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$90 amps that prove my life is a lie

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by dmfp123, Jan 18, 2021.

  1. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

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    They sound OK close-miked like this, but what about when you want to hear your playing live in the room rather than a recording?

    Ah, they make bigger, more expensive amps for that! I'm sorry but there just isn't a way to replace the Super Reverb once you've played one :D (only slightly hyperbolic)

    The various cleans sounded decent in this video, but yikes those overdriven tones were all horrid IMO. I can only imagine how much smaller and boxier they sounded in the room.
     
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  2. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    IMO, having played the Vox and Marshall, since the store I worked at was a dealer for both, it sounds to me like they have EQ'd these after the recording by boosting the bass and cutting the treble. Those amps sound a lot brighter in person, and the Gain channel on the Marshall sounds like a swarm of angry bees. I have not played the Crush 12, but I have played larger Crush amps, and was not impressed. If those amps are now $90, I wouldn't buy any of them. I would get the Katana Mini for $10 more, which sounds much better than any of them, and has a great sounding delay built-in. It also works very well with pedals in front of the clean and crunch channels, and the crunch and lead channels are better than any of the amp's lead sounds here. If I were to get one of those, the Vox is, IMO, the clear winner, but as I said before I'd get the Katana Mini for $100, or better still, the Fender Mustang LT25, for $150, which even kills the Katanas, including the 50, IMO. I had a Kat 50 and sold it when I got my LT25, because LT25 is so superior in every way. I've played and owned just about every affordable practice amp over the last several years, including several other Fenders (Mustang 1 V2, Vobro Champ XD, and Champion 20), several Blackstars (Fly 3, ID Core 10 and 20, LT Echo 15, and ID15-TVP), several Voxes (AV15, VX1 and VX2), and several Roland Cubes (Micro, 20GX, and 40GX), and the Kat Mini, LT25, and THR10C are the ones I've kept.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
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  3. fraser

    fraser Tele-Afflicted

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    Ive got a pile of small tube amps.
    The amp i use most?
    An old squier frontman 15 that i pulled from the trash.
    (Had a broken power switch, 2$ fix)
     
  4. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    They listen with their eyes, their preconceived notions, their “image” and their wallets, too...

    I laugh when I hear somebody say about an EL84-equipped Fender, “Yep, just like Leo used to make...”

    Umm...well...never mind...
     
  5. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    I just watched that recently, and I thought that the Tonemaster sounded the best, both clean and with a pedal for some dirt.
     
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  6. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    Live it up with the $90 amps guys, but they're not for me.

    They may be ok for home, but for gigs I want something more substantial and less of a toy.

    And I'm voting with my ears, not with my eyes or anything else.
     
  7. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I really liked the cleans on my Peavey Bandit US Red Stripe. It was just as heavy as heck.
     
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  8. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    I've got an Orange Crush 35ldx. Paid $150 for it, used. It sounds great, is loud enough for jams and small gigs, weighs absolutely nothing. I'm still partial to my tube amps, but I will not disrespect nor disparage any of these offerings.
     
  9. Twang-ineer

    Twang-ineer Tele-Meister

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    My #1 most played amp over the last few years is a Blackstar Fly... Mind you that is just so very many hours on the sofa... but still, a killer sound for $60 new? I have an embarrassing amount of gear and tech..... yet most of my playing is powered by AA batteries. So, in short...I am a big fan of little practice amps! The THR-10, Katana Mini, Marshall DSL1HR and Vox AC4 get WAY more use than my 20-100 watt heads (even when I was gigging) .... Most of my hours playing are running scales, doing exercises or playing along with the music on the tv show I'm watching. Big sexy amps are awesome, but in my life that is more of a treat than the norm.
     
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  10. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    What a 'gig' is has broadened with the times.

    And in many situations, you just don't need ( and mgmt./patrons don't want) a lot of volume- just good sound, a few features, and portability/reliability-
    So if you can get it cheap, go for it!

