Need Advice...I do not have a tube amp. which one should I get?

Wayne Alexander

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No one else has said this yet - good amps have particular types of core tones. Before acquiring an amp, get familiar with what the main "flavors" of tube amp brands sound like, both clean and dirty, at various volume levels - at the minimum, try (i) a tweed fender type amp - like a 5E3 1957 tweed deluxe [not the "blues deluxe" series which are a different thing altogether] (ii) a blackface/silverface Fender type amp like a Deluxe Reverb, or Super Reverb, or Princeton Reverb or Twin Reverb (iii) a Vox (I'd suggest an AC15 with a master volume) (iv) an old-style Marshall without a master volume, like a JTM45 or 1987 (v) a modern-style Marshall with multiple channels and a master volume , like the DSL series (vi) Orange (vii) since you're interested, a Supro, and (viii) any other amp you think you're interested in.

You will absolutely prefer the tone/response of some amps over others -learn what you like first, then look for an amp in your price range (likely used) that sounds like that.

A versatile amp can make clean and dirty sounds (within the flavor/voice range of what the amp sounds like) at various volume levels. In the price/size ranges you're considering, that means it has to have a master volume or other attenuation scheme onboard.
 

Nogoodnamesleft

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Many schools of thought and lots of great advice here already. I can only add what (watt?) my experience was. My first tube amp was a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe when they first came out. I played a few shows with it and found out quickly it was more amp than I needed. I ended up downsizing to a Blues Jr.

The HRD was nice (to my ears) but I couldn't turn it up much even at the gigs we were doing. I downsized to the Blues Jr and the volume was more manageable.

If I had to buy an amp nowadays and was gigging I'd probably look in the 10-15 watt range. Any requirement for something louder than that I would mic.

As a former sound guy, I lean toward smaller amps too. I've done sound at small venues with no mics required with smaller amps and the artists were happy to let them open up a bit. Other times I'd mic depending on their needs. There was one band at this tiny place and the guitarist had a Marshall full stack. To say it was overkill is an understatement. It was one of the worst cases to do sound for. Yeah, they look cool. That was a pretty rough hour of my life.

If you think you'll be gigging or rehearsing with a drummer and don't mind a little breakup - 10 to 15 watts. Small gigs, mic the amp. Should you find yourself playing the local Enormodome, chances are the big speaker cabinets with Marshall written on them will be facades anyway. Many a "wall of doom" is just to hide a little combo behind it with a mic pointing at the speaker.

If you're playing at home, that's a whole other issue depending on what you're after. I was able to practice at home without cranking anything since I used pedals and it was only me noodling about. If you're looking for stadium sound at 'bedroom levels', something with a 0.1 watt setting might be a decent option.

Sorry, that was long winded.
 
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Danjabellza

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15-20 watts is the most you’ll ever “need” a 10” speaker and a 12” speaker will both be more than loud enough, it really just gives a different character. But, everything is so different it’s hard to tell what character shift comes from the speaker size. An AC15 (even the ac10) would be great, or a fender deluxe or Princeton. The Marshall origin series of you want a more mellow vintage inspired sound. The DSL is going to be more classic to modern rock voiced. Supro’s are awesome! But depending on the model, the tubes can be kind of obscure, not impossible to find, just probably not in stock locally.

The other things to consider: do you want on board reverb/tremolo? Do you want/need an effects loop? Do you really want a tube amp or do you want a helix with a speaker that can keep up with a drummer… ;-)
 

Lawdawg

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I’d start with, “What does my current amp not do that I think a tube amp will do?” Then look for an amp that does that. There isn’t “A” tube amp, they are all different. Also, a lot of tube amps have to be cranked to get their best sound. Do you play in situations where you can, or want to, crank your amp?

I love tube amps, but to get one just because you think you might be missing something is a recipe for disappointment.

This x 1000. Different tube amps are going to have very different tones and characteristics.

