Epiphone Valve Senior?
Tapeworm
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#1
30th December 2009
Old 30th December 2009
  #1
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Epiphone Valve Senior?

I know the valve jr gets a fair amount of love for what it is but has anyone tried the new valve senior 18 watt? If so, how do you like it and how does it compare (tone/ volume/ breakup) to the valve jr.

Maybe it's too new but I can't find alot of reviews about it.


#2
19th January 2010
Old 19th January 2010
  #2
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Ordered one today. I'll get back to you on my two cents.

In the mean time, there are a few demos on Youtube. And there's talk on the Epihone forum betwwen some who have got one, with some pictures of the inside, a schematic and such.
Tapeworm
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#3
21st January 2010
Old 21st January 2010
  #3
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I had a bad case of GAS and ordered one based on the limited reviews I read.

As far as tone goes, this amp is way more versatile than the valve jr. The "voicing" is different than the valve jr in that it loses that "cloudy" effect. There is way more clarity but it still retains that tubey warmth. Individual strings don't get lost. The tone controls do just enough to dial in fat thuddy bottom low end or a little extra crispness on the highs. The midrange control does the most for changing the overall tone of the amp. The Jr. had some nice low end thump when cranked up but the senior just sounds better.

Volume - no problem keeping up with drums or other instruments (I'm playing out of the 1x12 valve jr extension cab). Lots more headroom. I almost have a hard time believing that this amp is only 20 watts.

Breakup - with the master and the gain controls, you can get nice breakup at low volumes or keep it pretty clean at higher volumes. It can get old school crunch tones that sound really good (at least live).

I haven't tried recording with this amp yet but I think it will yield good results.

The only weak part about this amp is the spring reverb. After about 9:00 it goes on and on and on and on. I generally don't use reverb so this is not a deal breaker.

I don't think the videos on youtube do this amp justice. I'm very satisfied with it and, so far, it has far exceeded my expectations. The valve jr. was a one trick pony at an unbelievable price. This amp has quite a few more tricks up it's sleeve. It's night and day between the two.

I'd be interested in hearing what you think about it.
#4
22nd January 2010
Old 22nd January 2010
  #4
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Ok, I got mine today. I can only agree totally on almost all points.

I think it sounds great and is very versatile. The volume is impressive. I haven't played it in a band or live situation, and haven't dared turn it up fully. With high gain it feels as if that would blow out the windows (overstatement of course).

Sure, as everbody says, the reverb isn't fantastic. But it's an amp spring reverb. One can't expect too much. Especially for that price. On all other accounts this amp sounds far more expensive. I have heard far worse amp springs too.

The only tiny issue I have so far besides the reverb is that it may be a little harshly bright if you don't turn everything on the amp and guitar to avoid that ( I also use the valve jr extension cab for which it was made). But then again, I play a strat, so that can play into that. Especially if I use the tele pickup I have installed. There is some hum worth mentioning too. I bet this amp loves humbuckers. Will try that as soon as possible.

Overall. Both thumbs up!

Oh, and it goes well with a Big Muff!
Tapeworm
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#5
1st March 2010
Old 1st March 2010
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Update: My valve senior, after about 15 hours use, bit the dust. The sound wavered around for about twenty seconds and then the power dropped by about 70%. One power tube lit up bright, bright orange like the sun while the other turned dark purple . I was digging the sound of the senior but I have lost my faith in it. Over the phone my amp tech said that he didn't think it was just a case of tube failure / bad tube.

I shipped it back to sweetwater (they were very cool about it).

I think I'm going to get the Marshall Haze 15 (which I had a chance to play at a local music store and I thought sounded fantastic) or the Vox night train, which has received pretty good reviews.
CDA
#6
2nd March 2010
Old 2nd March 2010
  #6
CDA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapeworm View Post
Update: My valve senior, after about 15 hours use, bit the dust. The sound wavered around for about twenty seconds and then the power dropped by about 70%. One power tube lit up bright, bright orange like the sun while the other turned dark purple . I was digging the sound of the senior but I have lost my faith in it. Over the phone my amp tech said that he didn't think it was just a case of tube failure / bad tube.

I shipped it back to sweetwater (they were very cool about it).

I think I'm going to get the Marshall Haze 15 (which I had a chance to play at a local music store and I thought sounded fantastic) or the Vox night train, which has received pretty good reviews.
You see,

any time you buy a new amplifier. And it's not expensive and well made. Made by hand etc etc etc. There are a few things that must be done to the amp.


Like grid stopping resistors, grid leak resistors, voltage divider circuitry in the bias supply etc etc etc...

These all need to be changed and replaced with quality parts.


Fenders, Marshalls, VOX, Epiphones... They all use cheap components when assembling their amps.

Resistors just open up for no reason, or short under load...


a loss of negative grid voltage to one or both of your finals would cause your exact problem.
Tapeworm
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#7
2nd March 2010
Old 2nd March 2010
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Pretty much what my amp tech said. He hates almost all modern mass produced amps.
Tapeworm
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#8
8th March 2010
Old 8th March 2010
  #8
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Here's a quick update for anyone interested. The Haze 15 watt head came in Friday. I'm in the middle of a kitchen redo so I didn't have time to put it through the paces when I got home aside from turning it on and making sure it worked.

I took it that evening to a 4 hour rehearsal - right out of the pan and into the fire. It handled being pushed without a hiccup.

