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#1
Basically its that simple. I'm looking for a decent combo or half stack that is not solid state. I had a custom made tube amp with a marshall 4x12 cabinet I purchased off of a family member 20 or so years ago that was eventually stolen. I would like to have a similar setup again without thousands of dollars of investment. Since then I've owned all combo amps by various companies including Crate, fender, marshall, and line 6. 

I play at home, I don't record, gig, or play in a band. I play to keep myself sane. I've looked quite a bit at these small 5-20w tube amps from various companies. They seem like they would work well with a 1 or 2 speaker cabinet and not blow my ear drums out. I'm not going to sit here and pretend like I am huge into the scene and follow everything closely. I don't know much about brand quality overall and typically just buy what feels good in the hand, or sounds good to the ear. I usually play in a spare bedroom or in the living room.

I have 3 guitars I use. A standard Fender strat, an Ibanez s470, and a usually my Gibson Les Paul custom. My current amp is a line 6 spider 3 I got used some years ago. So I'd like something that sounds better than that. It isn't impressive, but its loud. Id prefer to have impressive sound and less loud sound. 

So what is the consensus for these small tube amps like the orange micro terror, bugera t5, the peavey 6505 piranha, or any similar amp? Are they worth it in my case or would I be better off finding a combo tube amp? Either way, what would be some recommendations for the equipment you would use. If you think the half stack would be better recommend a cabinet, if you think a combo would be better recommend a combo. I would like to remain reasonable on the price and not spend 1000 bucks on this venture.

Thanks.
#2
Got a pedalboard? Most of  the smaller tube amps that have good cleans can get you some pretty good tone. Laney lion heart l5 studio sounds decent on it's own. Bit pricey but nice. Vox AC4c1 12 is OK. I'd also take a look Fender Champ xd or X2. You don't say what you play a lot of, but its gonna be pretty easy to do better then a Spider 3.     
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
#3
I honestly just pick around man. I'll sit down and do anything from nirvana, to trying to figure out something from Anata. I do tend to spend a fair amout of time with metallica and megadeth, pantera, and maybe some in flames feom time to time.
It's a fidget thing and I'm far from good and I have no musical theory comprehension so if I jam I just string various riffs together.

I don't have pedals, most every amp I've had since the stack was stolen had everything built in. I would just fiddle with stuff until it sounded ok for what I was doing. I'm not opposed to pedals, I would have to sit down and hear them to decide what I want.
#4
A bit more metally then I normally play. Someone will come along shortly with better options.   

Edit: on 2nd thought since you mentioned low volume. Get a used Valve Jr head\cab and a POD. It'll do metal and everything else pretty much and sound better then most modeling amps under $800. Steep learning curve however. 
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
Last edited by scott58 at Apr 1, 2017,
#5
I've heard many good things about the Ht-5 and Ht-1. They aren't all tube though, but they might be good for you since you play at home and don't want anything too loud. I had an Ht-1 but the metal version. It was more than loud enough to play at home, the loudest I set the volume at was probably 3. I ended up returning it because it was too muddy for me, but the regular ht-1 sounds great from all the youtube stuff i've heard. they're really basic though and I think you'll end up missing some of the effects and features from your line 6. Haven't tried the 6505 piranha but it's pretty fizzy sounding to me in clips i've heard.
#6
I don't think I saw one of those at my local guitar store. I'm going to have to try another to see how it sounds. It shows they have it both in a combo or just the head. I'm not opposed to grabbing a few pedals if the amp doesn't run 600+. I assume blackstar is reliable and able to be repaired if it fails or is that not common on newer tube amps?
#7
Of the ones you posted, I like the small Orange combo*. Another good combo in your price range would be the Carvin V3M combo: 50w 1x12 with several channels and a broad range of tonal options. Occasionally, the V3 that it was based on pops up in your price range on the used market, as do Vai Legacy 3 heads.

I'm also a fan of the discontinued Mesa Transatlantic amps. Both the 15 and 30 show up as heads & 1x12 combos in your price range, as do some 2x12s that have been priced to move. Ditto other Mesas.

I know you said no SS, but Quilter's products are non-modeling and take pedals like a tube amp. A couple of the smaller ones have headphone jacks.


* actually all of the small Oranfes kick ass
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#8
I'm going to see if I can find some of the oranges to play one shop did have some Mesa's used but they were a little more than I could justify.

As I look more into this it doesn't seem I gain much going from a combo to a stack besides being able to pick and choose speakers for the head I like. I'm going to try and get out today and see whats all out there, if I see something I have a question about I'll ask here.
#9
mesa f30, f50, express series, caliber series, etc. easily under a grand in combo form.

orange tiny terror combo is great too.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

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alright "king of the guitar forum"


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nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#10
Finding new Mesas close to me seems to be a challenge and one of the problems I have right now is buying a combo amp sight unseen, and without being played because the price was right. So, no matter Mesa's reputation if I can't see or play the amp I'm going to have to pass. I didn't pay much attention to the used ones because they were all labeled 1500+ and for me alone in my little guitar room that is just not justifiable. If I can find one for around 600-700 I'll absolutely consider it.
#11
Quote by BeefDrapes
Finding new Mesas close to me seems to be a challenge and one of the problems I have right now is buying a combo amp sight unseen, and without being played because the price was right. So, no matter Mesa's reputation if I can't see or play the amp I'm going to have to pass. I didn't pay much attention to the used ones because they were all labeled 1500+ and for me alone in my little guitar room that is just not justifiable. If I can find one for around 600-700 I'll absolutely consider it.


look used. mesa combos regularly show up at $700. however most likely you would have to buy sight unseen.

