#1
So I'm still trying to figure out what amp to get for the MIA HSS Strat I'm ready to order. I've pretty much narrowed it down to two choices: a Roland Cube 20x or a Blackheart Little Giant 5w tube half stack.

One of my main goals here is something that will give me some good tone and versatility at lower volume levels as I'm just playing at home and don't want to drive my wife absolutely nuts. I'm wanting the Blackheart but I've heard it's very loud and the 3w setting isn't too great.

So, would a Roland Cube give me better versatility and low-level satisfaction? If it matters, I'm primarily interested in southern rock, country, and classic 70s and 80s rock. Think Skynyrd, .38 Special, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, ZZ Top, etc. Also, 50s and 60s classic rock.
#2
The Blackheart should easily pull off classic rock even on low volumes. True, tube amps sound better when they are cranked, but since Little Giant has only 5w it should be ok. Cube is ok but you'd probably not use most of the features anyway, since you focus on classic rock.
#3
if you decide to go the solid state route then the vox ad15vt or ad30vt would be far better for your style of music than the cube.
#4
Whilst tube amps do sound better when cranked I would still choose one over solid state for low volumes.

If you are looking at the Little Giant you would need an overdrive or distortion pedal for low volumes.

Also check out the Little Ant - it is only 1 watt so you will be able to crank it more often.
#5
Valve amps generally sound better than SS at any volume, they just absolutely pwn at high volumes.
There are of course exceptions where the SS amp is very very high quality, but in regard to the majority of threads we get on here, valve>ss
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#6
Quote by fergus74
Whilst tube amps do sound better when cranked I would still choose one over solid state for low volumes.

If you are looking at the Little Giant you would need an overdrive or distortion pedal for low volumes.


Right, so this begs the question: is a tube amp with a pedal in front of it really that much better than an SS amp with a built-in effect (or a pedal in front)? Does putting a pedal inline not remove some of the "tubeness" from a tube amp?

(sorry for the nub questions, all I've ever played is an acoustic)

Also check out the Little Ant - it is only 1 watt so you will be able to crank it more often.


Yeah I've read about the Killer Ant. Juicy, but unfortunately it's not going to be available till the end of August. I don't want to wait that long. But that's one more thing that appeals to be about the Little Giant stack - if I get that now, I can always use the cab with a Killer Ant head later to give me another low-wattage option.
#7
5 watters are far too loud to be considered reasonable once you get them loud enough to sound good. Even if you keep the gain up and the volume down, it's not going to sound good since power tube breakup is so important in the kind of tone they're aimed at.

I'd go SS but skip the cube, its lower gain tones are as bland as they come. Vox AD15/30VT would be a more sensible choice for classic rock.
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#8
Quote by ZZRIDER
Right, so this begs the question: is a tube amp with a pedal in front of it really that much better than an SS amp with a built-in effect (or a pedal in front)? Does putting a pedal inline not remove some of the "tubeness" from a tube amp?
(sorry for the nub questions, all I've ever played is an acoustic)


Shouldn't do - as long as you don't play really shit pedals through a really sweet valve amp (such as a digitech death metal through a Marshall JCM800) it should be fine - many valve amps have an FX loop - I don't think the blackheart does, but in all honesty, you'll be fine with pedals through a 5 watter I'd go for the Blackheart paired along with a Digitech Bad Monkey overdrive pedal.
Unless you play really high gain stuff I would definitely recommend a small valve amp over a SS amp so that you can get the great overdrive you want.

Quote by timi_hendrix
5 watters are far too loud to be considered reasonable once you get them loud enough to sound good.

I guess it's relative. No one I know has complained when I've had a blackheart at half volumish (where they start to OD).
TS, I'd recommend you try it to see whether you deem it to be too loud. If you think it is then definitely go with timi's advise about the Vox ADVT series
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Last edited by Yngwi3 at Jun 21, 2008,
#9
I had some people recommend the Valve King or the Vox for the same style of music. How does the Little Giant compare loudness-wise with the VK (I would guess quieter)
#10
A LOT quieter - VK would be far too loud for you to get overdrive from and don't sound as good as the Blackheart imo.
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#11
I used to have a Vox and it is a good recommendation. I might mention that my DSL50 head sounds decent through a 4x12 cab with V30's at low volume...especially with a tubescreamer in front. But your right, when cranked it just sounds better and better!!! Mwaaa!

Quote by Tuckers
if you decide to go the solid state route then the vox ad15vt or ad30vt would be far better for your style of music than the cube.
#12
I can't imagine getting a little Cube specifically to match with an MIA Strat. That's like putting a Geo engine in a Corvette. The Fender Champion 600 is probably the quietest 5W tube amp on the market, and would do a nice job on the sounds you're looking for.
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#13
Quote by slatsmania
I can't imagine getting a little Cube specifically to match with an MIA Strat. That's like putting a Geo engine in a Corvette. The Fender Champion 600 is probably the quietest 5W tube amp on the market, and would do a nice job on the sounds you're looking for.


Yeah that's the point, I don't want to put a junk amp behind an MIA Strat, but I also don't want to have to shatter the windows to make good noise.

Ok, so the Cube is out. Vox AD15VT is now a contender, and the Blackheart is still in the running. And hmmm... that little Fender tube deal is interesting too. How did I miss that? Crap, now it's getting more complicated.

