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#1
I'm looking for a new amp. I don't do gas, so what I buy will be my main amp for a good few years.

I have a limited UK budget of below £700.

I don't play in a band and most likely never will. The nearest to that will be jamming with a couple of mates but most of my playing is jamming to records and backing tracks and making my own recordings. The room I play in is a 2m x 2m glass-walled sunroom. I can get reasonably loud (the kids are growing up and the TV isn’t too near) but there is a limit before I get told to quiet down.

The styles I play are blues, rock, country, and Jazz. Nothing too heavy. The rock will be from rock’n’roll through to Nirvana, nothing heavier. Mostly Clapton, Stones, etc. If I can get into the ballpark I’m happy. I don’t want to duplicate anyone’s tone, just get close enough to make playing along to a CD an enjoyable pastime. I like The Shadows, Hendrix, SRV, Brad Paisley, Martin Taylor, AC/DC, The Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen… you name them and I will either love them already, or might come to love them! I love the genres rather than a specific individual, so I want to be able to cover those genre’s bases.

Cleans are important to me as I probably spend more time clean or nearly clean than overdriven, but I like a nice bit of drive now and again, and I don’t need to blow the windows out with a clean tone. The cleans will also come in handy for when I plug in my Zoom G3X to experiment with different modeling effects.

My main criteria are valve with a 12” speaker and with an effects loop. Yes, a power soak built in would be nice but not essential, and some recording features would be nice but not essential. I also want new not second hand.

This amp will have to be flexible enough to handle whatever musical styles I might want to play over the next decade or so. Yes I might need to add a pedal or two, but I won’t be buying a new amp.

I have narrowed it down to the Egnater Tweaker 15 or the H&K Tubemeister 18, both as heads, through either a 1x12 or 2x12 Montage cab, filled with Celestion G12H30 drivers. There is also the Vox TB18C1 Tony Bruno amp that is in the mix.

Yes there are others (Vox Night Train, Laney Lionheart, Blues Junior) but they all lack something I want such as the loop or speaker size, or they just don’t float my boat for some reason. These three seem to be the ones that have lodged themselves in my brain for some reason!

Now, I have a number of questions…

Do I need a 2x12 for the playing I do? Is it overkill? Would a 1x12 be sufficient? Would I notice an improvement in tone to warrant the extra cost? Would I be better off with a 1x12 and buy a couple of pedals?

I’m leaning (today!) towards the Tweaker but it keeps nagging away at me that it might just a better modeler? What would the Tweaker give me over and above my current Vox VT20+ modeler?

You are probably wondering why the Vox Tony Bruno is in the mix. Well, price is one! £400 for a Vox all valve amp, designed by a great boutique ampmaker, with a 12” Celestion G12-65 speaker and effects loop. Why wouldn’t you? Okay, it’s more Fendery than Voxy in tone, but that isn’t a problem and I can use the money saved to start buying some nice pedals. No it doesn’t have a power soak but some reviews have said the master volume is simply stunning, so that might not be a problem. Again, no recording facilities such as DI or Line Out, but I can but a dedicated DI box such as the H&K Red Box and still have money left in my budget. I reckon that these will become sought-after rarities in the future.

I haven’t tried any of them yet, but will do so (I might not be able to try the Tweaker though as there is only one seller in the UK).

Yes it’s a bit confusing. I think at the moment I’m leaning towards the flexibility of the Tweaker, followed by the Vox Bruno, but the Tubemeister is feature rich and gets great reviews.

So your thoughts would be welcome…
#2
Have you considered Orange? I have just bought an Orange Micro Terror with two cabs for around £220. It is a great little amp and for the money I paid it is amazing value. You should start looking at Orange Tiny Terrors. But I think a Micro mini stack like mine would be enough for you if you are not gigging. You can always add effect pedals etc.
#3
No, the tweaker isn't a modeler in any sense of the word.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#4
Quote by deano_l
Now, I have a number of questions…

Do I need a 2x12 for the playing I do?

No.

Is it overkill?

No.

Would a 1x12 be sufficient?

Yes.

Would I notice an improvement in tone to warrant the extra cost?

Probably not. The 1x12 is pretty good. The big upgrade you might want to look into is the bump up to the Tweaker 40. It's almost certainly still within your budget and it's a big step up. You can get it in a head or a 1x12 combo, both would be an upgrade from the 15 with a 2x12.

