How good is the Monoprice 15 watt amp?... ignoring price

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Webfoot, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. Webfoot

    Webfoot Tele-Holic

    Jan 13, 2007
    I would like a small amp and these are cheap and getting good reviews.

    Would like hear how it compares on sound (not cost) for clean and dirt

    - does it sound significantly better than a blues jr?

    - is it noise free (no hiss or hums like on pro jrs etc)
  2. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    I've read the threads
    Seems that once you replace the tubes and speaker they are pretty good. Of course but then you're up around $500. and there are a lot better choices in that price range.
    uriah1 and Zepfan like this.
  3. Moniyaw

    Moniyaw TDPRI Member

    May 15, 2019
    Wetaskiwin, Alberta
    I was going to purchase that specific amp but the tubes aren't that good, the speaker isn't the best either and upgrading everything can become expensive.
    You either leave it as is or go for something completely different.

    I never heard one live, just YouTube demos and it doesn't sound bad but doesn't sound as good as the champion 20, that's the one I got instead.
  4. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    My thoughts too.
    TheDams likes this.
  5. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Based on the Cub 12r, we don't get the Monoprice over here.

    Cleans are OK. Nothing special, nothing bad. Bring the volume up a little and things improve, but like most valve amplifiers, at very low volumes, it could be anything. As the gain comes up, it takes on a Marshally character, and takes it on quite quickly. A Blues Jr clone it isn't. Pristine cleans are not the forte of this circuit. Quite nice sounds can be had from turning it up, then backing the guitar volume off.
    The overall tone control is interesting to play with, and really changes the character. The usual TMB controls are fairly wide ranging. Easy to dial in a sound. The <1 Watt setting is louder than you'd think, and not bad at all. Useful to have for the home environment. On the Laney original, the reverb is digital, and OK, but not a real spring. On the Laney, I got some really quite lovely, lush sounds from it as well as glares from the shop owner when I explored the gainy side of things. The Laney I tried had the Rocket speaker in it. You think the Seventy-80 is bad?, try one of those.

    The Seventy-80 gets some very bad press. It is quite a neutral speaker and it has a protracted bed in time. Initially, it sounds quite horrid when things get loud, but give it time and you soon forget about it. While it may never emulated a choir of angels murmuring soothing chants, once it has bedded in, it's actually not bad at all. The time taken to bed it in at volume isn't easily forgotten. I have a Seventy-80 in a large combo and another in an extension cab, and nowadays?, they're fine sounding devices. It took many rehearsal hours at high volume to get the spikiness smoothed out. You get the amp character, not the speaker character coming to the fore.

    Valves. Hmmm. V1 is the 'money' valve. V2&V3 may as well stay Ruby for what they do. The output valves would benefit from some 6p14p-EV replacements, but what would benefit more would be after an hour or so running it, to bias the thing properly!. I have yet to find a fixed bias amp that can be adjusted that has been correctly factory biased. They're all set cold!
    It seems valve swaps on just about every amp is one of the first things owners post about. It isn't a Monoprice exclusive. How many people swap their speakers within weeks of getting their new pride and joy?. There's thousands of posts about valves and speakers.

    The additional features, such as the tone stack controls, the reverb, the FX loop and the <1 Watt setting make the Laney/Monoprice a very flexible amplifier. It isn't a lifetime amp though. It is what it is. When I went amp shopping, I tried ( and passed on ) the Blues Jr. I know they are popular, but I just didn't like it. The Pro Jr had charms, but was noisy and needed winding up to get any character from it. Neither of those are lifetime amps either. How many tales of failing Blues Jrs do you read about?. Burned out resistors, eaten PCB, valves failing because they're run too hot and there's no adjustment, which takes out other components. A lot of amplifiers have issues.

    The Laney range, to me, offered more, and sounded ( to me ) better. If the Monoprice was available over here, I'd buy one to accompany my beloved Cub 10!

