#1
I just ordered an Engl E530 preamp, but I'm looking for a small, all-tube practice amp that has good speaker tone for cabinet-miking recording applications. The Vox Valvetronix AD15VT [15W 1x8] has a 12AX7 tube for its preamp, but a solid-state power amp section, right?

Anyway, I was just wondering what the least-expensive, all-tube combo amp there was with a master volume. I plan to use this only as a recording amp, using a Shure SM57 to mic the cabinet.
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#3
go for an epi valve jr head and use a seperate cab. its a whooping all tube 5 watter, and sounds pretty darn good with pedals. plus theres an extensive list of mods you can do to it. other amps you could look at are the crate palamino 8, fender blues jr, and perhaps an orange tiny terror. all good low volume tube amps for practice/miking
#4
^ Valve Jr. doesn't have a master volume control, although it could be modded to have one.
#5
Actually I think it's the other way around for the VT.

There's a preamp valve in the power amp. Which is well... confusing. Bahh.

Anyway, wouldnt it be a little hard to push a 5 watter through a 4x12? A bit sloppy I think, but ive never tried it so what do I know.
#6
Here's what I've got so far . . .

Crate V18-112 $400
Peavey Valveking 112 $400
Laney LC15 15W 1x10 $450

I was hoping to spend only about $200. IF I'm going to spend $400, I might as well go for the Laney, right? I was going to list the Fender Pro Junior all-tube amp, but it doesn't have a master volume.

I should also mention the Crate Palomino, but if I were to go Crate, I would go for the newer V-series instead.
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#7
A 1x12 would probably be enough, I guess? 2x12 would perhaps be okay, too. And I don't know...that Zvex Nano head sounded pretty good through a 4x12, and that's only half a watt.
#8
Laney are a tad overpriced in the US. $450 is about £250 for an amp if you bought here that costs about £150...

I'd go for the crate. At least theyre US based so you aren't getting ripped off, and from what ive heard, theyre pretty damn good for the money.
#9
If you're only planning on using it as a recording amp, I'd suggest the V8, because you'd actually be able to crank it a little easier - without the thing being obscenely loud.

And Becky is right - the Laney is overpriced. It's a good amp, but for you could get something a bit better for that amount of money over there, whilst over here it's actually quite a lovely price.
#10
Quote by Denthúl
A 1x12 would probably be enough, I guess? 2x12 would perhaps be okay, too. And I don't know...that Zvex Nano head sounded pretty good through a 4x12, and that's only half a watt.

Oh, thanks, guys (and girls)! A 1x12 (or even a 1 x 10) I would think be fine for recording wouldn't it? A 0.5-Watt head? My Engle has a 1.5-Watt speaker/amp output! But I couldn't find any cabinets that weren't meant to be paired with monster amp heads (or are they?) to use with my Engl. But I guess I wasn't aware that those speakers in those cabinets are that efficient (are they?). I also wasn't aware that a 0.5-Watt amp can drive a 4 x 12 cabinet with any audible result. Maybe I should just look for a decent cabinet? I don't have space for a 4 x 12!
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#11
If you were considering the Pro Junior, check out the Blues Junior. 15 watts, all tube with a master.
Ibanez AFS75/Fender Strat Plus > Fulltone Deja' Vibe > Keeley TS808 MOD+ > Fulltone OCD > VanAmps SoleMate > Metro JTM45
#12
Quote by LEVEL4
Oh, thanks, guys (and girls)! A 1x12 (or even a 1 x 10) I would think be fine for recording wouldn't it? A 0.5-Watt head? My Engle has a 1.5-Watt speaker/amp output! But I couldn't find any cabinets that weren't meant to be paired with monster amp heads (or are they?) to use with my Engl. But I guess I wasn't aware that those speakers in those cabinets are that efficient (are they?). I also wasn't aware that a 0.5-Watt amp can drive a 4 x 12 cabinet with any audible result. Maybe I should just look for a decent cabinet? I don't have space for a 4 x 12!


Yeah, it can. There's a demo available here. I love that little amp, but I can't justify the cost.

Yeah, a 1x12 cab would be fine for most uses. As would a 1x10, like you said. A 1x8 wouldn't be too great, though. My VJ combo only had an 8" speaker, and when it was driven hard it didn't sound as good as a 10 or 12" speaker would.
#13
Does anyone make a cheap 1 x 12 Celestion cabinet or something I could use?
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#14
Quote by beckyjc
Actually I think it's the other way around for the VT.

There's a preamp valve in the power amp. Which is well... confusing. Bahh.

Anyway, wouldnt it be a little hard to push a 5 watter through a 4x12? A bit sloppy I think, but ive never tried it so what do I know.



Not really, Almost all tubes can be used as a power tube, or a preamp tube. Small tubes like the 12AX7's produce very low wattages though.

