1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Small valve head options for low volume crunch

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by 3putter, Apr 25, 2020.

  1. 3putter

    3putter TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    6
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I'm looking for a small (12-20W) valve head. Will be used only at home at low volumes with occasional blast when the family are out of the house. I currently have a Laney Cub 12 head into a 1x12 cab with a Celestion 35 XC or another 1x12 cab with a Greenback. Both cabs are semi open but can be made closed. I think open helps at low volume. To give you an idea of sound level I did a check and I routinely play about 90dB measured 3ft in front of cab so not super quiet.

    I use pedals in front for od and have multieffects pedal I use in the loop for delay, reverb etc. In front of the amp I've got a Barber GC and Caline Pure Sky (Timmy clone) which I only run one or the other and a couple of cheap one knob boost pedals in front of both for extra boost.

    I'm really happy with the set up apart from one thing - I can't get a nice crunchy tone and suspect a change of amp may help but I'm not sure. I'm thinking ACDC type crunch going up to EVH type rhythm. Not interested in high chain chug. I tend not to use the Greenback cab as it is not so as articulate as the XC. I play single coils (mainly) but also P90 and a Gretsch LP type with humbuckers and a Tele VM with wide range humbuckers. If I had to pick one tone I would like it would be Dave Grissom (I know he plays HB mainly). Also like Ian Thornley tone.

    Amps I'm thinking of:

    Marshall Origin 20H - I think this may be perfect but I think the volume it needs to be played at may rule it out unless I use as pedal platform but that is kind of what I'm doing with the Laney
    Marshall DSL20H - I think this does cleans or super gainy but not that in between crunch so not sure
    Orange OR15 - I've used Amplitube 3 and the Orange SIM is the one I prefer of all of them

    All suggestions appreciated including telling me my current amp is good enough ! (and maybe I just need to play louder.......)
     
  2. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,171
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Location:
    New England
    Re- think your definition of "small". "Small" circa 2020 is 1-10 watts.

    As always, the more you crank a tube amp the better it sounds. If you crank 12- 20 watts you'll be drowned out by sirens. You'll call every cop for miles around.

    Haven't looked in on Grissom lately. He has access to anything and everything in the studio.

    If you're looking at AC/DC through EVH you probably aren't going to get there "playing single coils, mainly". I was playing single coils when EVH first came out.

    "How does he do that?!"

    If there is one thing AC/DC and Van Halen have in common it's humbuckers. Don't overdo it. Crazy overwound humbuckers can be muddy. EVH's original mutt was around 10.5k DCR. The "Classic" DiMarzio Super Distortion is 11.2k DCR.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
    Fretting out, igor5, bgmacaw and 4 others like this.
  3. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    4,433
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Hayden Lil Mofo - ~2 Watts
    Blackheart Little Giant - ~5 Watts
    Blackheart Kill Ant - ~ 1 Watt
    There have been various Blackstar and Marshall models that'll fit the bill.

    All the above will be second hand. They all sound rather good. The Hayden is more a hybrid. Lots of op-amps helping out, but none the worse for it.

    Kustom Defender 5H - ~5 Watts, and bloody loud with it. One knob on the standard, an added bass contour on the MOD variant. Fine sounding.
    Randall Diavlo - 5 Watts
    Jet City make/made a 5 Watter too
    VHT 6 - many friends on here

    Don't discount solid state amps. The Hotone Nano heads are way better than you think they could be. Hybrids like the Joyo Bantamp series and Orange Micro Terror may suit. Of the Orange, despite the name, to my ears, the Dark has better cleans and crunch ( better overall, YMMV ) than the standard model.

    -OR- buy an attenuator and crank the daylights out of what you have, but at conversation volume levels.

    1 Watt can be very loud. You'd be surprised at just how much heavy lifting the first Watt does.
     
    Old Smokey and bgmacaw like this.
  4. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    5,449
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Location:
    SE PA
    My Epi Valve Jr crunches nicely at low volume through the stock 8” speaker, but even then, plug into a proper 12” guitar speaker and it gets loud fast. I’ve never pushed for a really hard-rockin tones like those you’re after, but I got a nice Keef crunch with my tele.
     
    zosofan likes this.
  5. Les Paul lover

    Les Paul lover Tele-Holic

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    647
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2017
    Location:
    England
    If you like the Orange OR15 in anpli 3, I would suggest getting one of the 15w/terror Orange head depending on features required and budget.

    Tiny terror: pure rock, 1 knob EQ, no FX loop.

    OR15 / #4: both have full EQ and fx loop. OR15 us more vintage voiced, him root #4 is based on the more modern Rockerverb dirty channel. Both amps use the same PCB, only components value change the voicing and gain character.

    Dart terror: 4 gain stages, single shape knob for EQ.

    Rocker 15 terror: clean channel + dirty channel + fx loop. Would be my choice here.
     
    Cysquatch likes this.
  6. Mikesk

    Mikesk TDPRI Member

    Age:
    48
    Posts:
    94
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2019
    Location:
    Abbotsford B.C.
    If you can find a Peavey Valve King Mini head, They're great, 1w 5w 20watt selectable, built in load box, speaker defeat switch, XLR direct out, headphone out, both sound really good.

