Amp thoughts, including... Is the Egnater Tweaker merely a modelling amp?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by deano_l, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. deano_l

    deano_l Tele-Meister

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    I'm looking for a new amp. I don't do gas, so what I buy will be my main amp for a good few years.

    I have a limited UK budget of below £700.

    I don't play in a band and most likely never will. The nearest to that will be jamming with a couple of mates but most of my playing is jamming to records and backing tracks and making my own recordings. The room I play in is a 2m x 2m glass-walled sunroom. I can get reasonably loud (the kids are growing up and the TV isn’t too near) but there is a limit before I get told to quiet down.

    The styles I play are blues, rock, country, and Jazz. Nothing too heavy. The rock will be from rock’n’roll through to Nirvana, nothing heavier. Mostly Clapton, Stones, etc. If I can get into the ballpark I’m happy. I don’t want to duplicate anyone’s tone, just get close enough to make playing along to a CD an enjoyable pastime. I like The Shadows, Hendrix, SRV, Brad Paisley, Martin Taylor, AC/DC, The Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen… you name them and I will either love them already, or might come to love them! I love the genres rather than a specific individual, so I want to be able to cover those genre’s bases.

    Cleans are important to me as I probably spend more time clean or nearly clean than overdriven, but I like a nice bit of drive now and again, and I don’t need to blow the windows out with a clean tone. The cleans will also come in handy for when I plug in my Zoom G3X to experiment with different modeling effects.

    My main criteria are valve with a 12” speaker and with an effects loop. Yes, a power soak built in would be nice but not essential, and some recording features would be nice but not essential. I also want new not second hand.

    This amp will have to be flexible enough to handle whatever musical styles I might want to play over the next decade or so. Yes I might need to add a pedal or two, but I won’t be buying a new amp.

    I have narrowed it down to the Egnater Tweaker 15 or the H&K Tubemeister 18, both as heads, through either a 1x12 or 2x12 Montage cab, filled with Celestion G12H30 drivers. There is also the Vox TB18C1 Tony Bruno amp that is in the mix.

    Yes there are others (Vox Night Train, Laney Lionheart, Blues Junior) but they all lack something I want such as the loop or speaker size, or they just don’t float my boat for some reason. These three seem to be the ones that have lodged themselves in my brain for some reason!

    Now, I have a number of questions…

    Do I need a 2x12 for the playing I do? Is it overkill? Would a 1x12 be sufficient? Would I notice an improvement in tone to warrant the extra cost? Would I be better off with a 1x12 and buy a couple of pedals?

    I’m leaning (today!) towards the Tweaker but it keeps nagging away at me that it might just a better modeler? What would the Tweaker give me over and above my current Vox VT20+ modeler?

    You are probably wondering why the Vox Tony Bruno is in the mix. Well, price is one! £400 for a Vox all valve amp, designed by a great boutique ampmaker, with a 12” Celestion G12-65 speaker and effects loop. Why wouldn’t you? Okay, it’s more Fendery than Voxy in tone, but that isn’t a problem and I can use the money saved to start buying some nice pedals. No it doesn’t have a power soak but some reviews have said the master volume is simply stunning, so that might not be a problem. Again, no recording facilities such as DI or Line Out, but I can but a dedicated DI box such as the H&K Red Box and still have money left in my budget. I reckon that these will become sought-after rarities in the future.

    I haven’t tried any of them yet, but will do so (I might not be able to try the Tweaker though as there is only one seller in the UK).

    Yes it’s a bit confusing. I think at the moment I’m leaning towards the flexibility of the Tweaker, followed by the Vox Bruno, but the Tubemeister is feature rich and gets great reviews.

    So your thoughts would be welcome…
     
  2. paratus

    paratus Friend of Leo's

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    Former Tweaker combo owner. I would never call it a modeling amp.

    It is pretty versatile, lots of different tones on tap, and a lot of them are good. It will do the classic rock stuff you mentioned, obviously you will need some pedals to if you want to do Floyd.

    Why did I get rid of it? Bottom line it just didn't have the glassy clean headroom I was looking for. It's not bad, just not what I was looking for at the time.
     
  3. FidgetStone

    FidgetStone TDPRI Member

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    I like my Tweaker Combo quite a bit. I think that it has as much clean headroom as most other 15 watt amps that I have encountered. For the size room you have 15 watts should be plenty.

