"Bedroom Amp" - Low Watt, BF Cleans, Under $1000?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Prince, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. Prince

    Prince Supporting Member

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    Preface:
    I have thoroughly used the search function, but I want my own consolidated thread. Sorry not sorry.

    I'm looking to get a new amp to run in stereo with my Vox AC4. Currently I am using a Marshall AS50D with a Joyo American Sound as my second channel. I like the tone of mixing a blackface Fender with a Vox. I think the AC4 at 4watts is pretty perfect for low volume playing. It can still get plenty loud, but I can get a good edge-of-breakup tone with an JJ ECC803s in v1, gain at 11, master at 11.

    What I consider to be bedroom volumes is around 80db(A) (75-85db(A) range). I use the app "SPLnFFT" to measure and set my overall output. I live in a condo with 3 shared walls, so not being "that guy" is my primary concern. Luckily I work from home so my lunch break=guitar time, when my neighbors aren't around.

    Princeton Reverb ('65 PRRI)
    For a long while now I have been gas'in for a Princeton Reverb (likely '65 PRRI), but I have three worries:

    1) lack of master volume control, 2) will the PR (15w) overpower the AC4 (4w)?, 3) how well does PR do "Bedroom" volumes?

    I have read that the PR does great cleans at "bedroom" volume, but can someone confirm that this is around the 80db(A) mark? I've read that the sweet spot on the volume control is around 4.5, and can get good tones at 3. My worry is if I just end up running a PR on 2, is it even worth it for the "tube factor", or should I stick to digital/analog modeling?

    -Has anyone installed a master volume on a PR? Successful, pointless, or hindering?
    -Attenuator- Is an attenuator worth considering for a ~15watt amp (w/no master volume)? I wouldn't be able to afford a Torpedo Cab so would probably drop ~$200 on a Night Light or Brake Lite.


    Champ/Vibro Champ
    -Enter the BF/SF (Vibro) Champ. I've only ever played a "Super Champ x2" which is meh. At 6watts, the Champ would be much closer in output to my AC4. But still no master volume.
    -How close are the (AA764) cleans between the Champ & Princeton Reverb?
    -Does the Vibrato circuit enhance the overall tone? (Vibro Champ vs. regular Champ). I don't "need" trem/verb in the Champ or Princeton, as I use a Flint for my stereo spring/trem duties, but those features don't hurt.
    -10in. speaker upgrade? I would only do the Champ if I do it with a 10" speaker. 8" is just too small. How boxy does it sound with a larger speaker? Speaker recs? This is my biggest concern is how small the cabinet is/sounds

    Other Amp Recs
    -What are some other fender-esque combos y'all would rec?
    -boutique AA764 Champ clones?
    -Amp kits worth building? (Mojotone?)
    -Under 15watts, preferably with master volume, & under $1,000

    -If I were to go over budget (~$1,200 used), I've been gas'in for a Lonestar Special. How does it's 5w setting sound?


    Postface
    I "do" the digital modeling route as well, so I have that covered. I run Bias FX, Ableton, various plugins, ATH-m50x phones, or HS5 monitors. But I still want another analog tube amp for when I have moments to crank it a bit louder.

    Thanks y'all!
     
  2. mlj_gear

    mlj_gear Member

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    A DRRI turned down (or a SuperSonic 22 turned down) usually sounds better than a PRRI, IMO.
     
  3. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    I had this dilemma, I needed to sell an amp and I was between a 64 champ and a early 70s PR, I kept the PR because it could still do bedroom levels and sound good (its clean sweet spot is around 4, which is pushing it volume-wise, but acceptable) and it could be gigged if need be. That said, the champ was hard to beat for this very purpose, and I did not find the 8 inch speaker lacking (mine was replaced with a Jensen MOD).

    If I were you I would find a clean silverface champ (the circuits on the champs really didn't change over the years and silverfaces are a good value) -- ditch the stock speaker for any number of repos, I think the Jensen Mods are fine.

    I am a bit confused by the master volume issue if you are looking for cleans, if you want some breakup from the amp, the Princeton is going to get too loud before that happens, but a champ might work, though I doubt it. You could look into an attenuator, like the DR. Z Brake Lite, it could sort of function as a master volume, that plus a silverface champ is well within your budget -- and if you hunt, you can probably get a black face one, if that is important to you.
     
