Valve Junior Review

manufacturer: Epiphone date: 11/25/2008 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Epiphone: Valve Junior
Single-ended Class A electronics in a funky retro cabinet! 5W push the 8" speaker to surprisingly loud volumes. Crank up your guitar's volume pot to achieve seriously musical distortion.
 Sound: 9.1
 Overall Impression: 9.1
 Reliability & Durability: 9.6
 Features: 8.1
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (7) 16 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.5
Valve Junior Reviewed by: rafarquhar, on august 17, 2007
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Features: I bought my VJ combo a couple months ago. I have the V2 model, which is just the V1 with the updated filaments to cut the hum. This amp is great. 5 watts of pure Class A tube. What more could you ask for? I use this amp mainly at home, but I have used it at a band practice, and I could hear it over the drums enough for practice. The one volume knob may seem like a problem at first, but it really brings out the sound of your guitar. I give this a 9; less is more. // 9

Sound: I use this amp with an Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plaintop and a Saga TC-10 build. First off: this amp sounds absolutely amazing. I play just about everything, from blues to punk (and even some metal) and this amp can handle them all. If you simply toss a Boss DS-1 in front of it, you can get this amp anywhere. All this being said, the amp does have a predominantly dark tone, which can be fixed with a simple mod. I can't get over the awesome power amp distortion you get when you crank this thing. Also, I have heard that some people think that the 8" speaker sounds "boxy." They must have changed speakers or something, because from the sound coming from mine, you'd never guess it was an 8". // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've had this amp for almost 6 months now, and with normal wear and tear, I've had no problems. I would easily rely on this thing in a gig, except for the fact that it's not loud enough. It's a solid built amp. The amp feels like it could take a pretty good deal of shaking too, but I'm not itching to try it any time soon. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall, this amp is simply great. As my first tube amp, I would say that it's a great entry into tube. After being able to play through this amp daily, my Spider II just doesn't cut it anymore. I would say that it is the best amp for the price. I love it's simplicity, but a master volume Switch wouldn't hurt. If this amp was stolen, I would more than likely buy another. // 10

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overall: 8
Valve Junior Reviewed by: timi_hendrix, on august 18, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 157.38

Purchased from: GAK

Features: This amp is simplicity incarnate. One preamp tube, one poweramp tube, one volume knob. 5 watts class A pushed through a single 8" speaker. I play a lot of different stuff and I have a very versatile amp already, but I bought this as a kind of secondary amp that I could have some fun with. I mainly use this amp at home, but I've used it for a band practice and it kept up with the band well enough. There aren't many features but that's not the point of this amp. // 7

Sound: I'm using this with an Ibanez SZ520QM with a swineshead venom bridge pickup. I tend to plug straight into this without any effects, it's good for those purist moment we all tend to have. The overall tone of the amp is very Vintage, quite Marshally in voicing to me. It has a great sound for Classic Rock, and can do blues quite well (though I expect it'd do blues better with a strat or similar SSS guitar). I've got some good Hendrix sounds out of it. It starts to break up when the volume gets over halfway, but that's the point! You can get a nice Vintage clean sound by cranking up the volume and rolling down the volume knob on your guitar. The stock speaker distorts when you get the volume up to full, but this is to be expected really. In my opinion the sweet spot is at about 8 o'clock on the volume knob, where the valves are working hard and you get a little bit of speaker breakup. I run this amp in stereo with my Laney VC50, and the contrast in tones makes for a great sound. Very powerful, and the VJ adds some nice Vintage crunch. I plan to change the valves in the amp soon, as the stock ones aren't too good, but they do the job decently enough. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This isn't a gigging amp (well, not by itself. You could mic it, I suppose). But it's very tough and surprisingly heavy. I can't see it ever breaking down or falling apart if you treat it well, the enclosure is very well made and doesn't rattle. I'm going to mention how sexy it looks at this point too, I love the Vintage look. // 9

Overall Impression: I've been playing for about 4 and a half years at the time of writing, my other amp is a Laney VC50 (combo version of the VH100R head, don't ask about the naming because I've got no idea). This is a great amp, but I think it's best use is as a secondary amp you can noodle around on once in a while. It's not versatile or powerful enough to be used as a main amp, really. It's also great to mod. I plan to mod this amp with more controls and a master volume, plus various other goodies, for when I go to Uni, so I can use it as a practice amp. If it were stolen, lost, or broken, I'd probably buy the head version and run it through the speakers in my Laney, because I think the amp would sound better pushed through 12" speakers. I'd also look into the Crate Palomino series, which are supposedly very good and have more features. However, I'm very happy with this amp and for the price it's a steal. // 8

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overall: 9
Valve Junior Reviewed by: thejester, on august 29, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 135

Purchased from: Gear Exchange

Features: This amp is a 2007 model. If you are considering purchasing this amp be aware of what it is: A straight tube amp with no controls. This is a one channel amp thus no channel switching, loops, or a headphone jack, Who wants those anyways? This is a 5 watt amp so you can push this thing without going deaf. If you are in an apartment like me and need to semi-respect the neighbors but still want a tube amp sound this is the amp. // 7

