Which low watt amps have the most clean headroom?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mac, Aug 7, 2005.


  1. mac

    mac Supporting Member

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    Wondering which amps in the 20 to 30 watt range have the most clean headroom. I would like to exclude class a amps as they are pretty loud.
     
  2. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Mesa F-30.

    It has a special circuit ("Dyna-Watt") which gives it noticeably more clean headroom than other 22-watt amps... which is why they call it a 30, although it isn't.

    (It's not the same as a real 30W RMS amp either, but that doesn't sound like it will be a problem for you.)


    BTW, Class A amps are not inherently louder. Class AB cathode-biased amps can sound louder than Class AB fixed bias amps or Class A amps though, for the same sort of reason as the Mesa Dyna-Watt works, by allowing the amp to run more 'wide-open' at the start of a note, which is where most of the perception of loudness comes from.
     
  3. pepi

    pepi Member

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    15 watt but has tons of headroom .... Matchless Lightning
     
  4. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    Fender Vibrolux... this is from memory, mind you...
     
  5. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    hmmmm.... a watt's a watt, what's a dyna-watt?
    Any link to a techical explanation?
     
  6. cerebralpaul

    cerebralpaul Member

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    Why do you need a 20 or 30w amp if you want clean headroom? And why would you exclude a "loud" amp for the same reason?
     
  7. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Yeah, I'm a little confused by your question - 20-30w is quite loud...

    The only amp in that wattage range that I have first hand knowledge of a is '60s Ampeg Reverberocket - the 7591A power tubes stay quite clean until 7-8 on the volume comtrol. The Geminis are even cleaner...

    If you want 'The King Of Clean' - up your criteria to 45w and get a Super Reverb.
     
  8. mac

    mac Supporting Member

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    To help clarify my question. I'm having so many volume issues when I play out I've had to move to smaller amps. The problem is I can't get the clean sound out of them I'm looking for. I'm also a humbucker guy which doesn't help much. I guess I might have to go with a channel switcher like a Fargen. I don't like attenuators and prefer not to have to depend on pedals for all my gain which I don't use a lot of. I have a Z-28 1x12 right now which smokes for drive, but I still can't get the cleans I want. I'm experimenting with speakers right now and maybe just haven't found the right one. Or maybe I'll have to use more than a 1x12.
     
  9. 908SSP

    908SSP Member

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    For a clean tone at any volume you use a high watt amp. For distorsion at low volumes you use a low watt amp. :rolleyes:
     
  10. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    I've got the low wattage version of the Siegmund Midnight Blues w/ a 6SL7 v1 tube. I've got it optimised for cleans....Running through a nice oversized ac-30 sized 2x12" cab helps a ton as well.
     
  11. hemlock

    hemlock Guest

    It's out of your 20-30 watt range, but the VHT Pitbull 45 sounds like it would solve your problems. Excellent cleans and the gain channel is easy to tame.
     
  12. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    I've wondered, too, if there's a way to design an amp that can maximize clean headroom through all stages and then overdrive all stages easily as the next level of drive/volume is required. This might allow an ultra-responsive reaction to guitar level as the amp hits its power ceiling and kind of function as an input responsive channel switcher. You'd still be stuck with having to run it to max ouput for best effect, however.
    Maybe some amps are already doing this a bit?
     
  13. Red Planet

    Red Planet Member

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    I'm not shure if its to much power for you but the Mesa Lonestar Classic is a good amp to do all of the above.

    I have the 100 watt 1x12 wide combo. It lets you go from 100 Watts Solid State rectifier in channel one then when you footswitch you can set channel two to go to 50 watts with Tube rectifier and it has a really good sounding Master Volume.

    The Lonestar Special does the same with less power and more wattage options but its four EL84's.

    You then also have the option of a footswitchable Master Volume or you can totally disengage both Master Volumes from the circuit with a hard bypass. With the footswitchable Master Volume engaged you can have four volume levels with only a two button footswitch. You can set channel one then step on the solo boost (second settable Master Volume) then when you go to channel two you have the option of boosting that channel for a total of 4 sounds. Channel two also has a defeatable drive circuit that gives you high gain if you want it. It uses half an additional 12ax7 tube but can be switched off which makes channel two identacle to channel one.

    Then you have the option of choosing which channel you want reverb in and its footswichable too but takes an additional footswitch.

    Lets face it its a Swiss Army Amp in a nice small package.

    Heres mine. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  14. The Cat

    The Cat Guest

    Although it's 35 watts, I'll second the Vibrolux Reverb suggestion. It would probably play nicely with the Z as well.
     
  15. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    Silverface Fender Deluxe, Vibrolux, etc...
     
  16. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    The Ampeg Reverb-e-Rocket II is about 22W and it stays quite clean with humbuckers up to about 12:30/1:00 where you start getting edge of breakup, a bit further with single coils. The cleans are positively gorgeous. This is actually notably louder than I can play at most gigs (classic rock stuff from the Beatles to Kansas/Boston/Journey/Deep Purple) and I wind up attenuating it a bit so I can turn up a little more. Anyway, one of the things I love about it is how loud and clean it gets.
     
  17. mac

    mac Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions guys.
     
  18. Boogie92801

    Boogie92801 Member

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    This is the truth. There is no other "low wattage amp" with this much head room and pleanty of gain on tap too.

    The Dr Z Maz Jr has lots of head room but it just doesn't have as much attitude or as much gain available.

    However with hot hummbuckers, clean is a realative term.

    I have a Mesa Maverick that sounds like what you migh be looking for.
     
  19. 58gasman

    58gasman Member

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    The Roccaforte 18 watter has very nice headroom for a small amp excellent Marshally cleans and loves pedals.

    Craig
     
  20. sicktone

    sicktone Member

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    My Trem Cat does this pretty well. It depends on your definition of clean. The Trem Cat is ALL about the volume knob on the guitar.

    Too bad there isn't one amp that does it all...then again, we'd all be bored if there was;) Trem Cat comes pretty close for me right now.

    I also really dig the Maz 38 Non Reverb--great cleans. The reverb ones don't sound as strong to me. Different thing.

    One last thing. The Xotic Effects RC booster can coaxc some really strong cleans out of a relatively low power amp. It's hard to explain how it works. Check out their site

    Good luck!
     

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