    Decent clean channel, and a great lead channel, with a boost, pretty good reverb too
     
  7. tweeet

    tweeet Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,171
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    england
    Egnater Tweaker 15w...google it....you tube it.....
     
    blues bondsman and truckdub like this.
  8. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    25,100
    Joined:
    May 10, 2003
    Location:
    Near Milwaukee
    These are 1 watt and they’re very loud when you crank them. They’re about $259 retail.

    [​IMG]

    5 watt Mini Z - outstanding amp

    [​IMG]

    Orange Tiny Terror - 15 watts and you can switch it to 5 watts - angry little monster

    [​IMG]

    Newest EVH Lunchbox - clean and dirty channels - 15 watts and you can switch it to 5

    [​IMG]

    These new VOX hybrid amps have 1 tube but they sound amazing. 50 watts but they sound great turned down. Affordable.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,314
    Joined:
    May 7, 2010
    Location:
    Man of the World
    Why are you looking for another amp....just out of boredom ? Your Laney 12 is sufficient for your NEED.

    Now that we are in self quarantine, and my wife is working from home (I'm retired) I've been using my 5W Epiphone Valve Jr. head running through a 1 x 12 speaker with a few pedals, and even with my old Boss ME-70 FX, up front and it is MORE than enough. If you have an attenuator, or an amp with built in attenuation (Boss Katana) dial it down to bedroom volume.
     
  10. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,469
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Location:
    Turdcaster, WA
    ehmm...just use a 1x4" spkr/cab. I have a couple of old 4" intercom spkrs and they work great and get loud enough for small bedroom. I'm also using a Weber Z-Matcher to get the correct ohms for my stable of spkrs. Get your crunch from pedals and adjust the overall volume on the amp...just be mindful that you don't blow the tiny spkrs.
     
  11. Hoodster

    Hoodster Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,382
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    Bassbreaker 007?
     
  12. 3putter

    3putter TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    6
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for all the replies.

    Interesting the number and range of even lower watt suggestions. In line with this - and others suggestions - I think an attenuator may be a useful experiment.
    Looking around the Bugera PB1 looks to be a good fit for my situation and is only about £70 in the UK.
     
  13. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    3,382
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Location:
    Meiners Oaks CA.
    Friedman Runt-20
    Friedman JJ-JUNIOR Jerry Cantrell Signature 2-channel 20-watt Tube Head
    Friedman Mini Dirty Shirley 20-watt Tube Head
    Friedman Pink Taco 20-watt 1-channel Tube Head



     
  14. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    4,865
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    Randall Diavlo 5W through a GB type speaker sounds amazing and doesn't go to crazy metal land. Single channel though.
     
  15. Bassetcaster

    Bassetcaster TDPRI Member

    Age:
    23
    Posts:
    14
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2020
    Location:
    Ohio
    I bought a Fender Champion 600 reissue combo amp and it's fantastic if you want those classic Champ tones. It's a five watt amp with a 6 inch speaker so you can push it as you wish, but it still gets loud! Not a head but I still recommend because you can get them for crazy cheap on reverb.
     
  16. CCK1

    CCK1 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    427
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2018
    Location:
    North Of Atlanta, South of Disorder
    I second this nomination. If you can get by without an effects loop, the Tiny Terror exactly fits the description you're looking for. I don't think there's a rock guitar sound that isn't in that little orange box.
     
  17. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    4,433
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    And lo, it came to pass in the land of Kloan that Jet City begat Jettenuator and Jettenuator was fruitful, bearing offspring that likened unto their kind.
    And the first was named Harley Benton.
    And the second was named Bugera.
    And pluckers across the land rejoiced.


    It's a Jet City Jettenuator clone. Thomann had an identical unit on their books for a time, and I bought one. It's one of those things that makes me question why I didn't buy one sooner. You don't get the full interaction of the voice coil with the output transformer, but you do get the output transformer saturating, the valves working their incandescent socksies deep into aural nirvana and a dumb grin on your face as a result.
    They're also useful as an impedance matcher, should the need arise, too. The line level and D.I. seem to be taken post level control rather than pre, which is annoying, but an inline D.I. overcomes that.

    Again, why did I wait so long before buying mine.
     
  18. 3putter

    3putter TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    6
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Ordered the Bugera from Thomann last night. How do you use as impedance matcher ? Do mean I could run different cab to the head ?
    I'm also wondering if I can do some tone shaping with an eq in the effects loop. I've listened to a few vids on the Origin amps and part of the character is the brightness of tone.
    I figure I have nothing to lose getting an attenuator. I think the wife will agree too.
     
  19. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,543
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    Between the Raindrops
    If you're just playing low volume at home, why not consider something like the Yamaha THR10 or perhaps a Roland Microcube? They get plenty loud, they sound really good, and they have built-in effects along with headphone capability. These and several other similar units will get you all the crunch you want down to whisper levels. And they require no maintenance at all, other than occasional dusting :rolleyes:

    Just because an amp has tubes is no guarantee it will sound good.
     
    Sneaks and Cysquatch like this.
  20. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    869
    Joined:
    May 2, 2019
    Location:
    Grovetown, GA
    Depending upon tastes and budget, the Brent Hinds Terror is pretty slick, too. It can get as Mastodony as you want, but I've really liked everything from the couple I've gotten to fiddle about with.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.