Lunchbox amp with headroom

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by siire, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    I'm looking for tips on lunchbox sized amps that handle cleans and pedals well, and also has two channels. Preferably a good distortion channel too, that is different from the 5150 tone.

    I have a Peavey 5150 that I love. It's great for the heavy stuff (obviously) and I actually don't hate the clean. However, I'm making a lot of my own pedals and stuff these days, and whenever I plug anything distortion/boost/whatever into the amp, even on the cleanest settings, it still gets really muddy and weirdly distorted.

    Also the amp is sooo heavy.

    So I'm looking for something that I could use to test pedals and also something that I could bring on tour without it being a hassle. I play crust punk/doom, so I don't need that super modern distortion at this point live anyway (although I'll never get rid of my 5150).

    Things I've looked at are the Panama Fuego X, Marshall DSL15H, Victory Kraken (a bit outside of my price range), Egnater Tweaker (but that only has one channel).. And of course the Dual Terror, but it's so common these days and I'd like something a little different!

    Thanks!! (this is my first post, sorry if it's incoherent!)
     
  2. M3CHK1LLA

    M3CHK1LLA angel sword guardian

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    sooooooooo many choices....what kind of music are you looking to play?
     
  3. chassless

    chassless Don'tDeserveMyGuitar

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    i was gonna recommend the Engl Ironball until you mentioned crust punk/doom... it's voiced fairly 'modern' with the signature Engl sound and it's fairly expensive but if you give it a try you might like it. i'd say Orange though, any higher gain Orange amp should do it for you.
     
  4. scrub

    scrub SS.org Regular

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    ^agree on Orange. Love the dark terror, but sadly only one channel.
     
  5. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    Not sure if this is how I reply to a comment here.. Again, I'm very new to this. I play mostly crust punk/doom, so I'm looking for a distortion that's abrasive and harsh, but not too modern and articulated. But mostly, I'm looking for something that I can use to see if my Rat clone is behaving as it should for example!
     
  6. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    I looked at some videos and it looked cool! I'll check it out more. I really dig the orange stuff, the only thing I have against it is that it's really common around here and I'd like something a little different.. The Engl might be that! Thanks for the tip!
     
  7. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, I think it seems cool, never tried one, but the one channel thing is a deal-breaker unfortunately... And also I guess I'd want something with a little more of a clean channel focus, since I'm already super covered as far as high gain metal tones with my 5150!
     
  8. cGoEcYk

    cGoEcYk SS.org Regular

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    The Krank Jr's probably have the most headroom. I owned a two-channel Jr Pro for a bit and it was definitely loudest strongest clean channel out of the lunchboxes I've owned (louder than some 30w too). The Krank Jr's use 6L6 even though they are 15-20w so it comes across as a 6L6 experience rather than EL84.
     
  9. Elric

    Elric SS.org Regular

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    You love the PV 5150's gain channel. PV Makes a mini amp (6505mh) based on it that has a dedicated clean channel. It's a hellacious little amp... It has the vibe but also a little of its own thing happening... I think it takes pedals well enough on the clean and the crunch is perfection (IMHO). That would be a killer lunch box amp with just the green channel (IMHO).

    Of course you already have the big box and have some concerns regarding the clean so it may not be to your taste but it is worth a look if you can find one locally. The Valveking mini is also supposed to be quite versatile and may merit some investigation. The features on those PV amps are great for lunch boxes.

    I have heard really good things about those little Kranks mentioned above, too, but I bet they are rare.

    I'd be surprised if the Orange had much headroom based on some past experience with them. Of course they are a big brand for the Doom sound so you might not have to worry much about the pedals.
     
  10. bhakan

    bhakan SS.org Regular

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    Isn't the whole point of lunchbox amps that they don't have as much headroom so they break up earlier? Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you want, but any of these <15W lunchbox amps probably won't be nearly enough headroom for a doom band.
     
  11. tylerpond05

    tylerpond05 Mormon Metalhead

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    I'm wondering what the purpose of the amp is for, is it for testing out pedals, or to get a doom/metal sound? for pedals, most pedal makers go for clean amps, ala Fenders, or JTM/Plexi style amps. No idea what to look for in a doom amp.
     
  12. Mordacain

    Mordacain 1-watt brigadier

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    The thing about a good pedal platform is not so much the clean headroom, but it's the shape of the EQ and as far as I'm concerned, whether or not there is a bright cap anywhere in the preamp. Bright caps allow super harsh frequencies to dominate the spectrum and if you ever want to test this, just plug a big muff into anything with one, it will sound buzzy and horrible as opposed to thick, rich and massive.

    As far as a good pedal platform you won't find too much better than the Tweaker at your price. If you want two channels, you can go for the Tweaker 44 head, it's still not quite fullsize head and has headroom for days. If you still really need the smaller head form factor, you can also try the Rebel Mark 30 watt. It has more features than the Tweaker, has two channels and allows you to switch out the bright cap. It also has a tube mix feature so you can get the tightness and midrange character of EL84s with the fatness of 6V6.

    The HK Deluxe 20 might be a pretty good fit too, but I'm not sure if there is a bright cap on the clean channel anymore. I had an original Tubemeister 18 and it would have been great accept it has a bright cap in the clean. However, channel 2 set for low gain was not a bad pedal channel.

