Best low wattage head

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Jabberwocky
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Best low wattage head

Post by Jabberwocky » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:15 pm

Doing a fair bit of studio work these days and looking to invest in a reasonably low cost, low wattage amp to get the good tones but avoid the visits from the local noise abatement sphincter police that an evening with my R30 with PPC 212 often invokes.
Thought about the tiny terror, but also looking at the Vox Night Train, the Blackheart Little Giant, maybe even the Handsome Devil 15 watter.
One that particularly catches my eye for cost and quality is the Marshall Class 5 head, and I might even look at a home build from Ampmaker.

Would be interested to hear from any of you folks that might have one of these amps, or at least tried them out. Only asking because finding these puppies locally to try them out may involve some travel. Would hate to drive 40 odd miles to try out a turkey!

Thanqz in advance.
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Le Chat Noir
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by Le Chat Noir » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:22 pm

Zvex Nano? To be honest if you're having that many problems with noise complaints a cranked 5/7 watter might also still be a little loud...
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MaxProphet
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by MaxProphet » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:05 pm

iso cab is an option

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http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/ ... peaker-cab" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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jason41224
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by jason41224 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:15 pm

if you're doing recording, maybe something like Amplitude LE would be a worthwhile investment. the samples i've heard actually sound pretty good...if you're talking about practice, i'd look into something with a headphone jack, like a Roland Micro Cube.
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savage8190
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by savage8190 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:15 pm

How low wattage are we talking? Does an AC15 qualify?
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cheacher
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by cheacher » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:45 pm

the "standard" marshall c5 gets absolutely slated on any forums ive been on. i've never played or heard one tho. apparently it is easy to mod it into a very good amp tho. also, the epi valve junior "modded" seems to be really well liked, there are tons of people modding these things now. if you head over to the MLP forum, and go into the "squak box" there is plenty tips for modding the C5, vox ac4 too. seems all these small amps are being modded left right and centre!

Les Paul Lover
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by Les Paul Lover » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:24 pm

In the low watt range, i've tried loads of little amp and heads: epi valve junior, fender champ, vox ac4 and 15 and night train, marshall class 5, tiny terror, hayden mini mofo and their 2w combo too.

I ended up buying an orange AD5 2nd hand really cheap. It's really really good, not much clean though. Can be scored cheap if you're patient.

The down side of low wattage is that you dont get much low end. That's much better with 15w amps. The problem is that that 2 watter was bloody loud already. A 15w will be almost as loud as your rocker. Where are you in england?

In any case, from those amps i tried, my favorite were the oranges, then the epi valve junior and night train.
Wasn't impressed by the class 5 personaly.
Ant

Orange Gear: RV50 MKI, R30, AD15, AD5, PPC212
Past Orange: Orange AD30TC Combo, Tiny Terror

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nlimbaugh
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by nlimbaugh » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:44 pm

Heavy quilt draped over your rig and the mic stand. Have all that in a closet. Then the cops will have a harder time locating your gear. 8) I cranked it. For real, I just asked girlfriend how loud it was and she said, "not very loud at all."
Last edited by nlimbaugh on Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mr_william
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by mr_william » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:13 pm

marshall class 5 £320
ibanez tsh15 £230
orange tiny terror
orange dark terror
vox night train £330
vox lil night train £190
vox ac4 £170
hayden mini mofo £315
zvex nano £380
blackheart little giant £120
blackheart handsome devil £230
epiphone vj £95

a quick list of the sub 15 watt 'small' heads i can think of...

price wise, i'd say the ibanez looks nice value - 5/15 watts, fx's loop, 4,8 & 16 outs and a built in tube screamer. 6v6's too. controls are just volume, bass and treble (and then the switchable ts)

the haydens have got a stealth switch on them i believe but it is just an output pad rather than an actual attenuator.

the zvex would have to be good to warrant that price tag in my oppinion! it's very expensive for what it is!

where are you based?
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riffmonster
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by riffmonster » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:51 pm

Out of the amps I have owned here's my take:

Fender pro junior - I preferred the 'full on' tone although I ended up selling this as I felt it was too loud for 'at home' - sounded better in my view volume past 12 o'clock. Nice cleans and you could run pedals infront. On the plus side loud enough for rehearsals and I guess small gigs (big gigs with mic).

