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Why buy a valve amp for home use?

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by Stavs, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Stavs

    Stavs Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    If you're playing at home only and you're never going to crank it up to volumes to get that natural break up and overdriven tones, why buy a valve amp??

    Someone said that to me and it got me thinking. I was prepared to pay up to a £1000 for a fender DR or PR valve amp but would it better to purchase a solid state amp for similar money? I see the amp as a pedal platform anyway so it needs to have great clean tone and respond well to pedals.

    What would i miss if I went down the solid state route? And can you recommend a great high quality amp for home use?

  2. Robins

    Robins Dr. von Loudster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 22, 2010
    You want to spend about £1000 for a tube amp. Now you think you don´t need tubes because you will never crank it.
    Now you think you buy a solid state for about £1000.
    Where´s the benefit?
    There are many tube amps on the market that sound great at low volume.
    In my opinion a tube amp sounds more lively and is more dynamic than most if not all solid state amps.

    All the best,

  3. Stavs

    Stavs Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    Well lets just say I'm exploring my options. I value people's personal experiences and I appreciate your thoughts. At the moment i've got a fender blues junior and its a damn fine amp but i want to treat myself to an upgrade, hence the relatively high budget.

    I've never really considered a solid state amp before but maybe its worthy of consideration given the low volume i play at... i'm open to ideas.
    abnormaltoy and circles like this.

  4. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    Robins nailed it.

    there is a way that a tube amp responds to your playing that makes them seem as if they have their own agenda...

    sure you can make solid state amps sound nice, no doubt about that... but Tube amps tend to respond in a way that makes me a better player. maybe its just because Im at my happiest when the tubes are glowing and the speaker is thumping out some nice chops.. also when you are done playing, there is something to be said about the silence in the room and the sound the tubes make while they cool. *tink tink* love that sound.

  5. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    I have a 20 watt tube Princeton type clone and yes, IMO it does just gets better as you turn it up, but even at super low volume it is surprisingly pleasing.

    I have to use a pedal to get a dirty sound from it at low volume, but I can do it at a sensible volume and enjoy that also.

    I always say try the amp with your gear and try amps you may not consider.

    I went to buy a Deluxe Reverb and did not like them. I loved the Twin and Blues Deluxe but they were to much power. The Princeton was a good fit and sounded great.

    I found a used Princeton clone for a good deal and still have the honeymoon effect 3 years later!

    Take your time and be sure so you have no regret, the amp is your partner, choose a good 1 !

  6. mansbestfriend

    mansbestfriend Strat-Talk Member

    Aug 17, 2017
    If you're happy with your Blues Jr, why do you need to upgrade? What will you get from a solid state that you can't get from your Blues Jr? If you want to upgrade your amp for home use, you could try a different speaker or swapping out the tubes. If you want a different tone you could try a different circuit amp.

    IMO there's a reason why electric guitar technology hasn't changed/evolved much in 50+ years and why companies spend so much to replicate products from 50+ years ago.

  7. Stavs

    Stavs Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    The Blues Junior is good and I've improved it with a cannabis rex speaker. I don't believe its worth modding any further and i'm just looking for the next step up - ideally without getting something that needs to be played loud.

    Maybe you're right and another valve amp is the answer... it'll be interesting to see if this view is unanimous.
    abnormaltoy and savofenno like this.

  8. Guitaraxe

    Guitaraxe Strat-O-Master

    Aug 22, 2015
    I look at tube, SS and hybrid amps as all having there own flavors going on. It all depends on the tones you are chasing and what not.

    For SS, I vote for trying out a Roland Jazz Chorus amp.
    abnormaltoy and savofenno like this.

  9. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    I never use my tube amps at home anymore. when you crank em is when you get the tube goodness.
    I use a floor pod and its perfect for recording and practice.
    abnormaltoy and Jamie like this.

  10. mansbestfriend

    mansbestfriend Strat-Talk Member

    Aug 17, 2017
    The Yamaha THR10 have great reviews and are a fraction of your budget. Maybe try one of those?
    abnormaltoy, LPBlue and dueducs like this.

  11. Cerb

    Cerb Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 22, 2016
    Have a look at the Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 20. Great cleans, great overdrive and comes with a built in power soak so you can use it at 1, 5 and 20 watts. Also has a built in Redbox DI that sounds pretty good. Within your budget too, even if you buy a cab as well.