To the OP -- for a great middle of the road tube amp that's well in your price range, I'll vouch for the Marshall Origin 20. While Marshall is more known for overdriven tones, the Origin is voiced closer to a lower gain vintage JTM and has plenty of clean headroom and sounds great clean. While it's a lower gain amp than a JCM or modern voiced Marshall, when you crank it up you still get some nice vintage Marshall grind. On top of that, it's got a good effects loop and three wattage settings so it can be used at bedroom volume if needed.
 

vcs700s

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I just bought my first tube amp- Supro Delta King 8. Great reviews and it was $120 off ($329).

I get it Friday so I will post my thoughts this weekend.

My current amp is a Fender Champion 40. I know they are different so it will be nice to have some variety.
 
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Leonardocoate

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Confessions from a reformed or former guitar and amp binge drinker.

After buying, selling, trading and trying all sorts of stuff Princeton Reverb became my keeper and a favorite for a bunch of reasons.

-It will work at home volumes and a jam.
-Tone that's never tiring the way some can be.
-Super pedal-friendly where a boost pedal can get you that border between clean and breakup at home or modest volume levels.
-As wonderful with single coil as is with my humbucker semi-hollow.
-Not a bother to carry or store.
-Reverb is a spring tank type so relative to solid state you have that imperfection or inconsistency same as the vibrato and tubes.

Current prices will make a PRRI beyond the OP's budget but in all forms Princeton Reverb is about as proven as you get. While not a tweed type, I'll repeat how pedal-friendly it is. You could say tweed is more proven but I don't believe as versatile.

I'll rest my case by asking you to consider how long it's been on the market and consider how we're now into generations of people who love the sound whether or not they realize it.
Sounds like sage advice….Princeton Reverb seems to be recurring choice…t.hanks for the input
 

KokoTele

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Princeton sounds great with pedals -- every pedal in the world was designed to sound good with a Princeton. To me, though, it sits in a weird spot, too loud for the living room, not loud enough for the gig.

Let's get back to the OP's needs: "...home studio and occasionally with drummer and sometimes a small gig (very small)."

A Princeton Reverb can do all of that easily. I've done it. The only thing it doesn't do is come in under budget, selling used in the $900-1000 range.

On the other hand, none of the small combo amps have particularly good resale value, so a used PR is a much better investment. It could very likely be a forever amp, while the others will likely be stepping stones to something else.

As for dirt at low volumes... there are hundreds of overdrive pedals that do that job very well.
 

Si G X

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No. You are not missing that much. In that price range, your choices will be limited.

You think? That's a nice budget.. for a nice valve combo.

JCM900 1x12 a JCM2000 for much less that.

Vox AC15, AC30

Orange AD30 or similar

Blackstar, Fender, loads of choice in that price range.

... I realise I'm on the other side of the pond but I figured they can't be far off over there.
 

OmegaWoods

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Let's get back to the OP's needs: "...home studio and occasionally with drummer and sometimes a small gig (very small)."

A Princeton Reverb can do all of that easily. I've done it. The only thing it doesn't do is come in under budget, selling used in the $900-1000 range.

On the other hand, none of the small combo amps have particularly good resale value, so a used PR is a much better investment. It could very likely be a forever amp, while the others will likely be stepping stones to something else.

As for dirt at low volumes... there are hundreds of overdrive pedals that do that job very well.

I concur with your recommendation of a PR.

I almost bought one before I bought my Quilter Aviator Cub which is a much better fit for me in every way.
 

Chiogtr4x

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I concur with your recommendation of a PR.

I almost bought one before I bought my Quilter Aviator Cub which is a much better fit for me in every way.

I'm fine in the amp department, in that I have ( all small) 3-4 gig amps that I'm very happy with. I just pick one.

But something tells me that those Quilter Aviators would be right up my alley with sound and features I go for.
Plus SS vs. Tube just doesn't matter to me anymore.

I used to be in a blues band environment where you would be laughed at if you did NOT play a tube Fender ( and I owned a few, great amps), and even SF amps were looked down on...such silly BS.

