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Underrated Sleeper Amps

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by Boodreaux, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. oatsoda

    oatsoda Puck of Paradox Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 10, 2011
    The Shack, Nova Scotia
    Since my earlier post on this thread I lucked into a Traynor YCV20WR. It's one with the older logo, and has the Brit greenback rather then the Chinese made version, which I believe they went to to keep costs in check for this model. I agree with all above who touted the accolades of their Traynors. This thing is a gem. Nice to have a little tube amp here again, besides the Excelsior.

    But, much as I want to say that this will without question become my number one, when I A / B it with the cheapie Princeton 112 Plus, nothing doing for dethroning that fender clean. The long spring reverb, at least for me, sounds a little too all over the place, not that the short Accutronics in the Princeton is super tight, (this is reverb after all I'm on about), but the reverb sound I like better is from the Princeton.

    I think for the four small amps I have kicking around I'd rate thusly;

    1. Fender Frontman 29%, fail This is the older model with the metal grill, not the nicer looking newer one that looks more like a regular Fender amp. The grill rattles a bit too, or it would have been just up over 32%

    2. Fender Excelsior - 55%. Nice big open sound from that 15" speaker, but that tremolo should have been a short spring reverb. Nice to have the multiple inputs, but honestly, the guitar and mic which both sound fine going through that speaker individually, are kind of crude sounding together. Maybe if it had a little horn too it would be better. It's a small combo, not a PA system I guess. Loved it when I dragged it home, but does not get used much.

    3. The new Traynor - 84%. Looks amazing. Made in Canada (my home country). Great quality British speaker. Nice clear clean, decent dirty and the boost takes it from tush tickling to a spanking with the wooden spoon, ouch, the good kind of ouch some might say, still forming my opinion which will be based on how long it takes for the bruising to subside so I can sit down again. Don't like how you have to pull off the bottom plate to get at the tubes. There are vents up high on the back of the amp to allow for cooling, but after an hour of playing, the screws in the top of the cabinet are hot enough to fry humming bird's eggs on. Some reading I have done says this is common, and they are lava boxes. The Blues Jr I ditched got warm, but never like this. Makes me wonder how long it will be until the wine red tolex starts to discolour and crack. But a heck of a fine amp, despite my concerns and I know I'm just darn picky.

    4. Fender Princeton 112 plus. 95%. Made in USA (my other home country). Where did the other 5 points go? I only am detracting some points because despite my trying to be an open minded person, and judge things on their true qualities, provide for a level playing field, I am still, as are lots of us here, victim to the belief that if it does not have tubes, well, it just can't be any good. So really the 5 points should be deducted from myself and not the amp for allowing myself to be a victim of hype. Never heard a better sounding amp at any price point. Reverb is perfect for the sound I want to make. The 2 button footswitch does the two things that a 2 button footswitch should do, going between that amazing Fender clean and a very believable and usable dirty, and turn on and off the reverb. Sounds incredible at any volume, and gets very loud. Light weight for toting about, looks like a classic blackface. Effects loop. Everything I want, not a bunch of extra crap I don't.

    But here's the Traynor, what a looker. Can't go wrong with one of these, especially if you suffer from must-have-tubeitis. Head and shoulders above the Blues Jr. that I dumped.

    And of course, a photo of the hero, the Princeton 112 Plus, taking a victory lap after being doused with champagne and rose petals after again, crossing the finish line well ahead of the pack.

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  2. nifnof70

    nifnof70 Strat-Talk Member

    Feb 8, 2017
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Greetings All,

    I've really enjoyed the wealth of information on this site!

    Speaking of Sleeper amps, I'm surprised that no one mentioned an Epiphone Valve Special amp? I've gone through a Fender Blues Deville, Pro Jr. and with the exception of an Ampeg Rocket (I regret getting rid of that one), the Epiphone Valve Special is one of the better amps I have played through--even at 5 watts it really cooks!
    savofenno likes this.

  3. Electgumbo

    Electgumbo Lost Planet Airman Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 26, 2010
    Scott La.
    Any Music Man that still works... most of them do.
    AncientAx, owenmoney and Tone Guru like this.

  4. ResidentRen

    ResidentRen Strat-Talk Member

    Sep 7, 2016
    Montevideo, URUGUAY
    I've got a GrooveTubes Soul-O 75 amp w/ custom cream tolex. Great amo indeed, wonder why they never caught up much attention.

    Anyone else has GT amps that could tell more about it?

    Mine's way too loud BTW so I never use it at home.


  5. moullineaux

    moullineaux Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 11, 2009
    I picked one up a couple years ago from a bass player and love it. The cleans are amazing and it’s great with drive pedals.

  6. moullineaux

    moullineaux Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 11, 2009
    Peavey Classic 20 Head/ Cab
    VHT Special 6
    Fender Bassman 100 SilverFace
    gwjensen likes this.

  7. Dick Blackmore

    Dick Blackmore Strat-O-Master

    Jan 10, 2017
    San Diego
    I have two to mention and keep in mind I have an ENGL 100 Watt head that I use for gigs.

