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Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by MikeBee, May 25, 2020.
Low wattage tube amps are louder than most people think.
Vox AC10. Great amp with power scaling. Decent reverb out of the box. Inexpensive but a great sounding amp. Small enough for home big enough to jam.
That's so true!
I tried a few 1W & 5W amps last year, both were still too loud for my current needs.
Like @Jakedog, back in the day I rarely (if ever) fired up my Marshall half-stack in the house, it was just loaded in & out. Ridiculously loud in a small space, even to my much-younger ears...
Another 65 reissue Princeton vote. Beautiful Fender clean tone.
For many years a Marshall 100W half stack was my only amp. It served as a gigging and a low-volume practice amp. I just used the master volume and ran it quietly. I felt no need to crank it as the preamp overdrive sounded great.
I also have a Bugera G5 with a 12” cabinet.
I can play it fairly quietly and sound decent .
With the emulated out I can run it into the PA at practice.
I will agree with what some have said already and suggest to lower your expectations for how "quiet" a low wattage tube amp is. Individual rooms are a whole different variable as well. My home office/music room has wood floor, 9ft ceiling, and very little furniture or anything in it. A Tweed Champ through a Jensen C8R RI will ring your ears in here with it cranked up.
I've recently rigged up a couple DIY attenuators that can be found on this site -- a 1/4 power & 1/10 power. A 12-15 watt amp through the 1/10 power box is still loud enough that I have to be sure my wife isn't on a business call upstairs if I want to really crank it. 1-2 watts of tube power is still plenty loud. Without a master volume, something with a 1/2 watt - 2 watt option,
or a pedal you like you might should prepare for a long search.
I didn't have that option - no master volume on my old Plexi. You could either have it so quiet that it just went 'plinkety-plink', or it took your head off.
I did have a tube screamer at the time that I tried running through the plexi on 'quiet' volume, but it was all a bit 'fizzety-fizz', so I didn't bother.
It was a JCM900 and I remember not caring about tone for practice, all I wanted was some distortion so I could practice. Actually, I did care about tone when playing out, but at home I just needed an amp to hear myself, so the half-stack worked out well.
The AC10C1 is a great amp at any volume level. It doesn't have power scaling, but it does have a master volume and the preamp sounds great. Like you said, works great at home and loud enough to gig. Far more bass response than you'd expect from a 10" speaker.
How quiet do you want to be? I see a lot of people suggesting the Princeton Reverb, and while that’s a very good amp, it wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice. I imagine you’d run into the problem of there being a very tiny setting between too loud and too quiet. I run into this problem even with five watt amps.
Awesome clean amp. Loud dirty amp if you want home levels.
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That’s the ticket. I see them new on Reverb $1295. My ultimate GAS. Built to last, too.
I'll add to the attenuator suggestions. My main amp is an AC10C1, but I also have an AC4, and it really isn't any quieter. Has a little less headroom, obviously.
Anyone have any luck with those 1W Orange lunchbox amps?
Heck, try the good ol Pignose. I've thought about getting one for a long time but haven't pulled the trigger
Does it have to be valve?. A Hotone Nano is a fine sounding thing indeed. There are quite a few models in their range that sweep the gamut from Fender style, through Vox and Marshall to outright \m/ metal. For open, chimey stuff, their Vox based model is very good. I have the Marshall themed 'Purple Wind'. A fine sounding mini-beast it is too. You'll need a cab too, which then opens up the possibility of more mini-amp heads in the future.
Champ-a-like heads can be great fun. Be warned though, even five Watts can get very loud when the fun zone starts.The first Watt does so much heavy lifting. Fancy a new hobby?, fancy learning a new skill?, build a low Watt amplifier. For low volume playing, consider an amplifier that has gain and master volume or buy an attenuator. Again, that first Watt gets mighty loud.
Jet City, Randall and Laney have 5 Watt heads and combo amps that are feature packed. The Laney Lionheart head is a mini studio in a box, featuring a D.I, USB interface, silent running via an internal load, headphone socket along with reverb. The combo loses the studio stuff, but gains a cabinet and 12" speaker.
Have a look at the Supro line too.
My best small wattage home tube amp was AC4 blue, it has master volume, so you can either drive the pre-amp (and power amp keep low) or power amp up (and keep preamp low). 5 watts is really too much for home, so you can control it this way and it sound awsome;-)
Have Muchxs build you out a champ or tweed Princeton. Have him do an external spkr. I run my with a little 4"intercom spkr via a Weber Z-matcher. Ime the z-matcher and smaller/inefficient spkr produces a better tone at low volume than an attenuator.
Muchxs Champ by wrathfuldeity posted May 3, 2020 at 1:41 PM
Muchxs champ, ext spkr jack by wrathfuldeity posted May 4, 2020 at 5:05 PM
Intercom spkrs a 4" alnico and 8" ceramic by wrathfuldeity posted May 3, 2020 at 1:55 PM
Well - If not valve, my choice would be the Roland MicroCube - mine seen below on the lower right :
Sure - supposing you want to push them, OK ? Any of my builts accross the MicroCube above are loud when pushed - despite their power going from 1 to 8W depending on the model...
I bought my µCube mint 2nd hand for 50 Euros : valve or not, at that price, it would have been be too bad for me of not buying one ! And moreover, it's a really well-built, good sounding amp - no regrets !
But it's me, OK ?