Lots of People Looking For/At Low Wattage Amps!

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by hipofutura, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. hipofutura

    hipofutura Senior Member

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    I'm surprised at the number of posts in the last few months from people looking for low watt amps. Be it home use, practice, or small gigs there seems to be great interest in this type of amp. Most of the interest has been in the 5 watt range with a max of 15 watts.

    Some are after Fender clean tones, some want Marshall/Vox hi-gain, and others (like me) seek both. Might be a handy resource to create a sticky thread that lists and categorizes all the amps members are recommending. Pics and video clips would be a plus.

    There are many "off the shelf" amps and several "boutique" models that come up frequently. Not to mention the various configurations: combo, separate head & speaker cab, numerous speaker configurations and brands.

    Start posting your recommendations with specifications, opinions, pictures, video, whatever, and I'll add a list to my original post.

    If we get enough substance to this thread I'll see if the moderators will make it a sticky.

    • Blackheart (several sizes & configurations)
    • Blackstar HT-5 (5W)
    • Carol Anne OD2R (18-30W)
    • Carr Mercury (8/.1W)
    • Carr Raleigh (3W)
    • Category 5 Tsunami (18W)
    • Category 5 Ivan (20W)
    • Dr. Z Maz 18 (18W)
    • Dr. Z Mini-Z (5W)
    • Egnater MOD 50 (5-80W)
    • Fargen Mini Plex MK2 (18/.1W)
    • Fender Blues Junior (15W)
    • Fender Vibro Champ (5W)
    • Few Other Fenders
    • Fryette Memphis (18W)
    • Fuchs Blackjack 21 (21 )
    • Fuchs Lucky 7 (7W)
    • Krank Krankenstein Jr (20W)
    • Krank Rev Jr. Pro and Standard (20W)
    • Laney LionHeart (15W)
    • Lovepedal 1/2 Watt (.5W)
    • Mahaffay Little Lanilei 3350LT
    • Marshall EL84 20/20 (2 x 20W)
    • Few other Marshalls as well
    • Mesa Boogie 20/20 Stereo (2 x 20W)
    • Orange AD5 (5W)
    • Orange AD15 (15W)
    • Orange Tiny Terror (15W)
    • Phaez DaisyCutter (14W)
    • Reeves (Several models 6W - 18W)
    • Reinhardt 18 (18W)
    • Reinhardt MI-6 (18W)
    • Suhr Dadger 18 (.1 to 18W)
    • Swart Atomic Space Tone (20)
    • Swart Space Tone (5W)
    • Twister Dust Devil (.1 - 12W)
    • Two Rock Jet (20W)
    • Two Rock Custom Reverb (has a switch for 22 W on the 50 W model)
    • Victoria 518 (5W)
    • Victoria 5112 (5W)
    • Victoria 20112 (14W)
    • Vox AC4TV (4/1/.25W)
    • Vox AC15 (15W)
    • Vox Night Train (15/7.5W)
    • Z Vex Nano (a staggering 0.5W)
    • ZT Lunchbox
     
  2. overdriver

    overdriver Banned

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    Ya people are starting to wake up! :)
     
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  3. ExpatBrit

    ExpatBrit Senior Member

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    I think we are really starting to see that there are many more 'at home' guitar players than there are gigging musicians. And they (we, as I am one of them) really want to be able to have really good tone at sound pressure levels that will not cause us to lose our hearing. The manufacturers have certainly spotted this and have responded. We are now in the enviable situation of being spoilt for choice!
    Others experience is as good a guage as any (except for spending a whole day or more tracking down all of the options and playing them) for making a choice.
    So what I am really saying (why use 5 words when 100 will do, right!) is that I agree that a sticky would be good!
     
  4. mizer357

    mizer357 Senior Member

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    power scaling seems to be an option popping up in more and more amps... certainly boutiques. far more transparent than even the best attentuator, i think power scaling tube amps are definitely the way to go for people looking for an amp that you can both gig with AND play in the bedroom. i've owned the suhr badger 30 and the fargen mighty plex, and i have to say these amps rule for low-wattage playing (some models report the ability to go down to 0.1 watts!). 30 watts gives plenty of headroom, and the cleans on both amps are fantastic. other amp builders that offer power scaling that i know of off the top of my head are reinhardt, soultone, tone king, and twister. most boutique builders will install power scaling as an add-on on request as well. safety issues seem to have prevented the big boys from picking this up as an option in their amps, but with the demand for good sounding low-wattage amps on the rise, i think they ought to consider it.
     
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  5. spitfire

    spitfire Senior Member

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    I just received a Vox AC4TV combo (literally played it first time during lunch hour today). This is a tube amp with a 10” speaker. It has an attenuator to switch from 4W to 1W to 1/4W.

