Jazz Guitar
Learn how to play jazz guitar with our eBook bundle
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 30 of 30
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Posts
    6,009

    Amps Monoprice 15 Watt Tube Amp-Mic and Direct

    I continue to enjoy playing with this cheap Monoprice 15 Watt tube amp. This evening I thought I'd try out using the effects send for direct recording. So this clip is 3 choruses of "How About You," the Head, then 2 boppish choruses of Jimmy Raney from Aebersold Vol. 20. I alternate between the mic'd and the direct line about every 10-15 seconds. I have tried to equalize the loudness of each track, but no other changes.

    You can spot the direct line recording clips because the red cable running from the amp to my PreSonus AudioBox iTwo is coiled on top of the amp when I'm doing the direct clips.

    Honestly, I can hear a slight difference, but not enough to make me think one or the other is definitely the preferred way to record with this amp. I am inclined to be biased toward mic'ing the cab, but seriously, the direct line from the effects send seems to me to be just fine for hobby-level recording.

    I also continue to enjoy this amp. No illusions, it is what it is, a $200 tube amp, but it has responded well to my TLC and tweaking and I'm having a ton of fun with it. Kind of like a girl you enjoy dating but likely wouldn't marry...

    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,362
    It's as if the "invisible man" is switching between direct and mic - such a seamless edit!
    To me the direct sounds a tad clearer but not by much - both approaches are definitely useable. Nice playing, too - Thanks!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Posts
    6,009
    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO View Post
    It's as if the "invisible man" is switching between direct and mic - such a seamless edit!
    To me the direct sounds a tad clearer but not by much - both approaches are definitely useable. Nice playing, too - Thanks!
    I have a pretty good workflow figured out for doing this kind of clip. It needs a backing track for synch, a more or less memorized piece of music, and my video editing software is Screenflow. Not "easy" but not especially difficult. I enjoy side-by-side comparisons, so it's natural to share with the forum.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,362
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I enjoy side-by-side comparisons, so it's natural to share with the forum.
    ...and very welcome, too.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    so it's natural to share with the forum.
    They are very helpful, thanks a million for doing and sharing them.
    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Baja Baja Oklahoma
    Posts
    3,255
    The direct recording seems hotter, even though the levels are more or less normalized. A slightly lower level on the recording might sound better, or not, that's purely preference. Microphone placement also makes a difference, and you might not have the optimal placement, can't tell from one clip. But that's all just nit-picking. The recordings and playing are good, and which is better depends on taste. For my taste, the direct seems slightly better, but my preference of seasonings isn't everyone's. And on a different day, I might prefer the speaker/mic.

  7. #7
    Get yourself an impulse response (IR) plug-in (I use Space Designer inside of Logic) and some IRs and you can effectively run that direct signal through a variety of speakers/cabs.

  8. #8
    Go on...marry that girl.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Hague (The Netherlands)
    Posts
    2,998
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    Go on...marry that girl.
    Keep it as the side-chick! ;-)



    (I am all for monogamy, just not when it comes to guitars and amps....)
    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul, Groove & Boogaloo: My group ::
    :: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! ::

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    northeast Penna
    Posts
    277
    Tonally speaking I prefer the direct. However musically speaking (which matters most to me), I prefer the mic. I think because the mix seems so much better to me. The level of the direct guitar seems too loud compared to the backing track, at least on my end.
    So the point is I guess that everything matters to some degree.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    New York, NY, USA
    Posts
    1,919
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I continue to enjoy playing with this cheap Monoprice 15 Watt tube amp. This evening I thought I'd try out using the effects send for direct recording. So this clip is 3 choruses of "How About You," the Head, then 2 boppish choruses of Jimmy Raney from Aebersold Vol. 20. I alternate between the mic'd and the direct line about every 10-15 seconds. I have tried to equalize the loudness of each track, but no other changes.

    You can spot the direct line recording clips because the red cable running from the amp to my PreSonus AudioBox iTwo is coiled on top of the amp when I'm doing the direct clips.

    Honestly, I can hear a slight difference, but not enough to make me think one or the other is definitely the preferred way to record with this amp. I am inclined to be biased toward mic'ing the cab, but seriously, the direct line from the effects send seems to me to be just fine for hobby-level recording.

