PDA

View Full Version : Where are the killer 'bedroom amp' tones?


AaeCee
01-03-2008, 06:20 PM
Forgive me for the possibly uninformed nature of this question, as I'm not much of an amp guy, but why isn't there any small amp technology, in cab and speaker design specifically, that will provide that full, bassy sound from a small speaker and cab (8", 10", or even a 12" in a small box), much in the way that Bose is able to coax such a big sound from those small radios? I'm sure that volume is a key, in that those radios break up at higher volumes, but with the bigger boxes necessary for amp speakers, and a design that is made to only get loud enough for 'bedroom' play, you'd think there would be a purpose built amp for that application.

I've heard or played so many of the current offerings (Bad Cat, Roland, Carr, Dr. Z, Victoria, Star, etc.), and none give the impression of being anything other than, well, a mini or small amp. The small box Matchless Spitfire comes close, but that's a slightly bigger format and is a loud 15w. Am I missing something that's out there?

sinner
01-03-2008, 06:27 PM
In the morning, before corn flakes, I'd get up and see my old Marshall sitting on the big tall vintage 412 cab there in my room by the little bed...

and yes, with the PowerBrake, and a pedal or two, I'd have some big bedroom tone, didn't even care about the un-eaten cornflakes...

Moral: maybe for big bedroom tone you got to start your day with the big real deal meal?

utterhack
01-03-2008, 07:28 PM
Run a L'il Smokey through a 4x12.

blackba
01-03-2008, 07:32 PM
Take a fender champ, buy and allen amps head box, then a mesa theile 112 cab. Small amps are what they are, meant to be small and portable, not to pump out bass...

FloridaSam
01-03-2008, 07:33 PM
I just got back from buying the best bedroom amp in the tone for $$ spent. Silverface Champ. You can play it dimed and still hold a conversation. Plug it into a 2x12 at 4 ohms and it will blow you away. For less than the price of most pedals discussed on this site its a tone bargain.

http://images.craigslist.org/01010401040301030920080102080fc009b698906b80009ff4 .jpg

AaeCee
01-03-2008, 08:02 PM
Take a fender champ, buy and allen amps head box, then a mesa theile 112 cab. Small amps are what they are, meant to be small and portable, not to pump out bass...I agree completely. But just for the specific purpose of producing a satisfying full, low volume sound, there must be some sonic means available. That's why I cited the guitar amp equivalent of the Bose Soundwave system. I understand that it would preclude getting any resonable high volume sounds from such a system, but it'd sure be fun for late night playing when the kids are in bed.

astroboy581
01-03-2008, 10:41 PM
i use a small vox pathfinder 15 for my bedroom jamming. surprisingly really organic tones from this little solid state monster. at low volumes it sounds tube like. but you have to crank it real loud for it to show its solid state qualities. i've used it on small jazz gigs too! for the $100 it's freakin amazing.

GreenTea
01-03-2008, 11:06 PM
i use a small vox pathfinder 15 for my bedroom jamming. surprisingly really organic tones from this little solid state monster. at low volumes it sounds tube like. but you have to crank it real loud for it to show its solid state qualities. i've used it on small jazz gigs too! for the $100 it's freakin amazing.

Word. Very nice amp for small volume and full tone. The od to me is crap. The cleans and just breaking up sounds are incredible for a small package. For od/clipping, opt for maybe a Tech 21 TM10. But for round and pleasing clean and mild (real mild) od tones in a small room, don't overlook this beaut.

Graffiti Yellow
01-04-2008, 06:40 AM
+1 on the silverface champ, or any champ for that matter.

great tone and takes pedals well.

PRNDL
01-04-2008, 07:18 AM
I'm in the process of making my second bedroom amp.
The first uses 6AK6 output tubes for about 2 watts. It sounds great through a 10" Emminence Red Coat.
The second is a very old Mono amp that uses 30EH5 tubes (also about 2 watts). The secret to its tone may be the vintage 6.5" alnico speaker.