Would I be better off with a 1x12 and buy a couple of pedals?

Depends on the pedals, depends on the 1x12. You can probably get a used 2x12 for whatever they're charging for the new 1x12.

I’m leaning (today!) towards the Tweaker but it keeps nagging away at me that it might just a better modeler? What would the Tweaker give me over and above my current Vox VT20+ modeler?

It's not a modeler. It's just not. It's got no digital circuitry in it at all, it's not trying to act like different amp circuits, it actually just uses those circuits or some close approximation. That's the difference, though, it's the real thing so even if it isn't an actual AC30 or whatever, it is an actual, quality tube amp. The VT20 is not.

You are probably wondering why the Vox Tony Bruno is in the mix. Well, price is one! £400 for a Vox all valve amp, designed by a great boutique ampmaker, with a 12” Celestion G12-65 speaker and effects loop. Why wouldn’t you?

I wouldn't because I didn't like the dirty tone at all and didn't care that they slapped the Bruno name on it. Fun fact: Tony Bruno also designed the AC30 Custom Classic series, but Vox didn't feel the need to trumpet that all over the place, because their quality stands on its own.
No it doesn’t have a power soak but some reviews have said the master volume is simply stunning, so that might not be a problem.

Correct, very good MV on those amps.
I reckon that these will become sought-after rarities in the future.

Doubt it. Certainly wouldn't buy one expecting it to gain value.

I haven’t tried any of them yet, but will do so (I might not be able to try the Tweaker though as there is only one seller in the UK).

Yes it’s a bit confusing. I think at the moment I’m leaning towards the flexibility of the Tweaker, followed by the Vox Bruno, but the Tubemeister is feature rich and gets great reviews.

So your thoughts would be welcome…

If you can't try any of them, get the Tweaker. It's got the widest range of great sounds out of the bunch. The Bruno is well made, but it's not mega versatile so if you're like me and don't like the distortion, it's going to disappoint you. The Tubemeister is ok. I didn't really like any of the sounds it made, and it's not particularly versatile. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, but with the Tweaker you are almost guaranteed to find several sounds you like.
#5
Check out the Orange Th30 1x12 combo
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#6
Why would I need a 30 or 40 watt amp? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I just don't see where I would need that power. Surely just playing over mp3's and jamming with a mate and his keyboard wouldn't need more clean headroom than a 15 watt amp can deliver, would it?

I'm not sure what I would gain from a 30 or 40 watt amp over and above a 15 or 18 watt amp. I wonder if even that is too much power for what I do.

Thanks for the responses everyone, much appreciated.
#7
Maybe look into a Rebel 30. 2 channels, IIRC, enough headroom for cleany cleans at volume, and you can lower the headroom for bedroom noodling (or terrarium noodling, whatever). I don't record, but I have read that people really like using them to do so.

Guitar amps are loud, BTW. Just get the bigger one so when you meet a drummer, you can still have your cleans. It's not even that much louder.
Last edited by DeathByDestroyr at Oct 9, 2013,
#8
It's not about the volume. Big amps have more headroom and tend to have much larger transformers and cleaner power sections, which means a bigger, fatter sound.

Put it this way: 15 watts is overkill for what you want to do if you're trying to get an overdriven power section. Heck, 5 watts would probably be too much. Volume is logarithmic; 40 watts is not actually that much louder than 15, and as you point out they both have more headroom than you're likely to need. So, you're going to be getting your OD from the preamp and pedals anyway. A 40 watt amp isn't really any less practical than the 15 in that case, and the 40 will sound lots better in almost any situation. If you ever have the chance to play a Tweaker 15 next to a 40, you'll see what I mean. The 15 is great, and will suit your needs just fine, but if you can afford the 40 it's just a better sounding amp, even at the same volumes you're likely to be playing the 15 at.
#9
If you really want your amp to be all-tube, I have strong suspicion the tubemeister 18 isn't all-valve. I could be wrong, but when I see an amp which has fewer preamp tubes than it really should have (assuming "normal" circuit design), from a company which has form with having solid state shenanigans in its tube amps, I get suspicious.

