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Need a recomendation on great low watt (less than 5) tube guitar amps
Old 17th December 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Need a recomendation on great low watt (less than 5) tube guitar amps

I realize that i need one to record my guitars tracks, a versatile amp (clean , blues, rock, and hard rock) with less than 5 watt.

Whatever you recommend, please, tell me something about it (sound, features, pros & cons)

Thanks
Old 17th December 2010
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Swart 6V6se

Pros-- GREAT clean tone and harmonically rich crunch-- can get pretty dirty with humbuckers and a boost pedal. Decent headroom for 5 watts. Light and resonant pine cab. Can unplug the internal 8" speaker to hook up to an external cab.

Cons-- Well, I think the amp is perfect for what it is, but if I had to list cons then.. Only a tone knob so limited tone shaping capabilities. The 8" speaker has limitations being an 8" speaker, but with the right micing technique you can get a huge sound (like Jimmy Page). No built in DSP chorus and delay and no teh brootlz distortion

I've owned a bunch of high end amps, and the Swart was the most FUN to play.
Old 17th December 2010
  #3
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Colonel Blues's Avatar
Mmmmh lets see what could be nice…

Yes some kind of those :


Blackheart BH5H head

and a nice silent cab like this one ! :
Need a recomendation on great low watt (less than 5) tube guitar amps-cimg0539.jpg
Old 17th December 2010
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Why not just buy the amp with the tone you want and use an attenuator? Trying to get your ideal tone in a little package often leads to undesirable compromise.
Old 17th December 2010
  #5
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Thanks, nice recommendations, though 5 watt is still to loud for my needs, and yes, a silent cab would be great for me.
Old 18th December 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Why not just buy the amp with the tone you want and use an attenuator? Trying to get your ideal tone in a little package often leads to undesirable compromise.
I guess you mean that amps with small speakers don´t sound so great.
Old 18th December 2010
  #7
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studiostuff's Avatar
 

I hate to kill the thread!

But after I say this, there will be nothing else to add:

Fender Champ, Vibro Champ, Bronco.

Thank you, no charge.
Old 18th December 2010
  #8
Gear Head
 

I'm curious about the 5 watt cutoff. Have you used other amps in the 20w and under crowd? Are you recording somewhere that requires you to be extremely quiet?

The Dr.Z Mini Z is a fun amp and right at 5 watts. I've never been a big fan of 8 inch speakers, but an old tweed champ is hard to beat. As another poster said, an attenuator might open up your search. The Carmen Ghia is one of my favorite amps. 18 watts and not a bad sound in it.
Old 18th December 2010
  #9
vox ac4tv 10
Old 18th December 2010
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron View Post
I guess you mean that amps with small speakers don´t sound so great.
Not necessarily. When you buy a small amp, you're often locking yourself into a particular tone dictated by a number of factors: usually small, open backed cab, 6V6 or EL84 power tube, and and often a particular style of preamp circuit.

For instance, those Swart amps sounds great. But they don't sound like a Marshall 2204. And they don't sound like a Twin. And they don't sound like a Matchless.

The moral if the story is buy the tone you want and attenuate it. Even the Swart is gonna be loud when you start to cook it.
Old 18th December 2010
  #11
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Quote:
I'm curious about the 5 watt cutoff
I record in my home studio, so, maybe, 5 watt is too loud.


Yes, attenuators and isolation cabinets could be what i need, plus the amp.
Old 18th December 2010
  #12
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Newcleardaze's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron View Post
Yes, attenuators and isolation cabinets could be what i need, plus the amp.
Try the attenautor before you buy it as I've found they can alter the tone.

One amp to listen to might be the Orange Tiny Terror. Cool little bugger that can be switched down to 7 watts. This, of course, depends on the sound you're going for.
Old 18th December 2010
  #13
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Quote:
Try the attenautor before you buy it as I've found they can alter the tone.
Thanks, I´ll take it into account.
Old 18th December 2010
  #14
A bit of spam, but I'm selling a Microbaby that you might find interesting. It's a head, so you can pair it up with various speakers for variety. It supports various tube configurations, from 1 watt to 2 watts. That's still plenty loud for a recording amp. Probably not enough to play with a band with a really clean tone, since the point of it is to break up at lower volumes, with obviously the 2 watt configuration being a higher breakup level.

FS: Emery Microbaby amp and Weber 1x12 w/ Blue Dog

You can search here on Gearslutz about this amp for various comments on it. It's very compact, and it's probably in the Champ or Princeton family more or less, but with the lower wattage you don't really get that super hard cleans type of sound so much like you can with those at their lower volume settings.

I ended up getting a 70s Vibrochamp. But, that's because I've accepted getting all overdrive and breakup via pedals. It would be a joke to try to crank up a 5 watter in an apartment to breakup levels. You'd get kicked out pretty quickly. So I'm using it as a clean amp and using pedals with it. The Microbaby, OTOH, as long as you aren't in as small an apartment as me, you can more reasonably crank up for true amp breakup and overdrive. Actually light breakup happens at quite reasonable levels. Diming it is still pretty loud.

I do have a Weber attenuator I'd be happy to sell with it as well. Given the low wattage, you wouldn't need huge amounts of attenuation to dime it, so the attenuation doesn't affect it as much as it would trying to get a 5 or upwards watt one down to apartment levels.

