#1
Hi guys

After a few years of not playing I'm trying to get back into it again but need to change my amp. Currently I have a Epiphone Valve Junior (head) into Marshall 1912 1x12 cabinet. The VJ is completely unmodded and in all honesty is a bit bland in it's current setup, very limited and too loud in all honesty. I also have a Line6 Toneport which I have used to run into my PC for GuitarRig etc. but by the time it takes to set it all up and found a setting I like I've in all honesty gotten bored.

So my question to is to you guys what low watt amp (with lineout/headphones) would you recommend. I play pretty much a bit of everything (GnR, Alter Bridge, Metallica, Britrock type stuff, classic rock etc.) so not looking for a particular tone, just something I can turn on, get a good distorted tone and play away. Preferably something with two channels but I think I'm just limited to Blackstar HT-1/5 amps in that respect. I've looked at the Orange Micro Terror and Blackstar and both seem decent. I'm sure there are others out there that would work as well but I've ben away from guitar gear for so long I have no idea what to be honest.

The alternative would be to get the VJ modded (probably to the Marshall variation) and add in the lineout etc. but this would be a lot more effort than just going out and picking something up.

My budget is maximum of £200 with selling the valve junior, and maybe the Marshall cab if I get a combo as no point having it. If there's any information I've missed that is important let me know and I'll edit it in.
#3
One reason you might consider the Valve Jr too loud is because it doesn't have a pre and power amp volume. Just about any amp with a master volume would probably be okay, and even if not, you're not going to get much quieter than 1 watt

If you're certain you want a quieter amp, you're pretty much limited to amps with built-in attenuation OR an effects + headphone setup. I've seen some amps that will go down to .1 watts or .25 watts, but I can't for the life of me remember what they were. Anyway, I'll just say I'm using a 50 watt Valveking for playing in my bedroom and recording and it's plenty quiet for me.
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#5
Rob Chapman has a video on 5 and 1 watt blackstar amp heads, they should be barely be within your budget or slightly above it, but they seem to be really good practice amps. Plus, you can crank them and get that sweet sweet tube saturation without someone calling the cops

The Micro Terror from Orange is great too, I play it through a 4x12 and man, it can really rock. Through a 1x12, you would probably even get acceptable bedroom-volume. Just a word of warning though, it only has one channel and even at higher gain settings, you'll probably not get into smooth metal kinda distortion sounds without additional pedals. However, if you want something you can play quietly AND crank, the Micro would be quite recommendable
#6
Or... Buy a mod kit for the VJ... They're cheap, plentiful, and most have a master volume. If you invest in a JJ EL844 power tube that'll cut volume too (by about 3dB)
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#7
Quote by Shelders
The alternative would be to get the VJ modded (probably to the Marshall variation) and add in the lineout etc. but this would be a lot more effort than just going out and picking something up.
You can't really add a line out to that amp without modding a fair bit of it.

Also a mod wouldn't cut the volume unless you added a master volume, but on that amp it wouldn't be a hell of an idea to have one - it would kinda defy the point of the amp.
Quote by Shelders
My budget is maximum of £200 with selling the valve junior, and maybe the Marshall cab if I get a combo as no point having it. If there's any information I've missed that is important let me know and I'll edit it in.
You may wanna follow these directions here so we can understand what kinda amp you want - https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=31052894&postcount=2
Quote by sfx
If you sell everything maybe you can consider a Marshall DSL5C.
Meh, it doesn't sound as good as the bigger brothers for sure if ya ask me, and there'd be no point in getting a low powered amp for the sake of it.
Quote by sfx
Another option is Laney's Ironheart IRT Pulse...
Which would need to be paired with a power amp.

That thing's a gimmick tho, don't expect anything running at a power so low and with just one or two tubes to sound like a full blown guitar amp.
Quote by tas38
One reason you might consider the Valve Jr too loud is because it doesn't have a pre and power amp volume. Just about any amp with a master volume would probably be okay
This.

Low power amps don't sound any better than high power amps at lower volumes, that's just marketing bs.
Everything sounds better at higher volumes to humans (until it starts hurting your ears), and that has nothing to do with power.

Amps that have a master volume allow you to shape your sound in the pre section, where you can distort it and apply EQ to it, and then keep the volume down by turning the master volume control counterclockwise.
Quote by tas38
Anyway, I'll just say I'm using a 50 watt Valveking for playing in my bedroom and recording and it's plenty quiet for me.
Listen to this TS.
Quote by sfx
Another option is Bugera V5 infinium.
Have you even once tried these amps you're suggesting, and even if so, why are you suggesting these?
Quote by Rem_Sing
Rob Chapman has a video on 5 and 1 watt blackstar amp heads, they should be barely be within your budget or slightly above it, but they seem to be really good practice amps. Plus, you can crank them and get that sweet sweet tube saturation without someone calling the cops
You can't really achieve any sweet tube saturation unless you crank the power section, 'cause the rest is pretty much all solid state components.

