El84 sound, half power switchable, huge sound, lightweight?

Soundhound

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2,276
No, I don't know of one, but was wondering if anybody here did. Here's the scoop. I've got a Tone King Meteor which absolutely kills for the Blackface sound. Recently I've played some inexpensive El84 (maybe EL34 as well, not sure) amps that made me love that sound. Peavey Blues Classic (think Peavey Delta Blues) and a little Ampeg Jet (the new one with tremelo). Liked them both a lot. The one that killed most was a George Dennis Mighty Mouse or Blue Beetle.

Anyway I was hoping to find something that had it all in one package. Great, complex, crinkly EL 84 sound, light, with a half power switch for 40/20, or 30/15 or whatever, so I can play it out and use it at home. Oh, and I want to keep it under $700, $500 would be better. Not adverse to buying used. The Peavey Delta Blues would do the job, the price is good but it's bigger and heavier. The new Ampeg Jet would be great for home, but I wonder if it has enough volume to play out with. I hear great things about the Kingsnake, but some say it lacks a little bottom end, and it's more of a blackface thing, right? despite the Shizo switch?

Sorry for the long post, any idears would be much appreciated!
 

AshlandBump

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2,098
Bad Cats and the Valvetech Hayseed are the only EL84-based amps that I know of that have a half power switch. You can get a 1x12 Hayseed for right around $1000 and it will be far superior in build quality than any Peavey. They're hand made with custom transformers. Do a search for "Hayseed" here and you'll see a fair amount about them.
 

dzeitlin

Member
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1,440
It's a little out of your price range, but the Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special is EL84 based with 5,15,and 30 watt settings. At 5 watts, you can crank the hell out of it without waking the neighbors.
 

scottro123

Member
Messages
194
Cage Amps 18/30 or Corsa. The Corsa is a newer design. His 18-watt amp was compared favorably to similar Dr.Z in east coast amp shootout several years ago.

Again, it's beyond your specified price range--might get lucky with a used one, but I haven't seen many around.

BTW, 18 el-84 watts distorting is still quite loud for home use if you're primarily interested in power tube grind.
 

pureoldsound

Member
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749
Kingsley amps the 32 and the 30 have a half power switch and they are EL84 based...heck it even have a triode/pentode switch that you can lower the power to 7w...YOu go from 30W to 7W...Now that is cool amp....
 

Soundhound

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2,276
Thanks for all the great ideas. There's a lot out there, here's what my 'a little information is a dangerous thing' style of research has gleaned so far. Now I have to go try out a bunch of these and actually hear and compare. It may be that I need two amps, say an Ampeg Jet and a Peavey Delta Blues? Should be fun:

Reverend Kingsnake - Could have all the answers, but some say it lacks bass.
Peavey Delta Blues - played the Blues Classic and loved it. Price is right, just not as light as I'd like for grab n go.
Ampeg Jet - price is right, very nice tone, light, just maybe not loud enough for playing out, but that might not matter
Crate v1512 - everyone says incredible tone for the $, will try one out.
Traynor ycv20 - worth exploring?
Mesa Lonestar Special - Also sounds like it could be the answer, but out of my price range, I played the regular Lonestar and liked it quite a bit, weighs a ton I assume
Gibson ga15rv - played the 30 watt version twice. loved it once, eh the second time - will have a look at these - from gibson website looks like the whole goldtone line may have just changed?
Rivera pubster/clubste - heard one of these recently, cool tone, small, maybe find one used
George dennis blue beetle or mighty mouse - played one of these a while back. now THAT's the sound I'm looking for. A little out of my price range.
Kingsley - I bet they kill, but pricey
VHT pitbull 45 (there's a limited production 30w model as well) - been hearing about these for a while, have never played or heard one...

whew!! Thanks again guys.
 

slowburn

Member
Messages
1,978
I'd recommend the Carvin Vintage 16. It's got two EL84s, weighs only about 30lbs or so, 1x12 tweed combo and is switchable down to 5 watts (from 16 in standard mode). I'm borrowing a friend's currently, and it sounds real good. much better than the fender blues jr, IMO. new they're like $399 + shipping from carvin (and that includes a celestion V30 speaker), used you can probably find one for around $100 less than that. carvin has a photo and some sound clips on their site, at the very bottom of this page:

http://www.carvin.com/products/single.php?ItemNumber=VINTAGE16&CID=GA

good luck and keep me informed as to what you end up doing. as I am also looking for an amp very much like what you're looking for. on a last note, keep the mesa boogie subway blues in mind. I have no direct experience, but people here say they're great amps.

