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Monoprice 15w Tube Amp $159 Today Feb27 Studio Monitors
Old 2nd March 2018
  #31
Can you buy these outside the US? Hoping to find something similar in the EU to try out a stereo setup.
Old 2nd March 2018
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
I played 2 guitars though it so far. One has mini PAF in the neck (very tight magnetic field) a Tele 1/4 pounder in the middle and a splittable humbucker in the bridge position. The brighter choices exhibit considerable chime when the Bass control is kept fairly low, Mids very low, Treble above Noon, and Master up high, well above Noon. This guitar also has a cap bypassing the Volume controls. Turning down has the effect of bass dropout.

The other guitar is a DanElectro Silvertone with 2 original Lipstick Tube pups and it sounds chimey in all but the middle (series) position.

I'm not saying it is in AC-30 territory but it is noticeably more pronounced than my 6L6 and EL34 amps in a much wider set of control settings.

Low Master settings commonly reduce highs at lower settings unless bypassed by a "Bright" cap. Maybe you have only tried less than "Noon" master settings and/or dark guitars?
P-90s?
Old 3rd March 2018
  #33
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enorbet2's Avatar
Well, John, as I'm sure you know P-90s oughta do it especially with the Volume rolled off a bit and doubly especially if you use a bypass cap and I'm guessing that by now you've tried a variety of settings on the Monoprice. It does have me wondering a bit that you referred to the amp as likely pleasing for Metal Heads since without pedals mine doen't get into metal territory at all aside from a moderate crunch on heavy chords with gains up and Master under "noon". I can't know if your P-90s are particularly hot, your amp somehow has more gain than mine or we just relate to tones differently, any of which is possible.

I am thinking that because you owned the Vox Night Train that maybe you have more live experience with the "real deal" chime than I do since the only Vox I ever owned was an AC-100 Bass Amp and it was definitely not chimey. I've heard AC-30 chime live and on record but I never got to play through one at more than music store volumes in that less than critical listening environment and not with my own guitars, so the latter may well be the cause. All I know is that I love silky highs and I voice my amps with that in mind but they don't sound like AC-30s. They sound much more like Tweed fenders. The Monoprice is somewhere in between to my ear and comes across as somewhat chimey compared to my amps or Tweeds.

I do intend on a few trial mods to explore where this amp can go because it already sounds good, a great starting point. Once I have an exact schematic drawn up I can be certain where minor tweaks will make the best tradeoffs where I don't lose the character it already has but gain just a little flexibility. The only debate I'm having with myself now is whether I like it enough to just bite the bullet and proto a whole new component board which will make modding easier as well as always being able to go back to exact stock. It's a fun amp with substantial potential even just stock.
Old 6th March 2018
  #34
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enorbet2's Avatar
Well guys, and especially John, I have a very simple (and tweakable) mod that has had a very sweet effect of improving clean headroom as well as "chimey-ness". It's so simple anybody who knows only slightly more than which end of a soldering gun you should hold can do it. It's just a simple pre-emphasis circuit and can be tailored exactly by anyone who knows the Fc formula for RC networks. I'll post the 2 sets of values I tried out and the fact is that I like them both but am likely to make the lower value permanent since I don't often play "clear as Country water" like those "Nashville Cats"

Here's the basic circuit which shows how simple it is and hopefully eliminates any misunderstanding

Topology



Location
All anyone need do is place such a network in one of two (or both) locations - Right before the very first Input... right at the Input Jack is fine... just unsolder the hot connection and place the network in between the Jack and the board. If you're careful to avoid any touching you can just hang this out of the way for testing but if you go permanent, heat shrink tubing is always wise. The other location is between the Gain wiper and it's respective board return. This is so simple I am only being thorough to accommodate first-timers.

Values
I used 2 trials

1) R = 470,000 (470K) , and C = 470pf (0.00047)
and
2) R = 220,000 (220K) , and C = 1000pf (0.001)

The difference is slight since those values give roughly the same Fc "knee' but the 470K resistor knocks the overall signal down a tad more increasing cleans and reducing overdrive more than the 220K. I think I am likely to go with the 220K combo because I'm likely to just use a typical "Bright" bypass cap between "Hot" and "Wiper" of the Gain control instead of the RC on the wiper output. I very much like the dynamic effect of how the bypass gets progressively negated as Gain increases since it's at low gain settings that I want "sparkle" and at higher gain settings want "ooompf!"

