Other Amps

Home studio amp recommendations?

1

After having gone without an amp for a long time (I played in bands in high school and college), I need to get an amp for my home office/studio.

I currently don't play out, but would like something that I could take out if I needed to to play solo or with others - a small club would be the biggest place I'd need to use it.

I don't have a strong preference for tube vs solid state - mainly because I haven't had an amp for 15 years. Budget tops out around $7-800, but if I get something good in the $3-500 range, I'd probably be happy.

I have two Taylor acoustics that I just plug/mic into my Focusrite 2i4 interface for recording. The electrics I have are:

Gretsch 6120 (yay!) Fender hard-tail strat with upgraded pickups (hot single coils) Fender Telecaster with SD Hot Stack bridge pickup ES-335 clone w/Golden Age Parsons Street pickups

Most of what I play is Chet-type fingerstyle, but I do country and classic/early rock as well.

Amps I'm considering are:

Roland Cube 30 Hot Fender Hot Rod Deluxe /Blues Junior

Any others I should look at?

2

In that price range I'm a total sucker for an AC15. It's one of my favorite amps.

3

My first suggestion is to look locally for a relatively new amp that wasn't used much. This route allows you to get a decent discount and to buy effectivelymore amp for the same dollars you have available.

If you'd like a few effects in a tube amp, I recommend the Fender Super Champ X2, separate head and cab version only as it has the upgraded 12" Celestion speaker vs the 10" in the combo. 15 watts but it will do for smaller venue gigs.

4

Get a Quilter Aviator. They're somewhat expensive, but are lightweight, sound great, and are loud enough for small gigs.

5

You might want to check out a Phil Jones AG100 acoustic cub amp. It's small yet puts out 100 watts!! I used to have one and they sound GREAT!! The reason I DON'T still have it I was hankerin' for a 25L15 and needed funding for that. They have 2 - 5 inch speakers and you wouldn't believe the tone you can get out'a them. Plenty of bass and clear crisp highs. They only weigh 12 pounds!! You owe it to yourself to at least plug in and try one out. I think you will be very surprised. And if you want to go really small and portable you might be interested in the HOTONE MOJO DIAMOND. Check out the youtube videos. I have one and for a 5 watt'er they are super nice. They emulate a vintage Fender tweed amp. I take mine back and forth to church where we have had 2 episodes of "undocumented visitors" who took a likin' to a lot of guitars and amps and other electronics!!! Small enough to carry in your pocket. BUT you still need a speaker and/or cab. They do make a small speaker cab for it but I can't testify about it never hearing or trying one. Both are great tone-wise and very portable. Be sure and come back and let us all know which amp you finally decide on. Thanks, Steve

6

Stay away from a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe unless you are playing large venues (like a large theater or stadium ) they are that loud. In your price range, a Fender Blues Jr will sound ok but they do suffer from the "boxiness" that tends to go with a smallish cab. Vox AC15's can cover lots of ground and are loud enough to play with a band and have a master vol so you can play at home w/o having the Police knocking (I do recommend changing out the stock reverb pan w/ a MOD pan; a fullsize 17" will fit FYI). The newer Vox AC10 actually has been given more love than the AC15. Great tone w/o blowing the doors off and easily toted about. You can't go wrong with a clean, used, Fender Princeton Reverb or Deluxe Reverb Reissue. Princetons have their own great sweet tone while the Deluxe at 22 watts is quite a bit more amp but will get you through most live situations and both record well, especially the Princeton which would be the better choice for home use. If you can push the budget up a bit I would highly recommend a DeLisle, handmade by our own Mugsy. These are serious handmade, point to point wired, tone machines with fullsize, solid wood cabs that are built to last a lifetime plus. Better yet, they can be had in several different configuirations from 5 watts on up depending on your needs and a great menue of options. Do your homework, there is plenty of nice stuff out there in your price range.

7

Those recent roland blues cubes look like a lot of fun. You'd get a good sound for clean and distorted at home volumes and the mid size models would be good for gigs. Light weight and tempting!

8

Tubes, 5-15watts maximum. A VOX AC10 is worth a look as is a Fender Princeton. Jer/Mugsy at DeLisle can make you exactly what you want.

9

1970's Traynor YGM-3 https://washingtondc.craigs... https://baltimore.craigslis...

1970's Fender Super Reverb https://washingtondc.craigs... https://baltimore.craigslis...

1970's Twin Reverb https://washingtondc.craigs... https://washingtondc.craigs...

This De Lisle, I don't know much about them or if this is a good deal, some people on this message board like them. https://washingtondc.craigs... another one http://www.guitarcenter.com...

Also unknown old beat-up Gretsch http://www.guitarcenter.com...

Ampeg http://www.guitarcenter.com...

10

Thanks for the kind words, fellas!

That's Strum's old 15P in that Guitar Center link

11

The AC15 is a great sounding amp, but it's pretty heavy for a 15 watt, single 12 amp. The AC10 sounds great, and is a fraction of the weight. To put my money where my mouth is, I have an outstanding sounding AC15 twin that is just too awkward to move around, so I'm trading in towards an AC10. I think it will be great for home/studio and I can mic it for small gigs. The Princeton is a great one too-I'd recommend the 65 RI and not the 68-the ones that had no issues sounded great, but there have been several with issues. The thing there is the Vox is half the price.

