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Discussion Starter #1
I know this subject has been covered before, but there are some new players out there and I'm contemplating purchasing another amp for home use. The one that has really grabbed my attention is the highly touted Swart 6V6se and I'm struggling with picking up the phone and buying it right this minute. However, I'm still smarting (financially) from the last low powered amp that I bought last year, an Emery Superbaby. At only 5 watts and the ability to mould your sound by swapping tubes on the fly, it promised to be the answer to my dilemma of rich tones and breakup without waking up the neighbours. No matter what tubes I used (I know I spent @ $150.00 on different ones), or speakers (again add $250.00), I couldn't get the volume passed 2. So while this might be a great amp in some peoples eyes, it is no bedroom amp. So as I'm doing my research, and making sure the Swart is the amp for me, I came across another amp, a Gries 5, which features a gain and master volume control. The limited reviews I've been able to find seem good, but the lack of overwhelming comments on them has made me put them on the bottom of my short list. Any comments opinions and/or suggestions are welcomed.
 

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If you are considering spending that much money anyway, have you ever thought about contacting a Canadian builder to see if they can build you EXACTLY what you want?

I read a great review in a magazine about the Swart, but have only seen one post on any of the forums I use about people actually getting one.

I have a Reverend Goblin which is 5/15 watts switchable. It also has a gain control, so you can get pretty decent tones out of it at low volumes. I think you'd definitely want something with a decent master volume. I have yet to hear a 5 watt amp I would consider quiet enough to be a 'bedroom' amp.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
These amps I'm looking at are around the $1000.00 CAD price point. I have contacted some of the Canadian builders and what they can basically offer me is thier version of a Tweed Champ which I have and enjoy. For something specifically built for me, with either master volume or power scaling, we are looking at a lot more money. I've also tried the attenuators and find that they just suck the tone out of the amp. Even master volume amps are not really a perfect solution. I have a Fender Blues Jr with master volume and still can't get the volume past 3 without widow ratllin'.
 

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Tarbender said:
I've also tried the attenuators and find that they just suck the tone out of the amp. Even master volume amps are not really a perfect solution. I have a Fender Blues Jr with master volume and still can't get the volume past 3 without widow ratllin'.

I hear you on that. The Blues Jr. has one of the worst master volumes I have ever heard though. I have owned 2 amps that actually had decent ones. The Peavey Classic 20 (GREAT gain tones at low volumes) and the Reverend Goblin. So they do exist.

Do you have any soldering skills? You could build a Weber kit. They are super cheap. They offer some pretty basic amps, which seems to be what you want. I think I could even figure one out hah. https://taweber.powweb.com/store/kits.htm . Some of the Weber Original Kits looks pretty cool. I have thought about making a Smokin' Joe. It's just a single EL84.
 

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I just picked up the Orange Tiny Terror. While it is an awesome amp at bedroom levels, I discovered yesterday at practice, that it even gets better as it gets louder. So, now I have come to a conclusion, it seems, that to get the tones that everyone wants at louder levels, its apparent that you need to get the speakers moving as well. This must be a big contributing factor......no?

Anyways, anyone looking for a really cool low wattage amp, do yourself a favor and give the Tiny Terror a try!
 

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Noobcake said:
Why not just get an attenuator?
Your answer is below.

Tarbender said:
I've also tried the attenuators and find that they just suck the tone out of the amp.
I find a Tweed champ style at lower volume with a quality OD pedal or two seems to have some success. But there has got to be something else out there that won't break the bank.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the thoughts and ideas.

:wave: The Tweed Champ that I have is a kit (Marsh) so I really don't want to go that route.

:wave: And again, Ive tried an attenuator and feel that it's not a solution.

:wave: I've looked at the Stephenson Stagehog, but again you're looking at over $800.00 CAD for essentially an effects pedal that can double as a practice amp, plus I'd have to buy a cab so that puts it well over $1000.00 and there is a minimum 4 month wait.

:wave: The only one out there that really has my interest is the Swart 6V6se so I curious to hear more from jroberts about it. I do like the sound of my Champ so if the Swart 6V6se is similar but lets me shap my sound more with the tone control I might be very interested.

Thanks again to all. I'm still open to other suggestions so keep em coming!
 

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I'd recommend a L'il Dawg, but I think his waiting list is up to a year now. You could get his Champster with a tone control and a master volume added for WAY below the price of the Swart. Li'l Dawg's prices are really tough to beat especially considering the outstanding quality of the amps.

