Practice tube amp and pedal suggestions for dorm room

Gallardo147

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So I'm currently looking for a small practice amp for my dorm room that doesn't sound too bad. I've been using Positive Grid Bias but lately its just seemed too digital and idk, just not what I really want. I'd like to go a more natural and maybe analog route and maybe get a small tube amp? I just bought myself a Boss RC-1 looper pedal as well as an MXR Custom Badass Modified OD and I have a Digitech RP500 (using it for now, but like I said, I'd like to go less digital). I should add what I wanna play; I mostly play prog metal (think BTBAM, Periphery, STS), but have been playing a lot of really different stuff lately, slightly more jazz, also indie rock, so I would want something that's pretty versatile.

That said, I have looked for several used offerings online and was hoping people could weigh in:
I found a used Fender Mustang I v2 on craigslist that the dude said I could have for $50. That seems absurdly cheap even if it's not that expensive and it's in good condition.
However, I think I'd like to get a tube amp; I'm hoping to stay in the <$200 range but I understand that I should push that up a little if I want a solid amp.
I like what I've seen from the Orange micro terror head (even if only tube preamp) paired with their small 8" cab.
I've also looked at Vox AC4TV or AC4C1, the Bugera V5 Infinium, Laney Cub 8, Blackstar HT-1 but would be open to other options!

I am also curious as to what pedals and effects people think would be good additions. Ideally, I'd still like to get an analog delay, maybe a clean boost, idk! The options are endless!

Thanks for any help
 

Humbuck

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I haven't been in a dorm since the early 90's but I can't imagine a more perfect thing for it than an Ipad with Bias!
 

Alex Kenivel

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no way will a tube amp cut it in a dorm room. I had a little solid state Marshall combo and even that was too loud at a low enough level to be quiet but loud enough to sound remotely okay. If you get a tube amp chances are you have to crank it to get the sound you miss, which I assume is actual guitar cabinets moving the air. you have to sacrifice something here. I'd say get something more portable, practical, tweak able, and without tubes unless you only want to be playing guitar from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. :2c:

think about it, something like a pod and some good headphones, you can play all hours of the night if you wanted to. With a tube amp that would be cut down to times when people are awake, but at the same time some people might sleep during the day and have night classes or other various odd schedules or be studying.
 

Gallardo147

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no way will a tube amp cut it in a dorm room. I had a little solid state Marshall combo and even that was too loud at a low enough level to be quiet but loud enough to sound remotely okay. If you get a tube amp chances are you have to crank it to get the sound you miss, which I assume is actual guitar cabinets moving the air. you have to sacrifice something here. I'd say get something more portable, practical, tweak able, and without tubes unless you only want to be playing guitar from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. :2c:

think about it, something like a pod and some good headphones, you can play all hours of the night if you wanted to. With a tube amp that would be cut down to times when people are awake, but at the same time some people might sleep during the day and have night classes or other various odd schedules or be studying.

That's a good point.. in that case, do you think maybe the Fender Mustang would be a good choice? Or should I consider some other solid state options?
 

EmaDaCuz

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Roland Cube (40 or 80) and Fender Mustang (any, but the bigger the better) are the best amps in the price range. They sound good at low levels, especially the Cubes, and they go pretty loud if you ever need to gig.
As another SS alternative, have a look at the Hotone mini amp series. Pretty monodimensional sound, but killer.

As far as tube amps go, forget about good metal tones at dorm volumes. In case, try and find an amp with an integrated power attenuator. Bugera has some 5W heads (G5, T5) that go down to 0.1W. Having said that, you still have to buy a cab for it.

And incidentally, what happened to Bugera? Their products became so expensive in 2016, at least in Europe most of their amps are 25-30% more expensive than in 2015.

Other options, for dorm room only, Yamaha THR (maybe over budget), Blackstar Fly 3 (stereo) and some pedals or ID:Core 10 or 20.
 

MajorTom

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Orange Micro, specifically the black one, the Micro Dual Dark Terror, it's 20 watts, so yes it can and will get loud if you want it to however it has a headphones out that is designed to emulate the sound of an amp head being run through a 4 by 12'' cab, plus it has an effects loop, the white one, the Micro Terror doesn't have these features, so I would recommend the Micro Dual Dark Terror over the Micro Terror, but you would be forced to use the amp with either an 8'' cab, or headphones, or some combination of both.