Minimat (matamp - you might be able to pick one up second hand). This is a 4W small head. It goes loud enough to drown the telly, but has a built in attenuator so you can get some useable tones at apartment friendly levels. The feature you might be interested in is the line out. You can use this to record silently (assuming you are monitoring with headphones) and still get a good sound. As I remember it takes pedals well. I bought an old green back speaker and built a 1x12 cab for mine. I ended up selling it as it wasn't loud enough for rehearsals, and I wasn't doing enough recording to keep it...

Peavey royal 8 - a bit boxey sounding to my ears, good value for money though - sold it as I wasn't that keen on the tone.

Marshall 18W clone - nice tone but too loud as a 'practice amp'.

I had a go on the Marshall class 5 in my local shop and was quite impressed with the tones. The cleans were nice but the crunch was were its at. Surprisingly loud, that might be the only snag, but looks cool, sounds great, worth a try IMO.
Mark
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leopoldbloom
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by leopoldbloom » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:19 pm

The Valve 105 "Bimbo" Head is one of the best I've tried. Lots of headroom and a massive dirty and clean tone for a 5 watter. It was so responsive, I couldn't stop playing it. It also has a built on attenuator on it! It's a bit hard to find it on a shop but certain worth to check out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yvlb5D6VWP8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Jabberwocky
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by Jabberwocky » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:38 pm

Guys,
Thanks for your feedback. Some amps in there I didnt know about so will look into them for sure.
Just to clarify, to get a good mic'd up tone on my R30 for recording, it is just a tad too loud to maintain peaceful neighbourly relations, so my thinking was a quality 5/15 watt rig would give me good tone but not be quite so window rattling.
Thanks for the suggestions about attenuating the sound with boxes/blankets and what not, but I kinda like the open sound that recording in a room gives. I tend to shove an SM offset from centre cone in front of cab and a room mic a couple of feet away, so unfortunately that rules out isolators and blankets.
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Les Paul Lover
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by Les Paul Lover » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:12 pm

So where are you in the uk?

If you're anywhere near derby, you're welcome to come try my AD5 and see if that might be what you're after.

Anyways, let us know what you end up doing!!!! :D
Ant

Orange Gear: RV50 MKI, R30, AD15, AD5, PPC212
Past Orange: Orange AD30TC Combo, Tiny Terror

Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded, Vigier Expert Retro 54, Gibson SG 70s Tribute, Aria Pro II RS X80, G&L ASAT Special Tribute

baytamusic
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by baytamusic » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:22 pm

Get a 15w with a good master and be done with it. You will gain nothing from 5w amp with no master and it won't sound better than the 15w anyways. That or get an isolation cabinet. To record at low volume there is going to be some compromise no matter what you choose to do.

Ddjembe Mutombo
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Re: Best low wattage head

Post by Ddjembe Mutombo » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:44 pm

The iso cab sounds like a cool idea, but I doubt a recording with the iso cab is going to be nearly as clean and crisp as a 57 on a cab in an open room.

A 15 watt amp isn't going to be much quieter than his 30 watt amps. They will probably be 10% quieter. 5 watt amps sound too brown and murky for my tastes.

I think an amp simulator plug-in like Eleven, Amp Farm, or Amplitube will be your best bet for recording at home. They may sound a little weird when you are tracking them, but if you compress and eq them right, they sound damn good in a full mix.

If you are dead set on recording your amp at home then I would get an attenuator. I sometimes record my amps in my loft with a hot plate on it. I have my AD30 and Rocker 30 set to 10 o'clock, so I can get the tubes cooking pretty well.

I usually save the full volume stuff for actual recording studios. At home I usually do Digidesign Eleven. No one can tell that it is a sim when I am done playing with it.
Monty

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