A few weeks back, I started a thread about two new "bedroom" amps that I bought - A Friedman Runt 20 and an Orange Dual Terror. Then, I found a good deal on a used Runt 50 through a shop with a great return policy, so I thought, "Why not? Let's give it a try, and do a proper A-B test between the 20 and the 50. I can always return it." I think this may have been the devil on my shoulder talking, not the angel. First off, some pictures: Here's the Runt 50, dialed in for my tastes: Back panel, just for fun: There aren't many A-B reviews of these amps, so I hope this can be helpful to anyone else who is on the fence and can't try them locally. It was fun to compare these two amps, and more of a surprise than I expected. In spite of the fact that these are based on the same design, they have some real differences: FORM FACTOR: Honestly, this one goes to the Runt 20. It's a great size - not little like a Tiny Terror or a Mini Rec, but small enough that it's almost cute, and pleasantly light to lug around. It fits perfectly on a vertical 2x12 cab, and it's just fun to have a pissed off little modded Marshall in such a convenient package. The Runt 50 is by no means a large amp, but it is more of a full sized head. It's comparable to the Orange full sized heads, but not so deep, and not as heavy. Still, the larger chassis and larger iron do make this closer in weight to big heads than to the lunchbox camp. If I had a lot of running around to do, I'd prefer the Runt 20. CLEAN CHANNELS: The clean channels are both good, but they are different. The 20 is definitely more Voxy, but it is a good pleasant clean tone, and the bright switch makes it very usable with brighter and darker guitars. It stays clean up until around noon, and then it began to get some hair on it, increasing as you turn it up. The 50 is more "Blackface", although I'm no expert on Fenders. The tone controls are a nice addition, and mixed with the bright switch, they give you some nice flexibility. This channel has a lot of bass, and I rolled the bass control down under 9 o'clock. It's an excellent clean, but it's not quite a Deluxe Reverb. That being said, I only used it with a V30 loaded 2x12 and a Creamback H loaded 2x12 - it would be interesting to hear it through a cab with Jensens in it. Regardless, I would rate both cleans very well, with the slight edge going to the 50. Also worthy of note, the 50 clean is VERY loud. If you look at my settings, you'll see that the volume is just barely cracked, and that was plenty. DIRTY CHANNELS: These sound more similar, and i would attribute most of the differences to wattage and power tubes. Part of me felt like the 20 needed more gain, but I think this is partially about perspective. What I mean is that I typically don't run my amps above 3 o'clock on the gain knob - above that it gets mushy without producing a notable increase in saturation. Both of the Runts are genuinely usable throughout the whole sweep of the gain control - I like the low gain settings, and I also like the gain completely dimed. For whatever reason, I preferred the 20 with the gain dimed, and the 50 with the gain around 3 o'clock. I think the 50 has a bit more clarity, but perhaps I just didn't get the 20 dialed in as well. People have described the 50 as sounding "more aggressive", and I think that's a fair statement. Either of these amps should have enough gain for all but modern metal players, just don't be afraid to turn the gain all the way up. As low-end thump goes, the 50 is the winner. Neither amp is what I would call "modern" bass heavy, but the 50 had more chunk in the bottom. These amps are brighter and more upper mid focused, so I turned the treble and presence down to 10 o'clock. I was actually surprised to see one guy had these controls almost all the way up in his videos - I found it too bright with these controls above noon. Also, I typically like high midrange settings, but the sweet spot for these amps was right around noon. Finally, both of these amps have a quality that I prize - they manage to have a tone with great presence, crunch, and clarity, but switch to the neck pickup and you'll get smooth, liquid high gain leads. I know I use that phrase ad nauseum, but it's one of my very favorite sounds. It's awesome to be able to get aggressive, high gain, rhythm chords and smooth leads without changing settings. MASTER VOLUME: This really applies mostly to the 50 watt amp. The 20 had a wider sweep of "usable" volume, and it was pretty loud by 12 o'clock. The 20 is still loud, but it would probably be the better choice for most home players. I ran this one around 10:30 to noon, and I probably got the tubes working a bit harder than the 50. It gets quiet, but I'll admit, I didn't really focus on the really low volume sounds. I was able to bring this one in the bedroom and close the door, so I could get away with more volume. If your want to work the tubes harder, you'll probably want this one. Now the 50: As many have stated, Friedman master volumes are pretty impressive - just not for the reason I expected. The magic of the master is that the amp sounds so damn good at really low volume levels. My wife and kids came home, and I rolled it down to down to "why bother" volume, and kept playing with them in the room. After a few minutes, I suddenly realized that I didn't want to stop playing because it still sounded good. I almost never do this - most tube amps don't sound good to me at conversational volume. The Runt was the rare exception, and I am pleasantly surprised. The 50 gets really loud fast, and this is the case on both channels. The clean channel is barely cracked, and it is plenty loud. It's not hard to dial in a good volume with either channel, but even the dirty channel was louder at 9 o'clock than my 50 watt Jubilee was at 11:30. So in summary, the range of usable volume is small, but it's not hard to dial in what you need. I had a Mesa MKIV that was super twitchy - a tiny movement could make it painfully loud. The Friedman is much better. FOOTSWITCHES The Friedman single button footswitch is a nice little all steel unit, and it comes with a USA made removable standard guitar cable. I checked, and it does work with other guitar cables. I really like this feature - god forbid you wreck the cable at a gig, you can always find a spare guitar cable. A TRS cable? Not so much. So why am I telling you about the footswitch? When the Runt 50 came (used, not new), the footswitch was missing, and the other footswitches I tried (Jet city and Orange) didn't work with the Friedman amps. The Oranges are even the same style as the Friedman (they both use a removable guitar cable), but they must be wired differently internally. I didn't have a Marshall footswitch to try, so it would be nice to know if those work with Friedmans. Thankfully Boutique Amp Distribution will sell you a new footswitch, but it kind of stinks to have to pay retail for a new one. On the bright side? The Friedman footswitch worked with all my other amps, so whatever they're doing with the wiring, it seems to be the best solution. QUALITY / FIT & FINISH Both of these amps were beautiful - everyone says this about Friedmans, and the word is true. I'm not sure what it is, but they just feel expensive. The only thing I didn't care for were the mini rocker switches - they function fine and they felt good, they just look small and appliance like in my opinion. But hey, we know what opinions are worth, and nobody buys an amp for the power switch. The offset cab gives them a unique look without being too radical. I was impressed, and there's not much more to say. SUMMARY: I really wanted to like the Runt 20 best. I don't think I've ever wanted to love an amp so much as this one. It's $400 cheaper, beautifully crafted, it's a more appropriate wattage for a non-gigging home player, the size and weight are just right, etc, etc. That being said, the Runt 50 was the one I preferred. It's actually too loud for my needs, bigger and more powerful that I wanted (remember, I was looking for a literal bedroom amp), and more expensive. But for whatever reason, the tone of that amp worked better for my ears. The 20 is a great amp, and I don't want to discourage anyone from getting it. From the moment I plugged into it, I could tell why people like Friedmans. I just prefer the 50, and as always, your mileage may vary.