Small Guitar Amplifier Recommendations

judethedude

Well-known Member
I currently have a Marshall Valvestate 2000 AVT275 Combo that is now too big for my requirements so I'm looking to replace it with something small and compact that also has the ability to pack a punch. I don't need anything powerful as it will just be used at home but, as I play predominently rock, I'd like something with a selection of gain modes. I was considering both the Blackstar IDF:15TVP & HT-5 but they are physically bigger than I would like and, although I like all the features offered by the IDF:15TVP (gain modes & effects) I really don't think I'd use most of them. The HT-1R & HT Metal 1 are about the right size but I really have no idea just how loud a 1 watt amp sounds and I don't live near any music shops to be able to hear one.

Can anyone please advise if a 1 watt amp is adequate for home use (how loud does it really go) and also recommend a good compact amp with great sound and a few nice features.

Thank you.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I had a 2 watt Vox head delivered earlier this week and I was really surprised how loud that was. I plugged it into the speaker on my Blackstar HT5-R and I think it was pretty much as loud as the HT5-R is from it's own (5 watt) amp.

Tomorrow I'm going to try out a 1 watt Marshall head so I can give you some feedback on that afterwards. Depending on how I get on (and hopefully can broker a bit of a trade in deal as I want rid of my Blackstar and some other gear), I hope to bring the 1 watt home with me.

I think the 1 watt Blackstar would be pretty flexible in sound terms and you'd be able to crank it up to get power amp distortion too. You can always try changing the pre amp valve as well for a slight change in gain/tone (you don't need to bias the pre amp valve, only the power amp one).
 

judethedude

Well-known Member
That's great thanks you for the feedback :smashin:

Do you have any familiarity with the Roland Cube Mini as it always gets good reviews ?
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Sorry, I've no experience with Roland amps...in truth there is just a very limited range of amps I do have experience with, it just happened that the 2 watt Vox came this week.

Might be worth having a look on the various guitar shop website tonight as there are a few decent Black Friday deals about...I just got another Vox valve amp (head), for nearly half the usual price.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Try:

Guitar Guitar
Absolute Music
Andertons
PMT
Dolphin Music (related to PMT above, but web only I believe).
GAK
Gear4music.

If you paste any of those into Google you should find them.
 

Christian 71

Distinguished Member
The blackstar TVP sounds the best if you like modelling amps but I'd go for the bigger speaker of the 30. You don't have to use the effects it just sounds great using as a standard amp. The amplifi and the cube are good too even the Mustangs but the high gain is a bit weak.

I had a valvestate and it really doesn't compare to a DSL, so much better tone even at low volume. I'd still go for the 40 over a 1 watt unless size and volume were a huge issue, 1 watt is louder than you will use the valvestate the 0.1 setting is TV volume. The DSL5c and SL5 are worth a look the latter is still big but does 1 watt. There are quite a few lunch box heads but you have to play them to decide if they manage the tone you want at low volume.

I'd stick a blackstar 30 and a DSL40 in a room figure out which you prefer valves or modelling. Then start looking at smaller amps. Travel to a shop as it's something you have to experience yourself as a smaller amp sounds more muffled and boxy. Like I've said I walked into the shop to buy a HT and once I played a Marshall 1 watt there was no comparison, it just had that tone.
 
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judethedude

Well-known Member
Thank you for the post Christian 71 :smashin:

I'm looking for the best sound, at the lowest volume and the smaller the amp the better. The Blackstar ID:15TVP (or 30) seems to tick all the boxes but they're still quite big boxes (two thirds the size of the AVT275) ! I'm not familiar with the DSL range but will certainly take a look. I have no preference for solid state or valve, particularly if the solid state amp (modelling) can offer the same sounds as a valve amp but with lots of additional features as well.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
You could be opening a whole can of worms with the valves verses modelling, but let you own ears decide.

Like I've said I walked into the shop to buy a HT and once I played a Marshall 1 watt there was no comparison, it just had that tone.

Should find out later today, need to ring at 10am to check they still have stock.
 