    I also continue to enjoy this amp. No illusions, it is what it is, a $200 tube amp, but it has responded well to my TLC and tweaking and I'm having a ton of fun with it. Kind of like a girl you enjoy dating but likely wouldn't marry...

    I thought the two sounded pretty different -- the direct sound was brighter and less compressed, which is pretty much exactly what I would expect with the power section and speaker taken out of the signal chain. I prefer the sound of the complete amp. I find that for direct recording it's important to have some sort of speaker emulation.

    John

  12. #12
    The direct was bright but still great sound out that 175 Lawson. I could tell easy and preferred the mic version not so hot and bright. Nice playing too.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Posts
    6,009
    I'm still getting adjusted to how tube amps, or at least this tube amp, sounds and how it responds. I get a little break up on the chord passages, but clean on the single-note; a little bright in the treble but not harsh... it's a different kind of thing playing through this amp. I know that there is a lot of difference between this amp and a really nice one, but already I do see how playing this amp is different. I keep the guitar volume closer to 5 or 6 but with the Polytone or DVMark I keep the volume on about 8-9, and there isn't much difference as I turn up or down from the guitar with the latter two, but on the tube amp I hear a significant difference in tone as I turn the guitar up and down. It's fun hunting for different "spots" in the spectrum of the amp.

    Or maybe I'm just deluded!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Hague (The Netherlands)
    Posts
    2,998
    I preferred the sound of the mic-ed amp as well, but I’m sure that with some eq-ing, the direct sound could be made to sound pretty similar. But one if the most important factors you already mention: the feel, response and behavior of a real amp is just as important!
    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul, Groove & Boogaloo: My group ::
    :: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! ::

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,717

    Monoprice 15 Watt Tube Amp-Mic and Direct

    Hey Lawson - sounds good man! Have you pushed the amp to higher volumes? If so, how do you think it would compete with bass and drums on a gig or rehearsal? I haven’t had a tube amp in years because of the lower weight and convenience of solid state but this little thing is tempting. However if it were just a living room amp then I’d probably pass, at least for now. If I can put it to work, though, then I would probably get one. (Edit: I should have clarified, volume while still relatively clean. I don’t mind a very small amount of breakup when digging into chords - that’s a pleasing old school sound. But if everything is broken up when playing at gig volumes then it wouldn’t be usable for my purposes)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Posts
    6,009
    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    Hey Lawson - sounds good man! Have you pushed the amp to higher volumes? If so, how do you think it would compete with bass and drums on a gig or rehearsal? I haven’t had a tube amp in years because of the lower weight and convenience of solid state but this little thing is tempting. However if it were just a living room amp then I’d probably pass, at least for now. If I can put it to work, though, then I would probably get one. (Edit: I should have clarified, volume while still relatively clean. I don’t mind a very small amount of breakup when digging into chords - that’s a pleasing old school sound. But if everything is broken up when playing at gig volumes then it wouldn’t be usable for my purposes)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    That's a hard question to answer. First of all, I've put 5751's in place of 12AX7s V1 and V2, which gives a little more clean and (I think) a somewhat sweeter tone. If I put the Gain on about 2-3, amp EQ about 5, give or take, and my guitar volume at 5 or 6, I can turn the amp volume up past 7 or 8 without much break up on single note lines, but it does break up on chordal punches. It sounds pretty loud, way too loud for the room I practice in, but I haven't played the amp with an ensemble or on a gig, so i just can't tell you how it performs under those circumstances. It isn't set up to emulate a Fender sound, it is more like a British amp, I'm thinking. Power tubes are EL84/7189. What I'm actually running in it are a matched pair of NOS Russian 6P14P and I actually like the sound a lot. But I'm not the most experienced hot-bottle player in the neighborhood so my opinions are worth about what you paid for them!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Posts
    6,009
    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    Hey Lawson - sounds good man! Have you pushed the amp to higher volumes? If so, how do you think it would compete with bass and drums on a gig or rehearsal? I haven’t had a tube amp in years because of the lower weight and convenience of solid state but this little thing is tempting. However if it were just a living room amp then I’d probably pass, at least for now. If I can put it to work, though, then I would probably get one. (Edit: I should have clarified, volume while still relatively clean. I don’t mind a very small amount of breakup when digging into chords - that’s a pleasing old school sound. But if everything is broken up when playing at gig volumes then it wouldn’t be usable for my purposes)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    So I thought I'd try to do a clip at higher volumes. The clip opens showing where the controls on the amp and the guitar were placed, and I've played a Jimmy Raney blues solo that has some chord punches in it. I turned it up until it was pretty much either breaking up or about to break up the whole time. Also dug in on my picking in places just to see what happens. I had to turn the input gain on my mic way down to keep the AD Converter from clipping.



