Lookin for a new amp, advice please.

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

  1. Richie-string

    Richie-string Tele-Meister

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    [QUOTE="jgwcaster, post: 8912174, member: 105527". I imagine the Vox ac4tv will reach a point where repairs will not be worth the amp.

    Yes this was exactly the problem i was worried about when i bought my AC4. I bought it and then just trusted to luck that it would last and not need repairs, particularly any repairs to the PCB. I wasn't in a position like yourself where there was an affordable and decent sounding handwired amp available locally. If there had been i would have gone for that option. Don't get me wrong, i love the little Vox and think it sounds great but repairs were a concern when buying it.

    Let us know how you get on with the TAF if you decide to get it?
     
  2. Believer

    Believer Tele-Meister

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    The TAF sounds very doable. I wouldn't be afraid to try it. If that falls through, you might look at Panama amps. They have a Reverb store, and I bought a 5 watt Conqueror B-Stock head at a very low price. I still can't figure out what was B-Stock about it. Later, I ordered a 15 watt Fuego B-stock head. After a couple of days, they informed me that they couldn't find it in their warehouse, and offered me a brand new Fuego X (a little higher gain and more expensive model) at the same price as the B-stock. That is outstanding customer service. Their products are first class, beautiful looking and sound great, and no, I don't work for Panama.
     
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  3. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    There was some tweets and banter on the net a while ago that Panama amps are unreliable amps from a unreliable source. Just sayin'.
     
  4. Believer

    Believer Tele-Meister

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    Really? Hate to hear that. I've had both of mine for over a year, and no problems at all. Maybe I just got lucky:confused:.
     
  5. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    Sounds like it. Enjoy.
     
  6. stevemc

    stevemc Tele-Holic

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    i've heard good things about panama amps.oh well...
     
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  7. wulfenganck

    wulfenganck Tele-Holic

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    You got me interested in the TAF - what a shame that the owner had passed away, it looks like he really got something godd going.

    I've owned quite a number of amps over the years I play electric.....since somewhere around '82 I guess.

    There are brands that have flaws on a regular basis, but those are cheap no-name stuff from some chinese factory.
    But this is quite the opposite, a rather boutique-style producer.
    One thing I learned from the internet: for each recommendation for a certain brand, there will be one user answering with some story of a horrible fail for exactly this item!
    Neither my Rocktron preamps back in the 90s nor my present Hughes & Kettner tubecombos have ever failed me, yet I've seen postings with breakdown-stories for all of them.....

    Apart from that, my guitar technician has been doing this kind of amp-repair for about 30 years. When I brought him one of my tubeamps, he said, he never has had this brand before, but (quote): "there is just a few different designs for tube amps out there, it's not like inventing the wheel again and again!"
    I'm sure there is a solid amp-repair shop around your place as well.

    I'd go for the TAF!
     
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  8. wulfenganck

    wulfenganck Tele-Holic

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    Sorry, double post....
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  9. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    I appreciate all the responses. As it happened life got busy and I was not able to try out the TAF on Friday. The local shop is open next on Tuesday, hopefully I can get in there then.

    I got news that my fender champ might be costing more than I expected. Not a big deal but it will means I will have less to spend on a cabinet if I get the TAF.

    So thinking about the TAF 10 it has those 6AQ5 tubes they don’t look difficult to get replacements for but I keep wondering if the odd tubes will limit me down the road. I wish I knew what the third and fourth tube were. The photo on the old site makes it look like there are 4 tubes in there. Perhaps a 12ax7 and something similar.

    Also I never realized that Cabinets were so expensive. As it is I would I would have about $300 left to purchase a cabinet. Is this not a realistic budget? It looks like online 1x12 cabs in the $200-300 range are perhaps the lower end of what’s available. I can always wait and save some more for a cabinet it’s just a world I am a bit unfamiliar with.

    I did send an email to TAF, realizing, they might not respond, asking what they recommended cabinet wise. I am half hoping they might even say they have a 1x12 sitting around that never sold that I could grab but I am not holding my breath.
     
