It will rattle your house or turn it down n get the best clean or crunch sounds in your bedroom. Or, you can consider the next amp on my list. There are two channels, Classic Gain and Ultra Gain, each with its own Gain and Volume control. Fans of simplicity will love this spartan beastie, with its lone Loudness and Tone controls. The intent of this article was to give you a jumping-off point for choosing the right amp for use at home. Obviously, not all Marshall amps from any decade sound or look identical, but these little all-tube beauties capture the essential vibe of their ancestors – right down to the switches, knobs, name plates, and cabinetry. What it lacks in versatility it more than makes up for in tone. All in all, the HT-5R is a surprisingly versatile little tone generator. There is also a very usable onboard reverb. The controls include Gain, Treble, Bass, and Volume, along with a Cool/Hot switch that toggles between the normal Top Boost sound (Cool), and a brighter, gainier response that results from partially bypassing the tone stack in the Hot setting. Monoprice 15-Watt, 1×12 Guitar Combo Tube Amplifier – Best 15-Watt Tube Amp (Our Best Pick) … Jacking into the High input opens the door to the Cub 8’s most saturated realms. Both amps are quite similar, with the power rating being one obvious difference. We cranked the Volume and Tone knobs up all the way and lit into the intro to “Communication Breakdown.” Sure enough, we were greeted by a delightfully fuzzed out, spitty, mean tone that was perfect for the riff. For anyone who digs what those classic amps can do, this bitchin’ little 5-watt beauty is a must-hear. You want a small, low watt tube amp. Crank the amp’s Gain and an aggressive grind enters the picture with a bounty of tight and powerful low end, as well as musically snarling midrange. The Blues Junior is one of the littlest Hot Rods, next to the ultra-Spartan Pro Junior, and probably my favorite of the group. Tube-swappin’-tonetweakers unite! The treble frequencies need to be dialed back a bit with single-coil-equipped guitars, but that’s an easy fix. In my opinion, this amp sounds fantastic with a humbucker-equipped guitar such as a Les Paul, the Volume cranked and overall volume controlled via the Master. This thing sounds incredible and really nails that classic 6505 tone It’s rated at only 20 watts with a power cut switches to take it down to five or one watt, so it’s perfect for bedroom-level playing. Brilliant. After you've been playing for a while you may decide you agree with that sentiment, or that you don’t. Humbucker players will be as happy as can be with the TubeMeister’s ability to yield swift, hammer-like, AC/DC-style tones with a fast attack that delivers tough, barking chords like a lead pipe to the head. The best guitar amps available today ... It’s loud enough for the stage but you can power down to 2 watts for bedroom shredding. That's because of another one of those truisms you may come to believe isn’t really true: Tube amps need to be cranked up to the point where the tubes are glowing hot to sound best. Removing the 15 screws that hold the rear cover in place provides full access to the handwired circuitry, which is laid out neatly on a phenolic board with flying leads to the pots, jacks, and switches. MARSHALL STUDIO CLASSIC SC20C 20W VALVE COMBO AMP. Want that creamy overdriven tube tone of classic Marshall crunch of a 100w stack without deafening yourself (or the neighbors)? The diminutive Super Lead-style head boasts two 12AX7 and two 12AT7 tubes with a Class A “parallel single-ended” power-stage topology. One of the coolest features is the TSI Tube Monitor which keeps you updated on the health of your tubes. The Cub’s 8" speaker has a midrangey focus that’s very suitable for miking in a studio, though the amp opened up more and was louder when we plugged it into a 1x12 cabinet via the handy external speaker jack. That said if metal or heavy rock is your thing you may be better served by one of the amps below. It’s a remarkable feat of amp building. It’s a gutsy little monster, too – although low end is understandably attenuated in a package this size. There is a Tone Shift button for scooping the mid frequencies, and Deep button for a little extra low end. A 50-watt tube amp is plenty powerful enough for use in a band, and way more than you could ever need for bedroom-level jamming. Personally, I think this is a really cool idea and a smart alternative to a combo amp. Designed by boutique pioneer Andy Marshall of THD fame, the Jet City PicoValve rocks the rugged roll-cage look, and boasts a 16-gauge steel chassis, as well as a circuit that can handle nearly any octal-based tube (such as a 6V6, EL34, or 6550). There’s a single volume knob – turn it up, turn it down – and a Power switch. And, the ’Meister sports an abundance of chime and high-end definition with humbuckers too. © The Overdrive channel is surprisingly versatile, and runs confidently from chewy blues crunch to high-gain sizzle – all of which are a total blast to play. Here are a few final thoughts on each amp: Whatever you choose, remember to do your homework before choosing any piece of gear, and read up on the current specs with the gear companies themselves. Within its lunchbox-sized 12" x 4" x 7" vented-steel box, the Defender 5H taps a single 12AX7 preamp tube and single EL84 output tube to churn out 5 