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Best bedroom amp

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by Saxy Calzone, Apr 12, 2021.

  1. Saxy Calzone

    Saxy Calzone New Member

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    Hi. I've been looking to invest in a Marshall amp. The three amps that seem to come up frequently when I search for "best bedroom Marshall" are the Class 5, the DSL5, and the Origin series. What I'm going for is somewhat of an Eric Johnson tone. Not that I'm trying to replicate it, just in the sense that I want that smooth lead tone, I tend to roll a lot of the treble off and put a tube overdrive in front of the amp. Any advice? Thanks everyone.
     
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  2. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Really depends what you mean by bedroom levels. 5 watts is actually surprisnigly loud. Most tube amps sound better louder, almost a waste to play one at very low volume levels.
    Even a 1 watter would work, again, depending on the volume you want. With a tube OD in front, almost any lower wattage amp would work.
     
  3. Sustainium

    Sustainium Well-Known Member

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    Buy one from a reputable online dealer and return it if you don’t like it and try another one.....or.......find a shop that has them and demo the amps there.
     
  4. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you'd like a 1 watt DSL.
     
  5. GoldTop2000

    GoldTop2000 New Member

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    As Jethro mentioned, if you want the real-deal tube Marshall sound at bedroom level you need to go small, very small. Early in my guitar journey, I had a Fender Blues Junior, the top selling tube amp in the world. It was 15 watts with a 1X12 speaker, 30 pounds, etc. but it was NOT a bedroom amp. To get a good sound out of a single channel tube amp you have to crank it, and even at 3 or 4, the Blues Jr. was far too loud to classify as a "bedroom amp".

    Keep in mind, wattage relates to power, not volume. A 15 watt amp can be deafening. Now modern amps have master volume, and you can crank the gain and keep the volume relatively low. But to get a real Marshall tone you need to be a able to have the master at least 4 if not more (much more).

    The way I see it you have a few options:
    1) Marshall DSL1CR Amplifier Combo 1x8 1 Watt. If you want a Marshall amp for very low volume playing, this is your best bet.

    2) There's a variety of "desktop" amps for practicing that work very well for beginners, or as a practice tool. They can produce an "approximate" Marshall sound i.e. the Yamaha THR10, Boss Katana, etc. Same with software plugins, Amplitude, Brainworx, etc.

    3) I'm not sure of your experience level/budget/or whether you want an amp to double as a gigging amp. I've owned 3 Marshalls (a brutal sounding practice amp from '98, a JCM2000 TSL combo, and now a JVM 410H with 1960AV 4x12 cabinet), and have finally found the perfect solution for me. I have zero noise restrictions in my playing space, but I also don't want to go deaf. A half-stack is overwhelming for regular practice, and I even considered selling my amp and going smaller.

    Was recommended to check out the Universal Audio OX (1200$). Its an attenuator/reactive load box. I can get the sound of a cranked flagship 100 watt Marshall at the sound of a whisper. The so-called "studio killer" offers pro-level simulations of your tube amp run through a mic'd cabinet, making recording or practicing with god-tier tone incredibly easy. The variety and sound of cabinets and microphones are excellent. The reverbs and delays included are incredible, and the OX has solved a life-long problem of mine - wanting to add delay to my leads without utilizing an effects loop with the inherent signal drop. You can also buy an amp without built-in reverb like a JCM 800.

    However, the OX is only as good as the amp you use with it. You need a computer, interface, and monitors. If you already have these components, or have the budget, this allows the best of both worlds, analog valve tone and digital convenience/versatility. No studio-level Marshall plugin has come close for me to this tone (I've demoed the Universal Audio Plexi, Silver Jubilee). Though I love my JVM, with an OX you can get the absolute best out of any Marshall head or combo of your choosing.

    This is a buyer's market. I saw a used 100 watt JCM2000 DSL stack for $800 or best offer at a local guitar shop. You don't need a cabinet with an OX, though you can always add a cab later. Used Marshall heads are all over Reverb, Craigslist, Guitar Center...

    There are a variety of load boxes/attenuators out there (check them out too). If you can make the investment in one of them and still afford a head, that's the best way to get the sound of a cranked Marshall at a reasonable volume IMHO. It's taken me 20 years but I'm finally completely satisfied with my tone.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  6. GregM

    GregM Well-Known Member

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  7. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    I’ve been perusing CL and then Reverb every am forever, this is far from a buyers market right now. I’ve never seen so little quality used gear out there. Haven’t seen a decent pre 85 Marshall head pop up anywhere in New England this calendar year. And people aren’t buying what is out there either. We need everyone to crawl out of their basements and start gigging again cause the used market sucks right now.

    You def don’t need a tube head and $1000 box for low volume practice. This is my buddy running through one of those loaf of bread 10w Yamaha amps direct to DAW:

     
  8. Saxy Calzone

    Saxy Calzone New Member

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    What appealed to me about the three amps I listed, is that they all seem to have a low power setting, which I could use when at home, but I'd still have that extra room to crank it if I decided to jam out with it. I guess a better way to ask the question would be to ask about the overall voicing and tonality of these amps and which would lend itself better to that kind of sound, and how the speakers measure up and whatnot.
     
  9. fitz288

    fitz288 Space-Time Curver Silver Supporting Member

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    The Class5 & Origin are classic voiced single channel amps.
    They are going to be very clean at low volume, but you mentioned a pedal in front so that would get you where you want.
    The DSL has the option of switching from clean to high gain with channel volume.
    As far as speakers, there are as many opinions as there are speaker choices.
    Best advice is to try them side by side, if at all possible, and see what you like better.
     
