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jgomez

Lookin' for a new amp for jamming at home

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Hey guys, looking into my options for a new amp at home. I've got around 200 to play with, could squeeze a little more if there's something spectacular priced just over this budget.

I'm currently playing through a solidstate Fender Chorus M80 which I've got as a long term loan from a mate who's probably forgotten about it now, which has 2 1x12 speakers and I can barely turn the volume to 2 at a push in my house or the plaster in the walls starts cracking.

To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, I play a whole variety of things really, at the moment I'm very much into my Blues and am playing alot of Clapton's works, but I play a whole variety of other things too, Classic Rock - AC/DC, Led Zep, some Alt/Hard Rock along the lines of Foo Fighters/QotSA/Pumpkins, some Metal along the lines of Maiden/Metallica/Opeth etc. etc. I'm really not very good, but this is the sort of stuff I try to play, emphasis on try. :)

So, I'm looking for something that's fairly versatile and valve-equipped. Tone-wise I think the most important are some nice cleans, a nice thick bluesy tone, and then a good distorted/overdriven valve crunch a la QotSA. Tall order?

This'll be my first decent amp purchase as the only amp I've ever bought before was with my first guitar a few years ago - a Kustom KGA16dfx practice amp, which I've replaced with the Fender M80 as the practice amp really didn't cut it. I'm a bedroom rocker and have had the odd jam session with mates, but I doubt I'll be getting into bands/gigging any time soon, so really I'm looking for something that'll give me the tone I want at home, but not destroy my house and cause my wife to file for divorce. Lol. :)

Any advice very, very welcome!

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Some options include

Fender Vibro Champ XD

Fender Super Champ XD

Blackstar HT-5

Orange Tiny Terror

I have the Fender Super Champ XD and I rate it very highly. The on-board distortion is not amazing but it's decent enough on some of the settings. I've been using it quite happily for approximately 18 months, up until buying pedals in the last week.... The clean sound is amazing and is only one I listed that doesn't have EL84 valves, which have a tendency to sound dark in comparison to 6V6, although possibly have a slight advantage for certain types of over-driven tones.... The on-board effects are actually good as well. Apparently there is a notable improvement in tone if you replace the speaker with a higher quality one as well as the valves with more expensive ones. I'm still using mine 'out of the box', until I can justify investing in it further.

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Cheers, yeah, was looking at the Blackstar HT5 and the Tiny Terror, I notice that the HT5 has 1xECC83 and 1x12BH7 valves and is 5W compared to the Orange's 15W - I have no idea what these are like by comparison to the EL84's in the Orange! I'll take a good look at those Fender options. Think at this price point it'd be worthwhile going for a seperate head/cab, I've seen the Orange Tiny Terror @ 235 inc del, then a decent 1x10 or 1x12 cab would cost what, 100-150 on top of that?

Think I'd be able to get a good distortion sound and some generally nice tone out of these valves without having to crank the volume to crazy levels?

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The Fender Super Champ XD or Blackstar HT-5,

BOTH great choices (although I have no personal experience of the Blackstar other than hearing one)

I actually have a (vintage?) Fender Champ 12 fitted with 6L6's.... great tone!

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Anyone ever tried the Laney VC15-110 or a Crate V18-112? I've read good things about them to throw that into the mix.

At the moment though all things considered, the Blackstar is looking very tempting, however I'm somewhat concerned about the clean channel on it - think I'd have to try before buy on that.

Would it be an non-economically feasible job to swap out a tube on the blackstar with a 6L6 to improve the cleans and somewhat pointless at this pricepoint?

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Anyone ever tried the Laney VC15-110 or a Crate V18-112? I've read good things about them to throw that into the mix.

My friend has a VC15, he thinks it's the business but I'm not so convinced. I reckon it sounds good for dirty tones (with a pedal as either a boost or to add overdrive/distortion). The cleans however are too dark/muddy for my liking, but whether or not this will be an issue, would probably depend what guitar you use and what sound you are going for. It's also more expensive than a Fender Superchamp XD and similar in price to a Blackstar HT-5 combo.

