Which practice amp?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by cucurrucucu, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. cucurrucucu

    cucurrucucu TDPRI Member

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    Hi, I'm new to the forum, although I've been lurking for a while. Let me start off by saying that I'm a guitar newbie, but I've been playing the bass for 8 years. Recently, I found an American Standard Strat for a great price so I decided to buy it and learn to play the guitar. So, I've been playing it unplugged for the past few weeks and I think it's time I got an amp. I've browsed all the practice amp threads in this forum and, to be honest, I ended up more confused than I was before. I'm looking to get an amp that will not cost an arm and a leg (I'm planning to buy used). These are the options I'm considering, after doing some research:

    -Fender Super Champ XD
    -Vox AC4TV
    -Roland Micro Cube
    -Vox AD5

    I'm aware these are all different, but I just don't know what's enough for my needs. I'm not interested in portability and number of "features" (built-in effects, headphone, etc) as I'll probably get pedals for the effects I want in the future. I'm more interested in tone and sound quality for funk and rock. I'll be practicing in my bedroom and occasionally playing with a bass player, but that's it. For references, some guitarists I like are John Frusciante and Joe Strummer.

    I'm looking to get an amp that will last me some time without the need to upgrade. Of course, it would be ideal to try these amps by myself, but I can barely play the guitar so it would be kinda pointless. Any suggestions are welcome!

    Thanks in advance,
    Mike
     
  2. nickrom

    nickrom Tele-Meister

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    Personally, I am a Vox guy - so I would heartily recommend the AC4TV or for the purpose you describe - the Pathfinder 15R. For $120 you will have an amp that sounds great, will be loud enough for your purpose, can plug into a cab for even greater volume and accepts pedals well.
     
  3. Astro1176

    Astro1176 Tele-Holic

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    If you are not playing with drums and your bass player is quiet, it is hard to knock the microcube. It sounds great real quiet, which is important if you don't want to disturb other people, and it captures the sound of various rock and clean sounds really well.

    I also have a Vox AD50VT - which can be turned down and also sounds great at low levels, so I would imagine the small vox's with the modelling technology are great too.

    Personally I would always go for a modelling amp as a practice amp now. They put the richness and detail of a larger amp into a small amp, and offer a lot more versatility.
     
  4. Jeff_K

    Jeff_K Friend of Leo's

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    Waiting for my ZT Lunchbox to be delivered (just 2 more days!) but from what I've read and heard, that's a killer amp not just for practice but for gigs and recording also. You can find it for $260 delivered. That amp is very intriguing. Loud enough for real gigs, headphone jack, CD/mp3 input jack, speaker out jack for cab, 120-200 watts depending on what you measure, lunchbox size and 10 pounds. I don't know how they haven't sold 2,000 of them to people on this forum alone. Google "lunchbox amp" and find lots of great info. I'm like a little kid waiting for Friday to come.
     
  5. jjkrause84

    jjkrause84 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would suggest the AC4. Not only will it give you good tube tone (which means, most importantly, that the guitar tone will react to your picking dynamics and volumes, etc.) but it has good "volume control" options
     
  6. mistermullens

    mistermullens Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm with nickrom, and will suggest the Vox Pathfinder 15R. There are a lot of useable sounds packed in this amp, and don't let the fact that its solid state bother you. I think its safe to say that its one of the best sounding SS amps out. Here's the other thing. You're just getting into guitar, why spend a lot of money on an amp? Pathfinders are good in that they are great practice amps, and they're keepers. So, even when you've moved on to that "bigger and better" amp, you'll still have this awesome practice amp that you can use any time. Reverb is good, and Tremolo is even better. Dare I say the perfect practice amp?

    BTW, it does take pedals very well, and I've even used mine in a gig situation.
     
  7. telideli

    telideli Banned

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    I'm looking for a small practice amp too and just checked out the 'lunchbox zt' due to the previous poster's rec,....lots of demos on youtube,....but I just can't get by the 6" speaker.

    The Vox AC4TV with the 10" speaker and tubes seems more to my liking ($300), although there is an 8" speaker version too for $200.

    ....but the 200w of the lunchbox (with a headphone/and mp3 connect) gets my attention too.

    An intriguing matchup.
     
  8. superhand

    superhand Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 for Vox AC4TV. Great little tube amp for a very reasonable price. I doubt you will find one used though, they are pretty new.

    It just has a volume, tone and a attenuator switch but you can actually get a good range of different sounds from it. From very chimey clean to garage rock dirty.

    You can always go to a guitar store and ask the salesman to demo an amp for you.
     
  9. Justinvs

    Justinvs Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another Vox 15R fan here. Great little amp for the price. Another amp you might like is the Fender Gdec, since it comes with modeling and tons of drum/bass patterns to play against.

    Also, if it's strictly for practice, something like a Line6 Pod or a Vox Rockit might work ou for you.

    Justin
     
  10. Jeff_K

    Jeff_K Friend of Leo's

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    I'm having the same paradigm issue myself but if you look around you'll see many say they sound like a 10 or 12". They have a proprietary speaker design that compensates for the small diameter, so they say. I can't wait to hear it myself. But reports are good that it's a much bigger sound than the speaker diameter would imply. I don't know yet but by Saturday I will. I'll send you a PM with my thoughts.
     
