Need help choosing a new amp

lennoed

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Hi all, I'm fairly new to guitar so can you go easy on me if I ask stupid questions ?
I want to buy a low watt tube amp for playing strictly at home that is not going to have the neighbours calling the police every time I play. I like the tone you can get from a tube amp but know you have to crank it up to get them to work properly so what sort can you crank up but not be too loud ?
I've looked at reviews on Youtube and have narrowed it down to maybe the Blackstar HT 1 Mkii or the Marshall DSL 1 CR or would I be better to go to 5 watts in those models and use the low watt channels ?
Because of where I live, I can't get in to store to try them and have to buy on line so that's why I need some help.
I play a Les Paul and like blues, blues rock style music and play clean a fair bit too.
Hopefully someone that's played them both can give me a better idea of what will be the better choice.
Thanks in advance !
 

TrippyStormtrooper

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If the sound you like, like me, is the power amp pushed hard you're going to be in trouble with even a 5W amp. Unfortunately the name of the game is LOUD. Where I live it's ok, but anywhere else I would be in trouble. Also, being new, and playing loud, is a recipe for police calls because no one wants to hear you practice, or play poorly very loud.

I would look for a low wattage amp under 5W you can push hard and loud, or get a good pedal platform and buy a nice OD. But keep at it man. I love the sound of my Marshalls cranked and there's nothing like it. When you dig into a chord and the fabric on your jeans flaps.
 

Robert Parker

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For bedroom level volumes, most things over 1-2 watts will be too loud to get power-tube distortion. There are some things you can do to tame it, the biggest is to put a really low-efficiency speaker in the amp. The less efficient the speaker, the more power you need to reach a given volume, so that will make the power amp work harder without as much volume. Or you can get an attenuator. But each of those requires spending additional money on top of the amp and may not give you the sound you want.

I practice with a VHT Special 6, which is a 6 watt tube with a 3-watt setting. With a really low efficiency speaker (Jensen C10r) on the low setting and in the low output, it'll overdrive nicely, but it's loud enough to irritate my family. So, the best solution for me is a decent overdrive/distortion pedal in front of the amp. Many tube amps do great with OD pedals.

If you can find one, a used Marshall Class 5 from the last couple years of production came with a 1 watt setting or something that would work ok. I've never played one, but many people liked them.
 

ARandall

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The typical cranked tube amp sound is simply not achievable at bedroom volumes. Not only are you never going to get enough air moving to achieve it, but getting power tubes cooking enough even in a 1w amp will probably disrupt everyone in your house and be easily audible to the neighbours.

There are a lot of amps that feature master volumes (like the amps you have mentioned). This is a great feature that allows you to have a lot of overdrive at low volumes. But its all preamp gain....which can be fizzy and not at all like cranked amps (in the room or from recorded tones).

However there are some small amps and modelling amps that sample cranked amp tones and reproduce them at low volumes.
In addition to the Fender suggestions above, the Roland Cube amps get good reviews (with inbuilt quality effects as Roland is Boss).
Then you have things like the Joyo Bantamp series that are solid state so you can run them without a speaker attached for either computer or headphones.
 

Neffco

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Get you one of these and a little cab. Sounds great at any volume. The new solid state fender deluxe has a 1 watt setting I believe and does the tube thing.
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lennoed

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You need something that can go down to about 1 Watt, even 5 Watts will be too much.
So do you think the 1 Watt Marshall DSL 1 or the Blackstar HT 1 are worthwhile ?
Or are they just a marketing ploy that haven't really got that Tube sound to them ?
 

ErictheRed

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So do you think the 1 Watt Marshall DSL 1 or the Blackstar HT 1 are worthwhile ?
Or are they just a marketing ploy that haven't really got that Tube sound to them ?
I haven't actually played those in particular, but people like them. I have played the Suhr Badger, Reeves Custom 18, Laney Cub 12R, and Orange Rocker 15. They are all able to switch down to 1 Watt for playing at home, but can get loud as well. I've also played the Marshall Studio amps that switch from 20W to 5W, and 5W is going to be loud.

