Lookin for a new amp, advice please.

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jgwcaster, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    I am on a quest for a new tube amp. The local guitar shop has a pair of amps by the brand of TAF, Tube Amp Factory. They sound great, but I am unable to find much about them, aside that they are made in my home town. As it turns out the company is on hiatus as the founder has passed away. Sounds like there are plans to keep the company going but who knows if that will happen.

    The price is very appealing, they are hand made and sound pretty good.

    I would welcome any insight on the brand good or bad.

    I am curious, how hard is it to service a small unknown brand of amp? I don’t want to find out a few years down the road that the amp is difficult to service.
     
  2. jwp333

    jwp333 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm not a repairman but I think they usually like to have a schematic when they work on a tube amp. It may or may not cost a little more to work on it because of the lack of that. You got me curious, I'm going to have to google TAF.
     
  3. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    That’s what I thought.

    There is not much on google for TAF. Their main site was up and running a month ago. There are a few YouTube videos. Seems like from what I have found those that own them love them. Then there are those that are suspicious because they are relatively unknown and fairly inexpensive. Sounds like the maker was on a quest to make high quality affordable hand made amps.

    I will keep searching for info on them.
     
  4. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    Currently I have two small amps. A Vox ac4-tv with a 10 inch speaker and a fender champ from 1973 (that amp is a lot of fun).

    I don’t need tons of power, actually anything beyond 15 Watts is more than I need. But I am looking for something with a bit bigger sound. I get that I have some small amps and by their speaker size and cabinet size have limits.

    Actually I would like something with a master volume and a gain. But if the clean tone is right anything will do.

    I love the Fender Champ. It’s off getting service right now (might actually be for the first time in its life).

    Anyway the TAF amps have my interest because they are local and made by hand. Which I like the idea of.


    As far as bigger brand stuff goes I am curious about the vox ac10. The ac15 is amazing but waaaaay too heavy.

    The Blues Jr has my attention, perhaps a little plain. A local store has a used one that sounds okay, but I cannot get it to break up at all (is that normal?). The Princeton 65 looks great but i’d Have to save more cash for that.

    I might even consider a katana if it will take my overdrive pedals okay (I know it has its own effects, but I have plenty of my own that I already like).

    And that is where I am at with the amp quest: many options, limited finances, only so many amps can show up in the house before I have to get rid of one.

    Anything else I should consider? Hand made brands that don’t break the bank? Something outside the Vox, fender, Marshall trio that I should consider? I don’t need high gain.
     
  5. Richie-string

    Richie-string Tele-Meister

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    What a shame that the proprietor has passed away, he looked like he had got a great little company going there.

    I checked out the website and as you say it looks like he wanted to build decent quality tube amplifiers at more affordable prices which has to be applauded.

    As far as buying one is concerned, my own personal inclination is to say go for it. These are hand wired point to point amps so all qualified techs should be able to service it for you pretty easily. Also, from what i've heard of the sound samples on the site they sound pretty decent too. I say snap yourself a bargain whilst they are still available. It's hand built in the USA, it's a bargain for what you are getting for your money.
     
  6. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    Right, I think I would kick myself if I didn’t grab one and then found out years later that they are an odd but awesome amp, and more sought after now that the founder is passed.
     
  7. Gmountain

    Gmountain Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Might I suggest the Hot Rod Humboldt Blues Jr from MF? $50 more than the standard, but i hat a wood cabinet and a Cannabis Rex speaker. Sounds great. Or go on Reverb and get a Fender Deluxe Reverb.
     
  8. Richie-string

    Richie-string Tele-Meister

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    I have the Vox AC4 as well but i have the AC4-C1 which i absolutely love, beautiful clean tones but as you already have the AC4tv it's probably not an option to consider. I have heard nothing but stellar reviews about the Vox AC10, i have honestly not heard a bad review.

    The other amp i have is the Fender Bassbreaker 07 watt 1x10" combo. I find this a truly incredible amp, it sounds like a top end boutique amp when it's wound up and breaking up slightly. I really think more people should be taking notice of these amps. Also, the build quality is very good as well. Heavy duty cabinet and transformers, Celestion 10-30 speaker fitted as standard. These really do sound incredible. There really are a lot of options out there at some very reasonable prices but i do think the TAF is worthy of very serious consideration.
     
  9. Richie-string

    Richie-string Tele-Meister

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    I must admit if i was local to where you are the TAF would be the one i would snap up. Being hand wired it's very service friendly. The thing with these very small totally hand built makers is that the guys running them take real pride in their work. I'm quite sure that Mr Dumble wasn't well known when he first started out making amplifiers.
     
