#1
Hello. I'm looking for a small practice amp without planning to play live or drastically loud. I've narrowed it down to two the Jet City Combo or the Lil Night Train . I mostly play anything from 60s/70s prog rock to heavy metal. Which one would be better for me. Thanks.
#3
Much appreciated answer. But is there anything I'd be missing or gaining between the two that's really significant?
#4
I own the lil night train, and have played the jca 20, and my view is that the JCA is better. With the lil night train the stock tubes are crap, the stock speaker is crap, but underneath that it sounds very nice. The night train isn't suited at all to metal, and the JCA can do it fairly well.

I'm not saying the lil night train isn't nice, I've upgraded the tubes and the speaker and it sounds nice, but I think the JCA would be better for you, and you could always jam with a drummer in the future if you wanted, whereas you couldn't with the night train.
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#5
Really nice response. Thank you! Also looking forward to any other opinions that any of you have!
#6
The Night Train will only just provide enough gain for bands like Metallica, where little distortion is required. Anything modern will fall flat on its face. Not to mention the fact that the Lil Night Train, although possessing the same preamp circuit and gain structure, will have virtually no low-end, something that is essentially for a usable metal tone.

The Jet City, as well as being a better amplifier, will be more suited for that style and genre, if you're so inclined. And if you're willing to fork out a little extra, go to the Jet City webpage and click on the the 'buy' section or whatever it may be called. There you will find a 20 watt head that is fully modified for extra gain by a renowned amp tech and designer, David Friedman. It's supposedly very much worth the extra cash.

The fact is, there are very few low wattage valves amps these days that can cover metal territory, amongst genres such as progressive rock. They are only really capable of blues or AC/DC type matieral, which is personally of no interest to me and is not a lot of good for many UG'ers, either.

The Jet City 20, though, is as close to that as you're going to get for that amount of money. The Egnater Tweaker has quite a bit of gain, as does the Blackstar HT-5, but I don't believe they sound as good, although I've never actually tried the Tweaker personally.

Bare in mind, however, that 20 watts of valve power is not the most ideal bedroom amp. You still have to pay it relatively loud (above TV levels) to hit the sweet spot in the valves, and to push the speaker nicely. You won't be able to play it at full volume, if that is your plan, at home.
#7
Volume is a problem as I live in a small apartment with really "anal" people with volume. Also I have an ibanez ts-9 and a boss mt-2 if that counts for anything on the gain end. What I'm looking for is something that will have great tone at low volumes. So would the jet city still be better considering this? also if you have any other suggestions feel free!
Last edited by OrgyoftheRats at Mar 25, 2011,
#8
Honestly, if you've considered the JCA2112RC, you should just as easily consider the Jet City PicoValve. That thing has enormous amounts of gain, is perfect for apartement use, and still sounds great. With a valve swap in the future, it will sound as nice as the JCA2112RC, which does feel a little more refined and of higher quality, even though it's probably made in the same factory.

The amp itself, if you've heard or read nothing of it, is roughly 5 watts clean and maybe 9 watts distorted. It has a 2 watt switch that actually reduces the volume dramatically, more than I've ever experienced on a small amp like this. It is a very useful feature for home use.

The tone is a little sharp and brittle at times, but I think a high quality speaker cabinet and a valve swap (JJ's work well with Jet City) will irradicate that completely. You can also tame the treble frequencies - or any frequency for that matter - with the onboard EQ. The 2 watt mode also reduces the treble slightly, giving a slightly squishier and smooth tone.

The amp is very aggressive and has virtually no clean tones to speak of. Don't buy it hoping for a nice, warm clean sounding amp. It is a dirty little beast and nothing more. It will sound quite nice boosted the TS-9. Ditch the MT-2. It's pants.
#9
Not having at least a decent clean would be bad for what I like to play. Metal is very little what I play, I just like to sometimes. The picovalve would be out of price with having to buy a cabinet. My main interest is what would would give me a great clean and be able to goto the realms of metal (even with pedal support if needed). The clean is why I consider the lil night train. Sadly none of the local shops carry either amp.
#10
The Lil Night Train has a clean tone no better than the PicoValve. People don't buy the Night Train amps for a clean tone. They buy them to rock out with lots of gain. Same goes for the JCA2112RC - though it certainly is an improvement regarding cleans.

