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Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Kmaxbrady, Sep 11, 2021.
My main practice amp is my DRRI. Too small for most of our gigs, but great for practice.
Agree 100%. I have a Blues Jr. and an XD. Both are great for practice and for small gigs. I've used them at festival gigs miced with great results too.
Hard to go wrong with any of those. The Roland Cube series amps are also great. I have the PG Spark and the Roland Mobile Cube. The Cube is impressive, but the Spark is a whole different beast. Lot’s of cool practice tools and effects, plus it looks really nice as a living room amp. Sounds like you want built in effects, but i’ll put in a plug for the Orange 20RT/35RT and the Blackstar HT-1R. I have the head only version that I play through a 1x12 cab. It’s a great and affordable little tube amp. It’s also super flexible with clean/overdrive, reverb, and 2 voicing. My son is using the 35RT and it’s got some great cleans, orange dirt and takes pedals well. It also has an effects loop. All of the amps I mentioned have headphone out for quiet practice as well. Good luck finding the what you like. It’s a buyers market out there. Lots of great amps!
Spark & Fender LT25 sound like dog s#*t compared to the THR.
Demo them side-by-side & you'll understand.
Quite a few used Sparks for sale online (if that tells you anything).
Boss Katana Air is also impressive.
My Blues Jr is great, but too loud for my living room.
Roland Cube this is all you need.
I have the Spark and it does overdrive/distortion really well (my favorite is the Marshall sim) but cleans are nowhere near as good as the other amp I have in my bedroom, which is an Orange TH-30 (which still sounds great turned all the way down). Ornage people might shoot me but to my ears the Marshall sim on the Spark sounds better than the dirty channel of the TH-30 (of course the volume is really low given that it's in the bedroom). The cleans on the TH-30 are amazing.
I'm gonna throw this in the mix...
I bought a Vox AV15 a few months back to replace a fender frontman 40 and it is all the practice amp I need. I use a blues jnr for jamming but the Vox ticks all the boxes for practice: Decent reverb, headphone jack and aux in if you want them. Does the clean tones you talk about beautifully with my tele. Its some kind of valve/ solid hybrid. Enough controls to give you options without being too confusing or complicated.
Just my opinion!
So tempting to vote for the only one of the three I have any experience with but I also sold because I went with audio interface, monitors, and pedals instead.
It has a "Sorry, I'll keep it down officer" volume level.
I voted for "none of the above"... I'm just old school and these kind of amps don't flip the switch for me. On my local Facebook Marketplace I found an 80s Peavey Bandit 65 for $100. It's heavy as a log of lead but has a nice clean sound and takes pedals really well. I leave it sitting net to my recliner with a guitar leaning on it all the time so I just switch it on, throw the guitar over my shoulder and I'm good to go. I have to be careful with the volume knob because it can become a police magnet. It is a 1x12" and I suppose 65 watts. It's a "Built in the USA" Peavey and has held up this long. It must have been made on a Wednesday, not on a Monday when folks come in hung over from the weekend, or on a Friday when they are eager to go early to get to the weekend...
I don't like fiddling around with modeling stuff, so I prefer pedals. Especially if I have to do an "app" or a "phone" or a "computer" or a "War and Peace sized manual" just to get anywhere... that is no fund to me. JUst throw a pedal on the floor, twist a couple of intuitively named knobs, and have at it... yay. Old School...
My other amp is small and loud but not cheap. Regular price was around $1,600 but I got an employee discount on a NOS item at a music store for around $1,300. It's small and portable, loud, takes pedals and is all-tube. It's a Mesa/Boogie Express 5:25+ (a later "plus sign" version). It has plenty of tweak-ability but nothing you need a phone, app, or computer for. 2 channels and lot's of mini switches. This one is a 1x12" combo and has a switch to cut the power from 25w/15w/5w. Here's the front panel lay-out:
The one thing I miss on this Boogie I have had on others (I've been a Boogie user for 31 years) is a Direct Recording Out...
