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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Monoprice 15 watt tube amp

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by here4thefall, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. Informal

    Informal Tele-Holic

    529
    Jan 16, 2013
    SoCal
    I couldn't care less if they named it "Crap Sandwich" as long as it didn't sound like that :p

    And FWIW... I don't like the celestion badge much either, but it WAS the one shred of credibility that made me pull the trigger.

    I seriously like this amp more than ANY Blues Jr I've ever had.. I have to admit though.. I do turn off the power strip that goes to it every night when I'm done playing. :)
     

  2. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2012
    Candler, FL
    Well I removed my Celestion Equipped badge, as I'm now running a WGS Retro 30 speaker. It's still a bright speaker, but not nearly as bright as the stock Seventy 80 and nowhere near as harsh sounding. My WGS Reaper, which is in a Kustom Defender 112 cab (w/ convertable back mod) also sounded great with it. Rich and tight with the back on, Fat and bassy in semi-open back mode. The Retro 30 is good for more modern tones, while the Reaper is more vintage ('70's) tones.

    I also replaced the Accutronics Blue Reverb Tank with a Belton BS3EB3C1B Reverb Tank, that I had left over from my AC15C1. A much better reverb than that Blue toy. The reverb level is noticeably lower with this tank also, making the reverb range much more usable. The decay is still too long for my taste, just as it was in my AC15. I ordered a MOD 8EB2C1B and a reverb bag to finish off the reverb mod.

    P1020841.JPG
     
    here4thefall likes this.

  3. here4thefall

    here4thefall Tele-Meister

    219
    Mar 19, 2011
    Northern California
    The Reaper is WGS's version of Celestion G12h30 anniversary right? I ended up with that Celestion in mine, sounded the best running clean and using pedals but those WGS speakers look so cool :cool:

    I took the Celestion plate off mine too !

    I see you had a Vox ac15c1 too, seems like I can get this amp to sound real similar but takes dirt pedals a little better are you finding that too?
    Kinda miss that Vox been thinking about getting it again.
     

  4. Informal

    Informal Tele-Holic

    529
    Jan 16, 2013
    SoCal

    Well done!

    And thanks for making me consider dropping $$ into a cheap amp lol!
     

  5. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2012
    Candler, FL
    Catch them with the right sale/special and you can get the amp for less than $200 (+S&H). The WGS speaker typically cost $69-$76 (+S&H, unless you want Alnico) and the reverb tanks are about $17 and change. Add some good tunes and the RCA cable and you're on the road to a darn good 15 watt combo amp for < $400. Of course the Seventy 80 isn't bad, just very bright.

    This little amp is light, easy to carry and can get LOUD! It can go from slightly Vox-y clean with chime to roaring mid range Marshall-esq tones at the higher gain levels. Great for small gigs, jam sessions, noodling around the house or even recording. With the <1 watt jack, it can do somewhat reasonable bedroom levels, which actually sound pretty good. (Hard to beat the tone when pushing the preamp tubes, power tubes and the speaker at their sweet spot for some marvelous tones.

    While it won't replace my AC15, it's not the be all of end all budget amps. It is a damn good amp at any price, but even better at the price these things go for. I really like this bugger and it isn't all "honeymoon" infatuation.
     

  6. Informal

    Informal Tele-Holic

    529
    Jan 16, 2013
    SoCal
    I bought the amp a few weeks ago, got it for just over $200 shipped

    If you didn't have the reverb tank on hand already, would you have got a different one?
     

  7. here4thefall

    here4thefall Tele-Meister

    219
    Mar 19, 2011
    Northern California
    I myself have yet to find, brand new, a better all tube 15 watt combo amp under $300. As I said above this amp takes pedals better than the Vox ac15c1 I had and yes I replaced the speaker in it but I don't think any of my combo amps have they're original speakers in them .
     

  8. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2012
    Candler, FL
    I just used the Belton tank, because it was what I had on hand, it matched the input and output impedance and the tank's size is what fit. I did order the MOD 8EB2C1B (same as what I put in my AC15). I do think the Belton tank sounds better in this amp than it did in the AC15, but the reverb just takes too long to decay.



    I haven't been too happy playing any pedals through the Top Boost Channel, other than the Spark Mini Boost (set low) and my Flashback. Any drive pedals I use on the Normal Channel with much better results. I just set the Normal Channel's Gain to just on the verge of breakup. The Top Boost Channel it too bright and gets fizzy when using an overdrive, hence one of the reasons why everyone wants to do the Bright Cap mod to them.
     

