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Old 01-21-2013, 04:51 PM   #1
Amnesiac1995
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Question Help for the amp noob

Hey guys,

I have a couple of questions, hope you can help me out!

So for the last 3 years I have used a 15 watts transistor combo ( Line 6 Spider IV ).
I have been saving some money and I want to buy a new amp ( a more expensive one ). So I was thinking about buying a tube amp because I read they sound a lot better. Of course I intend to go to stores and try a lot of amps before buying one, I'd still like to know a couple of things in advance.

First of all, me and my band band play in an old bunker ( build to defend our town in the second world war ). Our drummer plays really loud and the other guitarist and bassist have large amps to. My old 15 watt amp is not loud enough, I read however, that 15 watt tube amps sound a lot louder. If a 15 watt tube amp is not loud enough, should I then buy a tube amp with a higher wattage or should I add a cabinet?

In the case that you guy's recommend adding a cabinet I have some questions there to. If I am not mistaken cabinets work both with transistor and tube amps. Doesn't that mean then that if you add a lot of cabinets to your main amp, the difference between transistor and tube in tone will be very small?

Also I know that tube amps will start to distort when you turn their volume up. Meaning that you can only play distorted when you play loud. Does that mean that, by adding cabinets, you need to play louder to be able to get a distorted sound? Is there a use in getting an overdrive pedal when you have a tube amp?

A tube amp that Seemes very nice to me is the Fender blues junior III.

I hope you guys can answer my questions and provide me with some additional info on cabinets and Tube amps. Thanks so much! I'm sorry if I didn't post this thread in the right place.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:02 PM   #2
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Fill this out, and we can help ya find a nicer amp.

Budget? - What is practical for you and what is your limit?

Genres? - What style do you play mostly, fav guitarists, do you need cleans, etc?

New or Used? - Lots of great amps out there used, especially in a down economy.

Home or Gig? - Also important. Maybe you do both. Jamming with a drummer can be considered 'gigging' but you won't have a PA etc.

Closest City? - We aren't here to stalk you but we need to know where you are in the world roughly and we can help further if we know what city you are in (ie craigslist, local shops, Guitar Center used section, etc)

Current Gear? - Also good for us to know.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:12 PM   #3
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I'm not looking for specific models yet, I would just like you guys to answer those questions first, understand everything a little better .
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:18 PM   #4
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A watt is a watt wether it is SS or tube.
Most tube amps are rated lower than their actual max power. They are rated for clean headroom not max output. SS amps tend to be rated at their max output.

What type of music do you play? that will play a big factor in what amp you will want.

Open or closedback cabs have a big impact on the tone.

Type of speaker can change the volume level, depending on the sensitivity.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:21 PM   #5
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We play a lot of different music styles, I will need both a good clean and a heavy distorted sound, ofcource I can probably add extra distortions with pedals, or will that sound bad with tube amps? But adding a cabinet to a 15 watt tube amp will not make it sound less good?
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:28 PM   #6
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The tone will be different between a Solid state (transistor) and tube amp even if the speakers in the cabs are the same.

I hope you realize the difference between a combo and a head/cab though. You NEED a cab when using a head. Just want to make that clear.

You wont need to play louder for the amp to distort if you have more speakers, more speakers will just result in a fuller sound. also, you don't need to turn it up to distort, nowadays most amps will have a distortion channel of some sort, and even if it doesn't you can always get a distortion/overdrive/fuzz pedal that will push it past the clean sounds.

As for the Fender Blues Junior, it's not a bad amp but we really need to know what you play and want to play/sound like before we can tell you what's a good fit. and also a "loud" drummer is relative so I wouldn't be able to tell you if 15 watts is enough or not, as you might have a different definition of loud than I do.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:29 PM   #7
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You will want something bigger than 15 watts if your playing cleans and need heavey distortion.

The Blues Jr is a good amp for certan types of music, heavy distortion it deffinately is not. It is more of a blues light rock type amps (hence the name Blues Jr)

If i were you I'd look into the Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 it is a 1x12 combo that has a tube power amp and a SS preamp. It is a really nice modeling amp, and will do cleans to brutal distortion. You can also add another cab if you want to sound bigger.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TremontiAddict
Fill this out, and we can help ya find a nicer amp.

