RFI: these new small valve (or tube if you prefer) amps

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

It took me a while to work out why thread search had no IMM results for valves..

Anyway. Epiphone Valve Junior, Fender Champion 600, Peavey Valve King Royal 8. All for £100 or less, as far as I can tell - the Epiphone seems to come in different brandings too, for extra cheapness. Is there a clear 'best' of this bunch? I only need it for playing quietly in my flat, possibly some recording - background info: I'm a bassist mainly, not really a guitarist. I've been playing a bit for the past 10 years now, mainly through bass practice amps, but when I picked up that H|H guitar combo recently I was amazed at how much better my crappy Epi SG sounded. The H|H is too loud for bedroom playing, and it will be better off living in our rehearsal space, so I've decided it might actually be worth investing in a proper small guitar amp.

I'm not fixated on a valve amp btw, it just seems that at this size and price range I may as well get a nice (unless these are all nasty) 5W valve rather than a 25w tranny - plus these all seem to be loaded with effects that I don't need, although reverb would be nice..

Any thoughts/recommendations etc welcome.

Bocken Social Scene, Thursday, 21 February 2008 13:08 (sixteen years ago) link

I haven't actually played the Epi, the Champion 600 is cool, although the speaker is not great and the grill cloth is ultra-dampening. I was pretty disappointed by the peavey, the addition of distortion gain seemed sort of like a copout.

John Justen, Friday, 22 February 2008 22:57 (sixteen years ago) link

If you're going to go that cheap, might as look over a Pignose Hognose. Naturally, it's not tube but at least blues harp players swear by them. Plus, it works off a battery pack. The slave labor Epiphone's took a drubbing by some in reviews. See 'em at Guitar Center all the time.

Gorge, Saturday, 23 February 2008 03:51 (sixteen years ago) link

even though I don't own a guitar yet, I got a Blackheart Little Giant mini-stack when Music123 was running a sale - 5W head+1x12 cabinet for $185 shipped.

It's very cute, would look better if I unscrewed the plastic 'Blackheart' logos.

milo z, Tuesday, 26 February 2008 21:05 (sixteen years ago) link

Don't forget the VOX AD15VT, a little under £100, but very good and surprisingly loud. The Amp moddling does a passable AC30. I gigged with G00blar's one once and was suitably impressed. Hybrid tube/solid state, worth a look though.

Ed, Wednesday, 5 March 2008 20:29 (sixteen years ago) link

I have an Epiphone Valve Special, which is the same 5W amp as the Valve Junior but with more knobs and a bigger speaker, and I must warn you, it's seriously lacking in treble. Sounded like it was under a duvet out of the box. I had to change a couple resistors to get a decent sound.

ecuador_with_a_c, Wednesday, 5 March 2008 23:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh, I hadn't looked at the Vox's. Also Roland Cube 30 or something? That has decent effects, as far as I can tell (from reviews). Everyone seems to say these tube amps need modding to be any good, and lots of stuff about how they're setup for 230V AC and in the UK it's a bit higher and it's going to ruin valves quicker.
Lack of treble is a worry as I've only got an Epiphone SG, not the brightest of guitars. I found a Champion 600 in our rehearsal room and had a quick blast through that with my friends Surfcaster, and that sounded quite nice. I might just have to go to a shop and try some things out.

Bocken Social Scene, Thursday, 6 March 2008 11:56 (sixteen years ago) link

No problem with treble on the vox, IIRC it has AC30 and and AC30 Top boost modes.

Ed, Thursday, 6 March 2008 15:21 (sixteen years ago) link

If you like the Vox, you should also look at the Fender Champ XD and Vibro(something) XD, which are clearly positioned to compete with the Vox (effects, modeling, tube power amp and phase inverter, similar price). Haven't tried either of them.

John Justen, Thursday, 6 March 2008 23:22 (sixteen years ago) link

No problem with treble on the vox, IIRC it has AC30 and and AC30 Top boost modes

I think the Vox modellers have AC15 and AC30TB modes, not AC30 and AC30TB. The AD Range have a tube power amp and a modelling pre-amp, if that makes sense. FWIW I tried an AD100VT a couple of weeks ago and it was pretty horrible - really bright and harsh. The only usable modes that I found after a fair bit of messing around were the AC30TB, the 70's Marshall and the Boutique Cleans. The effects were pretty dismal too.