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not of that model of amp

I have one of their 120watt heads, and I'm very happy with it and i get the sound im after. I don't get hung up on brand names etc. people will say they have reliablity issues, that may be the case when the were first testing the water, but they come with a years warranty like any other company and i encourage everyone to at least try one before dismissing completley.

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this dude is pretty annoying however he gives you a clear comparison or what sounds it is capable of

Haha you ain't wrong about that guy. Yeah good comparison though, to my highly untrained ears, I couldn't tell a massive amount of difference between the two. That being said, I wasn't massively taken with either of the overdrive channel's sounds... could just be my shitty, tinny laptop speakers though, haha. Will have a listen through better speakers later on.

Have checked out a few Blackstar clips on youtube now too, and is it just me or does the clean channel sound pretty damn muddy?

Buy my Ashdown James it sounds great with the guitar you bought from me hee hee!

Lol, how much were you needing for it anyway? :)

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this dude is pretty annoying however he gives you a clear comparison or what sounds it is capable of

Thinking about it more, how loud will that thing be? 22W sounds like an awful lot for an amp that'll never leave the house. I'm definitely liking the price though, didn't realise that Bugera was a Behringer brand either, I quite like their kit, have a Vamp2 which is pretty darn nifty.

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I think really at the price point I'm looking at, it's a direct price-competition between these amps (just looking at combo, head+cab just won't work with the lack of funds I feel):

Blackstar HT-5 - No Reverb, Cleans aren't amazing (but I think I could live with them), Rockin' drive channel.

Bugera V22 - Nice cleans, cheap, quite a vintage tone and drive channel sounds a little thin?

Laney VC15-110 - Nice cleans, more of a vintage tone, drive sounds better than the Bugera, but I think overall more suited to light rock?

Laney LC15-110 - Pretty nice amp, but put off by it being only one channel...

If I went with the V22/VC15 I reckon I'd need a pretty decent overdrive/distortion pedal infront of it to make it howl, but do you guys think this option would give me alot more versatility overall?

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Just to add another option, a friend has a Peavy valve king combo (think its a 50watt job) and had similar needs as yourself. Its a good amp, if a little loud for the bedroom but it sounds really nice for the blues stuff but can crank out a good bit of thrash as well. Plus I think it was reasonable priced, which was nice!

:rockon:

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Just to add another option, a friend has a Peavy valve king combo (think its a 50watt job) and had similar needs as yourself. Its a good amp, if a little loud for the bedroom but it sounds really nice for the blues stuff but can crank out a good bit of thrash as well. Plus I think it was reasonable priced, which was nice!

:rockon:

id also recommend the valve king

the bugera one has a pentiode/triiode switch (or whatever it's called) thing to cut the wattage in half or something so you can get more drive from the valves at lower volumes for home use and when jamming or giging flick the switch to give you more headroom, the weak distortion was probably the eq, my bugera the diference a tiny adjustment on the eq is emmence, when i turn the bass well up it doesnt affect the nice highs and makes it muddy, i get nice low end, i dont have switch in mine which divides the power however the master volume knob and that i can i get a full driven sound at bedroom level quite easily, you could always use an overdrive pedal to tighten up/ boost the od channel :)

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I've recently bought a Fender G-Dec, which is a great practice amp - built in amp simulations, fx, drum loops, backing grooves, loop recorder, tuner, midi compatable...180.

Personally, when it comes to practice amps, at that volume and in a living room or bedroom, solid state is absolutely fine. I';d never gig with one, but in the house solid state amps sound absolutely fine to me.

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Hey guys, cheers for all the advice. In the end I found a good deal on a Blackstar HT-5s mini-stack (HT-5 head + two HT-110 10" celestion speaker cabs) that was just under 4 months old, so that's what I went with, snagged it for just over 300 with delivery. Cheers for the advice everyone, will post up a piccie of the new setup once it all arrives on wednesday!

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