EDIT: it's my opnion that the carvin might be better built than the ampeg or crate, but that's just my opinion. you probably get higher build quality for your $ with the carvin because it's factory direct, same as reverend.
 

agentcooper2001

Silver Supporting Member
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1,718
my Mayfly BC30 is very light weight and it has a 1/2 power switch for 15 watts. One of the best EL84 amps out, IMO.
 

slowburn

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1,978
at $1200 the mayfly 30 seems to be out of his stated price range of $500 preferable to $700 max.
 

Soundhound

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2,276
Originally posted by slowburn
at $1200 the mayfly 30 seems to be out of his stated price range of $500 preferable to $700 max.
Sad, and true. I'll investigate the Carvin (!), and I tried a Subway Blues recently. It was heavily used and a little ratty, but with a little TLC I think it would do well. Very nice sounding amp.

Thanks again guys. Keep it coming! I'll keep you updated on what I find, Slowburn, thanks.
 

DAB

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Messages
791
My experience with half power and pentode/triode switches is that they alter the sound but don't do much with regard to volume.

My Rivera M100 can go all the way down to 15 watts from 100 but it doesn't really get much quieter.

YMMV....DAB:D
 

Soundhound

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2,276
yeah I'm starting to wonder about this whole 1/2 power thing. hmmmm.... If that's true then, does it mean a 15 watt amp isn't all that much quieter than a 30 watt? Sitting around playing the Ampeg Jet, it felt like I could play it at home (I have a garage out back set up as a little studio) but it might not be loud enough with a band. The Delta Blues seems loud enough for a band, but would be a problem at home. My Tone King is really too loud for home, and I never turn it above 5 or at most six playing out.

Maybe I'm gonna need two amps. arg.
 

slowburn

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1,978
Originally posted by Soundhound
Sad, and true. I'll investigate the Carvin (!), and I tried a Subway Blues recently. It was heavily used and a little ratty, but with a little TLC I think it would do well. Very nice sounding amp.

Thanks again guys. Keep it coming! I'll keep you updated on what I find, Slowburn, thanks.
keep in mind if you decide on the carvin, but go the used route, the older ones will not have the Celestion Vintage 30 speaker in them, but rather some stock Carvin speaker. I believe the started shipping with the v30 speaker sometime in april of this year. I am not quite certain of the exact date regarding the speaker change, but keep this in mind when comparing used to new prices on this amp. that's it.
 

slowburn

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1,978
Originally posted by Soundhound
yeah I'm starting to wonder about this whole 1/2 power thing. hmmmm.... If that's true then, does it mean a 15 watt amp isn't all that much quieter than a 30 watt?
ok well check this out, I have been playing the carvin on 5 watt mode exclusively, with the soak (drive/gain) control dimed and the volume at around 2 or 3 I get yelled at by my wife. so I haven't been able to experience true amp breakup as much as I'd like, but have had to settle for using a pedal for some of my overdriven sounds. 5 watts is freagin loud, and I didn't hear a big difference when I switched it over to 16 watt mode when I first borrowed the amp. I'm sure you probably can't hear a big difference in 15-30 watts or from 30-50 watts either, but perhaps you could hear a difference between 5-30, or 15-50, dig?
 

mcdyas

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,165
I have Lonestar Special and I just got a Epiphone Valve Special for kicks- I'll finally be able hear what ping-pong delay sounds like. Anyway the Epiphone is 5 watts single ended class A cathode bias with 2 12ax7wa and 1 el84 (Sovtek). It has no clean headroom but it is great at low volume for blues and some crunch. It definitely gets fully overdriven in the power section at low volume. Does anyone know if it would "blow up" if I put an el34 in there in place of the el84?
 

dzeitlin

Member
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1,440
Originally posted by Soundhound
Is the Boogie LLS hard to carry around? I assumed it weighed quite a bit.
Not at all. That was one of the reasons I got it. It weighs about 55-60 lbs
 

HeeHaw

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4,958
I don't know if it's in the same category or not, but I have a Reinhardt Titan that's 36 watts. I half my impedance and pull 2 EL84's out to run at 18 watts, and it's still loud as heck.


-Rich:)
 




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