Low wattage tube amps.

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Low wattage tube amps.

Postby paulinnc » Sat May 12, 2012 3:45 pm

I have been really into low wattage amps lately. I have been looking into picking up a champ 600 or a BH little Giant and doing the mercury magnetic mods.

What low wattage amps do you like to play? Got any recommendations?
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby Utah Joe » Sat May 12, 2012 4:33 pm

I'm seriously considering going with a Mesa Boogie TA-30 1x12 combo. It allows you to easily switch between 15, 30, and 40 watt output. At $1,749 it's a little pricey but this will likely be the only amp I'll ever need.
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby Jon S. » Sun May 13, 2012 9:28 am

What do you yourself mean by "low wattage" (people use the term to mean quite a variation of amps, as you can already see from the above suggestion - a fine amp but not what I'd necessarily call "low wattage")? And do you want to hear back concerning tube amp options, only, or are you open to low watt SS or digital amps?
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby mgbills » Sun May 13, 2012 10:54 am

+1 on the TA-30. I have the TA-15. I rather wish I'd waited for the 30 head for the onboard reverb. As it is my EHX reverb is quiet enough to go between the guitar & amp, out of the OBEL. It's nice to be able to use the OBEL switch for the Mutron/Octave, and not have to leave it on for the reverb.

I do dig the 6w setting on the TA-15. Even at 6 watts, it's still...loud.
Can't go wrong with Mesa + JBL. Although I'm not sure a triple rectifier Boogie would be a good fit.
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby paulinnc » Sun May 13, 2012 11:01 am

I am talking about really low wattage/small amps, 10 watts or less.
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby Jon S. » Sun May 13, 2012 12:13 pm

Can it be solid state? I have two Roland Cubes, the regular Micro and a just slightly larger Street Cube. I honestly believe you could mic one and do a show with it. I'm always noodling on mine here and there (great for baseball games and other sports on TV or for the backyard or the park, run it on batteries).

http://www.roland.com/products/en/Micro-CUBE/
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby mgbills » Mon May 14, 2012 9:59 am

Mesa TA-15. 6W. Tube. Sweet.
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby strumminsix » Mon May 14, 2012 10:46 am

paulinnc wrote:I am talking about really low wattage/small amps, 10 watts or less.

I was looking for: 1 12AX7 + 1 EL84 and was trying to decide between:
http://www.blackhearteng.com/bh5112.html
http://www.amazon.com/Bugera-V5-Class-A ... B002GHBZ4U

I opted to have my Pro Jr overhauled instead. But those 2 were very tempting!!!
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby FretfulDave » Mon May 14, 2012 1:57 pm

I have the Blackheart Engineering BH5 head and their 1 x12" cab. The amp seems straight forward and nice.

I would rate the amp as medium quality, decent and note that there are higher quality (and price) models out there that offer similar characteristics.

Good luck with your choice.

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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby paulinnc » Mon May 14, 2012 11:03 pm

I am thinking about the little giant head for my next amp, I will do the mods for it when I get around to it.
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby redeyedjim » Tue May 15, 2012 11:32 am

Anyone care to share any more experiences with either the TA-15 or TA-30 Combo? Both look damn sweet, and not just for Jerry/GD stuff. Is the "British" side of the amp more of the Marshall Plexi/Bluesbreaker school, or more AC30-ish? I don't generally dig JCM800-style super high gain amps, but I like a good Marshall Plexi crunch. And how clean is the American/Fender side? Is it suitable for Jerry stuff?

I've been wanting to get a new practice amp, something that will do bedroom levels up to, say, the level of a garage or basement jam -- both of those look like they'd be pretty sweet, especially when paired with a 1 X 12 JBL. The TA-30 is a bit pricey but not outrageous...

Anyway, I guess this post aggravated my GAS :lol:
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby Cmnaround » Tue May 15, 2012 12:18 pm

I'm using a mesa rack preamp (V-twin), the cleans are very nice and sufficient for Jerry tone, but the crunchy is a bit too much. Great for classic rock, but I'm starting to look at stuff like an MXR distortion +, earth drive or similar to throw in front of the mesa clean channel and see how that sounds. For really crunchy stuff, '89-'90 intense other one jams, miracle, victim or the crime, the mesa crunchy works good - but I don't think so much for routine Jerry distortion.

Other nice thing about the clean channel is the built in gain that let's you push a bit on the drive side of the clean and gets a nice tone behind it. I give a +1 for mesa - although pricy, made in Cali and built like a tank.
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby mgbills » Tue May 15, 2012 12:19 pm

For Mr. RedEyedJim,

Folks are probably getting tired of me extolling the virtues of the TA-15.

I think it's a great piece of gear. It does a great Jerry across many eras...Especially '76-'77. I have the TA-15 head & I built a SSP 1x from the drawings Tracy posted. I love it. Great for the bedroom. Plenty of volume for bar gigs. Bigger rooms need more whump. I dial the Bass off, and dime the treble. The TA-15 doesn't have onboard reverb, so I place a EHX Holy Grail between the guitar & the amp. That leaves the OBEL open to bring in the Mutron or Dist+ with the onboard switch. I really like the 15 Watt mode. It'll even bring in some Althea like low-note growl. Not like a big amp, but still cool. The 6 watt mode does it also, but you need to get the volume up a bit.

