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Thread: What's a good small amp?

  1. #1

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    What's a good small amp?

    Having moved all my gear to a studio, I have nothing to play thru at home!

    I am now looking for a quality small combo or maybe head with a 112 for the home, not recording, not gigging, not jamming. Just something to practice or work out ideas on. I might add a few pedals but I am trying to keep it simple, maybe even a single channel will do. No more than 20 or 30w required. I'm not looking to dial in any one particular sound but need something versatile to cover anything from big band jazz to death metal. I never liked modellers or multi-fxs and prefer a tube amp.

    I was hoping to get to try the Suhr badger or Bogner duende amps but 5months and still no sign of them. So what's a good alternative?

  2. #2

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    I have a Dr Z - Mini Z at home - dead simple - 1 vol control, 8 inch Weber speaker. Sounds fantastic and loves pedals in front.

    HTH

    Dave

  3. #3

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    I own a Phil Jones Briefcase that is second to none for practice and small gigs. You can rarely see them on ebay. They go for $499 new. Well worth it

  4. #4

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    Isn't the Phil Jones Briefcase a bass amp??

    I tell you I have a Little Lanilei and I think it's awesome.

    http://www.songworks.com/pages/1/index.htm

    I picked mine up off of Evilbay for a great price. Check em out.

    Hope this helps, Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  5. #5

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    Hey Glenn,
    Which version did you get the 3350 or the 1/4 watt'er? They look like cool little amps...

    later!
    fred
    Play Ball!!


  6. #6

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    Hey Fred, I got the 1/4 watt amp. I need to talk to Tris, the owner of Songworks. I'd like to change the tubes out for a more blues feel. I also have the spring reverb pedal. I've heard that you can change out the resistors to give it more of a surf sound. I like the surf sound!!!!

    Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  7. #7

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    Hey man don't forget about the Roland Micro Cube, everybody swears by them.

    They have a limited edition red one, kind of cool looking.

    Hope this also helps, Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVH
    Having moved all my gear to a studio, I have nothing to play thru at home!

    I am now looking for a quality small combo or maybe head with a 112 for the home, not recording, not gigging, not jamming. Just something to practice or work out ideas on. I might add a few pedals but I am trying to keep it simple, maybe even a single channel will do. No more than 20 or 30w required. I'm not looking to dial in any one particular sound but need something versatile to cover anything from big band jazz to death metal. I never liked modellers or multi-fxs and prefer a tube amp.

    I was hoping to get to try the Suhr badger or Bogner duende amps but 5months and still no sign of them. So what's a good alternative?
    AVH,
    I was at Guitar Center not too long ago and played through one of those Vox Valvetronix Modeling Amps.I believe it was the VTX 120 model I was playing through and it sounded absolutely amazing!And I am a tube snob too after I realized my Line 6 POD XT Pro sounded like crap next to a tube amp. This thing has two preamp tubes that they incorporate into the power section somehow so I guess its still a tube amp in a sense. It had punch,note definition while playing chords,and those sweet feedback spots my Line 6 was so sorely lacking. All in all it sounded fat clean or distorted. It didn't have that high endy fizz that most of the modelers have either it was real warm.They have these amps in wattages all the way down to 15 watts I believe so you might wanna check one out. It has tones for every kind of music in there. Mesa Rectifier and Mark Series sounds,all the classic Vox sounds,Marshall, and I believe they modeled a Diezel and Soldano in there as well. Plus it has alot of cool retro effect pedal models as well such as Tape Echo. They are relatively cheap too. They have a bunch of sound bites on there website as well the addy is www.voxamps.co.uk
    Brett Lingle

  9. #9

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    Dr Z Mini Z
    Swart Space Tone
    Carr Mercury


    Kane

  10. #10

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    I'd say the biggest challenge you'll face is finding a good death metal tone out of any smaller amp of quality. They're mostly are designed for more "refined" tastes than your typical metalhead (no flames from vicious metalheads, please--I actually consider myself a "refined metalhead." In other words, my music listening spectrum spans anywhere from Larry Carlton to Lamb of God).

    Anyway, in the first category, i.e. those amps that have an overall metallic flavor but are built for the "small stage" (aka living room), Soldano's Astroverb 16 might do the metal thing rather well, as would a Bad Cat Hot Cat 15 (or 30, if you can swing it). The Hot Cats also have a reputation of sounding good at lower volumes.

    You might also want to look at the Mesa/Booge Rectifier Preamp (or Rec Pre as they're known) through a decent power amp (the M/B 20/20 is certainly a good choice). They get somewhat mixed reviews but I think a lot of people want to compare them directly with a Recto head and/or don't read the manual closely. Manuals are practically required reading for all M/B products to get the best out of 'em.