There is sufficient room to employ various types of switches to make either of those locations switchable and possibly enough to just add another Input jack for the typical Tweed "Normal" and "Bright" inputs depending on what Jacks one uses. If you choose to drill into the chassis for this last mod just make sure all residual PS voltages have drained off and ideally tape the chassis at the drill location to catch the larger trash chunks and blow it out thoroughly after. Please do take considerable effort with keeping drill trash out of your amp. I use a large desk-mounted magnifying lens with very bright lighting to inspect after any such mod work. In spaces this tight I also recommend drilling pilot holes before going to the 3/8 inch required for most Phone jacks. Precision is important.
Old 6th March 2018
  #35
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Ragan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
Well guys, and especially John, I have a very simple (and tweakable) mod that has had a very sweet effect of improving clean headroom as well as "chimey-ness". It's so simple anybody who knows only slightly more than which end of a soldering gun you should hold can do it. It's just a simple pre-emphasis circuit and can be tailored exactly by anyone who knows the Fc formula for RC networks. I'll post the 2 sets of values I tried out and the fact is that I like them both but am likely to make the lower value permanent since I don't often play "clear as Country water" like those "Nashville Cats"

Here's the basic circuit which shows how simple it is and hopefully eliminates any misunderstanding

Topology



Location
All anyone need do is place such a network in one of two (or both) locations - Right before the very first Input... right at the Input Jack is fine... just unsolder the hot connection and place the network in between the Jack and the board. If you're careful to avoid any touching you can just hang this out of the way for testing but if you go permanent, heat shrink tubing is always wise. The other location is between the Gain wiper and it's respective board return. This is so simple I am only being thorough to accommodate first-timers.

Values
I used 2 trials

1) R = 470,000 (470K) , and C = 470pf (0.00047)
and
2) R = 220,000 (220K) , and C = 1000pf (0.001)

The difference is slight since those values give roughly the same Fc "knee' but the 470K resistor knocks the overall signal down a tad more increasing cleans and reducing overdrive more than the 220K. I think I am likely to go with the 220K combo because I'm likely to just use a typical "Bright" bypass cap between "Hot" and "Wiper" of the Gain control instead of the RC on the wiper output. I very much like the dynamic effect of how the bypass gets progressively negated as Gain increases since it's at low gain settings that I want "sparkle" and at higher gain settings want "ooompf!"

There is sufficient room to employ various types of switches to make either of those locations switchable and possibly enough to just add another Input jack for the typical Tweed "Normal" and "Bright" inputs depending on what Jacks one uses. If you choose to drill into the chassis for this last mod just make sure all residual PS voltages have drained off and ideally tape the chassis at the drill location to catch the larger trash chunks and blow it out thoroughly after. Please do take considerable effort with keeping drill trash out of your amp. I use a large desk-mounted magnifying lens with very bright lighting to inspect after any such mod work. In spaces this tight I also recommend drilling pilot holes before going to the 3/8 inch required for most Phone jacks. Precision is important.

Excellent. Thanks for sharing!

I just received mine today. Hope to fire it up later. khfkh
Old 6th March 2018
  #36
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Ragan's Avatar
 

Got mine today.

This is straight up a really nice little amp! Gain staging and tone controls are implemented nicely, very sculptable, the 1 watt setting (unlike many such settings I've used on various amps, including some expensive boutique offerings) is actually both significantly quieter and also still responsive and nice sounding.

Amazing buy. I'm gonna play and track the hell out of this thing.

Wish I would have grabbed the 5w too. I'll be keeping my eye out for another sale.
Old 6th March 2018
  #37
Here for the gear
 
Jekt's Avatar
I've been kicking myself since I missed out on this deal. Does anyone know how often these things go on sale?
Old 6th March 2018
  #38
Here for the gear
 

Saturday last the sale was on again with the "MARCH20" code. Doesn't work now though. This site is where I found that code:


RetailMeNot: Coupon Codes, Coupons, Promo Codes, Free Shipping and Discounts for Thousands of Stores

The MARCH20 code was called the "20% off purchases over $150" so it wouldn't work with the 5W amp. I went through the motions and I could have bought it for $199 including taxes and $30 shipping. It seems this deal repeats occasionally.

That retailmenot site is slightly shady though...it hung my iPad with a threatening cookie. No problem with a PC.

bmanzer
Old 6th March 2018
  #39
Here for the gear
 
Jekt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmanzer View Post
Saturday last the sale was on again with the "MARCH20" code. Doesn't work now though. This site is where I found that code:


RetailMeNot: Coupon Codes, Coupons, Promo Codes, Free Shipping and Discounts for Thousands of Stores

The MARCH20 code was called the "20% off purchases over $150" so it wouldn't work with the 5W amp. I went through the motions and I could have bought it for $199 including taxes and $30 shipping. It seems this deal repeats occasionally.

