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#1
Looking to pick up a 5 watt high gain tube amp. I really can't justify spending over $400 on an amp that small, so the Mesa is out. The only two I can come up with are the Blackstar HT-5 and the Randall RD5h. I really don't like using gain pedals, or ODs for that matter. I don't often use a clean channel, but I would prefer one.

The Randall is a gain monster, but like many high gain amps, doesn't really do cleans, and due to production shortages, is difficult to find in stock ATM.

The Blackstar has more adjustable settings, a nice clean channel, and decent gains. But it's seems like more of a AC/DC gain at it's highest setting, while the Randall can do Thrash in stride.

I love the way the Jet City Custom 5 is set up, basically everything about it physically and electronically, but it doesn't meet my gain requirements.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these? Or I'm totally open to suggestions if there are any others.
#2
Continued researching after posting this. I found that Blackstar now makes a Metal version of the HT-5. Seems to be a perfect fit. But would still like to hear some other suggestions before I just drop $450.
#3
Your options are pretty limited. Out of the two I'd go for the Randall. The HTs are kinda bland.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#5
Ippon I've had a JSX in the past. I like it a lot.

But I'm specifically looking for a 5 watt amp. I've got plenty of 100 watt plus amps. I want something super low wattage that I can just crank and have some fun with .... And maybe use for solo acoustic gigs if I ever decide to start that up again.
#6
Quote by Xander_X
Ippon

But I'm specifically looking for a 5 watt amp. I've got plenty of 100 watt plus amps. I want something super low wattage that I can just crank and have some fun with .... And maybe use for solo acoustic gigs if I ever decide to start that up again.


I have a couple of EVJrs -- which started the whole 5W lunchbox thing. It was dirt cheap (under $100 at the time) and real tubes. I've got a Mercury Magnetics modded one (total on that mod was nearly $400), and it's just lovely, but manufacturers have made them boutique items with boutique prices. You don't get any bass from a 5W tube amp, and you won't get great cleans. It's just the nature of the beast. Too much gain and they're usually a bit messy.

That's why folks bought the EVJr and put a $30 Bitmo mod into it when they wanted to change the sound a bit.
#7
Quote by Xander_X
Ippon I've had a JSX in the past. I like it a lot.

But I'm specifically looking for a 5 watt amp. I've got plenty of 100 watt plus amps. I want something super low wattage that I can just crank and have some fun with .... And maybe use for solo acoustic gigs if I ever decide to start that up again.


I mean, you can't really "crank" a 5W amp... its still gonna be obnoxiously loud.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#8
I really wish any guitar store in my area carried anything worth playing ... Much less one of these so I could try them. Its really hard to find anything around here that isn't either entry level, junk, or top of the line. No middle ground or mid-high.

I basically had to order everything I've wanted to try for the last 22 years and send it / take it back if I didn't like it. Its a pain.

Basically the RD5h really sounds a lot like my RD100h in clips. And the HT Metal 5 sounds like the cleans are really nice.
Last edited by Xander_X at Feb 12, 2017,
#9
I don't really get the cranking thing. It's high gain, you don't want power amp distortion for that I assume.
5W completely cranked will still be way too loud as mentioned and you don't really gain any advantage from cranking it anyway for what you want to do.

Anyway, if Baron is still around or you could find a used one, I'd check out a Snott Watt.
ENGL Gigmaster 15 might be in budget.
Laney IRT15 maybe?
#10
Quote by dementiacaptain
I mean, you can't really "crank" a 5W amp... its still gonna be obnoxiously loud.


yeah

and those blackstars are hybrids, too.

^ so's the engl gigmaster, i think.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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#11
Quote by Xander_X
Ippon I've had a JSX in the past. I like it a lot.

But I'm specifically looking for a 5 watt amp. I've got plenty of 100 watt plus amps. I want something super low wattage that I can just crank and have some fun with .... And maybe use for solo acoustic gigs if I ever decide to start that up again.

I wouldn't go lower than 40W and only because you need the extra to get decent Lows/Low Mids. And you can use the Master volume if you want it quiet.

Check out the Bogner Alchemist 40W combo: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Guitar-Amplifiers.gc?Ntt=bogner%20alchemist&Ns=r

The 212 combo has a Greenback and a 70th Anniversary G12H! It sounds very nice at low volume. I've had mine since they first came out, definitely one of the best inexpensive amps from China.
#12
Dave_Mc I believe the Blackstar has a SS rectifier much like the JCM900 with a tube pre amp and power section.

Ippon I already have an RD45h and just picked up a XXX Super 40. So I'm good on that size and def don't need another combo in my life as this time.

It looks like I'm just going to have to do some digging and possibly be patient and find somewhere to try some of these. I get really good low volume tone from most of my 100+ watt amp. I just have constant amp/cab GAS and thought a 5 watt might be fun and would give me that fully saturated sound at a much lower volume.
#13
Quote by Dave_Mc
yeah

and those blackstars are hybrids, too.