Edit:

Ok, and then there's the Fender Vibro Champ XD, a 5-watt tube combo modeling amp with built in effects. Could this be the best of both worlds?
Last edited by ZZRIDER at Jun 21, 2008,
#15
Solid states work better a lower volumes. I find most tube amps, especially bigger ones, only sound better once you're using about 20-25% of the volume on the power amp, which at that point is often enough to start keeping up with a drummer. I agree you should with a small 5 watter and an OD. The Blackheart is basically a Valve Junior with all the mods done for you. I like those Fender champs a lot, but I don't think they are as loud as the VJ/BH/Etc.
#16
Well I don't care about what anyone says. Tubes sound so much better at any volume. Get a epi valve junior, usually really easy to find used on craigslist for a deal. Replace the tubes(pretty cheap and easy) and you can get some good distortion going at a decently low volume.
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#17
I'd look at the fender champion or Valve junior. The addition of an eq (mxr 108) should take care of you. Oh, and don't forget the volume control on your guitar.

edit: the Vj combo is quieter then the Vj head/cab (i have both), but you will sacrifice a bit of low end with the combo. Still a nice little amp.
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Last edited by scott58 at Jun 21, 2008,
#18
i say the blackheart little giant. with an OD pedal such as the bad monkey you'll get overdrive at reasonable volumes.

and NO, the 3 watt mode is NOT garbage!! i love the 3 watt mode for quieter playing. it's a bit less volume and a little more...bluesy i should say. it seems to be better for when you're playing stuff like hendrix and SRV. you know, the bluesy overdrive but still somewhat clean. this is talking of when it's cranked mind you. there's more headroom in this setting.

the 5 watt mode is more gritty and raw, a lil more high end it seems. starts to breakup a lil earlier. perfect for skynyrd sounds really. well this amp will get all the tones you're after that's for sure. anything that has that marshall sound can be covered by this amp. I'm assuming floyd used Fender amps, so the 3 watt mode will give a good floyd sound. though to get spot on w/ them you gotta have american voiced, that's just how it works.

if you want to know what the overdrive is like, check the clips on my profile. i have some w/ an OD and some without. only one clip is of the amp with new tubes tho.
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#20
yea and the reason the fender champ is quieter is b/c it doesn't get as heavily overdriven on its own. the wattage rating is at the point where the amp starts to clip naturally. or the amount of wattage at which it stays clean. whichever makes you happier. so both amps are the same wattage clean, but once they start overdriving the blackheart will get louder b/c it will overdrive to a farther extent.

some tube tech UGer will prolly try to point out flaws in my statement but that's the general idea.
My MAIN Gear
____________
"They call him the 'Sand Spider.' -Why? -Probably because it sounds scary"
*Agile AL3000 Les Paul w/ Alnico IIs
*Randall RM50
*Dunlop CFH
*fellow LEO feel free to give a shout out
#21
It is not getting more complicated. You've got a good list going. Personally I didn't care for the Vox modeling amps but that is just me. I like the VibroChamp or SuperChamp (15w) idea better with an OD or EQ pedal maybe.

Yes, keep the BH on your list too. Can you go play these somewhere? You said you were 'ordering' your guitar. What strat are you ordering and from where? I would highly recommend trying and buying locally if you can.

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#22
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
It is not getting more complicated. You've got a good list going. Personally I didn't care for the Vox modeling amps but that is just me. I like the VibroChamp or SuperChamp (15w) idea better with an OD or EQ pedal maybe.


Yeah the small Fender tube combos are looking better and better.

Yes, keep the BH on your list too. Can you go play these somewhere? You said you were 'ordering' your guitar. What strat are you ordering and from where? I would highly recommend trying and buying locally if you can.


I'm planning on ordering a sunburst American Standard HSS Strat online from MF. My local shop doesn't have one in stock - I know they could order one but it would cost me the same, plus I'd have to pay state sales tax on it. I understand the MIMs can be quite variable and it's good to play these first to be sure you're getting a "good one", but I've heard no such concern about the MIAs so I'm not terribly worried about ordering one.
#23
Hey. Congrats on wanting an MIA. Great guitars.

Like I think I said over in Electric Guitar to your thread the MIM for $400 is hard to beat and they play differently as well. I've played the MIA and personally like the action of the MIM better for lack of a better way of saying it. So you have NO stores in proximatey that sell MIAs? Well, anyway, not trying to talk you out of it obviously GREAT decision. I was just worried about your total overall budget and trying to share with you how important the amp is in your overall tone.

Back on topic: Looks like you are on track and have stretched your budget a bit

Can you go play thru some of these amps once you get your guitar?

The MIA should arrive already Set Up, but if not do you have a friend or Tech that can help you if you need it?
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jun 21, 2008,
#24
I have a valve junior combo 5w and a Traynor YVC20 both are too loud cranked to play at home without anoying your your famliy and your niegbours. I have modded the valve junior with a master volume so I can just get pre amp distortion at low volume but it is not the same and does not have the touch sensitive dynamics that it has with the master volume cranked. The traynor is the same I can turn up the gain but cranking the amp is much better. With a bad monkey in front of them I can keep the volume low and adjust the bad monkey to get some sort of blusey break up but lets be honest the is just clipping diodes and a bit of preamp distortion it does not sound bad but it is not the same as the power tube overdriveing. Now I had a cube 60 before the traynor and really for low volume it was pretty good and still sounded good turned up. I have been considering changing to a solidstate modeling system because I feel cranked tube amps, famliy and neighbours don't mix together very well. Yeah they sound great cranked but to practise at home when others are trying to watch TV is frustrating and to be honest the cube 60 was much better for that job.