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Unread 08-27-2010, 09:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Good low-wattage amps.

I'm moving into a dorm-like apartment for college next week, so sadly I won't be able to bring along my JCM800 half-stack. I have an old Marshall G50r 50 watt solid state amp, but it sounds like complete crap. I'm a fan of all-tube gear when it comes to amps, so I'd like to know what others use for their low wattage tube amps. I'm not looking to spend a boatload, by the way.

I tried out an Ibanez amp the other week, a TSA15. It's a 15 watter running on 6V6 tubes with a built-in tubescreamer as the crunch channel. The stack runs for about $500 and the head alone for even less. I almost considered buying the thing right there but I decided to wait and see if there are comparable or better amps for a similar price.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 09:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

It depends. Are you going for a combo so you can still play out, or is it mostly going to be headphone practice for you?
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Unread 08-27-2010, 09:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I won't be playing through headphones much. My other room mates are musicians too so we'll probably be "quietly" jamming in our down time.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 10:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I don't have experience with 6V6 tubes, but my EL84's rock pretty good. Lots of low watters use EL84's. There are a couple of DSL 401's on Ebay around $500, if that's your thing.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 10:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I used to have a DSL 100 head. Sold it because it didn't quite do it for me. Are the 401s inherently darker because of the EL84s? Or are they basically the same based on your experience? One of the reasons I didn't like the DSL was because of how damn shrill it was, even after C12 was removed.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 10:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

Don't know if they're inherently 'darker', but I dig the breakup of the 84's. I play mine thru a cab too, so it doesn't sound shrill to me at all. The best way to find out is to play one if you can. Everyone says the 201/401 are much different than the 50/100...i.e., not the same amp in a different wattage.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 10:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I'll just have to see then. If there's a way I can get a Marshall over anything else I'll do it.
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Unread 08-28-2010, 12:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I love my Class 5. Not sure if it is what your looking for but it is 5 watts of class A Marshall sweetness.

It is amazing as is, takes pedals like they were made for it and can still get it done with a small gig.

Some consider the fact that there is no master volume a downside but I personally don't think this amp should have it or need it. It tends to break up real quick and again, a nice OD or even distortion pedal will blend perfectly with this thing.

$400.00 bucks or less all day, every day brand spanking new.



There is also the Haze series. Haze 15 head and Haze 40 combo.

I did a test drive of the combo. It is jammed packed with goodies if you are looking for different sounds. It has a full bank of DFX built in.

Sadly, the only other small amp I played with recently was the Mesa/Boogie Transatlantic. Very nice little head. Warm for a M/B had the Marshall type sound but it is like 700 or 800 bucks.
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Unread 08-28-2010, 01:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

How loud does the Class 5 get? Keep in mind I'll be living in an apartment building. I've got an OD pedal I can throw in front of it but I'd still like to have some natural tube sound.
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Unread 08-28-2010, 08:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

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How loud does the Class 5 get? Keep in mind I'll be living in an apartment building. I've got an OD pedal I can throw in front of it but I'd still like to have some natural tube sound.
You'll be just fine. I have the same setup.

In college, unles it's too crazy, you will be just fine with jamming. Wish I had a good amp with my in my dorms at school. The Class 5 would be about perfect for it. Remember to invite girls over to watch you play within the first couple of days you move on campus.
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Unread 09-26-2010, 01:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I owned a Dsl 401 that I liked alot, It blows away the 50 and 100watt dsl models as it is a different sound, however, a little after 1 year it started to die on me, after about 30 minutes the sound would fade or swell out and then back in, if you shut it off and turned it back on it would work fine for another 5 min and then same problem, I had it to the shop twice for new tubes etc and it started again so I sold it as is. I also loved the tone of my marshall jtm 30 but that also had reliability issues and broke a few times. If you arent on a budget I would say that the bogner Duende is the best sounding most versatile amp I have heard bar none! I also love my 18 watt marshall 1974x with master volume mod, there are some great marshall clones and kits for the 18 watters also so check em out
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Unread 09-26-2010, 12:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

Take a look at the Haze 15 or 40, Tiny Terror, Egnater Rebel 20, 30 or Tweaker. I just picked a Crate Palomino V32 and that is a great amp. It sounded good with crap tubes and the stock celestion, but new tubes and a Emi GB128 makes this into a killer little amp.
The few times I played a DSL401 I liked it enough, but not for the new price.
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Unread 09-26-2010, 01:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I test drove one of these with a lil 1 X 12" cab and it was a pretty sweet sounding lil guy. It'd crank in a pinch too.

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Unread 09-28-2010, 12:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

The ULTIMATE low wattage rig IMO is the Zinky Blue Velvet and Velveteen amps. I have seen videos of Billy Gibbons running a little 18 watt Velveteen on stage if that tells you anything.
These amps are flat MONSTER tone machines and bulletproof builds. I own a 25 watt Blue Velvet combo and at whisper quiet levels in Church I am getting tones that are flat stunning with tha thang!!
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Unread 09-28-2010, 01:09 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

bring the 800. i had a full stack set up in my dorm room.
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Unread 10-01-2010, 05:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

lol! Did you sleep in the B cab?