In the VT, there is a 12AX7 power tube section, which goes into a dummy load, and then into a solid state poweramp. Basically, it takes the sound of the powertube section, not the power, for cost reasons.
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#15
Denthúl:

Wow! That's a pretty impressive little amp!

So, you're telling me, that with the little 1.5-Watt power amp that's built into my Engl E530 preamp, that I can get THAT sound out a 4 x 12 cabinet? Like the Marshall MG412A or MG412B 120W 4x12 guitar extension cabinets? Those are only $279 each! What's the difference between those cabs and the $1,000 Marshall cabs?
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Last edited by LEVEL4 at Oct 11, 2007,
#16
Thoe cabs are made of MDF and have really sub par tone, nasty and muddy for distortion. They're the MG cabs.

Marshall has great cabs that don't cost $2000.
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#17
Quote by Reincaster
Thoe cabs are made of MDF and have really sub par tone, nasty and muddy for distortion. They're the MG cabs.

Marshall has great cabs that don't cost $2000.

Thanks, Rein. But remember, I'm only using these at low volume, and miking them with an SM57 for recording purposes. I'm getting 90% of my sound from my Engl preamp's tube-driven distortion. So, I wouldn't necessarily need the BEST cabinet in the world, just get some decent "cabinet" acoustics, right? I just thought that a real cabinet, even an economy cabinet, would sound about 1,000x better than ANY electronic cabinet-emulator could possibly sound.
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Last edited by LEVEL4 at Oct 11, 2007,
#18
Quote by LEVEL4
Thanks, Rein. But remember, I'm only using therse at low volume, and miking them with an SM57 for recording purposes. I'm getting 90% of my sound from my Engl preamp. So, I wouldn;t necessarily need the BEST cabinet available, right? I just thought that a real cabinet might sound really awesome, instead of using an electronic cabinet-emulator.


But the thing is, I've played with one of those cabs for months when I was in high school. The speakers are really, really, bleh. It'll suck out a good bit of you're frequency range, and it doesn't take bass as well as a decent cab. It's not even worth half the $279 you quoted. For that price you can get a nice, solid earcandy 1x12, or avatar 1x12, and if you shell out more, a nice, flatter response Vader 2x12.

I understand your goal here, but you could save money, and get a better sound for the money.
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#19
Quote by LEVEL4
Does anyone make a cheap 1 x 12 Celestion cabinet or something I could use?


Avatar Speakers

They have 1x12's with a selection of Celestions starting at $199. Way better way to go than any crappy MG cab. You're only going to be mic'ing one speaker, anyway. Why get a 4x12?

And the Z. Vex Nano is a very cool little amp. I had one. Great for recording. I definitely got a "full sound" from it thru a 2x12 or 2x10. I have other small amps I can use for recording, though, and traded it for a Classic 30 that I can use for band practices.
You Don't Need a halfstack.

You Don't Need 100W.

Quote by jj1565
i love you slats.
#20
Thanks, guys! Really appreciate all the advice! I'll check those out! Which Celestions should I be looking at for metal? (I know, depends what kind of metal) You know, nice, fat, chunky rhythms, and syrupy-sweet, distorted harmonic leads. I'm already getting the nice tube sound from the Engl, but what Celestions should I choose? Should I be looking at Greenbacks, or what?

I dunno why people like to mic 4 x 12s either. I thought a 1 x 12 would be fine. But I see a lot of people miking 4 x 12s, so thought there might be a good reason (e.g., using the room as a "cabinet")
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Last edited by LEVEL4 at Oct 12, 2007,
#21
The Vintage 30 is the worst named speaker ever. It's neither vintage sounding, nor does the "30" seem to stand for anything. It's a speaker rated for 60W, and is great for most modern metal sounds. I think it would be great for your purposes.
You Don't Need a halfstack.

You Don't Need 100W.

Quote by jj1565
i love you slats.
#22
Either those or Zakk Wylde's Black Label Speaker. I've had only limited experience with the BL, about a week, but it stands up to the job, and has a huge power rating, in case you ever decide to get a higher wattage head. But they are overpriced, which is why I only got one. However, I could use pretty much any head with only one, including a triple rectifier.
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#23
Well, Avatar offers you a ton of choices of Celestions to put in your cabinet:

• Vintage 30s
• G12H30s
• G12T75s
• Greenbacks
• Classic Lead 80s
• Hellatone 30s
• Hellatone 60s.

I mentioned the Greenbacks specifically, because the Celestion product description mentioned something about the Greenbacks "breaking-up" nicely, especially at low Wattages. I mean, how would these compare to Marshall's "custom-voiced Celestion speakers" that they put in the Marshall MC212 130W 2 x 12 cabinet?
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#24
Quote by slatsmania
The Vintage 30 is the worst named speaker ever. It's neither vintage sounding, nor does the "30" seem to stand for anything. It's a speaker rated for 60W, and is great for most modern metal sounds. I think it would be great for your purposes.