    In the "tube-ish" category that can do metal, I also agree that the Vox Valvetronix amps are a good compromise between modelling and tube technology. The output curve is modeled with an analog tube circuit rather than digitally, which is a rather ingenious design and sounds good, too. Look for one with the power-scaling feature (down to the 30W version, I think. It's not the same as London Power's more "organic" design, but a reasonable facsimile). Tech 21 Trademark amps also have a reputation for being very warm and dynamic--again, not a tube-based solution but very well-respected by a lot of tube devotees when tubes are not a viable option.

    In the middle ground, roots to rock but not quite metal, I would strongly recommend checking out a Cornford Carrera, Harlequin, or Hurricane (depending on your budget and power requirements). All three are monster amps that can really rock and are as well-made as anything out there. If you have a BIG budget, the Hellcat 30 combo would be hard to beat.

    Mojave also makes some really nice stuff--either the Coyote or Sidewinder would be a good choice for your needs--and Reeves has an amp that is very similar to the upcoming Suhr Badger: a Custom 18 (they offer other wattages as well). Personally, I'd choose the Badger if they were both available because I am a big fan of John and his designs, but the Custom series uses the same patented power scaling by London Power that the Badger uses, so I would expect similar performance.

    In the third category (roots to rock only), the Mini-Z is a great little amp--very warm and open sounding--and the same would go for the Bad Cat Mini Cat II. Both of the Swart amps are simply incredible tone-machines. The Carr Mercury that was mentioned is a phenomenal amp, but also doesn't rock in the metal zone, IMHO. Finally, don't forget the THD UniValve and BiValve with built-in HotPlate attenuators. The BiValve is more suited to hard rock if you have a choice.

    If cost was not a major concern (and playing metal was), I would probably go with a Hellcat or possibly the Hot Cat 15 or 30. If cost was the primary factor, I would say either the Valvetronix or the Trademark amps are really good for the price--one more of a "modern" flavor (Vox) and one more "classic" (Tech 21).

    I apologize to everyone for rambling on so much. I tend to get carried away when talking about such things! If you've made it this far, thanks for hanging in there with me and if you haven't, well then, !

    And no matter what, keep rockin'!

  11. #11

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    Wow you guys are all on a totally different plane to me... I was just going to recommend a Peavey Classic 30 :P

  12. #12

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    i played a Peavey classic 30 for a few years in an original band, great amp!!! But there was something about it that i didnt like, that i couldnt put my finger on, and its been evident in a few peavey amps ive played.

    you guys that have a Dr Z are so lucky, they sound completely amazing, would love to try one out one day, but its not likely to happen.
    My name is Rob and I'm an AL-coholic!
    The MM90 AL is the most underrated axe on the planet!

    I buy my balls from the number one EBMM dealer in Australia, the all round nice guy and legendary Colin!His website is www.guitarplanet.com.au Give him a call to order your balls!!!!!

  13. #13

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    I'm with you, Jappy. I had a Classic 20, a Classic 30, AND a Classic 50 410. All are great amps.

    The mention of the Little Lanilei caught my eye though... I looked at the Songworks website and that amp looks exactly what I've had in the back of my mind for so long. A portable practice amp that can drive a bigger cab when necessary is just what I need, gotta give that little guy a look.

    The Dr. Z is outstanding too, there's a video on youtube.com of Buddy Whittington playing a Lentz straight into one, sounds fanastic.
    Last edited by Elmer Imperial; 10-04-2006 at 06:32 PM.
    Real name - Mike

  14. #14

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    buddy whittington, WHAT A PLAYER!
    My name is Rob and I'm an AL-coholic!
    The MM90 AL is the most underrated axe on the planet!

    I buy my balls from the number one EBMM dealer in Australia, the all round nice guy and legendary Colin!His website is www.guitarplanet.com.au Give him a call to order your balls!!!!!

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by robelinda2 View Post
    i played a Peavey classic 30 for a few years in an original band, great amp!!! But there was something about it that i didnt like, that i couldnt put my finger on, and its been evident in a few peavey amps ive played.
    I played a Classic 30 a couple of months ago, it was an alright amp, but there was something l didn't like about it. And l love other Peavey amps, 6505, JSX etc.

    But for just playing in your house, i'd have to say go for the Roland Cube 60, a mate of mine uses one, it's a great little amp.

    Scott.
    Limited edition True Gold Luke On order - For a third time, thanks Colin
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    Ernie Ball BFR Luke (Bahama Blue) AWESOME - Thanks Colin.
    Ernie Ball Luke 1 (that blue color)
    Rivera Knucklehead
    Rivera Bonehead

    http://www.guitarplanet.com.au/ Australia's best Musicman dealer.

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