    I can't recommend any of the Panama amps. I've tried (and sent back) the Shaman, Loco and original Fuego and they are all super fizzy at pretty much any gain setting. Even the Shaman, that had a feature to defeat the bright cap sounded thin and fizzy on clean. The only Panama amp I kept was the Conqueror and that was just because it was so cheap to begin with and I might be able to mod it into something nicer than it currently is.
     
  13. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    That sounds cool, and I'll look into it more! I checked a few videos on youtube now and I think it might be slightly more "modern"-sounding than what I'm looking for, but it could also be the specific videos that I saw that were playing that kind of stuff. Another concern is that I haven't seen them at any of the online stores I've been checking out, so availability might be an issue. But I'll keep an eye out, thanks for the tip!
     
  14. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    Yeah I've kind of been eyeing the smaller peavey stuff, but what you're saying is true that I might want to go further from what I already have, if for nothing else just because it would be cool to have a bunch of tones to choose from at any given time!

    Yeah, haven't seen the Kranks around at all, so that's a downside to them for sure. I'll be keeping an eye out though, would be cool to test at some point!

    Yeah, I really do dig the Orange sound, and like you're saying it would for sure fit that stuff I play. The other guitarist has a dual terror and it's working super well (and our bassist has a terror bass.. haha). So for that reason I'm kind of looking to broaden our sound... Also since I'm making pedals myself it would be cool to have something that would be clean enough to represent the pedals ok, but still something that could also double as a live amp for tours so I don't have to lug the 5150 around all the time.. I'm asking a lot, I know!
     
  15. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    I guess most of them do break up earlier than the bigger stuff, but I feel like there must be a market out there for amps with mellow cleans that take pedals well and also can get a little dirty on a second channel! It doesn't need to have insane headroom, just more than what my 5150 is offering (which pretty much sounds like none at all).
     
  16. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    It's primarily a pedal platform, but I would want to also be able to use it live, so I'd want a dirty channel that I could maybe shape with some pedals. But primarily I want something that covers the territory that isn't covered with my 5150: clean headroom so I can use my distortion pedals when I want to, and a distortion that isn't too chuggy/articulated!
     
  17. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    Thank you for this incredibly thorough response!

    That's intersting about the bright cap. Good stuff to keep in mind! I've only ever owned my 5150, so I haven't had too much to play around with, so all of this is great to be learning. The problem with the clean on my 5150 is that anything gain related (from Turbo Rat to linear boost) get's super muddy and weird in the low end. Actually, my amp broke now, so I'm wondering if maybe it was misbehaving already and if the sounds I was getting was a result of that. So I guess refurbishing it will be step one while looking at something new to get.

    I really like the look of the Egnater stuff, and I think it would be a good step as far as adding a lot of different tones to my rig. It feels like it's so far from my 5150 that it would cover most of what I can't already get with it. The clean is so nice on the rebel as well, based on videos, and the tweaking capabilities are insane on all of their stuff. Not sure how much I'd use that stuff in every day playing, but just having the option is great. This is what I'm leaning towards right now!

    That's really good info on the Panama stuff as well. Having only seen reviews of them online where everyone seems to be sponsored by them it's really hard to find an honest opinion. Too bad, I think they look pretty cool and they're uncommon, that combined with the awesome price would have been great. But all of that is worth nothing if the amp doesn't sound good.

    Thanks again!
     
  18. bhakan

    bhakan SS.org Regular

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    Wait are you talking about the fact that the 5150 has a pretty dirty clean tone (preamp distortion), or clean headroom, ie being able to play stupidly loud before the power amp distorts?

    A 5150 has way more headroom than any lunchbox amp, but its clean channel never gets truly clean.
     
  19. siire

    siire SS.org Regular

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    I'm not knowledgeable enough about amp breakup to know exactly. When I used the term headroom I meant possible playing level before any kind of breakup, basically as loud aa possible clean clean, so the dirt/breakup on the channel won't interfere with the gain-based pedals I'll want to run through it on occasion!

    Sorry for my being unclear, thanks for pointing out the difference!
     
  20. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    A low wattage lunchbox amp is going to have very little headroom compared to its bigger brothers. Thats the whole idea behind them, getting the powertube distortion (using up all the headroom) before getting to wall-rattling volumes. Whether they adequately accomplish that goal is up to the end-user, as EL84's and 6V6's do sound quite a bit different from the big bottle EL34's or 6L6's, and generally won't have the same bottom end depth as a 100 watt amp. I don't know much about doom, but they generally go for a bottom-heavy tone right? You'll need a lot of headroom to keep that low end clear and not distorted/farty. If you're looking to gig with a lunchbox amp, you might be disappointed with the amount of headroom.

    As for the Krank Jr mentioned earlier, they did go out of business a while back, then the owner opened 'revolution' amps, and somewhat recently (last year or two?) got the rights to the Krank name back, and has reopened Krank amps. I don't know if he has any distributors yet, or if he's just selling from his website (which has atrocious design, looks like something from the 90's), but apparently the Krank Jr. is now being made again. If you want one, you'll probably have to buy direct, sight-unseen.

    http://www.krankamps.com/KRANK_JR
     

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