Seriously check out the orange tiny terror, killer little amps. combos pop up for a good price. they also come with a v30 and they are well built.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#12
The tiny orange amps are what actually brought me here. I was plinking on one at a local music shop and really wondered if they were worth buying. sub 200 bucks just seems very low for a tube or hybrid amp. They seem to be the way I am going to go. I'll see about grabbing some effects pedals as well. I also played on a bugera while I was there, it sounded great, but I've read some sketchy things about the company. Yeah, I'm going to go see what I like today and pick up something. Thanks.
#13
BeefDrapes

tiny terror NOT micro.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#14
Ah, yeah then I get back into the I'm not spending 1000 bucks just to sit in my room and chug away at nothing. I'm not recording, giging, or playing with a band. I just play for myself. I'll go sit around and play and see what I like. Thanks for the help folks.
#15
Seriously look at the Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio. It's a head only - 3 channels with very nice cleans and can do straight up metal. Going used price on Reverb.com is about $400 - I snagged mine for $315.

The amp has <1 watt and 15W modes. You can get nice power tube saturation at non deafening levels on the <1 W mode. The 15W mode you can feel the air moving (I use the 2x V30s of my Mesa) and it sounds great - still has some bass.

I posted some sound clips a while back using the Rhythm Channel and "playing" South of Heaven.

You'll need a cab of some sort. Laney has a IRT-112 cab for $200 which leaves plenty of budget to swap in a V30 or a WGS version of a V30 if you don't like the speaker.

My next suggestion is 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. . .
Last edited by metalmingee at Apr 2, 2017,
#16
Quote by BeefDrapes
Ah, yeah then I get back into the I'm not spending 1000 bucks just to sit in my room and chug away at nothing. I'm not recording, giging, or playing with a band. I just play for myself. I'll go sit around and play and see what I like. Thanks for the help folks.


I don't gig. My 30 guitars stay at my house 99.9% of the time; my 2 amps and 50+ pedals have never left. My primary amp is a 40w Fender HRD 1x12 combo, purchased largely because my teacher turned me onto one- it is his primary gigging amp for jazz, C&W, rock, pop, etc. all over Texas. Mine has never been turned up over 4. My Orange TH30 is 2017's big purchase, gotten because the HRD isn't good for things like Stoner rock. It, too, will never be cranked in all likelihood. I have neighbors, and one of my pets is a little skittish.

And I'm planning on adding more amps to the collection- Mesas, Quilters, Carvins, Peaveys, and so forth- not a one under 30w.

I keep talking about getting recording gear, but haven't yet. At least, nothing remarkable.

The point?

Those amps sound a lot better than many smaller, cheaper alternatives, even by the same makers. And if I EVER decide to stop being The Reclusive Axeman (who lives in that creepy house on the hill*), I'll have the right tools for the job. Unless one actually dies, they'll be delivering killer tones 'till I die.

So don't think of your plan to be a stay at home guitarist as a limiting factor on what kind of amp you should buy. After all, YOUR ears will always be a part of the audience- give 'em good stuff to listen to.


* kidding. House not creepy; suburban neighborhood normal & well-lit.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#17
BeefDrapes
Honestly there should be a standard reply to this query, as it happens so often here and the same amps always come up.
#18
Quote by 33db
BeefDrapes
Honestly there should be a standard reply to this query, as it happens so often here and the same amps always come up.

You noticed that too?  
#19
That's nice. Perhaps if the search function worked better I would have caught it. I didn't see much in comparison. Plenty of tube favs solid state, but nothing comparing the tiny sub 200 heads. If you have a link I would be more than happy to read it's contents.
#20
Quote by nastytroll
You noticed that too?  

We could create one and get it put up as a sticky, of course that negates a lot of the debates started on threads like this
So category wise
Sub $500:
Sub $1000:
Tube.
Solid State.
Based on my limited experience with the Sansamp GT-2 pedal I'm starting to think SS may not be all that bad an option, they are cheaper, lighter, no worries about tubes, etc.
#21
Quote by dannyalcatraz

* kidding. House not creepy; suburban neighborhood normal & well-lit.

