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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:58 am 
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Kramer Maniac
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Location: the woodshed, Canada
Hey guys, I'm revamping some of my gear and am looking for a small amp head. my classic 20 has been great for the past 10 years but 15 watts rarely gets used loud enough to make it sing, so I'm looking for 5 watts or less. I have gone though many different options and my choices have been narrowed down to:

Blackstar HT-1H [used]

PROS- The tone seems amazing (no dealers in my area to try) price is great, 1 watt would be great, classic look works for me

CONS - not terribly versatile

[b]Traynor dark horse [new]

[/b]PROS - the tone I find is the best of the little lunchboxes by a mile, 15 watts switches to 2 (6V6 or push pull 12au7) effects loop, I'd get it new (local dealer) so warranty and made in canada, plus I'd still get 15 watts if I wanted to jam with my buddies,

CONS - most expensive though, new or used, no footswitch option

H&K tubemeister 5 - [used]

PROS - cheapest of all, tone is a bit thin but pedals would fix that, the higher gain tone is decent though, redbox built in

CONS - other than the redbox its pretty spartan. since its so small the lightup front looks cheasy, its made in china.

DO you guys have any other reccomendations I might have missed or experience with these amps? I dont really like the little oranges, and cant afford the mesa boogie as this amp will be funded by the sale of my classic 20 and a 7 string that are on consignment right now.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:12 am 
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Kramer Kommander
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None of those will give you enough gain for metal. Blackstar HT-Metal has more gain, but it sounds like crap.

Look for a used Peavey 6505 mini head - better tone than any of those and way more gain. It can be switched from 20W to 5W or 1W for practicing at home as well and has XLR out with speaker sim and USB-recording on top. Costs some $400-500 used usually.

Or if you want it even better and cheaper but as a combo, this is my #1 amp and I highly recommend it:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Peavey-Triple- ... Sw88xaTll6

*Crazy* offer, if it was 230V I'd buy it immediately. The best metal amp ever built, bar none. Also has some nice FX so you will need no stomp boxes. You can also re-house it into a top if you need that, or just shorten the combo housing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:23 am 
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Kramer Maniac
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Location: the woodshed, Canada
That XXX is an amp I would consider if it was smaller, I have a big amp already. I am "watching it" and if it goes for cheap I'll grab it and sell my big amp...I'll check out that 6505, I didnt realize it could be switched down in wattage so much. Ive never seen one around here, I'll have ot get it online I think.

thanks.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:48 am 
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Kramer Kommander
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This is the 40W version and it is actually pretty small, like a 1x12" box. Also it works great at very low volume for the living room etc., it can go so low that you can't hear it in the next room and still has that huge distorted tone.

It was re-listed today since it didn't sell (I was watching it and thought about buying it as a backup), I'd just shoot a message to the guy and ask if he'll sell it directly. They usually go for 400+, so this is one hell of a deal. Actually even 400 is a very nice price for this amp even without the upgraded Celestion speaker.

6505 is the good old 5150 and this mini head version was made mostly for studio use, it can even cut off the speaker completely and only be used for direct recording etc. It has much less gain and grit than the XXX though and no effects etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:04 am 
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Kramer Maniac
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interesting...so youd recommend the XXX even for quiet use. Ive never heard a tube amp that sounded good with just preamp driving the dirt. if this is true I could get rid of both my amps and just use this one...

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:06 am 
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Kramer Kommander
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Definitely, you can turn down the volume until the sound of your strumming is louder than the amp. And it still has the full big tone, since the preamp does everything here, no need for any poweramp distortion at all (though it can do that as well at high volume).

As said, IMO it is the very best metal amp with "american" tone ever built.

Another great option regarding cost/quality ratio are Randall RD-series amps, which are very much like a Recti or the 6505 tone-wise but with a bit more gain reserves and a bit more modern tone. I'm using the small 1W version for practicing when I don't play the XXX. Awesome amp and no transistors inside whatsoever, pure tube tone. The 1W or 5W versions are great for playing at home or for recording.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:13 am 
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Kramer Maniac
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awesome, thanks!

I didnt know randall made tube amps

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:15 am 
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They did many tube amps, some older models are great as well.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:56 pm 
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Kramer Kommander
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Here's a good comparison Peavey 6505 vs. Randall. Quite similar character with Randall being more scooped and 6504 stronger in the mids.

The xxx adds some more oomph on top of these two and sounds kinda smoother too. Less "raw" and a bit more compressed, in a good way IMO.

In the end it's a matter of preference. If you don't need this much distortion, you might also like Marshall DSL-5.

See second half where they re-amp them and play with all the pots.







And here are some of my vids with the xxx. You can hear the strumming, it's really low volume.







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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:48 am 
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Kramer Maniac
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so, I placed a bid of 200 on that XXX and it ended up going for 202.someting. ah well, I couldnt afford it anyways.

I do dig the randalls actually, but I dont know what they were thinking with the styling...it looks worse and tackier than those POS raven amp heads. I went ot my local long and mcquade and tried out everything they had. I played the traynor darkhorse, which as you said wouldnt have the gain, and it certainly didnt...I will say it was THE BEST sounding amp I played that whole day by a country mile for rock and roll or country. it was a pleasure to play, but had zero metal character at all. The H&K tubemeister 18 was a pleasant surprise, and it can be turned down to 7 and 1 watt I believe, and its got some good crunch. They had a blackstar 5 watt full mini stack with pedal for 599 and it looked hilariously awqesome and it sounded good, but not really metal. the orange stuff sounded like I thought it would, I tried a fender bass breaker or some other such moniker, it was nice and had some crunch on one of the gain hcannels (or settings? I cant remember) but it was hella expensive. Then I told them I was bidding on a XXX and the guy gave me a knowing look and told me to come check something out. He had a Traynor ycs100H for 350 bucks. Its a bout 10 or 12 years old, it was traynors answer to the high gain amps of the time as traynor has typically been more for rock and roll...holy shit! Ive never seen so many knobs on an amp! its 100 watts, not what I was going in there looking at, but it switches to 30 (still not what I was looking for) but it has a headphone out I can use if I really need, but at music store levels the thing was heavy! I dont know what I would have done with the settings to begin with, but he had it all set up for me and it was amazing. 3 channels, each with their own reverb and voice and boost and separate EQ for them all. its an EL34 amp which is nice, has plenty of options Ive never had in an amp and I can set each channel up to sound how I want and leave it. the lead channel sounds like a scooped boogie, the second gain channel sounds good, I didnt spend much time there, and the clean channel sounded great too, traynor typically have good headroom on the clean channel and I certainly couldnt push it in the store. I dont know what the situation is like in other countries, but since traynors are built about 2.5 hours away from me they must be cheap here. This thing is less money than a used boogera peavey clone thats made in china with garbage parts...my 15 watt peavey is selling for moere than this head, and I found more of them all for similar pricing! When I get my money together Ill go get one and show yall what it can do.

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