I didn't have the Master on my Champster, but I had the tone control. I know some of the purists aren't into that, but I found it to be quite useful.

it would be worth at least trying to contact him.
 

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...my mind is completely open to change on this, but i have found that nothing beats solid state or digital for playing at very low volumes.

to get the kind of even response you need at such low volume, you end up pushing a tube amp to unacceptably high volume. that, at least, has been my experience thus far.

-dh
 

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david henman said:
...my mind is completely open to change on this, but i have found that nothing beats solid state or digital for playing at very low volumes.

to get the kind of even response you need at such low volume, you end up pushing a tube amp to unacceptably high volume. that, at least, has been my experience thus far.

-dh
I agree with you 100% on this. You can pick up something like a used Vox Pathfinder for under $100 and they sound so good I would put them up against a lot of tube amps. And they definitely sound better at super low volumes.

Unless you have a ton of cash, there just isn't a lot of practical choices. I mean, it would be cool to buy a 1 watt tube amp for my bedroom use what for me it would be ridiculous to spend that much money for it. A modelling amp or a SS amp is just way more practical. Plus, they usually have a headphone jack and a line out to the computer as well.
 

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I've tried every conceivable way of taming at tube amp to apartment levels and it just cannot be done (different attenuators, Smicz Tad tube adaptors, laying the amp on its face, blanets, pulling tubes, master volume etc etc). Tubes are simply loud when overdriven. Even a 1 watt tube amp can be too loud.

Either get a good od pedal for your champ or go digital. I bought a Vox DA5 practice amp. $150 new, several different amp models and effects, and the size of toaster! My tube amp with a Boss Blues Driver sound pretty good at low volumes, but it is still pretty loud. Tube amps seem to "bloom" in a way that ss and digital don't; that is great for playing live but bad for low volume practice.

About the only thing I haven't tried is power scaling. Given the limited success of my other attempts to tame the tube, I just cannot justify spending more money.

TG
 

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traynor_garnet said:
I bought a Vox DA5 practice amp. $150 new, several different amp models and effects, and the size of toaster!TG

...my girlfriend gave me a da5 last christmas. just an amazing little practice amp (its digital, so listen off axis..).

i also have a pathfinder 15r that is equally amazing.

-dh
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks again for all the suggestions. I have tried the VOX DA5 and just didn't like anything about it - no offense to those that do. And I do have a small SS amp, a Fender GDEC, and can coax some not too bad sounds out of but I primarly use for backing traxs and a drum machine... but I'd never bring it to a jam or even consider it a "practice" amp. I guess short of building a unit with power scaling ( don't want to use any kind of attenuator), this is an on going search for "the" sound. Still might splurge on the Swart however. It just seems like its' got a lot more possibilities for shaping the sounds... Thanks everyone.:rockon2:
 

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hi
geez ive been trying all kinds of things - i have the same problem
i ended up getting a valve jr combo- i put a master volume in it, but still no usable tone at low volume- so i went crazy and upgraded all the caps and did all the resistor mods- sounds incredible, cost about 20$ to upgrade- but is far too loud to use in my apartment. i built an attenuator to reduce it to .63 watts- sounds weak and anemic. i tried a hotplate on it and several larger amps- thats again no solution for me. an overdrive pedal sounds the same on any amp at low volume to me- might as well be using a ss amp then, and of course then i wouldnt need a pedal cause the ss amps clip fine at low volume, and pedals are bullshit anyway.
i tried a bunch of amps with master volumes and none sounds right at low volume.
ive been using software amps, but i dont want to record with them.
ultimately i need the sound of a decent speaker bieng pushed
im going to try building an isolation box- that will perhaps be the answer- i could monitor the output through my mixer and/or pc at any volume- or use headphones-
still i will continue my hunt for the perfect home- itll be 2 blocks from work and no neighbours for at least 1/4 mile- and with grocery and beer store across the street............
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Appreciate your input jroberts and I'm thinking that if I sell my other amps, my Champ, my Valve Jr, it won't be that much of a leap for me $ wise. I really wish there was a dealer here that so I could try one. But if I didn't like it (yeah, like that'll happen) my loss is still cheaper than a trip to Montreal (but with out Lafleur hotdogs or Schwartz’s smoke meat). OK - here it is, I guess I was waiting for someone to talk me out of buying a Swart 6V6se. No one has yet. Even jroberts qualified his response about my needs and this amp, but even still, I think some of his exuberance shone thru. So, unless some one can give me a reason not to buy this amp.....
 
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