5 Watt Amps That Sound Great, Full/Fat, & Not Boxy

teleman55

Member
Messages
3,587
Bugera V5. That 30W 8 inch speaker helps it sound big.
Epiphone Valve Special is great. Has a 10" speaker.
 

t***9

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,274
Valve Bimbo, based on Marshall JMP (early 70's). Will take an EL34 (sounds great!) 6V6, 6L6 etc. Has Power Scaling. Never heard an amp sound this good in the #2 and #4 positions on a Strat.
 

andersmv

Member
Messages
565
We recently started recording guitars for a new project, we set up stereo Matchless amps with a Clubman (35 watts) and a Baby (6 watts). I switched between 2 different Mic setups depending on the song and tone. There was a close up dynamic mic setup with an SM7 on the Baby and an SM57 and Cascade fathead ribbon on the Clubman (Ribbon mics pick up more low end and was used to compliment the sm57 and add some low end). I also had 2 condenser Neumann TLM193's in front of each amp backed off about 2 feet to capture a more accurate representation of each amp. I was going through takes today and comparing between the two amps, the Baby did not sound small by any means and the 2 amps complimented each other quite well. I'll try and post some clips at some point, but the point is that low watts does not equal small sound, especially when you get to the recording phase.

20150108_160332.jpg
 

motokev

Member
Messages
5,957
I like the Blackheart HT5 combo.
Lot of Laney Lion Heart fans here. I'd like to try one.

I have 1-watt RockBlock that is impressive and fun to play.
 

DaveKS

Member
Messages
16,705
I agree. It's all about the speaker/cab being used. There's nothing boxy about my Red Iron 5 Watter. Even the Lil Mo' , which is a 1w amp, doesn't sound boxy through 1x12, 2x12, or 4x12 cabs.

This 110%. Mostly it the speaker choice.
 

Simto

Member
Messages
4,876
We recently started recording guitars for a new project, we set up stereo Matchless amps with a Clubman (35 watts) and a Baby (6 watts). I switched between 2 different Mic setups depending on the song and tone. There was a close up dynamic mic setup with an SM7 on the Baby and an SM57 and Cascade fathead ribbon on the Clubman (Ribbon mics pick up more low end and was used to compliment the sm57 and add some low end). I also had 2 condenser Neumann TLM193's in front of each amp backed off about 2 feet to capture a more accurate representation of each amp. I was going through takes today and comparing between the two amps, the Baby did not sound small by any means and the 2 amps complimented each other quite well. I'll try and post some clips at some point, but the point is that low watts does not equal small sound, especially when you get to the recording phase.

20150108_160332.jpg

Pretty rad setup!
 
Messages
517
Yes, I've been around the block a few times and I completely understand that but you are talking RECORDING, the op asked:

I thought we could put together a list of great 5 watt amps that sound Full/Fat and not boxy.

Not what are great RECORDING amps or BAND amps or BASEMENT amps. Not what speaker cabinets or number of speakers.

A little miced 1x12 5 watt amp is cool in the recording studio, in the basement or stage, yuck!

Based on my personal preference, small amps turned up sound small and big amps turned down sound larger. Big amps turned up sound the best but most people do not have the luxury in the basement, band setting and definately not in the recording studio.

I went thru the GearPage small amp flavor a few years back and went back to biggger amps. Only way to get them to sound decent was thru a 4x12.

Best 5 watter I had thought was a Matamp but it did not sound as good as 100 watt Matamp LX.

You realize probably more than 3/4 of all guitars recorded before the 80s were recorded with small amps, right? Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, Keith Richards, Mike Campbell, Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Billy Gibbons, Neil Young, Jimmy Page, and countless others.
 

Abandoned

Worship Guitarist
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,468
Yes and boxy doesn't JUST mean small sounding although generally yes it implies that. But sometimes the gain structure of old tweed 5 watt amps can be smaller sounding. Which is cool in its own right and context.
And I agree a tiny cab will usually sound boxy, but some 5 watt amps even through a bigger cab (not 4x12) can sound smaller.

I'll need to look into the Laney Lionheart, looks nice.

How about that Fargen Townhouse 5w? Anyone play one of those? I thought that amp sounded great through it's small 1x12.

And also - what about the Vox AC4HW? Anyone have hands on experience with that?
 

Abandoned

Worship Guitarist
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,468
I think part of knowing if a amp is too boxy too is this... you can't really tell unless you get farther away from the amp. If you are standing right up by it, you can't really tell for sure.
So if you are saying an amp isn't boxy while sitting close right in front of it in a very small room ( i.e. your basement/living room/apartment, I think that impairs ones ability to qualify an amp as boxy or not boxy.
 

