Small Watt Tube Amp Head

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Broclee89, May 25, 2019.

Suggestions

  1. Orange micro dark

    1 vote(s)
    3.6%
  2. Biyang wangs mini 5

    1 vote(s)
    3.6%
  3. Bugera t5

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Epiphone valve jr

    2 vote(s)
    7.1%
  5. Joyo

    2 vote(s)
    7.1%
  6. Something else

    16 vote(s)
    57.1%
  7. Vht special 6

    3 vote(s)
    10.7%
  8. Blackstart ht1 mk2

    3 vote(s)
    10.7%
  1. Broclee89

    Broclee89 TDPRI Member

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    Hello again guys. I am in the market for a small wattage tube amp head. I tend to play blues, alternative, classic rock and funk. Any suggestions? I was thinking my budget was no more than 300 and I don’t mind buying used. Thank you!
    -Christopher
     
  2. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would look at the Blackstar new mk2 ht1r head.
    Great sounding with no real need for pedals. I just got a deal on the older 5 watt head and am really liking it. The isf knob is cool. For home the 1 watt is more than enough and the mk2 now has channel switching via pedal. You can also run it straight into a laptop for recording. Many options. Hard to think of a better home jam/recording amp.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
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  3. blues bondsman

    blues bondsman Tele-Afflicted

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    Best bang for your buck will be a VHT Special 6 or VHT Special 6 Ultra head.

    Hand wired and built like a tank (old school design).

    I have owned both and still own one.

    You can use 4,8 or 16 ohm cabs

    All tube driven circuit !!!

    You can usually get the regular Special 6 for under 200 shipped (used) and it gets closer to 300 for the ultra.

    I run a route 66 Comp / Overdrive and a Boost Killer pedal with my Baja Tele and get everything from sweet cleans to Classic rock growl.
     
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  4. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    People have been really singing the praises of that Monoprice tube amp
     
  5. blues bondsman

    blues bondsman Tele-Afflicted

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    An I phone video of me noodling around with my standard Vht Special 6 head
    I messed around with several "sounds" during the video and you get a rough idea of what clean to scream sounds like.

    Again no flimsy pcb board designed to be in a landfill in a few short years ! these things are built to last !
     
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  6. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis TDPRI Member

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    And if you don't need foot switching, the original version works great for me.
     
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  7. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

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    Also, I might recommend the HT-1 combo. It’s got multi-ohm outputs for cabs, or you can use it as-is in the bedroom, etc.
     
  8. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's

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    One problem with low wattage valve amps is in order to give of their best, if you crave output stage compression, you have to wind them up to levels that may put relationships with your neighbours at risk. Even 1~2 Watts can be crazy loud in a small space.
    a) Move
    b) An amp with power scaling
    c) An attenuator

    I went with c, and to keep domestic harmony, I have to rein in even my lowest power valve amps quite a lot.

    Of your choices, the Orange and Joyo are hybrids, and none the worse for it. They may offer a better solution than trying to chase grail tones at home. The Epiphone has been out of production for a while now. They often get modified in order to make them sound good at low volumes. Adding features that come as standard on the Blackstar. An alternative in the 'dirt cheap' category is the Kustom Defender 5h. Broadly similar in concept to the Epiphone. Sounds very good indeed, but loud as Hades!

    Don't dismiss the Hotone Nano amplifiers. They're all solid state, analogue amps, and none the worse for it. They have gain, tone stack, master volume, FX loop, aux in and a functional headphone socket.

    Your speaker can play a huge role too. A 100db speaker is noticeably louder for the same amp setting than a 92db speaker. What speaker will you be driving with it?

    Will you want to play out and about with it?, if so, you may find ~5 Watts doesn't cut it too well. The Monoprice 15 Watt amp gets a lot of love on here from owners. It has a <1 Watt input, gain, tone stack, master volume, a sort of treble cut ( additional global tone control ), FX loop, reverb and a speaker out. It's just about small enough to act as a head unit, if you squint a bit.
     
  9. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I haven't tried it, but that Wangs on the list looks good, mainly because of the 3 band eq.
     
  10. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Holic

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    Track down a fender greta!
     
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  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    +1 Yup, VHT Special 6. The Ultra has a pseudo attenuator and an extra Gain stage on top of a Fenderish 6V6 clean. You can buy either of them as a head version to match with cabs of your choice. Oh, and you can change types of power tubes if you want. I have kept mine stock and it is a lifer amp for me.
     
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  12. Broclee89

    Broclee89 TDPRI Member

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    I will just be playing at home. I should mention I bought I have a katana 50 so I’m looking for something of lower wattage than 50 lol
     
  13. Broclee89

    Broclee89 TDPRI Member

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    And I have a katana mini but it loses its sound if I play on the front porch
     
  14. Broclee89

    Broclee89 TDPRI Member

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    Seems the price has went up a lot on these.
     
  15. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    I started with a new Special 6 Ultra Combo in 2012, liked it so much I picked up a used Special 12/20RT a couple of years later, followed by a VHT 1x12 cabinet. A couple of months ago an Ultra head and cabinet came up on eBay. £143 later they are mine. Really enjoying the head and cabinet, so much so that the two combos will go up for sale soon. With the two cabinets it will cope with quieter gigs, and the watts control lets me play it at home without annoying the neighbours.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
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  16. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Super Champ XD or X2 if that's not too much wattage.
     
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  17. scottser

    scottser Tele-Afflicted

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    Another shout for the special 6. Mine is bias modded to run a 6L6 and I play it through a cab with vintage Jensen C12Rs. It's about 8watts now and bloody loud. But it has high and low inputs, high and low outputs and runs in pentode or cathode mode. It really is a great little amp, punches way above its weight I reckon. I took the badge off mine though - the logo looks a bit crap. IMG_20190525_162029.jpg
     
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  18. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

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    In the range you mentioned, valve jrs are great. The issue with most 5 watt stuff is it's pure unadulterated 1 flavor of something.

    The orange micro may as well be a joyo trying to sound like an Orange TT; not a fan of either lines, but at least the joyo is more up front about its sound.

    So, in that power range, the Fender BB007 is ideal if you can snag the combo used.
    If you're willing to go a tad higher, Peavy valveking combos and the Ibanez TSA15 are great.

    In 5w range,

    The Bugera t5 us OK, I prefer the V5, but again, they are all 1 trick ponies, it's a matter of how much you like the trick vs another one.

    Ibanez TSA5or5H are very nice, you are wanting a head not a combo, and the head is certainly in your price range.

    The Blackstar is neat, I'm just not a huge fan. Gain channel beats many in this range.

    Fender champ 600 is ok, again a combo, but looks nice.

    The valve jr. Is REALLY hard to beat. When they came out, a bass player friend bought one, we ran it through several cans with several guitars, and later ran pedals, and it was great with all of it. My dad later bought one of the factory upgraded ones, and prefers that over his HR dlx.

    And, an upgraded valve jr probably rivals the more pricey 5w heads out there.

    Its simple as it gets, but I feel theres kits of milage to be had there.
     
  19. Broclee89

    Broclee89 TDPRI Member

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    I seem to be leaning towards Vht special 6 ultra
     
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  20. Broclee89

    Broclee89 TDPRI Member

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    What about the tsa5tvr?
     
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