What happened to all the 5w tube amps?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by ghall, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. kaludjerko

    kaludjerko TDPRI Member

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    Hi jefrs,

    thanks for this info. I also have LT5 and love it. I thought that "Hi" input has additional gain stage with respect to the "Low".
    - What you say is that "Low" is actually higher gain input?
    - Do you by any chance know what change in frequency response is there between "Hi" and "Low" inputs?
    - If i remember schematic correctly "Tone" control was supposed to act dirrectly on power section, much like presence on larger amps... but might be wrong, it has been a while...

    best regards,

    kaludjerko
     
  2. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    It's quite simple. The Hi and Low have different impedances, this is normal with a dual input. But the system uses switching jacks so the Hi is "padded". There's no actual extra gain stage but the gain on V1 (V1b) is raised for the Hi input, it monkeys with the cathode resistor and throws in another cathode capacitor. Unfortunately this also means you cannot use Hi and Low simultaneously.

    The Drive channel also plays another trick. The Gain pot is dual-gang. One half is a conventional pre-volume control, the other half changes the value of the cathode resistor on V2 (V1a), this alters the gain and darkens the sound.

    The single Tone pot is post-driver (the PI if it was p-p). This is like the Top-Cut on an AC30 but reversed operation. It is not a presence control, that fiddles with the negative feedback (NFB).
     
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  3. toaster51

    toaster51 TDPRI Member

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    I have two low watt tube amps. Both are hand-made, point-to-point wired Both have a master vol.(a must with me), gain and never-used tone controls. One is a 6V6, 5 watter with a tremolo, and the second a smaller 4 watt 6005 based amp. I have the 5 watter in a mahogany combo I made. I first paired this amp up with a (Mojotone) Celestion GM25 greenback, but I found this way too dark. I've recently swapped the 25 watt greenback for a Weber 15 watt, 12A100, and hit a home run - so, so, sweet. I have humbucker, P90 and single coil guitars, and they all sound just great.

    I'm building another combo cab right now for the four watt 6005. This amp was originally a separate head unit I had paired with a Celestion G12H30 1X12. Really sounded pretty good together, but I'm going to try it now with a 20 watt Weber 10A125.

    I love these little custom tube amps. If you match them with the right speaker the tone is just magic - no overdrive pedals needed. I had a cheap**** Vox AC4TV, but just wasn't in the same league as these custom made gems. Just make sure they have a master volume for great tone at low, and not-so-low volumes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  4. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The orange Princeton Reverb Reissues ate all the 5 watt amps during the last Superbowl.
     
  5. Edwin

    Edwin Banned

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    I have a couple at home. A Champion 600 and a Blackstar HT-5. They get the job done. Had them for about 4 years now.
     
  6. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Sorry, I didn't mean for this to turn into another essay!

    I have three different small (2-5 watt) amps, 2 Vox Lil' Night Trains, a Fender Greta and a Fender Champion 600. Each has it's own character and little quirks that need to be worked out. I am also a tinkerer, so I like to play around to see what I can get from things like amps.

    These are the mods and parts swaps I found to work for me on each of these amps:

    Up until the last couple of days, my most used amp has been my Lil' Night Trains This was my first amp and has been used a a test bed for a few different mods. These amps go best with a better speaker and cab than the chintzy V110NT that came with the kits. The VX-10 speaker is bright and overly sharp sounding, combine that with a too small MDF cab and a bright toned amp with cheap tubes and it sounds pretty bad. I stated by replacing the tubes, this helped some. ( this is not in order) A JJ 5751 got the gain levels down to a usable range and warmed thing up slightly. A NOS JAN-Philips 12AT7 in the PI gave me some nice breakup characteristics. An Electro-Harmonix 12BH7 gave me a bit thicker tones on the output. Yes I did say I have two LNTs, one has a burnt out PT, after I left it on for too long with a JJ ECC99 in it. The heater elements drew too much current for the PT. For speakers and cabs I now run a Kustom Defender 112 with a WGS Green Beret and a home made Pine/Birch 110 with a Weber British Series 10VS with the hemp cone. The 112 with the GB in warm with the smokey mids just like the Greenback it was modeled after. The 10VS has strong but controlled highs, decent low (especially for a 10") with mild to moderate mids. While the 110 doesn't sound quite like an Alnico Blue, it does sound very vintage like. The last thing I run right now is a simple mod, the hardest part was drilling a hole in the chassis for the switch! The mod is the C19/Bright Cap mod. Most just clip it, but I do find uses for this cap to be in the circuit more often than not, so I put it on a switch. I have a Musical Power Supplies OT5PP in the broken down LNT, that did help to thicken the tone, much the same as the 12BH7 did, I just haven't gotten around to swapping it over to the operable head. I can't seem to get a stock replacement PT, as Korg /Vox USA it terrible to deal with or get parts from! I need to look over the PT that is working, so I can try to find a suitable replacement from another manufacturer.

