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Thread: Headphones and valve / tube amps

  1. #21
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    I donít have a budget yet, just trying to figure out whatís the ideal setup, then I can decide whether I want to pay for it or where to make sacrifices. I have an incredibly picky ear that likes to nag. Itís kind of like a wife - it never seems happy until I close my eyes and hand over the credit card. I see Fender, Vox, and Marshall all have tube hybrid amps with modeling and headphone/line/digital outputs for $200-$400 usd. It would be nice if they actually sound good but Iím not holding my breath.

    The goal is a small and simple rig. I like the feel and sound of a tube, like using my volume knob to control gain, and typically play through an overdrive, compressor, and some kind of reverb (pedal or amp). Then some kind of loop station with rhythm tracks. I agree it would be nice to have an amp to use for jamming with friends, but I do have a couple of powered studio monitors, and can build a speaker cabinet if I find a tube/hybrid head that meets my needs.

    Houses in Hawaii have no insulation, our windows are always open, and sound travels here like you wouldnít believe. Plus I have housemates. So headphones are my only real option at home.

  2. #22
    Mentor jugglindan's Avatar
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    The Marshall DSL5C has some good reviews. I have seen them second-hand for under 300 USD. The H&K Tubemeister 5 also looks good, as does the Fender Super Champ X2.

    All much more expensive in Australia

  3. #23
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    Wow, check out this thing! A mini modeling pre-amp that I can feed right to my headphone amp. It sounds pretty good, has a cabinet emulator, and seems to clean up well with volume:

    https://youtu.be/0-jTLyuqVvQ

    Iím also looking at Two Notes ĎLe Cleaní tube preamp, which is a lot like the Kingsley Jester (or Squire + Page) but has cabinet simulation and is meant to go straight to line out. But many run with an additional cabinet emulator for direct out (just for tone, not for load.)
    Edit: the Le Clean does have one speaker simulation

    https://youtu.be/yfNAvBvfi0U
    Last edited by Joe Garfield; 01-05-2020 at 08:18 AM.

  4. #24
    Mentor jugglindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Garfield View Post
    Wow, check out this thing! A mini modeling pre-amp that I can feed right to my headphone amp. It sounds pretty good, has a cabinet emulator, and seems to clean up well with volume:

    https://youtu.be/0-jTLyuqVvQ

    Iím also looking at Two Notes ĎLe Cleaní tube preamp, which is a lot like the Kingsley Jester (or Squire + Page) but has cabinet simulation and is meant to go straight to line out. But many run with an additional cabinet emulator for direct out (just for tone, not for load.)

    https://youtu.be/yfNAvBvfi0U
    The Mooer pedal looks interesting. They also have a bunch of others for different amp flavours. Lots of youtube comparisons.

  5. #25
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    Yeah Iíve seen a couple, they are certainly interesting. Hopefully I can see one in person, although they are cheap enough . The big thing for me is clean tone - you can always add dirt, but you canít add clean.

  6. #26
    Mentor jugglindan's Avatar
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    Agreed. My preferred setup for a while has been pedals into a fairly clean amp (Blues Jr sim on my THR10C, gain dialed in to just below the point of breakup). Let's me kick in dirt when required but easily get back to my main sound.

  7. Liked by: Joe Garfield

  8. #27
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    I have owned and still own a number of Mooer pedals (unfortunately none of the micro preamp ones) but my point is that they make good sounding pedals. Based on my experience with their compressor (Yellow Comp) and number of their OD's, I'd be confident in saying you wouldn't be disappointed.

    Now that I have a better idea of where you are wanting to go, I can also tell you from personal experience that the Joyo amp sim pedals are really good and dirt cheap (probably about 40 bucks US).

    I've had their Fender-flavoured one (American Sound) since about 2012. It's been my primary "ampless" rig for home playing and I have used it just about daily since that time and never had an issue.

    Joyo makes one of each of four big amp flavours: Fender, Marshall, Vox, Mesa Boogie (American Sound, British Sound, AC Tone, California Sound respectively).

    These are clones of the Tech 21 NYC Character Series Sans Amps (now discontinued). I used to own the T-21 Blonde (Fender) and can say the Joyo clone is good enough that I sold the Blonde.

    However, now that I've sung the praises of the Joyo pedals, and given you're located in the US, have a look at the Tech 21 Fly Rigs. They have onboard effects and can go straight into a power amp, mixer, DAW or powered speaker.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  9. Liked by: Joe Garfield

  10. #28
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    Yeah I guess itís a good plan B until I figure out the right thing, or come to believe the right thing isnít realistic. Iím not yet convinced a tube preamp (tube DI box) and maybe a tube gain pedal isnít going to work, but it could be too much of a rabbit hole to get there.

  11. #29
    I was recently chasing a similar thing. I wanted the classic valve amp sound but mostly wanted to use headphones.
    It's not 100% valve it's hybrid but I ended up getting an Orange Micro Terror.
    So am I happy? Well I also have a very nice Fender Mustang GT modelling amp, a classic Roland JC-160 (the 4x10 version of the JC-120) and a couple of Orange combo amps including a Crush Bass 50 and a funky little Pignose amp. I haven't used any of them since I got the Micro Terror. Highly recommend it. It's incredibly powerful and versatile.
    I disconnected the speakers in the JC-160 and attached a 1/4" socket. Plugged the Micro Terror in and couldn't get it past 3 on the volume dial without shaking the whole house.
    FYI all the other options I looked at for a pure valve amp were just too expensive and my old ears couldn't really the difference anyway.

  12. Liked by: Joe Garfield

  13. #30
    Another idea totally away from valves just to confuse you. A friend of mine has a drop-in tone control pot from Guitar Fetish which is a pre-amp and effect unit all contained on a tiny circuit board on the back of the pot. It was very nice playing through headphones plugged directly into the guitar. You can get them with different effect built-in too.

  14. Liked by: Joe Garfield

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