Budget? - What is practical for you and what is your limit?

Genres? - What style do you play mostly, fav guitarists, do you need cleans, etc?

New or Used? - Lots of great amps out there used, especially in a down economy.

Home or Gig? - Also important. Maybe you do both. Jamming with a drummer can be considered 'gigging' but you won't have a PA etc.

Closest City? - We aren't here to stalk you but we need to know where you are in the world roughly and we can help further if we know what city you are in (ie craigslist, local shops, Guitar Center used section, etc)

Current Gear? - Also good for us to know.


Amnesiac, answer these questions. It will help us. Trust me.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:53 PM   #9
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Adding more speakers isn't going to make you any louder. I mean, have you heard about resistance? The more cabs you add, the more quiet one speaker will be. Because if it wasn't that way, you could just add power from out of nowhere. Your 1 watt amp would become a 100 watt amp just by adding a couple of speakers. In a 4x12 cabinet one speaker will be quieter than in a 1x12 cabinet. The power is divided by the amount of speakers. So if you have a 100 watt amp, it will be only 25 watts per speaker if you are using four speakers. If you have two speakers, it will be 50 watts per speaker. The big cabs are there to make you sound bigger, not to make you sound louder. And actually most of the stacks on stage are not in use. They are part of the stage show, it looks cool when you have 36 Marshall stacks on stage, even though only one or two of them are really in use.

But really, if you want to be sure that you can be heard over a loud drummer without micing your amp, maybe buy 30 watts. I don't know that much about how loud different amps will be but I have heard people saying that 30 watts will be enough for club gigs. Remember that you aren't going to lose anything if you buy an amp that is too loud to be cranked. Because what if you need more volume but the volume control is already cranked? But I wouldn't look at the wattage too much. If the amp sounds good to you, it's good.

But if your definition of "loud drummer" is "plays louder than Line 6 Spider 15 watt combo", he might not be that loud. I mean, the Spider is not designed to be used in a band practice.

Fender Blues Junior is used by many guitarists. But don't buy it if you are going to play metal. (I know, here starts the "Blues Junior can/can't do metal" war . It may do metal but you need to turn the gain all the way up. And it's voiced differently than the "ideal" metal amps.) Though I don't assume that you play metal when you are looking for an amp that says "blues" on it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:21 PM   #10
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Go play an Egnator Rebel 30 or Tweaker 30 to start. Good amps, good cleans, plenty of distortion, plenty of volume. Then compare from there. Also look at the Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister 36 if you can. These may be a little more than you want to spend, but they will show you what is possible for tone. Then you can compare possibilities from there.

I've had one of the blues Jr's. Nice little amp, but not where I would go for what you are playing.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnesiac1995
(a) My old 15 watt amp is not loud enough, I read however, that 15 watt tube amps sound a lot louder. If a 15 watt tube amp is not loud enough, should I then buy a tube amp with a higher wattage or should I add a cabinet?

(b) In the case that you guy's recommend adding a cabinet I have some questions there to. If I am not mistaken cabinets work both with transistor and tube amps. Doesn't that mean then that if you add a lot of cabinets to your main amp, the difference between transistor and tube in tone will be very small?

(c) Also I know that tube amps will start to distort when you turn their volume up. Meaning that you can only play distorted when you play loud. Does that mean that, by adding cabinets, you need to play louder to be able to get a distorted sound? (d) Is there a use in getting an overdrive pedal when you have a tube amp?


(a) probably better just buying a higher wattage tube amp. while you can make any amp louder by using more (or more efficient) speakers, getting a higher wattage amp gives you more leeway, really. they tend to have more headroom, plus you can still use more efficient speakers with them to get louder again.

(b) nope, there'll still be a big difference. While it's true that transistor amps often use crappy speakers and cabinets (which accentuate how bad most of them sound compared to tube amps), (most) tube amps should still sound and feel a fair bit better than (most) solid state amps.

(c) yeah you'd need to play louder to get power tube distortion.

you can get preamp tube distortion at low volumes if the amp has a gain control/separate master volume and volume controls.