Sound: The sound on this is truly mind blowing for the price you are paying. I play this amp through my SRV stratocaster (primarily) along with my Gibson Les Paul Classic. I personally enjoy playing through the Stratocaster more as I have more control before the amp gets muddy. I play mostly blues/rock and this amp is terrific for the blues side. What you have to do is crank the volume on the amp to 10 and use your volume control on your guitar (this is how you are supposed to do it). This thing on about 3-5: (guitar volume) is very clean jazz-esque and very nice to put some nice chord facings for blues, 6-8: well it is starting to get angry and you want to push it more, 9-10: duck and cover, I know it is only 5 watts but damn it screams. This amp hits that perfect breakup with so much warmth. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This amp will never be played in a gig but I wish it could. Epiphone did a terrific job with bringing back the old boutique amp style with the grill cloth and the overall 'feel' of the amp. I do not see any problems for servicing except for when I change tubes but that will not be difficult considering it is 5 watts. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall this amp is for people that want great tone at lower volumes. I have to other name brand quality amps that I paid 7 times more for each, yet I continue to come back and play my little Epiphone. I only wish it had a reverb but as soon as you sit down and play this amp you will know why I am raving about it. It is not about the features, it is not about how many pedals you can plug into it, it is not about how it looks, it is about how it sounds and how you play it. This is a players amp. Do not be fooled by it's size and think just because it is small it cannot be good because you will be dead wrong. Do yourself a favor and play one in a store. Turn it up and you will see what this can do. You cannot find a better tube amp for the price with the reliability and tone. // 9

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overall: 8.3
Valve Junior Reviewed by: ovenfoot, on october 10, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 158.84

Features: This amp was made in 2006 and is a single ended amp with one 12AX7 tube and one EL84 tube. The model I got was the one that only had the 4ohm speaker output that can be disconnected from an 8" eminence speaker. It sports a single channel, single chickenhead (and very cool looking) volume knob, single input, single 4ohm speaker output and an on and off switch. The amp itself, being a non-master volume amp, relies on natural breakup that happens when you turn it up into full blast rather than having a separate gain knob or separate controls for pre and power amp. The lack of reverb, equiliser and pretty much any other features is just a bit of a letdown, but for 209AUD you're already asking for a lot by buying a valve amp. The amp sports a "boutique" style look with a tweed cover. // 7

Sound: I run my setup as follows: my guitar (Epiphone Dot ES335 with Dual humbuckers that are oddly clear for an Epiphone) TO either a Dunlop Zakk Wylde Wah (ZW-45) or a Vox V847 Wah Wah TO a Behringer Digital Multi Effects TO a Boss Super Overdrive (SD-1). This amp, because of the lack of controls, is all about eeking out tones by manipulating your pedals, the controls on your guitar and the volume knob on the amp. At a quarter volume the amp gives some damn ballsy and bassy clean blues at a bridge pickup, and some sparkling cleans at the neck pickup. at about halfway you get some breaking up once you start attacking the strings. From there onwards the distrotion develops into a very loud (LOUD) crunch distortion that is a bit farty at times (especially if you haven't burnt in the tubes yet) but is natural and beautiful. The only thing I'd have to critise is the speaker distortion that kicks in after about halfway, which although sounds almost exactly like Claptons guitar on the Cream songs White Room and Sitting On Top Of The World, leaves little room for playing any other sorts of style and also drowns out whatever effect you wanna kick in, including my Zakk Wylde Wah which is reputed for being a badass Who wont take a back seat. That said, the amplifier loves distortion pedals of any kind. Kick in My SD at anywhere before speaker distortion kicks in and you get some damn smooth overdrive, kick in my friends DS2 and you get some nice funky crunch (which, for you glam rockers outthere, with the amp pumped to full volume will give you some great Sweet Child O' Mine tones) and a Big Muff and you get that creamy fuzz from the 60s right in your bedroom. Volume wise, the amp is good enough to gig in a pub given either a PA system, or a crowd that enjoys distortion. The tweed speaker cover accentuates the mids coming from that guitar and give your guitar that great vintage feel. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The main thing that worries me about the amp is that there is no stanby switch, so you're constantly having to Switch the tubes straight on and straight off which can cause some wear and tear after a while. That said, in built is a function that gradually ads volume as the tubes are worn up to try to preserve some of this life. As for the amp itself, it's tank. A metal grill at the back makes sure nothing is gonna mess with your speakers and the tough shell has survived my clumsy man handling quite well. I would definitely gig with this without a backup. // 9

