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Your favorite small amps

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7 hours ago, matonanjin said:

Neil, everyone probably does know that, the Blues Jr. does have such a reputation as a great little amp.  But I didn't realize that the current production model is Blues Junior IV.  I do love my Junior III.  It was nothing but pure  dumb luck that I ended up with it.  I got my first "good" guitar, a Les Paul, in a package deal with the the amp.  I had no idea what I was getting as far as an amp.

My only complaint on the amp is the reverb, not the tone but the reliability.  I just got it out of the shop a couple days ago, for the 3rd time, getting the reverb repaired.  I don't know if that is a characteristic of the amp or a factor of us living in the country in a very dusty environment.  Or maybe a combination.  In chatter in a couple other forums it seems it does occur with some regularity.  Others have talked about changing out the chamber.

I have owned an NOS Blues Jr. since 2008 and have never even replaced the tubes, much less had problems with the reverb. Admittedly, it is not the only amp I play or practice with though so it doesn't get daily use but it is my choice for garage band and jam band play currently as my other amps are too big for small club use. Not big enough for outdoor gigs but great for the smaller environments.

Greg

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A couple of questions about the Blues Jr. I think mine is about 2007 vintage. Can you turn the reverb completely off? I don't notice much if any difference at different settings.

Also, has anyone had trouble with the cheap plastic jack plug? From what I've read it is a pretty common problem. At least in older models.

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The reverb on mine ( 2008 NOS Tweed version) can get very swampy when turned up and disappears when turned off,  so my thoughts are that something may not right on your reverb or the control. I also have a metal jack plug, so I can't comment about the input-no problems with mine.

Greg

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Thanks for the reply. I need to replace the jack. It's really doesn't hardly work now. 

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@Colburn, I agree with Greg.  There is something not right with your reverb.  It could be the control, as Greg suggested, it could be a tube, or it could be the actual chamber.  You should be able to go from no reverb to it sounding like you are in an underground huge cavern.

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Thank you for the input. I'll research it some more when I get the jack fixed.

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Mine is a VHT Ultra 6.  One 6v6 power tube and 12ax7 preamp tubes for the clean and distortion channels.  Decent tube amp for very little money

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Posted (edited)

For the last ten(ish) years I've been playing on a Blackstar HT-5R and even used it for gigging once. It's been great and I have it in our basement. However I'm looking at the Boss Katana Air or Yamaha THR10II Wireless to be able to play around the house more freely. I'm leaning towards the Yamaha as it looks like it could fit in anywhere on the looks side as well as double as bluetooth speaker. But at around $600 (incl. wireless dongle for guitar) it's a bit steep.

Edited by Magnit

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16 hours ago, Magnit said:

For the last ten(ish) years I've been playing on a Blackstar HT-5R and even used it for gigging once. It's been great and I have it in our basement. However I'm looking at the Boss Katana Air or Yamaha THR10II Wireless to be able to play around the house more freely. I'm leaning towards the Yamaha as it looks like it could fit in anywhere on the looks side as well as double as bluetooth speaker. But at around $600 (incl. wireless dongle for guitar) it's a bit steep.

For that cash, I'd strongly recommend checking out the Line 6 Pod Go and a powered PA speaker.  

The Pod Go delivers much of the capability and the tone of a Helix for very competitive price compared to entry level tube amps.  Its like having a collection of awesome amps/cabs/effects and works for practice, recording and gigging.  Its a seriously capable piece of kit.

It sounds good at low volume through a powered PA speaker, studio monitors or even silent playing with headsets and can go to a big PA for gigging.  The Helix was a real game changer for me. I haven't bought any gear since going with the Helix, but would have gotten a Pod Go if it was available 2 years ago.

 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Six String said:

For that cash, I'd strongly recommend checking out the Line 6 Pod Go and a powered PA speaker.  

The Pod Go delivers much of the capability and the tone of a Helix for very competitive price compared to entry level tube amps.  Its like having a collection of awesome amps/cabs/effects and works for practice, recording and gigging.  Its a seriously capable piece of kit.

It sounds good at low volume through a powered PA speaker, studio monitors or even silent playing with headsets and can go to a big PA for gigging.  The Helix was a real game changer for me. I haven't bought any gear since going with the Helix, but would have gotten a Pod Go if it was available 2 years ago.

 

I already have a BOSS GT-1 which I think is the same thing (although lesser) as a Line 6 Pod Go. So a PA would suffice?

I'm not sure about that as portability and wireless are two things not bought to the table by your advice. The amps I'm looking at can run on batteries and require no instrument cable which means I can play on the porch if I want to.

 

 

Edited by Magnit

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Posted (edited)
On 5/8/2020 at 2:51 AM, Magnit said:

I already have a BOSS GT-1 which I think is the same thing (although lesser) as a Line 6 Pod Go. So a PA would suffice?