Funny, but it seems a lot of people agree with you, over at the Marshall forum (that the V30s are good for metal). I'll consider those—thanks a lot for the info!
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#25
Quote by LEVEL4
Denthúl:

Wow! That's a pretty impressive little amp!

So, you're telling me, that with the little 1.5-Watt power amp that's built into my Engl E530 preamp, that I can get THAT sound out a 4 x 12 cabinet? Like the Marshall MG412A or MG412B 120W 4x12 guitar extension cabinets? Those are only $279 each! What's the difference between those cabs and the $1,000 Marshall cabs?


There's a built-in power amp? So...it's basically just a low-wattage amp that you have? Then it should have an extension cab output, and you'd get a good sound out of it. I would, like others, recommend something other than a 4x12. A 2x12 would probably be all that's necessary.
#26
Thanks, Denthúl. Yup, it's a pretty interesting little preamp. Haven't gotten it yet—FedEx is bringing it tomorrow. Can't wait! I think I'm going to get the Marshall MC212 2 x 12 cabinet. It's nice and compact (I don't have a lot of space—who does?). Maybe I'll throw some Greenbacks in there or those V30s someday. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's made of MDF . . . I know (so is my whole kitchen!). I mean, like 90% of my sound is coming from the preamp anyway, so hopefully this little 2 x 12 will be fine.
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#27
Actually, the MC212 is not made of MDF like the MG series cabs - it's made of birch ply, so it's actually decent. A speaker upgrade would work wonders, and have a much bigger impact on your sound than you might expect

Edit: Make sure, though, that the ohms match up. The MC does 4 ohms mono and 8 stereo, whilst my 1922 does 8 mono and 16 stereo, so watch out for that.
Last edited by Denthúl at Oct 12, 2007,
#28
Quote by Denthúl
Actually, the MC212 is not made of MDF like the MG series cabs - it's made of birch ply, so it's actually decent. A speaker upgrade would work wonders, and have a much bigger impact on your sound than you might expect

Edit: Make sure, though, that the ohms match up. The MC does 4 ohms mono and 8 stereo, whilst my 1922 does 8 mono and 16 stereo, so watch out for that.

Yeah, I know—thanks for pointing that out. I actually can't use a vintage 16-Ohm cabinet. I can either pump out stereo at 8 Ohms, or mono at 4 Ohms, out of that preamp. So, the MC212 is perfect, impedance-wise, anyway!
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#29
Alrighty. In that case, it should be fine, and with the speaker upgrade you're planning it'd make a decent cab. I was going to buy one myself to go with my JCM900, and upgrade the speakers later, but the impedances didn't match up, so I had to look for something else (I found an ex-demo 1922).
#30
Damn, Denthúl. I'm so excited to get my Engl tomorrow, I can't go to sleep! I'm gonna buy the Marshall cabinet tomorrow too somehow. Thanks for the advice (and endorsement—I mean, YOU almost bought one, so it must be decent!). Did you have a chance to play anything through the MC212 at the store to hear how it sounds?
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#31
Check out Eminences or Weber speakers if you want something a little less expensive than a Celestion, but with all the tone.
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
#32
Quote by LEVEL4
Damn, Denthúl. I'm so excited to get my Engl tomorrow, I can't go to sleep! I'm gonna buy the Marshall cabinet tomorrow too somehow. Thanks for the advice (and endorsement—I mean, YOU almost bought one, so it must be decent!). Did you have a chance to play anything through the MC212 at the store to hear how it sounds?


Ahaha...wow. Someone who trusts my opinion? Cool. I think that's a first.

Yeah, I did get a chance to play through one of them, actually. The first amp was a Marshall MG (I was lugged with it. I asked for a change, but the assistant said I'd have to wait whilst he served another customer). I was not impressed, it sounded pretty bad, but that'd be the amp. So I waited for a while, and eventually I got to try a Valve Jr. through it, and it sounded pretty nice. I couldn't quite afford it, though, as someone else was buying it for me and I was paying them back. Well, I still am paying for the 1922

But yeah, I thought it sounded good for the money, and I'd certainly take it over the MG or AVT cabs that Marshall produce.
#35
Quote by LEVEL4
I mentioned the Greenbacks specifically, because the Celestion product description mentioned something about the Greenbacks "breaking-up" nicely, especially at low Wattages. I mean, how would these compare to Marshall's "custom-voiced Celestion speakers" that they put in the Marshall MC212 130W 2 x 12 cabinet?


A couple things...

