Need suggestions - a good small clean amp?

Presc

Member
Messages
1,320
Hello everyone,

I'm just about to graduate college and move into a city and start my first job. Which means I need to reevaluate my amp setup - I currently use a Fender DRRI and pedals which is a good compromise for both playing out and at home. I'm guessing with a fairly busy non-music job I will not be playing out much anymore and would prefer something that I can run more towards the sweet spot.

So the hunt is on for a good low-powered tube amp. The best amp I've ever played is a Fuchs ODS, but I'm guessing that's not going to fly in an apartment and is too expensive.

-I play blues, jazz, fusion, funk, and rock.
-I like a CLEAN clean tone, and I prefer to have reverb. Blackface clean in particular (rather than Vox type)
-For the distortion aspect, I like a more modern tone that's towards the smoother side of things (Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson rather than say a raw old school Jimmy Page type sound)

So what's a good option? I've played some smaller amps in the Fender vein like the Champ 600 and Victoria 518. Both cool (the Victoria is better but a bit overpriced at $1000 IMO) but they just sound really small - I want something with more body to it, and I'd prefer reverb.

Don't have a problem sticking with pedals for the main OD sounds but I'd like an amp that I could get more run out of the dial in the apartment. Don't care about budget...give me suggestions and I'll see what I feel like spending. :D
 

Presc

Member
Messages
1,320
Just get an attenuator for your Fender ... good to go.
Maybe...but from what I understand those can kill some of the tone? Plus, I might want something with a bit smaller footprint than the Deluxe.

Doing some poking around, the Carr Mercury and the Swart Space Tone Reverb have caught my eye as smaller Fender-inspired amps. I heard some pretty good sounding clean clips of the Mercury, a bit worried the Swart is more focused on dirty tones. Any insight comparing them?

Also, any amps similar to those I'm ignoring? Thanks!
 

Jazz2Punk

Member
Messages
1,618
I recently bought a Fargen Dual Classic head and a J Designs 1X12. That would be a fairly small footprint, though bigger than the others you mentioned. The cleans are primo but not much dirt (I'm going to have it modded by Ben for more gain on channel 2).

The Carr option is intriguing. I'm interested in checking out a Slant myself. Good luck and congrats on the new job!
 

teleman1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,950
I owned a Merc. The lowest setting is too low, the next setting up gets too loud and everything gets way louder after that. On full it sounds as loud as any 15 watter. Too much money for not haivng fat full low volume

I'd keep the DRRI and get some other small combo amp for low watt overdrive. The new Vox ac4tv sounds killer on the U-tube demo. Even if you get the champ 600, thats loud in an apt.
 

candid_x

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,678
The Fender SCXD might work for you, but count on replacing the stock speaker, and Tung-Sol 6v6's won't hurt either. Fun and inspiring amp for me.
 

tele_phil

Member
Messages
2,669
I found this article to be a useful starting point when I was looking for a low powered tube amp:

http://www.vguitar.com/features/gear/details.asp?AID=3163

During my search I played through a bunch of great amps (and some crap). Each good amp had it's own advantages and disadvantages. Start by doing some internet research. Many builders have some demo clips so you can at least get an idea of what an amp sounds like. Next find a few shops where you can play some to narrow down the search. I ended up with an Emery Superbaby for myself and a Luker Tiger for my daughter. I'm very happy with both. Obviously I wouldn't mind owning a few more of the amps I played.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,813
Maybe...but from what I understand those can kill some of the tone?
Since you have a question mark, I'll say they do not kill tone IMHO. If you play loud and attenuate after, you will think the tone sucks, but it's psychological.
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,374
Buy a Suhr Badger 30 head and run it into your DRRI cab with a jumper cable.

Or a Reeves Custom 30

and check with Reinhardt

all three come with power scaling or make it an available option.

Or....... Buy/ build an isolation chamber for home recording etc.
 

Jumblefingers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
856
Carr Raleigh....3 watts, beautiful design, clean and OD switch with Master vol. A bit pricey but I thought it was very nice.

The new Valvetrain Concord is also a nice small tube amp and only $599. No master Vol but does have Eq.
 

Presc

Member
Messages
1,320
The Fender SCXD might work for you, but count on replacing the stock speaker, and Tung-Sol 6v6's won't hurt either. Fun and inspiring amp for me.
Interesting - I'm sort of modeling/digital averse, but I might have to try one of those out. I actually did play one of those once, at a little jam session, and it didn't sound too good there, but I also understand that is not the intended use of the amp and it might sound much better for home use.

I found this article to be a useful starting point when I was looking for a low powered tube amp:

http://www.vguitar.com/features/gear...s.asp?AID=3163
Thanks for the article! I'll have to look at that Victoria 5112, because I thought the 518 sounded good but felt too small. A 12" speaker could help that. I'll have to look into some of those other amps too.

As far as the DRRI + attenuator, I guess it is an option. I've never used an attenuator before, and I sort of hear mixed things on the web about how effective/good sounding they are. The other part stems from my thoughts on the DRRI...it's a nice amp, but I primarily like the clean sounds, reverb, and edge of breakup tones. I do not like how it sounds with full on power tube saturation - it is fizzy and has sizzle, it's not creamy or smooth. So if I could find a smaller, pedal friendly amp that also sounds better to me when pushed I'd probably be happier overall.
 

DEMENTED

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,627
Maybe a silverface Princeton Reverb with an EVM12L and a Hermida Mosferatu for dirt.
 

BravoFoxtrot

Member
Messages
33
I'd also check out the SCXD or the Vibrochamp. I have a DRRI and the SCXD. They compliment each other well in my opinion. I also live in a city apartment and have no trouble dialing in good tones at reasonable volumes with the SCXD. Not always the case with the DRRI.

Good luck!
 




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