    My reasoning was that I wanted a small, low volume amp at home that sounded good. For me the Vox AC4TV sounds pretty good and it is relatively cheap at about $250. The down side to this amp, very narrow clean range, and no reverb. On the up side, it is a very warm sounding amp and pretty satisfying to listen to even without reverb.

    While this thing can get pretty loud, I doubt it would be useful playing with a rock drummer. I do think it might be good for recordings using a mic. For me it is truly a bedroom amp. Good for practicing when I don’t want to use headphones.
     
  6. PINKBITS

    PINKBITS Senior Member

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    Laney Lionheart :D

    I've got the 20w version.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. ExpatBrit

    ExpatBrit Senior Member

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    Very nice, and definitely the boutique end of the low wattage market!
     
  8. hipofutura

    hipofutura Senior Member

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    Phaez Daisycutter 14 watt

    Mine has two EL84 power tubes and three 12AX7 preamp tubes. This is a very versatile amp that goes from creamy clean Fender to extreme hi-gain Marshall. And it can do this a very low bedroom levels. I find this to be the perfect home use amp.

    Randy at Phaez will customize the amp to your specs. These amps are built to order with about a three week lead time. I bought just the chassis and assembled a 2x12 combo with Weber 12A150 alnico Vintage Series drivers.

    Phaez doesn't have a website at this time but is on ebay as "ontariomaximus".
    There are many demos and reviews on youtube and Harmony Central.

    The amp chassis cost $450. I have a total of $1,200 in the amp which includes the cabinet and Weber speakers.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    This youtube clip was posted by Randy at Phaez as a demo.


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  9. PINKBITS

    PINKBITS Senior Member

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    That is a really nice looking amp :cool:

    What brand EL84's are you guys using in these low watters?

    I'm still using the stock TAD's in my Lionheart. I think they are a nice tube.
     
  10. hipofutura

    hipofutura Senior Member

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    The Fender Vibro Champ has been around since the early 60's and has changed little since then. It will produce fantastic clean tones and when dimed will get very crunchy. This is not a hi-gain amp.

    I have the Ceriatone black face Vibro Champ clone. I bought just the chassis and assembled a 2x10 combo with Weber 10F150 ceramic drivers. With the Ceriatone I got the tone stack bypass and master gain, neither of which are available from Fender.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. hipofutura

    hipofutura Senior Member

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    Pinkbits, I have to show my ignorance and admit not knowing what I've got for tubes. I suspect they are inexpensive generics. They came with the amp from Phaez. I've been tempted to swap them, but the amp sounds so damn good I can't be bothered.
     
  12. PINKBITS

    PINKBITS Senior Member

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    :laugh2: Nothing wrong with that. As long as she sounds good that's the main thing.

    I've really enjoyed mucking around with tubes in both my amps, mainly pre's.

    They are usually pretty inexpensive and a great way to taylor "your" tone further.
     
  13. PINKBITS

    PINKBITS Senior Member

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    :cool: You don't seem to hear of many people using them though :hmm: I'm more than happy with mine. Fantastic toooob tone.
     
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  14. tomaseriksson

    tomaseriksson Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
    The ZT Lunchbox. No tubes but seems to sound very good. Speaker out and has no problem driving 2x12".
    Costs around $300

    features:

    200W of output capability (RMS)
    Custom ultra-power 6.5" speaker in fully sealed enclosure
    Pure analog front end, linear supply and Class A/B output stage
    Very low latency circuit for player responsiveness
    Vintage-style tone stack response
    Volume, gain, tone and reverb controls
    Aux in; Line/Phone and External Cabinet out connections
    Independent internal speaker mute switch
    7.3" x 9.8" x 4.4" / 185mm x 250mm x 112mm
     
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  15. tomaseriksson

    tomaseriksson Senior Member

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  16. Nigel T.

    Nigel T. Senior Member

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    Blackstar HT-5 (5 W)
    Carol Anne OD2R (18-30 W)
    Category 5 Tsunami (18 W)
    Category 5 Ivan (20 W)
    Egnater MOD 50 (5-80 W)
    Fryette Memphis (18 W)
    Fuchs Blackjack 21 (21 W (Duh!))
    Fuchs Lucky 7 (7 W (Duh again!))
    Krank Krankenstein Jr (20 W)
    Krank Rev Jr. Pro and Standard (20 W)
    Marshall EL84 20/20 (2 x 20 W)
    Mesa Boogie 20/20 Stereo (2 x 20 W)
    Few other Marshalls as well
    Two Rock Jet (20 W)
    Two Rock Custom Reverb (has a switch for 22 W on the 50 W model)
    Z Vex Nano (a staggering 0.5 W)

    Personally I am in the market for a low wattage Power Amp as I just bought a Randall Pre-Amp.
     
