Hey UG, Im searching far and wide for a small, low watt, mid gain amp. I'm moving into an apartment and need to be quiet, obviously. However, I'd like to take it elsewhere and jam with buddies (no drummer) and such. I play a wide mix of genres. Old Country, Rock and Roll (50's+ 60's), Blues, Classic Hard Rock (George Thorogood, ZZ Top), and Classic Heavy Metal (Judas Priest, Metallica) I cant decide between these 3, maybe you can give me some helpful information.

Blackheart 15W Handsome Devil:
No effects loop scares me a little bit. I dont run anything through the effects loop. But when I get an extra cable, it would be nice to run my EQ and an Overdrive there, as I've heard thats better? Does everyone do this and Im missing the party?
*I know this will need an OD to reach metal.

Marshall Class 5:
Its a Plexi copy, which is good for at least Priest. But I'm a little wary of low budget Marshalls and I feel like this price could be more for the name than the quality.
Also no effects loop.
Also needs OD.

Blackstar HT-5:
Only one with 2 channels and an effects loop.
I have headroom concerns.
General lack of information.

Can you help me with these concerns and sell me on one?
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Quote by airbrendie
Hey guys in the last 3 weeks I ****ed all the girls in this picture, what do you think?

The Blackstar is the best out of those three. Especially with the new 2011 update (12" speaker etc). It has a dedicated clean channel which is sooo much better than the Class 5 'cleans'. I think it is just the best amp of those three hands down
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i like the marshall class 5 pretty much. prefer a head with 2x12 though for the headroom.
cranked max and volume knob on guitar for cleans.

others are great too at least from what i've heard and read.

also if you dont really use the effects loop then dont get scared because of the lack of one. as for OD i think thats best of in front of the amp and the effects loop is generally more for the modulation effects. i 'd judge the EQ also in front of the amp but might be better in loop never tried. also every human ear has its own preference.
Last edited by wolvenrick at Sep 21, 2011,
Out of those I wouldn't REALLY recommend any.

The Handsome Devil has pre-amp gain, but IMO it sounded pretty weak and thin to me.
Maybe that problem is "fixed" at higher volumes, but for playing in an appartment I would not recommend it. Also I wouldn't recommend throwing an OD into the loop, OD's are usually used in front of the amp as a boost (which is what you probably want), so the drive the preamp tubes a bit harder (+ most ODs have some effect on the tone, mostly sucking some bass, making the low end tighter).

The Class 5 is a cool amp, but I wouldn't call it a bedroom amp. It's a better amp than the Blackheart but then again you won't get any overdriven tones from it unless you play at very high volumes or get the pedal distortion. Overdrive might not be enough for some hard rock and classic metal, you might need a distortion pedal. That means you would be using the amp as clean platform and in that case I'd recommend a little Fender combo with more headroom.

The HT-5 is the probably best choice of those. It sounds good at low volumes but also might not be loud enough to keep up with a drummer (depending on how loud your drummer is of course) and yeah, headroom is rather limited when playing at drummer/band volumes. However, it has enough gain for up to classic metal, with a boost it will be pretty br00tal too. Then again the HT series sounds rather modern to me, not exactly what you want for those classic tones.

I would recommend an Egnater Tweaker personally. 15W (which should be enough for band practicing), lots of tonal options, rather vintage oriented tones, sounds good at low volumes. At least boosted it should do anything you want.
I dont really play in a band situation all that much. What I meant for jamming with friends is just a couple of guitarists getting together at someones house and playing some Classic Rock. No drummer, not much audience besides whatever assorted wives/ girlfriends/ etc. are there.

The Tweaker was a suggestion that I got a lot, but I didnt know about being able to play a 15W tube in an apartment without complaints. The Handsome Devil had a half power switch, and is reviewed pretty positively so I put it up.

Hows the Blackstar's headroom for "living room" levels?
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Quote by airbrendie
Hey guys in the last 3 weeks I ****ed all the girls in this picture, what do you think?

