Newbie Amp / Cabinet questions

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by ntsheppard89, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. ntsheppard89

    ntsheppard89 New Member!

    Age:
    31
    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2020
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Hey all,

    My old 15w Peavey Rage 158 is dying. I think the speaker is fine, it's just a wiring issue or something, I have to keep it cranked up to 10 and on the dirty channel and it works fine, just have to control volume from the guitar.

    Anyway, I'm looking to buy a tube amp. I live in a new apartment that's fairly soundproof, but since you get your best tone out of tubes when they are cranked up (this isn't just a myth, right?), I'm thinking of buying a 5w amp head, like the Bugera G5 Infinium 5W Class-A, so that I crank it up and not blow my own ear drums. I don't know anything about amps, amp heads, or cabinets, so please tell me if this is a bad idea or if you have any good value 5w amp heads to recommend.

    My main questions are:

    1) Do I need a cabinet or does the amp head have if its own speaker? (This seems like a stupid question, but I swear I've heard people saying you can play it without a cab but I could have easily misunderstood what they meant).

    2) Can I use any cab with any amp head or are there like, ratings for cabs, that would mean I can't use a 5w amp with it or something?

    3) Since my speaker in my Peavey seems fine, I've been thinking about taking it out and making my own cabinet with it for a bit of fun plus to save money. Is this possible? How hard is it? Any good, detailed YouTube videos or DIY guides?
     
    stormsedge and Jesse414 like this.
  2. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,613
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    1) you need a cab.

    2) it’s the ohms. 4,8, or 16. One has to be bigger than the other to work. Someone smarter than me can explain.

    3) I don’t know.

    final though- why bother with a head? How about a bugers 5w combo?
     
    Cali Dude likes this.
  3. Handsome McClane

    Handsome McClane Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    57
    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2020
    Location:
    Sacramento
    Most 5-watt tube amps are still way too loud to get breakup at apartment volumes. I just bought a Supro 1606 5-watter and had to get an attenuator to get any breakup at home, and it's still darn loud - louder than I could have ever played in my old apartment. I'd look to something that either attenuates to under 1-watt or maybe a 1-watt head like the Blackstar HT-1.

    As for your Peavey, I had a solid state Fender from the '90s that crapped out electronically a few years back. I pulled the electronics and use the old box as a cabinet now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  4. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Strat-Talker

    Age:
    57
    Messages:
    338
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2020
    Location:
    California
    I totally agree with McClane. You definitely want to get a low wattage amp, and possibly an attenuator. I live in a townhome, and use either a Clapton vibro champ 2-5 watts, or an 8 watt amp with an attenuator.
     
  5. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,613
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    That bugera v5 has a switch that takes it down to one watt, I think. If our apartment dwelling friend wants one, let him get it.
     
  6. Jesse414

    Jesse414 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,971
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2019
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Bugera t5 and the combo attenuate down to point 1 watt plenty quiet for bedroom amp. They also have headphone jack. I would get the combo its 238 bucks the head is 199. Oh and welcome to strat talk. :)
     
  7. jrbirdman

    jrbirdman Senior Stratmaster Platinum Supporting Member

    Age:
    66
    Messages:
    3,381
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Location:
    Elk Plain, Wa.
    check out the Egnater Rebal 20 (tube amp)
    it has switchable wattage from 1 watt to 20 watts
    it has a gain knob so you can dial in your gain
    build your cab or get a 12" vintage 30 and you can go from your apartment to the stage
    plus it is affordable
     
    ntsheppard89 and Cali Dude like this.
  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,598
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Amen. A dimed 5w amp will still be pretty loud. I had a Bugera v5 combo and only on rare occasions in the middle of the day did I ever come close to running it at high gain and high volume and that was with an 8" speaker. With a 12" cab I could really piss off my neighbors.....so I didn't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  9. ntsheppard89

    ntsheppard89 New Member!

    Age:
    31
    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2020
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    To be honest, I'm so new with amps and stuff that I was having a hard time finding combos that had tubes so I just assumed if you wanted a tube amp you needed to have a head and a cab.

    Thanks all, you just saved me some moneys! Is Bugera considered a quality brand or a good value-for-money brand? I'm past the point in my life where I buy cheap stuff, I'm not afraid to pay decent money for a quality / reliable amp. It looks like the best value-for-money from what I've seen but I'm just searching and reading reviews, don't have any experience.