Then I got older, weaker, ran out of $$...and suddenly, my Blues Jr., and Pathfinder look very good! Ha!
 

unixfish

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You think? That's a nice budget.. for a nice valve combo.

JCM900 1x12 a JCM2000 for much less that.

Vox AC15, AC30

Orange AD30 or similar

Blackstar, Fender, loads of choice in that price range.

... I realise I'm on the other side of the pond but I figured they can't be far off over there.

If the OP has never had a tube amp, then his "best bet" (my opinion) is to buy new, so he does not inherit someone else's issues and repair issues. He stated his budget to stay under $600.

Vox AC15-C1 new price: $899.99
Orange AD30 head - $1499.00. There are some heads that fit the budget if the OP uses their existing cabinet.
Blackstar - the 5 watt combo is $579, then 20+ watts start at $999.
Fender: Only the Bassbreaker 007 is $499.99, and everything else is above $600.

OP is in Ohio - but I'm not sure where. Around me, a Vox is hard to find used, much less Orange or Blackstar. Used prices are really high right now.

This is what I was referencing by "limited options". Stick with what you have, and maybe if a deal comes by...
 

telepraise

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For studio work and very small gigs, a Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue is whisper quiet at idle and has great mojo. Over your budget but worth it IMO
 

Leonardocoate

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Thanks. I’m actually going from a DRRI to a Tonemaster because at the low volumes I play at, I can’t get the DRRI to break up. Just waiting for my local store to get a Tonemaster Super Reverb to try. I’ll either get that or the Tonemaster Twin Reverb.
The Tonemaster seems to be a hot ticket, maybe I should check those out
 

Leonardocoate

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If the OP has never had a tube amp, then his "best bet" (my opinion) is to buy new, so he does not inherit someone else's issues and repair issues. He stated his budget to stay under $600.

Vox AC15-C1 new price: $899.99
Orange AD30 head - $1499.00. There are some heads that fit the budget if the OP uses their existing cabinet.
Blackstar - the 5 watt combo is $579, then 20+ watts start at $999.
Fender: Only the Bassbreaker 007 is $499.99, and everything else is above $600.

OP is in Ohio - but I'm not sure where. Around me, a Vox is hard to find used, much less Orange or Blackstar. Used prices are really high right now.

This is what I was referencing by "limited options". Stick with what you have, and maybe if a deal comes by...
More sage advice. GC near me has a Bassbreaker I could try
 

telepraise

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please elaborate.....I know speakers are important
Yes they do, I tried a couple of different speakers until I found the ideal speaker for my needs (it happened to be $$$ Celestion).

"creamy cleans and musical growl" If this is what you seek, then I would say tubes ARE better. My Princeton does this in spades. Tubes also work nicely with overdrive pedals so you don't have to drive yourself deaf.
 

Cyberi4n

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Egnater Tweaker 15 has tones modelled on a classic Marshall or a vox ac30 or a fender amp at the flick of a switch, with various other tweakable tonal options to boot. It’s very flexible in a studio setting in that you effectively have three amps in one.

Comes in head or combo format, and can be found on the s/h market relatively cheaply. I’ve had no problems with mine, especially since I re-tubed it when I got it. Got two matching cabs for it too, and it’s an excellent pedal platform should you choose to go down that route.

8144EC8B-1589-4A92-B61B-CADEF4B51F22.jpeg
 

beninma

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Another aspect to think about is the type of rectifier...

The Supro and Orange you originally mentioned have solid state rectifiers.

The Princeton and a bunch of other Fenders have tube rectifiers. That's actually a pretty big difference in how the amp responds, the tube rectifier contributes to more sag. Supposedly a Tweed has more sag than a blackface.

But like the Supro and Orange, not much sag. It makes for a more abrupt/tight attack & response, it's pretty noticeable for certain types of playing.

Both have huge advantages for different things IMO, to the point I think certain setups make it easier to play certain things and have them sound their best.
 




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