Best Low Power Tube Combo under $700.

frater106

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Hey, guys. The amp I’ve been using with my band is an Ampeg Reverberocket 212-R. It’s a 50 watt 2X12 with Eminence Wizard speakers (G12T-75 style). It uses 12AX7s in the pre-amp and 6L6 power tubes. I’m looking for an affordable new production tube combo amp from maybe 15-25 watts for $700 or less. I’ve considered a Blues Junior and a Vox AC15C1. So far, I’m leaning towards the Vox. Any other amps I should consider? I know there is a Fender Bassbreaker and the Marshall Origin 20, but I’m not really familiar with those amps. I’m looking for classic rock type break-up (Zeppelin/ZZ Top/Neil Young) as I use pedals to push the tubes harder when I need to (Nirvana, etc.). Thanks, all!
 

frater106

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I should mention that I’m looking for something smaller principally so that I can get good sounds and home volume levels. It’s hard to crank the 50W 212 at my parents’ house. Lol.
 

LocoTex

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You already looked at the one I would choose, the Blues Junior. Somebody will be along with more choices.
 

frater106

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What are your favorite characteristics of the Blues Junior? Why do you prefer it?
 

CB91710

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You already looked at the one I would choose, the Blues Junior. Somebody will be along with more choices.
I would not disagree.
The BJ gets a bad rap, and that is primarily because the cabinet is just too small for the 12" driver. It would have been better with a 10", but for low volume bedroom practice, it's one of the better options for tube amps.
It's a combo, and on the small side, being a bit smaller than a 5E3. The master volume allows it to be played with overdriven tones at reasonable volume levels, and at bedroom levels the size of the cabinet is not a drawback.
While it does not have enough gain to really shred, it does make a decent pedal platform. The 1st Gen Blues Junior replaced my 1980-ish oak Carvin X100 as my primary amp.

But honestly, at "bedroom volume" you really aren't getting the advantages of a tube amp. Tubes need to work to get "that tone", and turning up the gain and dropping the master just doesn't do it.
Even dropping down to a Pro-Junior, Champ, or Tweed Princeton.... 5 watts is still hella loud by the time you saturate the power amp.
Solid state amps get a bad rap... and I was a tube snob for 40 years, but honestly, for bedroom volume, a lot of modeling amps can get you very close to "the tone" at reasonable volume levels.
Katana 50, Spark, Mustang, Yamaha THR10... and an advantage is that these draw so little power that you can often rig up a battery pack and use it at the park.
 

LP1865

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AC15 wins by a mile. Tone on the top boost channel is instant classic rock. Clean channel sounds amazing and takes pedals well.

I liked the Blues Junior more tho.
 

efstop

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Class 5, DSL 5C, Vox AC1C4, Fender Bassbreaker 07 Tweed, Origin 5... oh, sorry. Those are some of the ones I have
 

jlf599

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I found my favorite 70s Marshall sound in a Fender SuperSonic 22w combo. It’s the little brother of the Zinky-designed Tone Master 100w head.

It does 70s Aerosmith with a nice humbucker guitar plugged straight in on the dirty channel. Clean channel is pretty amazing.

It’s become my only amp and replaced my Marshalls.
 

Proliferant

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I agree on even 5 Watts being plenty loud for home use (I'm in an apartment...). I have a Marshall Origin 5 and a Vox AC4TV, each with JJ Tubes and I put a greenback in the Vox. I love the Vox. I don't love the Marshall (probably its 8" speaker just isn't up to any great tone standards). A Vox AC4 gets my vote.
 

EpiLP1985

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I'm late to this party but I'll offer my $0.02.

In truth, without a very nice attenuator, there is no such thing as good, cranked tube tone at bedroom volumes. I mean, technically, my 5 watt single ended EL84 amp is a "bedroom" amp simply because it lives in the bonus room off my master bedroom. And that's it. It's incredibly loud and frankly, I believe it's only actually putting out 4 watts.

