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Small tube amps for home studio/DAW use

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Digital Larry, Nov 8, 2020.

  1. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Even though I use a modeler, I have been thinking "why doesn't someone make a DAW-oriented tube amp", and I guess they do!

    Crawling out from under my rock, I just have become aware of these amps:

    Revv D20:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/RevvD20--revv-d20-20-4-watt-tube-head

    Mesa Boogie Mark V:25
    https://www.mesaboogie.com/amplifiers/electric/mark-series/mark-five-25/1x10-combo.html

    Friedman Runt 20:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Runt20Head--friedman-runt-20-20-watt-tube-head

    These look like they could be pretty crazy for real tube and XLR->DAW use. And even listening to through a guitar cab!

    Cab sims
    The Rev D20 includes DSP for both IRs and room reverbs, and as far as I can tell, they also offer the ability to model different power amp tubes if you are using the direct out. Front panel knob selects 1 of 6 preset IRs and MIDI can select even more (which seems really unnecessary to me, but whatever).
    Mesa and Friedman are both analog cab simulation IIRC
    Mesa has closed back/mic angle switches.
    Friedman has a mic position switch.

    Channels
    Revv appears to have two programmable channels available.
    Mesa has two different foot switchable channels with different preamps.
    Friedman appears to just have one channel.

    Sounds

    The Revv D20 seems more geared to clean/crunch sounds
    The Boogie looks really cool too! Like the sounds on that one. A bit on the complicated side.
    Friedman is OK clean, seems tilted towards high gain.

    Programming:
    Revv includes Two Notes Torpedo load/IR processing, PC/Mac apps, etc. Seems pretty flexible, and the expense of being more complicated. I'm not always hot on having a PC to mess with the guitar box. Supports MIDI, presets, etc. I'm not sure if the voices are fully programmable or not.
    Mesa has a dedicated second preamp channel.

    Using something like these would be an interesting change, mostly because these are not "modeling" anything, they are just "being" something, and they don't have integrated effects and an easy (built-in) way to manage a ton of presets. So, whatever guitar I grab, I dial in the sound then and there, hope for the best when recording it, then add FX in the DAW (although they all have mono FX loops).

    On all of these I am leaning towards the Revv. It's more oriented to clean/crunch which I think is great. I don't know what to do with a lot of gain most of the time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
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  2. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    The Laney L5H has a bundle of features that may appeal too. Their IRT15H gives more scope, gain wise and is a tonally very varied amp if the single ended goodness of the L5 doesn't appeal.

    They don't have all the features of the amps you listed, but they sound great in their own right.
     
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  3. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't bother with these little amps partly because even very low wattage combos need to be at a decent room level to sound right.

    I use attenuators on my usual stage amps and then record at sensible room level a tone which would otherwise be deafening. I also use a modelling amp (Yamaha THR) which is also superb for recording.

    Here's a track we did recently with a cranked DRRi with an attenuator (an old THD Hotplate) a Strat, ES335 and Rickenbacker 12 string

    https://scoorieboy.bandcamp.com/track/brand-new-day
     
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  4. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    Absolutely true. Wattage is just a number...a 5 tube watter can be real loud at it’s sweet spot.
     
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  5. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

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    Or just get a load box and use any amp with cab sims. These just have it built in.
     
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  6. gimmeatele

    gimmeatele Tele-Holic

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    I use an attenuator on my big amps for recording too, as stated above little still can be quite 'big'
     
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  7. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    That one looks really cool too! Not sure I'm enamored of the class A sound BUT... has great range.
     
  8. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I don't currently own a tube amp which is why I'm curious about these. I also have a very small space to set things up and the idea of an integrated unit is pretty attractive. I'm not even particularly unhappy with using the modeler. I'm mostly curious if having something like this would entice me to change the way I work. I keep thinking that "simpler is better" and these have fewer options than the modeler, at the expense of some things I'd put right back in such as reverb, tremolo, delay.
     
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  9. Old Smokey

    Old Smokey TDPRI Member

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    You could also check out the Milkman The Amp and the Fryette Valvulator GP/DI.
     
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  10. MojoTrwall

    MojoTrwall Tele-Meister

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    I had more ease with my classic 30 at low volumes than my class 5.

    Definitely not about wattage.
     
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  11. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    Of those, I'm only familiar with the Mesa 5:25, as I just went down this path. If you're willing to spend what it would cost to buy the Mesa, then consider the even smaller Fender 57' Custom Champ. It's quite the little amp. Other's to consider are Michael Swart's (Swart Amps) 5 watt offerings. He makes a very, very fine product. I believe he lists his prices on his web site.
     