If you crank the power section you'll end up with a veeery loud sound, 'cause even 1w is plenty volume to piss of your neighbors unless you have fairly low sensitivity speakers.
Quote by Rem_Sing
The Micro Terror from Orange is great too, I play it through a 4x12 and man, it can really rock. Through a 1x12, you would probably even get acceptable bedroom-volume.
Running stuff through a 4x12" has an effect on volume, but the volume control on the amp is infinitely more effective, and you could happily use a 4x12" in a bedroom really.
Quote by GABarrie
If you invest in a JJ EL844 power tube that'll cut volume too (by about 3dB)
That's not true at all.

Where in the world did you hear that?
Name's Luca.

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Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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#8
I've played with a short ton of VJ mods and settled on just one: the Mercury Magnetics mod. At the moment I've got one stock head and one MM-modded head. It's stupid expensive, but turns that silly little EVJr into a boutique head. It adds a choke and a pair of transformers (and a couple of other bits and pieces). In addition, it adds an octal socket for a 6V6, and you can run either the EL84 or the 6V6 or both together. I'm guessing it adds a few watts.

My MM-modded EVJr doesn't spend a lot of time around me any more; it gets borrowed for studio sessions.

I've had EVJr's on 4x12s, and for the most part, that's good for a "Gosh, it actually pushes this 4x12" and that's about all. It's a stupid combination (IMHO, of course), at least based on MY 4x12s.

The MM version is a complete change, but I still don't care for it with a 4x12. I have an old open-back 4x10 (Jensens?) that it sounded great with, and it positively sang with an EV in a Mesa Thiele-style cabinet:

#9
Spambot: the EL844 is approximately half the power output of the EL84, half power is approximately-3dB...

EDIT: I take that back, I did the comparisons on the spec sheet load lines where there have different screen voltages, it's more likely closer to 3/4 power which is less than 3dB reduction. But it's still a lower output tube
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Last edited by GABarrie at Jun 21, 2015,
#10
Cheers for the replies guys. I guess what I'm looking for then is a cheap amp (preowned is fine by me) for £200 or around that mark max. Needs to be able to play at low bedroom volumes, with some sort of lineout to use headphones (maybe an additional something for this?), with a decent generic rock tone (as a marker, Appetite for Destruction-esque), that will accept pedals maybe in the future. I'm not a fan of modelling amps though. I used to own a Valveking head which was good but was too large for me but maybe something used along those lines with a lineout? I'm thinking I'm asking too much for the price so maybe something like the Micro Terror will suffice until I start playing more.

Please note I'm not expecting high quality tone from this, just a good overall sound.

I would love to mod the VJ but have no idea what I'm doing tbh.

EDIT: turns out might be jamming occasionally with a friend who wants to start playing bass again so something with slightly more power is also now an option. Won't be playing with a drummer so doesn't need to be heard over one.
Last edited by Shelders at Jun 21, 2015,
#11
if the £200 is for the head alone, consider this:

http://www.thomann.de/gb/jet_city_amplification_jca22h_guitar_head.htm

(probably will end up more like £210, maybe £215, once your credit card processes the foreign currency transaction.)

EDIT: now that I think of it, from what i've heard, the 50 watt version actually sounds better at low volumes (I've only tried the 50). So . It's an extra £35 or so.
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#12
By your original description I am not sure if you need an amp, but maybe more of a direct box or a desktop modeler, like these:




I've seen the Laney IRT demo which seems underwhelming to me for what they're asking for it but I guess might be worth a look.

You can approach it in another way and get a nice DI type of pedal that you can also plug into the Epi Jr. Set the Jr. on clean and either record the direct output of the pedal or the Jr. with a mic in front. These will give you a great range of tones, I'd recommend H&K and Sansamp first, Mesa can be bought only used, but all of these will give you a lot of great options:



#13
+1 for just modding the Valve Jr. I have the combo with the master volume mod, an RCA 12Ax7 in the preamp and just a Boss SD1 in front and imo its the perfect "bedroom" amp. If I have the normal volume too low or too high, it sounds like ass, but with the pre and post seperated (I assume that's what's going on) I'm able to get some genuinely good tone from tv volume to a few notches below drums volume. I don't think it handles a lot of fx well, it's at its best at its simplest, so if you're using a lot of fx I'd guess you would be better off with a different amp with an fx loop. I've seen Valve Jrs covered in switches and mods, it has plenty of potential.
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#14
If you're not too picky, modeling amps can always be an option.