Philly112

Distinguished Member
Yes I have a THR10. It's a battery powered amp (mains as well of course), and double the cost of the small Roland or Vox's. I had a Roland Micro Cube and the Yamaha is simply a better piece of kit (as it should be, it's twice the price).
I've not heard the Blackstars or small Vox amps. If the battery thing is important to you I'd certainly check out the Yamaha. If not, there might well be better solutions, as it's pretty expensive for what it is.
I use mine mainly for playing in the garden in the Summer!

Note mine is the older model, not the newer THR10C. But the basic sound quality should be similar.
 

Christian 71

Distinguished Member
Def play some small amps, going from a 2x12 to a 7" or smaller speaker is a huge difference in tone. Even 10" from a 12" speaker can sound really boxy and muffled.

The Blackstars and Amplifis are pretty good as they use full range type speakers and even the tiny Blackstar Fly I've been pretty impressed with. The TH gets great reviews on this forum from people who bought them.

Only you can decide if they are good enough, but I wouldn't swap a Valvestate for a Blackstar 15. Plugging a Amplifi TT/FX100 would be a much better buy, could always plug it into portable speakers or your hifi if you want portability.
 

Philly112

Distinguished Member
Yes as per Christian above - the small amps (and I mean my THR10, the Micro Cube etc) sound small. The have small speakers, and have little bass. But....... they are small!!!!!! So it depends what you want. If it's simply playing on your own in a room, they might be OK.
Note I generally now use my THR10 for playing my acoustic through. It has a pretty good simulation of an acoustic mic as one of the presets, and positioned a little away from the acoustic it certainly widens the soundstage. Note this isn't an acoustic simulation that you'd use to get an acoustic sound from an electric, it's meant to be used with an electro acoustic guitar, and sounds pretty good.
But again, it's only got those small speakers, and needs the reinforcement of the actual acoustic guitar to help it out.
 

judethedude

Well-known Member
Thank you for the posts.

I really want something small and I'm very tempted by the Yamaha THR10X. I know the "sonics" of a small speaker cannot reproduce the sound of a larger 12" speaker (or cab) but, having read many reviews, it seems to tick all the boxes. Basically, I want something small, portable and with a great punchy sound. The amp will only be used for home use and so, at the moment, it's top of the list ! I know the look of it will not be to everyone's taste but it's certainly a talking point ;)
 

Axl

Distinguished Member
Thank you for the posts.

I really want something small and I'm very tempted by the Yamaha THR10X. I know the "sonics" of a small speaker cannot reproduce the sound of a larger 12" speaker (or cab) but, having read many reviews, it seems to tick all the boxes. Basically, I want something small, portable and with a great punchy sound. The amp will only be used for home use and so, at the moment, it's top of the list ! I know the look of it will not be to everyone's taste but it's certainly a talking point ;)

If it does what you want then go for it, It's nice to see something different too.
 

Christian 71

Distinguished Member
.. but, having read many reviews, it seems to tick all the boxes.

Ahhh the quote of many a person under the influence of GAS, best of luck been there so many times. :D

Just make sure you buy a used one so you can re-ebay in case it disappoints. The THs are due for a refresh as they have been out a few years, my guess this spring given the 100s have just been released.
 

judethedude

Well-known Member
Hmm, thanks for that Chrisitan71, now you've got me thinking ! :thumbsdow Maybe eBay would be the better option :smashin:

Out of interest, which is the best "Classified" section to sell equipment on the forum ?
 

reevesy

Distinguished Member
well I've got the blackstar id 15 vtp...and it is a great flexible amp...especially with quick and easy way to get other peoples tones downloaded to it....but as you say I would'nt class it as a 'small' amp.

tried a few out last time I was shortlisting...the little blackstar fly will really surprise you for it's size...don't think you'll get much smaller....trouble with that is you then have to fork out about 20 quid extra for a power adapter

I also liked the little orange amps....very much plug n play...the crush series in particular...nice cleans on clean and nice on the dirty channel.

...then theres always the little orange micro heads and a little speaker cab
 

judethedude

Well-known Member
After reading and watching many reviews, I've bought the Blackstar ID Core 10 which is quite a bit smaller (and cheaper) than the 15 TVP. Hope I don't regret it !
 

reevesy

Distinguished Member
No you won't regret it.......not for at least a week .......then you'll be looking to upgrade ;)

The ID range are great little amps
 
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