Aside from that, I agree with what all the regulars are saying. I haven't tried the tweaker, but it's a tube amp, not a modeller. I haven't tried the tony bruno. The lionheart would actually be pretty good for what you want, but probably isn't as versatile as the tweaker. If you are going with a 2x12 i'd personally mix speakers and get a stereo cabinet for a few options, speaker-wise.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#10
Quote by deano_l
Why would I need a 30 or 40 watt amp? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I just don't see where I would need that power. Surely just playing over mp3's and jamming with a mate and his keyboard wouldn't need more clean headroom than a 15 watt amp can deliver, would it?

I'm not sure what I would gain from a 30 or 40 watt amp over and above a 15 or 18 watt amp. I wonder if even that is too much power for what I do.

Thanks for the responses everyone, much appreciated.

Roc8995 pretty much nailed every response in this thread and then some so I'll just piggy back on what he said.

You said 'cleans are very important to you and you play clean more than overdriven'.

Is that correct?

If so, wattage is important. More watts = more clean headroom.

Watts do not correlate to volume like most people think. At least not linearly.

I think the Rebel is a good idea as well - but the Tweaker 40 will suit you sooooo much better than the Tweaker 15. You also need to be prepared to do some tube rolling (replacing).
#11
Quote by Arby911
No, the tweaker isn't a modeler in any sense of the word.
He probably got that idea because there is a switch that is supposed to change the character of the amp between British, American, and I guess Vox. I've got one and couldn't tell you if that's what it actually does.
#12
Quote by fly135
He probably got that idea because there is a switch that is supposed to change the character of the amp between British, American, and I guess Vox. I've got one and couldn't tell you if that's what it actually does.

It does. The EQ voicing is altered to approximate the sound of US (think Fender/Mesa), UK (Marshall/Orange) and AC (Vox twang).

Quite general and it's not built to emulate them exactly, just the essence. I have the Tweaker 40 and an AC30 and A/B'd there's a similarity but generally only an AC30 will sound like an AC30.

I use both live, the Tweaker 40 through an old, random 4x12 and, in reference to what others have mentioned in terms of wattage, it struggles to keep up with the Vox at times. But I like the disparity on stage, and being the sole guitarist in my current band it fills the space pretty well.
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#13
ok. i love tweakers BUT, the tweaker 15 is 1 channel. so you probably are going to run it slightly breaking up with a OD to boost it, or run it clean and let a pedal to all the work on getting a crunch tone.

there are 2 channel night trains with FX loops available now. they expanded thier line.

i have a 40 watt tweaker and a 2x12 amp in my apartment WAY WAY overkill. however, after trying the rebels, tweakers, tubemesiters, etc etc, i thought the tweaker series not only had a wide range of tones, but could get a good tone at low volume.

i chose the 40 watt for 2 channels, which is huge for me. it also is small, and very easy to sound good at low volume. it does need a preamp tube change though, the stock tube are trash.

my tweaker 40 sounds fantastic in my bedroom. that would be my bet for you. that or the night train 2 with multiple channels.
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#14
ikey, what did you replace your preamp tubes with?

I'm switching mine over this side of Christmas and was after ideas...
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#15
I was very pleased with the Tweaker line. I almost picked up a Tweeker 88 as a back up head. It was a great price and I loved the tone, and I recently came into a good amount of money. The ONLY reason i didn't pull the trigger is that I chose to put the money towards a new acoustic/electric guitar to replace my acoustic for live shows. Otherwise Id be running the tweaker every other night!
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#16
the 88 is a BEAST. keep in mind it has kt88s, 4 preamp tubes, and boost circuits built into each channel. that essentially makes it an entirely different amp. SOOO much more flexibility and gain on tap, but 88 watts is a monster.

i put a tung sol v1 new production v1, standard jj v2, and a 12at7 by Jan- PHillips in V3. i am liking that for now.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#17
Quote by ikey_
the 88 is a BEAST. keep in mind it has kt88s, 4 preamp tubes, and boost circuits built into each channel. that essentially makes it an entirely different amp. SOOO much more flexibility and gain on tap, but 88 watts is a monster.

i put a tung sol v1 new production v1, standard jj v2, and a 12at7 by Jan- PHillips in V3. i am liking that for now.


I agree, the 88 is one of my favorite amps!
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
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#18
while on the subject of the Tweaker, does anyone know if the Tweakrer 40 has ample headroom to stay super clean un-mic'd to a room of 50 to 100 or so people?


