Author Topic: Valve amp next buy?  (Read 2634 times)

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Offline skeldol

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Valve amp next buy?
« on: October 25, 2020, 11:22:48 am »
It approaches my birthday and then christmas so I am preparing to purchase something new in the guitar world (s/h allows me to tell myself its simply a shift in savings rather than an outright spend ).

I've currently got a PAC 112V & Fender Champion 20. 

I was considering a Les Paul but I'm starting to wonder if a valve amp might be a better bet (i.e. give me the better tones).  The Fender blues valve amp looks good.  I am wondering though if I will hear a  significant difference over my Champion given its home use only?

Offline RC23

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2020, 11:56:01 am »
Valve amp tones are wonderful. But....

A 15W Blues Junior is going to be seriously loud if you turn it up enough to get the really good tones. I’ve got a little 5W Fender Champ clone and most of the time even it is too loud for home use.
But it sure does sound good.

I tend to use the Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb most of the time. It’s not real valves but it sounds pretty much just like a “real” valve amp. And the built in attenuation makes it very usable.
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Offline skeldol

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2020, 12:46:22 pm »
A 15W Blues Junior is going to be seriously loud if you turn it up enough to get the really good tones. I’ve got a little 5W Fender Champ clone and most of the time even it is too loud for home use.
But it sure does sound good.

I tend to use the Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb most of the time. It’s not real valves but it sounds pretty much just like a “real” valve amp. And the built in attenuation makes it very usable.

That's a good point.  I can't run anything at high volume due to neighbours!

The Tonemaster soundsa good option but I was hoping for s/h incase the purchase doesn't work out & can't see any going.  Guess its new to market?  However if worst comes to worst it's not only christmas but my birthday!!!  I take it with a valve amp or the Tonemaster you need pedals for distortion and stuff as I guess you don't get all the voices like I get on my Champ 20?

Offline joueur de guitare

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2020, 11:47:27 pm »
Get something like a Vox AC4. Anything more than 5 watts is going to be way too loud for home use. Unless you live in a lighthouse.

If you turn a valve amp up enough, it'll distort all on its own. That's sort of the point :)
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Offline RC23

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2020, 12:42:38 am »
Get something like a Vox AC4. Anything more than 5 watts is going to be way too loud for home use. Unless you live in a lighthouse.

If you turn a valve amp up enough, it'll distort all on its own. That's sort of the point :)

Some valve amps do have built in attenuators as well. The Vox AC4TV has 0.25W and 1W settings.

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Offline DarrellW

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2020, 06:02:44 am »
You’ve already been told about the problem with valve amps so I won’t bother going into that; probably a Blackstar HT1R would be ok but could still be a bit loud cranked up, maybe a hybrid using a valve in the preamp would be more suited with a built in attenuator.

Offline joueur de guitare

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2020, 07:32:15 am »
Some valve amps do have built in attenuators as well. The Vox AC4TV has 0.25W and 1W settings.

I know, I own one ;)
Guitars. Fender Highway 1 Tele: Fender Shortboard LE Mustang: Ibanez AS73 semi-hollow: Ibanez SR370 bass: Squier Affinity Strat: Squier Jagmaster.

Offline close2u

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2020, 08:14:29 am »
... I was considering a Les Paul but I'm starting to wonder if a valve amp might be a better bet ... home use only...


... I can't run anything at high volume due to neighbours! ...

My advice ... you have a really good amp that can be used at home and give so many great tones.
Buy a different guitar instead.
Either for the aesthetic vibe or for the upgrade or for the different sort of sounds or for the fact it simply makes you smile.


If you're talking Fender Blues / Tonemaster budget then can I assume £750 ish give or take?



Offline skeldol

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2020, 09:03:11 am »
Thanks guys. 

I could probably stretch to £1500 and would prefer sh unless something is just released like that ringmaster.


Offline close2u

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2020, 09:17:00 am »
£1500 is serious dosh and will buy you goodness.


£1500 on a valve amp for home use is a criminal waste ... they are designed to push air with their big 12" speakers and be played with volume. Otherwise you are not gaining any advantage on what you already have.

£1500 would get you an amazing guitar which is the thing in your hands, that you feel intimately.

Offline skeldol

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2020, 09:24:31 am »
Thing is I reckon I can buy a decent Les Paul for £1k, anything over £1k and I thing I'm just paying for bling?

Offline close2u

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2020, 09:32:06 am »
You can get a Les Paul Studio for sub £1000.

