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Old 10-09-2013, 05:08 PM   #1
deano_l
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Amp thoughts, including... Is the Egnater Tweaker merely a modelling amp?

I'm looking for a new amp. I don't do gas, so what I buy will be my main amp for a good few years.

I have a limited UK budget of below £700.

I don't play in a band and most likely never will. The nearest to that will be jamming with a couple of mates but most of my playing is jamming to records and backing tracks and making my own recordings. The room I play in is a 2m x 2m glass-walled sunroom. I can get reasonably loud (the kids are growing up and the TV isn’t too near) but there is a limit before I get told to quiet down.

The styles I play are blues, rock, country, and Jazz. Nothing too heavy. The rock will be from rock’n’roll through to Nirvana, nothing heavier. Mostly Clapton, Stones, etc. If I can get into the ballpark I’m happy. I don’t want to duplicate anyone’s tone, just get close enough to make playing along to a CD an enjoyable pastime. I like The Shadows, Hendrix, SRV, Brad Paisley, Martin Taylor, AC/DC, The Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen… you name them and I will either love them already, or might come to love them! I love the genres rather than a specific individual, so I want to be able to cover those genre’s bases.

Cleans are important to me as I probably spend more time clean or nearly clean than overdriven, but I like a nice bit of drive now and again, and I don’t need to blow the windows out with a clean tone. The cleans will also come in handy for when I plug in my Zoom G3X to experiment with different modeling effects.

My main criteria are valve with a 12” speaker and with an effects loop. Yes, a power soak built in would be nice but not essential, and some recording features would be nice but not essential. I also want new not second hand.

This amp will have to be flexible enough to handle whatever musical styles I might want to play over the next decade or so. Yes I might need to add a pedal or two, but I won’t be buying a new amp.

I have narrowed it down to the Egnater Tweaker 15 or the H&K Tubemeister 18, both as heads, through either a 1x12 or 2x12 Montage cab, filled with Celestion G12H30 drivers. There is also the Vox TB18C1 Tony Bruno amp that is in the mix.

Yes there are others (Vox Night Train, Laney Lionheart, Blues Junior) but they all lack something I want such as the loop or speaker size, or they just don’t float my boat for some reason. These three seem to be the ones that have lodged themselves in my brain for some reason!

Now, I have a number of questions…

Do I need a 2x12 for the playing I do? Is it overkill? Would a 1x12 be sufficient? Would I notice an improvement in tone to warrant the extra cost? Would I be better off with a 1x12 and buy a couple of pedals?

I’m leaning (today!) towards the Tweaker but it keeps nagging away at me that it might just a better modeler? What would the Tweaker give me over and above my current Vox VT20+ modeler?

You are probably wondering why the Vox Tony Bruno is in the mix. Well, price is one! £400 for a Vox all valve amp, designed by a great boutique ampmaker, with a 12” Celestion G12-65 speaker and effects loop. Why wouldn’t you? Okay, it’s more Fendery than Voxy in tone, but that isn’t a problem and I can use the money saved to start buying some nice pedals. No it doesn’t have a power soak but some reviews have said the master volume is simply stunning, so that might not be a problem. Again, no recording facilities such as DI or Line Out, but I can but a dedicated DI box such as the H&K Red Box and still have money left in my budget. I reckon that these will become sought-after rarities in the future.

I haven’t tried any of them yet, but will do so (I might not be able to try the Tweaker though as there is only one seller in the UK).

Yes it’s a bit confusing. I think at the moment I’m leaning towards the flexibility of the Tweaker, followed by the Vox Bruno, but the Tubemeister is feature rich and gets great reviews.

So your thoughts would be welcome…
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:13 PM   #2
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Have you considered Orange? I have just bought an Orange Micro Terror with two cabs for around £220. It is a great little amp and for the money I paid it is amazing value. You should start looking at Orange Tiny Terrors. But I think a Micro mini stack like mine would be enough for you if you are not gigging. You can always add effect pedals etc.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:18 PM   #3
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No, the tweaker isn't a modeler in any sense of the word.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deano_l
Now, I have a number of questions…

Do I need a 2x12 for the playing I do?

No.

Quote:
Is it overkill?

No.

Quote:
Would a 1x12 be sufficient?

Yes.

Quote:
Would I notice an improvement in tone to warrant the extra cost?

Probably not. The 1x12 is pretty good. The big upgrade you might want to look into is the bump up to the Tweaker 40. It's almost certainly still within your budget and it's a big step up. You can get it in a head or a 1x12 combo, both would be an upgrade from the 15 with a 2x12.

