Hidden Gem Clean Amp Heads - Have One?

SD-David

Member
Messages
147
Like many of you I dealt with Covid by buying a lot of gear for home and recording. Looking for low power amp heads that had unique clean tones and worked well with my overdrive pedals. While I am very happy with my Vox 10 and Mesa V5/25 I did acquire a few hidden gems and wondering if you folks also found one on your own. Mine were:

  • Frenzel two channel (Fender/Marshal) 15 watt.
  • Wangs Mini 5 that was only $130 and sounds as good as my Swart Atomic Jr.
  • Black Cat (Dlabs) 5W with new/(very)old tubes. Very nice unique clean tone.
 

jnovac1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,046
Like many of you I dealt with Covid by buying a lot of gear for home and recording. Looking for low power amp heads that had unique clean tones and worked well with my overdrive pedals. While I am very happy with my Vox 10 and Mesa V5/25 I did acquire a few hidden gems and wondering if you folks also found one on your own. Mine were:

  • Frenzel two channel (Fender/Marshal) 15 watt.
  • Wangs Mini 5 that was only $130 and sounds as good as my Swart Atomic Jr.
  • Black Cat (Dlabs) 5W with new/(very)old tubes. Very nice unique clean tone.
atmars specialist
 

MoBigBro

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
474
Recently, I have come to a better appreciation of the clean tones from amps that I had considered to have very little headroom.
Valve Jr., Vox AC4, Excelsior and (of course) 5E3 clone.
It's easy to forget that, if you don't need stage volume, there are really great clean tones on tap in these amps, before they run out of headroom.
They are surprisingly useful for beautiful, "Quiet" clean tones.

Cheers,
MoBigBro
 

griley

Member
Messages
191
Low input of JCM800.
Haha, beat me to it.
IMHO the low input of a 2203/2204 is one of the greatest pedal platforms of all time (definitely the best that marshall have produced) - but it's almost completely overlooked.
 

Hoodster

Member
Messages
866
I've been interested in this amp. Resonably priced and a good demo. What amp is it closest to and how is it different. What is it you like about it?
There’s so much I like about it, and the price is ridiculous. I think I paid 350 used and it’s worth two or three times that in terms of what you get. The US Setting is basically a Princeton, so it sounds absolutely fantastic at home volumes. The pure setting bypasses the tone stack and adds a little girth, so it’s a little bit like a tweed tone, absolutely amazing pedal platform. I don’t use the Brit setting, sounds fine, just not as good as the other two settings. And then you have the low power switch on top of it all. I actually don’t use that very much either because it sounds so great at low volume on full power, but if you do want to get more grind out of the amp, the low power is pretty nice for that. Comes with a nice padded bag, ridiculously portable.
 

riscado

Member
Messages
534
Ampegs. Steal your bass player's SVT for ultimate headroom ;-) I personally own a B25, tube rectified 50+ watts.

But just got JTM45, so we'll see what the future holds....
on that note, probably not as "hidden" as the topic might suggest, but Jim Kelley amps, which have a tonestack not dissimilar old ampegs. And also have a beautiful and bold clean sound.
 

HeavyCream

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,538
OP, you should try a Bassbreaker 007 head. Very inexpensive. Some of the biggest cleans you’ll find in an amp that size, in the budget category anyway. I sold mine when I got my Ceri JTM45, but it was a sweet little amp for sure.

The 007 is pretty popular though, not really “hidden”. As for a little gem you almost never hear about that I got during COVID… Joyo Beale Street. It’s so ugly I wouldn’t dare post a pic, but if you dig Tweed tones, it’ll knock your socks off.
 

SD-David

Member
Messages
147
OP, you should try a Bassbreaker 007 head. Very inexpensive. Some of the biggest cleans you’ll find in an amp that size, in the budget category anyway. I sold mine when I got my Ceri JTM45, but it was a sweet little amp for sure.

The 007 is pretty popular though, not really “hidden”. As for a little gem you almost never hear about that I got during COVID… Joyo Beale Street. It’s so ugly I wouldn’t dare post a pic, but if you dig Tweed tones, it’ll knock your socks off.
Hidden for sure. Never heard of it. Found it on the web and seems very interesting. $500 new!
 

HeavyCream

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,538
Hidden for sure. Never heard of it. Found it on the web and seems very interesting. $500 new!
I’d hold out for a used one… $300-$400 range. I’ve had mine since just after Covid hit. Going to put it up soon though because I’m looking to score a big a$$ JTM45/100 in the upcoming months.
 






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