New amp advice

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by captain_jack, May 9, 2021.

  1. captain_jack

    captain_jack TDPRI Member

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    Hey all, I'm looking for some advice on a new amp. I'm still very much a beginner (been playing about a year), and practice on an acoustic most of the time. But I also have en epiphone lp junior (the humbucker version) and a fender champ 20 amp. I thought the voice modelings and built in effects on the amp would be cool when I got it but I find myself spending more time messing with the amp settings than playing the guitar.

    I'm looking for something simpler that will sound good both clean and overdriven/distorted at low volume (playing in my apartment). I can get a distorted sound from the champion that I like, but I have to crank the gain up to 10, which makes it almost impossible to play at a reasonable volume.

    I've been looking at some low powered solid state amps like the Orange Crush 12 and 20 or the Marshall MG series. I then also started looking tube amps like the Blackstar HT1R, Marshall DSL1 or Vox AC4. I also have been looking at the Orange micro terror head, but is a hybrid amp even worth it or am I better off just going full tube at that point?

    The dirty tone I am going for is the 90s punk and pop punk I grew up with (eg Green Day Dookie). I'd be willing to spend up to around $500 for something really good, but I'd rather keep the budget closer to $300 if possible. I'm also open to getting a pedal if that's what it takes to get a nice distortion tone without making my neighbors hate me (I was looking at the Boss DS1 before I realized that too many options on my amp is part of my problem).

    Thanks in advance for reading and any advice. I've been reading the forum for a while but this is my first time posting.
     
  2. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Afflicted

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    You’re on the right track with Orange but I’d get the 35RT (I have one) so you get the effects loop. Ya still gotta have some effects:). Killer amp.
     
  3. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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    You'll get plenty of advice for the Yamaha THR10 or Katana 50, but I am not sure you'll get much more out of them than you would the Champ 20.

    To get driven tones from a tube amp, you need either 1-2 watts, or an attenuator, or a master volume or pedals. Once you decide which way you want to go there, you can start thinking about what might work.
     
  4. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Afflicted

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    Being that you are in an apartment, I would look into a low wattage amp. I would consider one of those 1watt marshalls( if you like that sound), or maybe a modeler that has a headphone jack. If you like vintage Fender sounds, then a champ with a few pedals could work too. The main thing, you don't need a high watt amp right now. If you can find an amp that will run at .1-1.0watt, you will be good, and without the police being called.
     
  5. J. Bonkosky

    J. Bonkosky Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Orange or15 with a ppc112 cab. You can get nice cleans and amazing dirt at practice volume on up to gigging volume. Lots of versatility for only 5 knobs. And it has a very good effects loop.
     
  6. hotairguitar

    hotairguitar Tele-Meister

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    Its time that a new phone App invented to unite livingroom players around the world in one apartment block:p

    exactly my problem
     
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  7. captain_jack

    captain_jack TDPRI Member

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    Thank you for all the great feedback so far! I guess one main thing that I don't really understand is how volume impacts tonal quality. What I mean by that is, when going for a clean sound will a lower powered amp with volume cranked to 7, sound as good as higher powered amp with the volume at 1 or 2 (assuming amps of similar quality?)

    When you're going for some distortion, the tone you get by cranking the volume or gain is simply just unavailable if you have a 50watt amp at 1 or 2, and this means you would have to use pedals, right?

    Also, when talking about tube amps, how does the power limiting actually work? Many tube amps I've looked at have an option to run at a lower max wattage. For example if you take a Marshall DSL5 and set it to 1 watt, would you expect that to gave you the same sound as a DSL1? would you get the same head room, max volume, and more importantly would it start to break up at the same point? Or do you just lose the ability to naturally break up the tone because you are taking a 5 watt tube and just artificially capping the power running through it at 1watt?

    (apologies if any of these are obvious questions, but I'm still very new to the world of electric and it's a bit overwhelming when you start diving into all of these options)
     
  8. Len058

    Len058 Tele-Meister

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    Before getting a DSL-1 I would try it. I hated the sound.
    I think most small tube amps will sound great. The cheap options like the Stageright or Monoprice 5 watt amp might need a speaker upgrade.
     
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  9. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    I can tell you the three ways I have experience with:

    One: lowering the B+ voltage that powers the tubes. With less power, they have less clean headroom and they break up at lower volume.
    I built a Trinity TC-15 (Vox/Matchless heritage) and put Trinity's voltage regulator module in it. It does a pretty good job. I almost always have this on a very low setting because the amp is ridiculously loud otherwise.
    Some factory tube amps with power scaling use this method.

    I also have a Weber miniMass attenuator. I like the Weber way of doing attenuators because they are basically speaker drivers without the cone. Therefore the load they put on the amp is like the same as if you were driving a speaker very hard. The speaker you actually hear is "downstream" of the MiniMass so it isn't as loud.

    I recently built a 1 watt "micro" amp. TDPRI member RobRob has several plans for these and they are pretty easy to build.
    In this case, you are using a dual triode that would normally be a preamp tube in place of the power tubes. You get nice power tube breakup because you really are pushing that little tube.
    This amp isn't exactly quiet at high volume... much louder than one would think.