I'm not sure about that as portability and wireless are two things not bought to the table by your advice. The amps I'm looking at can run on batteries and require no instrument cable which means I can play on the porch if I want to.

 

 

I guess it depends on your definition of "portability".  For me, the Helix (or a Pod Go), a PA speaker for a monitor and a guitar is way more portable than a heavy tube amp and analog pedal board to take to a jam or gig. At home, my Helix stays planted in my studio and that's where I go to practice.  If moving quickly from the family room to the bedroom to the deck is key and you must have bluetooth, then a THR wins.  

 

 

Edited by Six String

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On 5/8/2020 at 8:41 PM, Six String said:

I guess it depends on your definition of "portability".  For me, the Helix (or a Pod Go), a PA speaker for a monitor and a guitar is way more portable than a heavy tube amp and analog pedal board to take to a jam or gig. At home, my Helix stays planted in my studio and that's where I go to practice.  If moving quickly from the family room to the bedroom to the deck is key and you must have bluetooth, then a THR wins.  

 

 

Yeah, I should've been clearer. This is only for home and mostly low volume use. But I'm a little worried about build quality of the amps I've specified. I've seen an alarming amount of Amazon reviews claiming the wireless sender wears out in a year. 

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I have a Yamaha THR10C, its great and I've never heard a bad thing about the amp quality, but can't speak to the quality of the bluetooth sensors. Guess it depends on how important the sensors are to you.  It seems to me the technology is available for convince but in terms of how efficient and effective the technology is, I still think it has a long way to go. You could buy the Yamaha THR, the Soft case and a cable that just stays in the soft case.  Then if you absolutely hate being tied to the cable even on your porch, you can try out the bluetooth then. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, S Bach said:

I have a Yamaha THR10C, its great and I've never heard a bad thing about the amp quality, but can't speak to the quality of the bluetooth sensors. Guess it depends on how important the sensors are to you.  It seems to me the technology is available for convince but in terms of how efficient and effective the technology is, I still think it has a long way to go. You could buy the Yamaha THR, the Soft case and a cable that just stays in the soft case.  Then if you absolutely hate being tied to the cable even on your porch, you can try out the bluetooth then. 

I think the THR in itself will be great. The bluetooth is for playing along with songs. The issue I'm worried about is whether it's worth the extra $300 to be able to run it without wires. The new THR10 v2 comes in two variants. Regular ($350) and Wireless ($450) + optional $150 for a transmitter. The wireless has built in batteries and receiver. To be able to go full wireless I have to pay for the transmitter which according to Amazon is prone to wear out in a year.

Edited by Magnit

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Probably not. I think its a harder decision if you wanted the 30W version vs the regular version, but regular vs wireless you can just by a wireless transmitter and receiver if you want, which run $100-200 and you probably have more options in terms of quality.

Also sweetwater and musicians friend has the regular original version at $300 and not $350

@Magnit

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2020 at 5:59 PM, S Bach said:

Also sweetwater and musicians friend has the regular original version at $300 and not $350

@Magnit

Unfortunately, I live in Scandinavia and taxes push the prices upwards. :(

Even if Sweetwater did deliver to my doorstep, the government would slap a toll tax on it. Thomann would be our equivalence to Sweetwater in Europe and they already include all the taxes in the price (which amounts to SEK 3490). This is also the price I get in my local store so I might as well buy it there.

Edited by Magnit

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Another interesting amp that just recently came to my attention is Positive Grid’s Spark. Apparently it contains additional features for jamming similar to the Trio+ pedal.

https://www.positivegrid.com/spark

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4 hours ago, Magnit said:

Another interesting amp that just recently came to my attention is Positive Grid’s Spark. Apparently it contains additional features for jamming similar to the Trio+ pedal.

https://www.positivegrid.com/spark

Magnit, that Spark does look really interesting.  We had a brief conversation about it earlier this year. It seems to have so many tools for a practice amp.  I just don't know what else they could have added for an at home practice amp.  Autodisplay chords, jam tracks, audio interface, the list goes on.  But I think that they have been shipping and I don't see any user reports yet.

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On 5/23/2020 at 4:10 PM, matonanjin said:

Magnit, that Spark does look really interesting.  We had a brief conversation about it earlier this year. It seems to have so many tools for a practice amp.  I just don't know what else they could have added for an at home practice amp.  Autodisplay chords, jam tracks, audio interface, the list goes on.  But I think that they have been shipping and I don't see any user reports yet.

Reviews are popping up. I’ve yet see anyone say it’s bad.

My only gripe based on internet browsing is cosmetic. The Yamaha Thr10 II is waaaay prettier. It can be on display in the livingroom and noone would know it’s a guitar amp.

 

edit: Can’t decide if I’m vain enough to buy a Yamaha or smart enough to get a Spark.

edit: If it's good enough for Philip McKnight, it's good enough for me. Ordered one. Let's see if I get it before August. No internal battery, but those jamming features are too inviting to pass up.

Edited by Magnit

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