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Author Topic: Small amps  (Read 8505 times)
MomaDan
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« on: September 20, 2012, 07:56:06 PM »

I'm moving away from Fl and my current amp is not coming with me. I've been researching a few different smaller amp options for a city apartment. So far my list contains the Vox Pathfinder, Fender Mustang, Vox AC4TV, some lesser known 5 watt tube amps and the Blues Jr. Some people have said the BJr is even too loud for an apt. Being the resident Blues Jr enthusiast, whats your opinion happy? Or anyone's opinion on other options listed or not here.

 
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the_great_lemon
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 10:02:02 PM »

I think you're right about the Blues Jr. being a bit loud for a small city apartment.  Maybe a Pro jr. would be more suitable?

I've played the Vox AC-4 a few times and thought it sounded quite good, and its cheap get.  The built in wattage control works fairly well at suppressing the volume when cranking.  Only upgrade I might make to it is maybe a better speaker...maybe one from eminence? There lines have a lot of variety so I'm sure you could find something suitable for fairly cheap. Happy hunting!
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IamWILSON
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 03:55:15 AM »

I have a great, all be it expensive idea for you.  Get a Swart 6v6se and the night light (attenuator) that they offer too.   It would probably cost you $1k new for that stuff (find them used for around $750), but you will have the best tone you can get at whisper volumes.  No joke, the highest attenuated setting is barely louder than your guitar strings, but with great tone!!!  And you don't have to attenuate it that much either, but it's perfect for apartment living and a quick grab and go to jams that don't involve the loudest drummer in the world.  These swart amps are really 3 dimensional too.  If I remember correctly the circuit is a cross between a princeton and champ.

Edit: I'll also add that I bought the Vox AC4TV and returned it after 3 weeks.  It just sounded way to small and boxy.  I prefer the Fender Champ 600 to the Vox, but it still has to be turned up to get good tones out of it. 
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 04:03:04 AM by IamWILSON » Logged

Guitars: Fender Clapton Strat, Ibanez AS80, Ibanez AF75, Malden Holly Keyser [SD Jazz (neck), SD '59 (bridge)], Carlo Robelli USH-500HB, Martin DC-1E ('98), and a Peavey Grind 5-string bass.

Effects in chain: Whammy II (dry out to Korg Tuner), RMC6, TS-9 ('82), TS-808 ('81), Ross Compressor, Fulltone SupaTrem, Fulltone DejaVibe2, TC Elec Nova Repeater, Ibanez Digital Modulation Delay III (DML20), Boomerang+, Alesis Microverb I, H&K Rotosphere MkII --> amps.

Amps: Mesa Boogie MkIII Blue Stripe, Egnator Rebel 20 head > Mesa Boogie Road King 2x12 cab, Fender Blues Jr. Humboldt, Marshall VS102R, Fender Champion 600, and Fender Frontman 25R.

Effects currently not in chain: Ross Compressor (MIT), Keeley Compressor (2-knob), Keeley TS-9, and TS-9 ('82).
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 05:57:21 AM »

I have to +1 the pro jr. option.  I just got one actually, and they sound quite good at lower volumes.  You are into the $400 range, and it can sound pretty big through an 8 ohm 2x12 hard truckers cab (like the one I have) for added versatility.  Later on, if you want it to get louder it can be a sweet amp for going straight in and getting some overdrive, if that's your bag.  It is more portable than a blues jr as well.
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 08:38:22 AM »

Silverface fender champ.
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2012, 09:41:25 AM »

Silverface fender champ.

I came in to say this, they go for $300 all day, sound great for what they do and you can throw in a new speaker or NOS glass if thats your thing for relatively cheap.
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raisingfreen
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2012, 01:40:23 PM »

+1 on both the Silverface Champ and or the Pro Junior.

I have both. The PJ will get you closer to Trey sounds (on its own) due to the EL84s (boogie'ish). It can also get really loud if you want but takes longer on the dial to break up. It's basically a beefed up Champ. Even the brochure says this.