    $85 Vox Pathfinder (used)

    $ 130 Frontman (used, with upgrade Eminence)

    $150 Fishman Loudbox Mini (used)
    00606_akEg5eS3VH0_1200x900.jpg
    loudboxminiamplifier1_large-768x768.jpg 20201010_200155.jpg
     
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  11. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Would just politely add one qualifier or reminder as a footnote..

    What you're hearing is the amp's output expressed through it's internal [read: small, inefficient, cheaply constructed..] speaker. A better indicator of what any of those amp's might otherwise sound like is through a better (or separate) speaker [a big, efficient, nicely voiced one preferably]. The reason those might sound a bit cheesy is because the speaker is placing a significant constraint on the true ability on the amp's underlying output. You're hearing the speaker as much as the audio characteristics of the amp itself.

    A Frontman 15 or 10, etc. *can* sound reasonably good.. IF, the output is routed to a decent speaker.
    (Of course, having a boost/preamp or other gadget in the chain to shape the tone works even better).

    Edit: forgot to mention.. One 'hidden' feature of the budget Fender/Squier combo practice amps is that most sport an audio OpAmp that is tested and stable under a 4ohm load. (Note: most, but not all, of these small practice amps include a single, inefficient 8ohm speaker).
    Translation: you can rewire or 'hijack' the output of many of these and use them safely with a big single 4 ohm speaker OR wire 2 big, efficient 8ohm speakers in parallel to vastly increase the output (both in terms of speaker output and power from the amp too).
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  12. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    “Vomiting bees into a metal trash can”...Ha! Made my day.

    Pretty much every little amp I’ve ever plugged into did something unique that was fun to incorporate, but I tend to sit down open to that kind of thing rather than analyze how close an amp gets to some of its brand-mates, or whatever. Most of the guitar players I know do not share this trait, so there’s that.

    I have had the same reaction to a lot of little amps’ built-in distortion (but not the excellent description of the sound!) but for me, a lot of the fun happens when you explore the upper limits of the clean channel...how far can you push it and stay clean, what does the edge of breakup sound like, how tight or saggy is it, what happens if you feed it a slightly boosted and compressed signal, etc.

    I’ve had good luck recording “struggling at the limit of clean” small SS amps. It sounds a little ugly in isolation but comes across in a mix as a driving, cutting rhythm sound with good definition for chords, and enough harmonic info to poke through. Useful for mix situations like this (no idea what they actually used):



    Wish I could sit down with the four in the video and try them all out with those things in mind.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
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  13. AmpHandle

    AmpHandle Tele-Meister

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    They will sound much smaller in your space, these are practice amps with low bass volumes.
     
  14. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    Ain't no Lie...these were under $90 amps...odd balls with heavenly cleans.

    se el84

    se octal 6v6

    se 6L6

    octal pp6v6
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
  15. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Recording is magical. The amount of control a decent recording engineer has allows for some sounds that won't exist mic'ing an amp through a sound system. So, if your main use for an amp is recording sounds like in the video, you found your most useful amps.

    They won't sound that way at a live performance.
     
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  16. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    Had a MG10 & gave it away. Definitely didn't sound anything like the review posted.
     
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  17. ricardo1912

    ricardo1912 Friend of Leo's

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    I kinda agree. For many it seems that if the badge is right the amp is good, while the reverse applies to unknown, uncool or no name stuff. Shame really as many good opportunities get missed.
     
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  18. Twofingerlou

    Twofingerlou Tele-Meister

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    I’ve had the little 3watt orange and the little blackstar, wasn’t impressed with either and sent them back. The gain on the orange was the worst.
     
  19. Festofish

    Festofish Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    My Vox MV-AC is great! Nu-tube! I switch it in and out of my stereo rig. Hot rod Deluxe on one side and Peavey 6505MH or the Vox into a Peavey Classic 112. Enjoy your toys. I’d love to try a decent modeler without effects. I have a pedal board. I don’t need built in effects.
     
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  20. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    It took a little while for that to hit me-

    That crunch and grind and low-end would not come from that Marshall ( anything that small) w/o some kind of EQ/ sweetening after the fact, no?
     
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