Put it this way I teach one electric student a week, and between us we run four Micro Dual Dark Terrors each through a Blackstar 1 by 12'' - I couldn't buy the Orange 1 by 12'' at the time I bought the Orange Micro heads, so we're both connected to two amps at a time, running four 1 by 12'' in a double size bedroom, and it is honestly not over powering, and we have each amp's volume set at the 12 o'clock position or 50%, not to mention that my neighbours have not complained, but then the double sized bedroom that I have converted to a teaching room has sound panels on all the walls and has been treated to prevent noise escape.

My second suggestion is the Blackstar-HT-5R, it's 5 watts, it can get get just as loud if not louder than the Orange Micro range of amps, it sounds a lot better than the Orange Micro amps but is over double the price, it has an effects loop, headphones out, however the headphones out on these are rubbish and are not really meant for long term use, they don't sound as good as the Orange Micro Dual Terror headphones out which has been designed to be used a lot, hence why it emulates the sound the amp head would make going through a 4 by 12'' - note it's only the black Micro Dual Terror and not the white Micro Terror that has this headphone out feature.

The only reason why I don't use the Blackstar-HT-5R for teaching, and I would prefer to, is that my electric student practices at home with the Orange Micro Dual Dark Terror, so he is used to the amp, it's sounds, feel, settings, so he spends less of our lesson time worrying about his amp and getting used to it since it's the same setup he uses himself at home, where as when I had the Blackstar-HT-5R set up for teaching him, it would take him a good five to ten minutes to settle down and get used to the amp, the differences in sound between the Blackstar-HT-5R and his Orange Micro Dark Terror.

Blackstar also make another five watt amp called the Blackstar HT METAL 5H, it's not as versatile as the Blackstar-HT-5R, as in it's a high gain amp.

Blackstar also offer both of the above amps in a 1 watt version, the 1 watt versions do not sound anywhere near as good as their 5 watt counter parts, especially considering the minimal difference in their costs.

My honest recommendation would be a combination of one of the above amps - The Orange Micro Dual Dark Terror or the Blackstar-HT-5R, and the iphone amp simulator bias or something else of your choice, you can get the best of both worlds that way.

I would avoid all modeling amps, in my opinion I find that they all sound tinny and fake, forced even.
 

Great Satan

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May i point you to this thread.
If you use the patch-cable-in-the-loop method it can be as quiet as you want,
And with a handy 1x12 its about the same size/weight as a combo.
The overdrive channel is great but that clean channel absolutely slays with pedals (especially handy with a multifx like a pod hd).

I managed to snap one up for $300, was like brand new and came in original box but i don't know how commonly 2nd hand ones will go for that..
 

Spicypickles

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The fender mustangs are pretty awesome, but as far as toob I've also got a peavey classic thirty, and .... me, it will be WAY too loud for a dorm room. It sounds pretty good and can handle metal with some pedals, but volume is definitely an issue.
 

thraxil

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Orange Micro, specifically the black one, the Micro Dual Dark Terror, it's 20 watts, so yes it can and will get loud if you want it to however it has a headphones out that is designed to emulate the sound of an amp head being run through a 4 by 12'' cab, plus it has an effects loop, the white one, the Micro Terror doesn't have these features, so I would recommend the Micro Dual Dark Terror over the Micro Terror, but you would be forced to use the amp with either an 8'' cab, or headphones, or some combination of both.

What is this "Micro Dual Dark Terror" that you keep going on about? I'm familiar with the Dual Terror, the Dual Dark, and the Micro Dark Terror, but googling "Orange Micro Dual Dark Terror" only turns up this page.
 

EmaDaCuz

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I tell you, the Micro Dark needs to be turned up pretty loud to sound any good. Not the best for dorm room practice.
Plus, be careful because there have been quite some faulty units (I had to change mine twice in 3 weeks).
 

Gallardo147

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I tell you, the Micro Dark needs to be turned up pretty loud to sound any good. Not the best for dorm room practice.
Plus, be careful because there have been quite some faulty units (I had to change mine twice in 3 weeks).

Good point. Well since I'm only going to be using it for dorm use, I think I'll be going with the Blackstar id:core for now. Maybe in the future I can upgrade to a tube amp when I can take advantage of it.