incontrovertible class-A watts. Lows are surprisingly gutsy, highs shimmer with harmonic complexity, and it all cleans up nicely at the guitar’s volume control, or simply by easing up your pick attack. In fact, we can’t remember when we’ve had more fun just plugging in and playing for pure enjoyment. Strat players will love the glassiness that the TubeMeister offers, as it really enhances the funky “cluck” of in-between pickup settings. You can’t overestimate the timeless appeal of a simple, foolproof, one-knob tube amp, and the Kustom Defender 5H delivers on that Thoreauvian promise right out of the box. ORANGE ROCKER 15 1X10 VALVE AMP. And in a recording studio or a practice session – or even on a gig where low levels are mandatory – amps that use one 6V6 or EL84, or even just a 12AX7 dual triode for power, may be the perfect thing to plug into. Its two footswitchable channels have independent EQ – a simple tone control on Clean, but three knobs and ISF control for Overdrive – plus global reverb. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, You can expect the typical Marshall tone from this little monster, and because its only 20 watts you can get those valves cooking. Sporting a retro, tabletop-radio look, the Greta is an adorable lil’ thing with a 4" speaker and Volume and Tone controls. He was quite good at it, too, as Laney amps have been used by a lot of great players over the years, most notably Tony Iommi. You’ll get some thick, crunchy, classic-rock overdrive and buttery lead sound. All three pack a good bit more gain than the originals, but that shouldn’t be an issue, especially given that back in the ’60s and ’70s players struggled mightily to coax more gain from their Marshalls (and present-day guitarists who plug into actual “plexis” frequently find the sound too clean and unforgiving). Guitar Gopher is a guitarist and bassist with over 35 years of experience as a musician. The ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) control is continuously variable between tight, bright, in-your-face “American” tones and warmer, looser “British” tones. The distortion gets a little buzzy when you really start crankin,’ but keeping the well-voiced Tone control turned down, and/or using humbuckers, helps to smooth out the sounds. What it does it does very well. It’s a little more rock-oriented compared to the Fender Blues Junior and has more features. They don’t take up much space, and you can swap them out based on your mood of the day. On the back panel you’ve got . The additional controls combined with the very effective Boost circuit allow you to dial in scores of glorious tones. Even solid-state amplifiers with high power ratings are much more controllable for low-volume playing, and you don’t need to turn them up so loud to get optimal sound. I even used it to run the Greta in front of my Deluxe Reverb with excellent results. Here are a few more I thought worth mentioning, even though they didn’t make my top three for one reason or another. When you do you’ll find you have a whole lot of options, from some of the top amp builders out there. It’s a three-watt,… Case in point: the TubeMeister 5 – a tiny Teutonic tube terror that is potently portable at 7.5 lbs, and includes a padded gig case. The little combo hides a 12" Celestion G12M Greenback in its compact, semi-closed back cabinet. You might even collect a few of them. The JCM-1H reaches for the roar and percussive knock of the famed JCM800 Lead Series amps that ruled the ’80s, offering Bass, Middle, and Treble controls, along with Pre- Amp Volume and Master Volume controls, and a front-panel Boost switch designed to provide the extra punch of Marshall’s Jubilee and Split Channel amps. Along with its two siblings, the JCM-1H is absolutely adorable and makes a majestic racket. nothing. Tube amps are loud. Both are great amps. Though small in stature, the AC4 throws out an impressive amount of sound. I’ve owned a few Fender Hot Rods in my day, and they’re great amps, especially for the money. The 1-watters were surprisingly loud when powering a Marshall C110 speaker cabinet ($350 retail/$250 street) loaded with a Celestion G10F-15, and even rocked a 1x12 cab with authority. The Greta can also run into the front-end of another amplifier – think of it as a tube-powered stompbox with Volume and Tone controls and a 4" speaker! Combos run $1,060 retail and $799 street. Really loud. The Fender Blues Junior is a low-wattage tube amp that's perfect for jamming at home. Kicking in the Drive switch, all hell breaks loose with crushing high gain that manages to stay tight and focused, even when Master and Gain are cranked. Visit our corporate site. This is based on my opinion, and as always I suggest you do your own research and get a good understanding of what’s out there. Combo amps are easy to manage, and you don't have to worry about a speaker cabinet. While I like the simplicity of the Blues Junior, the tone is what it’s all about. The reverb sounds good on the clean channel, but it gets a little lost in high gain tones. The Peavey 6505 MH is by far my favorite mini-head that has come out in recent years. The speaker-emulated output is effective for recording and headphone rehearsing alike. The next amp I try will probably be a Blues Jr. or a DSL 5. So, should you go with a mini-head or low-wattage combo? 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