I've got sound clips on my web site
http://www.naturdoctor.com/Chapters/Amps/DynaMite.html

There are many things that effect the bass, including speakers, output tubes (both type and manufacturer), and coupling caps.

Also the term itself is not well defined. i.e. do you mean the Marshall knock, or a clear well-defined low end?

Increasing the coupling caps to .1F, which is used in vintage 5e3's, does add more bass, but many speakers can't handle it. It also reduces the treble. There are more complaints about flabby bass, so most amp designers put in lower coupling cap values.

fabulusfab777
01-04-2008, 07:28 AM
I'm not a sound engineer but i think the main reason why we can't really produce an amp that would have the same sound quality as a BOSE soundwave system is the IMPUTor the SOURCE of the signal . I'll explain myself. In a mini hi-fi stereo system, the signal is a stereo source, more compress, a 1/4 guitar jack, is a mono signal and a little weak, in terms of signal. So small amp WILL and CAN giv you a nice balsy sound but i think it always need a little volume to create that. But like everything, technical advancement might proove that wrong very soon!!

epluribus
01-04-2008, 08:13 AM
Interesting question, the OP. Why doesn't Bose or somebody build quiet big iron? Or small iron for that matter?

You can experiment with quiet mojo, either the clean or the dirty flavor, by running a Pod into headsets. Dial up a patch nice and loud, then turn the global volume down. (Not the "amp" volume.) EQ all you want, the Pod will give you tons to play with, and the headsets will deliver everything they gave you when the patch was loud. But I think you'll find the mojo is just different. Cool, but different. BTW, if you have access to a good PA, try the same thing with a cranked amp mic'd and isolated--same results.

Some MV amps and modellers demonstrate the same thing. A Vetta turned down, Fletcher-Munson taken into account, just doesn't oomph the same. Same's true of analog-powered MV/deep-switching rigs like Cybers and JVMs. Both are terrific at packing tons of wallop at bedroom volumes, but it's not the same wallop. IMHO, even if the amp's circuitry does manage to drive the same, nothing else does--speakers, cab, room, or ears. I suspect that even if someone like Bose built an amp, they couldn't overcome those issues. (And many mfgrs have tried, Fender and Marshall to name two. Ditto virtually all of the modellers.)

IMHO for a good bedroom rig that can go lots of places, nothing beats a good analog deep-switcher like a JVM or a Cyber for tone and playability, cuz they really are amps, and they have the tonal range to get you there. (And they turn down better than almost anything.) As for simple, tube-y, and easy, I'd go with something like a Champ or a Valve Jr, or in my case a homebrew FrankenChamp--but they'll be loud. In a bedroom, even half a watt is loud.

--Ray

markman
01-19-2008, 07:04 AM
If you get a chance try out a Univox U60A. It's 15 watts, has a 12" Jensen C12S speaker, usually inexpensive and tone out the ying yang! These were also marketed by "Cavalier", and "Hilgen" (as the Meteor). Mine is the Cavalier. I like it better than the Blackface Vibro Champ I use to own.

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y199/mfmuf/IMG_2270.jpg

Iceman8.6
01-19-2008, 07:15 AM
How about the Blackheart amp?

FFTT
01-19-2008, 07:35 AM
The top pick in my book for home/studio use are

The Emery Sound Superbaby
Vintone Circuits Simplex
Gries 5 with either a 6V6 or 6L6 for greater headroom
The Suhr Badger
Divided by 13 9/15, 10/20 or CJ11
Reeves Custom 6, 12, single ended class A or the Custom 18 or 30
with power scaling.

