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Low wattage valve amp - advice and what have I missed ?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Gregorski, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I highly recommend and would advise the Blackstar htr5. I in fact just got the head and cab combo at Sweetwater and love it, 2 channel clean and drive, and two voice options controlled by a double button footswitch which came with it. One voice is definitely an American sounding voice which of Course with the eq can get you into fender-esq sounds while the second voice is British voicing
     
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  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    VHT Special 6 Ultra. Head version available. 6 watt Fenderish clean 6V6 with a gain channel that can add yet another step of gain. Faux attenuator and capable of changing to different types of power tubes. Sweet and a lifer for me.
     
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  3. Cloodie

    Cloodie Tele-Meister

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    OP, I'm in a similar situation. Basically I wanted a nice tube amp that I could play at home volumes and it would still sound good. After a fair bit of research I was going to go for the Tone King Gremlin as the attenuator was meant to be very good and the amp was very simple in terms of the controls. I actually changed my mind and ended up going up another level and going for the Tone King Falcon Grande. I've been unable to try it as no stores have it in stock and they only order them in when they receive an order themselves so I've taken the plunge and ordered it without actually playing it. I think though that some stores do have the Gremlin in stock so you would be able to try it out.
     
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  4. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Afflicted

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    If the Tone King is in your price range, check out a Savage Macht 6.

    I had one, sounds perfect as a pedal platform for low(ish) volume playing. The 12 inch speaker really fills out the sound and has a nice low end, and it stayed clean pretty high up on the volume with a Tele. Beautiful tremolo, too. Build quality is second to none.
     
  5. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I mean this genuinely inquisitively: What does that mean? I feel like I can't answer your question when I don't understand the criteria. I don't know how to avoid recommending a low wattage tube amp in order to avoid "specs that feel too digital."
     
  6. 65tinbender

    65tinbender TDPRI Member

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    Home player who has used TDPRI for advice on this topic for the last 15 years.
    Blackheart Little Giant, VHT Special 6, & Champ 600 are gone.
    These three setups are working good without shaking the house:
    Am. Tele w/Lollars - WH Camel Toe - SF VibroChamp w/Weber 8A100. The Red Llama as boost makes it sound bigger and less boxy.

    Gretsch 5420T - DOD 410 - DM2W - TR2 - FRV1 - Ibanez TSA15 w/boost on. This amp must be the world’s quietest 15 watter.

    Les Paul Studio - DOD 250 - WH Consp. Theory - DOD Boneshaker - with Axle Grease delay & Timmy in loop - Marshall DSL40CR on 20 watts. My best setup ever. Timmy in loop for EQ & volume fine tuning.

    IMHO Bigger is better, even when quieter.
     
    Rowdyman likes this.
  7. Sean65

    Sean65 Tele-Holic

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    Supro Blues King delivers the goods!
     
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  8. Renegade

    Renegade Tele-Meister

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    Both the Princeton Reverb and Vibro-Champ are great sounding amps. My PR can get pretty loud for home use but doable. The VC actually get played more because it seems to do the "at home" thing really well. I use a Van Amps spring reverb on the VC.
     
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  9. havlma1

    havlma1 Tele-Meister

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    I can just comment on the Fender Pro Jr. IV - for home I'd say it is a great amp, with volume around 3 (= 9 O'Clock) and Tone rather low too it has nice clean sound, suitable for home use. If you crank it to about 8-9 (2 O'Clock), it turns out into very very loud beast with a great sound. I think this is the reason why its cabinet is made out of MDF to keep up and not to fall apart :) I liked it a lot, but eventually changed to Vox AC10C1 (with VT-Junior speaker) which I simply dig more. Also the Master volume is helpful to adjust the volume of the amp when playing at home..
     
  10. Allenjason95

    Allenjason95 Tele-Meister

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    What was Fender thinking with those red knobs? T
     
  11. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Laney L5T-112 for a combo, or the head version for a 'studio' amp.

    There's one available from Germany called the 'Kong' I have the predecessor to it which doesn't feature the power reduction. Very well made and sounds great! https://www.session.de/KONG-TubeFive.html

    Thomann are pushing their 5 Watt head. It features power reduction, but if video reviews are anything to go by, it doesn't feature good sound.