    Master volume: there are different ways of doing this, but the thing they all have in common is they allow you to turn up the preamp gain into breakup territory, but limit the overall volume at the power stage. For amps that have a characteristic overdriven preamp sound, this works reasonably well. But it doesn't overdrive the power stage at all.

    WITH ANY/ALL of the ABOVE:
    You don't get speaker breakup, which is part of the "loud amp" sound.
    Midrange and above tones sound inherently different at lower volumes.
    Finally, there are effects of just sheer loudness that you can't recreate at low volumes - like the visceral sensations of the music oscillating your internal organs.
    So no matter which of the above "loudness control" methods you use, it still isn't exactly like playing loud.
     
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  10. tele-nova

    tele-nova Tele-Meister

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    I also hated the dsl 1. Ended up with an origin 20 that sounds great. Not the most quiet option though
     
  11. J. Bonkosky

    J. Bonkosky Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    +1 on the Weber mini mass. I can get great cranked sounds out of my 5E3 and OR15 at apartment volumes. I will also add that bass frequencies should be cut for apartment playing. Those go right through floors and walls. Also an amp stand helps to isolate the frequency transfer to the building. It is not only about volume in an apartment.
     
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  12. hdvades

    hdvades Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    What he said +1. I have had a few amps along the way and still have a few. But imho the Orange 35RT is one of the most underrated amps for what it is. I have one also, black tolex, nothing against orange mind you. Sounds good straight up, has a real 1/4" headphone jack, takes pedals well and has an effects loop to boot. Gotta have an effects loop. Peace!
     
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  13. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I would stick with the Champ, find a decent tone that you like and then buy a decent distortion. While you might find a small amp that you might like better they all have knobs :)
     
  14. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Holic

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    I'll take the unpopular route and vote for a Marshall MG. It can get pretty close to the Dookie sound and is a simple tool to use. Other bands in that genre and era used Boogies and I don't think anything else on the list easily cops one, so the Marshall it is.
     
  15. RevBillyG

    RevBillyG Tele-Meister

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    Stick with the Champ. At low volume it's all compromise. The thing that will help the most is practice.

    Hang out a music store someday & just watch. You'll see guys sound like crap on the most expensive stuff & other guys like gods on the most cost effective gear.

    There's a time & place to buy more gear, & I know it's hard, but fight that feeling.

    That said, my opinion for the best compromise is an expensive re-amping unit like the OxBox.

    Other than that, use the modeling software you get with most DAWs, like Garage Band or Studio One.
     
  16. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    The apartment situation makes this question a very difficult one. Unless you have neighbors who don't mind or are gone most of the time, nothing short of headphones make sense to me. In most of the apartments that I have lived in, even the acoustic can become too loud.

    So, my suggestion remains a THR10 with headphones for when the neighbors are home. You really get a lot of bang out of a THR amp. Battery power makes them useful if buying a used guitar off somebody. The ability to record with it. The ability to use it as speakers for an mp3 player. The tones are very good...especially the Twin and AC30 selections. The downloadable settings is also very cool for those that desire that path.

    All told, you can't go wrong with the Yamaha THR when living in an apartment.
     
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  17. puddin

    puddin Tele-Afflicted

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  18. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I would stick with the Champ for now. Try to narrow down your tone choices to a couple you like. Get those tones in your head and try to play as many amps as you can to compare tones and features. For an apartment, you may want to stick with something that has a headphone out, or a tube amp that you can run at low wattage. In the meantime, you may also want to consider something like a Fender Mustang LT-25. I personally like my old Vibra-Champ, but even that gets pretty loud in a small space unless you use pedals.
     
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  19. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Stick with the Champ, for now at least.
    Buy a Joyo American Sound, an AC Tone and a British. These are 'character' pedals that can make a clean amp sound spookily close to a Fender, Vox or Marshall. They're not perfect, and they take some time to find your setting, but when you do find your sweetspot, you'll have an absolute ball with them. No menus, just tone controls, gain, 'character' and level to play with.

    The Yamaha THR10 prunes many tulips. It sounds great, is flexible in use, you can record to your computer with it, and it looks good in a living room.
     
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  20. TwoBear

    TwoBear Tele-Afflicted

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    I wouldn’t see why you would have to change the amp. I would think that the sound you’re looking for is in there, you say that you have to turn the gain up to 10? That’s totally fine, is there not a master volume, to bring that sound that you like down to a comfortable level, or are you possibly using the wrong terminology? If it’s too loud but you have the tone that you like, and you can bring down the overall volume with the master, you should be able to add bass and mid, And conversely if you have the overall volume low and you want to go louder you usually have to turn the bass & mid down as you go up in volume. I don’t know if you already have this information or if this will help, hopefully so. Also after playing for a year it could just be time to get a pedal, If you’ve been good and truely deserve it Haha-JK! There’s so many of these cheap knock off companies that I couldn’t imagine you wouldn’t be able to find a clone of a Lovepedal amp11, Or JCM 800hundred in a box type of circuit. I imagine you’ve already got the rotary selected to British and whatever they recommend for a JCM 800 type of sound?
     
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