New Apartment Means a New Rig

broj15

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So I just moved into a new apartment and I'm looking for a small combo to play through so I don't have to drive over to my (extremely hot) practice space to plug in. I already have a big boy amp for shows and playing with a drummer, so I'm just looking for something that I can get decent tones out of playing at bedroom volume. Im super out of the loop as far as what's available for small amps these days so I thought I'd ask sso what they'd suggest. Here's a short list of what I'm after

- preferably a combo for simplicity's sake
- tube or solid state is ok, but if it's tube I'd prefer something sub 20w.
- capable of decent sludge/Doom/vintage high gain tones, but also Albini style noise rock tones. Aka no djenty, super compressed, modern sounding stuff.
- no vst/anything that would need a computer because I don't have one & no digital modellers simply because I don't like them.

And here's what I have to work with already

- either be playing my t60 for drop C stuff, or my aria ts400 for drop A
- various distortion/of pedals: boss OS-2, FB-2, EHX hot wax, home made Marshall guv'nor & ts9 in the same enclosure
- boss rv-6 cuz reverb is the only effect I ever use and the shimmer setting is like post rock in a box


There's a teal stripe Peavey bandit (75w/12" speaker) at the pawnshop close to my house for $120, which isn't a bad price, but I'm still a bit apprehensive. Would 75w solid state be to loud for an apartment? I know the bandit/hm2 combo is the recipe for swedish dm, but could it cover other bases as well, such as sludge, doom, and kinda jangly/clanky tones for noise rock?

They also have an ampeg ss70 (pretty sure it's the 2x10 version). I've seen some demos online of it nailing old school American DM tones, but again, would 70w be to much for an apartment? And just how similar are these to the vh140c?

Also open to other suggestions for, mainly old "sleeper" amps that can get the job done on the cheap. Mainly looking to buy used and looking to spend no more than $200. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
 

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broj15

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I'll also add, when it comes to tone I'm not super picky. I can make do with almost any amp I've ever had to use, and I've found that no matter what I play I always end up sounding like me. Mainly just looking for something uncompressed, with enough gain (with an OD/boost/distortion out front), and can get 'brootal' at lower volumes.
 

cardinal

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Yeah, the Cube is nice and the Katana gets rave reviews. A lot of the older Line 6 combos were nice, too and can be found pretty cheap.
 

vilk

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I'm doing something similar right now. Going to meet a guy today to a trade a 2x12 for a 1x8.

Something I noticed is that when it comes to the combo practice amp market is that there's a pretty steep divide between "beginner" products and high quality. You can get a solid state for around $100 from Marshall, Fender, Orange, Ampeg, etc, and it will probably be their cheapest product/line available and invariably made in China. I'm not saying they suck, but what's the motivation to be impressing 12 year olds starting a hobby that they'll probably quit who don't know anything about guitar tone.

Then when it comes to nice/tube stuff, it jumps $900. Fender Champ is a grand. Orange Rocker 15 is 800. Mesa Express is $1200.

Then I started looking at cheap/noname brand Chinese amps, and honestly I'm pretty tempted. There's something called a Monoprice, it's all tube (just a pre and a power), 8" celestion loaded, and it's not much more than 100 new. Bugera makes something very similar, though that's 200. For someone like me who is going to be using pedals for my tone, it seems right on the mark. One could even tweak it by swapping the tubes.

Then again, that's all for buying new. I usually only buy used anyway, and who knows what you'll find on the used market.

Anyhow, I'll let you know how the Vox "hybrid" practice amp works out. They are also pretty reasonable priced, especially used, and they do have some kind of superficial tube included in the design.
 

MistaSnowman

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New or used Orange Crush 35RT. They usually run about $259 new. If you do decide on a Katana, I would suggest a used 100-watt model since it'll have an effects loop for your pedals.
 

TheWarAgainstTime

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Offer $100 on that Bandit :metal: $120 is still a good deal if it's in good shape, though.

I agree with Knight that the Vypyr combos sound good, but I've heard most people don't like using pedals with them as much as a regular solid state or tube amp. A pawn shop near my house has a 30w version for like $75 and I'm pretty tempted to pick it up to keep at my girlfriend's place
 

AkiraSpectrum

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The Peavey would be pretty good.