The front panel of the Express 5:25+ is nearly identical to the newer Mark 5 Twenty-Five
The shop where I got my Express 5:25+ had ordered a couple in the vanilla taurus covering with a wicker grill, so it looks like this:
Like I said, I am old school and if asked what I'd use for a "practice amp" it would be my Boogie Express 5:25+... Thing is, it's plenty powerful enough to be my gigging amp, too. My opinion is... if it needs to be any louder than this either... 1) the drummer needs to remove some of his 30 cymbals and play with dynamics... or 2) break out the microphone and let's go through the P.A. -- usually and mostly everybody just needs to turn the F down and make the club owner happy we aren't blowing his clientele out the front wall... I don't play metal or heavy music anyways, mostly blues and a lot of clean stuff, so it's easier to handle. And mostly no distortion to hide all the mistakes, haha.
Plus this Boogie is light enough to move around the house if needed. These days I only play at home or at church, so it doesn't get moved much at all. They have a Blues Jr. I use at church (not my favorite amp, but it's what they have).
There are a bah-jillion choices out there for gear right now. It's one of the richest times ever to be an electric guitar player. I think whatever floats your boat is what is good for you.
I agree with what more than one poster said... go to a decent store (just not Guitar Center, they suck) and try out several amps in person with a test drive. One of them will speak to you with what I call a "soul". That's how I buy guitars and pedals, too. Plus if you can, buy something used not new. Buying new means you take a big depreciation hit as soon as you walk out the door. Buying used means if after all the fuss you don't like it and want to sell it, chances are you'll get all your money back.
My 2-cents. I'm an old school amp and pedals guy, so my vote of the amps you mentioned are "none of the above".
I suppose an honorable mention I'd throw out there is yet one more amp I have, the Roland Cube Street EX. It's 2x8", 50 watts, only weighs 16lbs, has a speaker stand mounting hole on one end, has various power setting, can run on batteries or a laptop type power supply, and it has effects (it has a chorus to die for). Plus 2 channels. I use mine for solo gigs, it works as a guitar amp taking pedals superbly, as well as vocals with dual combo mic/1/4" inputs. Plus auxiliary inputs if you wanted to add a small mixer for more vocal or a keyboard or bass. They used to be $549, now are $529. I love this little amp. Home practice, batteries, or loud enough to play solo gigs. It's also light as a feather at only 16lbs. I can lift it with one finger.
15 watt tube Monoprice. It has a 1 watt button and reverb, the normal gain, treble, bass, mids knobs. It has a effects loop and a 12" celestron speaker. It sounds really good and take pedals well. All for $249 buck. It has 3 12ax7 (ecc83) and 2 EL 84s. They come with JJs. I run it clean with a boost/overdrive in front and It gets way louder than you need. The 1 watt button will give you enough you volume you will hunt down your hifi earplugs. If you want something simple and sounds good then this is a good option and you will have enough money left over to put another Tele in lay away!
I have an EC Fender Vibrochamp and it's fantastic. Use with a fender footswitch for vibrato. The only downside is no reverb and I am thinking of a pedal. Suggestions welcome.
My "bedroom" amp used to be a Peavey Bandit 65 that I bought new in 1987. I usually had it on the clean channel on essentially zero volume. I also used it for some gigs over the years. I had to retire it last year since it has developed a few issues, probably nothing a good cleaning and a few minor fixes won't take care of. I did, however, use it often as a pseudo-FRFR for various modeling units and such, most often a Tech 21 SansAmp.
I have a different take. I’m sorry about that but I believe I’m right. When I started playing in the 1960’s, everyone I knew had one amp. We practiced with it. We dragged it to band practice. We played through it at the dance in the girls’ gym or church basement. When I was in college, I had a bigger amp. It was a mother to lift and haul but I used one amp for everything. Guitar, bass, everything.
My take on a practice amp is this. If you’re not in a position to buy a different one, practice through the amp you have. Even if you are, practice through the amp you have. Learn to manage your tone at a range of volumes. Learn to trade distortion from pedals for gain stage distortion. Learn to use your amp without reliance on pedals. Get an attenuator. Practice using your current amp and learn to get the most out of it. Different take? If you’re my age, you already know this but maybe just forgot.
Your ears are "dog s**t". I have the LT25 and the THR10C, and the LT25 sounds just as good as the Yamaha. If I sent you a recording of both, you wouldn't be able to tell which was which
I’m currently Jonesn for a Supro 64 reverb.. possibly the the super but
For almost the same money way more versatile.. that said there’s much to be said about one knob
I have had my Pignose since the early '70's. I run a Morley Power/Wah/Boost through it, and it roars.
If I have to use my phone to run it, I'll pass.