#1
I've been thinking of getting a new tube amp for home use, I play in my room, not too big, sometimes with the doors and windows closed and sometimes not. I currently have a Fender Mustang II (V1) which is a 40-watt amp and i've never cranked up the volume anywhere near max before. So I won't be needing such a high powered tube amp.

After looking around I stumbled upon the Orange MicroTerror Stack which is going for a reasonable price at one of the shops here. Another one im looking at are the Laney Cub 8, VOX AC4C1BL, and Vox AC15VR. Are amps 15W and above too loud for my usage? Im aware that on tube amps in particular you have to take the wattage into consideration as it will determine how much more easily it drives.
Last edited by cr0wnest at Mar 27, 2014,
#2
The Micro Terror and AC15VR are both hybrids, not tube amps. And not very good ones IMO.

The Cub 8 and AC4 both suffer from having speakers that are way too tiny. I'm of the (grudging) opinion that anything below 10" is not worth bothering with. Personally, I don't even consider anything other than 12".


Wattage doesn't really determine or have anything to do with volume. Wattage is a measure of headroom. I can keep up with a drummer with my 6W VHT. All amps will be capable of getting ear damagingly loud. The wattage just gives you a vague indicator of how clean that amp will be able to stay at high volumes.

For solid state amps, you want high headroom. Solid state breakup is not pleasant. At all. High headroom prevents that from ever happening. This is why you see professional solid states like Line 6 Vetta/HD147 and Randall solid states at 150W and 300W.

Tube amps are a different ball game because most people consider tube breakup quite pleasant. But it's still hard to achieve at low volumes. My 6W VHT still has to be quite loud (a good bit louder than TV volumes) before it gets any decent poweramp breakup going.

Now, that's just that type of breakup. Most modern amps are designed for preamp breakup. Which again puts you back into the world of high wattage being a good thing. High wattage prevents your poweramp from breaking up, so you only get your preamp breakup.


All of this just leads to the question: what kind of tone do you want? What bands have a sound you'd like to get close to? What volumes can you play at? (talking volumes, TV volumes, party volumes?)
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#3
I'm looking for something with vintage warmth, not entirely picky about tone though but its something to look for.

And I also tend to play on relatively low volume (especially at night) so should I go with an amp with less head room? Other than that I generally play at TV volume in the day.

Any alternatives to the amps i mentioned in my OP? Ive no brand preference so my options are open.
#4
I used to have the AC4 & it was a great little practice amp for home use - it's still fairly loud when cranked on the 1/4w setting, but by fairly loud I mean a nice volume for home practice (i.e. not too quiet). Get the head & cab version so you get the 12" speaker though, it's worth the investment.
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#5
Have a look at the Bad Cat Cougar 5 combo.
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#6
If you're mostly playing "at TV volume", you definitely don't want to be using anything over 5w. You also want to use a single, smaller speaker, such as an 8" or 10".
I used to have a Fender Champion 600—5w with a 6" speaker—as a home practice amp and I couldn't push that to saturation point without it being physically uncomfortable in the room and very annoying for the neighbours. As such I was limited to having the volume on '2' and had to rely solely on a distortion pedal.

If you're sure you won't be using this amplifier for anything other than home use, I suggest you either look at 1w amps like the Blackstar HT-1 or Blackheart Killer Ant, which can be cranked into saturation without being too loud so long as you don't use more than one speaker, or you get a standard practice amp like an Orange Tiny Terror, run it fairly clean and just use a distortion pedal for your drive tones.
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#7
Quote by GaryBillington
I used to have the AC4 & it was a great little practice amp for home use - it's still fairly loud when cranked on the 1/4w setting, but by fairly loud I mean a nice volume for home practice (i.e. not too quiet). Get the head & cab version so you get the 12" speaker though, it's worth the investment.


Sounds like what I need, in terms of volume at least. Been reading up on it and it seems quite well favored by many, though Im not sure whether or not they've kept the amp for long. And a few people mentioned it sounds like the AC15 which is also priced similarly, I'll head down this week to check them out. That VHT Special 6 got my attention as well.
#8
Also check out the Bugera V5. Selectable wattage, onboard reverb, and a headphone out... I really like mine.
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#9
Orange Tiny Terror, Fender Vibro Champ XD, vintage Fender Champ all sound very credible at TV volume levels. It just depends on how much gain you want and whether you like British or American guitar tones. The VCXD is a hybrid amp with modeling input/tube output but I think tone wise it is more musical than the Mustang.
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#10
Quote by Offworld92


The Cub 8 and AC4 both suffer from having speakers that are way too tiny. I'm of the (grudging) opinion that anything below 10" is not worth bothering with. Personally, I don't even consider anything other than 12".



This. For amps of that size, I like using a head and cab simply to avoid the tiny speakers they have. Also, the size and number of speakers really makes very little difference to volume. To test this, I once moved my Krank, on the same volume setting, from a 1x12, to a 2x12, to a 4x12. There was a difference in the bass response and the tone, but there was only a very, very slight volume difference. Granted I didnt have a decibel meter, but isn't perceived loudness what's important in this context anyways?


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#11
I dont really have a preference between british/american tones as far as im concerned, i like both a lot. Anyway Im pretty sure I wont be using this amp for gigs or recording, its solely for home use, my Mustang is fine but recently I've been wanting to own a tube for that warmer sound.

I'll start looking into some of the amps suggested here. Thanks for all the replies! You guys have been helpful.
#12
I switched from a very loud 15 watt tube amp to a 2 watt fender greta. It can play soft for playing at night, or loud when connected to my 1x12 eminence rwb. Just change the stock tubes and play an mp3 player through it to break in the speakers.