Dazed & Confused re 5 watt Amps

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Flynnski, May 9, 2009.

  1. Flynnski

    Flynnski Country Gent

    Apr 14, 2009
    Cheltenham UK
    My PowerJet Firebird arrives next Friday [pics 4 sure]. I now have valve -A.A.S., as I currently use Zoom 30 solid-state [not bad for the ££/$$], so a valve amp is new territory.

    I generally play my rhythms clean with a bit of reverb. For leads I like a fair bit of distortion + some delay. I'll only be playing in my office after work [big size], so I can play a bit loud but never at gig-level.

    I've been told 5 watts will be sufficiently loud--BUT:

    • Will it be clean & bright, and not muddy?
    • Will there be sufficient 'clean channel' headroom?
    • OR should I go for (say) their 15 watt equivalents, and keep the master volume at 2-3?

    I've read good things about: Blackstar HT-5; Laney Lionheart L5T-112; BlackHeart BH5-112. Will play them all soon.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks, Flynnski

    PS IF I go down the 15 watt route, is a Fender 65 Princeton worth the dough? Are Fender valve amps still worth the money-or is the brand living off its past glory days?
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2009
  2. I'm not familiar with the amps that you've mentioned, but a good rule of thumb is to take your guitar with you and try them out with your guitar. that way you have an idea of how it will sound with your Jet. to me, and this is just me, but I would think that a 30 watt amp would be a good amp for your Firebird. have fun shopping.
     
  3. roadjunkie

    roadjunkie Country Gent

    Jul 4, 2008
    Middletown,PA
    You being across the pond I'm not really sure what all is available to you but if I'm correct the three amps you mention are all EL84 based. Most of the small 4 and 5 watt amps are. They are grind machines with few cleans and in a lot of worlds that is a great thing. There are octal based amps where the gain structure give a bit more headroom but still not much. I don't like a sterile clean anyhow. I need a bit of grit and snarl in my clean tone and I love these small amps.

    Your Power Jet is loaded with TVJ Powertrons which have a more pronouned mid section. You will drive an amps mid section more so and in the case of an EL84 based amp it does the middy thing already. See what's available in a small single ended octal based amp in your area and try them on for size. I currently own two. A fargen bastage which will take any octal based tube w\a EF86 pre. Then I have a Allen prototype which is a SE 10 6l6 watt driving three 10 inch speakers two channel champ on one and plexi in the other.

    My favorite was a TopHat Prince Royale which was a true Vox AC4 clone. The EL84 amps do have their charm!
     
  4. Bonedaddy

    Bonedaddy Banned

    Jun 8, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Vox AC4TV. Best bang for the buck on the market right now. 250.00 bucks. Plenty loud and you can cut the power from 4 watts down to 1 watt or 1/4 watt. The Princeton 65 is a solid state amp, I'd steer clear. The Fender Vibro Champ XD gets mixed reviews, but the on I heard sounded pretty good. For what it's worth; I've got a Swart STR. It's 5 watts, hand wired etc.... I've also got the AC4TV. The Swart is 1400 bucks. Is it 7 times better than the AC4TV? Hardly.
     
  5. Scott

    Scott Country Gent

    Age:
    55
    Jun 27, 2008
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Not sure, but I think Flynnski may have been referring to the Fender Princetron Reverb reissue. Doesn't matter really...Fender's been living off their reputation for years.
     
  6. Bonedaddy

    Bonedaddy Banned

    Jun 8, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Yeah, the Princeton Reverb Reissue is a great amp. That solid state one, not so much :)
     
  7. roadjunkie

    roadjunkie Country Gent

    Jul 4, 2008
    Middletown,PA
    Of course it is! Well I don't know about 7 times as much but way more useful, better built and of course a lush verb. Not to say the Vox isn't a great amp! One could be on my agenda someday. The one thing that bothers me about them is that it's missing the EF86 pre like the original had. I think it makes that much of a difference. Gets me to missing my ole lil 4 watt Tophat!
     
  8. Flynnski

    Flynnski Country Gent

    Apr 14, 2009
    Cheltenham UK
    It seems that many Gretsch-talkies are hot 'n horny for Vox amps (e.g. AC30s / AC15s). Why is that?
     
  9. roadjunkie

    roadjunkie Country Gent

    Jul 4, 2008
    Middletown,PA
    It's a great matchup! Almost as popular as the Gretsch Fender mix. Both Dynas and filters have a great blend with a middy based amp like the Vox. If you feel a Fender clean is too sterile that gritty British clean is the way to go. I love Fenders but tend to lean towards Vox and Marshall tones nowadays.
     
  10. coolbus18

    coolbus18 Country Gent

    Age:
    72
    Feb 27, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I agree. It's gonna be my next amp. I have a Vox VT30 now and it can blow windows out! 5 watts is plenty And if you buy the head and cab, the cab is a 12 incnch speaker whilst the combo has a 10incher.:D
     
  11. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Age:
    34
    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    +100000000 to all of that, way to go RJ :)
     
  12. Flynnski

    Flynnski Country Gent

    Apr 14, 2009
    Cheltenham UK
    Never thought of 'head /cabinet' to get a better sound !

    Flynnski
     
  13. roadjunkie

    roadjunkie Country Gent

    Jul 4, 2008
    Middletown,PA
    Tara I like the oddities! My last amp was a topboost channel that was powered by 6V6's. The AC4 clone I was talking about in the thread was if fact that but sounded more like a lil Supro. My current Ambassador was described to me as Fender blackface meets Dumble. I guess I can see that but I tend to think it does more of its own thing. It will breakup earlier the any 50 watt blackface yet plenty of cleans with a reverb that would make Leo envious. I say that and I'm not really a reverb type person. To top it off I can almost dial in some Vox like tones with the mid sweep on this amp.

    Now that lil 10 watt Allen I have the Champ side I would say isn't loud enough to gig. It might record well but plug into that plexi side it will knock you over into a backflip and when you stand up your underwear will be tied in a knot. I'm happy that I have the only one. Marshall should have done a 3x10 plexi all along.
     
  14. Flynnski

    Flynnski Country Gent

    Apr 14, 2009
    Cheltenham UK
    In anticipation of my new Gretsch TVP PowerJet this Friday, I tried out a few amps on the weekend on my Epi Sheraton with Gibson 57 PAFs.

    The Blackstar 5- watt combo (1 Celestion 10) and their head + 2 x 10s mini-stack [cute!]. The distortion channel is awesome but minimal headroom in the clean channel. But great for the money! Started by 2–ex-Marshall engineers few years ago, Blackstars are very well-built; and their Artisan 30/15 amps are winning awards left & right.

    Vox Valvetronix. Not bad if you want a modeling amp with lots of effects. But IMO, Blackstar has more balls and better made.

    When I get my Gretsch will try a Vox AC15. Speaking of which, why don’t AC30s/15s (and some Fender valves) come with a middle dial or a bright switch?

    Flynnski
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  15. mugsy

    mugsy Synchromatic

    760
    Nov 3, 2008
    Indiana
    The "middle" is a fixed resistor value on the circuit board. In the case of the Vox, it's 10k. When a middle control is added, the fixed resistor is replaced by a potentiometer, usually a 25k.

    Some new Voxes have a bright switch, but it's called a "brilliance" or "brilliant" switch (I don't remember which). Some have a separate channel where the basses frequencies are attenuated more.
     
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