Is there a good low ampage tube amp?

Ashley1983

Gretschie
Aug 9, 2020
158
England
Having played amps with a single, 10" speaker, I would go for an amp with a 12" speaker, like the VOX AC4C1-12 (4 watts).

voac4c112vb.jpg


Though a 4X10 '59 Fender Bassman sounds great.

Nail…. Head…. Bloody brilliant little amp this… you have good taste
 

Gretschtim1

Country Gent
Dec 4, 2012
3,629
Dundalk, Md
I bought one and they were terrible!…. Really really terrible… and they don’t sound like any Vox I owned. It went straight on Gumtree (Craigslist to the yanks) and come poor sod bought it.

For playing at home I’ve had to settle on a Orange Crush which is a better amp not perfect but decent. Next I’m just gonna go all out and get the iridium and stop buying gear blind. I love the sound of tube amp and all this tat doesn’t come close. The best home amp I owned with a headphone out was a Vox Superbeetle which was decent but I got rid of it as it made my Aclam Dr Robert pedal sound very different to how it sounded on my HWac15 and it was giving me the hump so I got sold it for more or less what I bought it for minus about 30 quid
Well to each his own. I own several classic Vox amps including a 1965 AC 30 with top boost. I didn't say it sounds like a Vox. I said it's sound is somewhere between a Vox and Fender amp. I play it through a Vox AC 15 cabinet with a Celestion Alnico blue and it sounds good to me. I also use it to run right into a Neve preamp for getting a direct sound with my Rickenbacker 12 string and it works great that way with an 1176 compressor on the back end. Sometimes you have to work with an amp and know it's limitations to get the best out of them. I mean really who in their right mind would ever think they were going to get the sound of a $3000 classic Vox Ac 30 out of a $150 practice amp...:confused:.
The video Merc posted above of the V5 is the combo version with 8 inch speaker. The T 5 is just the head. I don't know but I think the video on that demo sounds pretty good - the cleans are very nice. The T 5 through a Celestion Alnico blue sounds even better to me.
 
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Gretschtim1

Country Gent
Dec 4, 2012
3,629
Dundalk, Md
Having played amps with a single, 10" speaker, I would go for an amp with a 12" speaker, like the VOX AC4C1-12 (4 watts).

voac4c112vb.jpg


Though a 4X10 '59 Fender Bassman sounds great.
They are great little amps but the cost might be a bit too much for a super low watt bedroom amp. Midlife seems to be looking for something very quiet. The AC4 is a perky little amp - great tone but maybe a bit too loud...:).
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
16,627
lafayette in
It's a bit of a problem, but, there are many good low wattage amps on the market. Makes it hard to choose just one. Luckily, they're not too expensive, and you can get more than one, adding to your variety of sounds.
 

Midlifecrisis71

Gretschie
Nov 26, 2021
162
Exeter, U.K
Thanks everyone for the input...much appreciated. I see the prices go from suspiciously cheap to eye wateringly expensive. Need to work out how much I want to spend and choose accordingly.

Anyone got the Blackstar HT1 or HT5?
 

GAMBLER1234

Gretschie
Jan 18, 2018
351
Henderson Nevada
I haven't any experience of the lower wattage tube amps but the Tweed Blues Junior I tried sounded great when dialled in to it's sweet spot. The only problem was it was way too loud for home practice. Once I turned the volume down, it lost some of its sparkle and shimmer (don't quite know how else to describe it) and I ended up buying a Blues Cube Hot. Very pleased with that, even though it isn't a tube amp. Has served admirably from home to gig. No need to change any settings, just turn the attenuator from 0.5W or 5W (home) to either 15W or Max (gig) as necessary. I don't tend to play heavy overdrive/distortion, so not sure about how good, or otherwise, the Blues Cube is for those tones compared to other amps.

+1 . The tube amp simulation on these new ones is much much better than in the past.
 

Merc

Friend of Fred
May 6, 2017
5,424
Florida
Thanks everyone for the input...much appreciated. I see the prices go from suspiciously cheap to eye wateringly expensive. Need to work out how much I want to spend and choose accordingly.

Anyone got the Blackstar HT1 or HT5?

Yeah, probably the first question asked should’ve been what’s your spending cap. There’s really so many great small tube amps today that can tickle both whatever anyone fancies and budget. Best of luck on your search and post whatever you pick up. :)
 

TSims1

Gretschified
Jun 18, 2013
12,359
Atlanta
If you aren’t afraid of tech……there are a LOT of great amp sims these days that you can play at whatever volume you choose through a set of computer monitors. Just another option for your consideration. And in that world…..you can have any and every amp you want. ;)
 

T Bone

Country Gent
Apr 14, 2013
2,489
SE Edge of the Mount of Venus
Found this, anyone got one? Looks cool go perfectly with my black 5230:)

View attachment 173113
I just got one of those (the tweed version) a few weeks ago and really like it. It is 1 watt, which is not real powerful, but from your description sounds about right (and even 1 watt can seem too loud to some neighbors or house mates). Watts by the way, not amperage, is the term relating to volume.