    Next up the Fender Pawnshop Series Greta. Not much was done to this amp, aside from swapping in a new pair of tubes. I replaced the stock cheap-o Chinese tubes for a set of NOS JAN-Philips 5751 and 12AT7WA. Now the stock 4" speaker sounds like what it is, a 4" speaker! (Big surprise!) Aside from going for the small quirky tones it comes off sounding like a transistor radio. Where this little amp shines is when you use it with an external speaker or use the line out through another amp. My normal play is through my Weber X-Cab with a Weber AlNiCo Signature 10 S speaker. Warm tones, AlNiCo compression and breakup when pushed. It just sounds awesome through this cab. It sounded good through an Orange PP112 also, giving it a harder more modern Rock tone. I also like to play it through my 50 watt Peavey VT 212 Classic for an almost Twin on the verge of breakup tone. Next time I get access to a PA, I want to run it through the board.

    Finally the Champ 600. Stock it was meh, okay. With a generic 8" speaker in real grill cloth, it got better. Did the R19 lift mod, now it's starting to sound decent. Swapped in a Weber AlNiCo Sig 8 and it was getting there, pretty nice almost vintage tone. I just finished the 5F1 PCB mod and this thing is incredible. So close to a vintage Narrow Panel Champ, most would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Vintage Tweed all the way. Crunchy yet articulate, creamy warm tones. I need to get a set of NOS tubes and see how it sounds. Tube wise right now, it sounds best with the EH 12AY7 and an EH 6V6GT.

    The Voxes have a master volume, so turning the volume to an appropriate level is simple. The Fenders each only have a single volume control (the Greta has a tone control), so to get the overdrive/distortion out of them at lower levels, I use a GFS Greenie Classic pedal (TS-808 copy). I do prefer the natural drive of the amps, but this is useful enough for late night practice.

    Is using these amps the cheapest or best route, no. With these lower priced tube amps, you can't really expect magic for something so cheap. This does't mean they can sound really good, if you don't mid doing some research and the work yourself. Building/modding these amps is what I want to do and enjoy and that's what matters!
     
  7. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

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    That sounds very interesting, got any schematics or other information to share? If this is not the right thread, why not share them on the tube amp builders forum here on the TDPRI? I'd love to hear more about your little amps.


    -Gnobuddy
     
  8. ByDean

    ByDean TDPRI Member

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    +1 to that
     
  9. Wyzsard

    Wyzsard Friend of Leo's

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  10. birdmove

    birdmove TDPRI Member

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    Here is a list of low wattage all tube amps that are still available as we speak from Amazon.com. Some may be discontinued, but still available.

    Gretsch G5222. This is the same as the Fender Champion 600 I believe. They have 7 left at $195. Fender Champion 600 Lil Blondie. One left at $175. Ibanez TSA5 combo with 10" speaker at $245. Epiphone Valve Junior head. One left at $145. Peavey Valve King Royal 8. @ at $190 plus freight. Crate V5 with 10" speaker and real wood cabinet as I understand. 4 at $209. Bugera V5. $209. VHT Special 6 combo at $240. This one went down to $220 for about 8 hours yesterday. These are all all tube, and not hybrids. There was actually a few new Epiphone Valve Junior combos, but those sold very recently. There is also the Kustom Defender 5 watt head at $110. These are just the ones that I am watching, there may be others. Almost forgot the Laney Cub 10 at $200.
    Some have said they didn't like the Fender Excelsior amp. I have only been able to hear these on youtube, but have liked what I heard a lot. I think that these 5-6 watt all tube amps, as combos, and with extension speaker plugs, would make good amps. For gigs, one could mic them, or use a bigger speaker and cabinet. The Peavey, I don't think, has an extension speaker plug. The VHT, though made in China, has point to point wiring, and may have a real wood cabinet (can anyone verify this?).
    I sold much of my stuff when we moved to Hawaii 2 years ago. I brought a Pignose G60VR all tube combo with 12" speaker, and an old Fender Deluxe 112+. I probably will never sell either of these amps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  11. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I gather from what I am reading above, 15 watts is now obsolete, all we now need is 5 watts !
     