First, you're not going to get any speaker breakup at all with a 1.5W amp, whether the speaker breaks up early or not.

Second, speaker breakup is for blues and classic rock guys. That "vintage sound" of pushing the power tubes to their limit thru speakers barely rated to handle them - 'cause that's all they had! Metal players generally get their OD almost exclusively from pre-amp gain and pedals. They want a speaker that's going to faithfully produce that sound, not really be a part of the sound the way the blues guy likes it.

And "custom voiced" and "specially designed" usually means, "the cheap crap we sell to the mass producers." You always want a speaker with a model number (especially from Celestion) over one with one of those ambiguous labels.
You Don't Need a halfstack.

You Don't Need 100W.

Quote by jj1565
i love you slats.
#36
I'll agree with slats on all those points. I'm one of those "blues and classic rock guys" he refers to. I use a Fender Super Reverb cranked to 10 and I use it a lot, by itself for rhythym and with a Marshall Bluesbreaker overdrive for most leads with that amp. If I want distortion rather than overdrive, I switch to a Peavey MX with a Kustom 2x12 cabinet (made in 1967) that is as clean as you'll ever get, so it reproduces the sound of the pedal, rather than adding speaker breakup and power amp distortion too.

And see that line in his signature? Buy it used? Definitely take a look at pawn shops and smaller guitar shops for used equipment. I got my MX head for $60, then $120 to get it fixed, for an amp head that would cost $500 or more at the time new. 30/130 watts, 2 channel, effects loop, SS preamp into tube power amp and it's been abusing eardrums for 15 years now, no problems with it at all. Most of my guitars came from pawn shops, I can't see paying over $500 for a new guitar when I can get one a couple of years old for $200, do a fret leveling and setup and it's good to go. Definitely look around at used stuff, keep your eyes open and you'll find some great deals. Two of my guitars came from yard sales too, one is a vintage 1966 Harmony worth $300 or better, depending on condition. I paid $2 for it. This Guitar single pickup model. It's stamped April 1, 1966 on the inside of the pickguard. The one in the link is stamped Nov 5, 1965. Mine's the yellow to black sunburst, but beat around a lot more than that one. Two bucks and a dollar for 3 tuner grommets, a squirt of contact cleaner or three and it plays good right now, I use it for open G slide a lot onstage....

For recording purposes, I would look for a 1x12 cabinet, you're only miking one speaker and my Fender Champ sounds great through my home built 1x12 with a reconed Emminence speaker, whether low volume for clean or cranked to 10 for "raunch n roll". Someone mentioned Weber and Emminence for speakers, definitely look at those. I have 2 Emminence 12's in the old Kustom cabinet, and one in the 1x12, both sound excellent and have been kicking butt for almost 15 years.

It sucks to see you're in California, we have a guy here who builds amps and puts them in a local guitar shop on consignment, just about any power and gain levels you want, all tube, very nice woodwork on the cabinets, usually combo amps, and they sound excellent. If I were looking for an amp I'd head over there first, before even thinking about Fender, Peavey, etc. He brought in a 5 watt rig one day switchable for different preamp sections, plugged it into a 4x12 Marshall cabinet (probably early 70's cab) and I played 3 or 4 guitars through it, the thing would duplicate any sound you wanted from squeaky clean Dire Straits to Ted Nugent's sound on Stranglehold when I plugged in a big hollowbody a lot like Ted's Birdland. (Might have been 20 watts, I'm not sure but he can do the same with either.) Most of his amps are usually 20 watts max and 1x12 combo rigs. You might check with local guitar shops and see if you have a custom builder in your area too.

I would say definitely hold out for a 12" speaker, you'll get better bass response from it, and remember closed cabinets get tighter bass while combos are great for a nice rock and blues sound but will have muddier bass and less of it. Any time I want to use my Fender Champ I prefer the 1x12 cabinet but if I take it somewhere else, I just use its internal 8 incher and it's not that bad. Miked, it might not do bad at all, Clapton recorded the entire Layla album with an older model Fender Champ than mine and a strat, and that's the same 8" Jensen speaker...Mine was missing when I got it, I have a speaker out of a Gorilla practice amp in it now, it sounds really good.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#37
Paleo Pete:

Hey! Thanks for that long and detailed post! This thread kinda got forgotten among all the excitement over my new Engl preamp! Thanks again for all your advice! (Will re-read this thread carefully a bit later.)

P.S. Forget about the combo amp question . . . I think I'm leaning toward the new Crate V33H head, and a Marshall MC212 cabinet instead.
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American HM Strat | LP Studio
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#38
slatsmania:

Thanks for all that info! Yup, I thought that's what "specially designed" meant. Specially designed CRAP! And thanks for clearing up that speaker "break-up" issue. I totally get what you mean now.
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