(d) yep, sure, that's one of the best uses of an OD pedal. you can use them to boost a tube amp which generally sounds awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnesiac1995
(a) We play a lot of different music styles, I will need both a good clean and a heavy distorted sound, ofcource I can probably add extra distortions with pedals, or will that sound bad with tube amps? (b) But adding a cabinet to a 15 watt tube amp will not make it sound less good?


(a) i'd say your best bet is something which has both good cleans and distortions. it's not that tube amps sound bad with distortion pedals... just distortion pedals rarely sound as good as a good tube amp's inbuilt distortion.

(b) adding a good cab should make it sound better... but that might not be the most effective way of achieving a good tone, kind of thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
Adding more speakers isn't going to make you any louder. I mean, have you heard about resistance? The more cabs you add, the more quiet one speaker will be. Because if it wasn't that way, you could just add power from out of nowhere. Your 1 watt amp would become a 100 watt amp just by adding a couple of speakers. In a 4x12 cabinet one speaker will be quieter than in a 1x12 cabinet. The power is divided by the amount of speakers. So if you have a 100 watt amp, it will be only 25 watts per speaker if you are using four speakers. If you have two speakers, it will be 50 watts per speaker. The big cabs are there to make you sound bigger, not to make you sound louder. And actually most of the stacks on stage are not in use. They are part of the stage show, it looks cool when you have 36 Marshall stacks on stage, even though only one or two of them are really in use.


that's all true, but i think acoustic coupling (something like that) actually makes more speakers slightly louder than fewer speakers.
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Last edited by Dave_Mc : 01-21-2013 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:20 PM   #12
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Filled it out.

Budget? - 300-500 Euro's ( for an amp only )

Genres? - We play a lot of different stuff, some of my favourite bands are radiohead, supertramp, pink floyd, but also iron maiden.

New or Used? I'd like to buy an amp new. ( i live in the netherlands, not a lot of second hand options out here )

Home or Gig? - We play with our band in a bunker, ( drummer, 2 guitars, bass ).

Closest City? - Amsterdam

Current Gear? - I currently have a line 6 spider IV ( 15 watt version ), and an epiphine SG. But I don't really like the sound of that setup, and after 4 years of playing, I want some better. I am thinking about buying a tube combo amp, preferebly 30 watt, and a fender strat or tele with bridge humbucker. I like the sound of fender guitars better than gibson's, and I think it will sound better within my band. The budget is for the amp only, I have more money available for the guitar.

The guitar sound I really like is the one from "the bends" and "Ok computer" albums from radiohead.

Last edited by Amnesiac1995 : 01-21-2013 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:27 PM   #13
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There is a Jet City JCA5212 combo for 399 on Thomann.de.
That would be a really nice amp and plenty loud with a good clean ch and a good drive ch.
It can get Iron Maiden levels of gain no problem
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:46 AM   #14
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Hey robbgnarly, I didn't find the JCA5212 on the site, I did find this one. http://www.thomann.de/nl/jet_city_a...ation_112rc.htm ( 2112RC ). You think that one will do the job with enough volume and distortion aswell?
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:00 AM   #15
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Any other ideas? I think about buying an amp from thomann.de some of the brands they are selling as far as tube amps are concerned are: peavey, fender, burgera, jet city, laney, black cat, black star, vox.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:37 AM   #16
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http://www.thomann.de/nl/engl_e300_...r_combo_112.htm
This one seems very nice, expensive though, but if its worth it...
its 30watt so it seems loud enough, and has some tone options. What do you guys think?
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:57 AM   #17
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What about the fender super champ?
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnesiac1995
Hey robbgnarly, I didn't find the JCA5212 on the site, I did find this one. http://www.thomann.de/nl/jet_city_a...ation_112rc.htm ( 2112RC ). You think that one will do the job with enough volume and distortion aswell?

Damn they must have sold it, that was quick. The JCA2112 is a diecent amp, but from what you said you want, do you need 2 seprate channels on your amp or can you get by with only a single channel?
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:55 AM   #19
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traynor ycv50b on thomann is pretty good, and a pretty good price. I dunno if it gets heavy enough distortion for you, though.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:33 AM   #20
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i think i can do with one channel, I can use my guitar volume and assist with a pedal right?
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