Jump to content

Low Watt Tube Amps


Mickguard
 Share

Recommended Posts

I really like my 15 watt Ampeg, and it's great on stage (since it's miked) but it's still too loud for band practice --I can sneak it up to 3 or so, but that's it.

Except that it really starts sounding sweet at 4 or 5

So I'm thinking I ought to get a lower watt amp for practice --maybe a 5 watt amp will give me the overdrive I'm looking for? Right now I'm looking at a Vibro Champ, since it has tremelo too, but there must be some newer amps out there?

What about those Epiphone Electars, aren't they 10 watts?

Anyone have an opinion on an affordable low-watt tube amp?

Edit: Actually I think I found my baby...one of those Epiphone Valve Juniors....one knob, that's it....over here they're more like 150 euros, that's one third the price in the US...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Idch i wouldnt buy an epiphone...............epiphone just lacks quality in just about everything besides their elite series (which isnt the best either)

if you are looking for something low watt, tube i would look at these (below)

http://www.tech21nyc.com/tm10.html

^ i am pretty sure it is tube

http://www.crateamps.com/html/product.cfm?pid=108

I dunno im not really an expert on amps but i wouldnt buy anything epiphone.

:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sansamps are not tubes, they're analog circuitry. But I'm really disappointed with Tech 21 --I have their Tri-AC pedal...it sounds great, but one of the footswitchs has already failed, and I've only had it for six months! It's not the switch itself--it's the way the switch is attached to the box. They have a really cheezy system for that and I can't just screw it down. I'll have to write to Tech 21 about it.

That Crate looks pretty good --but pricier than the Epiphone and too 'complicated' (I'm only interested in the Valve Junior...one input, one volume, that's it). I'm only looking for a practice amp, my Ampeg is fine for shows--and it has reverb and tremelo too. I recognize that the Epiphone is going to be of a far lower build quality --it's made in China, for one thing.

I like the looks of that new Gibson Les Paul amp --also a 5 watter. But that's getting into real coin...I'm not ready to spend that much.

But I'm definitely into low-wattage now. Last night at practice I just couldn't get the amp where I need it (and that's going up against a drummer, the lead guitarist, a keyboard player, a bass player and an acoustic guitar!). But since we're dedicated to economizing our ears (well, the guitarist and I wear musician's ear plugs, but the other guys won't) we practice are fairly low volumes.

So the goal is a low watt/small speaker amp that will allow me to push the tubes at a lower volume level.

I just looked it up--the French distributor for Crate want 569 euros! That's nuts!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you looked at the attenuators?

Go to WeberVST and check out their sideline products, I know they sell attenuators besides speakers now, or you could post a question on the Weber amp forum, a lot of amp techs hang out there.

Unless you simply WANT another amp. I was under the impression you would rather keep the Ampeg if you could get it where you want it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Either 3 or 5 dB is technically double the loudness isn't it?

A decibel is actually a ratio, but ultimately it represents the pressure variation between two different sound waves.

10 log (P2/P1)=db

Man, if you can't get tone at low volume from a 15 watt tube amp, something's wrong.

I think idch must be playing rythm for an elevator/supermarket music group. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...........had a feeling that tech 21 wasnt tube.........

there is only one more amp i would suggest - i own one :D, its cheap not complicated, tons of different tones and its a Vox B)

Valvetronix Ad15vt - 15watt tube in the preamp, sounds great

or the Vox vr15 - another 15 watter

i got the ad15vt for 420 (Aus dollers) and over here they rip people off :D

just throwing in a couple of suggestions

:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dude, it's rehearsal! I don't know about you, but at our rehearsals we have a lot more to worry about than guitar tone (like everyone remembering their parts). The performance is always much better than the rehearsal (at least for us...).

And since you're miked through the PA, you can be sure that the audience hears less of your tone than you do. For rehearsal purposes, I'd just live with it and spend the scratch somewhere else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 watts represents about 75 percent of the volume of a 50 watt amp. So yeah, it gets pretty loud pretty quickly. I'm not saying it sounds bad at lower volumes, but it just doesn't sound 'right' --and for a lot of our songs, I'm still feeling my way toward definite parts. Tube wattage doesn't have all the much to do with volume levels, it's more about how many speakers the amp is able to drive (at least according to what I've read)

What I like about the Ampeg's sound starts to happen at around 12 o'clock on the dial, but at practice I don't get to go much past 9. Which leaves things sounding thin.

And since I don't use pedals, other than a pedal tuner, I need to get my overdrive from the amp.

Can't use an attenuator (if you mean a power soak that is)--the Ampeg isn't set up for that. I like the sound of the Tri-AC for recording, but not for playing out. And like I said, I've got issues with its durability.

And besides, I like toys, I've got the bucks right now (and I'm getting ready to sell off a bunch of gear, including my Music Man, anyway), and that Epiphone is cheap! Of course, I won't know if I'll like the sound of the Valve Junior until I have it, but I like the look --and the simplicity. One volume, one jack --that's going to match up great with the single P90 project I'm starting...

