#1
I posted a thread on high quality low watt amps earlier and got some good suggestions. I did some sound testing at guitar center yesterday and this is what i narrowed it down, they did not have every amp i wanted to try. This is what i played to give you a reference of what i like. I will be matching them with a 2 celestion vintage 30cab, and a esp-ltd ec-401vf guitar.

Marshall class 5. Leader of the pack so far, can be gotten for about 325$ used. Excellent tone. Combo amp has speaker out to. Sounds thick and gets just loud enough for me. Overdrive sounded better than the clean though the little button in the back seemed to switch it to a distortion overdrive sound.

Vox , i played the small 4 watt one, definitely a no there. Sounded tiny. I played the ac30 combo , sounded very good for the price (599) they did not have an ac15. Is there much of a difference between the two other than more headroom?

Fender. I tried i beleive the blues junior reissue, and the step down model from that. Decent amps. But in terms of tone and value. I felt the the Vox Ac series was hands down better than the fender tube amps in all area's, and the fenders were more expensive.

Egnater tweeker 15watt, very bland sounding amp. I did not fully explore all the settings. Did'nt have as many configurations as i expected anyway. Overrated amp IMO

The two candidates that i did not get to try and wanted to try are as follows. I would like to hear opinions from players on these.

Vox ac15 ( i did rather like the vox ac30 )

And lastly is the Orange Tiny Terror head. There is one in like new condition on craigslist for 325$, I listened to youtube video's and read reviews and it really looks good. I think it may have a better clean tone then the marshall class 5 but i was not able to test them head to head. They are almost the same price. I only heard you tube video's but i am wondering if the Orange has a more powerful thicker sound then the Marshall class 5 as well.

What do you think is the best amp between the forementioned? Basically i am looking for a good creamy warm all tube sound, that has good clean tone to build off of and a good overdrive. Not looking for anything to extreme like death metal tones.

Suggestions? Discuss ?
#2
Yeah the Class 5 is a nice amp, but if you can get a Tiny Terror in better condition for less or the same amount I would go for the Tiny Terror. I played the TT against my Haze for about an hour and a half and I ended up walking away with the Haze only because it was like a $200 savings against the Tiny Terror and PPC112, I figure this is cause the PPC112 has a Celestion V30 and the Haze cab has a Celestion Marquee made specifically for the Haze.
2011 Gibson Honeyburst LP Trad. w/ SD Whole Lotta Humbuckers
2014 Gibson Ocean Water Standard Plus
Marshall Haze 15W Head/Cab
Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 5
Last edited by ne14t at Oct 27, 2011,
#3
I know all the amps you indicated, because I've done the same research as you did a couple of months ago. But I did it on my own, as I play for 30 years now and I kinda knew what I wanted in terms of sound. So here's what I think (with no obligation for you to take my words for granted, it's just my opinion).
First of all, you compared different types of amps. Class 5 and AC 15 are combos, while the Tiny Terror is a head (there is a combo version of it, but since you've mentioned the cab, I assume you tested the head). Combos don't sound different from heads from the amplification point of view, only the speakers can make the difference. But why would you buy a combo, if you already got the cab?
Second: Class 5 is a 5 W amp, while AC 15 and Tiny Terror are 15 W amps. This makes a lot of differences, not related to quality. If you plan to use Class 5 for gigging, you'll need to mic it. If you try to use Tiny Terror or AC 15 for home use, you'll notice they might be too loud.
Third: there are no amps ''universally good''. Tiny Terror is very good if you play metal, but cleans aren't great. AC 15 has the best cleans of all, but you might be disappointed by its distortion. Class 5 is more of a practice amp. (Btw, didn't you take the guitar with you when testing the amps? You'll not going to play on separate things, sound comes from the two of them altogether.)
My advice would be to give a try to a Vox Night Train. It's basicly an AC 15 head, more sparkling and with a little more headroom. If you play metal, however, go for the Tiny Terror, it's more appropriate. But don't forget, if you ever decide to change your style, that you can always add a pedal if you need more distortion, but there's nothing you can do if your amp's cleans aren't good. The Night Train matches your cab perfectly, has good gain and works well with pedals, in case you need more distortion. And its cleans are heavenly.
#4
rv_phoenix good points. Marshall class five also has a head but it is basically the same price as the combo on the guitar center used market. So i figured it would be more valuable and versatile and usefull and it has a dedicated speaker out so the marshall combo could be stacked onto my cabinet anyway ditto for the vox.

I am playing in my home, mostly a bedroom player and jamming in my garage. No gigging yet.

I compared 5watt to 15watts, but for me the marshall 5 watter sounds a lot more powerfull than 5 watts. My intuition tells me the orange amp is a sound i will really like though as well. I am tempted to buy it because the guy in the next town over has one for 325$ . Guitar centers used with shipping would be about 420$. So essentially it's the same price as the marshall.

Thanks for the responses both of you
#5
I am aware of the Vox night train as well. How does that match up to a vox ac15? I have only really gotten the chance to play a vox ac30 and i thought it sounded very well balanced overall and had lots of features for tinkering that i did not even explore.
#6
Quote by changeling93305
What do you think is the best amp between the forementioned? Basically i am looking for a good creamy warm all tube sound, that has good clean tone to build off of and a good overdrive. Not looking for anything to extreme like death metal tones.

