Looking for a great 5-watt (ish) boutique combo

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
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5,869
I'm in the market for a small basement/practice amp. Not so concerned with volume levels or anything, but just want something semi-light and portable that will probably live in my basement and maybe venture out to a small venue gig on rare occasions.
My main gigging amps right now are a Bad Cat Bobcat 20R and a Bad Cat Cub 15R w/ 2x12 Bad Cat cabinet. I'm a Bad Cat fan, so I was looking at the older/used Mini Cat and Mini Cat II amps, but have never heard one. I used to own a Cougar 5 and it was a cool little (MIC) amp save for the inherent noise issue that they all suffered from and once it got 'fixed' by Hanser it never sounded the same, so I sold it.
But something along those lines is what I'm aiming for.

In the past I have tried all of the standard smaller amps out there; AC4, Blues Jr, Epiphone Valve Jr and others and they ALL sound very boxy and blah to my ears. I know they can all be modded with various levels of supposed improvement...just like my former AC10...but I really want an off-the-shelf decent sounding small amp.
I'm currently using a Vox AD30VT in the basement for rehearsals and, while it was free (sitting around at church), it just doesn't do what I want it to.

Why don't I lug one of my existing Bad Cats down there? Honestly, I don't feel like it. I'd rather have a little rig permanently in the rehearsal space and leave my bigger amps for outside shows.

Budget is around $600-800 or more for the right amp. Any ideas?
 

Relicula

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,178
Contact Steve Levine here in the commercial amp section. He is making a 5 watt conversion head from old reel to reel tape recorders, they sound outstanding, are in your price range, and are very different from any production type amp offered today.
Steve is great to deal with as well.

This amp is one of my best acquisitions ever.

looks like Steve beat me to it, check him out there is nothing like these amps anywhere.
 

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,869
Hard to find boutique at that budget in this market. Even high quality Champ builds are pushing that range used now.

And that's fine, really. I'll spend a little more to get what will be a long-haul amp rather than less for a temporary fix. That said, I have a history of finding incredible deals and can wait for that deal to come along.
 

hawk101

Member
Messages
405
Where have I been? I’ve never seen the Levine conversions. Those Levine conversions are sweet.
 
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gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
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5,869

wrxplayer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,902
I love this Valvetrain and should have bought it when I had the chance...
 

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,869
I love this Valvetrain and should have bought it when I had the chance...

And I'm only 1.5 hours from Harrisburg, PA, too...
 

doublescale1

Suhr S-Classic, V60LP's, Soft V neck
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,124
Look for a used (because it's now discontinued) original Carr Mercury - on power tube, hopefully a KT66 that gives remarkable clean headroom at 8 watts. You can use an EL34 but the headroom will not be as clean as the KT66. Built-in attenuator that will take it to .5 watt. 12" Kingpin speaker if it's original. I've gigged my old Merc with my Palmer DI09 to FOH and it was just amazing. All handwired, it will last you a lifetime.
 

David M.

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,283
I'm in the market for a small basement/practice amp. Not so concerned with volume levels or anything, but just want something semi-light and portable that will probably live in my basement and maybe venture out to a small venue gig on rare occasions.
My main gigging amps right now are a Bad Cat Bobcat 20R and a Bad Cat Cub 15R w/ 2x12 Bad Cat cabinet. I'm a Bad Cat fan, so I was looking at the older/used Mini Cat and Mini Cat II amps, but have never heard one. I used to own a Cougar 5 and it was a cool little (MIC) amp save for the inherent noise issue that they all suffered from and once it got 'fixed' by Hanser it never sounded the same, so I sold it.
But something along those lines is what I'm aiming for.

In the past I have tried all of the standard smaller amps out there; AC4, Blues Jr, Epiphone Valve Jr and others and they ALL sound very boxy and blah to my ears. I know they can all be modded with various levels of supposed improvement...just like my former AC10...but I really want an off-the-shelf decent sounding small amp.
I'm currently using a Vox AD30VT in the basement for rehearsals and, while it was free (sitting around at church), it just doesn't do what I want it to.

Why don't I lug one of my existing Bad Cats down there? Honestly, I don't feel like it. I'd rather have a little rig permanently in the rehearsal space and leave my bigger amps for outside shows.

Budget is around $600-800 or more for the right amp. Any ideas?


Something old that will be worth more tomorrow.

 




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