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Thread: Tube amp advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Tube amp advice

    Decided I wanted to jump into the world of tube amplification, and I really want a head (versus a combo) so I can experiment with different cabinet configurations...however, I'm not a performing musician so I dont need anything large enough to gig with.

    I mainly play 80's rock (Judas Priest, Scorpions, Van Halen, etc), but want something that has a sweet clean (i.e. David Gilmour) sound as well.

    Here are some amps I found in my price range, would really like some feedback from anyone who has some experience with these and may be able to steer me in the right direction.

    Orange Amplifiers DA15H Dark Terror 15

    Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18

    Marshall Haze MHZ15

    Hayden Mini-MoFo

    Egnater Tweaker 15W

    Jet City JCA22H

    Ibanez TSA15H Tube Screamer

    Unfortunately, the local music shop only had one of the seven listed (the H&K) which I liked very much (they also had the "Tiny Terror", but not sure if it sounds different from the Dark).

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Good choice

    Tube amps are defionatly the right move. I would add a blackstar ht-5 to that list. tube wattage is different from solid state wattage, in which a 20 watt tube amp will be much louder the a 20 watt solid state. so 5 watts is a very good volume for at home. with it being 5 watts, it will allow you to push the tubes alot harder, thus getting a way more satisfying overdrive tone. as far as tiny terror compared to dark terror, the dark terror, like the name implies is straight up metal. Its a great sound, its just got way more gain on tap the the tiny terror does. the problem is, if your looking for sparkling cleans and heavy distortion, i would stay away from orange, because there vibe is the dirty clean thing. they are one channel amps ( the tiny terror series), so you would probably keep the amp running hot, and then just roll back the guitar's volume knob to get a clean tone. its a more old school approach, but defionatly sounds great, it just wont clean up all the way. hope this helped.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Another good one, not sure what your price range is.


    Helped my younger brother find the combo model of this newly released Marshall line, Originally I was custom building him an amp where we started with el84 tubes and I had added sockets to try the 6v6 tubes in it instead. For him there was no contest between the two so I netted another set of brand new EL84's for my collection In my opinion the 6v6 tube is a very used underappreciated tube that doesn't see nearly the usage in amps as it deserves. Before this IIRC Marshall has only produced one, maybe two, lines of 6v6 amps and both are highly sought after, which doesn't surprise me at all. Anyway long story made slightly shorter, I was looking up chassis designs for my handbuilt amp for my brother after finally finding someone with the tools to build it when I stumbled upon this new DS15 series and as proud as I am of my work, with it on sale to offset him already having spent a good bit, I told him to go for it. The kicker is it also has a triode/pentode switch in back to knock the wattage from 15 down to 7.5, which is great when you want that high-gain tone but need to keep the volume to reasonable levels. Besides that, there is two channels (Classic Gain and Ultra Gain) so that you can still switch over and get some nice cleans which was a necessity for my brother, and the footswitch is included as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013


    I have been buying amps obsessively since 1965. I recently bought the 5/15 Tube Screamer( I can't even remember why). From a dude that's owned close to 100 amps(I have 12) the Ibanez is the ONLY way to go!!
    It pushes a 1x12" cab as well as a 4x10" cab. W/the Tube Screamer,an FX loop,switchable wattage,etc. it has my recommendation 100%.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by kidfixer View Post
    I dont need anything large enough to gig with.

    I mainly play 80's rock (Judas Priest, Scorpions, Van Halen, etc), but want something that has a sweet clean (i.e. David Gilmour) sound as well.

    Those 80's rock tones are mostly from Marshall's cooking EL tubes creating a very tight, compressed tone. Gilmour style cleans are from a 6L6 power section that isn't being driven very hard and has lots of headroom to spare, resulting in a warm full dynamic sound.

    In my experience, it is way easier to fake a Marshall sound with 6L6's than the other way around. You can fake compressed tight crunch, but you can't really fake dynamic headroom. That isn't to say EL84/34 tubes can't do really nice cleans of course -- the AC30 is a classic for a reason.

    I'd look around locally and find a beat up old Mesa/Boogie combo with a graphic EQ. Find some used stomp-boxes. A few stomps and the graphic EQ can get kinda anything outta one of those for cheap.

    For a modern and super-flexible way to get into tubes, the THD Univalve is incredible. You can just buy a buncha different tubes and swap them around. Otherwise you'd have to buy a buncha amps and swap those around -- much more expensive and space intensive.

    Do keep in mind when switching to tubes: wattage doesn't really convey how loud these things are. A 25 watt 1x12 combo tube amp is too loud to crank at home, a 50 watt tube amp 1x12 is REALLY fraking loud, and a 100 watt tube amp 2x12 is REAAALLLY REALLLY loud.

    I mean like ... REALLY loud.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Mesa Boogie is the best amp maker ever!

    Mesa never really topped the sound of their Mark llC+ amp, although the Mark lll is close. When a Boogie "Mark" amp is tubed properly, there is no competition. All other amps pale when compared side by side to a Boogie Mark llC+. By far the most versatile amp available, to a fault, unless you are willing to spend a few hours getting to know it's controls, it can be flubby, brittle, brassy, etc. You can get every tone that there is with a Boogie Mark llC+, lll, lV or V, from country/Jazz cleans to modern metal madness and then some. Most amps have a limited range of sounds and therefore it's easy to get a decent tone in less than ten minutes, not so with a Boogie "Mark" amp.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Minneapolis 'burbs..for now..
    this post is 2 years old- do the mods ever clean this stuff up??

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Fort Wayne, IN
    What is it exactly that you'd like cleaned up?? We have many posts that are older than this one. Most are left for reference, but typically threads won't be deleted unless they're "spammy" or abusive in nature.
    Richard Whittington
    800 222 4700 x 1376


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