You can get a Les Paul Classic / Traditional for about £1200+

You can get a Les Paul Standard for about £1400+

ebay search £900-1600

Offline skeldol

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2020, 09:33:53 am »
Thanks.  So I feel warned off the valve amps for home use but maybe the digital tonemaster is ok for home use.  Feel like I will focus on the guitar and if I have money left over buy the tonemaster later after Xmas when the wife isn't looking 😉
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 11:24:31 am by skeldol »

Offline CT

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2020, 06:41:21 pm »
The last thing I would ever consider doing would be to talk someone out of their first tube amp. My little Monoprice 15W opened up a whole new world to me. There is a response and dynamic interaction with tube amps that you cannot get with solid state amps. I'm not saying one is better than the other, they are just different, both are cool for different reasons, and it should definitely be a consideration to own both types.

My little MP amp has a 1W and 15W switch, so I can go from whispery soft to loud as a Mama-Llama! :) 

Here are a couple of threads I kicked off on the MP15W:
https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?topic=43385.0
https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?topic=45019.0

Offline close2u

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2020, 07:15:59 pm »
The last thing I would ever consider doing would be to talk someone out of their first tube amp. My little Monoprice 15W opened up a whole new world to me. There is a response and dynamic interaction with tube amps that you cannot get with solid state amps. ...

Perhaps you're right Clint.

But buying a £750+ tube amp only to have to play it a conversational volume indoors is an insane waste of good money imho.

A £100-ish 2nd hand tube amp would do just as well leaving a shed load of money for a dream guitar.

Offline RC23

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2020, 09:56:23 pm »
Thanks.  So I feel warned off the valve amps for home use but maybe the digital tonemaster is ok for home use.  Feel like I will focus on the guitar and if I have money left over buy the tonemaster later after Xmas when the wife isn't looking 😉

I wouldn’t try to warn you off tube amps. Just be aware of what you are getting into.

My little 5W valve is mostly too loud for home once it is above about 3-4 on the dial, which is a shame because it sounds best around 6-7.

The Tonemaster DR spends most of its time with the power selector on the 0.5W setting and sounds great.  It’s pub gig volumes if I run it at the full 22W.

Vox, Blackstar, Marshall and others all offer valve amps with power reduction/attenuation. So there are certainly options out there. 
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Offline skeldol

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2020, 10:03:12 pm »
The two amps I like the sound of are the monoprice and the tonemaster.  Anything I buy is going to be played at low volume for a long time.  They both only seem to come in the brand new option.  Sounds like the tonemaster is too good to be kept at home?   The monoprice and a les Paul seems the best bet at the moment.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 10:19:39 pm by skeldol »

Offline RC23

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2020, 10:26:19 pm »
I’m not familiar with the Monoprice amps, not sure if anyone sells them here in Australia.

The Tonemasters have only been released for a bit over a year, so probably not many secondhand ones out there.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as “too good” for home, although I reckon there is certainly a thing of “too loud” for home.

If you want the classic Fender Blackface tone then the Tonemaster is great, at any volume. If you are looking for a more overdriven sound then another amp may suit better, or be prepared to use pedals on front of it.

BC (Classic) done, Intermediate Course  - in progress. Theory Course - in progress.

Guitars: Fender American Strat, Fender Japan Telecaster, Epiphone Flamekat, Eastman AC120CE
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Offline CT

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2020, 01:01:45 am »
Thomann now sells a monoprice rebranded amp. Check it out.

I hear everything that's been pointed out here, and can't argue with any of it. All good points.

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2020, 08:45:39 am »
Take a look at one of these, the Monoprice amps are a knock off of their older models - I used to play a Laney LC15R fitted with a Jensen 10” speaker tbh I think it was the best sounding amp I’d heard at that power output including anything Fender ever made. Well worth looking at if you’re still hankering after a valve amp!
https://www.laney.co.uk/products/lionheart-l5t-112-tube-combo

Offline KasperFauerby

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2020, 01:21:39 pm »
Forget about money for a second and juts buy a good reactive load box - like the Suhr Reactive Load or a Two Notes Torpedo (if you don't mind some fan noise)... then get whatever cool tube amp you dream of and crank it loud...