I have tried, and similarly hated, a Roland Cube 60, so to be fair, I just don't like modellers. I am sure that you can get some good tones out of them with a bit of knob twiddling, but I don't really want to put in the effort. I'd rather spend the time playing.

There's a little Fender valve amp that's supposed to be good - the pro junior, is it? Not sure of the price on that, it's possibly nearer £200.

Dr.C, Friday, 7 March 2008 10:34 (sixteen years ago) link

I just bought one of these used:

1/2W tube 'head'

milo z, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 21:02 (sixteen years ago) link

^^ They're supposed to sound pretty good... but no toobz.

rogermexico., Tuesday, 11 March 2008 21:27 (sixteen years ago) link

oh, I just assumed - 1/2W seemed like a tube number more than ss

milo z, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 22:59 (sixteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

i impulse-bought one of these: https://www.harmony.co/products/h620-tube-combo-guitar-amplifier-110-120us

i decided i needed a new amp because i'm not planning on playing outside of my house anytime in the future, aside from jamming with friends. my old gigging amp was way too loud, even at lowest volume, for home use, and i had trouble getting a good enough sound on my little practice amp for recording.

i initially was going to get the 5-watt model (which attenuates down to 1 watt or 0.1 watts), but then i noticed that the 20-watt model is only $100 more and also attenuates down to 1 watt or 0.1 watts, and the extra wattage would give me the option to use it if i ever do go back to gigging or playing in a louder situation. but the 20-watt model is sold out everywhere with no specifics from the company on when new ones might be coming, so i ended up finding one slightly used on reverb.

it just arrived this morning but on first impression i love it. i haven't played it at full volume yet but even attenuated it sounds so much better than my old setup, with that tube grit i could never get on my hot rod deluxe because you had to turn it up insanely loud to get it to break up

na (NA), Wednesday, 19 January 2022 20:53 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

my peavey 30 just broke and i'm being told it will be $350 - $500 to fix. wondering if it's worth just buying one of these. anyone know much about them? really just trying to get a better clean tone than the peavey for around the price it would take to fix mine

Heez, Tuesday, 28 February 2023 21:25 (one year ago) link

How loud do you need to go?

m0stly clean (Slowsquatch), Tuesday, 28 February 2023 21:30 (one year ago) link

honestly the most i would do at this point would be a backyard party or something

Heez, Tuesday, 28 February 2023 21:38 (one year ago) link

Do you play with a drummer?

m0stly clean (Slowsquatch), Tuesday, 28 February 2023 23:03 (one year ago) link

Not at the moment but yeah I would like something that could meet the drum volume

Heez, Wednesday, 1 March 2023 02:02 (one year ago) link

i love my harmony h620 linked above. i mostly play in my apartment so i usually have it down at the 0.1 watt level, but it was nice when i took it to a rehearsal space to record guitar parts that i could bump it up to 20 watts and record loud guitar. i think that several companies have come out with similar amps - basically 10-20 watt amps that have a built-in attenuater that knocks the volume down while keeping the tone the same.

na (NA), Wednesday, 1 March 2023 14:01 (one year ago) link

you may also want to check out the vht special 6, i like mine for the same use case you’re describing.

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 1 March 2023 14:48 (one year ago) link

I guess my question is, for those that know the peavey as well, should i repair or will i get better tone from one of these small tube amps? most of the one's i've looked at are a little more expensive than the repair so i'm curious if it would be a nice improvement in tone

Heez, Wednesday, 1 March 2023 14:56 (one year ago) link

Low watt tube amps generally made to get distortion at lower volumes, as they don’t have as much clean head room.

If you are looking for clean sounds in a smaller amp, I would look at a modeler or solid state amp. Vox Pathfinder, Roland Cube, Boss Katana or some thing used by Tech 21 or old Peavey Bandits are choices I would try. Higher end is those new model amps Fender is making as they sound quite good.

Most of the expense on getting your Peavey fixed is going to be the tubes, which went crazy in price once the Russians invaded Ukraine, as Russia had some of the few companies making them.

The Artist formerly known as Earlnash, Wednesday, 1 March 2023 20:08 (one year ago) link

Ok fuck it I’m fixing the peavey. I do want the ability to have a louder clean sound. Thanks

Heez, Wednesday, 1 March 2023 21:08 (one year ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.