I'm on the market for a low wattage tube amp for rock and blues. Stuff like cream, white stripes, nirvana and the like. Also, something that could do Tool with the right pedal. I was thinking about the Epi Valve Junior head/cab model. Would that be a good first tube amp?

budget is 300-400 USD
It could do cream and stuff alright, throw a muff or a ds1/2 in front for white stripes and nirvana respectively. With a pedal you could get tool levels of gain, but no where near his tone. I'm not a huge fan of this amp.

Another amp to look at would be the classic 30, a bit out of range new, but a good amp overall. You should be able to find one for under 400 used. 30 watts but it sounds fine at lower volumes. Would need overdrive or distortion pedal fro tool levels of gain

The crate v18 and v33 are also worth a look, you can find them pretty cheap. 15 and 30 watts respectively. Again you'll need an od or distortion for tool.

I'll throw the blues jr in there as well. Its american voiced unlike the rest of those amps, so it's a bit of a different flavor. Has less gain than all those other amps, but it's nice sounding amp overall. It sounds amazing with an OD in front. An OD won't get you to tool gain levels, you'll definitely need a distortion if you go this route. A bit over budget new. Around 300 used.

Not tube amps, but the vox valvetronix and peavey vypyrs are worth a go around as well, nice versatile practice amps they are.
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Another vote for a blues Jr. You won't get the best tool sound with any of the amps listed above, but with the right pedal you can get pretty close.
still out of all those i would probly go for the crate vintage club.

the gain on the V18 is horrid, compared to alot of other tube amps, you cant put the gain past 6 with the volume past 3 or so.

like kev said the peavey classic 30 is nice also, this thing can get pretty gainy by its self, with an OD on the dirty side its crunch heaven with, very agressive.

If you want tool type stuff on it your ganna have to use the normal channel with a DS pedal.
Last edited by THEKID546 at Mar 5, 2009,
the tool tone isn't vital, its just something that would be nice. I'm using a frontman 65r right now, and it doesn't sound terrible, but what do i know.

About the Peavey 30, the reason I want a low watt amp is because I live in a dorm, and the 65r is kinda loud for the environment. I'm looking for something that can do good rock/blues tone at a relatively low volume.

Would I be better off with a blackheart little giant or killer ant?
in that case just buy a modeler like someone else said.

no tube amp is dorm, or apt friendly.

just buy a valvetronix or a vypyr.
^The LG is quite similar, the killer ant is kind of weak sounding to my ears.

I understand where you're coming from, but you won't be able to crank anything, not even a five watt amp. That's why I didn't suggest any. Even though you can't crank the large amps as much I still think they sound better at those lower volumes than the five watters.

Another amp I didn't mention is the handsome devil 15 watts switchable to 7. Never played one personally, but the fit what you're looking for.
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depends on your dorm's definition of quiet. if it's my definition of quiet a tube amp might work for your needs. if it's my wifes definition of quiet a even 5 watts is pretty darn loud.
I was really hoping to graduate to a tube amp after 3 years of SS mediocrity and sterility. Is there any way I can make this happen, or should I just go with a valvetronix or similar hybrid?
Yeah, all the amps I suggested are pretty good. Those amps are pretty good as well. Try them out and decide if its an upgrade to you.
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TS - I use a 35 watt and 20 watt tube amp in my condo all the time. They sound fine at lower volumes. I've owned a blues jr and a delta blues which is basically a classic 30. Never had an issue with a neighbor. You can easily do this with $400, check your local craigslist and see whats around. I've seen Traynor YCV20's go for $325 as well. Another good amp.

You can pay $300 for a $300 amp or pay $300 for a $550 amp used. Your call.
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get a used crate palomino if you can find one, either the V16 or V32. They're great amps for classic rock and blues. I also second whoever said peavey classic 30, also a really good amp.

from MY experiences and MY opinions:
If you're going to use overdrive/distortion more, I'd say go with the palomino
If you want it more for clean tones, go with the peavey classic

They're both equally as awesome though, just depends on what sound you want
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If you get a chance, try out a Fender Super Champ XC, I have one and am blown away by the sound, it isn't as "digital" as the modeling amps I have played in the past. It sounds good at 2AM with a baby sleeping in the bedroom next door volumes, yet loud enough to play with a drummer. Although it does sound best at middle volumes.
It is 15w, and has a tube twin 6v6 power circuit. The preamp is pure IC, with a 12ax7 as a phase inverter. I was all set to buy a blackheart 15w/7w combo after trying a few low wattage tube amps, but tried the Super Champ on a whim. I am blown away by its versatility, pleasant tone, and price. I paid 280 for mine with the footswitch. It has some built-in effects that although are fairly limited in versatility, are decent sounding enough. Reverb, Chorus, Tremolo, vibratone and delay. Many of the voices sound nice, like the early tweed and blackface models. The vintage marshall tone is eerily similar to my vintage marshall 1987 50w head. It is only pushing a 10inch speaker, so it's heavy metal tones are a bit lacking, but its voices are still pleasant. The high-gain tweed sound and overdriven blackface voices are awesome.
All the tube amps I tried had to be much louder to sound nice, and for a practice amp, I felt the multiple voices of this modeling amp were worth the slight loss of responsiveness it has compared to the all-tube Blackheart or Blues Jr. Especially considering that the all-tube amps only sounded better when they were too loud for home use.

I would check out the killer bee too, I haven't played it, but it should do better for bedroom volumes.

These are all just opinions of course, so be sure and play all potential amps a bit in the store before pulling the trigger. I would recommend going used whenever possible, although I rarely have seen the superchamp xc used. I guess because it is so inexpensive and useful.
I'm on spring (yeah I know, its retarded early) break, but as soon as I go back to school I'll go to the local shop and try out their classic 30. Any guesses on how loud it will be compared to my frontman 65r?
Maybe twice or so? Just a rough guess.
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It will sound better a lot louder than the FM will. Maybe technically it won't "be" louder, I'm going to start that debate. But it will seem like it it's a lot louder to your ears.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
i use my palo v32 in my dorm every day with no issues. no, it doesn't sound as good at super low volumes, but it works fine. it also means i have a decent jam and gig worthy amp up at school when i need to do said things. i'd say go with the blackstar ht-5, those things sound great. the peavey classic and crate v-series/palominos are also great recommendations.
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I looked up the ht-5 and it looks great. 5w with a headphone output is awesome. Does anyone have any personal experience with it? Sounds it can pull off, how does it react to pedals, etc?
Im thinking about a HT5 for the same genres. I havent tried one yet but i hear theyre good!
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If it's really going to have to be a tube amp then you're probably better looking at the low wattage ones. I've heard good things about the Blackstar and Vox have just released a low wattage tube amp that can be powered down to 1W so it can be cranked at lower volume.

Or you could save the money and get a decent solid state until you finish school and then get a really good tube amp when you graduate?