Ibanez also makes 5 watt tube amps too, but they're mostly vintage sounding, nothing that can't be solved with a pedal.
#15
There is the Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister amps. I have an 18W and it has built in attenuation selector for 1 and 5 watts, I play it on 5 watt setting in my room and its great, still a little loud but not too bad. They also make a Tubemeister 5, both head and combo. Great amps for the money and they all have Hughes and Kettner's red box output that you can use to silently record or even play through headphones if you get an audio interface. The best thing with the red box output is you still get very close to tube tones playing through headphones or monitors, its great.
#16
Quote by Shelders

EDIT: turns out might be jamming occasionally with a friend who wants to start playing bass again so something with slightly more power is also now an option. Won't be playing with a drummer so doesn't need to be heard over one.


I'm using modelers to cover most of this ground, honestly.

Not a "modeling amp". You can feed the modeler into headphones and play as loud as you like. Feed it into decent powered studio monitors for a small room jam. A powered PA-style speaker can give you 400-750W to work with in a small, light package for stage work/practice, and you can run it direct to a mixer for other gigs.
#17
Update: I can get hold of a Orange Tiny Terror in good nick for £150 and I've managed to sort the issues with using my Toneport + Guitar rig. I'm thinking this covers all bases as something to play at home and in a jamming environment but a lot of flexibility if I wanna use headphones. Good deal?
#18
Quote by Shelders
Update: I can get hold of a Orange Tiny Terror in good nick for £150 and I've managed to sort the issues with using my Toneport + Guitar rig. I'm thinking this covers all bases as something to play at home and in a jamming environment but a lot of flexibility if I wanna use headphones. Good deal?


Buy it!
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#19
Def good deal, I'd buy it.
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Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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#21
Had a nightmare and missed out on the TT. Makes buying a Micro Terror for £100 a bad deal having missed out on a TT for £150.

Are there any pedals out there that create a Orange sounding crunch that I could use through the VJ instead?
Last edited by Shelders at Jun 22, 2015,
#22
You may want to consider the Yamaha THR10, its a 10 watt modeling amp, but does the modeling well, will give a ton of flexibility from fender clean to high gain with effects and a headphone jack. The entire amp is also very small and portable and made for the quiet home players needs. The only issue may be jamming with your friend, depending how loud his bass is, but I think it would give you what you are looking for. Also has direct usb output for recording and software that lets you tweak the amp modeling.
http://www.thomann.de/gb/yamaha_thr10.htm?sid=3798a706772f8d85f5411d0d325dd633
Last edited by guitarsngear at Jun 22, 2015,
#24
Quote by Shelders
Are there any pedals out there that create a Orange sounding crunch that I could use through the VJ instead?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brand-new-AMT-Electronics-O-Drive-OE-1Guitar-Pedal-Orange-amps-/201363751758?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ee237034e

These AMT pedals are awesome, trust me. And they have it in a ton of flavors: 6505, AC30, Recto, JCM etc etc

There's the Tech 21 Oxford too. Similar to the AMT's, they have several varieties of the Tech 21 Character pedals. Joyo makes clones of those pedals for cheap, unfortunately they didn't clone the oxford/orange model.
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#25
Cheers for the further input guys.

I've found a Peavey Valveking 2 20 watt head for £230 delivered which I'm fine with if I can get rid of my VJ soon. The specs sound perfect for what I need, with it scaling down to 1 watt, two channels etc. Question to those in the know is it has that feature the runs out to a mixed through XLR cable, does this mute the speaker? As I'm thinking I could run that to my toneport then use headphones through the Toneport for silent playing. But I'm just assuming as no idea how that actually works.

Edit: just watched another review and apparently it has headphones out anyway. But could I still do what I asked above as then I could use the PC to play backing tracks etc.
Last edited by Shelders at Jun 24, 2015,
#26
Damn good choice!