Ultimately I'll end up with a more versatile amp --maybe something with a half power switch, and it'd be nice to have a built in boost too. I'm sure the manufacturers are going to start turning out more and more low-watt amps as people figure out that wattage is unneccessary nowadays.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check ebay. You even find 1-5 watt tube amp heads that some guy has built. Just make sure that he states that if you're not happy with it, you get a full refund.

-Jamie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check ebay. You even find 1-5 watt tube amp heads that some guy has built. Just make sure that he states that if you're not happy with it, you get a full refund.

-Jamie

Can't, because I don't want to deal with a power transformer...I need a 230volt amp.

Besides, the Valve Junior is 1/3 less in the states...I'd have bought two by now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

idch,i hope you don't mind if i sorta hijack this a little bit...

After reading all this tube amp discussion from this thread and others ive decided I don't need a big amp when I upgrade in a short while. That said I'll point out a few things I'm looking for.

10-20 watts

all tube

good metal sound,more crunch than distorted but with a fair amount of gain but it has to be clear,sorta like megadeth/slayer tone

cleans...not as important as the metalness

id prefer an effects loop but not really important

no onboard effects needed

eq doesnt have to be detailed,I'll 7 or 10 band it anyways

just so you know ive already checked the following companies with limited results

vht,bogner,beringher,marshall,peavey,laney,hughes and kettner,fender,hiwatt,randall,crate,traynor,krank,mesa and vox

If i have to use a distortion or OD pedal I can deal but Id rather not have to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

many people don't realize that 15 watts of tube is in no way comparable to 15 watts of solid state. my 15 watter will make your ears bleed if cranked up unattenuated.

I have been in this same situation and I would say that you have 3 options.

1) buy or build an attenuator

2) retube specifically for lower volume breakup

3) buy a multi-attenuated amp such as the carr mercury series (this is a seriously awesome sounding amp with .5, 1, 2, 5 and 15 i think.. that's approximate though.. it's a switchable attenuator that just cuts at different ratios.)

I play a fender pro jr and i did 1 and 2. The pro jr only has a vol and tone knob. I built my attenuator with 6 dollars worth of parts from mouser. we're talking seriously simple. a little alum box, 2 resistors, 2 jacks and some solder. Someone mentioned weberVST. Look him up and i believe he has a table for choosing resistors based on your output amps and ohm rating. If not him, look up an l-pad schematic and table reference. it's REALLY EASY. Mine gives a 6db cut which effectively half volume. You can choose a resistor pair for any range of cut you like. I went 6db so i could use it on stage still. I never remove the att. I like the volume just like that. I can play at home and not bother anyone but it'll still hang with the drummer.

Then i retubed using JJ tubes from www.eurotubes.com I told the guy i wanted a set tweaked for early breakup and now my amp gets dirty at 3 or 4 rather than 7 or 8 with the original fender tubes.

The carr amp i mentioned is an incredible amp but it'ss 13-1500 bucks. I wouldn't trade my pro jr for it.

seriously though check out an l-pad schematic. it's fun and it's a brainless operation. just follow the reference table to get your resistance settings right and you'll be good to go.

and for what it's worth, the THD folks and some others dog resistor based attenuators saying that it will kill your output transformer, etc.. and i asked a ton of people, even amp repair folks that said that was a bunch of crap. If your resistance is calibrated to satisfy the load requirements of your output transformer you're good to go. I think people with attenuators blow more tubes, but that's because they are running the amp at 10 where without it they would be taking it easy on the old tubes.

my 2 cents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

many people don't realize that 15 watts of tube is in no way comparable to 15 watts of solid state.  my 15 watter will make your ears bleed if cranked up unattenuated.

Exactly. 15 watts punches out about 75% of the volume of a 50 watter and something like 50% of a 100 watter. That's plenty loud enough to shred your ears. Tube wattage has little to do with volume--it's all about driving speakers. At least, that's my understanding.

You know what I'd really like? I'd like a half-power switch on my Ampeg. And while I'm at it, a footswitch for the tremelo!

But like I said, the Ampeg is just right for playing gigs--I can get it loud enough to where I need it (because we always play louder on stage). In fact, it's loud enough to where I can get the breakup I need, but when I need a cleaner sound, all I need to do is dial back a bit on the volume (or even just pick a little more lightly).

Godin: that Hayden is really nice!

And I really like the look of those Ashdowns too, love those fancy meters...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well add to the 6 dollar pile of elec parts a bypass switch and you're good to go. mount it inside your cabinet where you can reach it and you can switch between half and full.

the attenuator I built is in a little box and my speaker out (1/4 jack) goes into one side, and the other side is a 1/4" to speaker clip connection. the box just sits inline between the output jack and the speaker. adding a switch would be a piece of cake.

can't build a tremolo :D the l-pad circuit is about as advanced as I get lol..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...