Honestly, a lot of people tend to use pedals for distortion when they're playing in an apartement with rude neighbours. They buy something like a Laney LC15 or a Fender Blues Junior, then stick a Fulltone OCD or Visual Sounds Jekyll and Hyde in the front. That will give you a vast variety of tones, at a reasonable price, too.

The PicoValve is only a little bit more than the JCA2112RC, if I remember rightly. It's worth the extra cash if you like a hard rocking little amp.

I actually think a Vox Valvetronix amp would be better suited for you, personally. It sounds great at any levels whatsoever and will cover all the genres you want. It's reliable, cheap, easily found and offers you decent quality effects.

Also, those Fender Mustang amps don't look (sound) half-bad from the clips and reviews. Maybe take a look into those. The Blackstar HT-5 cops a decent clean and high gain tone, as well, if you're interested.
#11
the lil night train has barely any cleans. it's only 2 watts. it'll break up at loud television volumes.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#12
Quote by OrgyoftheRats
Not having at least a decent clean would be bad for what I like to play. Metal is very little what I play, I just like to sometimes. The picovalve would be out of price with having to buy a cabinet. My main interest is what would would give me a great clean and be able to goto the realms of metal (even with pedal support if needed). The clean is why I consider the lil night train. Sadly none of the local shops carry either amp.

If you have the ability to go used, the peavey classic 30 would be perfect for you.
#13
There is a lot of falsehoods about the Lil Night Train in this thread. The Lil Night Train has pretty good cleans, and it definitely has enough gain for metal. The Vox is a superior amp to the Jet City
Call me Dom
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#14
Quote by lbj273
There is a lot of falsehoods about the Lil Night Train in this thread. The Lil Night Train has pretty good cleans, and it definitely has enough gain for metal. The Vox is a superior amp to the Jet City
What type of metal do you play? To each his own.

Since he talks about progressive rock, I assume that he's thinking about Dream Theater as a metal band? From my experience of both the Night Train and the Lil Night Train, it doesn't have enough gain and doesn't have the character or voicing for metal.

And the cleans were pretty pants, really. They were very boxy, lifeless and stupidly low in volume.
#15
i dunno man wouldn't it depend on how loud you needed the cleans? I've played that amp. I like it. I'm just concerned about the 2 watts.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#16
what cab were you playing through? I don't play metal but it definitely has enough gain. I'm playing mine through a 1x12 cab with a greenback in it
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#18
yeah it can easily do that in the thick mode so you might want an EQ so you have some control, but easily enough gain, its actually voiced pretty well for that tone
Call me Dom
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#20
here's a tip, buy the Lil Night Train without the cab, and buy a nice cab for it, it helps a ton. Without it, it will suffer from small amp syndrome, namely sounding really boxy. A good speaker helps but a cab that isnt barely big enough to fit said speaker also makes a difference
Call me Dom
Quote by Dmaj7
I don't know how to count canadians, the metric system is hard

Quote by gregs1020
well if lbj pokes his head in here and there's no nuts shit's gonna go doooooooowwwwwwwwwn.



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#21
Quote by lbj273
what cab were you playing through? I don't play metal but it definitely has enough gain. I'm playing mine through a 1x12 cab with a greenback in it
I can't remember for sure. I tried the original Night Train with the original cabinet and also with an Orange 2x12 with V30's. The Lil Night Train was only played through the original Night Train cabinet.

The amp really surprised me with how much gain it had. It does have a lot, even more than the Tiny Terror I tried at the same time. But it definitely did not feel like a metal amp, at any stretch of the imagination.

With that said, it seems the TS he doesn't care for or need high gain / lots of aggression and tightness. It sounds like the original Night Train would be back-on. Decent cleans, great midrange tones, and pretty distorted, but still very vintage gain.

Quote by AcousticMirror
i dunno man wouldn't it depend on how loud you needed the cleans? I've played that amp. I like it. I'm just concerned about the 2 watts.
It doesn't change the fact that I wasn't fond of the cleans on it very much. 2 watts is going to give you essentially no dynamics within those tones. You'll be better off with a good solid state amp at that stage, in my opinion.
#22
Interesting takes from both of you. So what would a decent cabinet run me for? About an extra $50-100? If not I could always buy the half-stack and later upgrade to a better cab right? Most of the music I like is played with fuzz, not much high gain distortion.
#23
Quote by AngryGoldfish
I can't remember for sure. I tried the original Night Train with the original cabinet and also with an Orange 2x12 with V30's. The Lil Night Train was only played through the original Night Train cabinet.