You could also check out a used Orange Crush combo or maybe even a used Blackstar HT series combo (like the HT5 or something).
 

Necky379

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Also recommend the Bandit with a speaker swap. My two practice amps are a Bandit converted into a head and a POD XT/Randall power amp. Both are going through two different 2x12’s. There’s no tone they won’t cover. I really wouldn’t get overly concerned with what tones you won’t be able to get out of the Bandit, it’s for practice. Good tones can be inspiring for sure but close enough is close enough for practicing purposes and the Bandit takes pedals just fine. Plenty of knobs and switches to play with and the low/high inputs effect the way the amp responds as well. I play mine through an open back 2x12 with a Governor and a CV-75. More than enough volume and the open back near a wall makes it seem much bigger.
 

vilk

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I'm doing something similar right now. Going to meet a guy today to a trade a 2x12 for a 1x8.

Something I noticed is that when it comes to the combo practice amp market is that there's a pretty steep divide between "beginner" products and high quality. You can get a solid state for around $100 from Marshall, Fender, Orange, Ampeg, etc, and it will probably be their cheapest product/line available and invariably made in China. I'm not saying they suck, but what's the motivation to be impressing 12 year olds starting a hobby that they'll probably quit who don't know anything about guitar tone.

Then when it comes to nice/tube stuff, it jumps $900. Fender Champ is a grand. Orange Rocker 15 is 800. Mesa Express is $1200.

Then I started looking at cheap/noname brand Chinese amps, and honestly I'm pretty tempted. There's something called a Monoprice, it's all tube (just a pre and a power), 8" celestion loaded, and it's not much more than 100 new. Bugera makes something very similar, though that's 200. For someone like me who is going to be using pedals for my tone, it seems right on the mark. One could even tweak it by swapping the tubes.

Then again, that's all for buying new. I usually only buy used anyway, and who knows what you'll find on the used market.

Anyhow, I'll let you know how the Vox "hybrid" practice amp works out. They are also pretty reasonable priced, especially used, and they do have some kind of superficial tube included in the design.

Update: definitely skip the Vox modeler practice amps if you like your pedals. I'm glad that I was able to get that big 2x12 out of the living room, and at least when I sell this thing it will only weigh 15 lbs when I have to lug it someplace instead of 75, but it's not good for pedals at all.

Otherwise it's a pretty cool practice amp, because the built in effects sound decent and the amp models are pretty good as well. This amp would be completely perfect for like... me when I moved to college when I was 18. But over the past couple years I've been investing a decent amount of money into high quality pedals and I'd rather have a practice amp that can showcase those.

Meh... maybe I'll hang onto it. Then I could just leave my pedals at the practice space and I don't have to lug them back and forth... but I'll miss them all week! :'(
 

BigViolin

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I just picked up a Cube 30 and couldn't be happier. Great cleans, effects sound great and does metal really well.
 

wakjob

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Don't even consider or equate wattage when buying an
"apartment amp"...you need to play the thing and see if the master volume taper is gonna work for you.

Some amps just go from whisper to JAYZUS!
no matter what the wattage rating is.

I have and will never part with my Yamaha THR10x.
But also a rack rig with a Matrix 1000 watt power amp.

Both work amazingly well in my apartment.
And I'm super shy about people hearing my playing,
so I play quite low volume wise.
 

youngthrasher9

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I would say Orange Crush, too. You could try an orange micro dark and a 1x12 if you were motivated for tube and didn’t mind a head and cab.

I love my boss katana, but it’s digital.
 

broj15

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Thanks for all the advice and suggestions. I plan on testing out the bandit & the ampeg next Friday after I get paid.

However there has been a development in the form of a $30 2x12 that I'm picking up from someone on the FB marketplace later tonight. Not sure of the brand, but I figure even if the speakers suck I couldn't buy parts to build my own 2x12 for $30, so it seemed like a no brainier. Now with that in mind, what are some cool "microheads" I could try out with it? Obviously the orange microdark is a front runner, but the hotone nano legacy models look enticing too. However, since I'll have a smaller cab, I'm also not opposed to a small platform pre/power amp setup either. I've heard good things about AMT's pedal sized preamps, but has anyone else been shining in that market lately that I should be aware of?
 


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