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5W tube amps personal experience?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by kuvash, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    I’m going to say the Vox AC4HW1. That’s the hand wired one.

    Regardless of whether you think that makes a difference or not, the larger cabinet, proper greenback and different circuit certainly do. I was looking at a regular AC4 until I A/B’d one with this amp. No way I could get the regular one after that.

    Not in production now, but you might get one second hand.

    Here’s some info / a review.

    https://www.musicradar.com/reviews/guitars/vox-ac4hw1-561948

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  2. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    This is the thing that people don't really get until they get good experience using it them to gig or record.

    Most Vox amps ARE a "thinner, weaker sound" in a playing at home alone or to jam tracks, though I would describe it as less bass and more mid range focused with a hard brght edge.... personally. Which still isn't flattering....

    However, this is THE sound in a band situation or a recorded mix that cuts through and sits perfectly in the range it needs to be. Unless your ears get trained to this fact, they are not ideal bedroom or play along to yourself type amps.

    Put it in context, Beatles, Stones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and many more and it is the best sound in the whole world (usually) :)
     
  3. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Afflicted

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    KM_01a.JPG

    The Kalamazoo Model One is the amp you are looking for. I own both a Model 1 and Model 2(same amp except with tremolo). I have long suspected the Kalamazoo line was built by Valco. They were for sure built in Chicago for Chicago Musical Instruments(CMI) who owned the Gibson and Kalamazoo brand names. I own a few Gibson amps from the mid-60's, avd they are just built differently. I changed the original CTS 10 inch for an Eminence blue frame Alnico 10 which helps the low end response. I love using my pair of Kalamazoo amps for a faux Leslie by using the tremolo in the Model 2.. They are both great all around bedroom amps.

    KM_01b.JPG

    The Kalamazoo's EL84 based power section has a bit more more clarity than a single ended 6V6 based amps. With that being said, the Kalamazoo can still generate a righteous crunch when cranked. Like a tweed Champ, the Kalamazoo models 1 & 2 are great recording amps. I have owned a few Vibro Champ amps over the years: for both the sound & value the Kalamazoo Model Two beats down a Fender Vibro Champ hands down. You can still get a Model 1 or 2 for 150-200 if you look. They might need some maintenance.

    5W.JPG

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    The single ended 6V6 based tube is the classic recipe for the 3-5 watt amp(the tweed Champ and many others). I also own a late 50's Gibson GA-5 which is a better sounding tweed Champ. My current overall favorite 5 watt amp is the Wards Airline Model 62-9025a. I can't believe I had never checked one of these great amps out. It has a way better sound than a Fender Vibro Champ with cooler tremolo and the most killer spring reverb. I picked mine up for $225. These were made by Valco. My 62-9025a has a nice clean sound, but gest a nice greasy crunch when cranked up. I believe Valco made similar amps under the Supro, Gretsch & National names. Everytime I play this amp, I just think of the guitar sound of 60's era Chicago & Detroit recording studios.

    60_9025a.JPG

    Back

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    Killer Reverb Tank-it sounds killer but has a short decay. With an analog delay it gets an old school Mexican radio announcer type of reverb/delay.

    60_9025c.JPG
     
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  4. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    When i posted that i love my vibro champ i neglected to give props where they are due...mine is a homebuilt VC that i sent to mr MUCHXS. he did his magic with foot switchable tone stack mod. and this thing just screams and the trem is to die for. Even he said it was one of the best he's heard.....me thinks that the universe was in alignment on that When i built it.
    Cheers
    .
     
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  5. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

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    I love my 1968 Vibro Champ with a Mercury Magnetics OT upgrade and a 10 inch speaker.
     
  6. milopera

    milopera TDPRI Member

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    I LOVE the sound of my Fender Champion 600, especially after upgrading the tubes to vintage 50's Raytheons!
     
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  7. Hoodster

    Hoodster Friend of Leo's

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    I've owned a lot of single ended amps, including many mentioned in this thread, everything from a silverface champ with multiple speaker swaps to the AC4 to a beautiful David Allen classic 10, and my experience is that you just can't get the quality of clean tone from a single ended amp that you can from an amplifier with two or more power tubes.

    The only one that came close was the fender champ 12 from 30 years ago.

    But in general, you will never find the sweetness and chime and clarity of, for example, a Princeton or an AC 10 in a single ended amplifier.