    Can you get one with a good returns policy?
    Webfoot and Dr Improbable like this.
  6. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

    Jan 17, 2010
    Decatur, GA
    I had one for awhile, and liked it a lot once I replaced that mediocre Seventy/80 speaker. The only tube I swapped was a 5751 in the V1 slot, trying to buy a little more headroom. In the end though, the amp was just more 'british' than I wanted, and I sold it on once I bought my Ampeg GVT15... which also got a lot better once I'd swapped out the lousy Seventy/80 it came with.
  7. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 22, 2016
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I got mine on one of the great sales and replaced the speaker with a used WGS and it sounds great. $500 after replacing tubes and speaker? Well if you want to talk yourself out of it so you can spend $500 on another amp that’s one way but mine’s sounding really good for under $200 irregardless of how much I paid. Huge long threads here and elsewhere online talking it up quite positively with those who have done about the same I did with it. This thread is really not needed honestly.
    joe_cpwe and BB like this.
  8. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    Oct 28, 2015
    I own two Blues Juniors and a Monoprice 15. My impression is that the Monoprice is voiced for rock and roll. As you turn it up the distortion comes on quickly, smoothly and musically.

    But if you want to play with a loud, clean, clear fat tube sound, the Blues Jr. is able to do that. The Jr. does a pretty good job of being a Hi-fi amp with a distortion option using the input gain. No matter how you experiment with the two gain knobs on the Monoprice it sounds like a rock/blues amp. (A good little rock/blues amp.)

    They both sound great! No intrinsic hum.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  9. Keefsdad

    Keefsdad Tele-Holic

    Jun 4, 2018
    Toronto Canada
    Better is subjective. To my ears the clean is not quite as good as the BJ, the dirty sound is better. The only change i made is the power tubes, and only for reliability since I am gigging with it. I have owned Fenders, HIWATT's, Boogie's, etc. and I'm very happy with it. Nothing wrong with the spkr.
    rich815 likes this.
  10. MrClint

    MrClint Tele-Meister

    Jun 11, 2018
    Lake Balboa CA
    It's a great little amp right out of the box. I haven't changed a thing, haven't even biased it. I play it all the time. Can't speak to any comparisons with other amps though. Ignoring the price completely misses the point of this amp. It's a high value, knock-around rig. It's not all things to all people.
    rich815 and BB like this.
  11. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2003
    It's all right. Nothing to rave about. Small trannys, cheap tubes. They seem to keep improving them though. The latest version is back in stock now ....but at $249. The Fender Blues Jr is superior I feel. More wattage. Cleaner when you want it.
    -The fuse is INSIDE the amp, if it fails at a gig you're screwed. I moved mine to a fuse holder installed on the back.
    -I have Version 1. There's a little bit of hum at times but not much. Could be my room.
    Zepfan likes this.
  12. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

    Nov 27, 2017

    Stock they are an ok amp and while were supposed to ignore price, I don't know how you do that, compared to a Friedman, it doesn't sound great : - )

    For $200, plus diferent V1 preamp tube and maybe a speaker swap its a very servicable amp,

    I paid $145 shipped, swapped V1 and V3 for vintage Sylvania tubes, pair costing me $22 on eBay, Been using the stock 70/80 but will probably swap in the Legend GB128 I got for $45 shipped as a restock from Parts Express.

    That would put me at $212 total.
    rojo412 likes this.
  13. rojo412

    rojo412 TDPRI Member

    May 23, 2019
    Cleveland, OH
    It's funny, I was just watching the video on Darrell Braun's channel, reviewing this amp. It looks pretty promising for the money. And while I'm not really versed in the ultra-subtlety that is involved in hearing differences between tubes, it was pretty clear that you could just upgrade the V1 tube and it made a noticeable difference that was worth the money.
    But if you're like me (bass player, looking for a budget tube guitar amp for noodling), it was pretty impressive out of the box for the price. It's got a 12" speaker, which most amps in this range don't have, so you can at least have that option down the line to replace it with a lot of options.

    They did go up to $249 at Monoprice (plus tax for some reason), while Newegg sells them $229 shipped.
  14. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 25, 2005
    a hawk makin lazy circles
    i bought one of the little 5 watters. i use it as a head running into a 12" cab. i like it mostly.
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