  10. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    Exactly how loud do you play? If you are going to need to keep your volume at speaking/television volume any amp that can keep up with a drummer will be a considerable compromise in tone choked down that much. Spend a couple hundred bucks on something that will sound great at low volume then get a bigger amp when you need it. Esp if you are going to be playing at low volume 95% of the time anyway.
     
  11. Saxy Calzone

    Saxy Calzone New Member

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    Louder than speaking levels, but not what I'd call that loud. I used to have a Special 6 Ultra, which attenuated down to, I think, 1 watt, and the one watt cranked was about perfect. The only thing that turns me off about getting a dedicated 1 watt amp, is I read a lot of hate for the 8 inch speakers, so that's why I was looking more at the variable power 1X10 or 1X12 amps.
     
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  12. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

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  13. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom Moderator Staff Member

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    don't get a combo...

    get a head & 1x12...
     
  14. Maggot Brain

    Maggot Brain Well-Known Member

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    I'd recommend staying under 5 watts for bedroom and would recommend the DSL1Cr, it's tube powered and captures the sound of Marshall. I really enjoy mine and the 8" speaker to me is completely usable for the 1watt. It's powerful enough to get some low end you can start to feel but keeps it Reasonable for practice.

    If you need or want an amp you could also gig or jam with I'd recommend an Origin due in part for their switchable output power. The Origin20 can go from 0.5w, 3w and 20w and so at .5w you can get a nice cranked Marshall tube sound at... Reasonable volumes.

    If you say 1 watt cranked is good, I'd recommend the Origin20 but as mentioned before it's a vintage voiced amp.
     
  15. Old Punker

    Old Punker Well-Known Member

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    ^^^^ +1.

    Years ago I bought a small 1W head (Killer Ant) and I can hook up to any cab I want. These small amps work well with pedals and you can also make them a lot bigger when needed by going through a larger power amp. I connect my little head to my Power Station (50W) and it sounds like a regular 50W tube amp, complete with FX loop.
     
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  16. FutureProf88

    FutureProf88 Well-Known Member

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    I have a Class 5 and a DSL1. I've never played an Origin. The Class 5 is not a bedroom amp. I have played bar gigs unmic'd with my Class 5. I realize it was designed as a home practice amp, and it can be that. But if you live in an apartment you'll get to meet your neighbors. I'd recommend the Origin because of the power scaling, or a DSL1. My DSL1 is a fantastic bedroom amp, and as long as it's not late at night you can really crank it and it's basically loud TV volume.
     
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  17. Old Punker

    Old Punker Well-Known Member

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    Although most tube amps are not designed for bedroom use, some of them actually do sound good at 'basement levels' (85-100 dB). You just have to try them out to see which works best for you. IME those amps which don't rely too much on the power section for their tone also sound good at lower volumes.

    Although not a Marshall, I was pleasantly surprised by how good my Rectifier sounds at low volumes, especially with a drop tuned guitar. I can also get nice crunchy rock tones using the 5W mode on my Marshall SC20H through a 2x12 cab, on standard tuning. I use a volume pot in the FX loop to shave off a little signal so that I can at least turn the master volume up to 3. Sounds wonderful, just play with the EQ for a while and you'll know the tone when you get it.

    I can also use my attenuator to get those cranked tones at lower volumes, but I don't use it as much as I thought I would.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
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  18. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    I just remembered another good bedroom amp, the Yamaha THR amps, they are really good and packed with tone, features and effects. :yesway:
     
  19. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    I second these.
    If one is playjng primarily at that low a level a tube amp is almost pointless. Almost. The Yamaha THR series sounds really good at lower levels, nice stereo sound, good with headphones or to a computer.

    Then when ypu want to someday possibly jam with others, get a decent tube amp that can keep up to a drummer. And I have lots of combos I have no issue using those. Can always add a 2x12 to a combo. Whatever works best for the situation.
     
  20. schwa

    schwa Active Member

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    There are so many threads out there looking for a "bedroom plexi, all tube please".

    On one level, it's not possible. No matter what you do, there will be compromises for a bunch of reasons. The speaker(s) will be moving less, the components are different, even physics and acoustics are against us.

    On another level, it's never been easier. Almost any good MV amp (Marshall or otherwise) can deliver great tone. Modelers get better every year and are so close now than many are committed to them.

    As with many things, getting that last bit of accuracy can be challenging and expensive.

    To answer the question more directly:

    One of my favorite "bedroom Marshalls" is the Lead 12 (I think) micro stacks from the 80's. They are more suited to gainy Marshall sounds, but I think these amps deliver the Marshall sound at reasonable levels.

    When it comes to the "bedroom plexi, all tube please" - the best solution I have found are the 50th anniversary 1 watt NMV amps. The thing I find so compelling about them is that their gain structure is similar (has power amp distortion) to their larger brothers.

    Eric Johnson's tone was mentioned - I think he got it with a a Strat, superlead and a fuzz face. If you plug a Strat and fuzz face into on of the NMV 1 watters, you'll get something recognizable.

    That said, I live with compromises.

    The transformers are tiny
    The speaker doesn't move as much, and sounds smaller
    Even at 1 watt, I attenuate. (I think it's better to attenuate less, so it is better to attenuate something quieter than a big amp)

    There's no "best" if you ask me, and there are several "good" options. I like my choice, but it is expensive and not perfect. I have thought it would be simpler to get a modeler or something with a MV.
     

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