Honestly as you're fairly new to guitar by your own admission, I doubt that you really know what you want or what tube amp tone is vs solid state tone these days, vs speaker breakup and compression, etc. But you have to start somewhere, and I'd look at the Orange amps that can go down to very low power settings (they call it the Headroom and Bedroom settings) as well as some other amps. I would definitely buy something that can switch from a higher wattage to a lower one, don't get stuck with only a 1 Watt amp.
 

cherrysunburst00

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Depending on your price range, you might look for a used Marshall SL5 which is 5 watts/1watt. It is not high gain, but you can start getting the power tube involved.

OR

Laney Studio 5 (5/.5 watt) but you'll need a cabinet to go with it.
 

cherrysunburst00

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So do you think the 1 Watt Marshall DSL 1 or the Blackstar HT 1 are worthwhile ?
Or are they just a marketing ploy that haven't really got that Tube sound to them ?
I had both (mine was Blackstar ht1r with reverb) and I really liked it. DSL1 sounded more modern, but I think it can be tamed)
 

northernguitarguy

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I tried the DSL1 head. When using it to simulate a JCM800, it was a whole lot of fun. I found the clean tone to be hugely underwhelming. Thin and nasal is what I remember. Little warmth. It was not something I ever found desirable to play. You may want to try it first, especially as you play cleans ‘a fair bit’.
 

northernguitarguy

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Wait! Orange Rocker 15. @northernguitarguy can attest here too!!!
Hey Cherry! :wave:
I am happy to use my OR R15 Terror. The Natural channel has a nice base clean tone and when attenuated to 0.5W still sounds sweet. I’ll echo that satisfying tube crunch needs to be turned up, but the 1W setting gets a sweet dirt. Dirt is really versatile, IMO. Can cover a lot RnR, up to a lighter, woolly Metal. OD pedal can push to heavy, tight crunch.
 

lennoed

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I haven't actually played those in particular, but people like them. I have played the Suhr Badger, Reeves Custom 18, Laney Cub 12R, and Orange Rocker 15. They are all able to switch down to 1 Watt for playing at home, but can get loud as well. I've also played the Marshall Studio amps that switch from 20W to 5W, and 5W is going to be loud.

Honestly as you're fairly new to guitar by your own admission, I doubt that you really know what you want or what tube amp tone is vs solid state tone these days, vs speaker breakup and compression, etc. But you have to start somewhere, and I'd look at the Orange amps that can go down to very low power settings (they call it the Headroom and Bedroom settings) as well as some other amps. I would definitely buy something that can switch from a higher wattage to a lower one, don't get stuck with only a 1 Watt amp.
Thanks for your advice.
I've taken a look at the Orange Rocker 15 on YouTube and this could be the answer. I'll try and get to a bigger retail store when our covid shit settles down enough to get there ( Australia) and have a play / listen before I take the plunge.
I think the Orange seems to tick the boxes of being able to be played at lower noise level due to the switchable wattage but still maintains the tones at those lower levels.
Could be on a winner, thanks !!
 

flamesarewicked

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I would say the 1w or 5w version of the DSL series would do the job well. You can dial up pretty much any level of gain you could need at any volume.. maybe 5 watter if ya need a little extra clean headroom. 5w tube can get more than loud enough for a bedroom/living room situation. 1w could do it but isn’t louder better ? :rofl:
 

Dilver

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Amps with a master volume control will also allow you to get amp overdrive at a lower volume. Some people prefer non master volume amps. It is a matter of preference - not better or worse. Also, if you’re new to guitar, you should know that there‘s a reason why there’s a gazillion overdrive pedals out there…. Many people get their overdrive tones from pedals and use a clean amp as a pedal platform. These days, there are pedals out there designed to emulate just about any popular amp tone, Marshall, Fender, Vox, even Dumble.

Since you’re starting out, I would try to get something with a 10 to 12 speaker. Some amps with smaller speakers can sound great, but a small speaker cone just won’t produce the fullness of a larger one and can sound very plinky and boxy.
 


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