  9. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2012
    Candler, FL
    The MOD Reverb Tank came i today. I got a tank bag to go with it. I put the mounting holes and connecting holes in the bag and mounted the tank in the same screw holes as the Belton Tank was mounted to. I didn't snag any pictures, as I wanted to test it out and then I had to get to church for worship practice.

    While I stated above that the Belton Tank sounded much better than the Accutronics Blue Tank, the MOD Tank was even better, with the shorter, yet more lush sounding reverberations. Not the same amount better of the Belton over the Blue, but still better. The reverberations seem to have more complimentary harmonics and it doesn't resonate too long for my taste. While it's not a Princeton Reverb lush reverb, it is one of the sweetest I've heard from a "British Voiced" amp.The level got a little bit lower, which allows for more control of the level. While my AC15 has the same tank, I think the reverb in this amp is a little bit better and a little more controllable.

    A little side note: Just as I had on my AC15, the MOD Tanks color coding is reversed from the Belton and the Accutronics Blue tanks. They both use red for the inputs and white for the outputs, the MOD uses white on the input and red on the output. No biggie, just remember to use the opposite colors on a MOD tank.

    As I stated above, I used the MOD 8EB2C1B tank. If you want to stay with the long decay reverb, then the MOD 8EB3C1B would be the MOD tank for that application.

    If you're a reverb user, this is very much a worthwhile mod for these amps, as the Blue tanks in these amps are just a very poor selection. The most complex part of this mod is replacing the wired Molex ends with a set of RCA ends and soldering and heat shrink tubing the coaxial cables.
     

  10. Informal

    Informal Tele-Holic

    529
    Jan 16, 2013
    SoCal
    Thanks for the update, I will eventually replace the reverb, it's definitely the worst part of the amp.

    I got a Fender A/B/Y switch and I'm running it with my Mustang III
    I've had dozens of (if not several dozens) iconic tube amps in my lifetime, and I haven't played live in over a decade, so this is only from a home noodler's experience at this point,
    But I can't recall ever being this happy with my set-up!

    For sake of argument, my (non-gigging) rigs over the last 10 years or so have consisted of:

    A Vox AC 15
    with a few speaker swaps, Nice amp, just never bonded with it.
    A Vox Valvetronix AD120 It kept me contempt for a year or two I guess.... This was during my carpal tunnel surgery recovery, so I wasn't playing much.
    3 or 4 Blues Juniors, some modded... More speaker/tube changes than I can remember between them all.
    A DR Z Maz 8 it was phenomenal when the house emptied out, but I never could find a sweet spot while attenuated)


    It might just mean my hearing loss is getting worse, But I really think this is a great amp!!
     

  11. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2012
    Candler, FL
    A little update on the tube rolling in the MP15 these last few days. I've been trying different first stage preamp tubes. The stock is a Ruby 12AX7WBC, which is made by Shuguang in China. A bit bright and fizzy, typical (in my experience) of other Chinese 12AX7s.

    The first up was a JJ ECC83S, it was less bright and fizzy than the Ruby, but seem a bit flat. It was better than the ruby, but not by much.

    Next was a Sovtec 12AX7WA. It too was flat. I'd say a bit more so then the JJ. Not much of an improvement, but not the same as the Ruby.

    The Mullard 12AX7/ECC83 (long plate) is powerful, big sounding, crisp articulate, but rather hi-fi-ish sounding. Almost too strong sounding. A very good tube though, just not a lot of character.

    Today I picked up an Electro Harmonix 12AX7. It was warmer than the JJ, but still felt a bit flat. The distortion wasn't quite right, not sure how to explain it, other than maybe odd order harmonics are over done.

    I also picked up my favorite current production 12AX7, the Tung-Sol. It was strong, though not as strong as the Mullard Thee lows are strong. The highs are crisp, but not over powering, nor harsh. A nice chimey tube. It even plays well with the WGS Retro 30. I just turned down the Treble, which is in the preamp and the Tone, which is in the power section, after the EL84s, but before the OT. I think I'll stick with this one for a while.


    I did do a few other tube rolling experiments. I tried a Tung-Sol 12AT7 in the V3/PI and it smoothed out the drive, taking the character of this amp away. I tried the Mullard 12AX7 in there also, it became too harsh and gain-y, so the stock Suguang will stay put till I get around to trying some others here.

    I finally tried the Mullard in V2/driver socket. It really help the preamp sound stronger and crisper, still without being too much. It seem to be a good tube following the Tung-Sol.

