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View Full Version : budget low wattage tube amps: Vox, Blackheart, Epiphone?


beedoola
03-07-2013, 02:08 AM
looking on the used market (cause I'm a broke fella) for a small low wattage tube amp. Can be a combo or just a head.

The usual options; Vox AC4, Blackheart Little Giant, Epiphone Valve Jr. Am I missing some others?

I'm looking to spend no more than $150 (used). I don't like easy break up. Looking for something sparkly, or that will work well and not be muddy, with humbuckers (using a Les Paul).

Thoughts/suggestions? :bong

Lost_Cause
03-07-2013, 06:51 AM
You can find random good amps for $150 or less but usually $200 seems to be the point that yu can find better amps. There is a Crate Vintage Club 20 for $200 on SF CL. Maybe you can get him down a little. I also saw a Kalamazoo Model 2 for $200. You might be able to get him down a little as well. I don't know if prices are the same in your area but there is certainly a lot of competition to sell stuff so yu should be able to find a good tube amp near what you are looking to spend.

dshobe
03-07-2013, 07:50 AM
The AC4TV breaks up pretty quickly. Nice amp, if you run it into an 8 ohm speaker it is much louder before it goes into breakup. But you can't use the built in attenuater while doing it, it increases the amps wattage. I did this when I had one and it was great.

I'll suggest a VHT Special 6. Great Fendery sparkle and chime. I see them routinely for $125-150. I've had a couple, and wish I did again. Super mod friendly as well. I need to get another.

bbutler123
03-07-2013, 10:09 AM
looking on the used market (cause I'm a broke fella) for a small low wattage tube amp. Can be a combo or just a head.

The usual options; Vox AC4, Blackheart Little Giant, Epiphone Valve Jr. Am I missing some others?

I'm looking to spend no more than $150 (used). I don't like easy break up. Looking for something sparkly, or that will work well and not be muddy, with humbuckers (using a Les Paul).

Thoughts/suggestions? :bong
Guitar Center has some used Blackstar (not Blackheart) HT5 5 watt heads for $199. These are really nice amps. Good sparkle on clean, very good, smooth gain. This would be MY choice. But if it HAS to be $150, I've heard that GC will sometimes dicker on used price. You'd have to pay shipping though, come to think of it, if you buy from a distant store. In addition though, you can always return a used item bought from another store, to your LOCAL Guitar Center for full refund.(in 30-days)

woad_yurt
03-07-2013, 10:27 AM
Regarding the Valve JR:
The combo has the little speaker syndrome so be forewarned. I have the head. It's a great little amp if you swap out the 12AX7 for a 12AT7. With the AX7 in there, it breaks up a lot and kinda quickly becomes way too muddy for my tastes. With the AT7, I think it sounds great. Much clearer and with a "just right" amount of breakup. There's much more definition and it still gets nasty when you crank it up. It's also much more pedal friendly. Add an eq pedal and it's a good little setup.

EDIT: Had my tube names mixed up.

440gtx6pak
03-07-2013, 10:48 AM
Of the ones you mentioned the Blackheart always struck me as sounding the closest to a bigger amp. It works the best of them with dirt pedals too. The bass control is very versatile and goes from a thinner sound to very bassy, enough for even single coils. It is a low gain amp that needs to be pushed with a boost pedal if you want power-tube overdrive. (Very vintage in that regard). Solidly built too. Whatever you get make sure you have 12" speaker.

beedoola
03-07-2013, 11:02 AM
Regarding the Valve JR:
The combo has the little speaker syndrome so be forewarned. I have the head. It's a great little amp if you swap out the 12AX7 for a 12AT7. With the AX7 in there, it breaks up a lot and kinda quickly becomes way too muddy for my tastes. With the AX7, I think it sounds great. Much clearer and with a "just right" amount of breakup. There's much more definition and it still gets nasty when you crank it up. It's also much more pedal friendly. Add an eq pedal and it's a good little setup.

you mean AT7?

MilesMitchell
03-07-2013, 11:22 AM
The vox ac4 is a great little amp in my opinion. I got one for $150 used and I was more impressed with it than I thought I would be. The amp can get pretty loud, louder than I thought it would get.

TimH
03-07-2013, 11:24 AM
get an amp with power scaling/mater voltage etc. Then you can have the best of both worlds.

PS - 4 watts at home still seems loud.

keepingitweird
03-07-2013, 11:25 AM
You could find a Fender Champion 600 used on the cheap...with a few inexpensive mods it can sound pretty good.

smcgov
03-07-2013, 11:38 AM
I sold a BH5 for $80...I'm sorry I did, it sounded great...I miss it.

Brett's Les Paul
03-07-2013, 11:41 AM
You could find a Fender Champion 600 used on the cheap...with a few inexpensive mods it can sound pretty good.
I agree, good little clean amp.

sacakl
03-07-2013, 11:56 AM
I have the vox ac4 and still really like it. Gets a little muddy with p90's and humbuckers beyond 12:00 on the dial but sounds great IMO with single coils with the volume cranked all the way. I played through a Blackstar HT5 through a 4x12 as a backline last month. I thought it made every guitar sound the same and didn't have very much dynamics when using my tele's controls. It did cleans pretty well and high gain well, just no crunch or in-between IMO. I was actually tempted to plug my ac4 instead into the 4x12 cab.

woad_yurt
03-07-2013, 11:58 AM
you mean AT7?
Yeah, thanks. Fixed it.

geek-mo
03-07-2013, 11:59 AM
I've had two Valve Juniors that I modded. Even after the mods, which improved the sound quite a bit, I sold them and do not miss them one tiny bit. I would look for an AC4TV.

beedoola
03-07-2013, 01:24 PM
I sold a BH5 for $80...I'm sorry I did, it sounded great...I miss it.

damn. Some guy had one for $150 but I was trying to get him down to $100.