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Looking for advice on choosing a "recording-only" amp

I'm looking for a low-watt amp to use in my home studio. Looks like there will be a lot of options in the near future and I managed to hold off pulling the trigger on the 5w blackheart amp/cab on sale at Music123 because I really think 5 watts will be too loud.

Currently on the radar is the 1 watt Blackheart "killer ant", the Peavey Windsor Studio, or the Egnater Rebel.

Do you think the blackheart 1 watt amp be versatile enough to do cleans and distortion? At this point the Peavey is still "vaporware", but the "power soak" feature sounds nice. The Egnater head-only at $499 is really at the high end of what I'm willing to spend.

I'd appreciate any advice or other suggestions. Thanks!
 

FFTT

Member
While you can record with the like of the Blackheart, Valve Jr.and Fender Champ 600, the sounds you get will greatly improve with degrees of modification from tubes to speakers, upgrade boards and transformers.

These are great for a very limited budget.

For a bit more, I'd look at the Blues Junior or Pro Junior, Orange Tiny Terror
and so on preferably choosing something with a master volume.

If you can save a bit more look at the Gries 5, Reeves Custom 6 or 12,
Fargen Mini Plex, Emery Sound Microbaby or Superbaby.
 

BadAssBill

southofnash.com
Silver Supporting Member
I've always thought the Silvertone amp I had would be a great studio amp. I thought it would be the same output as a DR, but it was much quieter.
 

FFTT

Member
When your budget is less than $300.00 for a "recording" amp,
you got some limitations unless you build it yourself.
 

Leonardo

Member
What kind of music/tone? Look around, you can probably find some old Gibson amps for that kind of money. For about the same price of the Egnater Rebel, you can also shop for an used Dr.Z Carmen Ghia, Bad Cat Mini Cat, Fuchs Lucky 7, THD Univalve, Reeves Custom 6, Gries 5... something like that.
 
When your budget is less than $300.00 for a "recording" amp,
you got some limitations unless you build it yourself.
FFTT, thanks for your suggestions and what I meant by a "recording" amp was low volume. I'm thinking 5 watts or more will be too loud for home use.
 
What kind of music/tone? Look around, you can probably find some old Gibson amps for that kind of money. For about the same price of the Egnater Rebel, you can also shop for an used Dr.Z Carmen Ghia, Bad Cat Mini Cat, Fuchs Lucky 7, THD Univalve, Reeves Custom 6, Gries 5... something like that.
Thanks for the suggestions. Just went the the Dr. Z site. The "Mini-Z" looks interesting. Also, the Bad Cat Mini II looks nice. The only problem is I doubt I'll be able to demo any of these amps locally, since the "big name" shops (GC/Sam Ash) near me don't carry these brands.
 

teleamp

Senior Member
For recording only, I would suggest the latest version of Guitar Rig, it would be much more versatile than a low wattage tube amp. A 5 watt tube amp can get very loud.

MikeY
 
FWIW I played the Mini-Z and loved it. Even more so than a couple of Z amps I've owned, which I liked a lot. Great tone in that little amp.
Thanks for the suggestions. Just went the the Dr. Z site. The "Mini-Z" looks interesting. Also, the Bad Cat Mini II looks nice. The only problem is I doubt I'll be able to demo any of these amps locally, since the "big name" shops (GC/Sam Ash) near me don't carry these brands.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Supporting Member
BTW, 5 watts in a tube amp can indeed be too much for home use. My baby princeton tweed really hollers and I can't even attenuate her because there's no speaker jack. She's my weekend day warrior as a result.
 

FFTT

Member
If you look at the Gries 5, it has an effective master volume and still
enough clean headroom for more quiet clean passages.
Drop the MV down and boost the gain for sustained leads.

You have to remember in class A, your guitar knobs and your attack are the controllers. Soft attack for cleans, hard attack for crunch and more.

If you go to too low of a power level, you'll have a tough time with cleans where you need them.

This allows you to play at very comfortable volumes once you train your ears to listen and the lower levels.

The Mic and your pre-amp will do the rest to your DAW.
 

GregoryL

Member
If you happen to already own a more powerful amp you like, I'd recommend buying an attenuator vs. a low-powered amp at that price range.

The attenuator gives you more options in the future and if your budget is tight, you could rent / borrow a great amp and use the attenuator.

I've used both a BadCat Leash as well as the Dr. Z Airbrake and I'd recommend either - very good recordings at low volume.
 

Leonardo

Member
Thanks for the suggestions. Just went the the Dr. Z site. The "Mini-Z" looks interesting. Also, the Bad Cat Mini II looks nice. The only problem is I doubt I'll be able to demo any of these amps locally, since the "big name" shops (GC/Sam Ash) near me don't carry these brands.
Some Mini-Z soundclips at http://www.drzamps.com/miniz.html.
There's also the Z-Vex Nano. Have you seen this demo? http://www.prosoundcommunications.com/english/video/michael_thompson/nano.html.
Also, check the old Marshall Studio 15 amp. Not sure how much they're going for but seen like nice little amps.

PS: HA! I was trying to remember the name of these: Emery Sound! They make some nice looking low power amps! :rolleyes:
 

changeling

Member
When your budget is less than $300.00 for a "recording" amp,
you got some limitations unless you build it yourself.
not necessarily.
fender champs and the attendant circuitry in 'em record very well,in a
time-tested way.jeff beck and eric clapton realized it ages ago..well,jeff used a fender harvard:jo.

you can get a 5fa type for pretty cheap;they take pedals great,and you can always use an ext. cab for more knock.
cheers,
r
 

drbob1

Silver Supporting Member
I've got a number of solutions for home use/recording that'll fit in your budget. Forget almost all the single ended, boutique amps, they go from $800 up. The only guy that'll get in under your ceiling is Curt from Emery Sound. The Superbaby and Microbaby are effective bedroom amps (although they can get pretty loud, with the right power tubes you can dial them down) and have an incredible scope of sounds with different tubes/cabs. Other thoughts:
1. Some kind of flexible preamp thru a solid state power amp-from the $180 (used) Sansamp pedal thru the JMP1 ($350 used) you can get a tone of different low volume tones.
2. The H&K "Machine" preamps-have a complete little tube amp inside, slaved to a SS power amp for output, so they sound pretty much the same from .5-30w. Hard to find but cheap.
3. Vintage single ended amps-everybody and their dog made a 3 tube copy of the Danelectro "amp-in-case" amps, 3-5w output. Use a decent speaker and you can sound great.

So, what do I do? Record with the Sansamp and play the Emery!
 


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