The Champ will break up at more manageable volume however it only has a 8" speaker. The Pro Junior has a 10" Speaker.

I had my Silverface Champ modded to add an extra preamp stage (3 preamp tubes instead of 2) as well as a preamp line out jack and it makes it a nice little amp to get tone out of without being too loud. I can also plug in into another power amp or recording device.

PM if as I would be interested in selling either one. The Pro Junior I have is an early one with Laquered Tweed and 10" Jenson.
The Champ I have has a 8" Weber Alinco Blue Pup.

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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2012, 02:51:28 PM »

Chiming in late here but yeah these suggestions all sound good to me.  The BJ is just very loud and I think you would need to spend to much in mods to get it where you love it.

Also consider an isolation box.  Look them up if you are not familiar.  Then you can crank any amp and not disturb the neighbors.
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 03:43:57 PM »

Chiming in late here but yeah these suggestions all sound good to me.  The BJ is just very loud and I think you would need to spend to much in mods to get it where you love it.

Also consider an isolation box.  Look them up if you are not familiar.  Then you can crank any amp and not disturb the neighbors.

Yes - I built one, put my neighbors in it, and they can't hear a thing.

Jokes aside, I wanted one, but never got around to it.

I agree the Blue Junior gets pretty loud at its sweet spot. Too much for a typical apartment, though I get away with playing pretty loud since there are only 4 apartments in my building, one on each floor and I only play at reasonable hours - really depends on the building and people living there, for us, its mostly grad students.

The first thing that came to my mind was an SF champ. The Pro Jr at 15w could probably still even stir up some neighbors, even if it fits the bill better. I personally would probably keep a gig-able amp and then a really small one for practicing. I had a 5w amps for a bit from the 50's that sounded awesome - even that thing was pretty damn loud to be honest.
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2012, 03:50:33 PM »

Good one about the neighbors^!

Yeah my 5 watt tweed champ is really freaking loud actually.  Look for a 2 watt amp! Tongue
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 05:07:22 PM »

Thanks for the info! The Swart sounds pretty cool but its way too expensive for my purposes at the moment. I've also been looking at the Vox Lil Night train i think its 5 or less watts. Theres so many choices which is a good thing I guess.

This is the only Champ I see right now on CL, opinions? Its not silverface though. http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/msg/3279399750.html
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 05:35:04 PM »

Honestly, with those kind of amps I think you are gunna hear better tone using a POD or Axeeffects unit and headphones.

That said, I don't think you can beat a Princeton Reverb!
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2012, 09:17:52 PM »

Sorry PON, but I pride myself on never having touched a POD, lol.

I would probably look for an SF Champ if you go that route, for a little more cash, you will get a much better amp that holds its value. But if I am completely honest, in that situation, I would be tempted to get a 60 year old 5w, single ended, two knob, lunch-box lookin' amp. Super midrangy with mild creamy overdrive - a hollowbody with a delay pedal would be a sweet setup. Those usually run $3-400 and sound incredible and bluesy to me, nice compression so you can back off with your volume knob for rhythm. I know its not in the jammy/phish/trey realm, but might have better results in an apartment.

The other option I would suggest looking at is a BF clone, but definitely go used if you go that route as they lose value quickly. There are a bunch of companies that make low-watt BF clones.

Also, two great ways to get good low-volume sounds out of higher wattage amps include PPIV (or PPIMV, same thing - Post Phase Inverter Master Volume) and VVR or Power Scaling. Some amps come with it, others can be modded. It would probably cost $150, maybe a bit more, but then one amp can be your practice and gig amp.
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 09:53:54 PM »

The good thing about champs is that the circuit was the same from like 64 to 82.
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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2012, 11:40:14 AM »

Sorry PON, but I pride myself on never having touched a POD, lol.


I hear ya, me neither.

But...i just can't sem to play real quiet with a tube amp. When i rehearse pretty much my whole neighborhood knows about it...Wink
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