    Interesting feedback from everyone on the 5w stuff... do tubes make 5w sound louder than non-tube amps? My 15w Peavey isn't too loud for my apartment, but it's just "trans tubes" whatever that is (I assumed some sort of digital effect). I've definitely noticed that a lot of them have attenuators to bring it down to 1w so I'll make sure that's on any amp I buy.
     
    Cali Dude likes this.
  10. Tsjackson

    Tsjackson Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Location:
    UK
    a 5 watt valve amp is VERY loud, valve amps are louder than transistor amps for reasons I can’t comprehend.

    I’ve successfully rehearsed with a (albeit fairly tame) 5 piece blues band with a 6w valve amp. And regularly gig with a 12w valve amp.

    If your dead set on cranking the amp to 10 and being able to play it at home without pissing your neighbors off then go for one that can be switched down to 1-2w or one that is that low by design. but I’ve got to say a slightly bigger one still sounds great at a respectable volume.

    you won’t get actual valve overdrive with a 6-15w valve amp at bedroom levels but they sound great and one trick with it is to have the amp on 8-10 and control the volume with your guitar, you’ll get great sounds from a low watt valve amp like that (assuming you have a treble bleed or similar on your guitar, if not it may be a bit bassy and you may loose some clarity when you roll the volume down)

    but a lot of what I love about valve amps is the responsiveness.
    With my 12w valve amp on 10 and my guitar anywhere from 5-7 If I play softly I get a great clean sound, if I dig in a little harder I get a great edge of breakup sound and then roll the guitar up to 10 and I can go from great breakup to glorious valve creamy goodness just with the dynamics of my picking hand.

    You’d be able to do this with any valve amp, 1w-100w.

    get whatever you like the look or sound of, I appreciate its hard now to go to shops and try a load of amps but YouTube, google and this place is a good place to get ideas.

    Unfortunately you will get over 150 recommendations and have to whittle them down to less than ten and THEN try find some of them to have a go on or just bite the bullet and order one of them...

    best of luck to you with it
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
    Bob the builder and Cali Dude like this.
  11. HazyPurple

    HazyPurple Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    Messages:
    338
    Joined:
    May 5, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    I went for 2x Blackstar HT 1s and an AB switch pedal for home.

    5 watt valve amps are pretty loud for an apartment.
     
    Anacharsis and Handsome McClane like this.
  12. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    40
    Messages:
    11,272
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2016
    Location:
    Sweden
    5 watts is 5 watts and there is no difference between "tube watts" and "solid state watts" provided that they are rated the same way, which isn't always the case.

    It is not uncommon for SS amps, especially cheap ones, to have the peak power rather than the RMS power in the rating while most tube amps are rated based on the RMS power. A good clue is if you look at the rated power consumption of the amp. If you have a 100 watt amp and the power supply is rated 120VAC 60 watts, then it's not a 100 watt amp but the actual output will be closer to 40 watts RMS.

    There are also characteristics that make us perceive tube amps as being louder than some SS amps with the same wattage because of how those SS amps go into distortion. If we disregard those and compare a tube amp to a good SS amp with similar clipping characteristics, there should be no noticeable difference in perceived volume.

    Speaker sizes and efectiveness also have a huge impact. Your Rage 158 is 15w RMS but has a small speaker that IMO doesn't sound great. If you hook it up to an effective 4x12 cabinet it will be deafening.
     
  13. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    59
    Messages:
    3,909
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    Location:
    ok
    While Bugera are not considered super "quality" amps by most, they are loved by many and generally considered a good value for the money.

    In a perfect world, you'd be able to sit down and try different amps before you buy. But our world isn't perfect. I often look at demo clips on the internet before making a decision. And, yes, the clips sometimes sound different than the amp does in real life. But it usually gives me a decent idea of what to expect.
     
  14. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

    Messages:
    5,880
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Location:
    North Central North Carolina
    If you're talking strictly about output tube distortion, it's true. On the other hand, preamp tubes are capable of some excellent sounding distortion, so a tube amp with a master volume control should be able to produce good tube distortion as quietly as you like.

    It can be surprising how much "output tube distortion" is really preamp distortion in tube amps. Output tubes are not always the first ones to distort at high volume, whether the amp has a master volume control or not.

    My 15w Monoprice 1x12" tube combo can produce all the tube distortion I want at very low volume. They're currently around $250 and should be back in stock in about a week.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
  15. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    3,556
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I own a Bugera V5 Infinium, it has a switch type attenuator on it with 0.1, 1w and 5w settings. At 0.1w fully cranked up is about what I'd consider normal TV watching volume. You can talk over it, but you have to raise your voice a little. On 5w it is quite loud--too much for most apartments, if you want distortion. IMO a 0.1w setting on a tube amp is wonderful as a bedroom amp.