#20
yes it does. i would say cab will play a role un miced. i am running a 2x12 cab and i would have no hesitation playing clean un miced. a huge venue? an ampitheatre? no. but nobody does that anyways. a room? like a bar? sure. your fine. 40 watts of 6L6 will do it, hot switch off, gain low master up.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#21
Quote by ikey_
yes it does. i would say cab will play a role un miced. i am running a 2x12 cab and i would have no hesitation playing clean un miced. a huge venue? an ampitheatre? no. but nobody does that anyways. a room? like a bar? sure. your fine. 40 watts of 6L6 will do it, hot switch off, gain low master up.

thought as much, but it never hurts to get a second opinion! thanks!


#22
i just played a tweaker 15 1x12 (amp built into cab) at guitar center today while demoing pedals.

i must say, cleans not too much difference, but with gain, the amp sounds WAY different than mine.

i have mine (in my sig) with new preamp tubes running through a 2x12 avatar standing vertical (better sound dispersion), closed back, and WGS speakers. definitely has its own character compared to the stock amp .

and the 40 watt has 6L6s, not El84s
Carvin CT624
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#23
So I’ve done some more internet based research and I think I’m going to take the Egnater Tweaker off my shortlist, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, although I want clean to clean’ish tones in the main, and I don’t mind a bit of Marshall sound now and again, I don’t want to pay for it. So having the Marshal voicing on there is something I’m going to be paying for but will hardly use. I have an original UK-made Marshal Guv’nor pedal that will suffice for that.

The dealbreaker for me though was that it only had a line level effects loop. There is, I’m sure, a very good reason for it but it makes buying instrument level pedal a lottery and I don’t want that. My G3X works at instrument level as does my Guv’nor, and I don’t want to render them useless. So bye-bye Egnater Tweaker.

The Laney Lionheart series have also been ditched because of the parallel loop that has no mix control. Again my G3X will become useless if I go for this amp. Why would they put such a thing on those amps? Oh well.

Anyway, I have added the PRS SE 20 to my list of amps to try. It’s a good price. I can get the head version for £439 or I can go with the combo version for £499.

The only worry I have with the combo is that it is closed back. Is that good for an amp that will only be used at “bedroom” levels? The speaker is supposed to be okay but nothing special, but at that price though I can afford to change the speaker to a better one such as a Celestion Gold or Heritage G12H30 but how will they react to the closed back?

The alternative is the head at £439 and a Montage 1x12 cab to go with it loaded with the Celestion Gold or Heritage or whatever. These have backs that can be changed from open to closed if required. But are those speakers the right ones, and are those Montage cabs any good?

Otherwise it seems a great amp on paper… two channels, tube-driven reverb, tube-driven effects loop with line/instrument level switch; 6V6’s; 5 year warranty. All good stuff. Just the questions over the cab/combo format and speakers.
#24
i'm not sure of the wisdom of buying cheapish amps and then sticking premium speakers in there. i'd rather spend more money on the amp, really. EDIT: to clarify: I'm not saying speakers don't make a difference, because they make a massive difference. I'm saying that an eminence legend at ~£50 is "good enough", especially if you're looking at cheapish amps. I mean- mike soldano uses eminence v12s in his cabs.

i have a couple of the montage 2x12s and they seem fine, though i have noticed a slight rattle at times. admittedly, i have them stacked on top of each other, so that's probably not helping (i didn't notice a rattle when i didn't have them stacked), and it could easily be something minor like a speaker lead rattling against the speaker.

it's hard to say regarding specific speakers with that amp- i haven't tried the amp. g12h30s are normally fine in closed-back situations; i haven't tried the gold. But obviously that doesn't mean that the g12h30 will necessarily suit that amp.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Last edited by Dave_Mc at Oct 22, 2013,
#25
Quote by deano_l
So I’ve done some more internet based research and I think I’m going to take the Egnater Tweaker off my shortlist, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, although I want clean to clean’ish tones in the main, and I don’t mind a bit of Marshall sound now and again, I don’t want to pay for it. So having the Marshal voicing on there is something I’m going to be paying for but will hardly use. I have an original UK-made Marshal Guv’nor pedal that will suffice for that.

The dealbreaker for me though was that it only had a line level effects loop. There is, I’m sure, a very good reason for it but it makes buying instrument level pedal a lottery and I don’t want that. My G3X works at instrument level as does my Guv’nor, and I don’t want to render them useless. So bye-bye Egnater Tweaker.


