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Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

Driven by that time of year, I'm looking for a small (15W) amplifier for my son, who plays electric guitar (a cheap Strat copy) on a casual basis (currently through a toy practice amp). I would like to find something that would suit and hopefully inspire a wide variety of different musical styles, rather than trying to nail a particular genre or sound.

I have been considering the following amps:-
- Line 6 Spider IV 15W
- Peavey Vypyr 15W
- Vox VT15

Any experiences with using these amps, or other recommendations would be very much appreciated.

Cheers - Rick.
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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/13/2009 1:09 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

I would definitely recommend a 15W Line 6 Spider, generally a series 4 or 5. I have the series 4 and it's a great little thing, built well, and it has a 1/8" input as well as a 1/4" input and output. It has six different effects, and allows you to control how much effect is laid onto the signal. Has a 3-band EQ, channel volume, master volume, and gain control, and comes with 4 different presets that the user can modify and set to the channel buttons: Clean, Crunch, Metal, INSANE(I get a lot of comments about that one). The only thing that I have to say about this amp negatively is that even if you preset the clean channel without a flanger, it is continuously built into the channel setting, and is impossible to override. It hasn't caused me any problems, it's just a little bit annoying if you play on clean a lot... Oh, and it doesn't have FBV pedal input, for that you need to get the 30W or higher.
But, it's a great beginner amp, and it inspired me a lot when I first began playing a few years ago. Hope this helps!
David



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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/13/2009 1:12 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

And one more thing I forgot to add: When I was at GC, I had to choose between the Vyper or Line 6, and I couldn't make up my mind... I asked one of the staff which one he would pick and without hesitation he said that he would pick the Line 6. Just my personal experience with the little thing =) Plus it only weighs like 8 pounds and is really durable and easy to transport...

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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/13/2009 1:44 PM

David Mackie (11072) wrote:

I've read good things about the Spider, and the
Vox should be a great deal also, although I've
only actually played larger versions. I haven't
tried any Peavys recently so I can't comment on
them.

I think you might also want to consider some
Rolands. Their cube series amps are also great
values at various price points. The one that
simply astonished me was the 5 watt MicroCube,
generally available for around $130 U.S. While I
haven't A/B tested one against any 15 watters, I
could not believe how loud and unboxy can sound. I
currently do most of my performing in a situation
where my amp serves mostly as a monitor with my
tone being produced by a Yamaha DG Stomp preamp
and DIed before it hits the amp. This amp seems
almost ideal for that situation, but I may want to
try one of it's bigger brothers before I actually
lay money down.

The 15w Cube 15x is the main one I'm also
considering. At it's street price of $100 U.S., if
it's sound quality is anywhere near the
MicroCube's, (and I see no reason why it shouldn't
be, but I need to try one to see) it would be an
insane bargain imho, and I may get two so as to
run them in stereo with my preamp. No built in FX
other than distortion though, so it may not be the
ideal choice for your situation.



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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/14/2009 9:07 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

Yeah, Peavey's are good, but they're really old styled amps (From what I've always seen and heard) that don't really embrace the solid state technicalities that many other amp companies have. I really think for sound quality, the Line 6 might not be the way to go, but for just starting off, then this it is perfect because it lets you find what you want out of a bigger wattage amplifier. The Roland MicroCube is actually really good for it's size, and it's really portable and small, but again, it doesn't have as many effects as the Line 6 does built in. Of course, you may not want that many effects, but tonal range might be what you're looking for. The Line 6 only has gain, treble, mid, and bass, like any other small low-priced model amplifier, and many larger ones as well. It all comes down to what you really want for the guy, tonal range and versatility (Roland and others) or effects (line 6).
Plus, after owning a Line 6 for a while, I can tell you they are VERY susceptible to feedback and static caused by fluorescent lights, electronics, and magnetic fields. Really, I wouldn't think it would make much of a difference on the guy, just starting out, but later on it could become incessant and annoying.

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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/15/2009 8:24 AM

Dale Lindsey (8281) wrote:

Rick,

Some things to consider in a small beginner amp: For a beginner, having a number of presets that you can just switch in and out is very useful, especially if you want to explore different styles. Also, one thing that I found particularly annoying when I started playing again and bought a small practice amp was the inability to quickly switch sounds while playing. I very quickly got to the point where I wanted to play songs where I would need different sounds in different parts (like start out clean and then get distorted).

