Author Topic: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!  (Read 792 times)

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Offline CT

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Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« on: March 06, 2019, 03:10:28 pm »
I've been very happy with this amp. Nice to see a really good player get on board:



What he misses is that it's a de-branded Laney amp under the covers.

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2019, 03:21:06 pm »
Watched this earlier today, and yes it is a re-branded Laney, I actually had the particular Laney amp that it was, I upgraded it with a Jensen speaker (as used in Fender bassman 4x10 cab) and it was superb!

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Offline RCurtis

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2019, 06:19:44 pm »
While I had been leaning towards a Katana 50 for my first amp, when I saw this video a couple days ago it got me thinking. (I'm learning currently on an acoustic, planning to get an HSS Stratocaster in a few months). Really been interesting to read the positive comments for such an inexpensive tube amp.

I'm thinking with an amp like this I'd need to get some pedals to get many of the effects in the Katana, right? Which raises a quandary, because I'm not experienced enough to know which effects I would like and use. My purpose in learning guitar is to play with our band at church (I currently sing with them), which generally will be clean to only slightly distorted sounds. My personal favorite music style is hard rock to metal, which is what I'm looking forward to learning to play electric and be able to mess around with at home.

Offline Rossco01

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2019, 07:45:46 pm »
So if you were convinced to buy this amp then maybe get a cheap multifx pedal like the zoom ms50g and then you can try lots of effects before deciding which ones you might buy individually.
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Offline CT

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2019, 10:03:43 pm »
There's a couple of ways to approach your first amp, there just isn't one single right way.

My first amp was a modeling amp, the Mustang I v.2. Great value for $100 US out the door brand new, and so many tones that I can dial up. So I would lean in the direction of making your first amp one that has a lot of built in tones, presets, cab sims and such to experiment with. If you do your homework and decide on the Katana then so be it.

The Monoprice amp can be had later and is often available with a % off coupon for under $200 delivered. It's basically a Fender Blues Jr killer. Between the built in reverb and gain control this amp can cover a lot of ground. I have to have delay, chorus, high gain and compressor pedals for the stuff that I play, YMMV. But having a nice modeling amp first can get you pointed in the direction of knowing what you like.

EDIT: My demo of the Monoprice 15W amp:



Note that the drum loop, bass and guitar are all playing through the amp.

Offline CT

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2019, 02:26:13 am »
More Monoprice amp love from Darrell Braun. This time he's swapping tubes:



Offline Dan Graves

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2019, 10:08:41 pm »
I found it odd he stated that modding the amp like this would be another $100...
With a little shopping around anyone can get a full replacement set of Shuguang tubes for half that cost, so I suspect he did NOT bother to shop around at all.
Also interesting is that he failed to properly note/stress that there are options for higher output tubes from all three manufacturers, and that those really do make quite the difference.
Switching all your ECC83/12ax7 tubes to high output models can make quite the difference in actual output in both volume and gain; in measured decibels with high power shuguang tubes for instance, the difference can be up to 15-20 decibels in volume.

What I also noted is that even on the compressed YT video, I could clearly tell the difference on switched powertubes, and while it was most pronounced on the high-end gain setting (it sounded more 'American', maybe a bit more fizzy to me with the JJ's), it was a pretty big difference, to my ears at least.

TL;DR:
I feel he dismissed switching tubes a bit too easily as high cost for not enough return.
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Offline CT

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2019, 02:26:51 am »
I appreciate your take @Dan Graves. There is so much talk on the Interwebs about swapping out tubes on this amp that my head spins a little bit. It's still food for thought, but I'm most likely going to stay with the stock tubes for now.

Offline Dan Graves

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2019, 01:13:30 am »
Well, just to be clear, I wouldn't advise swapping tubes right off the bat.
I'd simply suggest to keep in mind it as a project to consider once you get to the 'maybe I need more pedals' stage, or the 'maybe I need a different speaker' stage, though preferably before you get to the 'I think I want a new amp' stage, because then it's generally a bit too late.
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Offline MrBumble

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2019, 11:52:30 am »
I've been busy and come a little late to this thread.

One thing that comes to mind is that swapping valves in an amp. of this sort is probably a very bad idea in the long term.