It has a "Defeat Speaker" switch. Make sure that it is engaged whenever (literally, if there's no cab plugged in make sure the switch is on, or you'll damage your output transformer) you are not using a cab. Then you can use headphones, the XLR balanced out, or the built in USB interface. don't even need the tone port for running it into the PC.
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#27
Yeah I'm aware of making sure cab is plugged in unless switch is engaged. I'll probably leave cab plugged in all the time anyway as I won't be moving it very often.
#28
Always bears worth repeating. Seen more than one fried power amp on my bench because of it.
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#29
OK bit of an update. Managed to flog enough random junk to be able to buy the Valveking 2 but ran into a bit of a dilemma. I've managed to get my Toneport working with Guitar Rig and amplitube in the meantime with decent results. Now I'm wondering if I'm better off sticking with this setup? It's sometimes a pain in the ass to get working but at the moment its free. The tones are decent and its fairly flexible. Currently I'm playing a stock Epiphone SG that hasn't had a proper setup in years, it plays fine and the neck seems to be straight as have no issues whatsoever but wondering whether swapping out the pickups and getting it setup again might be a better way to spend the money.

However as I said, the guitar plays fine and nothing quite beats tone from a proper amp so am a bit stumped.
#30
If you're talking about the Epi G400, I own one and, while I'm more into single coils anyway, the stock humbuckers are horrible. The bridge pup is good for ACDCish crunch, nothing else, the neck pup is useless to my ears. I'd bet some decent pups, the Valve Jr and a decent od pedal in front would suit you quite well and you'd have vastly superior sound. Same thing with the Valveking, only even better. Get some decent pups for your Epi SG, get a decent od pedal and spend a couple weeks with the Valveking. Then, go back and play through your tone port and computer. I'd bet you won't wanna return the amp.
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#31
Hmmm...I'm looking at middle of the road humbuckers, good quality that let tone of the guitar through if you get me. Any suggestions? A pair of SD 57s (I think?) Are decent price imported from the USA but I have no idea about pups really. Is there any videos/articles that go through a DIY to setting up a SG? There's a lot out there but not one that screams "this is the one video you need to watch".

Your view is very compelling Lucky...
#32
Forget videos for set up... Check out this thread by an excellent guitar tech (even if I do say so myself) You probabaly won't have access to the kit for the fret dressing although that improved playability A LOT on cheaper guitars. Plus it takes a little practice.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1618022

Where in the UK are you btw?

As for pups, the 59s (i assume you meant 59 as SD don't do a 57) are pretty good, but as a brit you can get Creamery pups for £50 extra. ( http://www.creamery-pickups.co.uk/ )

Or Irongears for a cheaper option ( http://axetec.co.uk/ )
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#33
Cheers GABarrie, yeah 59s I knew 57 didn't sound right. Cheers I'll have a look, I'm in Birmingham mate.
#34
Bit far for you to bring the guitar into the shop, haha, I'm Plymouth based.
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#35
This a bit late, but I have a first series Epi VJ that has a 3-way bright switch among other mods. I have used it for many years as my low volume amp for many years as clean plus pedals. I think a brighter speaker might also help, but I've never felt the urge to swap it for anything else.
#36
Cheers for input guys, I took the plunge and bought the VK MH20, should be here tomorrow. Question for those in the know, it has two foot pedal attachments, one to switch channels and the other to turn the effects loop and boost on/off. Would there be anyway to make a custom pedal that turns the clean channel on while turning effects loop on at same time. I have a EQ pedal and I'm thinking it will allow me to set the amp EQ for the crunch channel and use EQ pedal in the loop to tinker with the clean channel EQ (or vice versa however I set it up). This may be impossible to do but it came to me earlier and thought it would be a good idea to have almost have a EQ for each channel.

Yeah Plymouth is far otherwise I would do!!
#37
That could we'll be possible! I'll look into it for you
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#39
Received amp, first playing are positive! I have a question however for those who might know more. I'm enjoying using Guitar Pro with the guitar tracks muted to learn songs and practice my rhythm etc which was great when using Amplitube as they would just run through to my headphones. I tried running my amp via USB to PC but obviously had to use a program to hear it (just hear not record) and play with GPro. However amplitube and Guitar Rig had problems (trying to bypass modelling obviously and just listen to the sound). Guitar rigs problem is that I can't use the input from the amp to a different output source, they have to be the same. So my question is a program that will just let me hear the input from the USB hookup rather than going through modelling software? Alternatively I can run the amp into the XLR input on my toneport and use Guitar Rig on bypass, however would I better off getting a XLR to normal guitar input cord into the guitar input on Toneport or just get a normal XLR cable and run into the Mic input on Toneport? Would it make a difference? Suggestions welcome.

Tl;Dr: would I be okay running XLR input from Valveking to XLR mic input on Toneport or should I get adapter XLR to 1/4" to put into instrument input?

Edit: this is for silent practice so need everything going through one set of headphones.
Last edited by Shelders at Jul 2, 2015,