  4. BlueRiff

    BlueRiff Silver Supporting Member

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    Ditto - DRRI LTD edition @ $989 demo model with full warranty at Sweetwater right fits nicely inside your budget. And the alnico speaker will be better with room volume texture.
     
    JK1965 and JS-29 like this.
  5. pete12string

    pete12string Supporting Member

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    I was in EXACTLY the same situation. I'm a bedroom player with a Vox AC4 and three Fargen amps: Micro Plex (5w), MiniPlex (12w), and Townhouse (5w). The Micro and Mini are the perfect Marshall tones (for me) at bedroom levels. The Townhouse nails the Fender Tweed/Brownface sound. I was researching a low watt amp for Blackface tones. I found the Gries 5. It is supposed to be like a Blackface Fender Champ, but it is much more than that. 5 watts and lots of clean headroom if you want it. Turn the gain knob up and you get into the Tweed Champ sound. But for me, it is the Blackface sound that it does so convincingly that makes me happy I got this amp. You really should check into it. Comes in below your budget:
    Five Tube Amplifier
    One 6V6 output tube, cathode biased, 5 watts
    One 12" combo....$879 Head....$779
     
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  6. kinmike

    kinmike Supporting Member

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    If you're serious about bedroom use, get a Princeton Reverb or Deluxe Reverb and get the adaptors that use the 6AK6 power tubes. That's a big power drop that brings bedroom use into the area of feasibility. Then pop out the adaptors and put in 6V6's when you need regular power.

    5W and above is too loud.....
     
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  7. thebowl

    thebowl Member

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    I have a 65 PRRI and I play exclusively at home. Not sure about the db, but its cleans at "bedroom" volumes is excellent; legendary, you might say. I often play with my wife watching TV in the same room.

    Any consideration of a master volume or an attenuator seems to be to be overkill. YMMV.
     
    Nevets likes this.
  8. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Loving my Swart STR-Trem + Nightlight. My gear room is directly across the hall (hard wood floors) from my 4 year old's room and at the most attenuated setting I can play without waking him.
     
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  9. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    The Princeton Reverb is great but it does get fairly loud in a home/condo situation, especially when pushed by pedals. A while back, I had a cranky former neighbor call the cops complaining about it.

    A Champ is more reasonable for low volume uses. It's a little different from the typical Fender tone though. The Monoprice 5w is pretty close to it in tone if you want to keep money in your pocket.
     
  10. Gridlock

    Gridlock Member

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    A Silverface Champ, Vibro-Champ (with a Reverb pedal) or a PRRI.
    Also add a Wampler "Black '65" pedal and you are there.
     
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  11. theroan

    theroan Member

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  12. duhziner

    duhziner Member

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    I've been threatened with eviction playing my vintage '68 PR at Volume 3. No s**t
     
  13. mlj_gear

    mlj_gear Member

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    Probably because a PR at 3 is loud! :)
     
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  14. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    You beat me to it :)
     
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  15. BK Verbs

    BK Verbs Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a SF Champ and a PRRI and live in a NYC apartment. Both work great for this exact situation. I prefer the Princeton though - crank it whenever possible. Playing at volume changes a lot about your overall tone and how pedals react, but I understand perfectly this is not always a feasible option.
     
  16. kiki_90291

    kiki_90291 Member

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    Swart, used Champ, used Vibro Champ, used Champion 600 - I'd look into attenuators, though - 5 Watts can be really loud at the sweet spot.
     
  17. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    You must have very easy going neighbors. Cranking a Princeton Reverb is often a good way to get an eviction notice or the cops at your door or both.
     
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  18. woof*

    woof* Member

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  19. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    Princeton Reverb.
    I've owned a couple(60's and 70's) and they are great at low volume cleans. Take pedals wonderfully as well.
    Sounds great dimed.
    I had also owned a 1970 Champ for 15 years. Good at low volume cleans. However, doesn't take pedals as well as the PR.
    Not very pleasing dimed IMO.
     
    GA20T likes this.
  20. Chris63

    Chris63 Silver Supporting Member

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    I love my PRRI but it's not condo friendly and will blow the little box (vox) out before you get the Princeton to its sweet spot. Look for a little 5 watt, 70s era Fender champ. Not a ton of money ($500) and will do exactly what you want.
     

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