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Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby thefruitfarmer » Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:59 am

Looking into the world of recording guitar at home and need a way to get a decent sound without a high volume.

Been looking at the modellers, which a lot of players seem happy with now. like Yamaha THR, Boss Katana Air, Blackstar Beam. They all have USB for recording and produce a variety of sounds. All Bluetooth too, so you can stream from your phone etc

Was thinking of getting a low watt valve amp though, I have never had much success with modellers and the USB recording I could do without so long as there is some kind of emulated speaker out, for times when I don't want ot mic it up, or maybe I could get a cab sim?

Anyone using this Palmer one watt or something similar:

https://www.palmer-germany.com/en/products/guitar-amplifiers/5131/eins?c=2153

How loud does it actually get?

Anyone getting good results with this or something similar?
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:09 am

It's never going to be room volume as such. It might not be wall-shaking, but it's going to be loud. If it isn't loud, it usually sounds a bit limp down the mic, because the cone isn't pushing hard enough, and giving you that compression. If you need it to be genuinely room volume, use a model. If you can deal with a bit of noise, an amp will give you something the models don't.
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby CS70 » Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:20 am

Since the studio is closed for a few days, just a couple days ago I've recorded electric guitars at home using my Tiny Terror and a Cab Clone.

The Clone has a direct line output on XLR so it's easy to just plug it into an interface input, but there's plenty load boxes which offer a similar feature. And there's also more sophisticated one, the Two Notes boxes are very good if one does this frequently.

Here's how it sounds (unmixed, just overdubbing over the mix): https://youtu.be/i4Tmi8tM1C0
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby rockydennis » Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:46 am

If you've not seen it, SOS reviewed the EINS.
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/palmer-eins-guitar-amp
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby Moroccomoose » Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:49 am

Have you looked at the Laney L5 studio. it can be run silently with out damage thanks to a built in dummy load. Its only 5w, but can be run in 0.5w mode. It has built in DI and re-amp connections.

This is very high on my list of next amps. Perfect for home studio recording.

It only comes in head form, so a separate cab is required.

It looks pretty cool too!

https://www.laney.co.uk/products/lionheart-l5-studio
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:26 am

Just in case Dave (ef37a) is feeling shy, I'd give a Blackstar HT1 a try, especially into a 10" or 12" speaker, it'll still be quite loud but probably acceptable up to mid evening. I had an HT5 for a while but it didn't fit my needs at the time and I needed to realise some cash for another gigging amp so I sold it. Later bought an Epiphone Valve Junior* which is a nice little valve amp and cheapish but much less versatile than the Blackstars. It also inly has an 8" speaker which doesn't sound as good as a bigger driver.

* Lots of VJ clones out there, some, like the sadly discontinued Harley Benton GA5 might even come out of the same Chinese factory as the original VJ
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby thefruitfarmer » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:35 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:It's never going to be room volume as such. It might not be wall-shaking, but it's going to be loud. If it isn't loud, it usually sounds a bit limp down the mic, because the cone isn't pushing hard enough, and giving you that compression. If you need it to be genuinely room volume, use a model. If you can deal with a bit of noise, an amp will give you something the models don't.

I think that could be the bottom line......

I appreciate that the speaker cone needs to be pushed a bit to get the necessary effect. Would using a low watt speaker make a significant difference?
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby thefruitfarmer » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:55 pm

Moroccomoose wrote:Have you looked at the Laney L5 studio. it can be run silently with out damage thanks to a built in dummy load. Its only 5w, but can be run in 0.5w mode. It has built in DI and re-amp connections.

This is very high on my list of next amps. Perfect for home studio recording.

It only comes in head form, so a separate cab is required.

It looks pretty cool too!

https://www.laney.co.uk/products/lionheart-l5-studio

This looks pretty good, the other one I was thinking of is a Marshall DSL 1.
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby Dynamic Mike » Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:52 am

I used my Vox Valvetronix AD30VT modelling amp for practice and recording until I got a Line6 Pod Go for recording. I didn't need 30 Watts but sadly the smaller ones didn't have the power level control on the back. The power level control means you can reduce the maximum output for practicing & then crank it back up for recording or the odd gig if you want. Basically you get a meaningful sweep on the gain & master at any volume rather than having to adjust it in fractions of a degree to save upsetting the neighbours.

