Best tube amp for bedroom levels

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by jcas367, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. jay1williams

    jay1williams Senior Member

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    That's why I have my POD on the block - too many options

    volume + tone for the win
     
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  2. Drewcifer

    Drewcifer Senior Member

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    Check out the Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister. It's 18 Watts and you can turn it down to 5, 1, or 0 for direct to a mixer or some kid of audio interface.
     
  3. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    Your master volume will still be set at like 0.5 for bedroom volume. You also have to tweak the tone stack a bit.
    Yes, he makes "plexi" style amps, several. They are all listed on the website.
    JTM18 = JTM45

    SIBLY = Superlead
    Both of those are "Plexi" type amps.

    The MLP 35 is based on a JTM45 but has an extra gain stage this = plexi......
    he also has the Lite IIB which is based on the Marshall 18 watt amps, all considered "Plexi" amps.

    A good low volume sound isn't about where the master is set, it's about how CLEAR, and ARTICULATE it sounds when set that low. Meaning, you can turn it down without it turning your sound into a muddy mess.

    Don't take this the wrong way, but some of your posts on this are a bit confusing. Not really sure what you expect the amp to do, or if you know what you are really looking for.

    BTW, youtube clips are an awful way to tell what an amp sounds like in person The mic on a vid cam is designed to pick up the human voice. You are missing a TON of bandwidth in the sound, as well as harmonics, and what harmonics do come through, they are usually fizzy/fuzzy on a vid cam.
     
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  4. Luckynumber3

    Luckynumber3 Senior Member

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    Cool, I will have to check out the phaezes with the other tubes.

    And by fuzzy, it is really different to me, so I guess it is more of me adjusting to what it sounds like. It does seem to sound really clear though.

    I guess you are right, but I personally still try to use some of the power amp at room levels, and when everybody says that they all do great bedroom tones, by my standards the daisycutter might but i'd expect the jtm 18 and others to still blow down my walls.

    That phaez thread is 120-something pages long, and seems to be more of the same people talking about the amps that they already have than "everybody else come in and sask about phaez"- I mean, it is a huge thread!

    True, they seem pretty awesome too, and the low watts feature could be good for the op.:dude:

    The master set at .5 is the thing I'm kinda talking about- I typically don't set the master that low, I set it so I do use the poweramp still (so instead of being small and odd sounding, it sounds better). This is part of the reason why my Blues Junior is so loud- a daisycutter would bebetter, but I doubt that a jtm18 isgoing to be any quiter. Of course, since the phaezes do have better master volumes, I could run them quiter and still have the preamp sound good, but I really can't run the bigger ones in the same way that I do with my Blues Junior, or my ears would be destroyed. I pretty much just said the same thing in this post right above this quote, but this is my problem I guess: I have a different definition of bedroom tones and using an amp to get there. Also, my blues junior sounds like crap when the power amp isn't there, so my understanding of master volumes/ low volumes also varies there, but the phaez is supposed to be able to run at lower volumes and still sound great no matter how you use the master, which is where im still not 100% sure at.

    And I know theres the jtm 18 and sibly- I thought these were all modded and not exactly a traditional plexi?

    And what do you mean by confusing posts? I guess I am still looking around and not 100% solid on what I want yet, just that I want an amp that can go quiter. I'm still looking into them- these Phaez amps seem to be the best thing I can get unless I spend a few thousand more, but im still not entirely sure if I want the daisycutter or what. I guess when the time comes, I'll have to ask you guys more or send some emails to really scope in on what I wan't to buy.
     
  5. drpietrzak

    drpietrzak Senior Member

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    Killer Ant and pedal.
     
  6. onioner

    onioner Senior Member

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    I prefer "thick," but I think I get what you're talking about. What really gets me is how the preamp seems to have a great deal of depth to it, and almost a natural reverbishness. Personally, I love it best with the gain a bit higher than 'clean with hair,' where you can really hear every little bit of distortion, but in my case, that's the gain right over or under 12 o'clock. Point being, there's plenty more.