A lot of suggestions for 15 to 20 watt amps here. You may well want one down the road, but for now much less will suit what you describe. My travel amp (for hotel stays) is a Vox AC 4 TV Mini, which has an attenuator that reduces power from 4 watts to either 1 watt or 1/10 watt. The 1/10 watt is actually perfect for getting a decent tube sound at unobtrusive volumes. It has a 6.5 inch speaker. They made two larger versions too, with an 8" speaker and a 10" speaker. But those both attenuate from 4 watts to 1, then 1/4 watt. Years ago when I had a roommate, I found even those were enough to annoy her. Hence the Mini. Part of all that is speaker size too, bigger speakers equal more air movement. And more perceived volume.

Some mentions of the Fender Champion 600. Great little amp, I love mine, but I don't think it fits your criteria. It has only one knob, for volume. And it's 5 watts can get rather loud, and if you want to hear tube style break up, you need to turn it up.

Whatever you do decide, keep in mind the potential to deaden the sound too. Pillows or blankets can be used to attenuate to some extent (just discussing this with a friend earlier tonight, getting back into playing and lives in an apartment).

But an amp with a master volume along with main volume might be your best bet. That little 1 watt Supro Delta King 8 has one by the way, along with a tone control, a standby switch and a boost switch (which can also be hooked up to a foot switch). Cool little amp. I'd suggest either that or the Vox AC4 TV Mini.
 
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Gewdkharma

Gretschie
Jan 14, 2018
284
Gig Harbor, WA
Well ignore my previous posts about the SUpro Delta King 10 that I bought and liked. A tube went belly up. Went to GC to exchange, next one had same problem (horrible tube rattle). Ended up changing direction figuring that two of a bad thing represents a problem. I 20220103_132343.jpg got a Blues Junior (something I know and is reliable). Got the limited edition sonic blue one with the Cannabis rex speaker. Sounds wonderful.
 

toddfan

Country Gent
Mar 12, 2012
1,085
Kansas
If you aren’t afraid of tech……there are a LOT of great amp sims these days that you can play at whatever volume you choose through a set of computer monitors. Just another option for your consideration. And in that world…..you can have any and every amp you want. ;)

:eek: WOW...that's a brave statement on any vintage leaning guitar forum...and, I AGREE! (My main "amp" is a Kemper Toaster and Kabinet.)
 

Uncle Daddy

Friend of Fred
Jan 19, 2012
5,880
Maldon UK
A better question would be "how loud is an amp before it to starts to break up?" I use a Princeton Reverb for in the house for cleans, but if I wanted it at the point of breakup it would be too loud for the room, and not having a master volume the only real comfortable way of getting it growly is with a pedal in front.

Realistically a 1w amp in a house is probably enough. Most guys I know that practice indoors use a software interface and play through their computers.

I wish I'd known this starting out. I'd have built fewer amps only to end up trying to tame them with unworkable attenuators and stuff. The 5w Champ on breakup is too loud, and sounds small and boxy otherwise.
 

Waxhead

Friend of Fred
Aug 30, 2014
5,186
Australia
A better question would be "how loud is an amp before it to starts to break up?" I use a Princeton Reverb for in the house for cleans, but if I wanted it at the point of breakup it would be too loud for the room, and not having a master volume the only real comfortable way of getting it growly is with a pedal in front.

Realistically a 1w amp in a house is probably enough. Most guys I know that practice indoors use a software interface and play through their computers.

I wish I'd known this starting out. I'd have built fewer amps only to end up trying to tame them with unworkable attenuators and stuff. The 5w Champ on breakup is too loud, and sounds small and boxy otherwise.

Yes agree but the smart players don't use DAW plugins either cos there's just no need to use them as a home practice tool.

There are many great modern low watt tube amps that have variable wattage options and master volume dials that are fantastic at home volumes. They do clean clean thru to high gain fantastic and can be bought used for under $1000.

I've got DAW plugins too and they're rubbish compared to the tube amps - unusable for me. I don't even like em on my recordings. The FRFR speakers you need to home use a DAW plugin will cost you similar $$ to a modern versatile low watt tube amp anyway.

I own 2 tube amps that do 5, 10, 15 and 25 watts plus have great master dials, plus do fantastic tones right thru the gain range at bedroom volumes but there's many more around.

Fender and Vox don't make any but many other companies do.
And you won't be aware of them if all you ever do is look at Fender and Vox.

Another great option for home using any amp is a Fryette Power Station 2.
It tames any amp, you can crank to your sweet spot and control volume with PS without changing the base tone - it's transparent. It also re-amps up to 50w and has an FX loop. It's a game changer.

I notice many members on GT keep raising the same issues but never look for answers outside of Fender and Vox. All the tube amp answers have been around for over a decade now and are provided by other companies :)

I've been saying this for years here too but still many GT people remain fixated on Fender and Vox :D
 
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Runamok

Country Gent
I can't wear headphones they give me a headache after about ten minutes, same with buds.
That goes away with time (oddly as does your hearing).

Know too many military radio operators who lost a big chunk
of their hearing as they age from wearing headphones in their job.

Tons of youtube reviews out there comparing low wattage amps.
Some of them good. How good a sound do you want & willing to pay for?
 

Runamok

Country Gent
I'm just starting out in guitars so I'm not going to blow a £1000 on an amp yet, looking at £250-£350 range.
Honestly, you could drop $150 (beats me what that is in £) on a practice amp (example Roland Cube GX at 3w, lunchbox size if you have a super-sized lunchbox) with a few effects if you’re not too fussy. Decent enough sound for what you’re trying to do, if you aren’t attempting to dial in a perfect match to a tune.

Its another one of those 5” or 6” speakers.
 


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