  12. Jamie

    Jamie Strat-O-Master

    Jun 18, 2015
    I love my tube amp, but I can't get what I want from it at lower ( without annoying the neighbours after 8pm ) volumes.

    My superchamp bridges the gap nicely, my conclusion is If if you are a Non gigging stay at home player then there are plenty of good SS amps out there that will do you nicely. On the other hand GAS is a seductive mistress and valve amps are the tastiest of all the forbidden fruits :D and you cannot be considered a proper guitarist without at least one in your collection ;)

  13. cliffenstein

    cliffenstein Strat-Talker

    Dec 22, 2010
    Sandston, Virginia
    Because many modern tube amps are made to sound great at lower volumes.

    And because most sound better than solid state amps.

  14. conehead

    conehead Strat-Talker

    Apr 12, 2017
    way out there
    A good amp doesn't need to be "cranked" to sound good.
    I have yet to hear a solid state amp that has cleans tones more pleasing to my ear than a tweed or brownface 2x6L6 Fender with the volume around '3' or so.

  15. Stormy Monday

    Stormy Monday At the Crossroads, now which way do I go Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 19, 2011
    red barn, USA
    you buy any amp because you want to. Not what someone else said. Do what you want.

  16. RaySachs

    RaySachs Strat-O-Master Silver Member

    Jun 25, 2017
    Philly area
    The Yamahas are great little amps, but the Vox Adio seems to improve on in almost every way other than looks (where the Adio is arguably hideous). But even the Adiois is mostly about the small size. For considerably less money you can get a VT20X which sounds every bit as good and has a few more options. Or a Katana 50 or a Champ 40 or an Orange Crush 20 RT. The point being there are a lot of really good sounding SS and/or modeling amps for not very much money (or a lot, if you insist on spending it). The Yamaha is one of many great options.

    I'd argue that you can be considered a proper guitarist without a tube amp in your collection. I'd say you should have a fair amount of experience with them so you know what you like and what you don't. But if you've put in time with tubes and have decided you like SS just as much or more, or maybe almost as much, but enough, you can still hold up your "proper guitarist badge for inspection. I would never claim I'm a proper guitarist - I'm improper as hell. But plenty of highly proper guitarist are just playing non-tube amps...

    I had a Blues Jr for years. I loved it, but I also had a good size house with a basement where I could play pretty loud and barely be heard two stories above, where my family would be sleeping. So I could play it loud enough to get it to break up quite nicely. Today I live in a small condo where my neighbors can practically hear me fart, let alone my wife, who's usually within a room or two of me when I play. I tried a couple of smaller and attenuated tube amps and a bunch of solid state and modeling amps, and the tube options were out of the running pretty fast. I ended up with a Vox Adio and paid a premium for the small size because we relocate for a few months a year and I wanted to be able to take my amp along. Otherwise, I'd have probably gotten a larger modeling or SS amp for less money. But the Adio is a shockingly good sounding little amp at low volume and at volumes that would get me in plenty of trouble in my current environment.

    If the OP has a Blues Jr and wants something similar but that sounds way better at low volume IMHO, I'd take a good look at a Roland Blues Cube, which can all be played at 0.5 watts and STILL sound great and still give you just enough of that low frequency growl. Plenty of breakup at low volume and takes pedals well if you need a full-on scream. I played one of those and it didn't meet my particular needs but I LOVED that amp. Which has a lot in common with the Blues Jr, since that's what Roland was going for...
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
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  17. dueducs

    dueducs Senior Stratmaster

    And with the proper patches and a little experimenting with the THR Editor, they sound great.
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  18. ocean

    ocean Most Honored Senior Member

    Apr 14, 2015
    In a house
    You didn't miss anything, SS is great for in home use.. especially with the option of headphones jack..
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  19. ocean

    ocean Most Honored Senior Member

    Apr 14, 2015
    In a house
    But I wouldn't spend that kind of money on a SS amp...

  20. rolandson

    rolandson Senior Stratmaster

    Maybe I fail to see the distinction... home versus elsewhere. I understand that volume considerations might limit the willingness to drive the amp, but ... that isn't the sole attribute of a tube amp. And, the rise and fall of a tube driven signal isn't limited to high volume.

    Actually, I switched over to using SS for club dates, but this was because I didn't want to continue putting vintage blackface amps at risk of being damaged; especially when few, if any, of the audience would appreciate the difference.

    At home, I prefer my tube amps...because they sound so nice. When I want to drive the amp to distortion, it goes into a "closet" with a microphone.