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Good small valve amp for keyboards?

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Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby Arpangel » Tue May 14, 2019 11:40 am

I'm trimming down my gear, and I need a good small valve amp for one keyboard and my i Pad playing live. I like the sound of a valve amp, the tone and overdrive, they always seem to sound more interesting than solid state equivalents. Trouble is, I don't want to spend money on something that just has a token valve in it, I'm prepared to budget for something a bit decent.
I'm looking for something along the size of a Roland Cube, orbmaybe a bit bigger, 10/15 watts maybe. Any ideas much appreciated...
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue May 14, 2019 12:22 pm

Fender Blues Junior? I'm assuming you are not looking for faithful reproduction of grand piano samples then?
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby blinddrew » Tue May 14, 2019 9:30 pm

Or if you are after something full range you might consider a Yamaha THR10 - surprisingly capable little bit of kit.
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby Arpangel » Wed May 15, 2019 8:13 am

Thanks, good suggestions, the Blues Junior ticks the valve box, but only one input, I could get around that with a mixer, I've got one of those little Behringer mono jobs, but how do these amps cope and respond to a line level output? The Yamaha looks interesting, but does it have "the sound"? It does have an extra stereo input though, which would take my i Pad, and a seperate volume control.
You're right, I'm not after clean piano, If anything the dirtier the better, I'll be using it in our free-improv duo, so a bit of valve noise and grit should be exactly what's needed.
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 am

Is your keyboard a master keyboard or does it have sounds? Guitar amps expect an 'instrument level' signal which falls between line and mic level (obviously that varies somewhat). A live synth/piano output is usually somewhere around that of an electric guitar but a line output would be a bit hot for a guitar amp.
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby blinddrew » Wed May 15, 2019 9:18 am

Lord knows I'm no guitar expert but the guitarist in our band was very impressed (and he's a lot more picky than me). Personally I find that it plays like a 'proper' amp and allows me to play around with tones that I'd expect from my Peavey valve amp.
But the stereo input is completely clean so might not be what you're after.
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby ore_terra » Wed May 15, 2019 11:52 am

the THR10 sounds ok, but of course it's not "the sound", and above all its 10W have nothing to do in terms of loudness with a 10W valve amp.

if you want stereo, maybe the best option is 2 valve amps instead of 1. that what guitar players wanting to stick to small valve amps will typically do if they want their stereo effects not to come back to mono in the amp.

regarding signal levels, you could do it with reamp boxes. they've designed to turn line levels acceptable for guitar amps, so they should be fit for the task.

something like this: https://www.palmer-germany.com/en/products/di-boxes/5093/daccapo
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby The Elf » Wed May 15, 2019 3:32 pm

...and all of these points are the reason why I strategically run my keys through a Line 6 Helix!
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby Arpangel » Thu May 16, 2019 8:23 am

The Elf wrote:...and all of these points are the reason why I strategically run my keys through a Line 6 Helix!
Yes, a preamp is a good solution, but I need a speaker in a box, I'm traveling quite a bit at the moment, with no access to sound equipment, lots of bits and pieces start to become a pain. I have a Music Easel, that's just a suitcase basically, another little amp is all I need, just two boxes to deal with. I could use a pair of headphones and a preamp I suppose, but I have a problem with my right ear and don't like to wear phones, I prefer the sound of speakers anyway.
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby Arpangel » Fri May 17, 2019 8:07 am

I bought a Roland Street Cube, it's not valve I know, but the sound is quite "big" for its size and output, plus it's got all the inputs I need, and the price was right. If it doesn't work out I'll get the Fender B J but TBQH, I think this Cube will be fine.
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby ore_terra » Fri May 17, 2019 11:48 am

that's a fuill range amp, so nothing to do with valve amp sound :lol:

good amp though :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby Arpangel » Sat May 18, 2019 7:51 am

I need a re-amp box, I can hear things in my synth, not nice things, simply because the gain is way too high, I just have to breath on the volume knob it's ridiculous. Keeping everything way down is the only option, I need to match the impedences.
I'm having a great time though, I've got this amp, my synth, and a handy recorder, some headphones, and a few leads and adaptors, I recorded a 40 min piece yesterday, this little set-up is more productive than being at home in my studio. .
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby Chimera » Sat May 18, 2019 9:20 am

I have a Laney Lionheart Studio. It’s a wonderfully flexible amp. There are combo versions too.
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby blinddrew » Sat May 18, 2019 9:29 am

Orchid do a re-amp box for £56, reviewed in these pages but frustratingly i can't get a link to the review here on my phone. :cry:
Just search for Orchid Electronics and it's the second result.
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Re: Good small valve amp for keyboards?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat May 18, 2019 10:24 am

A simple attenuator would almost certainly do the job, or a transformer DI? Reamp boxes are designed to present the correct load to a guitar amp's input where all you need is a level match.
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