Narrowing down my options for a tube amp

Alex Kenivel

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TGF Recording Artist
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2x12 is on the way. That's about half of my saved up spending money.

I'm shooting for an amp less than 50w. Had my eye on the Laney Irt Studio, EVH 5150III LBXII, and the Egnater Tweaker 40.

The IRT Studio I'm looking at is used from Reverb, has a proprietary FS and a lot of people are saying it does metal really well but not so much lower gain tones. Seems to have a lot of features I like. It's the lowest price of the bunch, like a really good price, but I can't return it if I don't like it. (I bought it and returned it :LOL: )

5150III, people seem to say the same thing about lower gain - although the clean channel with drive up sounded pretty good on the Iconic I tried out. A little more money and I don't have to worry about a reverb deal that won't last.

Im mostly playing at home these days but I don't think that will be the case forever, so I'm wondering if a little 15w will deliver the goods at snare drum levels?

Enter the Tweaker 40

Most expensive - I'd have to wait to get one (and if I'm buying new and not looking to snag a deal I don't have to bite my nails wondering if a reverb deal will be lost) I like the feature set but it's the most expensive of the bunch.

I like versatility, Funk, fusion, jazz, blues, hard rock, thrash, modern metal.. so something versatile is what I'm looking for.

In short: will 15w be enough for a gig without sound reinforcement and will the more "Metal" of the amps do a good mid gain?
 
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Studio IRT owner..
Im not even close to a high gain player…and really like the IRT. In my mind, cause you can toggle each freq of the tonestack, this amp can be a good choice for many players.

I mainly use it as a poweramp in stereo rig though..for practical reasons I have preamps on my board.
Gigged it standalone once…was great. I play very moderate volume bands, plenty for that.
Maybe add some combo with a loop later…and if you need nuclear volume…you take both?

the only attention point is the cabsim..usable..but not on par with digital IRs to my ears.

All in all…a very solid choice if you ask me ;-)
 
Yeah those Engl Ironball’s are sick and pretty versatile.

I find the EVH stuff to be the most bland, dry hump amps ever. It’s like it belongs in the metal guy starter kit with an LTD and Lamb of God t shirt.

The PRS MT15 are killer little lunchbox amps that may be worth a look.
 
2x12 is on the way. That's about half of my saved up spending money.

I'm shooting for an amp less than 50w. Had my eye on the Laney Irt Studio, EVH 5150III LBXII, and the Egnater Tweaker 40.

The IRT Studio I'm looking at is used from Reverb, has a proprietary FS and a lot of people are saying it does metal really well but not so much lower gain tones. Seems to have a lot of features I like. It's the lowest price of the bunch, like a really good price, but I can't return it if I don't like it.

5150III, people seem to say the same thing about lower gain - although the clean channel with drive up sounded pretty good on the Iconic I tried out. A little more money and I don't have to worry about a reverb deal that won't last.

Im mostly playing at home these days but I don't think that will be the case forever, so I'm wondering if a little 15w will deliver the goods at snare drum levels?

Enter the Tweaker 40

Most expensive - I'd have to wait to get one (and if I'm buying new and not looking to snag a deal I don't have to bite my nails wondering if a reverb deal will be lost) I like the feature set but it's the most expensive of the bunch.

I like versatility, Funk, fusion, jazz, blues, hard rock, thrash, modern metal.. so something versatile is what I'm looking for.

In short: will 15w be enough for a gig without sound reinforcement and will the more "Metal" of the amps do a good mid gain?

Max Headroom says, "No." I draw the line around 30w if you want to chug. 2 x EL84 is not a
solution to any problem I like unless you are going all Vox all the time. For versatility 30w
is a sweetspot. Gives you the headroom, and if you find one with switchable power amp options
like.... cough, cough... the Mesa TA-30..... that does everything you seem to want..... cough, cough,
cough again.... I think you'd be more than happy.
 
Yeah those Engl Ironball’s are sick and pretty versatile.

I find the EVH stuff to be the most bland, dry hump amps ever. It’s like it belongs in the metal guy starter kit with an LTD and Lamb of God t shirt.

The PRS MT15 are killer little lunchbox amps that may be worth a look.
The MT15 I tried was a great 2 trick pony but the noise on that gain channel was UNGODLY :oops:
 
I may have ordered that IRT before passing out last night :bag

$500 with carrying case and footswitch.

That's a great price!

I'm not sure 15 watts is enough to play Metal without sound reinforcement but if you did order it last night you'll find out soon enough.

Having gigged everything from a Deluxe Reverb to a Sig:X I came to the personal conclusion that 40 watts was a good level of power for me to gig with. It provides enough clean headroom to do Jazz gigs un-mic'd and is loud enough to cut through a rock band.

I don't have any experience with 15 watt amps but watts by themselves aren't the only factor in whether or not an amp will cut it in a live setting.

If you did get it, let us know how it turned out.