Bottom line - this amp smokes! It's not very versitile in that it sounds like a marshall and nothing else but...it IS a marshall. Not a close facsimile of one. The cleans are classic marshall clean (not fender clean but typical marshall clean) and the overdrive is classic rock heaven. Very old school sounding. Two channels one with just a volume knob ala Plexi style and another with volume and gain. One "drawback" is that they included a few digital effects with this amp BUT they can be taken completely out of the signal path. In all actuality, the reverb wasn't bad in small doses (subtle) and the delay was fun to play around with. I never even bothered with any other effects so I can't really comment on them.

It's sound is miles ahead of all the other small low-wattage amps I tried (with the exception being the Night train by vox that was my second choice - the clean chime is very beatle like).

The haze 15 actually sounded better than the other guitarist's Marshall JVM halfstack at reasonable levels...warmer/ rounder and more organic. I can't remember even using my pedal board for anything other than a little wah and guitar tuning. The amp really sounded that great.

I had no problem being heard over (at this point) 4 people singing / one really loud, but tasteful drummer, a thunderous bassist, two other guitarists, and keys. I was playing through a epiphone 1x12 extension cabinet.

The thing that really impresses me about this amp vs all the others I tried (including the tiny terror, the egnator rebel 20, the vox night train, the valve junior and senior, the blackheart) is that this little wonder can be pushed into creamy overdrive (vintage gain) without a shred of "small amp / high gain" harshness, fuzziness or brittleness. It's in a whole different class.

Sunday I had a chance to A/B it against my JMP. Although the JMP was the winner (but not by THAT much), the Haze still sounded really great against it and I was so inspired by the sound of the Haze that i wound up jamming on it for another hour or so. My ears thanked me.
#9
6th April 2010
Old 6th April 2010
  #9
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I've just repaired a faulty Valve Senior and the output stage cathode resistor was far too small in my opinion. Meaning that the 6V6GTs in the output stage were running VERY hot indeed - one had died as a result. I've swapped the "stock" 250R 10W resistor with a 680R which placed the output tubes in their safe operating region. I changed the undersized bypass cap to a 47uF 100V (the old cap had exploded!).

I also added additional 470k grid resistors to the output stage to maintain grid bias in the event of the cheap-quality master volume pot developing an open circuit. Also, added an inline internal HT fuse.

A cheaply made product. It seems you get what you pay for!
#10
28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
  #10
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I still like the sound, and havn't had any breakdowns. Of course I dont drive it all that much. Especially not the master volume.
I would still like to upgrade the components and do the necessery changes.

wagtailblue, would you like to put up intructions on how to make the adjustements you did?
#11
15th September 2010
Old 15th September 2010
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagtailblue View Post
I've just repaired a faulty Valve Senior and the output stage cathode resistor was far too small in my opinion. Meaning that the 6V6GTs in the output stage were running VERY hot indeed - one had died as a result. I've swapped the "stock" 250R 10W resistor with a 680R which placed the output tubes in their safe operating region. I changed the undersized bypass cap to a 47uF 100V (the old cap had exploded!).

I also added additional 470k grid resistors to the output stage to maintain grid bias in the event of the cheap-quality master volume pot developing an open circuit. Also, added an inline internal HT fuse.

A cheaply made product. It seems you get what you pay for!
Well, Ive had a Valve Senior combo that I had purchased from MF on a whim. It was a used special for like 200 bucks.

I turned it on, played some tunes, turned it off for a couple of months. and until recently started playing it again.

Well , after about 5 or 6 minutes, the thing just dies. Consistently at around the same time.

I cant return it to MF,because Ive had it for too long. It was my fault for not playing the thing for about an hour after i got it. :(

Anyway, wagtailblue, is this what was happening with your VS?
The tubes are fine. I put them in a THD Unilvalve, and have tried other tubes as well, but the unit just dies after about 5 minutes.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks!
joh
#12
16th September 2010
Old 16th September 2010
  #12
joh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDA View Post
Fenders, Marshalls, VOX, Epiphones... They all use cheap components when assembling their amps.
That´s the reason I recently bought a cornford harlequin. I know some of those cheap chinese valve amps. A handwired amp with quality parts is a complete different ballgame.

Save up a little bit and go for:
a.) used amps
b.) quality

btw the handwired tiny terror is nice (chinese made)
#13
16th September 2010
Old 16th September 2010
  #13
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I got tired of mass produced amps always dying on me... besides the immediate sound improvement over any amp I've played before I love how my Rhodes amp is practically bulletproof!!
#14
27th September 2010
Old 27th September 2010
  #14
Gear interested
 

Hi Guys,

Just an update on my Epi Valve Senior.

The 10W power resistor was loose due to a cold solder.

I soldered the sucker back in ,and voila! Me and the EPS are now rocking out.

Essentially, the sound would die after 5 minutes, but with the gain and master all the way up, i would hear a faint cracking or buzzing noise when playing the guitar. After I soldered the resistor back on, everything worked fine.

There are definitely some Chinese tube amps that are really great, and the workmanship is OK. I have two EVJ's (ver 1 and 3), that still blow me away. I love em both, and they havent died on me. Also an Orange TT that definitely kicks a**.

But I must admit that the two American amps I own, a fender 65 deluxe, and a Rivera r-30 are my true workhorses. Ive had the Rivera for about 10 years, and the fender for about 5 . And I havent encountered one single problem with them.

Anyhoo, back to rockin on the Epi Senior.

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