#1
I haven't touched my guitar in a year, but now I have some free time, and I'm trying to get back into it. I'm moving to an apartment soon, so I want to trade my current amp for a more neighbor-friendly one. I'm looking for an all-tube amp with one or less watts (or an attenuator to bring it to that level). Here is a list that I've compiled. Please tell me if there's anything out there that I haven't considered yet.

  • Vox AC4TV, AC4TV8, AC4 Mini (4W - .1W)
  • Bugera V5 (5W - .1W)
  • Blackheart BH1H Killer Ant (.25W)
  • VHT Special 6 Ultra (6W - ?)
  • Blackstar HT-1, HT-1R (1W)
#3
the VHT.
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#4
Question is, do you have a budget?

Because if not, I highly recommend the Orange Duel Terror

You can get that baby up high enough to play some smaller gigs, but quit enough to not wake up your roomates in the next room. best part, no loss of tone!

Its a 30 watt amp, but it has switches to go to 15 or 7 for quieter play.

(now i know i seem bias but holy shiz i love this amp)
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#5
Do you know how wattage works?

Generally, in order for an amp to be twice as loud, it must have TEN TIMES as many watts.

This means that a 200 watt amp is only twice as loud as a 20 watt amp. A 100 watt amp is only twice as loud as a 10 watt amp, 50w = 5w(2) etc.

Unless you're going for power tube distortion, just play whatever amp you want. Any wattage. Most of the "amps sound better when cranked" argument comes from the fact that you're driving your speakers more when playing louder. And that, obviously, has nothing to do with wattage.

If you're using preamp tube distortion (90% of amps on the market today) and have a master volume, then you're getting all the gain you need. It will sound fine.
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#6
A switch for lower wattage makes it easier to get distorted tones at bedroom levels, though, without any accessories needed.
#7
You're playing guitar. Half the fun is annoying the neighbours that annoy you :P


Just kidding... maybe.
#8
Marshall JVM-410h is fine for bedroom. It's a little loud through a 4x12 cab if you aren't playing through MFX with volume control, but you can get all the tones without ever switching it out of standby if you plug into the emulated line out (XLR), then play it at any volume you want through a powered monitor/recording rig/PA/whatever. Of course it's overkill, but I got mine used cheaper than any other Marshall halfstack I'd ever seen, plus the 4x12 is nice as a stage monitor for outdoor gigs, or for its stage presence.

Edit: Yeah, I know, what I'm describing is really a fairly expensive pre-amp, but it is extremely versatile and agile. And you can use it in stadiums if you ever need to. If not, then you may never have to change out the power tubes.
Last edited by jetwash69 at Jun 18, 2011,
#9
Mark IV.

I've recorded at whisper volumes and and recorded with it blasting and the tone is practically the same.

Plus you can push a few switches and bring it down to about 30 watts (although the dynamics are changed a bit)

edit:
yeah I should have read the OP.
Last edited by Ignite at Jun 18, 2011,
#10
just buy a good amp at any wattage instead of limiting yourself to a halfass amp because it has low wattage.

as long as you have a volume knob you will be ok
ive played a 60w amp in my apartment for 3 years now and never got any complaints from neighbours
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#12
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#13
Wow, thanks for the overwhelming response, guys!

I'm planning to play mostly classic rock (Hendrix, Cream), but also some blues and more modern stuff like Rage Against the Machine. I just got a fuzz pedal to get... fuzzier sound, and I love it.

I want a low wattage so I can get that sweet power tube saturation sound. I have a Marshall AVT20 right now, and it has a tube in the pre-amp but is solid state the rest of the way through. To me, it sounds very processed.

On the other hand, I got a chance to fiddle around with the Vox AC4TV recently. I turned the attenuator down to 1/4 watt. What I liked about it was when I turned the volume down low, it would sound nice and clean. When I start dialing it up, it gets more and more distorted. At max volume, it screams. And the same thing works on the volume knob on my guitar. In fact, if I put the volume at 12 o'clock on the amp, I can hit the strings softly and get a clean sound, and strum harder to get distortion. There's no way my AVT20 could ever allow such sensitive and dynamic playing. [Btw, the AC4TV, even at 1/4 watt, is damn loud. I definitely wouldn't play that loud in the middle of the night.]

I know power tube saturation is only one half of the equation of getting killer tone, but getting the speaker distortion is just not feasible. I've heard of some people building sound isolation boxes to keep their amps in, but I don't have the time or the will to do that. At least not right now.

So anyway, we're getting way off topic. Does anyone else have any suggestions for low wattage amps?
#14
well if you must have power tube distortion I'd look at the vht special 6 or the reason amps bambino.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#15
The Hiwatt Custom 100 full stack is the ultimate bedroom amp. Of course, that is true only if you happen to have the ultimate bedroom.
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#16
Carvin X100B 2X12 combo. Good tone, versatile, doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Hard to find though.
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#17
The HT5 would be a better choice IMO.....if u want cleans and u can still get somes great sound at talking levels.
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#19
Kustom Defender, 1 knob, $99, all tube.

Picovalve looks nice but haven't seen many reviews or heard many clips. And is much more expensive than the JCA20H.
#20
Matamp Spirit.

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#21
I have a epi valve jr and and a peavy 6505+ in my bedroom, and I play the peavy 100 times more often, it still sounds good enough with the postgain on 2-3 and the pregain around 6-7. Obviously not as good as if I were to crank it, but there is no need to get a super low wattage amp if you also plan on playing loud some times.
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#22
Quote by Jaekae
just buy a good amp at any wattage instead of limiting yourself to a halfass amp because it has low wattage.

as long as you have a volume knob you will be ok
ive played a 60w amp in my apartment for 3 years now and never got any complaints from neighbours

hot rod deville 212 here.

just get an atenuator (sp?) and keep the volume at like 1 or so. thats what i typically do, or i just drive the amp and use a volume pedal and keep it low that way.
#23
Carvin v16
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#24


Povtech ftw.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Jun 18, 2011,
#27
Quote by Tedward
Kustom Defender, 1 knob, $99, all tube.

Picovalve looks nice but haven't seen many reviews or heard many clips. And is much more expensive than the JCA20H.

The picovalve and the JCA20h are both $250.
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#29
Quote by Ayses
Do you know how wattage works?

Generally, in order for an amp to be twice as loud, it must have TEN TIMES as many watts.

This means that a 200 watt amp is only twice as loud as a 20 watt amp. A 100 watt amp is only twice as loud as a 10 watt amp, 50w = 5w(2) etc.

Unless you're going for power tube distortion, just play whatever amp you want. Any wattage. Most of the "amps sound better when cranked" argument comes from the fact that you're driving your speakers more when playing louder. And that, obviously, has nothing to do with wattage.

If you're using preamp tube distortion (90% of amps on the market today) and have a master volume, then you're getting all the gain you need. It will sound fine.


Came across this on another forum. If the formula at the top is correct this is pretty illustrative of the point:



Oh, and mustn't forget speaker efficiency/size/number and all that jazz.
#30
Once again, thanks for the responses, guys. I'm sorry I didn't put a budget. I guess I just thought that low wattage, practice amps weren't going to be very expensive anyway. But you guys have definitely led me towards a few gems that I would definitely be interested in if I had more moneys.

Siegmund Muddy Buddy ($649 for head) It can go from 1W to 1/16W!!!
Carr Mercury (~$2300) 8W, 2W, 1/2W, and 1/10W
Matamp Spirit (~$500) Anywhere from 4W to 1/10W
#31
Fargen MiniPlex Mk2 with london power scaling and the decade switch