    Thomann have the Monoprice 5 Watt Champ-a-like, which is a Laney Cub in drag. Might be a little too basic though.

    Behringer/Bugera have a 5 Watt head.

    Build your own! Ampmaker produce two wonderful kits for low wattage goodness. https://www.ampmaker.com/ Their WF-55 is highly regarded by Brits on here because it's quite simply an awesome little amp.

    Hayden produced a 5Watt combo called the 'High Five' and I sort of regret flipping mine. Worth looking out for one.
     
  12. Allenjason95

    Allenjason95 Tele-Meister

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    Plenty of great bands have used Vox. Frank Black (AKA Charles Thompson, Black Francis) from the Pixies uses them, or did last I heard.

    I would love to have an AC30 but I'm not sure about the newer Chinese ones. Chinese stuff can be dodgy when compared to the originals.
     
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  13. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    if money is really no object, or if you can find one used, the Swart Atomic Space Tone SE (I think that's what it's called) is the best small amp I've ever played. I had a couple of hours with one a few years back and I've wanted one ever since. Reverb is just wonderful.

    Princeton is cool, a little loud by the time you get it cooking. Champ or equivalent is cool, too, but by the time you put a pedal in front of it for verb & trem, you might as well buy the Swart. See what I did there?
     
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  14. Arafel

    Arafel Tele-Meister

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    If you're willing to make the investment, the Swart AST Jr. is outstanding.Pair it with a Night Light attenuator and you have perfection
     
  15. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    Tone King if you're rich, otherwise that Blackstar HT5R looks pretty fantastic for the use case and price. You'd want to play the one you're going to take home cause it sounds like maybe they have build issues, but as long as you don't get a lemon the reviews are glowing. I'm sure there are lots of great other options too if you look around more too.

    You're going to get a massively biased towards Fender response here, even when the Fenders are the worst option, just cause this is a Fender centric & clean playing centric site. If you ask elsewhere you'll get a more varied set of opinions. In the real world it's not like 99% of all music was done on Fender amps run clean.

    An amp with too many watts and no master volume and no power options is the worst possible choice IMO/IME and that is mostly what Fender wants to sell you. If I want to have a tube amp I want to be able to play with the tubes providing some of the distortion, and do it at the volume level I choose. Modern amps have moved on and are way more flexible.

    I would not sweat lack of reverb. It seems like a lot of amps that have power scaling, attenuators, etc.. leave out built in reverb.

    No reverb is no big deal vs an amp with a built in digital reverb. Chances are it's extremely easy to find a pedal that is better for your needs than a built in digital reverb.

    A true built in spring reverb is very nice, but a lot of people still end up with a pedal, and reverb tanks can be fragile. That fragility might not be a big deal for a home only amp though. And it seems like that Spring reverb is usually going to cost you $200-300 to add into the amp on a mass produced amp and a good. bit more on a boutique amp.
     
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  16. TheLondonRiots

    TheLondonRiots TDPRI Member

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    If you do really just want a simple, single channel valve amp, then a Champ 600 is definitely worth a look. Do the tone stack mod, put decent valves in and replace the grill cloth and they sound great to my ears
     
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  17. Hpilotman

    Hpilotman Tele-Meister

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    Depends on what your budget is. Fender Blues JR GEN 4 is a decent amp for the money. 15 watts RMS with Reverb. Speaker changes really improve the tonal response of the FBJ.
     
    Gregorski likes this.
  18. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I like my Princeton with attenuator set up. Can get great tones at home, in the studio, or live.

    I run the combo at home with a brake lite. In the studio and live I use a 1x12 ext cab and sometimes mic. I'm good to go in almost any scenario. If I need silent or very very quiet, I'm doing the Iridium thing. At a certain point, a tube amp becomes the wrong tool for the job.
     
  19. Rowdyman

    Rowdyman Tele-Meister

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    DSL20CR - I put a 'Lil' Texas' in mine and it does the low volume at home thing just fine.
    Can also be loud if you need to.
    Good Luck, RM
     
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  20. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I'm not in a rush, but would love to add a low wattage Marshall to my "home studio"
     
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