coco
01-19-2008, 07:53 AM
s2 Amps has designed an interesting bedroom amp and I'm sure it will be as dynamite as the rest of his designs. He's designed it so there's plenty of flavors to choose from. From Beano to Wrecktified. Reminds me of being in a candy shop. He's already posted some information at http://www.s2amps.com/microamps.html

lgehrig4
01-19-2008, 08:15 AM
s2 Amps has designed an interesting bedroom amp and I'm sure it will be as dynamite as the rest of his designs. He's designed it so there's plenty of flavors to choose from. From Beano to Wrecktified. Reminds me of being in a candy shop. He's already posted some information at http://www.s2amps.com/microamps.html

That looks really cool! Can't wait to start seeing/hearing those

Mickey_C
01-19-2008, 08:19 AM
An 18watt power scaled amp can get really low volume too, with great sound, if you power scale only the power tubes, and use a detuned cabinet with it.

RGB
01-19-2008, 09:45 AM
I have two 18 watters and an old '81 Mark IIB (60/100) and the best "bedroom amp" of the bunch is the 100 watt Boogie into an EVM loaded Mesa Theile cab....and I'm talking real bedroom volume. Using the lead channel with the master at about 1 and lower power pups gets a really useable tone at conversation level that goes from fairly clean to higher gain with the guitar's volume....no pedals needed!

Point is, don't rule out a high wattage amp with a good master volume.

lgehrig4
01-19-2008, 12:17 PM
Since the original poster referred to a Bose system I thought he was looking for a small package, but since we are now recommending full sized amps, I cannot imagine any amp having a better master volume than an Aiken Intruder. Smoothest, most even taper from completely off to completely on.

surfshack
01-19-2008, 12:24 PM
http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u281/surfshack_2007/IMG_0011-1.jpg

farlowhigh
01-19-2008, 02:11 PM
great tones at home volumes:
--Gries 5 great blackface fendery cleans with strong low end and tweedy od
--Bruno Cowtipper 22...this has amazing blackface-inspired thick but clear cleans and volume is very manageable for home
--Suhr Badger great marshally and some voxy sounds at almost any volume courtesy of powerscaling and I really like whole range from clean to mean
--Kingsley Deluxe32C--yes, it is a 30 watter but with powerscaling this beast sounds great at almost any volume and this thing is a chameleon and has a million sounds in it
--Top Hat amps have great master volumes, I think, and so their offerings offer big sounds at a variety of volumes...Club Royale is their big seller but I find even the larger Vanderbilt 33 entirely usable at home with good use of master volume--of course it sounds better on the louder side...
--Savage Macht 6...great tube tremolo on this and nice fendery cleans that sound really good at low volume and great od sounds that are manageable in a house...

as a poster noted above, definitely check out the S2 micro-amps... go to s2amps.com and check out the Wrecktified micro-amp which will go from less than half a watt to about 6 watts...that amp was actually designed with input from TGP members and that builder clearly has some innovative ideas about how to get big tones at low volumes...uses cool new power management technologies (not old attenuator ideas) and smaller tubes that sound like their bigger brothers...there are going to be 4 or 5 of these things and so many flavors will be available...very unusual builder and he seems to be trying for exactly what you are looking for...there have been some recent threads about this and so go to the manufacturers' showcase forum here on TGP and read through that one to see the evolution of the idea of the s2 microamp and all the interaction between the builder and the Gear Pagers in the research and design stage and right through the building of the first prototypes...
home volumes should probably have a distinction between actual houses with large rooms and space from neighbors and apartment living where one's options would clearly be much more limited...

for apartment levels, I am not sure a tube amp is the way to go, although powerscaling can bring the Badger down to a watt or less and it sounds great at 3 to 4 watts (half way on the volume dials = about 4 watts)

Paradigm
01-19-2008, 03:41 PM
+1 on the Gries 5. Sweet tones and incredible value for the $'s spent.

78tsubaki
01-19-2008, 04:01 PM
I have two 18 watters and an old '81 Mark IIB (60/100) and the best "bedroom amp" of the bunch is the 100 watt Boogie into an EVM loaded Mesa Theile cab....and I'm talking real bedroom volume. Using the lead channel with the master at about 1 and lower power pups gets a really useable tone at conversation level that goes from fairly clean to higher gain with the guitar's volume....no pedals needed!

