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> Small Tube Amp Vs Rack Pre-amp
Ajmurrell
post Aug 15 2008, 09:57 AM
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Hi all, this would be my first proper post (besides from the introduce myself one) so sorry if this matter has already been discussed in another post.

Essentially I'm looking into replacing my amp which I've had for years and has served me well, but I'd love something richer in tone and sound quality.

I've just got myself a Fender Custom Shop (photo's in my album if anyones interested) and another reason for upgrading the amp is simply because I feel this guitar deserves more!

I've done a lot of research, and as a bedroom player it seems a ridiculous idea in buying a lovely half stack 100+ Watt-er, when its never going to be played over a volume level of 2. Plus I hear that with tube amps, the sound quality is much better when cranked up.

My question is a bit of a mixed one, or maybe many seperate questions. I'd love an all tube small amp, but would I notice a lot of difference from a good quality solid state amp when the volumes are going to be low any way?

Also if Tubes are the way forward, I've heard mention of Rack pre-amps, such as the Marshall JMP-1, being used a lot. Are these a substitue for an Amp head? Or would it be preferable to have the pre-amp driving an Amp channel?

I might be confusing you to much but essentially I'm looking for a rich, warm and deep sounding clean sound which I can add colour to with overdrive and the like from external pedals.
I especially like the sound you get from a tube driven overdrive, coming from the amp itself, and then boosting it with my tube driver. Doing this with my digitial Marshall just doesn't seem to work.

I think my best bet is probably to go out and try some out first hand, but I'd like some advice before hand if thats ok smile.gif

Thanks in advance guys.

Adam


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MickeM
post Aug 15 2008, 10:27 AM
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Using a separate pre- and power amp is an option.
The preamp will shape the sound, the poweramp will make it loud - Actually a poweramp will make a bit of coloring too.

If you get an amp head it will contain both pre- and poweramp. If it has an effects loop you can add any other preamp to the power amp in the head, if you like.

I think either way is fine, preamp+poweramp or a separate head.

A couple of roads you could take. One is to get a small tube amp, like the Blackheart Killerant which is at 0,25W, and get a small 1x12" or 2x12" cabinet to that. Or a 5W head.

If you want more cool features and a "real" head you could aim for something starting at 18W up to 100W and get an attenuator for it so you can get great tube sound at low volume. An attenuator with a line out will give you the opportunity to record directly if you want to aim for that in the future.


The Blackheart 3/5W Little Giant seem to have good cleans and it breaks up nicely. It doesn't have an fx-loop so all pedals go infront of the amp, but the less pedals the better wink.gif And OD, an EQ and a delay. It doesn't have a reverb so that might be a pedal to concider aswell.

QUOTE (Ajmurrell @ Aug 15 2008, 10:57 AM) *
so sorry if this matter has already been discussed in another post.

It's been discussed a 100 times before, but we love to talk gear! wink.gif
And everybodys needs, preferences and budget are different so the result would always be a little different.


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Ajmurrell
post Aug 15 2008, 10:34 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Aug 15 2008, 09:27 AM) *
Using a separate pre- and power amp is an option.
The preamp will shape the sound, the poweramp will make it loud - Actually a poweramp will make a bit of coloring too.

If you get an amp head it will contain both pre- and poweramp. If it has an effects loop you can add any other preamp to the power amp in the head, if you like.

I think either way is fine, preamp+poweramp or a separate head.

A couple of roads you could take. One is to get a small tube amp, like the Blackheart Killerant which is at 0,25W, and get a small 1x12" or 2x12" cabinet to that. Or a 5W head.

If you want more cool features and a "real" head you could aim for something starting at 18W up to 100W and get an attenuator for it so you can get great tube sound at low volume. An attenuator with a line out will give you the opportunity to record directly if you want to aim for that in the future.


The Blackheart 3/5W Little Giant seem to have good cleans and it breaks up nicely. It doesn't have an fx-loop so all pedals go infront of the amp, but the less pedals the better wink.gif And OD, an EQ and a delay. It doesn't have a reverb so that might be a pedal to concider aswell.


It's been discussed a 100 times before, but we love to talk gear! wink.gif
And everybodys needs, preferences and budget are different so the result would always be a little different.



Oooh I like the sound of an attenuator with a full blown Stack. I love the sound (and look, I must admit) Of the Hughes And kettner amp line. Although, thats one pricey amp collection.

Sorry it's been talked about so much, I get the feeling its the age old question that everyone asks at some point in their guitar gear development! Guess I just want some solid real advice, before I go to a store and get pointed in the direction of the most expensive amp... Which my local store has a reputation for doing. Shame!

Thanks for your advice though, much appreciated smile.gif

I agree with the less pedals the better. I have a GT-8, which is amazingly fun I'll admit, but for tone I much prefer a more direct to amp route. Aiming to just use my Butler Tube Driver and maybe a compressor.

Thanks again!

Adam

This post has been edited by Ajmurrell: Aug 15 2008, 10:35 AM


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MickeM
post Aug 15 2008, 10:44 AM
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If you're fond of Hughes & Kenner I can very much recommend the same amp head I've got, a Switchblade. Aim for the 50W, mine's 100W but that's only because I got it when it first came out and that was the only option.
It will make sounds from the cleanest clean to a death roaring beast. Spells versatility wink.gif

It's not as common or well known as Marshalls and Fenders and you'd probably be able to get one off of the used market for a rather good price. They don't go as high as Marshalls of the same age that were sold new for the same price. You could make a bargain there.


