Yamaha THRII or small tube amp?

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271
I need a decent sounding amp for low volume home/recording use.

Something that's not going to upset the neighbours.

I don't plan on using it for anything else.

Currently, my Laney LION battery powered amp ticks a lot of boxes. Its small, loud enough, has Bluetooth and music playback.... it's just the distorted tones aren't that great.

All understandable for a £60 amp!

Its time for an upgrade then, with my first thoughts being why not scratch the valve amp itch again (at the expensive of convenient practice features) ?

The budget is £5-600 ish, max.

I looked at them all, from the Marshall DSL1, 5, Origin, Orange Rocker 15, Supro, those cheap Harley Bentons, Laney Super Cub...

...in the end what really tickled my fancy was the Fender Bassbreaker 15, as a kind of toolbox for a plethora of valve tone, plus it had reverb and an effects loop (plus I really love the looks).

But will the Bassbreaker be a 'sledgehammer to crack a wallnut'.

Is it really the right purchase just for home use? Its certainly less convenient for practice (no bluetooth, built in fx etc).

Its monstrously loud for home use, and ill probably never go past 1 or 2 on the master.

So......

Maybe I need to forget about valves and upgrade my existing desktop amp to what's been touted as the best, the Yamaha THRII ?

I've had a lot of joy with my old BOSS Katana 50, so I'm not totally biased towards valve amps, but once I moved away from the stage it showed its limitations in great tone.

The Yamaha on first impressions seems to be the ideal upgrade to my Laney. I really don't want to go down the Katana Mini / Air route as, well, I've done the Katana.

So do I :
A. Stick with what I have, as the Laney does the job.
B. Go all in on the Bassbreaker 15 turned down, have brilliant tones, but less features and more practice setup hassle
C. Upgrade the Laney to the 'Best in class' Yamaha THR10 II and have better tone and more features than I have now?

Crucially, is a Fender Bassbreaker 15 going to be significantly better sounding than the Yamaha at bedroom levels?

Gut feeling is yes it will.

Cost is not really a factor. I know the Bassbreaker is double the price. What matters is will it deliver? Will the tone upgrade be worth the money/hassle.

What would you do ?

EDIT.

I've had great results with 15 watt valve amps before. In particular the old Laney LC15R.
 
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LaXu

Member
Messages
10,951
IMO the Fender Bassbreaker series is just not that great sounding.

If you care about recording then the Yamaha THR10 II will be much easier. Just plug it in via USB.
 

Jkist7

Member
Messages
182
Yamaha THR makes a ton of sense, personally I love mine. What type of sounds are you looking for? The Monoprice Stageright amps are supposedly clones of the Laney Cub12r...I don't know for sure, but I do know they're cheap, tube powered, and they kick ass. Might sound a little fizzy at first, but let that speaker break in and you're off to the races.
 

fuzz guy

Member
Messages
1,959
I had a THR 10, one of the original series and to be honest I ended up getting rid of it because I didn't think it sounded all that good. There was no way to set it so it didn't sound really small. I understand that it has two very small speakers and there's only so much they can do, but it was just uninspiring.

A 15w tube amp like the Bassbreaker will be quite loud. You'd want to try one in person to see what sort of tones it will give you at the volume levels you want to use.

I had a Laney Cub 12R, the predecessor to the Super Cub, and it was a great amp. I only sold it because I upgraded to a bigger Laney GHR. The <1w input is perfect for home playing and the amp has low headroom so you can get nice break up tones at reasonable volume. If want it louder for jamming just switch to the 15w input.

My current quiet/headphone amp is a Boss Nextone Stage. It has much better sounds than the THR had, both at low volume and through headphones. You can also hook up a laptop via USB and play along with tracks or interactive tabs, but only with headphones.

OP, I'm curious if you have tried the Tonebridge option with that little Laney? It might give you better drive sounds. But like you mentioned you can't expect too much, it's a little plastic box with a tiny speaker, so glorious OD tones are never going to be it's strong suit.
 