Point is, don't rule out a high wattage amp with a good master volume.
Been there and done that.
Mark IIB, always switched to 60 watts, and I just could not keep my hand off of the volume pot. My damn ears would ring and my head would ache. Now I like playing through my Reinhardt 18 all of the tone with none of the pain.

twoheadedboy
01-19-2008, 04:03 PM
I have volume issues, and I have had good luck with sticking a smallish amp in an iso box and mic'ing it, then jamming to the output from the monitors. The best part about that, for me, is that I can add things like echo and reverb post-mic, which almost always sounds better to me.

Swain
01-19-2008, 04:12 PM
Bass is only truly possible, with some power behind it. It takes a lot of power to move those larger sound waves. As far as the BOSE type ports, etc., they sound really artificial to me. Probably because they are.

A Champ is truly a great amp. That, and a good OD pedal. For more Bass, you could put the amp in a corner. Or in the back of a box, with the open end of the box facing you.

But, I think most players who really like tube-amp tones, are too picky to settle for the Bose type effects. I could be wrong.

soldano16
01-19-2008, 04:32 PM
I use my 50 watt plexi for bedroom playing. I use pedals for OD. My secret to getting the pedals to sound good at low volume is a volume pedal after the effects. That way my guitar volume can be on 10 into the pedals.

Groovey Records
01-19-2008, 06:06 PM
I use my 50 watt plexi for bedroom playing. I use pedals for OD. My secret to getting the pedals to sound good at low volume is a volume pedal after the effects. That way my guitar volume can be on 10 into the pedals.

+ 1 google on the Bose, its a scam, reflection tecnology my elbow

A good Master Volume is key with or without effects
A Volume pedal is The Way to go after effects Yeah Yeah Yeah

Right now I've got a POS Vox 15 modling amp with a 8"speaker sitting in the bedroom. I seldom turn it on except to tune up when I restring guitars on top of the bed.

I'm using the Vox since I moved this Amp from my bedroom into the Living Room
http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd195/grooveyrecords/DSCN2026.jpg

Good master volume on these TopHats.. Things have changed since I took this picture. I now have an Emplex II sitting on top of a Marshall half stack next to the Supeme Sixteen ontop of its cab. Wall of Sound indeed.
Everything is upstairs because it's too cold and dry in the basement.
Best
Joe Tee

doc
01-19-2008, 08:14 PM
I'm under the impression that the OP is mostly missing the bass from the small bedroom amps. That is partly the power level but more the speaker and cab design. As implied by some previous posts, a Champ into a 4 X 12 has plenty of bass (and can be fairly loud). If you plugged it into a really efficient speaker like a Klipshorn you'd get REALLY loud. Probably the best configuration to overcome that would be a ported cab with a darkly voiced 12 in it, but then you'd lose some of the convenience of the "bedroom amp". I agree the Bose thing is to some degree an innovative "scam" - they tend to take fairly well known audio principles and then market them as "new technologies". It would be easy enough to design a Bose-like speaker for a bedroom amp, just build a cab with the backwave ported into a fairly good-sized horn. Actually there's a product out there that you might try that is designed as a stand that doubles as just such a horn - you might try that with a Champ and "tell us how you do!"

Tonefish
01-19-2008, 08:50 PM
The Carr Mercury is a great bedroom amp. 1/10W-1/2W-2W-8W + 3 gain settings.

XKnight
01-19-2008, 08:55 PM
Orange Tiny Terror is a great bedroom amp.

soldano16
01-19-2008, 08:57 PM
A Volume pedal is The Way to go after effects Yeah Yeah Yeah


I just learnt that from TGP and what a miracle it is. Being able to tweak the effect with guitar and volume pedal while maintaining the same volume is incredible.