The amp really surprised me with how much gain it had. It does have a lot, even more than the Tiny Terror I tried at the same time. But it definitely did not feel like a metal amp, at any stretch of the imagination.

With that said, it seems the TS he doesn't care for or need high gain / lots of aggression and tightness. It sounds like the original Night Train would be back-on. Decent cleans, great midrange tones, and pretty distorted, but still very vintage gain.

It doesn't change the fact that I wasn't fond of the cleans on it very much. 2 watts is going to give you essentially no dynamics within those tones. You'll be better off with a good solid state amp at that stage, in my opinion.


It actually has pretty good cleans, let me record a clip. And he said volume is an issue, so the 2 watts makes sense. He is going to be playing in his apartment not out live otherwise I would suggest the original Night Train
Call me Dom
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Last edited by lbj273 at Mar 25, 2011,
#24
Quote by lbj273
It actually has pretty good cleans, let me record a clip. And he said volume is an issue, so the 2 watts makes sense. He is going to be playing in his apartment not out live otherwise I would suggest the original Night Train
I know how they sound, it's not that. I just think 2 watts, even for an apartment, will not deliver a proper clean tone, and the Lil Night Train, in my opinion, is no different. But obviously you actually have the amp and have more experience with it, so it's quite obviously a matter of differing opinions.

I mean, I wouldn't use the Night Train live unless I was cranking it all the way, both the volume and gain. It would never provide the clean headroom that I'd use. I've played the Night Train pushed all the way up with my old drummer and close friend and it only just stepped over the mark. It filled the sound out really nicely, but it was close to being a failure.

Quote by OrgyoftheRats
Interesting takes from both of you. So what would a decent cabinet run me for? About an extra $50-100? If not I could always buy the half-stack and later upgrade to a better cab right? Most of the music I like is played with fuzz, not much high gain distortion.
I don't actually know of any cabs in the US (assuming you're there, right) that is within that price range. Soz.
#25
Yeah. I'm in the USA. lbj273 if you could get a tone like in one of those videos I linked and record a clip. I'd be extremely grateful! Also by the $50-100 difference I meant from the original half-stack price. Being the head is only $250-300 depending where you buy it from.
Last edited by OrgyoftheRats at Mar 25, 2011,
#26
look used for the head, I got mine for $20 bucks and one of my extra green muffs.
Call me Dom
Quote by Dmaj7
I don't know how to count canadians, the metric system is hard

Quote by gregs1020
well if lbj pokes his head in here and there's no nuts shit's gonna go doooooooowwwwwwwwwn.



{Pedalboard Thread Native: The Muffin Man}
#27
clip up of the Night Train in my profile. Thick mode gain at 10 o clock, volume at noon, and it has plenty of gain. Also the Shine cover was recorded entirely with the Lil Night Train as well
Call me Dom
Quote by Dmaj7
I don't know how to count canadians, the metric system is hard

Quote by gregs1020
well if lbj pokes his head in here and there's no nuts shit's gonna go doooooooowwwwwwwwwn.



{Pedalboard Thread Native: The Muffin Man}
#29
Instead of making a new thread, I'm going to bump this one. So the lil night train doesn't have a standby, so what do I do if I need to do something for ten minutes fast? Keep it on, turn it off?!?!
#30
You don't need a standby on a small amp like that. Just turn it off and turn it on again, or leave it on.
#32
I've actually heard that the Epiphone Valve Jr. cabs are supposed to be really nice and you can pick one up for like $120 last I checked. That being said, I think they stopped producing them so you'd have to go used and I have no idea what the market for them is like...
Gear
Highway One Tele (w/Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickups)
Standard Tele (modded to Nashville specs)
Reverend Roundhouse

Orange Rockerverb 50 MKI
Vox AC4c1
Jet City JCA20H

And pedals!



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#33
Thank you for the suggestion, I will try to find one local. They don't go for too much.