You can get a used Epi Valve Jr head and cab for cheap ($200) and sounds killer with a dirt pedal and delay.

Or...I know you said you wanted tubes, but a pod modeler w/headphones that can also plug into your stereo can be had for VERY cheap ($50).

That being said, I had a 100w hybrid 2x12 in my dorm. Met some girls using it. Also met security and the cops a few times!
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Unread 10-01-2010, 06:46 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

just preordered a jet city picovalve.... will let you know what i think of it once it's up and running
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I'm happy to pay my tech $40 buck to take the Zap for me.
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can somone tell my how to drain caps, I got a pretty good jolt last night.
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Unread 10-01-2010, 11:40 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

Don't hold your breath. My Pico was supposed to ship on the 6th of October and they've pushed it back to the 20th. Marty's prediction may be closer to the truth than I care to admit (January 2011).
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Unread 10-02-2010, 01:15 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

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I used to have a DSL 100 head. Sold it because it didn't quite do it for me. Are the 401s inherently darker because of the EL84s? Or are they basically the same based on your experience? One of the reasons I didn't like the DSL was because of how damn shrill it was, even after C12 was removed.
wow you got a bad one homes. Mine's not shrill at all. quite fluid and dark with some hair on it...you can add some edge but, it's a very mellow and smooth tone. I run mine through a mesa 2x12 v30 setup. very nice, can cut if you want it to but, it's darker than i expected. I love it. shrill though, i wouldn't have ever thought that at all.
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Unread 10-02-2010, 09:49 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

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Don't hold your breath. My Pico was supposed to ship on the 6th of October and they've pushed it back to the 20th. Marty's prediction may be closer to the truth than I care to admit (January 2011).
same thing happened to the ukulele i orderred for my girlfriend... was supposed to ship on the 30th, now not until the 6th
but i have two new speakers in my cab, a dirt pedal to finish building, and my 5e3 kit came today so... i've got plenty to keep me occupied until they send me the amp
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I'm happy to pay my tech $40 buck to take the Zap for me.
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can somone tell my how to drain caps, I got a pretty good jolt last night.
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Unread 10-04-2010, 08:46 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I really liked the Egnater Tweaker. IF I were going to buy a new low wattage amp...it's what I'd go with, seems like a pretty good value.

I did like the Blackstar HT-5 but preferred the Tweaker. YMMV.
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Unread 10-06-2010, 07:26 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

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same thing happened to the ukulele i ordered for my girlfriend...
Unless this really means something else....
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Unread 10-06-2010, 08:04 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

i receive several packages from guitarcenter per month, so if i can spend 40$ to keep her mouth shut about all of them, i'm gonna do it
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I'm happy to pay my tech $40 buck to take the Zap for me.
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can somone tell my how to drain caps, I got a pretty good jolt last night.
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Unread 10-07-2010, 01:48 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

Along with all my Marshall amps, I have a fender GDec sitting next to my couch. Its a great little amp for practicing and jamming with an entire band at the touch of a finger. It can be cranked up to fill a dprm room up too. Another choice for a low wattage good sounding amp are the Savage's. I use a Macht 12x which sounds reeeeally nice! Point to point wired with tremolo.
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Unread 10-07-2010, 01:54 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

Oh, one more thing....the Marshall Studio 15 is also a good choice. Price could be a factor on this one.
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Unread 10-07-2010, 01:59 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

Orange Tiny Terror W the merc mag upgrade.
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Unread 10-11-2010, 03:56 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I got a haze 15h not long ago. Its a awesome amp, sounds good at low levels but it sounds killer for a small amp when cranked through a weber attenuater.

I have had various low wattage amps in the past - tiny terror and others and the haze kills them
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Unread 10-26-2010, 01:02 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

I play a lot of Modern Worship gigs and need a not just good but GREAT low volume tone. My #1 rig is a Zinky 25 watt Blue Velvet 1/12 combo. Cleans are big round and juicy. Crunches are big warm and HOT. I'm getting a KILLER tone from just the 1/12 combo and have had a number of sound guys go nuts over the little beastie. I also own a tweeked Zinky designed Fender Prosonic and a JCM 900 MK III Dual master 50. I have owned just about anything over the 36 or so years I have been playing you can name and this little Zinky flat floors me with the tones every time I take it out!
For a gigging rig that sounds incredible and does it at super low volumes the little Zinky has no equal at any price! New they are around $1800 but worth every PENNY! Used I have seen these sell as low as in the $750-$800 range. They also have a LIFETIME TRANSFERABLE WARRANTY!! Mine is an 08 and is #326.




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Unread 10-26-2010, 02:29 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

When I need to quiet down I usually just use a modeler on my computer. A 5 watt amp is probably still too loud for your dorm room.
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Unread 11-10-2010, 02:34 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Good low-wattage amps.

+1 on the egnater tweaker, i have one with 2 of the 12" tweaker cabs. awesome little amp.
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