^ so's the engl gigmaster, i think.


They might be, I don't know. I liked it when I played one and that's all I care for. :P

Quote by Xander_X
Dave_Mc I believe the Blackstar has a SS rectifier much like the JCM900 with a tube pre amp and power section.

Ippon I already have an RD45h and just picked up a XXX Super 40. So I'm good on that size and def don't need another combo in my life as this time.

It looks like I'm just going to have to do some digging and possibly be patient and find somewhere to try some of these. I get really good low volume tone from most of my 100+ watt amp. I just have constant amp/cab GAS and thought a 5 watt might be fun and would give me that fully saturated sound at a much lower volume.


I wouldn't be surprised that the difference in sound you're looking for is just down to perception of volume rather than the tubes doing their thing, to be honest. And I say this because I've got a Kemper and I definitely still like to turn up the volume when I'm playing, even though it should sound exactly the same turned down.
#14
gawd. A rectifier isn't in the significance path.

The black star ht series has a solid state phase inverter and two solid state gain stages. They are hybrid. End of story. They also sound like pure ass.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#15
I didn't want to spend $600 on car insurance but I did it.

Spend more, help the world economy ffs.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#16
Definite no on the Blackstar amps, they HT series are garbage.

Look into the EVH 5150 III lunchbox amp, I think that is really great one for studio work. The clean channel shares eq with the gain channel so I wouldn't really use it for live work but it is really good for studio work, great sound.
#17
Not that I mind if there is a stage or two of SS with such a small amp, but it seems as though everyone here are on a consensus that the Blackstar HT series is junk. So I will probably lean away from them.

I also found the Laney IRT15H. That sounds REALLY good at both 15 and 1 watts in videos. Any thoughts on this amp?

Honestly, I'd just grab a 6505mh, being that it does 20/5/1 watts switchable, but as much as I love my 6505+ head, I really can't justify spending money on a mini version of something I already have. I really trying to broaden my tone range and experiment more.
Last edited by Xander_X at Feb 14, 2017,
#18
The IRT wouldn't be my first choice, but it's decent. Wasn't too impressed with it when I played it, although I can't say I spent more than 10 minutes with it.
#19
Quote by Xander_X
Dave_Mc I believe the Blackstar has a SS rectifier much like the JCM900 with a tube pre amp and power section.


Nah it has other solid state stuff than that. Most tube amps have ss rectifiers, and they're still all-tube (e.g. the Marshall Plexi)- generally speaking, as min says, only the signal path has to be all-tube. The blackstar very definitely has solid state stuff in the signal path.

So does the JCM900, as far as I'm aware (apart from the SLX version, I think).

Quote by I K0nijn I
They might be, I don't know. I liked it when I played one and that's all I care for. :P


Yeah. Much like the Blackstar HTs, they don't seem to have anywhere near enough tubes.
Quote by AcousticMirror
gawd. A rectifier isn't in the significance path.

The black star ht series has a solid state phase inverter and two solid state gain stages. They are hybrid. End of story. They also sound like pure ass.


Agreed.

Except for the sounding like ass bit- I haven't tried them.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#21
The 6505mh has as much lies as the black star. The 5150lbx is the one to get from that series.

But I'm still not clear on why you want a five watter. If you can't crank 100 watts, you can't crank five watts. You can't even crank one watt. If you want power amp distortion you can't even crank an 1/8 of a watt

If you want something portable then 5 watts is too small because in order to get any decent bass response you will need a lot of single ended wattage or a pentode output section otherwise it's going to mush up when you crank it.

Have you heard power amp distortion before? Do you actually like it? I hate powramp distortion. It is basically the oppositte end of the spectrum from
Modern metal.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#22
Xander_X

Didn't sound amazing, just decent. It didn't give me a sound that I instantly liked and made me want the amp for even a split second. It might just have not been my thing, but it didn't excite me. It probably could've done with an OD in front too.
#23
Quote by Xander_X
Not that I mind if there is a stage or two of SS with such a small amp, but it seems as though everyone here are on a consensus that the Blackstar HT series is junk. So I will probably lean away from them.

I also found the Laney IRT15H. That sounds REALLY good at both 15 and 1 watts in videos. Any thoughts on this amp?

Honestly, I'd just grab a 6505mh, being that it does 20/5/1 watts switchable, but as much as I love my 6505+ head, I really can't justify spending money on a mini version of something I already have. I really trying to broaden my tone range and experiment more.


I'm about 2 weeks into my IRT-Studio. The IRT15H is single channel correct? The IRT-Studio is 3 channels and has the 15 and 1 Watt modes. It's definitely high gain. I just ordered a fresh set of JJ tubes.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#24
Other than what's been listed, all I can think is up the wattage and go hybrid with an orange micro dark maybe?
#25
Mesa Mini Recto head but that is $$$. That's what I did anyway. I also own Orange Tiny Terror which is amazing, they're basically the amps that I now pair on a recording, one L and one R for rhythm.