The Blackheart is a pretty diecent amp for what it costs. It is very classic marshall in tone, kinda like a Plexi with a Master Vol.
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Quote by Grawgos
Handsome devil. I don't know why it doesn't get any respect around here.

Thank you.

My Little Giant sounds alot better with a distortion pedal than the HT-5s.

They take pedals really well

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I always found the HT5 to be pretty murky at apartment friendly volumes. It comes down to what you can get away with; if you can crank it up louder than a loud TV you'll probably be OK. If you need something for quiet conversation levels then the HT5 isn't so good. Of course, it does have a headphone jack with good cab emulation, and so does the HT20.
Check out a tweaker....the ht5 was a letdown for me.
Playing on some new gear....review to follow
why do you think you want an effects loop? i doubt any of the bands you listed ever used one.

the tweaker would be an good option as mmjohn rec's.

i'd be up for grabs between the tweaker or the class 5 and a decent OD pedal for what you want to play.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
I can't vouch for the other two, but I have owned a Blackheart Handsome Devil for a few years now and it does everything you could want from a 15w amp. It keeps up with a band for practice purpose or at a gig if mic'd up. It gives you a nice breakup when cranked and takes pedals very well. If you are playing metal, it will definitely get there with the right pedal in front of it.
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HT5 is a decent practice amp, get it in the head and cab version if you want a bit more headroom but at bedroom levels its fine to me. You can get decent tone at low vol or give the room a bit of a rattling. The 5 watts just falls a bit short when playing with a drummer (our fella is loud though). I play blues and with the band anything up to Muse or RATM its got broad enough scope without pedals. Thats my couple of cents.

Hope you find which ever suits you best.

Good luck and happy playing!
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15W tube won't be THAT much louder than 5W tube.
I can turn down my amp from 30W to 1W and still only get to about the same point on the volume knob before it gets too loud for home use.

However, if you don't plan playing in a band, an HT-5 might be a good choice (if you like how it sounds of course).
So I'll definitely look into the tweaker. I dont think GC (surprising lack of decent stores in Kansas City, GC ran the one I went to out of business) really carries Egnator. But I've heard theres a pretty good chance of them having the other three.

On a side note: Is putting a British voiced OD over a British voiced amp just unrighteous overkill and too much of a good thing or does it really matter? Would a "neutral" voiced OD be better?

I've been playing for 3 years and only used one pedal so I'm not very experienced there.
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Quote by airbrendie
Hey guys in the last 3 weeks I ****ed all the girls in this picture, what do you think?

I think of those, the Class5 is the best option. But only if you get the MKII. The MKII (the new version) has a reduced volume switch on the back, so that it basically cuts the volume down to 1/4 the standard 5W. Then, you get that cranked PreAmp Tube OD at a very reasonable volume. I was very un-impressed with the original Class5's as a bedroom amp, as you had to crank it and then it was just too loud, but I love the MKII, in fact, I bought one, haha.

Add in another OD pedal, and you will do metal just fine.
GC carries egnater.

try a class 5 with an OD pedal as well.

good luck Van.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
No idea, I doubt that putting a British sounding OD in front of a British voiced amp will sound bad though.

Usually you won't use the OD as standalone distortion unit anyway (if you have an amp with about hard rock levels of gain), just to boost the amp a bit for metal. That means all the pedal should do is cut some low ends and maybe add some mids and of course drive the preamp a bit harder.
Thanks for all the help guys, you've helped me out quite a bit. But just a couple more questions.

I'm considering getting either the Marshall Class 5 or Blackheart Little Giant or Handsome Devil Head, what cabinet should I get to go with it? I want a 1x12.

Also, If I could stretch my budget, would the Vox Night Train or Lil' Night Train be a good idea?
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Quote by airbrendie
Hey guys in the last 3 weeks I ****ed all the girls in this picture, what do you think?