Overall Impression: I play blues, psychadaelia, '60s hard rock and Chuck Berry style music and it's never failed me with any of those styles given the aid of my SD-1 and my wah wahs. The bluesy clean and the way this amp accepts distortion pedals can't be ignored at 209 it's a best buy for Vintage rockers wanting a bedroom practice amp or a beginner Who knows a bit about guitars already. That said, this amp does not handle high gain well, at all. My mate tried his Jackson DKMH with active pickups and an EHX Metal Muff through it and it simply didn't work. The amp sounded like it was a small child crying out for help. The only change I see myself making for this is perhaps buying an extension cab with a 12inch speaker to try to get rid of the speaker distortion (which Epiphone also sell ratted at 4ohms for the Valve Junior). Otherwise, for modern rockers and Vintage rockers, this amp is amazing for it's price. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Valve Junior Reviewed by: Celotex, on january 05, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Features: The Epi Valve Junior comes with one volume knob, plain and simple. I play classic rock and this amp works perfectly. It can't really play music as hard as Metallica without a pedal, but is still very nice for a classic rock sound. It is a tube amp with one EL 84 and one 12ax7. It has a very nice cleans to a very natural breakup that gives this amp a creamy distortion at 12 o'clock. All in all simplier is better sound with this amp. // 9

Sound: I am using a Gibson Les Paul Studio Gem with P-90 pickups and it sounds great through this amp. It suits my style very nicely and I play classic rock from bands such as AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Lynard Skynard. My amp hums a little but not very much. It begins to hum at about 12 o'clock. I play in a bedroom and I can barely turn the volume past 12 o'clock. I don't think this amp could play with a drummer but I could be wrong. It has a very nice clean sound from 7-10 oclock, from 11-12 oclock it breaks up very nicely. From about 1-5 o'clock you can get a nice AC/DC sound. But pretty much after that your going to have to roll your guitar down, because it starts to get noisy but that's typical. It probably sound better with a tube change and maybe a 12" speaker. But this amp still sound very nice. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It looks very durable. It is heavier than it looks. It weighs about 25-30lbs! I probabaly would have to mic it if I was gigging with it. I probably wouldn't bring a backup because it is very durable. I might bring a change of tubes. It also comes with a 5yr warranty so, I'd expect they'd make these amps so they don't break. // 10

Overall Impression: I play classic rock, and this matches my style perfectly. Altough I like to play a lil Metallica, I probably just buy a pedal for that. If it were stolen or lost I would probably buy the head version of this amp because it could be ran through bigger speakers. I love the simplicity and the nice breakup at 11-5 o'clock. I have a Line 6 spider and the Epi Valve Junior just blows the Spider out of the water. All in all I am pleased with my amp. // 9

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overall: 10
Valve Junior Reviewed by: kbekul, on november 25, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: A Local Musicstore

Features: I bought this amp Brand New in 2007. I play all sorts of music. Everything from Dream Theater to Andy Mckee. The amp is totally versatile no matter what you play. It is very easy to use since it only has one volume knob and that's it! I was looking for a small amp that had a really great sound and was not too big. // 10

Sound: As I said in the previous section the amp suits for everything. The amp gets a really really nice Tube distortion when you turn it up! And it also provides a really clean and smooth sound at low levels. Great for all music styles! I use it with my DigiTech RP200A Effect board as well and the sound is just amazing no matter what effect I use. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I can definately depend on this amp. I use to bring this amp to all my gigs and mic it up. I bring my Morgan amp as a backup amp. The amp has been working perfect ever since I bought it. It seems to withstand anything! It has gotten some scratches but that's just improves the look in my opinion. // 10

Overall Impression: This amp suits to all my music styles and I really love it! I have been playing guitar for 11 years. Both Electric and Acoustic, and this is by far the best amplifier I have tried at that price level. If it were stolen, I would definately buy a new one right away. I recommend it very much! // 10

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overall: 9
Valve Junior Reviewed by: Blue_Strat91, on december 25, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 140

Purchased from: House Of Guitars

Features: The Valve Junior is a suprisingly versatile tube amplifier, considering the amount of controls (1 volume). It goes from wimpy to a nice full clean to a full range of overdrive sounds. With the volume at about 12 o'clock it is probably the most versatile, any changes can easily be made using the guitars' volume control. It would be great if it had reverb, but for the price this is excellent. // 8

Sound: I play a Fender Strat with Tex-Mex single coil pickups, and this amp responds beautifully to them. It does tend to get noisy when at full volume, but it's overdriven quite a bit at that point, so it's expected. The Valve Junior can go from glassy clean to nasty overdrive. Overall, really nice. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This little amp is extremely dependable. I would definately gig without a backup, except for maybe a spare set of tubes. The amp has never given me any issues whatsoever. I've even run it (on accident) without the speaker connected, and it still works wonderfully. // 10

Overall Impression: I play anything from classic rock, blues, to a bit more modern, RHCP-ish stuff. It handles it all very well. I have been playing for 4 years. I would replace it in a heartbeat were it stolen or lost, no second guesses. I love how loud it can get for being only 5 watts. It keeps up with my band great, drummer and all. Only real complaint is the lack of reverb, but that really isn't that terrible. // 9

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