Recently I played the HT-5, EVH 5150 III small head and 6505mh. The Peavey 6505mh could do well for small wattage situations but suffered from the same shoddy cleans as its big sibling. Plus, OP already has that one. The EVH micro head sounds different, although similar to the 6505mh. I wouldn't call them the same amp by any means. If you want something like it but a little different, that might be the ticket.
#26
diabolical +1. Everyone needs a Mesa!
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#27
Randall Rm100 & Mesa Rectoverb & 6505mh keeps me happy and all bases covered well.
Mesa Boogie Single Rectoverb 50 series 2 combo
Randall RM100
Peavey 5150 4x12
Peavey XXX 2x12 combo
Pedals
#28
+1 on the IRT Studio. not sure why I didn't think of it.
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#29
dark terror with an od.
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#30
The blackstars are awesome for what they cost, if you want to just plug in and play, maybe a little adjustment in tone then for it. Good for recording too
gear4music indianapolis // Blackstar HT-1R Metal
#31
I'm literally wanting a 1 - 5w (1 watt would honestly be even better) tube amp just to have some fun with getting a more full saturated sound at a lower volume. Hell I'd even pick up a Bugera if they have a high gain one with cleans.

I may just grab a Randall RD1h Diavlo. They're cheap and super high gain. I just wish any guitar stores around me carried any of this stuff. It's mostly all Peavey SS, Marshall MGs, Line6, and Fender. I literally make a trip ever weekend to all the local guitar stores to check their used inventory to see if anything good came in. That's basically the only way I can try what I like.
#32
Quote by Alex2zulu
The blackstars are awesome for what they cost, if you want to just plug in and play, maybe a little adjustment in tone then for it. Good for recording too


Really? I tested several amps from the HT series while in GC and they were all dull sounding duds, no matter what guitar I put thru them.
#34
diabolical

I live in Central NY .... a lot of white trash around here. Nothing but junk in the pawn shops. And on the RARE occasion you find something good, they're asking outrageous prices. Most people are smart enough to bring the good stuff to GC.
#35
So the IRT-Studio has a <1W setting so you can get the power section cooking at lower volumes.

I haven't played with this kind of sound much with the amp so really don't have an opinion on what you're looking for.

You can get them around $400 on Reverb.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#36
I use Blackstar HT5RH and HT112 cab. Its very good for room level metal. But eq settings is not good in my op. And in normal HT5, u must boost good hi gain tones for metal. I dont use boost od pedal, i want to change my amp to a real tube amp. HT5's includes just 2 tubes.
#37
 I have had Fender Champ , Blackstar HT5 , Jet City Custom 5 , EPI Valve Jr.   

I now use a Suhr Corso , It slays them all. It's twice what you want to spend but IMHO worth every penny, best 5 watt amp ever made.
#38
Xander_X The EVH 5150 LBX amps are easily the king of the castle when it comes to high gain micro heads. They're legit full tube, no hybrid BS and they sound pretty damn awesome. The fact that they managed to cram 5 12AX7's into such a tiny little amp is pretty crazy.

The LBXII version has a clean channel instead of the ultra high gain channel the original LBX has, but the blue channel on the LBXII has more gain than the original LBX to make up for it. For such a tiny amp, the cleans on it actually aren't bad.


They make the Blackstar HT amps sound like toys, because they essentially are. The Peavey 6505MH amp is more versatile than the EVH, but the EVH just straight-up sounds so much better, especially when it comes to a high-gain tone. I'd much rather have an amp that sounds better overall, than an amp that tries to do more things, but does all of them mediocrely.

The EVH is also a lot higher build quality than any of the other options too.
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#39
IMO the only reason to get a lunchbox head is for portability's sake.  I thought about that just the other day when I was carrying my 110-pound 4 X 12 up and down my stairs and then went back for my 60+ pound 6505 head.  Oh, but then again, I got a lot of compliments on my tone.  At home, I get amazing tone at whatever volume I want.  "Pushing the tubes" has NOTHING to do with it.  

On high gain amps like my 6505, do you know how loud it has to be before the power tubes actually start to breakup?  I've tried on the clean channel.  They don't breakup even with the volume level at "8" -- which causes immediate hearing loss (I wore earmuffs).  The reason is, most high-gain amps are designed to keep the power section CLEAN -- because that's what you want when playing metal.

I'm actually starting to go in the opposite direction with my amp decisions.  I really can't stand the overdriven tone of amps with less than 60 watts.  My Classic 30, for example, has no balls when pushed to higher volumes.  Doesn't sound better at low volumes either.  Could be the amp just doesn't jive with me though.

If they could somehow build a lunchbox head that's 60 watts and uses real 6L6s or EL-34s, well, then I'd be interested.

Your best bet would be an EVH LBX, I think. 
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
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Pestilential Flood
#40
Quote by KailM
IMO the only reason to get a lunchbox head is for portability's sake.  

Judging from what gear OP already has, this seems to be very much the reason he wants to get one.
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I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
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