I have to second @CB91710 here: Think about getting yourself a small, modelling style amp for bedroom practice. The Fender Champion 20 has a great sound for practicing and a few very nice amp models.
 

cybermgk

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I would not disagree.
The BJ gets a bad rap, and that is primarily because the cabinet is just too small for the 12" driver. It would have been better with a 10", but for low volume bedroom practice, it's one of the better options for tube amps.
It's a combo, and on the small side, being a bit smaller than a 5E3. The master volume allows it to be played with overdriven tones at reasonable volume levels, and at bedroom levels the size of the cabinet is not a drawback.
While it does not have enough gain to really shred, it does make a decent pedal platform. The 1st Gen Blues Junior replaced my 1980-ish oak Carvin X100 as my primary amp.

But honestly, at "bedroom volume" you really aren't getting the advantages of a tube amp. Tubes need to work to get "that tone", and turning up the gain and dropping the master just doesn't do it.
Even dropping down to a Pro-Junior, Champ, or Tweed Princeton.... 5 watts is still hella loud by the time you saturate the power amp.
Solid state amps get a bad rap... and I was a tube snob for 40 years, but honestly, for bedroom volume, a lot of modeling amps can get you very close to "the tone" at reasonable volume levels.
Katana 50, Spark, Mustang, Yamaha THR10... and an advantage is that these draw so little power that you can often rig up a battery pack and use it at the park.
I'm late to this party but I'll offer my $0.02.

In truth, without a very nice attenuator, there is no such thing as good, cranked tube tone at bedroom volumes. I mean, technically, my 5 watt single ended EL84 amp is a "bedroom" amp simply because it lives in the bonus room off my master bedroom. And that's it. It's incredibly loud and frankly, I believe it's only actually putting out 4 watts.

I have to second @CB91710 here: Think about getting yourself a small, modelling style amp for bedroom practice. The Fender Champion 20 has a great sound for practicing and a few very nice amp models.
I'll be a third, to say look at a modeller, or non modelling SS amp, if you truly want cranked tones at Apt friendly (i.e. thin wall complaining neighbor apartment). Additionally, with the right Modeller, you can approximate your Reverberocket. Classic rock is so easy to achieve.

If you insist on Tube, then you only have the following choices

Amp of choice with an Attenuator. - The draw back is to attenuate a 50W amp down to these low volumes, you will lose tone. That is a LOT to attenuate

Small tube amp with Attenuator- If low enough wattage, then you aren't knocking the volume down that far that you get major tone suck.

Power scaling amp - If it needs to be cranked to get the toe you want, then even 1 watt is not rally Apt friendly. It will still be loud enough to annoy neighbors. 0.5 watt or lower is getting there. This includes amps that provide a power soak, to allow NO speaker output, but emulated out jack, or headphones.

Tube Amp that gets it's dirt tone from the Pre-amp - Marshall DSL comes to mind. There are others, some Orange like the OR15 also come to mind. Thus, you don't need to crank it via the Master Volume. just the gain. STILL, I'd suggest a lower wattage amp, as it will give a more useable span on that MV pot. NO MORE than 15W, 5W even better.

Pedals - Yes, amp that has a clean tone, that allows pedals to provide the dirt. AND, edls to provide the particular tone you are looking for. One advantage, is you can use different pedals, particularly, amp in a box types, and have multiple different amp tones (albeit for more $$ than going modeller). Can sound cranked, even feel a little like cranked, but really, not quite the same feel as cranked amp.
 

LP1865

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Try the DSL 1. Sounds great for the price. Or use pedals IMO.
Or modellers. Or amp sims.
 

dnabbet2

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I don't gig anymore, but I've been playing Soul and Blues on a Blues Junior for the last few years in my apartment, and I love it BUT I also wanted a good smooth lead sound that I wasn't getting. And just today I received a Vox Night Train MT15H and it's fantastic -- great bright sound for Soul, nice break-up for Blues, smooth lead ... and small enough to fit in a shoe box. It actually brought to life a Les Paul Standard 80 that I was going to rewire with higher value pots. The downside is there's no footswitching or effects loop, but, jeez, for the money, it's great! And I believe it also comes in a combo.
 


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