  17. hipofutura

    hipofutura Senior Member

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    Thanks guys! Nigel, that's quite a list you composed. I added it to my OP.
     
  18. Rob S

    Rob S Senior Member

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    I "hope" I am not straying Off Topic with this and should it be the case that I am, please feel free to remove this post.

    I have had a Power Scaled Amp and in my opinion, whilst it is a great device, it really shines when being used at Gigging Levels. It is a tremendous advantage when a Soundman keeps insisting that the Guitars are "Too Loud in the Mix". Instead of having to reset everything and then try and get a sound with which one is comfortable (as a Player), just increase the amount of Scaling.
    I never regarded it as a means of using the amp at Bedroom Levels. I did do this on several occasions, but generally found that because the speakers weren't being worked hard enough, one did lose tone. Admittedly, compared to most attenuators, the tone loss was fairly negligable, but it was a fact, the tone suffered.

    Now from the above, you'll have probably guessed that I have also tried attenuators. In the main, I have not been too impressed. Sure, they do the job, but if we are talking about bedroom (Practice) levels.... then the same rules apply. The Speakers are not being driven enough and that is all part of the sound. I have not been in a position to try The Ultimate Attenuator or the Sequis Motherload, both of these being reckoned to be about the best out there, but carrying a pretty high price tag.

    So.... when a friend sent me an attenuator that he had built, I was prepared for all the usual disappointments. However, this one was rather different from any that I had used before. There is NO facility to go down to "so called" bedroom levels. Instead, this one starts at 0db Cut and goes through to -12db. I am using it, in the lounge set at -7db and it is absolutely tremendous. I expected there to be all the usual problems, Tone degradation, not pushing the speakers hard enough etc. But NO! This has kept the amp's tone alive, still pushes the speakers enough, but tames the overall volume enough for my tastes and requirements.

    The basis of his design is the Doctor Z Airbrake, but modified quite extensively. It is by no stretch of the imagination "Pretty", but..... it works superbly and somehow he has managed to get it so that it doesn't get hot during operation.

    I am an Old School Player, which means I was brought up on Single Channel, Non Master Volume Amps, so I do use my Guitar's Volume and Tone Controls extensively to tailor my sound. With this attenuator, I still do the same things, but am rewarded with the sounds that I know and love from my Amp, but at a neighbour friendly level. The biggest upside being that I can use my rig at home and not have to resort to having a second amp purely for that application. :cool:
     
  19. mizer357

    mizer357 Senior Member

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    i agree that the speakers need to be working to get the best tone out of an amp. but i will say that scaling a good 30 watt amp down to a bedroom-friendly half-watt still sounds better than most amps 'made for the bedroom', and gives you the maximum power and headroom to comfortably gig/record with it. i've soured on attenuators after hearing what some of the better ones did to high frequencies at very low volumes in the past, but there seems to be much better ones out these days and i do plan on revisiting them at some point.

    in any case, some more low-wattage goodness for your consideration.

    Blackstar Artisan 15 (15 watts)
    Carr Mercury (0.1 - 8 watts)
    Carr Raleigh (3 watts)
    Divided by 13 JRT 9/15 (9/15 watts)
    Dr. Z Maz 18 (18 watts)
    Dr. Z Mini-Z (5 watts)
    Fargen Mini Plex MK2 (0.1 to 18 watts)
    Lovepedal 1/2 Watt (0.5 watts)
    Reinhardt 18 (0.1 - 18 watts)
    Reinhardt MI-6 (0.1 - 18 watts)
    Soultone Wilbur (0.1 - 18/20 watts)
    Suhr Badger 18 (0.1 to 18 watts)
    Swart Space Tone (5 watts)
    Swart Atomic Space Tone (20 watts)
    Twister Dust Devil (0.1 - 12 watts)
    Victoria 518 (5 watts)
    Victoria 5112 (5 watts)
    Victoria 20112 (14 watts)
     
  20. Kate033

    Kate033 Senior Member

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    I'd throw in the Orange AD5 or AD15 and Tiny Terror into the list along with the low range of 1w -5w Blackheart amps. Maybe the Vox AC15 too. I don't own them myself, but I know they have some fans out there.

    Also, there's a lot of great vintage combo amps out there around 5 watts that don't break the bank. I know you couldn't add specs/write up about them as there are too many models and not enough info, but they are a nice option for those wanting something a little different.
    I had a 1968 Fender Champ that was amazing. I love old Supro/National/Airline/Valco/etc. little combos. There's plenty more like that out there that are a fun option for those who already have a good full size workhorse amp and need something small to play around with at home.
     

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