  11. Guran

    Guran Friend of Leo's

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    Anohter vote for Vox Pathfinder 15R.

    It's a very good amp for next to nothing. It's my practice amp, but also my backup (and sometimes main amp) for gigs. It covers a lot of ground sonically. Maybe it doesn't do anything perfect, but it does decent Fenderish clean and decent Marshall crunch. Somewhere between these two you'll find the Voxish voice.
     
  12. Kornelius

    Kornelius Tele-Meister

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    I'm a vox guy for the british sound of the AC30, but for my practice at home, i used the roland micro cube. It's small and easy to carry everywhere, the different modelisation of amp are correct. You can switch from a very clean sound to a very dirty one wiz one knob, of course, it's not the real sound of the tube amp it's supposed to copy but it's ok for practice, you can also simulate an acoustic and the reverb is good. You can plug a cd or another instrument trough a preamp, cos it has second plug in the back. It's not vey powerful but you say it's for practice in your bedroom so that's quite enough.
     
  13. thejerk

    thejerk Tele-Meister

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    Well, I'll throw my hat in, and say that the Fender SCXD is a fantastic little amp. And, it can get LOUD compared to others in its price range (especially with a speaker upgrade, the stock speaker is inefficient). It has a line out, so you can go straight to the PA if needed. The clean channel is fantastic, but effects and modeling are great to help you get your feet wet.

    It is a very practical amp for someone who wants a variety of tones, bedroom and small venue volumes, and the ability to easily connect to PA. So, put my vote in for the SCXD.

    Best advice: Demo (or have a friend demo for you) each of the amps at the store. Don't be afraid to twist knobs, and really spend some time A/Bing them.
     
  14. adifferentbreed

    adifferentbreed Tele-Afflicted

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    Pignose
     
  15. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    Here is my hindsight for my own life. I always wished later I would have gotten a little more. You are obviously an active musician that wants to play with other people. What starts out as "only in my bedroom" turns into a garage band in six months and then a party gig next summer. All of which is not going to be satisfied by a 10" practice amp when you have drums/bass/vocals.

    I now have four amps and the one I don't use, at all..... the 10" practice amp. I just play/practice/gig whatever with my regular combo amp.
     
  16. fly135

    fly135 Tele-Holic

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    +1 on the SCXD. I have a SCXD (er 2 actually) and a MicroCube. The MicroCube is great for a battery powered amp. I use my in the boat. But the SCXD has much better tone.

    With my SCXD I can get Fender cleans and Marshall crunch with a turn of the voice dial. I find it pretty easy to match a tone on a recorded song. Some voices are darker and go better with SC pups and some are brighter for humbuckers. Sometimes I'm torn between using my SCXD or my pedal board w/ my Ampeg J-20. It's that good. I wouldn't worry about the speaker size as it has a 8 ohm output. You wouldn't diss a head because the speaker is too small.
     
  17. neocaster

    neocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    They're all great amps, but once you put your priorities in order, one will stand out more than the rest. If you want a lot of sounds, I think you'll find yourself going home with the Roland. If you want a great tube sound with early breakup, I think you'll land on the AC4. If you want a compromise, think SCXD. the SCXD has no attenuator, so if you get a sound you love, you may have to compromise to keep it at a reasonable volume. My take on each

    Fender Super Champ XD: Pros: It's a fender champ. It has some decent modelling. Line level output and external cabinet/speaker output. Cons: No attenuator, modelling doesn't match up to Roland. No battery power.

    Vox AC4TV - Pros: Vox tube amp sound, breaks up pretty early, onboard attenuator. Cons: No modelling, no battery power, not a lot of headroom for clean tone (other side of early breakup coin)

    Roland Micro Cube - Pros: Great modeller, battery power. Cons: Not a tube amplifier (Not sure this is a con, but it is frequently considered one)

    Not sure the DA5 should even be in the running unless you hear something in it that the Roland can't do.

    Edit: My bedroom equipment is a Vox AC4 10" and a Behringer BX108 bass amp.
     
  18. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Banned

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    SF Vibro Champ

    Classy full toned tube amp, great for bedroom and recording

    Has been used on many a classic recording in the studio

    Can be had 300 - 400 used

    BF 400 - 500 or more, same amp as SF

     
  19. JimmyJam

    JimmyJam Tele-Afflicted

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    Welcome cucurrucucu!!

    My vote is Groovey's alternative.
    The Vox AC4 if that doesn't fit into your plans.
     
  20. cucurrucucu

    cucurrucucu TDPRI Member

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    Wow, thanks for the replies everyone. I didn't expect this many posts in such a short amount of time.

    This is the reason why, although the Roland sounds great for the price, I'm inclined towards the Super Champ XD and the AC4. I can get both used for around $200, so it doesn't sound like a bad deal, considering that in the worst case I can sell them without losing too much money. However I'm not sure how the Champ performs in lower-ish volumes, and if it'd be too loud for room practice at 15w. The AC4 may be more convenient in that aspect, but to be honest I'm just a confused bass player who's used to 400w solid state amps.

    Groovey, that amp sounds great, but it's a bit more than I'm willing to spend right now. Would you say the SC XD is a good alternative, or the AC4 as Jimmy said?
     
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