Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

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Neilclasper
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Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by Neilclasper » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:13 pm

I have a cheapo Vox AC4TV amp which, for the £100 I paid for it as an ex-demo model, is really, really good. But I'm wondering about an upgrade and trying to find out what's out there that's a) more or less the same size, b) all valve, c) cheaper than a Fender Champ reissue! Is there something that's somewhere in the middle (and looks nice in front of a living room fireplace)? I have a Deluxe Reverb for gigging.

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by marqueemoon » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:38 pm

Fender Champion 600
VHT Special 6

There are tons of handwired tweed circuit clones out there too and of course older less popular vintage student model amps.

If you have a little more money to play with I’d try to find a used Swart Space Tone.

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by Sauerkraut » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:50 pm

Silvertone 1481

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by Singlebladepickup » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:33 pm

Sauerkraut wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:50 pm
Silvertone 1481
This is a good suggestion. I had a 1482 and I don't think it would've been louder than a champ. My sfpr was way louder. I'd say either one is good, bit 1482 has vibrato and 12" speaker, if those things matter

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by mbene085 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:49 pm

I had to look up what the champ RI costs and it's a pretty penny. More than I remember vintage champs selling for back when I was interested in them 15 years ago.

What level of gain are you using? The Marshall Origin 5 and (used/discontinued) SL5 are both great amps. The SL5 is 5 watts but a 1x12" and sounds way bigger than most 5W combos as a result. The Blackstar HT5R won't break the bank, and can get really high gain if you like, but its clean channel is "solid" and not a particular selling point, though it gets the job done.

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by JVG » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:15 am

If you like the Vox sound, the AC4-C1 with the 12" speaker would be an upgrade (especially if you're willing to fork out a bit extra to replace the factory-installed Chinese tubes - it really does make a huge difference).

Otherwise there's the Fender Bassbreaker 007, or the Marshall Origin 5, as mentioned above. Orange also do some handy small amps, as do Supro (but they are pricey).

There are a bunch of boutique options out there too, but they're generally not cheap. Google will find you heaps of comparisons of little valve amps.

Let us know what you end up with :)

J.

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by Paul-T » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:16 am

"classic marked down to 20 pence bargain bin fodder'

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by krib » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:22 am

Ive been gassing for new blackstar htr-1 mk ii

https://www.blackstaramps.com/uk/ranges/ht-1r-mkii

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by s_mcsleazy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:13 am

i used to use an epiphone valve jr. wish i never sold it. it was modded to have a preamp so i could crank the gain. it was loud enough to do small gigs too.
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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by Maggieo » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:44 am

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by i love sharin foo » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:16 pm

Maggieo wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:44 am
Orange AD-5
I've been using one of those little guys a lot over the last 10 years. It is a GREAT amp! I :-* it. I got a Vox AC4HW a couple years ago and it is really nice, too. I've been running both in stereo lately. The Orange has a lot of gain and little headroom. It can do lower volume clean-ish tones, but not real great. But the natural overdrive, especially with a booster like a Zvex SHO, is superb. I had one of the Vox AC4TV models with a 10" speaker before. I liked it but it was very stiff sounding. The HW one is a definite upgrade. It is MUCH more versatile, does classic Vox cleans, pretty good overdrive tones, and is much less boxy sounding. Mine does have better tubes, but the speaker is stock. I used to have a pair of silver face Champs.. one Vibro, one regular. They were neat but you get very little volume, almost instant break up, no headroom, and very little lowend. They are really cool for what they are though. Just not as a versatile amp that can cover more ground. I would definitely recommend the AC4HW or the Orange AD5 over one of those. I've never played a tweed Champ though, so I am not sure where they would fit in.
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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by Larsongs » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:59 am

JVG wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:15 am
If you like the Vox sound, the AC4-C1 with the 12" speaker would be an upgrade (especially if you're willing to fork out a bit extra to replace the factory-installed Chinese tubes - it really does make a huge difference).

Otherwise there's the Fender Bassbreaker 007, or the Marshall Origin 5, as mentioned above. Orange also do some handy small amps, as do Supro (but they are pricey).

There are a bunch of boutique options out there too, but they're generally not cheap. Google will find you heaps of comparisons of little valve amps.

Let us know what you end up with :)

J.

+1 put a U.K. Celestion Alnico Blue & some better Tubes like JJ
or Tungsol or any other quality Tubes & you'll be surprised!

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by Neilclasper » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:30 pm

Thanks all - some interesting-looking things to research here. I probably should have said that I pretty much play with a clean tone, or veeeeeery slightly breaking up. Size is the main factor here: definitely no 10"+ speakers. 6" or, at a push, 8".

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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by Maggieo » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:13 pm

i love sharin foo wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:16 pm
I would definitely recommend the AC4HW or the Orange AD5 over one of those. I've never played a tweed Champ though, so I am not sure where they would fit in.
Well, I've got that Vox, which is, as you said, fantastic, so I guess I need to get an AD-5 now! :fp:
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Re: Small valve amps / Champ alternatives?

Post by i love sharin foo » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:15 pm

Maggieo wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:13 pm
i love sharin foo wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:16 pm
I would definitely recommend the AC4HW or the Orange AD5 over one of those. I've never played a tweed Champ though, so I am not sure where they would fit in.
Well, I've got that Vox, which is, as you said, fantastic, so I guess I need to get an AD-5 now! :fp:
It never ends, does it?!

On the upside, the AD5s are pretty cheap :)
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