Looking for some amp advice as I search for something different.

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jgwcaster, May 31, 2017.

  1. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    Hi all, I'm looking for suggestions as I launch in my quest for a fresh amp.

    Okay, I'm a bedroom player who also plays at church. I'm no pro and It's been a while since I was in the market for an amp so i'm not sure about what all has developed in the last few years.

    I currently have a Vox AC4TV with the ten inch speaker, been using it for about 4 years.

    It is my first tube amp and I like the sounds I get out of it but I have recently been wondering about amps with a few more knobs. Particularly something with a master volume. Forum legend also indicates that I should be interested in a 12" speaker.

    This probably sounds crazy but I don't need more volume, the church band is small and I run on 4 watts as the cleans are more bell like, not strangled like when I run the attenuator. But when I turn up to get breakup on the amp it's too loud for the rest of the band. (Sad, I know)

    I am thinking that's where a master volume would help. Am I wrong in this?

    I also would like to find something other than vox for the next amp.

    Would the bass breaker 007 be significantly louder as it is 7 watts? Or does a master volume eliminate my need to worry about too many watts?

    Would I be better off with a katana (modeler, I know) or is 50-100 watts just so far over top that it's just a waste of power for what I do.

    I am planning on heading to a Samash to try some amps but my time will be limited so your recommendations will help give focus to my quest.
     
  2. Rialto1564

    Rialto1564 Tele-Meister

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    Let me suggest a used Peavey Envoy or Studio Pro. Not a tube amp, but they're very good.
     
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  3. CyrusF

    CyrusF Tele-Meister

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    Honestly, anything with a master volume and a 10" or 12" speaker will fill your needs! The bassbreaker has a foot-switchable boost that can take you from off-clean to dirty if you like, and the Katana 50 has built in effects which is nice and convenient. As an aside, I'm a professional and I do play gigs with a 1x10 combo. It's always done the trick for me! I would probably say the Katana will be a more versatile option given that you can switch between clean and overdrive without touching the knobs, but that's just my two cents. Cheers!
     
  4. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    I played church gigs for about 25 years.

    If you are not miked and the AC4 can get too loud you really don't need to change at all. When the speaker size is allowing you to create enough volume to mix with the band you're fine unless you don't like the tone.

    As far as "turning up", try using an overdrive that generates a mild amount of distortion (not a "clean boost"). Probably the single best known is the Ibanez Tube Screamer, but there are zillions of similar ones - you'd be able to get your existing clean tone and a lead (or slightly louder) tone with a bit of "edge", or distortion, or just change the tone - pretty much any tonal direction you want without altering the existing sound that you like.

    And save yourself several hundred bucks in the process.

    Edited to add - If you really wanted to spend the money a master volume *might* help - but its effectiveness depends on the preamp design, the quality of the tubes - and the preamp tube before the master volume is critical, as it becomes a tube overdrive - and how well the clean tone of the amp works for 1) clean tones (obviously) and 2) driven-preamp tones.

    IT takes some experimentation to get the sound right, and often several tube swaps. Also,with master volume on/off tone comparisons you really need to do them at volume, preferably in the environment where you'll be playing (or similar). In-store tests are never realistic, and you'll be dealing with a type of sound that changes more than the clean tone does depending on the "venue".
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
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  5. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Silverface speaks truth right there. Rather than replacing the amp, just add a little depth to the tone and save the cash.

    Check out the TC Electronic Mojo Mojo pedal as a good starting point.
     
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  6. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the advice. For clarification I am not getting rid of the vox just seeking a different flavor.

    I do like the tone, I guess I just get gas like everyone else. Perhaps I am just hungry for a different flavor of amp. I have gotten used to a two knob amp, volume and tone (though I swear the tone knob doesn't do anything). I just thought a master volume and a few more eq knobs would get me a little more to work with. My power needs are so small I am just not sure what some good options would be before I am wasting my time with to many watts. I have seen that some say the AC4TV is a very loud 4 watts, so I am not sure if I have a good gage of its output vs other amps.

    I do have a pedal board with quite a few pedals on to add other flavors, though I wonder how they would sound with a different amp. As far as over drives I have an OCD and a walrus audio Voyager. I use the walrus with just a slight amount of drive and the the OCD for more crunch and a bit of boost.

    I figure I can only ask pedals to do so much.
     