Anyway, I have added the PRS SE 20 to my list of amps to try. It’s a good price. I can get the head version for £439 or I can go with the combo version for £499.

The only worry I have with the combo is that it is closed back. Is that good for an amp that will only be used at “bedroom” levels? The speaker is supposed to be okay but nothing special, but at that price though I can afford to change the speaker to a better one such as a Celestion Gold or Heritage G12H30 but how will they react to the closed back?

The alternative is the head at £439 and a Montage 1x12 cab to go with it loaded with the Celestion Gold or Heritage or whatever. These have backs that can be changed from open to closed if required. But are those speakers the right ones, and are those Montage cabs any good?

Otherwise it seems a great amp on paper… two channels, tube-driven reverb, tube-driven effects loop with line/instrument level switch; 6V6’s; 5 year warranty. All good stuff. Just the questions over the cab/combo format and speakers.

The Tweaker 40W has a level select switch for the fx loop. The G3X will work, although I'm not sure why you'd want to use the Guvnor in the loop of an amp. I'd reconsider getting the Tweaker. 40W isn't all that loud really, even when playing alone for clean stuff especially. PRS isn't loved alot for their amps, but I never played the one your looking at. For Laney I think the VC30 2x12 may have a Insert/Serial type fx loop, but I'm not sure. I think their LC50H may have a selectable loop, not sure there either.
#26
You say you don't want to pay for Marshall voicing but you're willing to pay for the PRS amp, which is not only more expensive but also has less headroom and a worse clean tone than the Tweaker 40. Seriously, if you want Fender clean tones in a head, get a Fender Supersonic or the Tweaker 40 or 88. The 88 has some of the best high-wattage Fender cleans I've ever heard. If you want that SRV chirpy clean, that's where it's at. The PRS sounded lame to me, clean and dirty, and it certainly doesn't get lovely high-headroom Fender cleans. It's certainly more British-voiced than the Tweaker on the USA setting, and it's definitely not a clean-oriented amp. This is why you need to go play these amps, otherwise you start deciding that you don't want the Tweaker because it's got $5 worth of parts you might not use, while the PRS is actually voiced like that permanently and costs more in the first place. Ten minutes in a shop would have told you that, but if you just read all the PRS specs, you'd think it was the second coming. It's just not a good amp IMO, and it's certainly not better suited to your needs than the tweaker.

This is like getting a Telecaster instead of a strat because you don't want to pay for the middle pickup, but then deciding you really want an upper cutaway and a trem. You can read the Tele specs all you want and convince yourself it's a better guitar, but the reality is that you should've looked a bit harder at the Strat before moving on.

The effects loop issue was addressed above. Personally I'd rather have the amp that sounds better in the first place and work out the effects issue than buy a lesser amp just because it might not play nice with my $50 pedal. That's with the 15, the 30 and the 88 don't even have that issue.

Anyway, this gets pretty silly because you're crossing a lot of things off your list before trying them, and adding a lot of things to your list based on perceptions that might not be true at all. Go play as many as you can, and then make a decision. Reading specs online is warping your view severely. These manufacturer specs are like horoscopes; they're going to be as vague as they can while telling you exactly what you want to hear, so you'll think it's a perfect fit just for you. It's not, they're just trying to sell you an amp.
#27
I have a Zoom G3 in the loop of my Tweaker 15. I wouldn't put a distortion pedal in there anyway.
#28
"paying for Marshall voicing"

That's really not how amp pricing works, at all. You don't just pay for features, or wattage, or anything.
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#30
Quote by Roc8995
You say you don't want to pay for Marshall voicing but you're willing to pay for the PRS amp, which is not only more expensive but also has less headroom and a worse clean tone than the Tweaker 40.


I don’t understand that part. The PRS SE head is £439 and the Tweaker 40 head is £529. The PRS SE head is not more expensive. Factor in the lack of reverb in the tweaker and the cost gap widens further.

The PRS SE range don’t really get bad reviews. I have read them and most of the reviews are either very positive or focus on the Chinese manufacture (which doesn’t bother me) or the distortion (which again doesn’t bother me).

Of course you are right about my Gov'nor not going in the loop. My mistake. But I will want to run the G3X in the loop and that is a problem with the Tweaker. I have seen a number of people say they run this or that just fine in the tweakers loop, but the question is... how? If the loop is running at line level and the effect is at in strument level, what compromises are being made in the signal chain. It might be okay for a few specific pieces of kit, but it doesn't take much digging to find other pieces of kit that don't work very well.