I love it when I use a fuzz with my guitar volume lowered for some wicked overdrive tone and then move into fuzz land by upping the guitar and lowering the volume pedal. It's such a powerful transition. Anyone not using a volume pedal after their OD's is missing out on a lot.

gkelm
01-21-2008, 09:56 PM
s2 Amps has designed an interesting bedroom amp and I'm sure it will be as dynamite as the rest of his designs. He's designed it so there's plenty of flavors to choose from. From Beano to Wrecktified. Reminds me of being in a candy shop. He's already posted some information at http://www.s2amps.com/microamps.html

Really cool amps, I've had a chance to sample, a few thoughts here (http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=339096&highlight=bedroom).

Greg

ruby7829
01-21-2008, 10:00 PM
For what you're looking for (incidentally exactly what I was looking for) the best thing is an amp with London Power's Power Scaling. People have mentioned a lot of different amps with this feature. I have a Stephenson LJ15, which is an incredibly versatile amp (mixes 6v6s and el84s) and with the built in power scaling I get a full rich tone from my Vintage 30 equipped MEsa 1X12 cab at seriously low bedroom levels. If you can find one your search is over.

1964
01-22-2008, 06:20 AM
> "You can play it dimed and still hold a conversation"

You must converse VERY loudly!

73171
01-22-2008, 07:31 AM
Fat bassy tone at bedroom levels?

Place a Boss 7band EQ in front of a Princeton Reverb....this works for me....

Trout
01-22-2008, 07:36 AM
Another nice Little bedroom amp is Richters RS-5.8

Clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxnXZYe7crA)

Im Lovin Mine, though I never use it in my bedroom lol

sears
01-22-2008, 08:47 AM
To save space I put my Champ II in a bookcase and suddenly it sounds pretty awesome in that room.

farlowhigh
01-22-2008, 10:32 AM
Trout, great and helpful demo of the Richter (why don't more people play the same riffs clean and distorted so listeners can hear the differences?) ...is that the 5 watt blackface champ one Sara makes? Have you played through the Richter 5E3 tweed deluxe amp she makes? any thoughts on that one? I know people have talked about in comparison to Clark Beauforts and Victoria has some obvious contenders as well...the Clarks can come with built in attenuation and so maybe they would be better as "bedroom amps"...or does the Richter 12 watter tweed deluxe seem usable in a home situation? obviously depends on how loudly you like to play, one's pick attack, size of room (living room vs. basement vs large vs smaller rooms)...

Mikey Likes It
01-22-2008, 01:18 PM
Stu Carter says the Quidley's bedroom/studio tones are "absolutely astounding". Stay away from that guy - he'll give you a terrible case of GAS!

Trout
01-22-2008, 03:14 PM
Trout, great and helpful demo of the Richter (why don't more people play the same riffs clean and distorted so listeners can hear the differences?) ...is that the 5 watt blackface champ one Sara makes? Have you played through the Richter 5E3 tweed deluxe amp she makes? any thoughts on that one? I know people have talked about in comparison to Clark Beauforts and Victoria has some obvious contenders as well...the Clarks can come with built in attenuation and so maybe they would be better as "bedroom amps"...or does the Richter 12 watter tweed deluxe seem usable in a home situation? obviously depends on how loudly you like to play, one's pick attack, size of room (living room vs. basement vs large vs smaller rooms)...


Having both Richter amps side by side really speaks volumes on the differences between the Blackface Champ circuit and the 5E3 Circuit.