    Well, ya gotta use some power amp to get any sound... But, you're not really gonna ever push a power amp, much less get power amp distortion, at low volumes. It's worth noting that the higher wattage Phaezes can still get some great reasonably low volume sounds, definitely low enough to not blow out the walls. The only I one I can speak to directly is the Corona, at 25 watts. It can sound quite nice at reasonable volume levels, but it doesn't really do the whisper quiet thing very well. Well, ok, maybe far better than your average amp, but I still don't use it when I need to be seriously quiet. Then again, asking to be able to play any tube amp at whisper quiet is a bit much. Honestly, this Daisycutter I have is the only one I've ever heard sound good at ridiculously low volumes. Now, I should point out that it's still not pleasing, but that's because it's so quiet. Mic it, like in the clip, and I think it sounds great. It should be obvious that no amp can do anything about low volume being inherently unpleasing.

    Huge indeed, but flip through and see that there are many times that folks have popped on with their individual questions. It's certainly appropriate. I'm not saying you have to post there, or even that you should, but you certainly may.

    Indeed. "Low volume" and "bedroom level" can mean a lot of things. It would help if you could better breakdown exactly what you're shooting for. If "loud, but not so loud that the walls shake" is low enough, then the world is your oyster, and any really good MV amp should be able to get you there (albeit with only preamp distortion). If you need tv or conversation levels that starts to get more difficult. If you need 'baby sleeping two doors down' volumes... that's where it gets really problematic. There's no real happy ending there. You can find the best there is (which in my not expansive experience is my Daisycutter), but it's never going to be entirely pleasing, in no small part because it's so quiet. But, if that's the situation you're in, and that's what you need, then that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

    No Phaez is an exact clone. They're all different one way or another. Heck, that's why we like Phaez. IMO, they're significant improvements over the amps they resemble. The Daisycutter in particular (which includes the SIBLY) is really a thing of it's own, though parts of it bear strong resemblance's to other amps.

    Yup. Cheers, and happy hunting.
     
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  7. cnew

    cnew Member

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    Someone needs to make a giant list of ALL tube amps up to 15 watts, and sticky the damn thing. This topic has been brought up so many bloody times
     
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  8. Jeramy James

    Jeramy James Member

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    Check out the Jet City JCA20H.
     
  9. onioner

    onioner Senior Member

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    Look up.

    But, asking for a list of "ALL" tube amps up to 15 watts is a bit absurd. Even asking for a list of all tube amps up to 15 watts is asking entirely too much. I think we're fine with "one heck of a" list.
     
  10. Luckynumber3

    Luckynumber3 Senior Member

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    Yes, for the first part, I meant you have to kinda turn the master up a little bit not only to get the preamp to not sound all muddy, but also so make it just a bit fatter. Obviously I will never drive the power amp at all.


    And for the thread, yeah I have popped in a few times to ask questions, I just feel that thing is so darn long that im getting lost in it or something, lol.

    And for volume, I guess I should clarify. With my blues junior facing the bed and a pillow a foot or so behind it laying against the wall (seems to make the sound a little more focused, eliminates ear splitting reverb, etc.), it downs out my normal talking voice from the other side of the room. If it could do this without me having to make my speaker face the bed or something else, then it would be a sucessfull bedroom amp.

    Also, I am kinda worried about losing my hearing too, which is another reason why I do this. I could probably crank it louder, but sitting near the amp at the current volumes is actually painful for my ears.

    So, I guess I don't really want "baby next room over volumes," just something that allows me to uncover my speakerand play without losing too much tone or being phsyically painful/ hurtful to my hearing in the long run.

    For the final part, that is kinda what I thought. That means that I can't really get a super close close clone of nay amp, but the modded one are probably somewhat close, just with different characteristics.

    Anyways, thanks, that is helpful.:D

    Yeah, we do have a sticky already.

    However, a list of all those amps could be done, but obviously there would have to be a rating by like price range or boutique/ non boutique (a guy who wants a $200 1 watt head isn't going to want some $1000+ amp). It would be hard though to find all the possible amps out there though.
     
  11. onioner

    onioner Senior Member

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    That's just having a good master. There are plenty of amps out there that have to have the master up to two or three to not sound like mud. The Corona has to get up to a good solid one in order to sound ok. The daisycutter sounds lovely as soon as it starts to produce sound.