  7. TmyBmore

    TmyBmore Tele-Meister

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    An overdrive would fix your distortion problem. You should get one (or more) just because! But go find another amp. nothing wrong with that. Plus you'll have a backup.
     
  8. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    I'm a big fan of the Peavey Vypyr VIP 2.

    It's a 40 watt, 1x12 modeling amp, and it is designed to be used by electric guitar players, bass players, and acoustic guitar players.

    Very versatile, fairly light and easy to transport, and loaded with awesome effects and tones.

    I love mine.
    I have used it on stage at a variety of venues, as a backup to my Fender 212R 100 watt twin.
    I often go an entire set or two on the Peavey, leaving the Fender as the backup.
    It's all a matter of my mood at the time.

    :D
     
  9. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Wattage isn't really about volume as much as it is the sound of the amp-especially when a master volume is involved. Bigger amps sound bigger, even at the same volume level as a smaller amp.
     
  10. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I strongly suspect the Bassbreaker is named the 007 simply because it's a cool name and the AC4 range is named after an older Vox amp. They're both ~5 Watts. What's a Watt or two compared to marketing anyway.
    If you're looking for a different sound, look toward amps that operate in class A/B with two ( or more ) output valves. Master volume amps open up new vistas of sound as you wind the pre-amp gain up with low master, or ( my favourite ) crank the master volume and keep the pre-amp gain low.
    More powerful amps, even at the same db level, sound bigger. The bass and associated authority and control may please you. The ability to stay clean at volumes where the Vox is currently getting a little raggity may appeal too, as may the ability to dial in some pre-amp grit without getting to volume levels band mates and others find annoying.
    As for 10" or 12", that's down to preference. If you find you prefer an amp that has a 10", don't be swayed by folk that insist only 12" is good enough. 12"s are all well and good, but there are some sweet as honey 10"s out there too.
    As for modelling amps and their ilk, the only way to know if one is for you is to try some out. Don't discount good old fashioned solid state. A solid state amp can be a fine sounding, loud, clean tone machine too. The larger Orange amps seem to garner much love, for example.
    Try solid state, try modellers, try a class A/B. Play with the master volume and pre-amp and listen to the results. Also think about what other features may be beneficial to you. Do you want to be able to play backing tracks through it to jam along to. Would a headphone jack that actually sounds good be of use. These are common on non-valve amps. On-board effects may be useful. You're lucky to get more than reverb on valve amps. Fender make the Super Champ x2 which may sit well with you, for example.
    Don't be rushed. Your time may be limited today, but you can always go back.
     
  11. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    As good "different flavor" amp that would vary your tone spectrum and still not blow everyone out volume-wise would be a Princeton Reverb. Even though it has a more power it's generally not that much louder than an AC4 (Vox amps all tend to create much more volume than the rated power normally indicates in other amps).

    While the Vox has a bit of mid emphasis, almost all blackface and silverface-type Fender amps have a "mid scoop", with more emphasis on the low and high ends. You'd also get reverb and tremolo. A simple A/B amp switcher will cost you maybe $25-40 and will allow you to immediately switch from one to the other.

    IMO it'd still be a very good idea to add at least a low-gain overdrive. After that I'd suggest adding a "swirl" pedal - my preference is a Leslie emulator, phase shifter and chorus, in that order (chorus is nice, but its become a bit of a dated cliche).

    With two different amps (one with reverb and tremolo), overdrive and a "color" pedal you'd be able to cover a huge amount of tonal territory, and just about every Praise/Worship song I've ever played (in 25+ years)...plus about 90% of the classic rock that's ever been played! Maybe not using perfect copies of recorded sounds, but you can get close enough.

    hope that helps!
     
  12. jenos

    jenos Tele-Meister

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    We all get it. When your girlfriend tells you she doesn't... she's lying!
     
  13. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Afflicted

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    This ^

    Good luck!
     
  14. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Most of the time master volumes do not magically allow you to access great dirt tones at lower volumes. Typically you need to run the MV up fairly high in order for the amp to sound really good. It can still allow you to reduce your overall volume a significant amount, but the more you "squeeze" down the volume the more the resulting tone starts to degrade, in my experience. Conversely, with the right dirt pedal you can often get a really great sounding dirt tone at lower volume levels. The right one really can make your amp sound like it does when its cranked. So, contrary to expectations, in many cases using a dirt pedal sounds better, "more natural", than squeezing down your amp signal with a master volume.