To my ears, the blackface champ, or lets say her version with the larger cab for 12" speakers has a much more refined sound than I expected. I have scratch built a few low power amps and IMO she has produced a nice little package in her RS-5.8 (Champ).
The cab is nearly as big as most Deluxe amps, So there is no lack of bass or low end. Of course it still has the traditional chime/ring of a low power SE amp but to my ears it just has a more refined feel. I tend to do more of the jazz, and blues type thing so it works out perfect for me. Currently I am running an RCA 6L6GC, RCA 5Y3 rect, and a JJ 12AX7???? YEP, a JJ 12AX7.
I keep both amps in my living room, My guess is I use the RS-5.8 about 65% of the time. The 5E3 can be a bit loud when the families home.
On the rare occasion that I record anything, Generally I head over to my brothers with the Champ. In his smaller studio room it is loud, but basically perfect size for recording.

We own a newer home, and IF I used an amp in my bedroom, IMO it would be loud, that is actually the single largest room in the house besides the basement. 1/3rd of the upper floor is Master Bedroom. Either amp would be loud cranked!

Now the Deluxe is a beast of an amp, It turned out to be everything I had ever read about the 5E3, Lots of Growl, Big fat breakup tones, lots of bass, limited headroom. It can still do louder cleans than the Champ, it has a much deeper vintage tweed flavor. Overall more untamed openess would be my description. The control interactions make it very flexible, but either amp falls into the one trick pony category to an extent. Both are basic, no add-ons, no effects, no options. The perfect for the grab and go warrior as long as the venue is the correct size. Mic'd at the ole roadhouse would be killer.

BTW, all of the clips she has posted in her sales are customer clips, Her claim is that if the customers send her clips, that is the best representation of the product capability Vs some of the obvously processed clips at some sites.
Smart lady, Great to deal with. Her guy is a riot.

Trout

majorledhead
01-22-2008, 03:23 PM
I have a Carr Mercury and a Bumbox lead 1 which both have great low wattage tone but I've never played them in the bedroom. Playing in the bedroom rarely involves amps but you can get a good women tone going sometimes.

RevolutionMan
01-22-2008, 04:47 PM
mesa subway blues, and a menatone kotb pedal

I'm so used to playing a half stack at louder volume, this is the only small rig that I've found that really "feels" like a good marshall at low volume

farlowhigh
01-22-2008, 06:50 PM
Trout,

thanks so much for the detailed review of both Richter amps...I play in a fairly large room in the downstairs which is kind of a glorified finished basement and so I don't need an amp to be quiet enough to play in a really small room...I love the Tweed sound and while I love my Swart AST, it seems a lot cleaner than I expected and more of a cross between blackface and tweed in its cleans to break-up sounds...I love it but don't feel like I have yet covered that full-on Tweed sound...I do have and love the small 6v6se Swart and that sounds much more tweedy to me and maybe that is enough for the home situation, but I am tempted by the Tweed Deluxe, whether Richter or Victoria or Clark...

there are always more amps to consider!

JLee
01-29-2008, 08:50 AM
If you get a chance try out a Univox U45B. It's about 10 watts, has a 12" Jensen C12S speaker, usually inexpensive and tone out the ying yang! These were also marketed by "Cavalier", and "Hilgen" (as the Meteor). Mine is the Cavalier. I like it better than the Blackface Vibro Champ I use to own.

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y199/mfmuf/IMG_2270.jpg
I love my U45B. With the channels bridged and a Treble Booster I get a nice faux Cream tone. Pretty loud though!

bosstone
01-29-2008, 09:07 AM
I have had about 5 Supro 5 watt amps, an Emery Superbaby, a White amp, a Marshall Lead 12 and three brands of attenuators with a variety of other amps, in the search for the perfect low volume amp. The only satisfying thing I came up with is an Ampeg VL-502. It has at least 50 watts of loud power (The VL stands for very loud.) but it has a built in attenuation circuit. I play it mostly through a Marshall 1965B, 4 X 10" cab and I can get the biggest, most natural sounding clean or overdriven sound I have ever heard. I can have a conversation while wailing away. All the other methods I have tried were either too loud or sounded like crap when attenuated to TV listening levels. This amp can do it all and I don't think you can buy a better amp for $500.00. If they were sold today they would probably sell for $2K+.