    It is definitely a budget amp. As a combo, it leaves a lot to be desired--it sounds a whole lot better plugged into a cab (not using the stock speaker).

    An amp and a cab have to have the ohms match and the cab has to be rated for at least as many watts as the amp (no worries with a ~5w amp, but it gets important when you're talking about bigger amps)

    @ntsheppard89 From the description of the Peavey amp, it's possible the only problem is a bad or dirty volume pot.
     
    Cali Dude likes this.
  16. stormsedge

    stormsedge Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    412
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    Location:
    Tennessee, USA
    I'd recommend a new cabinet as well, but what you have will work as an interim as long as the ohm rating is compatible. I purchased a couple of empty Seimic 1x12 cabs and a couple of different speakers to have some options...later adding a DV Mark Jazz 0208 (2x8).

    I have a Bugera G5 (G, not V) Infinium head...it also does 5/1/0.1w. I generally use it on 1w through a 1x12. IMO it is a sweet sounding little amp head and has a nice Reverb. I've been very pleased with it.

    I also have a VHT Special 6 Ultra 6 head...while being a 6w, it has both a high (6w) and low (3w) setting with a "watts" knob/pot allowing one to run the max or turn it down...along with the volume knob. I've not had mine long, but the VHT is a neat amp and has great reviews...worth a look. Does not have reverb.

    Finally, there are Quilter options, although solid state. I have the Tone Block 201 and use it set on 1-2w max...has five voices, no Reverb on this model...capable of big sound if you need/want it. I'll leave it there...for a small tube head with some options, the previously mentioned Bugera or VHT are hard to beat. Happy hunting.
     
    Cerb likes this.
  17. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    40
    Messages:
    11,272
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2016
    Location:
    Sweden
    I too have a Quilter, the Overdrive 200. It's an amazing amp but I haven't played it much since I got the BlueGuitar Amp 1. In fact, I've tried to sell it but there has been no interest so today I fired it up and played it. It might actually sound better than the Amp 1 so I'm leaning towards keeping the Quilter and flipping the Amp 1.

    I don't see myself ever needing a tube amp...
     
    stormsedge and nickmsmith like this.
  18. Morf2540

    Morf2540 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    55
    Messages:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2017
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    Get a Roland Blues Cube. Not tube, but sounds great. Power scales down to nothing, so it can sound pretty much the same at low volume as it does loud. And it gets loud if you need it to. The "Hot" version goes for around $300 used.
     
    nifnof70, Cali Dude and Anacharsis like this.
  19. errikwong

    errikwong Strat-Talker

    Age:
    32
    Messages:
    470
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2018
    Location:
    Singapore
    OK to help answer:

    1) amp heads most often need a cabinet for the sound to go through a speaker. never power on an amp head unless it has a built in load box, or if it has a speaker cable running to a cab.

    2) Usually, you'd want to ensure the speaker cab has a wattage rating that is at least 10-20% higher than the wattage rating of the amp. So for a 5W amp, you'd never see a 5W speaker being paired up, it's easily a 10-15W speaker. The higher the wattage rating on a speaker, the more load it can take. I'd recommend a 20-25W speaker so that in case you ever upgrade to say a 15W amp head in the future, at least the cab can handle that amp's wattage.

    3) Making a cab can be fun, if you have the right facilities, tools, materials, and of course the time and energy to devote to such an endeavour. I've built 4 of my own cabs in the past using various materials like solid pine and plywood, and I currently hold onto 1 because it's the latest and best haha.


    In any case, I would suggest you look farther afield in terms of 5W combos. Blackstar, Marshall, Bugera, Egnater and VHT all have compelling low-wattage offerings.

    However, in this day and age of exceedingly awesome solid-state products, I'd recommend you also look into the Yamaha THR series, the Vox AV and VX series, as well as the Orange Micro Terror stuff.
     
  20. nifnof70

    nifnof70 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    50
    Messages:
    148
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2017
    Location:
    Harpers Ferry WV
    I just got one new last week. I was in the market for a home/small venue gigging amp. As a Die-hard tube amp guy, took a leap of faith after reading reviews and YouTube videos on it. I was not disappointed...It sounds awesome and has that nice breakup/sag without the weight.