomrxn

    atomrxn TDPRI Member

    Mar 9, 2017
    Funny you said that because I'm thinking of just sticking with the Katana. I live in an apartment and don't really get to turn up, I'm mainly looking for an amp to bring to blues jams or maybe to a rented rehersal space. Nevertheless I turned the Katana up loud the other night and darn did the thing sound really great. I think I'm just gonna stick with the Katana and keep saving my money for an "end all" tube amp, something like a Welagen Overdrive Reverb.
    Maradona86 likes this.

  12. cbh5150

    cbh5150 Tele-Meister

    Oct 23, 2009
    The outer banks of Chicagoland
    The Pro Jrs do have a history of noise, but it is more "hum" than "hiss". There are remedies all over the 'net - seems to mostly stem from how the factory routes the heater wires, which is an easy fix. Regardless, it is a great, if one-trick, amp. The Vox AC10 is definitely more versatile, and has a master volume and bass/treble controls, reverb, etc.

    I like 'em both for different reasons, but if I had to choose one over the other, it would be the Vox.

  13. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 2, 2006
    With discount, you can get a Blues Junior for under $500.

  14. Maradona86

    Maradona86 Tele-Meister

    Apr 7, 2008
    La Bombonera
    Sounds sensible to me. I've been through a bunch of amps.....and, well, I've been though a bunch of amps. If you know what you want, accept no substitute. I would, however, recommend you try out a Fuchs. They are amaze!

  15. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Meister

    Oct 25, 2017
    I have a Vox AC 4 - the one with the 12" speaker.
    It's plenty loud for home or studio and has a sound that I like. Not sure about heavy drive sounds but love the chime and mild crunch tones.

    To some people's ear they are thin on the low end but I have not noticed that. If you're a modder, people say that upgrading the output transformer boosts the low end.

    Also, there are some versions that come with speaker upgrades. Sweetwater always seems to have one of these "limited edition" deals.

    If you're looking for small, portable, and low cost, this would be moreso than the AC10.

    Definitely worth a test drive.

  16. jklotz

    jklotz Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    I've really been enjoying the AC10. It's a great sounding, fun little amp for not a ton of money. Master vol seems to work really well for playing at home.
    Tootle and 3-Chord-Genius like this.

  17. dburns

    dburns Friend of Leo's

    AC10 all day.
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.

  18. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 19, 2005
    Bowling Green, KY
    Since you want to use the amp at low volume, the modeling amps work well; Katana 50, Orange Crush 30R & 35RT, Fender SCX2 & SCXD. Other amps that I have owned and liked, the solid state Vox Pathfinder 15R, and the all tube Laney Cub 10.

  19. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 1, 2010
    Kent, OH
    You gotta play 'em both, I think. I don't like the AC10...AT ALL. But my opinion doesn't really matter.

    Much prefer the Pro Jr. for what it is. Small, portable, simple topology.

    Agree with those who say if primary goal is low volume, with a range of dirty tones, you need to be looking at a modeler unless you also want to have a pedal board. I prefer the latter, but I understand that modelers can be programmed and such for pretty much any pedal you could want.

    Low volume breakup/distortion is different than pushing tubes and speakers into overdrive/excursion. Similar but different, and will always be that way. Sound pressure is part of the equation, you cannot take it out, no matter how much tone and frequency shaping a computer can do.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017

  20. MMARSH

    MMARSH Tele-Meister

    Jun 21, 2015
    Also try the BassBreaker 15 - great amp, the MV works well for low volume playing. Definitely a different flavor to the BJr and Vox 10. I have all three (lucky me!) and I love them all equally. Note bene: my BJr is heavily modified.
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.

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