  10. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    Okay, I am going to sit and visit those TAF amps again tomorrow. Another consideration is they are all heads. The local shop only has one cabinet, which seems okay (Hughes and Kettner tubmeister). I would be inclined to then drive down to Columbus to the music go round, San ash and perhaps guitar center to look for a cab.

    I know even less about picking out a cabinet other than the ohms need to match. Advice or recommendations in what to look for would be welcome.
     
  11. Richie-string

    Richie-string Tele-Meister

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    I think this amp is definitely worthy of serious consideration so it's a wise decision to go and check them again.

    As for the cab, i notice on the TAF website that the maker fitted an eminence speaker in his combo model so that might be an option to at least consider.

    I think you are on the right track by getting the amplifier and then heading off to a larger store which is going to have a selection of cabs to try. Take your amp with you so you can try it with the options they have in stock. Yes the H&K might be an OK option but if you are getting a bespoke hand wired tube head then it makes sense taking some time and looking at all the options cab wise. Also the larger store will be in a better position to be able to advise you on the various sizes and speaker options.
     
  12. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    So the local shop has 3 TAFs, the 10 watt, the 14 watt and the 35 watt with reverb. I am inclined towards the 10 watt (I just don’t need more power than that). The 35 watt is $100 more, and looks great in its birch ply housing. I’ll never be a rock star and doubt i’ll ever play a gig that needs 35 Watts. I’ll spend time with all three. They all have an adjustment on the back for ohms, 4,8,16. This is just for matching with a cabinet right? Or can you control some of the output by using a cab of 4 ohms vs 16 (probably revealing my ignorance with that question)
     
  13. Richie-string

    Richie-string Tele-Meister

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    Yes i think i would go for the 10 watt version as well, particularly if you are not gigging. Also, tube amps are very loud so even if you did get a small jam band together or something 10 watt of tube power will actually go quite a long way. You could probably do a small bar gig with the 10 watt version. Yes the 4,8 &16 ohm adjustment is for matching it up to the cab. It's got all the options covered so it will be compatible with whatever cab you happen to get.

    Also, if you have never had a separate head/cab combination before it's worth remembering that it's really important to always make sure your speaker cab is connected before switching on the amp. Running the head without the cabinet connected is really bad for the output transformer so i am told. Not that you are likely to do that but i have known people to forget to connect up the speaker cab before. Sorry if i am stating the obvious but just thought it better to give you the heads up.
     
    AlbertaGriff and JustABluesGuy like this.
  14. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    It's not unusual for tube amps to come with a copy of the schematic. At least it wasn't back when.
    If it's hand wired and fairly simple, it's not too hard to figure out what does what.

    I would not hesitate to buy a lesser known tube amp - but I'd be looking for a cost savings because it is unlikely to have the resale value of a Fender, Marshall, etc.
    That might not hold if it is a hand made masterpiece with awesome tones that really inspire you. But assuming you like the two about the same and they both fit your needs about the same, the known brand is probably a better purchase.
     
  15. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    Sounds like that TAF amp has serious mojo. jgwcaster. I'd run with it.
     
  16. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Holic

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    No experience with them, but It seems as though the builder took pride in his work. Depends what's important to you. The taf amp is likely to be more serviceable than a pcb based blues junior.
     
    djh22 and Richie-string like this.
  17. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    Right, that is what I am experiencing with the older Fender Champ. It sounds glorious and is very repairable. I imagine the Vox ac4tv will reach a point where repairs will not be worth the amp.

    I was thinking about trading the Vox in towards a cabinet. I kinda wish I could use it as a cabinet and really take my time in picking out a cabinet. As it is if I get the TAF or any head I would want to be able to play it same day at home.
     
  18. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    Do you know how many valves are in the amp, I doubt a 10 watt amp with no reverb would be too complivated to service. I'd imagine it either has a single 6L6 output or a pair of 6V6s/EL84s, preamp probably has 1 preamp valve 2 at most.
     
  19. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    From what I remember peaking into the head there were three tubes. The site has this listed in the description: The Model TAF-10 Tube Amplifier is a lower power cousin of the TAF14 series. This design uses a pair of 6AQ5 beam power pentode tubes in in a class A push pull circuit.

    6AQ5 sounds odd. I don't what hard to find tubes. (Never mind, they are miniature 6v6 tubes).
     
  20. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    Im sure the 6AQ5s arent interchangeable with 6V6s, they have different pinouts but with that said you can still buy 6AQ5s. Back to my first point a 3 valve amp won't be difficult to sevice when required.
     
    Richie-string likes this.
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