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Thread: Small Powerful tube amps?

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    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    Small Powerful tube amps?

    I was just thinking recently, I don't know if I have ever seen one- has anyone ever made a very compact 112 tube amp the size of an Ampeg Jet (or similar) but with 2x KT88's to give the thing high power? Not sure I ever saw a compact 50+ watt amp...

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    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    My Carvin Nomad. I have had it for almost 20 years now.
    4 x EL84s, but 50w instead of the 30w our Classic 30s get.

    I used to have a pair of custom-built 1x12 cabinet that was basically a quarter of a Marshall 4x12. It was deeper than the Peavey 112E's that I have now. (I have NO idea why I got rid of those excellent cabinets!)
    A few years ago, I was performing as Carlos Santana in a Woodstock tribute show. It was an outside show, under a tent, with about 2,000 people in the audience. I had my Carvin Nomad with one of the 1x12 deep cabinets. The bass player had an 800w amp, the keyboard player had 200 or 400 watts, and the drummer is a real hard hitter. These guys played loud, regardless of who they were supporting.
    I set my amp up sideways (like sidewash), but behind me, next to the drum-kit. I did that so it would wash the stage and the players could hear what I was playing. It was miked, so I wasn't worried that the audience wouldn't hear me.
    Halfway through my set, the soundman came up to the stage. He told me I was so loud out there that he had taken me out of the mix.

    So yeah, this compact 50w amp is plenty loud.
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    Last edited by doublewah; 11-03-2016 at 04:38 AM.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

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    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Oops - sorry, I missed the part about the Ampeg Jet. I don't think my Nomad is not quite that small.
    Funny thing, though. A friend gave me the cabinet from a small Ampeg amp many years ago. Maybe a Jet, but I really don't know. It's what I was using as an extra cab for my Carvin before I had the deep cabs made. I still have it. Without digging it out, I'm pretty sure the Carvin sat on top of it okay, so they must have been similarly sized.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

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    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    Yeah 50 tube watts is plenty loud. Frankly even 30 tube watts is generally loud enough!

    The Carvin looks like it isn't that much bigger than the Peavey- sounds like a nice amp! Did you suggest one of these when I was shopping for amps (I'll bet you did!)

    I've been on the lookout for a blown Jet of Classic 30 as a starting point for a build. I'd take one of my 2 Jets for the project but it would be horrible to take a functioning 1950's amp and do this kind of surgery to it.

    Or maybe I'll never do the project- heaven knows I don't need yet another amp now that I have the Dr. Z. It is a neat idea to have a really portable and powerful amp. Throw in an XLR input for guys like us that do library or retirement home gigs and you really have all you need!

  5. #5
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by die Bullen View Post
    Yeah 50 tube watts is plenty loud...
    Especially when it's going into 4 ohms!

    Quote Originally Posted by die Bullen View Post
    ...The Carvin looks like it isn't that much bigger than the Peavey- sounds like a nice amp! Did you suggest one of these when I was shopping for amps (I'll bet you did!)...
    Here is the Carvin under a modern C30. (I didn't keep the modern C30 and got a 90s one.)
    The C30 and the Carvin have pretty much the same dimensions, but the C30 slopes back at the top and the Carvin stays square.

    I did not suggest the Carvin. It's clean sound is real bright and sparkly. Not great for jazz - rhythm or solo, to my ears. But great for a clean pop sound. 80s pop, but better. Like Eric Johnson's clean sounds in Trail of Tears.
    It's gain channel is where is shines for me. Nothing has given me that Santana/Steve Lukather/Eric Johnson "red sound" that I really identify with, the way this amp does. And yet, I have read guys complaining about the gain channel when they wanted a SRV sound. And I agree with them. This amp doesn't do that sound so great. But there are Fender amps for that sound.

    Is the Dr Z much bigger than the C30?
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    Last edited by doublewah; 11-03-2016 at 10:09 AM.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    The Dr. Z isn't that much bigger- it stands at 19x19x9 so overall the dims are the same as the Peavey except it it about 3-4" taller because the control panel is on the front, not the top.

    But don't think I am sniffing around because I want to throw the Dr. Z out as being too big. I am just musing to myself at the idea of a really small high powered amp with ultimate simplicity...

    The Ampeg Jet itself is 14x16x9 so it isn't actually that much smaller than the Peavey.

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    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Sometimes size is deceiving--in some sense we "hear" with our eyes-so sometimes our brains think a stack is louder than it is
    -and even though I know that 50 watts isn't half as louder as 100 watts (It is louder than that)--there is still a part of my brain that acs as if it is.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

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    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    But power is one thing, and cabinet size/design is another. Plus number of speakers. My Carvin has way more bottom end than my other EL84 1x12 amps, and I'm not sure why. And then, a couple weeks ago, I was playing through a double Marshall stack at a gig (decent sized stage and room, and great sound man) and I remembered why we carry those big things to gigs.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    There a many factors at work for amp tone and I'd be way out of my depths to comment on a lot of them.

    I also have to say that all of my favorite amps are 30 amps or more- that seems to be the tipping point. I'm not saying that you can't good tone out of less but that seems to be the minimum power rating that interests me personally. I have a couple 18 watters and a 22 watter and they don't come close to my 30+ amps.

    Unquestionably my Ampeg V-4 is the biggest sound I have but the amp is massive and heavy. I haven't pushed the Maz enough to see how it stacks up but it is a completely different kind of amp.

  10. #10
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    I can't comment based on first-hand experience, but I was curious enough to look around online. If I was looking for what you're describing.....small, powerful, portable.....the one I'd want to try is the Roland Blues Cube Artist. It's 80 watts, 1x12, 23 1/2" wide, 19" high, 10 1/4" deep, and 35 LB. Street price is 899.00....not cheap, but I'll bet the quality is exceptional.

    https://www.roland.com/us/products/b...pecifications/

    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

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