If I were doing it again, I would get an inexpensive amp like a Peavey or Marshall 15W with no effects at all (not even reverb) and an inexpensive effects pedal like a Zoom 505 (not the best, but fine for a beginner). You could probably get both for around the same price as a fancy amp with all the effects built in that probably would not give you the foot switch capability. This is also more versatile than the combo amp/effects because you can graduate up to a better effects pedal later.

That is pretty much the system I use now. I have a stereo effects pedal and I run one side directly into a PA board and I run the other side into the CD input on my 15W Peavey to use it as a monitor. I use the same setup to practice at home (but without the PA of course).

-Dale




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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/15/2009 8:42 AM

Inactive Member wrote:

That could be much more useful. But, I have to say about the MG series... One of the people I go here with has one, and the are definitely not the best for your money. An MG4 costs the same as a Line 6 Spider IV 15W.



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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/15/2009 11:36 AM

Ken Richardson (9051) wrote:

Dale,

I like the setup that you suggest - sounds very versatile.

I read once on another site to go with an amp with a decent clean tone, and use pedals, and perhaps amp reverb - somewhat like your method.


I really like how you are using the stereo channels to feed the little amp and the PA board - sounds like a solid approach to me!

I prefer Fender amps.. so thats my 2 cents.. Fender amp, with Dales's method of using a stereo pedal to split the signal.



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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/15/2009 12:22 PM

Dale Lindsey (8281) wrote:

Ken,

Yeah, I bought the Peavey with reverb and paid about $30 more for it. Then I got a Zoom 505 for about $60 and it had reverb built in. I could have saved $30. Since the Zoom didn't have the best amp and speaker emulation, I set my amp to clean and went into the guitar input with the Zoom set up as an effects pedal only.

Interestingly, the Peavey distortion emulation on the Zoom 505 sounded EXACTLY like the Peavey itself in distorted mode. But I gained the ability to switch with my foot - plus a lot of other distortions and effects to boot (no pun intended).

Now I have a higher quality pedal that emulates amps and speaker cabs better than the low-end Zoom, so I run directly into the CD input. In this mode, I am basically just using the power amp section of the Peavey. For this setup, any power amp would suffice, really, as long as it was fairly clean. If we had more monitor channels I wouldn't need it at all, except as a practice amp.

-Dale



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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/15/2009 12:55 PM

Ken Richardson (9051) wrote:

Dale,

I think that there are a few opamps or chips or whatever that lots of different makes of amps use.

What kind of pedal is the high quality one that you mentioned??

Ken



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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/15/2009 2:25 PM

Dale Lindsey (8281) wrote:

Well, I didn't say HIGH quality, just higher than the Zoom, hehe! I currently use a Digitech RP 250. It has much better amp modeling then the Zoom. It is suitable to run directly into a PA to emulate an actual amp and cabinet being mic'ed. It allows you to choose various amp/cabinet combinations, whereas the Zoom just had an "amp" setting, which allowed you to do without a power output stage for say, listening with headphones. It really didn't work that well as a direct-in box.

At this point, I am sure that most manufacturers of both solid state amps and effects pedals use Digital Signal Processor (DSP) chips. They are programmable just like regular processors, so even if they all used the same processor, the difference would be in the software. However, some brands brag about having a specific proprietary DSP chip made especially for them. I don't know if they actually manufacture them or have a DSP manufacturer make them to their specifications. I can't say how unique they really are.

But there is a big difference between the sound of the say, the Zoom 505, the Behringer V-amp and the RP250. I'll take the RP250 live any day, although the V-Amp is nice for recording.

-Dale



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Re: Small Modelling/Effects Amp (15W) recommendations

12/15/2009 4:23 PM

Michael Laurance (4040) wrote:

I love Line 6, and own a ton of their gear, but Peavey went for the throat with the Vypyr. Simply put, the Vypyr is a much better amp. Better modelling, more effects, simpler operation. I bought a Spider 3 75w 1x12 combo from a kid who replaced it with a Vypyr, and I see why. The Spider sounds great if you're a pro and want to invest time with it, but it is hell to tweak and program, and the menu sucks.

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