That retailmenot site is slightly shady though...it hung my iPad with a threatening cookie. No problem with a PC.

bmanzer
Damn, I should have bought it when I had the chance. I might still pull the trigger because it sounds like a great amp.
Old 7th March 2018
  #40
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jekt View Post
I've been kicking myself since I missed out on this deal. Does anyone know how often these things go on sale?
Monoprice always has sales. I bet you get the same deal around St. Patrick’s Day and/or Easter. Just sign up for their newsletter.
Old 9th March 2018
  #41
Here for the gear
 

This looks like today's Monoprice code:

KNOCK2X

"20% off items over $150"
Old 9th March 2018
  #42
Gear Maniac
 

I succumbed to weakness and placed my order today....damn you guys....LOL
Old 14th March 2018
  #43
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enorbet2's Avatar
Well guys I know the sale mentioned in this thread is over (if you're a new arrival, I bought one) but since we mentioned tone and gain ranges and i brought up some likely mods I thought it best to conclude where I started. FTR I don't consider my Monoprice the near-metal level of distortion that John does but I did want to get more clean headroom and a chimier sound as noted above.

So far I have executed two of them, the easy ones as far as soldering in place goes. I tried both but I like the 220k/1000pf combo on the input jack the best and it was easy to put in place. Also easy was the bypass cap on the Volume/Gain control. I tried at least a dozen values because the difference between my two main guitars is so vast.

One has high output pups with 2 humbuckers and 1 massive single-coil and the other has stock Danelectro Lipstick Tube pups which are not only quite weak but also tend to be nasty microphonic (maybe I'll break out the Sex Wax).

Anyway I settled on a 180pf Mica cap between the two hot terminals on the control and it is a very sweet compromise for those two guitars. I replaced the 330K limiting resistor (R5 in the above schematic) with 68K for a more pronounced effect. At lower gain settings it simple sparkles. In fact it can get too bright but thankfully the EQ section can more than handle that little bit and in case you didn't notice like Tweeds and Marshalls and Vox, the tone section is AFTER the Gain.. The mod result improves versatility and pleases me already.

I'm aching to try more to get more gain and more high end in the early stages and then rolloff the extreme highs at the driver stage with bypass caps on the plate resistors probably somewhere between .001 and .0001 to keep the chime but lose any "bristle" at higher overdrive levels. That's a bit harder to do with this layout and components so I have to take my time with that one.

If "more gain" seems counter-productive to "clean headroom" it actually isn't. Once the Gain control bypass cap (and resistor) are modded for a fuller effect it feels just like the bottom drops out below 11 o'clock on the Gain control and comes back with a vengeance past 2 o'clock. Added gain post EQ or even later could very likely create a better gain structure where plenty of overdrive would be there at higher gain settings but considerably less risk of any "farting" especially with high output humbuckers.

This amp is fun and maybe even fun enough that I will get motivated to proto a handwired point-to-point board for it. It's proving to be quite versatile.
Old 25th June 2018
  #44
Gear Maniac
 

Is this still a Laney? I thought I recalled reading elsewhere, and some time ago, it was based on a different amp altogether.
Old 25th June 2018
  #45
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enorbet2's Avatar
It is my understanding that the initial release was at least based on a Laney Cub but it has been altered at least twice now adding an FX Loop and improving the Reverb circuit substantially. I haven't yet derived a complete schematic because it's a pita with PCB construction and I'm putting that off telling myself I'll do that when I break it all down in the process of recreating it with handwired point-to-point but that is back-burner for me right now because I'm quite pleased with very simple mods that alter response and gain. I did recently see a thread on another Forum in which the guy replaced a number of the electrolytic caps and I will likely do that, too fairly soon as that will increase headroom improving clean tone at volume. That, however, is just my preference from being used to twice the 15 watts.

I have yet to see a newer Laney model or that the Cub has also been so improved, so it's hard to be certain. Whatever, it's a great value.
Old 27th June 2018
  #46
Lives for gear
Monoprice basically goes to factories that produce branded products and makes their own. there were spealers that had the old brand name in the brochure badly deleted and they did essentially their own MXL mic. Good for cheap patch cords also. BTW I love their dynamic vocal mic. Bought it for gigging on harp (has an on/off switch). I've actually used it for vocals since works on my voice (happy accident!). Bright mic and like it more than a 57 for that reason....Build quality is insane for $15-, and I just shove it in a gig bag......
Old 27th June 2018
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Monoprice basically goes to factories that produce branded products and makes their own. there were spealers that had the old brand name in the brochure badly deleted and they did essentially their own MXL mic. Good for cheap patch cords also. BTW I love their dynamic vocal mic. Bought it for gigging on harp (has an on/off switch). I've actually used it for vocals since works on my voice (happy accident!). Bright mic and like it more than a 57 for that reason....Build quality is insane for $15-, and I just shove it in a gig bag......
MXL makes mics for a lot of rebranders. Unfortunately none of them are very good, they're just cheap and ubiquitous.
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