Messages
271
I had a THR 10, one of the original series and to be honest I ended up getting rid of it because I didn't think it sounded all that good. There was no way to set it so it didn't sound really small. I understand that it has two very small speakers and there's only so much they can do, but it was just uninspiring.

A 15w tube amp like the Bassbreaker will be quite loud. You'd want to try one in person to see what sort of tones it will give you at the volume levels you want to use.

I had a Laney Cub 12R, the predecessor to the Super Cub, and it was a great amp. I only sold it because I upgraded to a bigger Laney GHR. The <1w input is perfect for home playing and the amp has low headroom so you can get nice break up tones at reasonable volume. If want it louder for jamming just switch to the 15w input.

My current quiet/headphone amp is a Boss Nextone Stage. It has much better sounds than the THR had, both at low volume and through headphones. You can also hook up a laptop via USB and play along with tracks or interactive tabs, but only with headphones.

OP, I'm curious if you have tried the Tonebridge option with that little Laney? It might give you better drive sounds. But like you mentioned you can't expect too much, it's a little plastic box with a tiny speaker, so glorious OD tones are never going to be it's strong suit.

Tonbridge is surprisingly decent.

BUT, there's latency on Andriod (much better on iOS), and you need a wire.

Its a bit too much of a faff, and its quite noisy.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
10,951
I guess my fear is the Yamaha is just a hype job. It has 2 3inch speakers (same as the laney) and basically isn't a real amp.
It has two 3 inch fullrange speakers for running digital amp modeling and cabinet simulation. It won't sound like a 12" guitar speaker in the room but it will sound good for its intended use, which is home volume levels where you don't want room rattling bass or tons of volume.

I think they are great little amps that are easy to use. Plus you get built in effects and more variety of sounds than you can get from an average tube amp.
 

LagunaMan

Member
Messages
804
Get a small tube amp and pedals. Bassbreaker is a decent amp, I read, but a nightmare to fix so it's basically a disposable tube amp. Not something I would want to work on. Currently, I'm using fender pro jr. 3 tube amp with several common dirt pedals in front and it's decent at bedroom volumes.
 

Flowergun

Member
Messages
207
Don't get fooled by the numbers. I love my THR30. It gets more play time than my Fender TMDR and my fancy tube amps. Amp sounds huge, IME. I mean with these things everything is personal obviously but I couldn't get a better sound from a 15 watt tube amp compared to the THR30. In fact I would never recommend anything louder than a 5 watt tube amp with a 112 speaker unless you're playing in a huge room. It's all up to you ofc.
 

Silkrodamus

Member
Messages
1,094
Don't get fooled by the numbers. I love my THR30. It gets more play time than my Fender TMDR and my fancy tube amps. Amp sounds huge, IME. I mean with these things everything is personal obviously but I couldn't get a better sound from a 15 watt tube amp compared to the THR30. In fact I would never recommend anything louder than a 5 watt tube amp with a 112 speaker unless you're playing in a huge room. It's all up to you ofc.

My Carr Telstar smokes my Yamaha THR for low volume playing. Literally makes the THR sound like a 16-bit video game console. The THR is currently stuffed in the closet of the Coast Guard ship I work on so I can do headphone playing in my cabin while I'm away at sea. The Telstar gives me perfect bedroom tones at home....even late at night....and I live in a condo. It's 17 watts with a 12 inch speaker. Zero noise complaints.

These amps were designed for low-volume playing at home and can rip at full volume when you take them out. Most of Steve Carr's recent amps will get you there, actually. No need to compromise. You just need to spend the $$$ for these features. The THR is a toy, in my opinion, when you go up past really low volume. Any sort of overdrive or distortion through those tiny speakers just doesn't quite cut it. Has some decent clean tones though, I must say. That's about all I can say about it though. If I'm being honest. In a pinch, they're alright!
 

Flowergun

Member
Messages
207
My Carr Telstar smokes my Yamaha THR for low volume playing. Literally makes the THR sound like a 16-bit video game console. The THR is currently stuffed in the closet of the Coast Guard ship I work on so I can do headphone playing in my cabin while I'm away at sea. The Telstar gives me perfect bedroom tones at home....even late at night....and I live in a condo. It's 17 watts with a 12 inch speaker. Zero noise complaints.