No. It's off the list. It looks great and I'm sure it's very good but it doesn't sit right with me given I don't chop and change gear. This amp I'm going to buy will stay with me for the next decade at least. I don't chop and change. I can get any number of 6V6 designs, but if the loop isn't capable of catering for my needs over the next decade then it's not something I can invest in.

I'm willing to keep looking at other amps that are suggested and the TB18C1 is still in the game, but the Tweaker is off the list.

I have to use the internet and specs to build up my testing list because trying amps out that are not modellers, basic fenders or blackstars involves quite a lot of travelling as they are few and far in between in the UK.

I think that is a reality for many gear buyers in the UK and outside of the US in general.
#31
Again with the reviews. I didn't bother looking at them because I've played both, and I think most people who played them side by side would pick the Tweaker almost every time, especially when it comes to clean tones. Maybe try to get some Youtube clips? I get that you really want to put stock in the reviews, but having played both side by side, I just cannot take them seriously. I've read enough glowing reviews of crappy equipment to know that a few unbiased opinions are worth a lot more than a boatload of customers who have already decided that they're happy, regardless of the actual quality of the product.

As to prices, I was going by standard retail in the US which has the Egnater 40 head significantly cheaper than the PRS, and the 88 roughly the same price. Even if the prices were all identical I think you'd have to be insane to get the PRS for clean Fender tones.

As was said before, the Tweaker 40 and 88 have a line and instrument level loop, exactly the same as on the PRS. It will work with anything you throw at it. Again you seem bent on throwing the Tweaker out of the running for imaginary reasons.

I understand that trying these amps might not be possible but at least work with the first-hand information we're trying to give you instead of these biased reviews and spec sheets. I honestly don't care a bit which amp you end up getting but I at least want you to make an informed decision and your research seems to be misleading you so far. You seem to be unfairly discounting the Egnaters which honestly are probably the best thing for your purposes besides perhaps an old Fender head if you can find one or a Supersonic which I mentioned earlier. The Bruno amp is pretty good but I personally would want the 35 instead of the 18 for the headroom if I were playing clean most of the time.
#32
Youse guys...

You might just want to get a really good preamp, pick up a solidstate power amp and a set of full-range speakers and call it a day.

In my bin of stuff, I have one of my old rigs. Hauled it out for a day maybe a couple of weeks ago. Two preamps on this rig -- a Mesa Triaxis and a Carvin Quad-X. The Mesa does all the Mesa sounds (not the Rectos) with maybe five 12 AX7 tubes and a whole lot of Mesa's very own tone-stack circuitry.

The Quad-X has been out of production for nearly 20 years, but it's a dirty little secret for a lot of guitarists. There are nine (9) 12 AX7s in this thing. Up to eleven stages of cascading gain, depending on the channel. Oh yeah. There are FOUR channels, with different gain stages on three of them. Active controls. Assignable 5-band EQ (plus parametrics on each channel. Built in boost. Built in bass cloaking (think HPF). Spring reverb. Six (6) FX loops, including one each per channel plus serial and parallel for the entire preamp. Midi control. There's even a 4x12 cab emulator. Much, much more. They're out there available used for about what one really nice premium pedal will cost you. You'll pay a bit to retube it occasionally, but if you're not going to be able to crank power tubes or run speaker distortion in your bedroom, why bother with that part of the rig?
#33
yeah you dont understand. are you reading reviews for the 15? some of the tweakers have MAJOR differences. for example, the 88 is not even close to the others.

the 40 watt has line and effects level loop. i own one, so i know. and for the record, the effects in my signature function perfectly fine at both line and effects level. ive tried.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#34
I've got my head stuck in the cupboard and my brain hurts.

Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#35
Quote by ikey_
yeah you dont understand. are you reading reviews for the 15? some of the tweakers have MAJOR differences. for example, the 88 is not even close to the others.

the 40 watt has line and effects level loop. i own one, so i know. and for the record, the effects in my signature function perfectly fine at both line and effects level. ive tried.


I do understand. I understand perfectly.

No I'm reading reviews for the 40 watt version of the Tweaker and yes it has a level switch on the effects loop.

What I don't understand is why even put a line level effects loop on the 15 anyway when the majority of pedals and indeed other loops are at instrument level. But there you go. Perhaps that is a cost cutting measure and line level loops are cheaper to implement. I don't understand that bit.