    Personally, I am very pleased with the tone and versatility. The cabinet is surprisingly resonant and only needs a touch of reverb at low levels. Turn it up a bit and no reverb is required at all. To my ear, the overall tone of this tube amp is sweeter and more complex than any of the Line-6, Roland or other modeling amps that I am exposed to on a weekly basis.

    Also, like any tube amp, you can try different tubes for subtle differences in tonal character. Tung-Sol tubes in the preamp and power amp seemed to clean up my cleans a little bit.

    You might find the Marshall tone to be a bit gain-y sounding if you like really clean cleans, but that is the nature of the Marshall sound.

    My opinion is that the Tweaker is pretty close to an ideal choice considering the breadth of your taste. I consider the Tweaker to be my best purchase in the past several years with the one exception of my G&L ASAT Classic guitar which was a total game changer for me.

    Enjoy the hunt! Peace . . . .
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  4. deano_l

    deano_l Tele-Meister

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    Thanks guys.

    I think 15 watts will be okay in the small room I play in. Do you have any thoughts on whether a 2x12 will be overkill in such a room and I'll get all the tone I need from a 1x12?

    I don't think the extra spread from a 2x12 will be noticable in such a small space, but I'm willing to be corrected on that.
     
  5. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's

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    To me a 2x12 or a 4x12 sounds fuller, more bassy, and just better even at lower volumes. I owned a 1watt Marshall JMP-1 for a short while and it sounded great through my Marshall two and four 12" cabs at wisper quiet volumes.
     
  6. CyanideJunkie

    CyanideJunkie Tele-Holic

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    The Tweaker is a great bedroom amp; wouldn't call it a modelling amp though. It's MV circuit really is one of the better ones out there on the mass production market. It's Vox setting is pretty convincing too.

    Haven't had the pleasure of trying out the Vox TB18C1 myself, but the demos sure make it sound good. Just don't expect much of the typical British AC tones from this amp.

    2x12 may be overkill for a bedroom setting, but not in the typical volume sense. I used to have a 4x10 bassman for a bedroom amp and while it sounded good at decent volumes, it really deserved to be turned up in order to experience its fullness. My point is that you may be hard-pressed to reap the full tonal benefits of a 2x12 speaker configuration in a bedroom.
     
  7. harleysr

    harleysr Former Member

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    The Tweaker is not a modeling amp.

    It has 3 separate and distinct tone stacks. That's hardware. Modelers are (generally) based on software emulations. This amp is purely hardware, with no digital components or aspects.

    I'll admit that I'm a fan. After 45 years of playing and performing, along with an NOS tube in V1, I've never found an amp that delivers more ability to sculpt my tone into precisely what I want it to be.

    I use a pair into a 412 cab with V30s. These amps like V30s and G12H Celestions, the latter being stock in the combo.

    Bedroom amp? Sure, it will do that, but a single head or combo will easily do a normal club.

    The NOS RCA I installed in V1 unveiled a tone rich in sheen and added dimension. The tone has substantially enhanced clarity smoothness. That said, I used it stock for the first year with no complaints, but, I am, after all, a...... Tweaker.

    I highly recommend these amps. BTW, the FX loop is buffered, which is a real plus.
     
  8. deano_l

    deano_l Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for all your advice. The truth is I'm still no nearer to making a decision!

    My primary motive is to simply play more. I have a great modelling setup (Vox VT20+ and Zoom G3X), but I inevitably spend more time fiddling about. I get bored with one patch and feel the urge to start fiddling around. Thus I play less.

    It's a common story. I'm not the first to suffer from it and I wont be the last. I don't know if it's a form of ear fatigue: I get a sound and it sounds okay, but after a few minutes of playing I feel the need to fiddle with it.

    To try to break this I want to get a good simple amp with a great basic tone and use that to just play. I want to reduce my options to one simple but great basic sound that will not give me the ear fatigue, nor will it pander to my boredom threshold by relieving me of the ability to fidlle about with things.

    I think that's why I'm currently leaning towards the Tony Bruno. All the reviews and demo's seem to suggest it has a wonderful basic tone, and it it simple enough that it will be restrictive, but in a good, useful way.

    But the Tweaker is also a great basic tone, actually three of them. I just don't know if it will be an enabler towards my fiddling around tendancies. Will I get bored with actually playing afer a few minutes and want to start changing the settings and so forth? I just don't know if I'm disciplined enough for the Tweaker!
     