Anyhoo, it's an option to consider. I would pair it with a smaller speaker, and Emery sells it with a 10" Blue Pup Alnico. An 8" might not be a bad idea with it either though. It supports 4 to 16 ohm speakers.
Old 18th December 2010
  #15
Gear Addict
 
jonnymac's Avatar
 

i just ordered a swart. should be here any day.
i'll let you know how it sounds!
Old 18th December 2010
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnymac View Post
i just ordered a swart. should be here any day.
i'll let you know how it sounds!
I'm 99.9999% you will love it!
Old 18th December 2010
  #17
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Great to have swart samples from owners, thanks
Old 18th December 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
This is not an easy question to answer, check out Flash Intro Page for a long, many, many page discussion of ways to get and record low volume sounds. I don't think there's one solution that will do everything well. I've been looking for the one solution for 12 years and here's what I've kept:

1. Emery Superbaby: this is in the same vein as the Champ, with the addition of being able to use a wide variety of power tubes and rectifiers. That'll give you a lot of different sounds and feels from fairly clean to nasty hard rock distortion. It's missing two things: as a single ended amp it tends to compress more and won't give an authoritative clean tone like a mini-twin, and with only 1 gain stage before EQ it won't truly get high gain like a Marshall or Mesa.

2. London Power Studio: this has a completely configurable power section, so it can go mini-twin with a pair of 6L6s or 6550s in PP configuration, fixed bias, impedance matching, or it can do high gain preamp with a straight wire in the effects loop and both volumes up full, or it can do single ended like a champ with cathode bias, SE configuration. It has power scaling, which can give you less clean overhead for more crunch at lower volumes. It doesn't truly go down to TV levels at full distortion without starting to sound kind of cardboardy. Each power tube can be biased separately, so you can use a combination of a low power and high power for a more complex, even order harmonic distortion. THD's Bivalve is the closest thing to this currently being made (London Power stuff is hard to come by).

3. H&K put out a number of modules in their "Machine" series that use a 12AX7 in the preamp, then either an EL84 in SE or a 12AX7 in PP for the power amp, reamped with a 30w solid state amp. They can sound very lifelike and useful at TV volumes. Again, no longer in production and hard to find. Kendrick's SoLo 7 is similar except for the SS output (he just uses the output from the 9 pin preamp tube, or you can use two of them for 7w total).

4. John Phillips, who's a very knowledgeable guy from the Gear Page, uses a Mesa 100w head into a load box (maybe THD?), then a line out to a SS power amp and a guitar speaker. He swears by this rig.

5. Even a Twin can give you good clean sounds at quiet levels, then use a pedal for distortion.
Old 18th December 2010
  #19
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hmm..5 watts is still pretty loud for the most part. Why don't you step up a few watts and get something that'll offer you some clean headroom and some crunch at the top. I was locked into the whole 5 watt thing for the studio until I started playing slightly more powerful amps..you really jump into a more versatile group of amps if you kick it up a little. They don't get that much louder at all. Z and co. also make 2 very nice attenuators called the Air Brake and the Brake light.

I just went through this entire deal..played a ton of amps..and a few 5 watters.

I ended up with a Dr. Z Maz Junior at 18 watts. IMO the most versatile amp I played and have ever played, loves a pedal and loves every guitar I've thrown at it with a variety of pickups..humbucks, p-90's, actives. Just can't say enough about this amp. It's loves a microphone too and it's not that much louder than some of the 5's I auditioned.
Old 18th December 2010
  #20
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GYMusic's Avatar
Bogner 2 watt or 12 watt.

Hear them here. YouTube - jameslugo's Channel
Old 18th December 2010
  #21
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Ernest Buckley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron View Post
I realize that i need one to record my guitars tracks, a versatile amp (clean , blues, rock, and hard rock) with less than 5 watt.

Whatever you recommend, please, tell me something about it (sound, features, pros & cons)

Thanks
I`ve been using the Vox AC4TV for about a year now. I`m very happy with it. I usually record with the 1/4 watt setting and push the volume up about half way. Nice sound. I also record with a Boss Overdrive Pedal feeding the amp for additional umph when I need it. What I like most about the amp is the sound I get in this size. Its not good for gigging but for recording and practice, its get my

Check it out.
Old 18th December 2010
  #22
Pip
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Pip's Avatar
Vox ac4 TV - love mine, thinking about setting up in the studio rather than in the lounge for practise. On a 1/4 you can get some great driven and overdrive sounds - lovely.thumbsup
Old 18th December 2010
  #23
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The Blackheart mentioned earlier also comes in a 1watt version.
The Blackheart Killer Ant.
Old 18th December 2010
  #24
Here for the gear
 

VHT have put out a low wattage series (Special 6, etc...), around 6 watts, that is really good and recommended!
Old 18th December 2010
  #25
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McPhaul's Avatar
Though I agree with a poster who recomended a Fender Champ, I don't know if it will do all that you are looking for. I've got a Kendrick clone and thoug it's great it is kind of a one trick pony. But for that one trick it is unreal!

I also have a Tiny Terror that I'm thinking about selling. I bought it from a fellow Slut but found that for what I do the one trick of the Champ is more to my likeing.

It came with a Weber Micro-Mass attenuator that I would also sell if you're interested.

Thanks,
Will
Old 19th December 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Up to now, these are the recommended amps (some with a attenuators):

Swart
The Blackheart Killer Ant
VHT Special 6
Vox ac4 TV
Bogner 2 watt or 12 watt
Dr. Z Maz Junior at 18 watts
Emery Superbaby
London Power Studio
Orange Tiny Terror

Tell me more.
Old 19th December 2010
  #27
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MMski's Avatar
 

No Egnater love yet?
Old 19th December 2010
  #28
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Mike Brown's Avatar
 

Zvex Nanohead.

ZVEX AMPS
Old 19th December 2010
  #29
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cinealta's Avatar
 

Emery Sound Microbaby:

Emery Sound Vintage style all tube guitar amps
Old 19th December 2010
  #30
My personal favourite is the Matamp Minimat, delivers great tone at home studio-friendly volume levels.

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