Yeah those sort of neighborhoods have their own sort of "creep"

What recording gear, get a USB audio interface for your computer, Reaper and some VST's, maybe a cheap keyboard interface so you can pound out your drums and keys and you're good to go.
The nice thing is recording audio doesn't take a power computer, it's a relatively light weight task compared to video editing or gaming.
#22
BeefDrapes? Kinda like that one,  Is that like roast beef in a birds nest?    In any case all you'll get around here is a rehash of the popular amps that the 15 to 30 year old crowd likes,  In reality you need to go out and play a lot of different amps and other gear,  What I like you may not,  and chances are a 15 to 30 year old cant afford or even knows exist,  They just follow these forums and buy whatever the sheeple recommend.  Choose your own path and stop following the herd if you really want to find your happy place,   Budget is just a frame of mind when it comes to what you want, You can find a way to get it if you really want it 
#23
Quote by nastytroll
BeefDrapes? Kinda like that one,  Is that like roast beef in a birds nest?    In any case all you'll get around here is a rehash of the popular amps that the 15 to 30 year old crowd likes,  In reality you need to go out and play a lot of different amps and other gear,  What I like you may not,  and chances are a 15 to 30 year old cant afford or even knows exist,  They just follow these forums and buy whatever the sheeple recommend.  Choose your own path and stop following the herd if you really want to find your happy place,   Budget is just a frame of mind when it comes to what you want, You can find a way to get it if you really want it 

Yeah this, just go to a music store if possible and play everything there, ideally with your own guitar.
And always play songs like Metallica One (just the intro though) or Stairway to Heaven whilst testing if it's in a guitar center store.
#24
33db
I thought the intro to smoke on the water was what made people ooh and aah. The times are changing.....
#25
Quote by randefahey
33db
I thought the intro to smoke on the water was what made people ooh and aah. The times are changing.....

Yup where I come from you play SOTW just to piss off the little dweebs working at GS,   I can only imagine they're nightmares 
#26
Quote by nastytroll
Yup where I come from you play SOTW just to piss off the little dweebs working at GS,   I can only imagine they're nightmares 

Pbbbhtttt if you're going to do that then go full tard and play Iron Man.
Last edited by 33db at Apr 2, 2017,
#27
33db

That sentence make me think of this guy:


Talkin' 'bout this guy:
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#29
Quote by 33db
Pbbbhtttt if you're going to do that then go full tard and play Iron Man.

Thanks bro. I forgot about that one,   
#30
Besides if you do Smoke On The Water then only play it on the G string, far more annoying that way.
#31
Oh Oh Oh  do the bass line from Money and follow up with the same on Dazed and confused 
 How this went from looking fo an amp to pissing off GC employees I cant figure out,  But it sure is fun 
Last edited by nastytroll at Apr 2, 2017,
#32
Quote by nastytroll
Oh Oh Oh  do the bass line from Money and follow up with the same on Dazed and confused 
 How this went from looking fo an amp to pissing off GC employees I cant figure out,  But it sure is fun 

Well it's not the pit bud so tune it down about 20%.
#33
Na That knob makes nasty noises when I turn it,  Been stuck on 11 for as long as I can remember 
#34
BeefDrapes look into Orange Tiny Terror combo or the head + 1x12. I love that amp, and it is a mainstay in my small home studio.
If you're looking at affordable but great sound and are not adverse to solid state, I'd say Tech 21 Trademark Series - either TM30 or TM60.
Fender Blues Jr. was also considered a good bedroom amp, with the right dirt box it could do really well too.
#36
I play through a Marshall DSL100H and Marshall 412B Cab. Really great sound for a fairly cheap price, at least compared to other Marshalls and mid-range other brands etc. 
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
#37
BeefDrapes https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=115&cp_id=11501&cs_id=1150102&p_id=611815&seq=1&format=2

Out of stock right now and for good reason. You simply won't find a better amp at this price point (or 3 times this price point). If you play really high gain metal then maybe this isn't for you(or need a pedal) but if you play classic rock to old school metal and hard rock then you will be hard pressed to find a better sounding tube amp anywhere near this price. I also have a peavey valveking but the monoprice sounds eons better. Swap out the V1 tube with a tung-sol RI and the V3(PI) with a sovtek LPS and it will sound even better. I also swapped out the stock speaker for a WGS reaper but not sure if that made it any better. The celestion 70-80 is actually pretty good no matter what some people say about it. The amp also has an output for a cab if you so desire.
#38
Ok, I went and played the amps I was referring to, as well as about 10 others. There is something off about those micro amps and I can't quite put my finger on it. The orange sounded almost computer generated or something, but they all had something unsatisfying about the sound. I played all of them except a couple combos on the same cabinet, so I don't know if it was poor setup, or just really odd sound. The best of those cheap micro heads was the bugera, but I really don't trust the brand to last, and the folks at the store also strongly recommended against it.

I understand why you guys recommend the tiny terror. There is a mesa nomad 55 for sale up the road from me, They guy is holding it until this weekend so I can play it. I don't know how old the tubes are, or if its beat to death but he wants 450 for it. 

If the mesa isn't really in great shape I'm going to have to peel a few more bills out of my wallet because what I had in mind is way outside of reality.
#39
I had a nomad 45 and I had so many problems with it I returned it. The tone was just "ok". Nothing special. Mesa makes some great amps but I wasn't feeling the nomad and was glad to get rid of it. Try it anyways though. Maybe you'll like it.
#40
There were quite a few that I really liked so even if the mesa sounds like turds there are a ton of options I liked, albeit way above what I really want to pay. 
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