On a separate note, any suggestions for pedals? Am looking for an analog delay and I know the MXR carbon copy is pretty good but other options? Also options for a compressor?
 

Winger

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I own a Blackstar ID Core 10, ID Core 20 and a Bugera G5. The ID Core 10 does not come with a footswitch, so I got the Core 20 as well. You can modify the ID Core 10 to take a pedal if you're handy enough with a drill and soldering iron. The interesting thing about the Core series is they actually have the TVP section that is in the ID series. It is just very limited. When you get the amp or when you reset it, the TVP section is set to el84 for all preset and user programable settings. Once you start programming it, all the user programable settings change to 6V6. The footswitch can only switch between user programable settings, so you loose the el84 tones when using the footswitch. I'm used to it now, but initially i found it very frustrating. The Core series comes with headphones out so you can practice silently. Tone wise, these amps are good enough for practicing. My biggest complaint is you can only get at the TMB from the Insider software. I really should have spent the money on an ID Series amp instead. Live and learn.

The Bugera G5 is my first real tube amp. I love it. I know a lot of people don't like Bugeras, but I was nervous buying a tube amp and just did not want to spend a lot. Four months into this amp and no problems. I'm happy. I bought a Panama Guitars 2x8 Boca cab to use with it. Total cash into this setup was just $380. I tend to practice using the headphones. If you leave the standby switch off, it is silent and you hear preamp tones only on the headphones. I don't play thru the cab much, but when I do I set the volume so that I get 70 to 75 dB of sound out of it. Much more and my neighbors complain. To get that level of sound the volume is set at the 8 o'clock position, so I'm only getting preamp tones out of the cabs as well. I actually prefer the preamps tones of the G5 over the tones from my blackstar id core amps. The G5 is my goto amp right now, but I won't be playing it this summer. It produces a lot of heat and my practice room already gets hot in the summer. I literally closed the heating vents to the room last winter, knowing even though it was 10 degrees outside the G5 would heat up my room in 5 to 10 minutes.

Anyway, those are my thoughts and experiences. Enjoy whatever you finally decide on.
 

MoonJelly

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^My only amp right now is a Bugera V5 combo, perfect house amp. Gets a lovely clean tone and reverb. I run a BBE sonic stomp, Blackstar LT Dual Distortion, and Snarling Dogs Wah on it. The pedals cost me 3x what the amp did :lol:
 

EmaDaCuz

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On a separate note, any suggestions for pedals? Am looking for an analog delay and I know the MXR carbon copy is pretty good but other options? Also options for a compressor?

It is all about how much you want to spend and, admittedly, I would keep the budget low if I only had to play in my bedroom.

Number 1 pedal to buy is a tuner, number 2 a versatile overdrive/distortion, number 3 is a delay or a reverb. If you still have some money left, you may want to invest them on a decent pair of headphones or a looper.
There are plenty of cheap pedals that work very well at bedroom levels, have a look at JoYo and Mooer, for example.

I have a very cheap analog delay from Palmer, costed me 25 pounds, sounds a bit muddy but for the rest, it's a killer.
As far as dist goes, for hard rock and metal sound I use a combination of 2 ODs rather than a single distortion pedal. I find this setup more versatile. In my case it is EHX East River + TC Electronics Dark Matter. Alternatively, the old Metal Muff would do, but if I need that kind of distortion tend to go digital. I also like the "Crunchbox clones", pretty good sound. Mooer has a great one (Cruncher) for quite cheap.

Alternatively, if you want to have all of the above in a single package and want some kind of analog feel, check the Tone Tattoo by EHX, which is a combination of dist, chorus, and delay.

You are the only one who knows what kind of tone you are after, so this are just some ideas.
 

thraxil

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I tell you, the Micro Dark needs to be turned up pretty loud to sound any good. Not the best for dorm room practice.
Plus, be careful because there have been quite some faulty units (I had to change mine twice in 3 weeks).

I have to disagree with the first part. I think the Micro Dark sounds fine at conversational levels.

There do seem to be a lot of faulty ones right now though. I've been through two and they both had (have) issues with the loop popping and the headphone out being unusably noisy. I think they're great little amps, but I wouldn't recommend buying one right now unless you can either try it out in the store or are willing to deal with a bit of hassle returning a unit or two until you get a good one. I hope Orange will improve their QA.
 


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