  12. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    The Fryette Valvulator GP/DI is interesting and kinda weird at the same time. It includes both DI (buffered from the input) and amped/cab sim XLR outputs, which is interesting because you could track a dry signal all the time in the event you wanted to "re-amp" later. Re-amping to me is getting a bit complicated, but in reality, after doing some recording sessions where I didn't keep close track of which modeler preset I was using, or because I changed that sound along the way, might be something worth exploring.

    My Eleven Rack USB output apparently already supports DI and re-amping but I haven't tried that because AFAIK if you are using ASIO drivers you can only have one ASIO device active at a time, so it would involved switching back and forth from the 11R to my Behringer XR18 mixer. And setting the 11R to re-amp involves reading the manual, etc. etc. I mean MAYBE I will get to where I think it's worth the time.

    The Fryette also has an effects return for the headphones only, which strikes me as a bit of an odd choice. I do track with some reverb on almost always, so I can see that, but not having the ability to insert effects prior to the XLR/cab sim is slightly odd. I still find it... intriguing. :confused:

    I think the Mesa is verging on too complicated, and the Laney... looks "fascinating" as well... sort of a unique voice with the class A business. I think class A overdrive can sound "congested" for lack of a better term, from the even harmonics. Is it bad? Not really.

    So much to think about!
     
  13. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

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    Kind of pricy, but check out the Suhr PT15IR. Another built in reactive load with impulse responses option.
     
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  14. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I am developing GAS pangs on this Fryette GP/DI. One thing I like about it is that it's all analog. The cab sim has some adjustments but they seem more like "more/less mid" or "more/less treble". Honestly I can't relate to most IR based cab/mic sims because I don't know what to expect so I dial them up and go "hmmmmm". I know all the demo guys KNOW they want a 4x12 with a 421 condensor ahead of time, but I don't. Being able to dial something like that in is really attractive to me.

    Edit - looks like there is a new model which can load IRs! I guess that's OK :confused:

    The TwoNotes Torpedo business in the Revv D20 is interesting, esp. considering it includes some reverbs, but that is pushing towards the "more complicated/more options/more crap to fiddle with instead of writing a song".

    The Fryette is rendered even more enticing by the fact that YOU CAN'T BUY ONE RIGHT NOW. Maybe through distribution, but direct sales are out of stock for awhile "because of". Nobody's selling one on Reverb either! So that means either:
    a) People who have them don't want to let them go
    b) They never really sold any to begin with
    c) Everybody's just trying to make me mad!

    Anyone have one? How do you use it? Is good?
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  15. guitarmikey

    guitarmikey Tele-Afflicted

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    Not on your list, but sill...
    1. Marshall Studio 15 (4001) is a great challenger! Includes XLR connection "to mix-desk" Also has 1W option. IF you can find one...
    2. SCX2 has USB connection and you can really get some great sounds out of. Pity, USB fails and there is no cure for...
     
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  16. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    If you're going the home studio route, what about a Strymon Iridium or helix? Nice when you need to really scale down the volume, or go silent with headphones. If you're doing that a lot, it might be more convenient than messing with a real amp. The fender tonemasters sound really good too. Nice to not have to fight with a tube amp sometimes.

    I have an attenuator for my Princeton, which makes it useable at home.. but it's still loud, and goes right through walls and the floor/ceiling.

    Added the Iridium, monitors, mixer etc, and I use that now more than my beloved Princeton.
     
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  17. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I already have an Eleven Rack which works fine. I dunno... I just want to do my part for the US economy or something? And part of it is also that in all my years I've never owned a TOOB AMP, and y'know, time's a-wasting and I don't want to be sitting there at the end thinking "maybe THAT's why I never became a world famous rock and roll star???" Silly stuff like that. Everything's got tradeoffs.
     
  18. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Don't forget the Suhr PT15 IR for a "mere" $2700(!). It's fun listening to Pete Thorn demo and use this in his videos, but don't think I'll be purchasing one anytime soon... It really sounds great.

    Edit: Just saw your post, oops!
     
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  19. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Yes, you haven't lived unless you have had the tube amp experience. It's just that it's all about cranking it up. For recording, unless you can go really loud (with the right room and good mics) there are better, more convenient options.
     
  20. lowatter

    lowatter Tele-Meister

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    Passive isolation cabinet perhaps? I built a 12" with a MXL condenser mic that works well for me.
     
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