I have to admit, after reading some of the earlier comments regarding 40 watts being better for "bedroom" use I am still sceptical. I have done further research and have really struggled to find anything that supports the claim that 40 watts is "better" than 15 watts for cleans at "bedroom" level (I play in a 10 foot by 10 foot sunroom).

Most of what I've read (except here on this thread) seems to suggest that 15 watts is fine for clean low volume playing, and 20 is way more than needed. Yet here I get told 40 watts! Well fine and I will take your advice on board, but I need a few alternative sources to back it up and after spending the last week trying to find something I have to say I'm struggling. Nobody seems to be suggesting that 40 watts is needed to get the best sound in a 10x10 room except here.

Someone suggested that it would be "better" in case I met a drummer! I said I wont ever gig. It's impossible. In fact if you want to know the truth I played in bands for years and years until about 3 years ago when I was diagnosed with an illness and had to stop. The illness makes it impossible for me to commit to being somewhere. So the liklehood of ever playing with a drummer is zero. It wont happen. There is no "maybe...", or "but one day you might...", or "but what if...". It's over. No more bands; my illness precludes it.

I will never play in a booked gig or at a rehersal for a band again. Yes it's all very sad, but I moved on three years ago. All I want now is something that doesn't give me ear fatigue after half an hour, will be simple enough to let me just play, yet flexible enough to let me add pedals to cater for getting different sounds. It sounds contradictory and I may well have not explained it very well, and for that I apologise, but I know what I'm trying to get at.

I also hate gear buying and selling, so what I end up with will be with me for a long time.

And finally I have a limited budget. Up to £720, to include everything, and yes I appreciate the thoughts behind it, but US retail prices are very different from prices over here, and I have to work with that.

Of course I read reviews on the internet. My most common way of finding a decent review is to put the name of the item in google followed by the word "forum", and any reviews are on sites like this, real people, and again I stand behind my statement that the PRS SE line get pretty decent reviews on the whole. Some don't like them for their tone or build quality, some hate them for being Chinese made, others for carrying the name PRS. Some good reasons, some not so good reasons. But fewer than those who like them. There is a limited number of reviews I admit, but if you discount the PRS and Chinese haters, then most of the negative reviews are centred around the dirty channel, which is subjective and lower down my own personal list of priorities.
Last edited by deano_l at Oct 23, 2013,
#36
Oh, and I don't need "Fender" cleans. I played an AC30 for years and I like those cleans as well. As long as the clean is good to my ears, then I don't need Vox cleans or Fender cleans or any specific companies cleans. I just prefer clean to distorted.
#37
Quote by deano_l
I don’t understand that part. The PRS SE head is £439 and the Tweaker 40 head is £529. The PRS SE head is not more expensive. Factor in the lack of reverb in the tweaker and the cost gap widens further.

The PRS SE range don’t really get bad reviews. I have read them and most of the reviews are either very positive or focus on the Chinese manufacture (which doesn’t bother me) or the distortion (which again doesn’t bother me).

Of course you are right about my Gov'nor not going in the loop. My mistake. But I will want to run the G3X in the loop and that is a problem with the Tweaker. I have seen a number of people say they run this or that just fine in the tweakers loop, but the question is... how? If the loop is running at line level and the effect is at in strument level, what compromises are being made in the signal chain. It might be okay for a few specific pieces of kit, but it doesn't take much digging to find other pieces of kit that don't work very well.

No. It's off the list. It looks great and I'm sure it's very good but it doesn't sit right with me given I don't chop and change gear. This amp I'm going to buy will stay with me for the next decade at least. I don't chop and change. I can get any number of 6V6 designs, but if the loop isn't capable of catering for my needs over the next decade then it's not something I can invest in.

I'm willing to keep looking at other amps that are suggested and the TB18C1 is still in the game, but the Tweaker is off the list.

I have to use the internet and specs to build up my testing list because trying amps out that are not modellers, basic fenders or blackstars involves quite a lot of travelling as they are few and far in between in the UK.

I think that is a reality for many gear buyers in the UK and outside of the US in general.

The G3X has a maximum of +5dB output level, this is line level output, I'm pretty sure this came up during your research, so you're aware of this, correct?