  10. blues bondsman

    blues bondsman Tele-Afflicted

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    You have to be willing to shop around when it comes to cabinets.
    The 2X12 I use for my Bandmaster head was originally a used VHT cab (very well built)
    I picked it up from Guitar Center's online Used department for 159.00 shipped.
    I sold off the Chromebacks that came in it and put Webers in it.(but that is another story).

    People are forever buying excellent speakers and selling them off before they break in.
    Sites like Reverb.com.
    I can usually find killer bargains if I take my time and hunt a bit.

    As for the other story.
    I too sold off those Chromebacks too soon.
    I purchased a VHT Special 6 Ultra that was a few years old and it had the original Chromeback goofy looking chrome plated disco ball speaker in it LOL
    as it turns out when broke in it was the best speaker for that amp !

    Back to the original reason for this post.
    Type in 1X12 or 2X12 at places like Reverb or Guitar Centers used site and you'll see tons of options at reasonable prices.
    Also try Cab and or cabinet.

    Guitar players are the most fickle bunch in the world and there is always "used" stuff available.
     
  11. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    I think have been restricting my searches too much to the Columbus, OH area.

    I just don’t know what goes into a good cab vs a bad cab. Pine, birch plywood, Particle board (termite vomit) or whatever else.

    Open back, closed back, etc.

    When I see a $200 1x12 and then a $700 1x12 I don’t know why (beyond name) that the cabinet is more expensive.

    In the end I will make do with whatever I get. Once I make a purchase I do not tend to tweak to chase tone, I try to learn what the product can already do. I figure my ears are not sharp enough to discern how to tweak better tone via tube and speaker swaps.

    That being said if I can buy better quality and design I would rather do that then get a $200 cab that is poor build quality and and perhaps poor tone.

    Again I know nothing about cabs, so I don’t know how to gauge a poor quality one vs a solid built cab that will get the job done with room to spare. Price tag may have little to do with it.

    Whether I get the TAF or not I may end up questing for a cab so options are opened up to me in collecting small heads. I think I can get away with that more than I can in collecting combo amps.
     
  12. W.L.Weller

    W.L.Weller Tele-Holic

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    Definitely look for used cabinets, either on guitar center's website or on Craigslist. I paid $40 for a 2x12" without speakers, spent another $75 on 2 used Celestion speakers.

    https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Kustom/THE-DEFENDER-30-WATT-SPEAKER-Guitar-Cabinet.gc

    I'm actually surprised that they didn't have more used selection, but the nice thing about used stuff from Guitar Center is that they'll ship it to the store closest to you, and if you don't like it when you go to pick it up, you can return it right there.

    https://columbus.craigslist.org/msg/d/columbus-vertical-2x12-randall-speaker/6818332749.html

    And just FYI, mismatching the speaker impedance (measured in ohms) with the amplifier's output impedance isn't a good way to limit output power and has the possibility of damaging the amp, the speakers, or both.
     
  13. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    Thanks.

    I would not want to mismatch the ohms, I realize that is a good way to kill an amp. Since the amp can be switched to 4,8,or 16 ohms I was just wondering if there is a different output if I use different cabinets. Would something rated for 8 have a dramatically different sound than something 16 ohms? Perhaps the different ohms are more for a single, twin or 4 speaker configuration.
     
  14. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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  15. Believer

    Believer Tele-Meister

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    Don't know if you've ever tried Thomann (in Germany), but their house brand cabs are called Harley Bentons. You can get 1x12s equipped with Vintage 30s for about $125, (shipping adds about $35). 2X12s are around $185-$190, again with $35 shipping. I've two of the 1X12s and one 2X12. Excellent quality and sound. Took about 10 days to arrive from Germany.
     
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  16. Richie-string

    Richie-string Tele-Meister

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    Good advice.
     