    There are many different flavors from Vox in general and your amp model in particular. If you don't need to be any louder than you already are off the top of my head I would suggest you try out Orange, Blackstar, Fender, and Marshall.

    One other thing about the advantages/disadvantages of "more knobs". Yes, you can tone shape more, but in many cases the amp's tone stack somewhat degrades the tone as well. After trying a lot of amps I think that some of the best ones have just one or two tone knobs. Another option is to use something like a Boss GE-7 EQ pedal to adjust your tone.

    As far as going down to a store and trying out amps goes, unfortunately you probably won't have a chance to try out rarer or older amps. For example, something like a vintage Fender Champ or MusicmasterBass amp might be exactly what you need, but you're not going to find one at your local music store, most likely.

    The amp quest can be endless. So many variables-- the circuit, the speaker, the cabinet, the biasing-- all affect tone. Some folks like going with the new generation of modelling amps that can provide a vast array of tones. My personal preference is to use a simple tube amp with a tone that is to die for-- and modify from there with pedals. I'd rather have one really awesome tone then lots of OK tones.
     
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  15. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep studio pro!!!!! Has knobs and MV....... And tone.... I'm comfortable with that and or my tweed deluxe for gigging.
     
  16. SnowStorm

    SnowStorm Tele-Meister

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    I'm rocking the Fender Mustang III v2 at a small church. It gives me all kinds of goodness and full volumes (without being overly loud). I'm also very happy with the Fender Champion 100. I will say that with both of those amps, I do need the following extra pedals:

    * Reverb Pedal - the onboard is ok for a general low volume level reverb, but when I want to go big they don't really cut it.
    * Drive Pedals - I usually run the amp so it is starting to break up, but I don't really like the full breakup on either the Mustang or Champion by itself. Kicking them with the Timmy or OCD type pedals gives me a great OD or Distortion sound.
    * Delay Pedal - I can use the delays in the Mustang and am happy with them. The Champion is convoluted to change to the delay settings and I just don't. (Who wants to turn off their reverb to switch to a delay? not me.)
     
  17. jgwcaster

    jgwcaster TDPRI Member

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    Okay, lots to think about, actually I spotted a champ in the little local guitar shop, I think I might try it out, yes it is an older one from the 70s for $499.

    I was wondering if vox amps were louder than say a comparable fender, like silverface indicated, I'll be trying out a couple to see if they are really that much more volume than the vox.

    I am set on pedals. They are a sickness for me. I have a well loaded pedal board, the vox is the weakest part of my set up.
     
  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    My advice would be only to look at different amps to solve as specific problem that is actually caused by that amp (i.e., not enough headroom, breaks up too soon, too much midrange, not enough midrange) and can't be compensated by pedals, as others note.

    It sounds to me like you have the perfect amp for your needs.

    I came to this view after a lot of wasted time and money flipping a lot of amps needlessly.

    Some of that was a learning process but most was just self-induced agita and wheel-spinning, if I'm honest. I comfort myself by saying that I wouldn't believe my current zen state of amp happiness had I not tried everything under the sun first. But that reeks of rationalization to me.

    I would also echo most of what @Silverface said and what @chris m. said - Master volume can help a bit, but most of those sound better and better to me the higher I wind the Master, anyway.

    If you "must" try something different you could do worse than a SF Vibro Champ, as you might be able to wind it to overdrive at your volume levels.

    Or if you must "must" try a MV amp, consider a Tiny Terror combo. Versatile; best MV arrangement I've personally tried, and it has a 1/2 power (really, "earlier breakup and darker tone") setting. I think they make one with a Greenback which might be quiet enough for your needs.
     
  19. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    A master volume amp can do wonders depending on the situation. My 100 watt master volume Marshall is a whole lot easier to manage at club gigs than my 18 watt custom head. I can get a sweet, juicy tone out of the Marshall at very manageable levels. That 18 watt non master head, by the time it hits the sweet and juicy spot is loud as hell. Yikes. I only use it on bigger gigs, and take the hundred watter to smaller stuff and any gig I know I really have to watch my volume.
     
  20. Singin' Dave

    Singin' Dave Friend of Leo's

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    A silverface Champ might be a good call...
     
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