I also have a '67 Twin Head. It needs to be Jerry/Waldo-afied. TA-15 is much better (and lighter). Now my SMS>Mc250...there are differences, but they're subtle. The SMS rig feels fuller. Both are multi-demensional but in different ways. I used to have a Mesa Mark I with a K120. That sucka was way loud, but it gave me a start on working with a magnificently bright rig. The TA-15 keeps that right-hand practice going. The Vox voiced side with the Top Boost is incredibly dimensional & bright. I've had it over a year, and for my Jerry practice I've switched between the Tweed voicing & the Vox voicing several times.

If you have a JBL cab, haul it into your local music shop. That's what I did. They were accomodating and curious. The one "Jerry Expert" who didn't know what an OBEL was had to tell me that I wasn't Jerry...which believe it or not...I already knew...but the amp with a JBL kept him listening.

To be honest I haven't done a whole bunch with the high-gain stuff. They're nice...but it's pre-amp gain. From that perspective the Mesa setting is fun. The Marshall setting is also cool, I just don't need it. I'm having a licentious affair with the Earth Drive pedal. Just a touch sounds like big 6L6's cranked while cruising on one coil of the middle-pickup. I flip the Super 2 to HB mode, and I'm not kidding here...it's almost to Neil Young Cortez the Killer.

I might've held out for the TA-30 head for the onboard reverb, but then again the 6 watt setting is very useful.

Fun stuff. Happy to answer more questions if I can.
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby tcsned » Tue May 15, 2012 12:21 pm

Cmnaround wrote:I'm using a mesa rack preamp (V-twin), the cleans are very nice and sufficient for Jerry tone, but the crunchy is a bit too much. Great for classic rock, but I'm starting to look at stuff like an MXR distortion +, earth drive or similar to throw in front of the mesa clean channel and see how that sounds. For really crunchy stuff, '89-'90 intense other one jams, miracle, victim or the crime, the mesa crunchy works good - but I don't think so much for routine Jerry distortion.

Other nice thing about the clean channel is the built in gain that let's you push a bit on the drive side of the clean and gets a nice tone behind it. I give a +1 for mesa - although pricy, made in Cali and built like a tank.

I've got one of those Mesa V-Twin preamps too. It's pretty darn cool. I like the combined clean/distorted option. Plus mine once caught fire at a gig and kept working till I saw it and unplugged it :shock:
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Re: Low wattage tube amps.

Postby redeyedjim » Tue May 15, 2012 12:58 pm

mgbills wrote:For Mr. RedEyedJim,

Folks are probably getting tired of me extolling the virtues of the TA-15.

I think it's a great piece of gear. It does a great Jerry across many eras...Especially '76-'77. I have the TA-15 head & I built a SSP 1x from the drawings Tracy posted. I love it. Great for the bedroom. Plenty of volume for bar gigs. Bigger rooms need more whump. I dial the Bass off, and dime the treble. The TA-15 doesn't have onboard reverb, so I place a EHX Holy Grail between the guitar & the amp. That leaves the OBEL open to bring in the Mutron or Dist+ with the onboard switch. I really like the 15 Watt mode. It'll even bring in some Althea like low-note growl. Not like a big amp, but still cool. The 6 watt mode does it also, but you need to get the volume up a bit.

I also have a '67 Twin Head. It needs to be Jerry/Waldo-afied. TA-15 is much better (and lighter). Now my SMS>Mc250...there are differences, but they're subtle. The SMS rig feels fuller. Both are multi-demensional but in different ways. I used to have a Mesa Mark I with a K120. That sucka was way loud, but it gave me a start on working with a magnificently bright rig. The TA-15 keeps that right-hand practice going. The Vox voiced side with the Top Boost is incredibly dimensional & bright. I've had it over a year, and for my Jerry practice I've switched between the Tweed voicing & the Vox voicing several times.

If you have a JBL cab, haul it into your local music shop. That's what I did. They were accomodating and curious. The one "Jerry Expert" who didn't know what an OBEL was had to tell me that I wasn't Jerry...which believe it or not...I already knew...but the amp with a JBL kept him listening.

To be honest I haven't done a whole bunch with the high-gain stuff. They're nice...but it's pre-amp gain. From that perspective the Mesa setting is fun. The Marshall setting is also cool, I just don't need it. I'm having a licentious affair with the Earth Drive pedal. Just a touch sounds like big 6L6's cranked while cruising on one coil of the middle-pickup. I flip the Super 2 to HB mode, and I'm not kidding here...it's almost to Neil Young Cortez the Killer.

I might've held out for the TA-30 head for the onboard reverb, but then again the 6 watt setting is very useful.

Fun stuff. Happy to answer more questions if I can.
Peace :peas:
Marty


Thanks, Marty, that's a very nice endorsement.

I have an E120 in a SSP 1 X 12, so the TA-15 sounds like it might be a pretty good fit for 90% of what I play. Last summer I put together a SMS rig with both a MC50 and a Mesa 50/50 that sounds awesome, but it's too big to keep it setup in the living room, and there's just enough hassle involved to make me not want to set it all up/break it all down just to play for an hour after the kids go to bed. I have a shitty little 20 year old Peavy SS amp that I've been using, but I like the idea of a real tube combo amp that will play at bedroom levels and also scale up to something a little bigger. However, I already own a ! X 12 with an E120, so I like the idea of saving $1k even more. A real, analog reverb would be nice, but I have one of the Wet Reverb pedals, and that sounds pretty good -- not quite the same as a real spring reverb, but good in its own way.

Anyway, thanks for the info. I will put the TA-15 on my short list of amps to check out and keep my eyes open for.
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