12

Lots of positive support for tube amps - is there a solid-state amp that is 'good enough' (like the new Roland BC 30), or is the additional cost / lower reliability and maintenance that a tube amp may require worth it? (obviously a subjective question).

Specific example, similar price ranges -

Roland Blues Cube 30 Hot vs Fender Blues Jr.

13

Well yeah, like the blues cube I mentioned earlier. The tube amps in comparison need to be turned up to perform at their maximum ability. Loud, even at 5w. A blues cube will be great at any volume. For pure tonal quality, the tube amps will get the most votes. Depends on your neighbours!

14

Well yeah, like the blues cube I mentioned earlier. The tube amps in comparison need to be turned up to perform at their maximum ability. Loud, even at 5w. A blues cube will be great at any volume. For pure tonal quality, the tube amps will get the most votes. Depends on your neighbours!

15

I don't need to be overly loud - and I may favor reliability over 'pure' sound (if the SS sound is 'good enough'), so I'll plan on test-driving the BC30 along with some comparably sized tube amps to see if I can actually tell the difference.

16

With modern production, I wouldn't put ss as being more reliable than tube (once you swap out the cheap ones that come with the amp). They are all printed circuit boards which can suffer the same reliability issues regardless. Wanting to play both quietly and loud enough for a small club may limit your options.

I would still promote the Princeton reverb type option so that you have a great recording and smallish gig amp (plus anything louder will likely be mic'd anyway). I agree that tube amps turned down low don't sound their best, but a kind of turned down Princeton still sounds nice (especially comparing to ss amps in my opinion). I also really like Ampeg jets in that range (watch preamp tubes, they're very reliable but hard to come by depending on the year).

I play an vox ac4 at home and gig with a slightly modded Clark Beaufort (5e3) or a 63/64 tremolux. As much as I love my 5e3 and use it to record, I don't play it at home since it pretty much just has one volume - on. A tweed champ would be a great recording amp but probably won't meet your gigging needs.

17

Oh, the ac15 is nice, too. One of my band members uses one. I agree with swapping the reverb tank as well.

18

Sounds like I should put the Vox AC15 on my to-play list. Used ones seem to be priced well, and between the tube and reverb tank mods, like it can be upgraded easily. Hopefully I'll be able to get out this weekend and try a few different amps.

19

The AC15 IS heavy, but it sounds really great and has reverb and tremolo. Is tremolo (in particular) isn't all that important, the AC10 also sounds really good.

20

Small, small and small. Low watts unless noise is not a problem. Depending on how important right hand dynamics are, you several options. If it's not that important, some Super Champ XD will do. Lot's of sounds. If right hand dynamics are important, you got those top tube amps like Carr and another brand I keep forgetting. But they are expensive. A Quilter has some of the tube character but not 100%. It is a great amp though. The latest Blues Cubes, and ONLY the latest, have a really great right hand dynamics emulator. It is really tube like. For that semi dirt edge when you dig in.

21

I haven't had a chance to play one of these yet (Supro 1668RT), but know someone who swears by it (for gigging and recording). The price is interesting, to say the least. Adding to the list to try out.

https://www.sweetwater.com/...

22

If you like the AC15, don't need reverb and trem and you want something portable yet loud, have someone build you a minimalist AC15 in a 1x12 combo cab. Add a VVR power scaling circuit and you can crank it without bothering the guy in the next room.

23

I remain a big fan of the Yamahas

24

If you like the AC15, don't need reverb and trem and you want something portable yet loud, have someone build you a minimalist AC15 in a 1x12 combo cab. Add a VVR power scaling circuit and you can crank it without bothering the guy in the next room.

– Powdog

Power scaling.....! It's the future! Don't know why it isn't featured more on amps

25

If you like the AC15, don't need reverb and trem and you want something portable yet loud, have someone build you a minimalist AC15 in a 1x12 combo cab. Add a VVR power scaling circuit and you can crank it without bothering the guy in the next room.

– Powdog

Part of my decision is 'how much crap do I have to deal with' in repairs / maintenance / reliability. I've started a lot of projects that later on, I would have been better off not starting in the first place - namely, upgrading a cheap guitar to play and sound like a great one. I've done that a few times, and while they play well, they've been more of a pain to deal with than buying the better guitar in the first place.

I can bolt things together....but I don't know jack about electronics, and probably shouldn't start breaking out the soldering iron to learn now. That's the attraction of the solid-state amps. If they sound 'good enough', what additional sound benefit do I get by using real tubes and a reverb tank.....vs knowing that I'll either be upgrading tubes or replacing ones that fail?

Obviously, this debate has been going on since the early '60s, and I'd probably be OK just grabbing a decent SS amp and being done with it....The biggest questions I need to ask are 'Do I like the sound?', and afterwards...'Am I glad that I bought this?'


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