NAD: VHT Special 6

Rumors of War

Silver Supporting Member
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5,104
Picked one up on the 'Bay for $180 shipped to run stereo with my Vox Pathfinder 15r for my wedding/party/dinner music duo.

The good: small, light-weight, pretty handsome. It is quite versatile with the two inputs, half-power option, footswitchable boost, and multi-tap impedances (4, 8, and 16 ohms). The tone is solid, slightly scooped, and quite dark, especially in low power mode, but perfect to contrast the brightness of the PF. I am actually surprised at how good it sounds dimed. The break-up is creamy and smooth and the bass holds together. When the boost is engaged it gets a bit rattier and the mids become more prominent. For reference, I had a '70 Champ that did not sound good at all above 7; and that was with a Tone Tubby 8", NOS glass, and updated filtering. Right off the bat I like the S6 better.

The bad: the darkness. I could see people not liking this level of warmth as I'm not particularly fond of it. I'm running the tone control at 3 o'clock and it still doesn't have the kind of stinging bite that I would expect. If I wasn't running it with another really bright amp it may be a deal breaker. The internal stock speaker is 16 ohm. Most amps that run single 10s are 8 ohm which make it difficult to sell if you want to experiment. Not the end of the world, but certainly not ideal.

Consensus: unbeatable for the price. I have several pedals I've paid more for and this is a handwired tube amp. The sound wasn't awful with the original Chinese tubes, but I replaced them with NOS: a prewar EI ECC83 and a Tung Sol 6V6GT. It improved the overall smoothness, but the amp is still quite dark. I have a suspicion the stock speaker is mostly to blame so I ordered a Jupiter 10SC. I'll report back once I get and install it.
 

Toneseeker361

Member
Messages
2,220
I've own the 6 and the 6 Ultra, both are great for the money.
I always thought the 6 was the "better" more modern Champ.
The ultra was crazy flexible.
 

navin johnson

Senior Member
Messages
725
i have a special 6. i don't know why people say it's dark. i don't think mine is. i really like it. i mated mine to a fuchs open back 1x12 with a greenback. the cab is the thing, i think. not a fan of closed back ones
 

playthecray

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,170
I am using my VHT Special 6 head with a 2x12 loaded cab with Scumback M75/H75 speaker mix. My tone knob on the amp is typically set at 2:00. Its sounds great through that cab. I have a JJ 6V6 and Tungsol 12AX7 installed in the amp. I agree that for the money it is one of the best low wattage amps available.
 

Rumors of War

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,104
Jupiter Condenser speaker sounds great. Alleviated some of the darkness, has a more defined top end, holds together turned up, adds its character and breakup to the equation. Coupled with the NOS tubes it shines even more.

Gem of an amp.
 

champster

Member
Messages
862
The Special 6 is a great sounding amp. There is nothing dark sounding about and really, the stock speaker sounds great in it. The only thing this amp really needs is better tubes.
I went through trying different speakers but in the end I put the stock speaker back in and found that it sounds just as good as other speakers.
Try turning the tone control up a bit more and you'll find this amp is actually on the bright side. Turn the knobs through their full range and you might be surprised.
 

Rumors of War

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,104
Some of the darkness may be volume constraints. I'm running low power in the low input. Usually the tone control is at 3 o'clock +, volume at 1. Regardless, I'm really enjoying this amp. Someday I may have a gig where I can crank it up.
 

champster

Member
Messages
862
Using the low input will definitely give you a darker sound. Have you tried using the other input with the volume turned down? It's like any other amp, it's just a matter of making it work for you.
 

Rumors of War

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,104
I have, and the amp really comes into its own with the high/high happening. Not dark at that point. I'm running it in stereo with a PF, so the darkness is actually welcome. You're probably right about not needing to change the speaker though. It's a nice sounding speaker.
 

matt505

Member
Messages
86
There's an easy mod where you switch 2 resistors in the fixed tone stack and plenty of treble is then available for the tone knob. I went from having it pretty much dimed to running it around ~noon for most guitars...less hissy without the tone knob cranked too...

More fun - it can run just about any other octal power tube, for a variety of crunch and headroom...
 






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