    But really, this puts you in a good position. You're not asking too much at all. Really, you just need a good MV amp. Doesn't even have to be really low wattage. You can play a push/pull w/ two power tubes with a good master. Keep it under 30 or so. Lots, and lots, and lots of options.

    Of course, I still recommend a Phaez, but only because they're incredibly awesome for an excellent price and all. There are plenty of other amps that could meet your volume needs.

    My God would that be a can of worms... I'll pass on that thread.
     
  12. coldsteal2

    coldsteal2 V.I.P. Member

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    I play my Vintage Modern in my bedroom, i just turn the
    master down, no complaints from the neighbors
     
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  13. colchar

    colchar Banned

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    It is there right at the top of this section of the forum.
     
  14. olwanger

    olwanger Senior Member

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    +1 for the Blackstar HT5.
    Also I would consider the VHT Special 6 Ultra(head or combo).It has a built in attenuator for low volume bedroom practice but unlike some others this one seems to actually work quite well.Hand wired,6V6 power tubes,two 12ax7 preamps,effects loop and 4,8 and 16 ohm speaker jacks.And they advertise it has a mod-friendly eyelet type board.
    I have it on my To Get List myself.I plan to get the head then one or two Avatar cab's with single 12" 30 watt Greenbacks.
     
  15. onioner

    onioner Senior Member

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    One thing I forgot to mention is that the BJ has one of the worst volume swoops I have ever heard. Sounds like mud until nine o'clock, and is still pretty lame until it's cranked. Honestly it's one of my most disliked amps out there. I really don't understand how anyone can like it for home use. My point is that having to set the master to at leastt a quater is a flaw with the amp, not something inherant in amp design.
     
  16. joesnewmatch

    joesnewmatch Senior Member

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    Bedroom playing is all about compromise, and it really depends on the style of music you play.

    I've always been a strictly home player, and I've owned a number of amps over the years, with varying degrees of success. I would have thought that my old Dr. Z Mini would have been perfect, but it was way too loud! My Top Hat before that had an amazing master volume, but was just pushing way too much air for my needs. Then I had a Victoria 518 champ copy that sounded wonderful with Fender single coils and pedals, but completely farted out with my humbuckers, due to the cab and speaker size.

    I still have a Mesa 5:25, which sounds great for more modern tones and classic rock, with a ton of distortion options. Even on the 5 watt setting, you're still really playing the preamp, which is fine. My most recent purchase is a Carr Mercury, which I find to be the most perfect option for bedroom playing so far. It has a 12" speaker, so it doesn't sound tinny or boxy, and wattage options of 1/10, 1/2, 2, and 8. I tend to favor 1/10 and 2. As far as clean goes, 2 watts is fine, and 8 is all I will ever need at home. The Fenders love it, and so does my PRS/Gibsons. The 1/10s setting with boost/drive gives up a nice marshally kind of el-34 crunch with my LP -- but at listenable volumes. It won't sound great, but I can still play with real tube distortion at conversational levels, to keep the kids asleep and the wife happy. The only problem is that it's ridiculously expensive. I got mine used, for a great price, or I wouldn't have it.

    And then there's my most used amp, by far -- a Roland Micro Cube (with a good pair of headphones). That's the single best $100 I've ever spent on gear, to date.
     
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  17. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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    That's what I've used for the past few years. The Micro Cube. No it's not tube, but here is my "take" on bedroom amps. I want a decent sounding amp with a few effects to use as a "sketch pad." I use it to practice, compose, try out new ideas on a frequent, almost daily basis. I'd keep my better tube amps for playing out. I don't need the tube amp(s) for practicing. With the Micro Cube, I have control over my volume so that no one gets annoyed in the house; versatility with the amp models it has, so that I don't get bored and for when my mood changes from mellow playing to over the top. Most of the great small amps that I've heard or played still are way to loud for my home.

    Classicplayer
     
  18. nicolasrivera

    nicolasrivera Senior Member

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    Now its very hard to beat this for complete bedroom playing! you wont disturb anybody.

    One of the single most important features is the CD/mp3 in, just plug your ipod in and rock on with backing tracks.

    Chasing great tube tone at 1 watts volume is insane!! any tube builder can tell you this!!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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  20. cnew

    cnew Member

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    That was the joke, although "one heck of a list" would suffice
     

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