Quote:
Would I be better off with a 1x12 and buy a couple of pedals?

Depends on the pedals, depends on the 1x12. You can probably get a used 2x12 for whatever they're charging for the new 1x12.

Quote:
I’m leaning (today!) towards the Tweaker but it keeps nagging away at me that it might just a better modeler? What would the Tweaker give me over and above my current Vox VT20+ modeler?

It's not a modeler. It's just not. It's got no digital circuitry in it at all, it's not trying to act like different amp circuits, it actually just uses those circuits or some close approximation. That's the difference, though, it's the real thing so even if it isn't an actual AC30 or whatever, it is an actual, quality tube amp. The VT20 is not.

Quote:
You are probably wondering why the Vox Tony Bruno is in the mix. Well, price is one! £400 for a Vox all valve amp, designed by a great boutique ampmaker, with a 12” Celestion G12-65 speaker and effects loop. Why wouldn’t you?

I wouldn't because I didn't like the dirty tone at all and didn't care that they slapped the Bruno name on it. Fun fact: Tony Bruno also designed the AC30 Custom Classic series, but Vox didn't feel the need to trumpet that all over the place, because their quality stands on its own.
Quote:
No it doesn’t have a power soak but some reviews have said the master volume is simply stunning, so that might not be a problem.

Correct, very good MV on those amps.
Quote:
I reckon that these will become sought-after rarities in the future.

Doubt it. Certainly wouldn't buy one expecting it to gain value.

Quote:
I haven’t tried any of them yet, but will do so (I might not be able to try the Tweaker though as there is only one seller in the UK).

Yes it’s a bit confusing. I think at the moment I’m leaning towards the flexibility of the Tweaker, followed by the Vox Bruno, but the Tubemeister is feature rich and gets great reviews.

So your thoughts would be welcome…

If you can't try any of them, get the Tweaker. It's got the widest range of great sounds out of the bunch. The Bruno is well made, but it's not mega versatile so if you're like me and don't like the distortion, it's going to disappoint you. The Tubemeister is ok. I didn't really like any of the sounds it made, and it's not particularly versatile. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, but with the Tweaker you are almost guaranteed to find several sounds you like.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:54 PM   #5
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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Why would I need a 30 or 40 watt amp? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I just don't see where I would need that power. Surely just playing over mp3's and jamming with a mate and his keyboard wouldn't need more clean headroom than a 15 watt amp can deliver, would it?

I'm not sure what I would gain from a 30 or 40 watt amp over and above a 15 or 18 watt amp. I wonder if even that is too much power for what I do.

Thanks for the responses everyone, much appreciated.
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:36 PM   #7
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Maybe look into a Rebel 30. 2 channels, IIRC, enough headroom for cleany cleans at volume, and you can lower the headroom for bedroom noodling (or terrarium noodling, whatever). I don't record, but I have read that people really like using them to do so.

Guitar amps are loud, BTW. Just get the bigger one so when you meet a drummer, you can still have your cleans. It's not even that much louder.

Last edited by DeathByDestroyr : 10-09-2013 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:38 PM   #8
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It's not about the volume. Big amps have more headroom and tend to have much larger transformers and cleaner power sections, which means a bigger, fatter sound.

Put it this way: 15 watts is overkill for what you want to do if you're trying to get an overdriven power section. Heck, 5 watts would probably be too much. Volume is logarithmic; 40 watts is not actually that much louder than 15, and as you point out they both have more headroom than you're likely to need. So, you're going to be getting your OD from the preamp and pedals anyway. A 40 watt amp isn't really any less practical than the 15 in that case, and the 40 will sound lots better in almost any situation. If you ever have the chance to play a Tweaker 15 next to a 40, you'll see what I mean. The 15 is great, and will suit your needs just fine, but if you can afford the 40 it's just a better sounding amp, even at the same volumes you're likely to be playing the 15 at.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:01 PM   #9
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If you really want your amp to be all-tube, I have strong suspicion the tubemeister 18 isn't all-valve. I could be wrong, but when I see an amp which has fewer preamp tubes than it really should have (assuming "normal" circuit design), from a company which has form with having solid state shenanigans in its tube amps, I get suspicious.

Aside from that, I agree with what all the regulars are saying. I haven't tried the tweaker, but it's a tube amp, not a modeller. I haven't tried the tony bruno. The lionheart would actually be pretty good for what you want, but probably isn't as versatile as the tweaker. If you are going with a 2x12 i'd personally mix speakers and get a stereo cabinet for a few options, speaker-wise.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deano_l
Why would I need a 30 or 40 watt amp? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I just don't see where I would need that power. Surely just playing over mp3's and jamming with a mate and his keyboard wouldn't need more clean headroom than a 15 watt amp can deliver, would it?