The H&K Statesman also seem to be a teriffic amp.


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Toni Suominen
post Aug 15 2008, 01:44 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Aug 15 2008, 10:44 AM) *
If you're fond of Hughes & Kenner I can very much recommend the same amp head I've got, a Switchblade. Aim for the 50W, mine's 100W but that's only because I got it when it first came out and that was the only option.
It will make sounds from the cleanest clean to a death roaring beast. Spells versatility wink.gif

It's not as common or well known as Marshalls and Fenders and you'd probably be able to get one off of the used market for a rather good price. They don't go as high as Marshalls of the same age that were sold new for the same price. You could make a bargain there.


The H&K Statesman also seem to be a teriffic amp.


I agree on the Switchblade there, tried it myself some time ago, and I loved it! It can really go from the sparkliest clean to doomy death metal tones, and everything in between, so it handles styles like blues and jazz very well. smile.gif If you are only going to play it in your bedroom, maybe you should take a look at the Switchblade combo?

This post has been edited by Toni Suominen: Aug 15 2008, 01:45 PM


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Muris Varajic
post Aug 15 2008, 04:08 PM
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Small tube combo with maybe fx loop is probably
best option for bedroom situation,
doesn't take much of space and will give you nice results.
I have small Laney LC15 at home atm,
shame it doesn't have fx loop but I love the amp! smile.gif


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Noangels
post Aug 19 2008, 09:49 PM
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Agree with the Hughes and Kettner switchblade amp being a killer amp,the 100 watt head is WAY TOO POWERFULL for bedroom use!Forget thinking about playing at 2,my drummer tells me to turn it down at 3!

Great sounds from clean to mean,with a digital front section that is easy to dial in and sounds superb

Attached File  one_againsu_time_solo.mp3 ( 667.05K ) Number of downloads: 127


Thats a small solo clip of the blade with My LP for Ryth and Strat for lead recorded with band


A good home amp is the Line 6 flexy tone amps.I have an old flexy 2 combo in my lounge I noodle on at low wattage and it sounds like its screaming


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Scott Gentzen
post Aug 20 2008, 07:39 PM
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QUOTE (Muris Varajic @ Aug 15 2008, 11:08 AM) *
shame it doesn't have fx loop but I love the amp! smile.gif


I can't find it at the moment, but I think there's a mod around somewhere for the Epiphone Valve Jr to add an effects loop.

I would expect that if there's a EVJ mod, that one for the Blackheart LittleGiant wouldn't be too far behind since they're very similar.

I have an unmodded EVJ (that's 5 watts) at home running through a 2x12 (one Vintage 30 and one G12h30 70th anniversary). Without any boost when I'm playing really clean (volume up to about 9-10:00) the volume is comfortable. I stand in front of it and practice without it being too loud ("too loud" being subjective, here I mean it doesn't wear my ears out and the wife doesn't complain about it from upstairs). It starts to distort for me around 10-11:00 and starts getting loud so I play mostly clean when people are in the house. I have a pretty high gain overdrive/distortion pedal that drives it pretty loud at all levels, so I back it down to like 7-8:00 when I want distortion at low volumes (volume all the way off's at about 7:00).

I don't really play it cranked because unmodded, the distortion is a little muddy to me, it's too loud to be comfortable, and I prefer the sound of my pedal with the amp at lower levels for now.

Did that answer the question? I have no idea. I wrote a lot though.


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MickeM
post Aug 20 2008, 09:45 PM
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QUOTE (Noangels @ Aug 19 2008, 10:49 PM) *
Agree with the Hughes and Kettner switchblade amp being a killer amp,the 100 watt head is WAY TOO POWERFULL for bedroom use!Forget thinking about playing at 2,my drummer tells me to turn it down at 3!

Great sounds from clean to mean,with a digital front section that is easy to dial in and sounds superb

Attached File  one_againsu_time_solo.mp3 ( 667.05K ) Number of downloads: 127


Thats a small solo clip of the blade with My LP for Ryth and Strat for lead recorded with band


A good home amp is the Line 6 flexy tone amps.I have an old flexy 2 combo in my lounge I noodle on at low wattage and it sounds like its screaming

Great clip! Yesterday I pulled 2 of the tubes out of my 100W H&K Switchblade head so it's now 50 watts. Still LOUD!!!

I took out the two mid ones. Only thing to concider is to use Ohm/2 on the amp vs the cab. For example if you got a 16 Ohm cab use the 8 Ohm output from the head.


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Noangels
post Aug 20 2008, 10:13 PM
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I did that when I had a tube die on me some time ago before I replaced all the powertubes.I might do that again,thanks for reminding me:)
Its a great amp and the overdriven tones are thick and creamy when maxed out on the ultra settings(used for solos with verb and delay),cranking it with the mid tubes gone will add some great compression through the power amp section.
As soon as i get to rehearsals(gear is always stored there)I just plug in and play without thinking of tinkering around with the tubes,will yank them out tomorrow before we start and see how she shapes up

Have to say she sounds a lot better than the Messa Dual Rec head there,that sounds great for ryth work but the lead pales compared to the blade.The Vetta 2 head is close but has that slight fizz to the rock tones,sounds fine live but when mic'd up and recorded it doesnt fit in the mix like the blade does

what tubes are you using with your blade?


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