Anyways moving on, if you intend to buy an amp that you want to keep for like 10yrs then it's time to take your guitar & the pedals you have with you & make the trip to the stores. It's the only way to do it. Your in UK, not some remote area where there is a significant lack of options available. With a 700GBP budget, you have access to large range of combo amps. You don't mind where the stuff is built so that's a good thing, because you won't be biased when trying stuff out. It's time you tried getting some direct first person experience with whatever is available in UK. I'd start by doing a search on google for 15W amps that have an awesome clean channel for low volume playing, then check the specs & prices to see if they are affordable, going used would be cheaper.

As for question regarding "how?" I can't really write it out because it will take awhile. But I'll try something. The effects that go into the loop of an amp are mostly delay, reverb, volume pedal, EQ & modulation. As far as modulation effects are concerned, these will require a Series loop for the amp inorder to avoid phasing issues. However I've always found modulation to work best in front of the amp & not in the loop. As far as having a line level or instrument level loop, get a clean boost, placing it in the loop will stop your worries regarding signal drop problems there & increase the number of options available amp wise.
#38
Quote by steven_ferns84
The G3X has a maximum of +5dB output level, this is line level output, I'm pretty sure this came up during your research, so you're aware of this, correct?


Yes you are spot on. Verbatin from the manual. Also from the manual the Rated input level is -20dBm. So if I force feed +4db into that to use the G3X as my source of modulation, delay and reverb effects (ignoring the amp modelling etc), then that is surely going to cause problems.

Yes I know I need to visit shops and try them out. I intend to, but I need to plan that out properly as local small shops only carry the very common gear inteneded for beginners or for gigging metal players who throw stuff into vans!

The other issue is that many shops are not above saying "Oh yes, we've got that in stock" and when you get there after a two hour drive say "Oh, sorry we've sold it... but this Blackstar 100w stack that we've got hundreds of is just right for you".

Cynical? Yep. Wrong? Nope. Then people wonder why I hate buying gear.

Your view that you have found modulation effects to be best in the front of the amp is all well and good, but what if I decide in five years that I want to rely on channel 2 for gain? Then the modulation effects going into the front sound poor. So I switch them to the loop and subject them to +4db of gain?
#39
I'm not sure what you're getting at. Don't buy an amp based on its spec sheet. That really doesn't work. It's a stupid idea.
+4db is less than the +5db the G3X is rated at. I really don't see the problem.

+1 to Tweaker 40. That's everything you need.
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#40
Quote by jmaguire
I'm not sure what you're getting at. Don't buy an amp based on its spec sheet. That really doesn't work. It's a stupid idea.
+4db is less than the +5db the G3X is rated at. I really don't see the problem.

+1 to Tweaker 40. That's everything you need.


The G3X has an OUTPUT of +5Db. Great. So it will go into the Line Level input of the Tweaker 15's return socket without any problem. Great.

But the Tweaker 15's send socket is at line level, which as I understand it is +4Db. The G3X's INPUT is rated at -20Db, so if I want to use the G3X go add a nice delay or reverb to the signal from the Tweaker 15, I will be shoving +4Db into an input rated at -20Db.

Some people say that sounds good. Great. Excellent. Wonderful... Why? Why does it sound good when it shouldn't? Is it more by luck than judgement? Because if it is then I'm going to be relying on that luck in the future and I don't like that idea.

I believe everyone when they keep saying Tweaker 40. I'm sure it will sound fantastic. But will I ever notice any benefit over 15 or 20 watts in a 10x10 room? Some people on this thread say yes, but I can't find anything to back that up elsewhere. Most thoughts are that lower wattage is just fine.

If there is a good, solid reason for more watts when I only really want a nice clean tone, then I'll add the Tweaker 40 to my list, along with the Tubemeister 36 and Laney VC30 and so on and so forth. The list grows exponentially at that size.

But it all hinges on whether I will notice any difference in a clean or cleanish tone that might or might not have any drive added to it,through a 1x12 in a 10 foot by 10 foot room when playing along to CD's.

An answer to that was posted above that said the larger output transformers will improve things, but I haven't been able to verify that elsewhere. The comments around that are mixed; some way yes, other say not noticably and to spend the money elsewhere.

I'm not deliberately trying to provoke anyone, and I'm happy to accept that the Tweaker 40 might be ideal, but short of playing one, I need to keep pushing back a little bit on it to try to understand why everyone thinks it will be great.
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