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Jazz Amps (small, light SS combos w/ headroom)

Fusionshred

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,114
Hey!

I need a small, lightweight combo with a lot of clean headroom to play jazz. Want solid state, grab and go. Needs enough power to play absolutely clean with a heavy handed drummer.

Considerations: Henriksen JazzAmp, JazzKat, Polytone, Fender Jazz King, or???

The venerable JC120 is too heavy. Might as well bring one of my big tube amps. The Fender Jazz King is heavy too, so not sure about that one. 50 lbs.

I demoed a Henriksen JazzAmp 10 Plus, and it has a wonderful jazz tone but not enough headroom before breaking up.

Would like to stay under a grand and buy new. Thoughts?
 
Messages
7,046
Lots of folks are into that Henriksen recently. That's 160w too. You aren't going to get much more powerful than that. I haven't played one so I can't make a comparison.

I have an older Evan AE200 combo with two 8" speakers. I find that it is loud and clean enough for any jazz gig and I've played some loud ones. I think it's around 30lbs+.

I have a Polytone also, but it's not reliable enough to recommend. I don't think it has any more clean headroom than the Evans.

Have you tried a Walter Woods? Those are bass heads, but seem really loud and clean.
 

daddyo

Guest
Messages
11,797
Roland Cube 60 or 80. Both the JC clean channel and the Blackface channel are good for jazz and the EQ is powerful and the on baord reverb is good enough. They are light and cheap. And tough as nails.
 

Fusionshred

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,114
The Henriksen is 120 watts with the combo speaker (160 if you add an ext. speaker). It starts to break up about half way up the volume.

Don't know if the Cubes would have the power...
 
Messages
7,046
The Cubes are good, I have two, but they don't have the punchiness and powerful feel of the Polytone and Evans, not the headroom either. (I attribute that to lesser power transformers and speakers in the Roland's, but it might be more than that.)
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,182
I know you said combo, but you might consider what I've been using for a very portable "gig rig" - a Crate Powerblock plus a very small pine cab with a Jensen Neo sandwiched into it.
 

mark norwine

Member
Messages
17,163
If you go head + cab, it's very hard to beat a Raezors Edge cabinet.

Personally, I like the (older) Henriksen amps....the ones without the reverb.

Henriksen really missed the mark with the reverb. Worst sounding reverb I've ever heard. Imagine the worst pedal you've ever heard...it's worse.
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,182
Another comment, once you're into the above 100 watt category, its more productive to focus on the speaker and cabinet than any other part of the system to optimize "headroom". Look for a high sensitivity speaker that is reputed to be "clean" with plenty of bass response. Some good inexpensive examples would be the Swamp Thang or Delta Pro. For optimum headroom you need a closed back or ported cab with some acoustic stuffing that is designed to optimize the speaker in it. To some degree (unfortunately), in speaker cabs bigger is better.
 

googoobaby

Member
Messages
1,858
Fender Jazzmaster Ultralight (if the interlocking head and small cab can count as a combo). I've heard great things about the sound of the Jazz King (and Steel King) but they're very heavy.
 
Messages
7,046
If you go head + cab, it's very hard to beat a Raezors Edge cabinet.

Personally, I like the (older) Henriksen amps....the ones without the reverb.

Henriksen really missed the mark with the reverb. Worst sounding reverb I've ever heard. Imagine the worst pedal you've ever heard...it's worse.
All these amps are like that....Evans, Polytone, etc. horrible verbs. Evans is probably better now that they've gone DSP.
 

Bruce

Member
Messages
229
+1 on the Evans.

I've got the new JE200 and it kicks ass 200W into 4 ohms. Great digital reverb and it is loud! I play it in tandem with my Louis Electric 85W 58' Twinmaster and the Evans has no trouble keeping up volume or tone wise. They complement each other to a tee, much to the chagrin of my neighbors when I crank them. When I do use them in tandem I use an outboard reverb unit, the "Guyatone FR-3000V Tube Drive Reverb Unit," because the Louis doesn't have reverb. It sounds unbelievable
 
Messages
7,046
+1 on the Evans.

I've got the new JE200 and it kicks ass 200W into 4 ohms. Great digital reverb and it is loud! I play it in tandem with my Louis Electric 85W 58' Twinmaster and the Evans has no trouble keeping up volume or tone wise. They complement each other to a tee, much to the chagrin of my neighbors when I crank them.
Yeah? I wonder if they'd retrofit the DSP reverb in my old amp.
 

Jim Soloway

Member
Messages
14,410
Tom, you know my experiences with amps. I've owned most of the usual suspect including several more than once (and I believe we've overlapped on a few of them). I have given up on the whole SS jazz amp thing. I'm now playing a Headstrong Lil' King 1x12. The sound is glorious. It ways about 30lbs. It's loud enough for any application that I'm going to use it for. And with the 12 inch Weber, the headroom is WAY better than I was expecting. It's easily the best tone I've ever had and probably the first time I've been truly happy with an amp in about 15 years.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
28,192
Believe it or not, if money isn't too much of an object, you've got to try an Alessandro Bloodhound. It's thought of as an extension of the Marshall achitecture, but it's damn loud (near 70w clean), very light (maybe 20# for the head) and just plain sounds great. Heck, I've used mine for a bass amp in a pinch, it has that much overhead.
 
Messages
7,046
Tom, you know my experiences with amps. I've owned most of the usual suspect including several more than once (and I believe we've overlapped on a few of them). I have given up on the whole SS jazz amp thing. I'm now playing a Headstrong Lil' King 1x12. The sound is glorious. It ways about 30lbs. It's loud enough for any application that I'm going to use it for. And with the 12 inch Weber, the headroom is WAY better than I was expecting. It's easily the best tone I've ever had and probably the first time I've been truly happy with an amp in about 15 years.
You're giving me GAS!!!!!
 

Fusionshred

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,114
Hi Jim!!! Oh, BTW, that red Swan you just finished looks amazing! Incredible work as usual!

Yes, I've been around the amp block a number of times. Ugh. Right there with ya, bud! I'll say this - I know you'll appreciate this - trying to decide on an amp for six string is SO much easier than trying to find a good amp for seven string!

I've had Polytones (Mega Brute and Mini Brute II), an Evans AE100, an AI Clarus Series III 2R (TWICE), a Raezer's Edge Stealth 12 cabinet, a Redstone 12 cab, and this Henriksen, and probably others I can't even think of right now... along with many tube amps of various pedigree.

My main amp these days is a Valvetrain 535, which would probably do the trick. It's a 35 watt tweed with 2 6L6s, and a 12" and 10" speaker. It has no reverb. And it's just shy of 50 lbs. And the cabinet is big.

Played a Blues Jr (the limited edition one with the Jensen and the lacquered tweed finish) with my trio and it was overdriven at the volume we were practicing at. Nice power tube saturation, but no good for chord melody!

The Henriksen breaks up at about the same volume level as the BJ. In fact, the BJ sounds louder, because it is brighter.

I'm so drawn to that elusive amp... small, compact, able to be picked up and carried with one hand, fits in the back seat of the car, and never needs any maintenance like tubes. You plug it in and turn it on, and it sounds the same every time. And it sounds great and is powerful enough to stay super clean even when the drummer is blasting a funk-fusion rhythm...

Maybe that dream is filled with oxymorons. :)
 




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