Even if the circuit design is a clone of a more expensive amp. it doesn't follow that the quality of the components is as high. This applies particularly to transformers. They are the most expensive items and the most obvious place to cut corners and keep the price down.

Increasing output power by swapping valves causes more current to be drawn and increases the stress on the mains and output transformers, shortening their life considerably. Not a good idea.

I would expect to pay more for the transformers (considerably more) than this amp costs. Many manufacturers of boutique amplifiers use upgraded transformers so that power can be increased in just such a way as this.
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Offline CT

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2019, 02:06:35 pm »
Great feedback, and food for thought. My first upgrade when it comes to gear is always to upgrade my skills -- playing better is the secret sauce. That said, an amp mic and a plexiglass shield might be my next moves. 

Offline Dan Graves

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2019, 08:43:37 pm »
Ok, so I got my hands on one of these things shortly after my last post in this thread, must say it's actually a really surprisingly nice little amp for the pricetag, I'd even dare suggest this one could be a very good replacement for something like a Blues Jr., although the Monoprice is far, FAR more versatile than the Fender.
It's really the perfect little low level jam amp for getting a bunch of guys together and playing some tunes for fun.
Must admit I didn't like the speaker much on high volumes, even after breaking it in, so I have replaced it with a spare Celestion G12H 55 (that I had pulled from a partially destroyed Marshall 4x12), which is more to my taste TBH.
But being a (somewhat reformed) tone snob, it was inevitable that I'd tinker with the amp in some way.

One thing that comes to mind is that swapping valves in an amp. of this sort is probably a very bad idea in the long term.

Shortened your comment down to this for sake of brevity, but my reply is about the whole piece;

In this specific case, the amp isn't a clone of the 'more expensive amp' (Laney Cub 12R) : it comes from the same Chinese factory (and I'd say 'more expensive' is REALLY relative here, the difference isn't all that shocking, really).
Also of note : both the Laney Cub 12R and the Monoprice are biased cold.
So cold, in fact, that one amp technician on a Dutch guitar forum described it as 'almost as frigid as my sister in law'  ;D

On a side note, I'm a bit skeptical of your story here; sure, overtaxing a transformer is going to shorten it's lifespan considerably, but I'm fairly certain we both know full well that these kinds of circuits are generally designed with broad tolerances in mind so minor tinkering by the end user won't mean a short term death sentence for the amp.
Besides, it's not as if the increase in current draw is going to be anything major even in poweramp tubes, especially not in this case since all the large brand EL84's draw a current of 0.76 A, with the low power models being the exception at around 0.73 A.
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Offline CT

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2019, 09:02:55 pm »
@Dan Graves, glad you picked one of these up for yourself. At the very least it's a decent little knock around tube amp. It definitely isn't all things to all people. What are your feelings about its clean headroom compared to similar amps? It doesn't seem well suited for clean jazz or blues at high volume, as it wants to breakup fairly soon. This doesn't bother me in the least as neither genre is generally what I play at high volumes. 

Offline Dan Graves

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2019, 01:33:22 am »
I can't really say much about the clean headroom in it's stock state, never bothered to try and keep it clean on higher volumes.
And since I've already swapped out the speaker, on top of having a bias mod installed today with plans of trying out some other tubes somewhere along the line(as I still have a few spares in my collection), it wouldn't be fair to compare it to yours.

I do know it overdrives rather nicely when pushed, great bluesy tones to be had.
It's a lot of fun to really push it as well, after I adjusted the bias I hooked up my PRS SE loaded with some overwound Bareknuckle Warpigs (ceramic magnets, resistance of over 29 kΩ on the bridge pickup*), cranked the gain and turned the volume up fairly high, thing started to roar like a bloody lion at that point.

*Resistance for more normal 'PAF' humbuckers with alnico magnets will be somewhere between 7-9 kΩ on the bridge pickup.
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Offline CT

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Re: Darrell Braun likes the Monoprice 15W tube amp!
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2019, 02:52:13 am »
Did you find the bias to be way off? And yes, my stock amp will roar as well. Good on you for picking up this amp and running with it. There's a lot to like, and nice to know it was easily modded to suit your needs.

 

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