  9. Stewart Ward

    Stewart Ward Banned

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    Ask 100 guitarists the same question, and you'll get 101 different answers.

    Solution... go to your music store and test loadza amps and rely on your own hearing! Don't be a sheep and follow others. That's why tribute bands never get rich! ;)

    IMO, unless you play in a band with others regularly, you will never fully develop your potential or fully enjoy playing guitar. Three basic sounds... clean, crunch & drive is all you need... forget modelling... sound like Deano! I say that after more than 50 years playing in bands! People always know when I'm on stage by my tone and style!

    Good luck.
     
  10. deano_l

    deano_l Tele-Meister

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    Yes. The thing is, I've also done the band thing. I'm in my late 40's and been playing since I was 13, so I've been around a bit as well.

    When I was in bands I used an AC30. Full stop. I never moved away from them as it did everything I needed of it. The only fiddling was with a few stomp boxes, and in the 80's and 90's there was Boss and DOD. The only 'boutique' stuff was where the girls went for their clothes!

    Then when I finished playing in bands Ia couple of years ago I got rid of it all and moved into modelling gear. They sound fine but I just can't settle on a sound. That's why I think I need the restrictive framework of a simple, basic amp with a good basic tone.

    I don't know, perhaps playing with the AC30 spoilt my ears or something.

    Just for the record, I can guarantee I wont ever gig again. I have been diagnosed with an illness that makes it impossible for me to guarantee I'll be there. I can't say from one day to the next whether I will be well enough to play. Therefore I can't commit to dates. Yes it's a pity but that's life. You move on and make the best of what you have.

    So it will be just me in the house, recording or noodling or at best with a couple of mates in a jam session where it doesn't matter if I'm able to play or not.

    I will get to try them out. The Tweaker might be a problem as the only UK source is guitarguitar.com who are based in Scotland. It's a bit of a trek from Derbyshire! So that might have to be bought untried, which is why I am scouring the internet for commentary.

    Again though, thanks for the feedback. It's really useful.
     
  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm surprised that the VHT Special 12/20 has not entered the mix. I have not had the chance to try one yet, but looking for an amp similar to you what you describe. The Tweaker is the other one in contention. I'm also considering the VHT Ultra Six head with a cab. I like the 6L6 capability for Fendery kind of cleans.

    Have fun looking!
     
  12. GuitOp81

    GuitOp81 Tele-Holic

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    +1 for the tweaker. I tried that one and the rebel-20 and finally went for the rebel-30 just because of the reverb (I don't use pedals at home), but in terms of tone that amp can deliver several really good basic tube tones, more versatile than any comparable, and I never had a chance to use the full 30W at home anyway. A single speaker cabinet works for me. Take care and keep playing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  13. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a VHT ultra 6. head with a 2x10 cab. It is a very good bedroom amp. the triode/Pentode switch is great for taking it down a bit or blasting...if you can say that with 6 watts but it's a loud 6 watts in a bedroom. great cleans and good overdriven sounds...especially with the ability to use virtually any octal power tube out there to go from Fender to vox to marshall.
     
  14. deano_l

    deano_l Tele-Meister

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    That's another part of the problem though.. for me it isn't fun looking!

    I might be wired differently but I hate buying gear. It just frustrates me, putting myself into the hands of salesmen and professional reviewers all with their own angle.

    That's why I stuck with the AC30 for so long, and why the next amp I buy must be right. I can live with something that has a reasonably good tone and make it mine. I don't have a tone in my head I'm chasing. But I think I need limits to stop me playing about with everything.

    What I think I'm saying is that if the amp is reasonably flexible for me to find a tone I like, then that's fine. But if there is too much flexibility then I will never find the one sound in there I like. I'll keep jumping around and fiddling with different amp settings etc.

    Now the Tweaker may just be flexible enough for me to find what I want. The Bruno is just less flexible. It's a decision I need to make. Is there just enough flexibility in the Tweaker, or too much? Is there just enough flexibility in the Vox Tony Bruno, or not enough?

    It's very hard to explain. I hate shopping for guitar gear, mobile phones, cars... you name it. I hate having to deal with people trying to SELL me something. I would rather BUY. I hate being SOLD to. I like BUYING from. I hate the agonising over this or that. It's why when I do buy and amp or a phone or a car or whatever, I tend to keep it until it just stops working or, in the case of my old AC30, just too loud to be able to use at home, which meant in effect I had no amp at all.