  12. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

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    You jest, but there is less than five decibels difference between 15 watts and 5 watts. That's not a hugely noticeable amount.

    Going the other way, tripling the power (15 W to 45 W) only gives you five decibels more.

    So, roughly speaking it takes 45 watts to sound twice as loud (roughly 10 dB more) as 5 watts.

    Also a "mere" 5 watts into an efficient 100 dB @ 1 m @ 1 watt aftermarket guitar speaker gets you 105 dB sound pressure level near the amp, which is loud enough to cause serious hearing damage in a very short time.

    As another point of reference (this one originally from Bill M. himself), a trumpet blast is roughly the same volume as one watt into a typical stock factory production guitar speaker - say 90 dB or so.

    That means a 5 watt amp is roughly as loud as five trumpeters blasting away at once. Most classical orchestras have fewer than that number of trumpeters - two seems to be the usual number - and that is sufficient to perform in huge halls to an audience of hundreds of people.

    Large orchestras or those playing more modern music might have four or five trumpets. Not too many people seem to feel that five trumpets blasting away at once is far too few, and fifteen would still be too few, and forty-five trumpets is really what is needed!

    -Gnobuddy
     
  13. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    in theory...which never takes into account room noise, activity in the room, audience noise and other outside factors which create noise etc...

    Otherwise there would be no 40 watt ( or more ) amps which we use to play in a full band , which is exceeding the theoretical DB level when playing all together...at the same time..with a drummer...! :eek:
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  14. keithb7

    keithb7 Friend of Leo's

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    You don't need to have a master volume on a 5W amp. An L-pad attenuator does a great job. I built one, very cheap. It can be used on any 5W amp so there is no need to limit your amp seach to those models only with a MV. My home built 5F2A sounds great cranked up and throttled back with the attenuator.

    In experience sure 15W is only 5 db more than 5W but holy crap that's a lot of volume! The 5W amp breaks up at much lower volume. Head room is not the 5W-er's forte.
     
  15. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

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    My sympathies with working pros who have to deal with todays expectations for deafeningly loud music (literally, since many musicians suffer from progressive hearing loss as a result).

    It wasn't always this way, though. In the book 17 watts we hear about a British band which, forty years ago, argued that the new turquoise, wedge-shaped, 17W, Watkins Dominator was far too powerful to inflict on band and public.

    On tour twenty years later, the author of the book (Mo Foster) has a bass rig which alone packs 1,500W. :eek:

    Of course our ears haven't changed one jot in those forty years - they evolved to hear faint noises on the open savannah a couple of hundred thousand years ago, and haven't changed significantly since, because there hasn't been enough time, evolutionarily speaking.

    Pandora's box of excessive loudness has been well and truly opened, and we can only guess how many millions of people have suffered hearing damage since the 1960's from either playing or listening to music that was too loud for their ears to tolerate.

    -Gnobuddy
     
  16. Stonehead

    Stonehead TDPRI Member

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    I just got the Marshall SL5 today and couldn't be happier. Its a loud 5 watts thats for sure. The cleans are really good on it and it has that Marshall grind we all know and love (well most of us anyway). It can be switched down to 1 watt for late night home playing which sounds terrific. It's a nice complement to my Fender PRRI.
     
  17. ppguitar

    ppguitar TDPRI Member

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    Thanks Wyzsard!

    Nice of you to post the Swart clip.
    I love my little Space Tone 6v6se.

    peter
     
  18. sparkletele123

    sparkletele123 Tele-Meister

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    Marshall just brought out a new DSL5. My go to store seams to be the first in the UK

    .
     
  19. gitapik

    gitapik Tele-Holic

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    This. My take was to either get one with a headphone jack or use a pedal to get what I want at a lower volume. Or both.

    I think they work well for small venue gigs, but a large part of the market is serving the bedroom players out there.
     
  20. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    I had a 1 watt Highes and Kettner Cream Machine.
    I had it for years. I'd plug it into my 1/12 with the EVM 12L.
    It was fun but truly a one trick pony.
    I had an epi Valve Jr for two hours and took it back. Just ratty and bad.
    VCXD works for me. Clean champ, dirty champ, lil tiny marshall, whatever.
    It would be fun to try it out somewhere, but I would probably chicken out and grab the ProJr or the Mesa Subway.
     
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