    1. The Peavy Vypyr 75- Yeah it has a silly looking grill. Yeah its a solid state modeling amp. I actually love this amp, I have two. One was 65$ and the other I got for 50$ off Craigslist. I run them in stereo in my garage. They have the METALTONEZ! They also do a surprisingly accurate Twin and the Plexi mode ain't half bad either. The real jem though is the BKat setting which emulates the BadKat boutique amp. The presets all have too much gain but after you turn that down you get a surprisingly versatile amp. Word to the wise: they have a hardwired fuse (why Peavy why?) and it is likely to blow. Its very easy to fix however if you are handy with a drill and a soldering iron. Because of this flaw they are cheap cheap cheap on CraigsList. Look for one that wont 'turn on'.


    2. The Egnator Tweaker- 15 watts of pure tube heaven. I love the tones on this thing, warm blues, crisp jazz, screaming rawk 2 x 6V6 Power Tube 3 x 12AX7 Pre-amp Tubes. I have only had it for about 8 months but this thing is versatile. I like it so much I'm thinking of unloading my ENGL and picking up a 40 watt Egnator. It really has some fantastic tones that fit my style and it handles my collection of Fuzz/Distortion/Overdrive pedals although I have to say the built in gain stages are just as good as my OD/Distortion pedals. It also handles twang really well. If I had to kbnock it it does not have built in reverb.

    ocean likes this.

  8. owenmoney

    owenmoney Strat-Talker

    Jun 21, 2013
    I had one of these for years, great amp, loud and heavy,great Marshall tone, I also had fenders answer to the Mesa boogie, the Fender 75, still have that one, heavy as hell, loud as hell too!
    Electgumbo likes this.

  9. ProSonicLive

    ProSonicLive Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 4, 2016
    The Bassman Ten for me.

  10. Tomas83

    Tomas83 Strat-O-Master

    Jul 30, 2014
    NE in the 4 corners
    Jet City amps!!!!!
    gwjensen, Nick Evans and Electgumbo like this.

  11. Cesspit

    Cesspit Strat-Talker

    Sep 4, 2016
    Oxford England
    I'll second Musicman amps. I currently run a 100w 1x15 combo. Wonderful cleans and takes an od pedal really well. Classic late 70s Clapton tones.
    owenmoney and Electgumbo like this.

  12. rudos1

    rudos1 Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 16, 2013
    Butler Tube Works TD-752 Tweed Hybrid Half Stack. Great amp you could blend the clean and dirt channel..
    Ampeg TurboJet Best clean combo I ever had. Amazing reverb..
    Marshall AVT50 Head. Most under-rated Marshall, best of the Valvestates.
    Laney Linebacker Pro Killer Solid State head, good clean excellent dirt..

  13. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Strat-Talker

    Mar 18, 2014
    Lots of mentions of Traynor, but what about "the other Canadian" amp, Garnet? Their claim to fame is that they were used by Randy Bachman and the Guess Who. All hand-wired, built like a tank, made from the '60s to the early '80s. I have a Revolution II combo amp, which is essentially a Deluxe Reverb clone.
    T Bone Slort likes this.

  14. gwjensen

    gwjensen Senior Stratmaster

    Might be a sleeper in these parts. I think I'm the only one here that has one. Really good amp, IMO, if you like EL84 type amps.


  15. conehead

    conehead Strat-Talker

    Apr 12, 2017
    way out there
    That's one of my favorite "cheap" amps.
    The pros: wild raunchy 2x6V6 tone, great tremolo, makes Fenders sound obscenely fat.
    The cons: cabinet is made out of petrified oatmeal


    Also worth checking out is the predecessor, the Silvertone 1472.

    savofenno, rolandson and gwjensen like this.

  16. Jimi Lightning

    Jimi Lightning Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 21, 2016
    Ontario, Canada
    Beckmer GC-100R. A canadian amp. The company is now defunct. Excellent 80s metal or clean depending which channel your on.

    Mine is still here after 20 plus years and other amps have come and gone.....:)

  17. Greg

    Greg Strat-Talker

    Apr 25, 2017
    Atlanta area
    I'll plead the fifth, not gonna tell because everyone will start buying them and they will become to expensive.....
    stratman in va likes this.

  18. midwestfisherma

    midwestfisherma Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 27, 2011
    I had a red knob Twin. That sucker rocked!

  19. Sarnodude

    Sarnodude Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 26, 2015
    I had a red knob Fender, 12 watt champ model. The plastic input jacks are very flimsy, and they are soldered directly to the circuit board. Cheesy.

  20. Elvis v

    Elvis v Strat-Talker

    Apr 11, 2017
    My place.
    DV Mark Triple 6. DV Mar Gen 15. Schreyer Audio Hand Wired. Purple amps. Bad cat amplifiers. Haden amplifiers. Mat amplifiers. dv-mark-triple-6-v2-807240.jpg classic60sPre2-532x272.jpg dv_gen_15_front_0_.jpg mat amps..jpg purple2007-001.jpg 39091-hayden-amplifiers-classic-lead-80-head-large.jpg