    So then the question becomes, why not buy a Princeton or an AC 10 instead?
     
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  8. cyclopean

    cyclopean Poster Extraordinaire

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    i like my ac4 but it gets awfully murky sounding as you turn it up.
     
  9. Jaysmalls81

    Jaysmalls81 NEW MEMBER!

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    Marshall Class 5

    I totally regret selling mine years back
     
  10. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    In my opinion, solid state/digital amps sound better at low volume than non-master volume low-wattage tube amps. Also, I've also noticed that this recent trend of low-cost low-watt tube amps really don't sound good anyway; solid state/digital kicks their butts tone-wise. Single-end tube amps just have a small amp, almost a "toy" sound to them.

    I had a Vox AC4-TVH and a Vox AC4C1-12. The only difference was that the 12 was more trebly due to the top boost circuit. It still sounded like a small amp.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
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  11. Kitarkus

    Kitarkus Tele-Meister

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    There is a white HW listed on my local Craigslist for quite awhile now asking $600, near new, with cover, no foot switch (one little tolex blem). Additionally there is a standard AC4C1-12 listed in white bronco asking $300. Both of these are on re-list repeat on my local craigslist. Nothing is moving right now.
     
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  12. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    My main practice amp is a blackstar ht-1r ECC-83 ECC-84 I think the 83's could be swapped for 12Ax7 if I am wrong someone let me know please but as practice amps go it has the IFS feature that allows going between amp voicings and I find it takes pedals well. And at 1 watt it might be good for what your looking for. I also have been told a speaker upgrade makes a big difference but so far I have been happy with it the way it is. The second generation of these can be had new for $199 on reverb. I got mine for a $125 still in the box but opened on the C.L.
     
  13. assquatch20

    assquatch20 TDPRI Member

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    12BH7 amps like the HT-5 are probably the exception there, kinda. Not really single-ended but one power tube. No, it's probably not gonna move your pant legs like a SLP or something but it has what I'd call relative headroom. It has a clean channel that only crunches a bit when maxed out, and distortion that sounds like PP as opposed to SE, because it's not single-ended.

    I've run it through a 1960a loaded with 2 G12M-25's and 2 G12H-30's, sounds great. One or two 2x12's (G12S-50's) at once, sounds great. I've run it through my 1959ish GA-5 Skylark's 8" Jensen in its little pine box, sounds great. More like a monster in a jar with the little speaker though. Would be great mic'd up I imagine.

    Since it's got an FX loop it's easy to slave out a bigger power amp to it, which also sounds pretty great. I just had it running at 100w through 8xEL84's and it sounded like itself, just bigger. Sales pitch over.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  14. SAguitar

    SAguitar Tele-Meister

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    One more vote for the Epiphone Valve Jr. I have one that is my main practice amp at home, so it gets more play time than any of my other amps. I did a few mods, and run it through a 2 x 10 cab. The little guy sounds wonderful, and never fails to inspire me.
     
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  15. Pointmonger

    Pointmonger Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep. I put an old RCA blackplate in mine and run it through a 12 inch cab. Really enjoy that little amp.
     
  16. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    Try a Laney cub head if you can. 15w down to 1w gives you crank and quiet options. Remember the first watt does most of the work.
    I've always been a fan of the VHT special 6 head too but I get that you don't want a 6v6.
     
  17. RYAN1987M

    RYAN1987M Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Love mine!

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Zoinks! Seems like a lot.

    Here in Japan I paid the equivalent of US$273 for my used AC4HW1. And the regular type AC4 in ‘cream Bronco’ that you mentioned is selling right now on Amazon Japan for almost the same at US$276.14. And that’s new.

    On the other hand, I see there are still some new AC4HW1s being sold in the US, for a bit over US$800, which was about the price they were here. Now though, the few remaining AC4HW1s I can see in Japan are stupidly priced around US$1800!

    Different markets I guess.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  19. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm a fan of the Vox AC4HW1. Quality construction and great sound IMO. Twist them knobs.
     
  20. Rick330man

    Rick330man Tele-Afflicted

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    I've got one of these, too. It is excellent. I use a Sylvania 5751 instead of a 12AX7 and I swapped out the stock power tube for an Ei EL84. It is a fantastic sounding little amp.

    I also have a little 5 watt Crate VC 508. I removed the speaker and hooked up a jack so that it is now used exclusively as a head. It is a heck of a lot of fun to crank this thing up and let it rip.
     
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