These amps were designed for low-volume playing at home and can rip at full volume when you take them out. Most of Steve Carr's recent amps will get you there, actually. No need to compromise. You just need to spend the $$$ for these features. The THR is a toy, in my opinion, when you go up past really low volume. Any sort of overdrive or distortion through those tiny speakers just doesn't quite cut it. Has some decent clean tones though, I must say. That's about all I can say about it though. If I'm being honest. In a pinch, they're alright!
Fair enough. I like the features of the Yamaha and I didn't suggest it could beat a million dollar amp in terms of sound qualities. I use my Big Trees amp if I absolutely want the tube feeling but the THR is great for my needs.
 

jthomas666

Member
Messages
955
I have one of the first version THR10's. I got it with the plan on recording with it, but it required it's own WIN driver that had some conflict with other driver software and needed to be episodically reinstalled. I gave up. Newer drivers may be more stable and maybe it works better with a Mac. I dk.

The amplified sound was ok, but always sounded like DSP to me. No sweet amplified sound at low levels.

I pull it out occasionally to futz around, but much prefer my 1968 Custom Deluxe at bedroom levels.
 

Silkrodamus

Member
Messages
1,094
Fair enough. I like the features of the Yamaha and I didn't suggest it could beat a million dollar amp in terms of sound qualities. I use my Big Trees amp if I absolutely want the tube feeling but the THR is great for my needs.

Oh yeah, I know you weren't! Fo sho. I just meant it's actually manageable volume for the wattage and speaker size of the amp. Attenuator works great.

The THR has a lot of awesome features packed in and is still a fun amp! You can't beat the features and how compact it is. Combined, that makes it very useful. My life on ship would be pretty droll without it.
 

fuzz guy

Member
Messages
1,959
Another quiet option I use is one of those little Vox Amplug things. I have the AC30 one and it sounds surprisingly good for a tiny little thing, plus it will fit in a guitar case. It works very well through headphones, but recently I have been running it through a portable BT speaker I have. It sounds better than my THR did at conversational volume and is easy to use anywhere.

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slipbeer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,587
THR10C Blackface has been a really useful tool for me. I use it everyday and don't see any reason to look elsewhere for apartment level tones.
 

Wabznasm

Member
Messages
1,388
I guess my fear is the Yamaha is just a hype job. It has 2 3inch speakers (same as the laney) and basically isn't a real amp.

Every time I play my THR10 (original) I start off thinking it sounds really bad, then after an hour or so I come round to the idea that it's much better than I remember. Then I play one of my small tube amps* and realise the THR really does sound bad.

So for me, it's very situational. As a small portable thing with lots of knobs to turn that is better than playing unplugged, it does the job. As an amp to kick back and wow yourself with, it's not the one I'd use.

*Laney 1W/15W and Vox AC10 being the better options for me
 

Jab_Guitar

Member
Messages
4,005
THR is great for what it is and is excellent for recording/low volume needs, but personally I like using Quilter amps more because I can run them very low volumes through bigger speakers which makes them sound way bigger and less boxy than a THR. Strictly for recording though the THR amps are great, so it's going to be the most cost effective for most people I would think.
 

Mr. Crow

Member
Messages
2,036
I own a THR10 and just don't really enjoy it that much. Yes, it's handy and convenient, but rather uninspiring. I'm a bit financially challenged at the moment, so I think I'm going to sell it and get a red stripe Peavey Bandit or Studio 112. Those at least sound like a real amp (to me).
 
Messages
271
Well I walked into a guitar shop today and A/B The Marshall DSL1CR vs a Fender Bassbreaker 007...

I know the 007 obviously isn't the 15 watt version, but even the 007 is too far FAR too loud and sounds pretty terrible at low volume.

Fender discounted.

The Marshall, on the other hand is perfection for bedroom levels and even has an FX loop, and a 0 1w mode!

Even though I haven't actually tried the THR, I know the tone will be nowhere near the Marshall.

Search over. Question answered.

Thank you.
 




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