    I'll still try a few other tubes in the PI and see if I like any others better. I also have a set of Genalex Gold Lion EL84s to try, but they are a very warm tube and I think they might go too warm for my taste. This could be exasperated even more, when I get the WGS Reaper installed. The GLs were the tubes I installed in my AC15C1 when I first installed the Weber Alnico Blue Dog and it wasn't broken in yet. Sounded sweet at that time, but once the speaker started breaking in, it got muddy. That's why I don't think the GLs would be a good pairing with the Reaper, both are very warm sounding.
     

  12. here4thefall

    here4thefall Tele-Meister

    219
    Mar 19, 2011
    Northern California
    I use pedals or multi fx and tried Mullard ri, JJ, TunSol ri and Svetlana ri's. I have sets of three of all these preamp tubes and ended leaving the Svetlana set in. The Svetlana's seem to give me more headroom and sound best with pedals in this amp and using the Celestion g12h30.
    Actually I ended up with the Svetlanas in my Vox ac15c1 too.
    I like the JJ el84s but plan on trying the Tunsol el84s soon.
     

  13. bluescube

    bluescube Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    50
    Mar 9, 2004
    Greensboro NC

  14. Informal

    Informal Tele-Holic

    529
    Jan 16, 2013
    SoCal
    Happy with the amp.... (less reverb)
    Must.....Resist.....looking at this thread.

    My happiness only lasts until someone posts a compelling detail of modifications, that the tinkerer in me simply can not resist.

    I'm near my breaking point!

    /smashes computer
    /cancels internet service


    :D
     
    brbadg likes this.

  15. kLyon

    kLyon TDPRI Member

    97
    Mar 21, 2011
    US
    Just want to throw this in: I recently got one of these (partly on the strength of this thread) to use as a light amp for rehearsals.
    I actually really like it.
    Background: in my studio: a '64 blackface Twin, a Tone King Imperial, a 1961 Ampeg Super Echo Twin (the one with 6v6 power tubes and tube rectifiers). On the road: (my job) the rider is either an AC30 or Fender Deluxe (but you don't always get what you want...))
    And I really like the sound of this $200 no-name Chinese knockoff.
    Am I losing my mind?))
     
    lostpick and Jeff6556 like this.

  16. engineer

    engineer Tele-Meister

    214
    Feb 26, 2013
    Sweden
    No, you're not. You are recovering it.

    I'm not in the US so the Monoprice isn't for me, but there are tons of others here in Europe.
    I've been on a quest to get me a '57 Fender Champ and realised it was the most simple amp design ever.
    So why can't the chinese make this simple amp in droves? I think the days are over when we can expect all things made in china being crap.

    I mean, "we" have been moving manufacturing to that part of the world for decades. They are bound to learn quality.
    And if they can't manufacture now, what "we" reliably made in the fifties, then what's the point?

    I recently bought my chinese Champ clone, if you're interested I took it apart here:
    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/cheap-champ-from-china-joyo-fame-jta-05.625485/
     

  17. kLyon

    kLyon TDPRI Member

    97
    Mar 21, 2011
    US
    Thanks! I'll check it out.
    I have no prejudice against things made in China, or anywhere)
    I was just surprised. And actually, I would have been just as surprised if it had been a Laney, made in Britain, and cost $150 more.
    (For example, I have had many teles in my life, including a few really nice old American ones. The best sounding one I ever had was a Tokai))
     

  18. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2012
    Candler, FL
    Of course you're gonna hate me! :p

    I got my WGS Reaper in for the warmer tones, with the Retro 30 it was too similar to my Vox and Orange amps. I got the Reaper in 16 Ω (like the one in my cab), so I could run an external cab along with the internal speaker. I just use the 3/16" female spade connectors wired to a speaker jack I installed in the back cover's grill:

    P1020875.JPG

    Simply clip one of the crosses out of the grill and screw the jack in there, fits nice and securely.

    With the speaker I installed being 16 Ω and the external cab being 16 Ω, the output becomes 8 Ω. The Output Transformer is to the same lines for the speaker and the external speaker jack, the jack just bypasses the internal speaker.

    As for how it sounds, it's fat, rich and huuugggee! o_O I also tried it with my homemade PPC112 with a Veteran 30 for a broader tonal range with the big sound.
     

  19. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2012
    Candler, FL
    For you GAS pleasure, there is a $20 off sale on purchases over $100. Use Code AP20. This will work on both the 5 watt and 15 watt tube amps. Sale ends 04/10/2016.
     

  20. bluescube

    bluescube Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    50
    Mar 9, 2004
    Greensboro NC
    Don't make me regret the Vox...
     

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