MHG

Member
Messages
6,532
I think part of knowing if a amp is too boxy too is this... you can't really tell unless you get farther away from the amp. If you are standing right up by it, you can't really tell for sure.
So if you are saying an amp isn't boxy while sitting close right in front of it in a very small room ( i.e. your basement/living room/apartment, I think that impairs ones ability to qualify an amp as boxy or not boxy.

Home/studio environments are exactly where most people would be using a 5 watt amp. Where do you feel you have to be to be able to determine if an amp is boxy or not?
 

Abandoned

Worship Guitarist
Silver Supporting Member
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8,468
Home/studio use is exactly where most people would be using a 5 watt amp.

You know, I guess you're right... The perspective I'm coming from is using this live though.
 
Messages
2,933
The perspective I'm coming from is using this live though.

I would have no hesitation in using my Laney Lionheart L5t in most live situations. In a large venue, it would be mic'd anyway. And in a small venue, I believe it could hang pretty well, unless you had an extremely aggressive drummer. I used to jam with a trio, using only a Fender Pro Jr, which is a 15 watt 1x10 combo. I believe the L5t sounds bigger (and definitely better) than the Pro Jr does. Of course any small amp would get lost in the mix of a 6-piece band on a large stage without sound reinforcement, but I assume that the OP understands that. If there is any 5 watt combo that could be used in a live band setting, it would be the L5t. It has a very efficient speaker and the cabinet is somewhat oversize, both making for additional volume and clarity.
 

mcarte07

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
483
Not advertised, but Morgan makes an M4 which is a 4 watt version of the AC20. Had a head with a 112 speaker cabinet, and it sounded full and beautiful!
 

btjguitarman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,200
I'd use a blackheart Little Giant 5w for practices with a really loud ambient post-rock type band and once ended up using it in a live situation when my AC30 crapped the bed on stage (rectifier died). Granted it was through a fender 412 cab in practices and an Orange 412 for that live show but it sounded huge and pretty meaty, which is really just to say that yeah the cabinets make an enormous difference.
 

andersmv

Member
Messages
565
Yes, I've been around the block a few times and I completely understand that but you are talking RECORDING, the op asked:

I thought we could put together a list of great 5 watt amps that sound Full/Fat and not boxy.

Not what are great RECORDING amps or BAND amps or BASEMENT amps. Not what speaker cabinets or number of speakers.

A little miced 1x12 5 watt amp is cool in the recording studio, in the basement or stage, yuck!

Based on my personal preference,small amps turned up sound small and big amps turned down sound larger . Big amps turned up sound the best but most people do not have the luxury in the basement, band setting and definately not in the recording studio.

I went thru the GearPage small amp flavor a few years back and went back to biggger amps. Only way to get them to sound decent was thru a 4x12.

Best 5 watter I had thought was a Matamp but it did not sound as good as 100 watt Matamp LX.

To be fair, the OP did not specify any of that. It sound like you're saying that most 5 watt amps sound small when you're playing them in a room, fair enough. The OP's original post was vague so I gave him an opinion based off studio work.

The biggest difference between small watt and large watt amps is loudness. Playing a punchy chord on a dimed loud amp is never going to sound the same on a smaller, quieter amp. A lot of it is the feeling, and you'll never be able to reproduce the sensation of that much air moving around a room on a quieter amp, I understand that.

Just like music these days, most of us think something sounds better when it's louder (That's why music is compressed and mastered so hot). I think with amps, it's hard to be objective when comparing an amp that is loud compared to one that is quiet, it just feels better to play a louder amp sometimes, I've experienced and understand that. At the same time, for example, I've played my little Matchless Baby next to a Spitfire (The 15 watt version it was designed after). The Spitfire broke up at the same points and appeared to have identical headroom, it sounded a bit more bass heavy and punchier the louder I got it though. Again, I think that's just physics and air due to sound pressure. The Baby sounded much brighter and alive at low bedroom levels though, not that surprising though. I looked all over the place for that amp because I wanted a Matchless to play at home that I could crank the master on and not bring the apartment down.

So I guess I don't know what everyone is expecting out of this thread? Again, I think my Baby does not sound boxy or small. Its the best small watt amp I've played and sounds huge compared to the Vox AC4 I had for a while. I don't think the statement "small amps turned up sound small and big amps turned down sound larger" is always accurate. There are lots of big amps that just don't sound good when turned down, regardless if they have a master volume.
 




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