    I suppose my ideal modeller would be a modelling amp with just one amp in there! It's a pity the amp manufacturers don't make DSP re-issues of their most popular amps. I would buy a modelled AC30 with 2x12 Blue's in if it just modelled the AC30 perfectly, but be able to use it at lower volumes.

    But they don't. They put dozens in there and someone with no discipline or self-control like me just flits around from one amp to another.

    Anyway, whinge over. Thanks again.
     
  15. foundjoe

    foundjoe Tele-Holic

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    deano, I'm just wondering with something like the Egnater Tweaker if you might not still be tempted to do all the tweaking you're wanting to get away from on your modeling amp? As long as you have different modes to choose from, that temptation to tweak instead of play would probably still be there. Maybe a better fit would be a simpler combo amp like a Peavey Classic 30? You can still get a good range of sounds but less options to tempt you away from playing.
     
  16. deano_l

    deano_l Tele-Meister

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    Perhaps. Which is why I'm also looking at the Vox TB18C1.

    It sounds great in the demo's and is a reasonable price. Soneone suggested the new Night Trains as well, but I don't think they are being sold yet.
     
  17. deano_l

    deano_l Tele-Meister

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    So I’ve done some more internet based research and I think I’m going to take the Egnater Tweaker off my shortlist, for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, although I want clean to clean’ish tones in the main, and I don’t mind a bit of Marshall sound now and again, I don’t want to pay for it. So having the Marshal voicing on there is something I’m going to be paying for but will hardly use. I have an original UK-made Marshal Guv’nor pedal that will suffice for that.

    The dealbreaker for me though was that it only had a line level effects loop. There is, I’m sure, a very good reason for it but it makes buying instrument level pedal a lottery and I don’t want that. My G3X works at instrument level as does my Guv’nor, and I don’t want to render them useless. So bye-bye Egnater Tweaker.

    The Laney Lionheart series have also been ditched because of the parallel loop that has no mix control. Again my G3X will become useless if I go for this amp. Why would they put such a thing on those amps? Oh well.

    Anyway, I have added the PRS SE 20 to my list of amps to try. It’s a good price. I can get the head version for £439 or I can go with the combo version for £499.

    The only worry I have with the combo is that it is closed back. Is that good for an amp that will only be used at “bedroom” levels? The speaker is supposed to be okay but nothing special, but at that price though I can afford to change the speaker to a better one such as a Celestion Gold or Heritage G12H30 but how will they react to the closed back?

    The alternative is the head at £439 and a Montage 1x12 cab to go with it loaded with the Celestion Gold or Heritage or whatever. These have backs that can be changed from open to closed if required. But are those speakers the right ones, and are those Montage cabs any good?

    Otherwise it seems a great amp on paper… two channels, tube-driven reverb, tube-driven effects loop with line/instrument level switch; 6V6’s; 5 year warranty. All good stuff. Just the questions over the cab/combo format and speakers.
     
  18. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

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    Given your needs, I'd suggest adding the Voc ac15 and Fender Princeton to your list. Both are known for their great cleans as well as break-up and both would take pedals well. Also consider a clone of the Fender tweed Deluxe if they are available and affordable over there.
    Regarding the buying/being sold to unpleasantness...I do not blame you. Having spent nearly 30 years as a commissioned salesman, I know that a really good and successful salesperson bends over backwards to listen and learn what you need and lets you "sell" yourself. Those types are rare but priceless.
     
  19. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    A buddy of mine that happens also to be the lead guitar player in a band that I am in has this head. He brings it only as a backup in case his 18 watt Marshall kit made amp has an issue (never as yet, and that's 4 years running). I believe they are fairly good amps as if it wasn't he would have it as a backup as his tone is second to none.

    My only grip against the amp would be sometimes having so many options (other than volume/tone) can sometimes work against you and/or the amp. I am personally in the camp currently that simple/straight forward is the only way to go.. myself into Tweed's and mainly a Bandmaster, but you beat a great Tweed Deluxe!
     
  20. deano_l

    deano_l Tele-Meister

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    That's the problem. I have a modeller and I spend more time fiddling than playing!

    I do want an effects loop though. That is a dealbreaker for me, and it must be instrument level (or switchable line to instrument level).

    Thanks for the help though.
     
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