The current VT20x seems to have the same options.
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Dec 22, 2020 2:19 am

Take a look at attenuators too. I use a Rivera Rockcrusher though if I were to buy now I'd go for the UA Ox. The nice thing about a load box is any amp can be brought to heel for recording purposes. I like the Rivera has a crude EQ across the DI out so you can mimic the mechanical filter of a speaker...a poor man's IR.
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby monkfish » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:59 am

I have a Mesa/Boogie Mark IV combo, a VHT Special 6 Ultra head'n'cab (1x12) and a Line 6 Helix. I live in a flat. I near-exclusively use the Helix, in a mix i can't tell the difference between the Helix Mark IV model through a decent IR and my amp. Do they feel the same though? No. Course not. That's why I bought the VHT, to get amp-in-the-room feel. It sounds lovely but even at it's half watt setting it doesn't feel more amp-in-the-room than the Helix.
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby thefruitfarmer » Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:20 am

Am still confused....

I think the message is that both modellers and a recorded valve / transistor amp will work in the context of a mix.

This brings me back to the point that a lot of recording is having the experience to know whether a sound is any good or not. The difference between a recorded amp and a modeller in the mix may be something not heard easily by everyone, a bit like the difference between an analogue synth and a virtual synth. Subtle differences that can make a difference to the whole.

Best I can do is to record some guitar with what I have available to me now, (Yamaha GA 10, Smokey amp, Award Session JD-10, Award Session Blues Baby) over the next few months and then decide what else would sound good in context. A new toy would be fun, especially a small valve amp (bet it would sing with my old 1986 DS-1 pushing it) but I don't think it would necessarily motivate me to plug enough of the studio together to make a start recording anything.......

There is no single obvious choice and I reckon I would do best to audition a few in a good shop, once I have a better idea which small valve amp would work for me.

Thanks everyone, and a Happy Christmas
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby ef37a » Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:07 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Just in case Dave (ef37a) is feeling shy, I'd give a Blackstar HT1 a try, especially into a 10" or 12" speaker, it'll still be quite loud but probably acceptable up to mid evening. I had an HT5 for a while but it didn't fit my needs at the time and I needed to realise some cash for another gigging amp so I sold it. Later bought an Epiphone Valve Junior* which is a nice little valve amp and cheapish but much less versatile than the Blackstars. It also inly has an 8" speaker which doesn't sound as good as a bigger driver.

* Lots of VJ clones out there, some, like the sadly discontinued Harley Benton GA5 might even come out of the same Chinese factory as the original VJ

Well, I WAS going to resist banging the drum this time Sam but since you brought it up!..

Yes, the HT-1 is well suited, if you want to mic it up then probably don't go for a 100dB/W/mtr speaker but get something like a Greenback at 95dB? One useful property is that it cares not a fig for the speaker impedance so anything you have around, an old 'too loud' combo 'perhaps, can be pressed into service.

The HT-5 is a unique design (AFAIK) and has all the bells and whistles of a big amp but in an eminently portable package. It will produce 'that sound' but as has been said, not really at socially acceptable levels. However, its maximum output of around 10W means a very simple power soak/load rated at 20W can be used. You can gig a Five into a suitable sensitive speaker.

But, the desire for the sound of 50 watts of valves into a 4x12 stack at a level that won't wake the chavvy in the next room is the 'Holy Grail' and cannot really be done but with load boxes or modelling we can now come pretty damn close!

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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby Music Wolf » Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:18 am

thefruitfarmer wrote:Am still confused....

I think the message is that both modellers and a recorded valve / transistor amp will work in the context of a mix.

You have every right to be confused. Search the t'interweb and you'll find flame wars raging between the Amp Loyalists and the New Modelling Army. It's particularly amusing when some of the combantants reveal that they haven't actually used the gear that they are ripping into.

As someone who has used modellers for a long time (I started with the original Sansamp and I now own both a Kemper and a Helix) I would say that you can hear the difference in isolation (but it's very close these days) but it's almost impossible in the context of a mix. What you can't compare is the sound of an amp at volume 'in the room' with a modeller through studio monitors or headphones. The comparison needs to be made between modeller and the sound of a mic'd up amp heard only through the same monitors.

You find guitarists spending smaller fortunes on power amp / cabs designed to recreate that 'sound in the room' live. To my mind that is a mistake. If you need that sound on stage then stick with an amp. If, like me, you are using in-ears then a modeller is the way to go. The audience can't tell the difference one way or the other (well, actually they can because with a modeller through the PA I can get a better balance in all parts of the room).
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Re: Low Watt Guitar Amp for Recording at Home

Postby ef37a » Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:22 am

"There is no single obvious choice and I reckon I would do best to audition a few in a good shop, once I have a better idea which small valve amp would work for me."

Problem there Fruit farmer is that, as mentioned, small amps tend to use small speakers and nothing REALLY sounds like a good 12" guitar speaker. There a few decent tens, G10N-40* and 10" versions of the Green back and the Gold but 12s rule.

So, when you audition lil' amps in shops get them to jack them over to a decent 12" cab. N very B, some small 'practice' solid state amps do not provide for an extension speaker. Avoid those.

*Used in the original HT-5 and was generally well received?

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