I'm not sure what I would gain from a 30 or 40 watt amp over and above a 15 or 18 watt amp. I wonder if even that is too much power for what I do.

Thanks for the responses everyone, much appreciated.

Roc8995 pretty much nailed every response in this thread and then some so I'll just piggy back on what he said.

You said 'cleans are very important to you and you play clean more than overdriven'.

Is that correct?

If so, wattage is important. More watts = more clean headroom.

Watts do not correlate to volume like most people think. At least not linearly.

I think the Rebel is a good idea as well - but the Tweaker 40 will suit you sooooo much better than the Tweaker 15. You also need to be prepared to do some tube rolling (replacing).
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arby911
No, the tweaker isn't a modeler in any sense of the word.
He probably got that idea because there is a switch that is supposed to change the character of the amp between British, American, and I guess Vox. I've got one and couldn't tell you if that's what it actually does.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by fly135
He probably got that idea because there is a switch that is supposed to change the character of the amp between British, American, and I guess Vox. I've got one and couldn't tell you if that's what it actually does.

It does. The EQ voicing is altered to approximate the sound of US (think Fender/Mesa), UK (Marshall/Orange) and AC (Vox twang).

Quite general and it's not built to emulate them exactly, just the essence. I have the Tweaker 40 and an AC30 and A/B'd there's a similarity but generally only an AC30 will sound like an AC30.

I use both live, the Tweaker 40 through an old, random 4x12 and, in reference to what others have mentioned in terms of wattage, it struggles to keep up with the Vox at times. But I like the disparity on stage, and being the sole guitarist in my current band it fills the space pretty well.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:15 PM   #13
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ok. i love tweakers BUT, the tweaker 15 is 1 channel. so you probably are going to run it slightly breaking up with a OD to boost it, or run it clean and let a pedal to all the work on getting a crunch tone.

there are 2 channel night trains with FX loops available now. they expanded thier line.

i have a 40 watt tweaker and a 2x12 amp in my apartment WAY WAY overkill. however, after trying the rebels, tweakers, tubemesiters, etc etc, i thought the tweaker series not only had a wide range of tones, but could get a good tone at low volume.

i chose the 40 watt for 2 channels, which is huge for me. it also is small, and very easy to sound good at low volume. it does need a preamp tube change though, the stock tube are trash.

my tweaker 40 sounds fantastic in my bedroom. that would be my bet for you. that or the night train 2 with multiple channels.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:28 PM   #14
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ikey, what did you replace your preamp tubes with?

I'm switching mine over this side of Christmas and was after ideas...
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:46 PM   #15
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I was very pleased with the Tweaker line. I almost picked up a Tweeker 88 as a back up head. It was a great price and I loved the tone, and I recently came into a good amount of money. The ONLY reason i didn't pull the trigger is that I chose to put the money towards a new acoustic/electric guitar to replace my acoustic for live shows. Otherwise Id be running the tweaker every other night!
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Old 10-11-2013, 07:53 AM   #16
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the 88 is a BEAST. keep in mind it has kt88s, 4 preamp tubes, and boost circuits built into each channel. that essentially makes it an entirely different amp. SOOO much more flexibility and gain on tap, but 88 watts is a monster.

i put a tung sol v1 new production v1, standard jj v2, and a 12at7 by Jan- PHillips in V3. i am liking that for now.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:52 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ikey_
the 88 is a BEAST. keep in mind it has kt88s, 4 preamp tubes, and boost circuits built into each channel. that essentially makes it an entirely different amp. SOOO much more flexibility and gain on tap, but 88 watts is a monster.

i put a tung sol v1 new production v1, standard jj v2, and a 12at7 by Jan- PHillips in V3. i am liking that for now.


I agree, the 88 is one of my favorite amps!
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Old 10-11-2013, 12:20 PM   #18
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while on the subject of the Tweaker, does anyone know if the Tweakrer 40 has ample headroom to stay super clean un-mic'd to a room of 50 to 100 or so people?
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:14 PM   #19
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Lawl why 88? HH?

>.>
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:04 PM   #20
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yes it does. i would say cab will play a role un miced. i am running a 2x12 cab and i would have no hesitation playing clean un miced. a huge venue? an ampitheatre? no. but nobody does that anyways. a room? like a bar? sure. your fine. 40 watts of 6L6 will do it, hot switch off, gain low master up.
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