Offline skeldol

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2020, 09:30:20 am »
You guys gave me a lot to think about Thanks!   The Laney is expensive and seems to have a rep for being on the loud side so I am going to discount it.  The Harvey Benton looks good and cheap!  Given I'm only likely to play at home they do a 5w for only a ton but it has 8" instead of 12" speaker, would that make a difference?  I remember when looking at my Champ 20 lots thought 12" too much for home but others seem to swear by them.  I'm still trying to get my head around the reactive load box thing(and imagining my wife's face when I tell her I spent 400 quid on a box to make the amp quiter).  Do they work well?  Do you need an external speaker?  Plug the amp out into the box and then the box out to a speaker to reduce volume?  I really like the idea of the Tonemaster, they get great reviews and I love the fender clean sounds but it's expensive and not a real valve amp.  Think I'm gonna have to do a lot more research.

Offline close2u

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2020, 09:46:19 am »
... I'm still trying to get my head around the reactive load box thing (and imagining my wife's face when I tell her I spent 400 quid on a box to make the amp quieter)  ...

Exactly.

Spend £700 plus on an amp that is loud enough to play a 2000+ seat concert hall.
Spend £400 on a box that allows you to play that same amp at levels which don't shatter your windows in your bedroom at home.

Madness imho if you are not a gigging musician or a recording artist.

Gigging musicians want / need good amps which push some air and can be heard. But when they take those amps home they want to use the same for practice etc. That can't be done with the same tones without a load box. So for those purposes, the attenuator idea is great. For anyone who exclusively plays at home, with adjoining neighbours, other routes are far more preferable.

You have a perfectly good home amp. You have not had it for very long and have probably not spent anywhere near enough time getting to learn how the sounds work, how the fx work, how to use your guitar and amp together to make the sounds you want to hear.

If you really do want to sample a little of the venerated valve amp sound, but you're only playing at home, save yourself time and money and buy one of the little valve amps already mentioned ... Blackstar HT1R, Vox AC4 etc. Anything else is complete overkill.

Do not be swayed and motivated by watching all the youtube guitar videos with people having a collection of big looking valve amps behind them. Those people either play gigs or recording sessions or buy that stuff for professional purposes. And they pretty much all run through some kind of load box thing. Justin uses an OxBox for example.
If you watch Tim Pierce he has developed a 'cockpit' in which he is surrounded by amp heads and all of his music hardware. But - if you didn't know you should - his amp heads which are near to him so he can tweak the knobs are connected to a speaker cabinet that he has stored in a purpose built bricked-in sound-proof compartment in his garage. Because they are so ridiculously loud when he dials in the tone he wants.

Offline joueur de guitare

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2020, 01:45:38 pm »
The two amps I like the sound of are the monoprice and the tonemaster.  Anything I buy is going to be played at low volume for a long time.  They both only seem to come in the brand new option.  Sounds like the tonemaster is too good to be kept at home?   The monoprice and a les Paul seems the best bet at the moment.

Heed Close's advice. Buying a valve amp over 5w to play at home, especially in the UK, is a waste of money.

It's like buying a Lambo to do the shopping in.

You been given some options, explore them. Besides those, the Laney Cub 12 and 15 have a built in attenuator that'll give you 1w and a Marshall SC20 will step down to 5w, which is still bloody loud, and an Orange Rocker 15 will go 15/7/1w.

Have a read of this https://www.andertons.co.uk/home-valve-amp-guide

Bigger speakers move more air. 10" is adequate for the bedroom :)

I'll offer this, go to your nearest guitar and gear emporium and ask them if you can play through one of the small wattage amps mentioned. Sit down, plug in, turn it up to 11 and strum a chord.

If it shakes the cymbals in the drum department, there's your answer :)
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Offline Majik

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Re: Valve amp next buy?
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2020, 03:01:26 pm »
I tend to agree.

If you feel you are a collector of amps, or know that you specifically need an AC30 set to 10 to get the to get the tone you want, that's one thing.

But if you are new to valve amps and want to get one, then I would recommend something more appropriate to your use and environment. It's not like there aren't many options.

And, with that in mind, another option you might want to consider is a valve head and separate cab. This will give you lots of flexibility to experiment with different cabs and speakers if you want to in the future, and will allay any fears about an amp only having an 8in speaker.

One of the best bargains around is the Harley Benton cab range. You can get a decent 1x12 or even 2x12 cab equipped with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers for less than some places are selling the speakers by themselves.

Add an appropriate valve amp or two to taste.

I currently have a Bugera G5 head and an Orange Micro Terror. Both work well at bedroom volumes and can also get pretty loud if required.

Cheers,

Keith

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« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 03:27:34 pm by Majik »

 

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