Suggestions? Discuss ?
Even though you didn't like it, it seems to me that you are describing the Tweaker. It's a warm amp with a great clean good for driving with pedals to get your specific gain sounds.
#7
fly135 , i played the 15watt tweaker combo, maybe it had a cheap speaker i don't know. First impression though was that compared to the others it sounded less like an all valve tube amp and more like a solid state. In the tweekers defence it may have been needed to be dialed in more. I played it for like 60 seconds and did'nt see many knobs in front. Perhaps there were some switches in the back.
#8
AC30 is a classic, often emulated but never matched. If you can get one of them, don't hesitate. You'll not be able to use it at home, but, hey, it's an amp used by some of the most respected names in the industry. It's an amp you can gig one. It will open new horizons for your playing.
Night Train is as loud as an AC 15, but its cleans are a little more sparkling, it has more headroom and its distortion is a little crispier too.
Don't buy a combo just for an extra speaker. Marshall's Class A speaker is good, but it's a 8" or 10" one (correct me if I'm wrong): you don't need it and it can't complement your 12" Celestions.
Tiny Terror is a great tool and its features are similar to the Night Train. But I didn't like its cleans. It's a personal opinion. Both of these amps have a feature you might appreciate: you can use them in Pentode mode (when they deliver all of their 15 W) or Triode mode (delivering 7,5 W, thus being acceptable for home use).
Don't forget, excuse me for insisting on this, any amp - and especially all-tubes - work better when cranked up. If you do it with a 15W amp at home, they might expell you from the neighbourhood!
As for Class A, I myself didn't dislike the output (it's noisy, however you can't gig on it unless you mic it), but its cleans. Marshall's strong feature was always the distortion, and Class A, the best Marshall amp in the last decade, shares this historical heritage.
I must add that I've tested all these amps with my main guitar before choosing one of them. I think you should do the same, but it's up to you to decide what is best for you. We can only wish you good luck and glorious licks!
#9
I really liked the class 5 until I played the tiny terror. It had a much thicker overdrive.
/rig
#10
I have been lurking for a while on this thread so I'll go ahead and throw in my opinion. The tiny terror I played was very thick and aggressive, but a little unrefined. It has some real chunk, I wouldn't say a metal amp but definitely something that I would play some distorted stuff on. The class 5, on the other hand, was not nearly as chunky, but sounded more "classy" (pardon my pun). It had a more cleaned up sound to it and didn't have nearly as much distortion. I liked the class 5 better, as it was a great platform for pedals and had a very nice base tone. The TT is definitely your amp if you want oodles of crunch. I can't comment on the vox amps, but I'm sure they are also great. I loved the Class 5, I liked the TT.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#11
I compared the same 3 combo amps (TT, Class 5, AC4) about a year and a half ago and came to the same conclusions you did and ended up with the Marshall. Tonally speaking its a nice middle ground between the Orange and Vox; not to dark, not to bright; nice cleans, nice crunch. It works for me. One thing I have noticed though, you're right in that it's louder than your average 5W, so using it as a practice amp can get dicey depending on where and who you live with, but gigging or not it's definitely not loud enough for a full band set up if you want your cleans to be heard.

Slightly off topic; it would be interesting to tone test a Vox Night Train through an Orange cabinet, perhaps comparing it to the Class 5 and see if things even out. Obviously the Tiny Terror gets most of it's darkness from the head but most Orange amps are really known for their darkness, but I'm sure some of it, even if it's only a small factor, can also be attributed to the speakers and cabinets. It may work out, it may not, I've never had the opportunity to try myself. I realize this combination may be way more expensive than you're looking to spend, but if you're in the store and have the time to give it a shot why not go for it, right?
MY GEAR
Epi SG w/ Gibson Burstbuckers
Epi Casino
PRS Kit
Thinline Tele w/ SD 1/4 Lbs
Warmoth JM

Vox Nightrain
Marshall Class 5

Boss RC-20
DT EX-7
EHX Q-Tron +
EHX Big Muff Pi w/ Tone Wicker
Line 6 Echo Park

My PRS with SD P-Rails Build
#12
androidred0100 i learned something about the class 5, they have put out 4 versions of it, the 3rd version corrected the rattle sound that came out of the cabinet. The fourth current version just came out in a march 2011 and now has a low power mode switch in the back that cuts the power from 5 watt to perhaps 1-2 watts, and forces to tubes to make more off an overdrive sound.
Other than that extra feature does anyone know if the versions are the same in sound quality ?
#14
Quote by changeling93305
androidred0100 i learned something about the class 5, they have put out 4 versions of it, the 3rd version corrected the rattle sound that came out of the cabinet. The fourth current version just came out in a march 2011 and now has a low power mode switch in the back that cuts the power from 5 watt to perhaps 1-2 watts, and forces to tubes to make more off an overdrive sound.
Other than that extra feature does anyone know if the versions are the same in sound quality ?


O rly? Hmmmm, I may have to go to my favorite shop and see how much it'll cost me to exchange my gen 1 for a gen 4 then....
MY GEAR
Epi SG w/ Gibson Burstbuckers
Epi Casino
PRS Kit
Thinline Tele w/ SD 1/4 Lbs
Warmoth JM

Vox Nightrain
Marshall Class 5

Boss RC-20
DT EX-7
EHX Q-Tron +
EHX Big Muff Pi w/ Tone Wicker
Line 6 Echo Park

My PRS with SD P-Rails Build
#15
Quote by changeling93305
Other than that extra feature does anyone know if the versions are the same in sound quality ?


Its a built in attenuator. My Vox AC4TV (which you said sounded tinny!!! ) has one too (better than the marshall's ). It's the same with *most* built in low wattage amp attenuators, when you decrease the wattage it gets a bit darker. Not exactly something EQing or a tone knob can fix. Its better in some ways considering the fact that my vox is unbelievably bright.

The Class 5 is a good choice.
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