  17. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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  18. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    jgwcaster - You also sparked my curiosity in this TAF amp so I’ve done some searching while I have time off work & hope you find this as interesting as I did. Apparently Mr Harris had been building amps since 1957 so he obviously knew his s#!t.

    Why so low a cost you may ask? Here’s review excerpt I found from another forum last year-
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    >MRX said:

    Trying to figure how there can be any profit margin at that price point unless all the internals are real cheesy. Or all of the boards/parts are made offshore and just assembled here.

    >Edward Replied:

    That's really very funny, because Dave, himself, stated on numerous occasions (complained about it a lot) that basically he was charging for his materials and not really charging anything appreciable for his labor at all. (there were some other comments that he made about the current labor market that I will leave out, but I can promise that none of them were racist).

    The price point of these amps was intended to do a few major things. He wanted to get these amps out in the world. He wanted Talented musicians who were not rolling in cash, to be able to realistically afford to buy one. He wanted to get the name out there, where it would be seen and known.

    At present, there are a number of amplifiers that Dave built 100% by hand. They have the full factory warranty. Traditionally, when an amp WAS SOLD, Dave would sign the amp. These amps cannot be signed by him.

    At 11:30 a.m. EST on 12/13/2017 David E. Harris, surrounded by his wife of 50 years, and all five of his children, breathed his last and ceased suffering, thus losing his 18 month war against metastasized esophageal cancer. He is survived by his wife (Dee) Kathleen Harris (Stuteville), five children, Catherine (O'Keefe), John, Joseph, Sarah (Cowan) and Edward, many grandchildren, as well as a few great grandchildren.

    TUBE AMP FACTORY
    Will be carried on by Dave's youngest son, Edward, who was deeply involved in the design and building of the amplifiers for the last years of Dave's life, training specifically, to take the reins, upon Dave's passing. The company will be carried on. Please keep the comments, such as the matter of the green pillars coming, so things go in the right direction.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    His tube Selection.. here's what I found on that.
    Some amp & tube guru’s state that 6AQ5s are one of the most underrated tubes for low watt amps on the market.

    The 6AQ5[1] (Mullard–Philips tube designation EL90) is a miniature 7-pin (B7G) audio power output beam tetrode vacuum tube with ratings virtually identical to the 6V6 at 250 V. A push–pull pair is capable of producing at least 10W audio output power in class AB1.

    Substitutes Close or identical

    BPM04, CK6005, CV1862, CV8229, EL90, M8245, N727

    Different rating or performance

    6005, 6095, 6669, 6AQ5A, 6AQ5W, 6BM5, 6L31, CV3972, CV4019, CV5190

    There probably wont be any shortage soon.

    Hope this helps in your decision.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  19. blues bondsman

    blues bondsman Tele-Afflicted

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    To me one of the best sounding and built cabs is the Egnater Rebel 1X12
    Its a birch ply cab with a ported front baffle.
    Sounds twice as big as it is !
    Stock it's 16 ohms.

    The Tweaker cab by Egnater is also nice and also 16 ohms.

    Used units everywhere used stuff is sold at bargain prices if your patient.

    The Bootique stuff is well... Lots of money and not much else.
     
  20. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    You say that they "sound pretty good." Since the world is full of used amps of known design that also "sound pretty good" there is no need to purchase one of these unknown builds based on tone and performance. It sounds like you are attracted more by non-performance aspects: having something handmade; having something with a local connection; having something rare. Those are all perfectly good reasons, if they are meaningful to you. Just be intentional about what you're doing. Unless you can get a schematic, repairs down the road will be a pain in the butt as good amp techs are a dying breed and those who can work properly without a chart are much harder to find. This is no small thing. On the other hand, the amp is fairly unique. What do you value most?
     
  21. bill perry

    bill perry TDPRI Member

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    So where is this factory located? I just saw this post and am quite curious, I have a really nice handmade amp, PTP and all by a friend of mine and would sell everything else before I got rid of it, sounds as if this iutfit may be a winner as well!!....Google, here I come!!
     
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