Best of luck either way. (y)
 
Max Headroom says, "No." I draw the line around 30w if you want to chug. 2 x EL84 is not a
solution to any problem I like unless you are going all Vox all the time. For versatility 30w
is a sweetspot. Gives you the headroom, and if you find one with switchable power amp options
like.... cough, cough... the Mesa TA-30..... that does everything you seem to want..... cough, cough,
cough again.... I think you'd be more than happy.
I couldn't find one in my budget and I'm impatient.

Honestly I have no idea what I want - I like the tonestack options on the IRT and my AC15 can push a clean 100db, 105db not clean, and that's loud enough for the gigs I'd play (if I play any it's usually classic rock or other non-metal). Don't know if that's really a good barometer, we'll see. If it ends up only being powerful enough for home use that's fine too, I only ever play at home and I can prolly flip it pretty easily.
 
Yeah those Engl Ironball’s are sick and pretty versatile.
The PRS MT15 are killer little lunchbox amps that may be worth a look.
I was "lucky" enough to have the possibility to test and compare both the PRS and the Ironball at home before deciding which to buy - and for me the decision was (subjective) rather easy.
I prefere the sound characteristics on the Engl: A bit sweeter, more mid-focused tone and slightly more bottom, makes (to me) the over all sound hanging a bit better together.
And the feauters of the Engl: As the Powersoak (down to 1W), on-board reverb, swichable (footswitch) Master Volume Boost and Gain Boost that works on both channels makes it more flexible than the PRS.

But, it all turns down to your subjective preferences.
Non of the well known brands today make any really bad amp´s - but they differ a bit when it comes to wattage, tone/sound and features.

I can add that I aslo have the Fireball 25 - and that one is quite different compared to the Ironball. The reason that i have kept both:giggle:.
 
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In short: will 15w be enough for a gig without sound reinforcement and will the more "Metal" of the amps do a good mid gain?
it's not just the wattage. The PRS MT15 is a 15 watt amp, but it has 6L6s or 5881s in it, and it can get very loud. Just at higher volume levels the bottom end gets undefined.

The EL84 amps like the LBX EVH or Mesa Mini Rectifier have some real limits on their volume. I have more experience with the Mesa mini amps, but for live use miked up at a club any will be fine. No miking and it's not going to be enough over a loud drummer. But if you're playing with a quieter drummer, maybe.

You just run into the top end of what those little el84s can do and once you hit about halfway up the dial, the more you push the master volume you're juist getting power tube saturation and compression, not volume.

There's a reason the EVH 50w heads are so popular. There's a reason people love the MT15. Great amps, not terribly expensive, smaller, lighter, and they just get the job done.
 
I'm the resident MT15 hater. I hate that fucking amp. Sterile cleans, shit to mediocre loop, and no taper on the gain channel. For short money, I'd do an Orange Rocker Terror 15, DSL20HR, or, for lower gain, an Origin 20.
 
I'm the resident MT15 hater. I hate that f*****g amp. Sterile cleans, s**t to mediocre loop, and no taper on the gain channel. For short money, I'd do an Orange Rocker Terror 15, DSL20HR, or, for lower gain, an Origin 20.
The MT15 does have a killer high gain channel. But I agree, sterile cleans and the FX loop is poorly designed and noisy. There’s good reason why I sold mine even after PRS “fixed” the FX loop issue. It was never fixed. It’s being interfered with by some other component and they should have found a different place in the amp to put the loop circuit. Bad design.
 
The MT15 does have a killer high gain channel. But I agree, sterile cleans and the FX loop is poorly designed and noisy. There’s good reason why I sold mine even after PRS “fixed” the FX loop issue. It was never fixed. It’s being interfered with by some other component and they should have found a different place in the amp to put the loop circuit. Bad design.

Hate it. I hate it.

Jim Carrey Reaction GIF
 
With the amount of overpriced gear going around these days, the MT15 stands out as one of the few legit fire breather amps being sold at a truly reasonable price. It’s awesome. Nobody has to like everything. :ROFLMAO:
For me it has enough drawbacks to not even consider it. Bad MV taper, way overgained lead channel, you pretty much need pedals for mid gain tones as that crunch switch isn't that great an option. They could have easily dropped one preamp tube worth of gain stages without issue to make it even cheaper.
 
For me it has enough drawbacks to not even consider it. Bad MV taper, way overgained lead channel, you pretty much need pedals for mid gain tones as that crunch switch isn't that great an option. They could have easily dropped one preamp tube worth of gain stages without issue to make it even cheaper.

I’m not saying it’s the perfect amp.

Mark isn’t exactly known for mid gain crunch tones. :ROFLMAO: If ya want clean + high gain, it goes hard. Warts and all.

Spot on with the MV, the amp is loud as shit. The wattage can deceive you. (And I found you pretty much want to leave it in 15w mode)
 
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Maybe the Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 40 Deluxe is a good choice? Am not sure if it fits your price range (used).
The HiGain Channel should be pretty good for modern metal, the Crunch also sounds quite good. Although I'm evaluating from YT vids here. Been years since I played one of the Tubemeister family (not sure which).

However, the consensus seems, the Deluxe versions sound significantly better.
Oh, and: these are not really full tube amps, there's quite a few opamps in the preamp...
 
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