    And since you, Rio, my friend, like the L5ces, here's the same solo done on my L5ces, same settings. Maybe the guitar volume a little lower actually, but no change on the amp.

    Last edited by lawson-stone; 02-16-2019 at 06:49 PM.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  18. #18
    Great sound, even with the break-up. It sounds very much like a pushed tweed-era Fender to my ear.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,717

    Monoprice 15 Watt Tube Amp-Mic and Direct

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    So I thought I'd try to do a clip at higher volumes. The clip opens showing where the controls on the amp and the guitar were placed, and I've played a Jimmy Raney blues solo that has some chord punches in it. I turned it up until it was pretty much either breaking up or about to break up the whole time. Also dug in on my picking in places just to see what happens. I had to turn the input gain on my mic way down to keep the AD Converter from clipping.



    And since you, Rio, my friend, like the L5ces, here's the same solo done on my L5ces, same settings. Maybe the guitar volume a little lower actually, but no change on the amp.

    Wow, thank you so much Lawson, that is extremely helpful. After hearing the L5 through it I think that is a totally acceptable amount of breakup and it really sounds awesome. Ive been thinking of putting some of my tax refund into something guitar related despite really simplifying and selling a lot of stuff...this is very tempting.

    edit: I just ordered one. I’ve been doing some recording for a bass player friend lately so if anything I can use it for that - I’ll be very curious to see how much volume I can get out of it. Will try the stock tubes for now - last tube amp I had was a Twin like 15 years ago so I don’t remember anything about tubes but I’ll keep the ones you chose in mind if I swap them. How did you arrive at choosing those as replacements by the way?

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by rio; 02-17-2019 at 01:17 PM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Posts
    6,009
    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    Wow, thank you so much Lawson, that is extremely helpful. After hearing the L5 through it I think that is a totally acceptable amount of breakup and it really sounds awesome. Ive been thinking of putting some of my tax refund into something guitar related despite really simplifying and selling a lot of stuff...this is very tempting.

    edit: I just ordered one. I’ve been doing some recording for a bass player friend lately so if anything I can use it for that - I’ll be very curious to see how much volume I can get out of it. Will try the stock tubes for now - last tube amp I had was a Twin like 15 years ago so I don’t remember anything about tubes but I’ll keep the ones you chose in mind if I swap them. How did you arrive at choosing those as replacements by the way?

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    I can tell you that replacing the V1 and V2 12AX7 tubes with 5751's is a great move for this amp. I used Tube Amp Doctor tubes ordered from StewMac. I also found some NOS EL84 subs for the power tubes (Russian 6P14P), but the original tubes actually sounded quite good to my ear. The 5751's will give a nice increase in clean headroom and I think the tone sweetens a bit with them.

    This isn't a Princeton Reverb, you know? It's a Chinese made PCB $200 amp... but I've gotten more than my fair share of pleasure from it.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,717
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I can tell you that replacing the V1 and V2 12AX7 tubes with 5751's is a great move for this amp. I used Tube Amp Doctor tubes ordered from StewMac. I also found some NOS EL84 subs for the power tubes (Russian 6P14P), but the original tubes actually sounded quite good to my ear. The 5751's will give a nice increase in clean headroom and I think the tone sweetens a bit with them.

    This isn't a Princeton Reverb, you know? It's a Chinese made PCB $200 amp... but I've gotten more than my fair share of pleasure from it.
    I’m pretty psyched to try it. I am so out of the tube loop considering how long it’s been (I think I used Sovtek back in the late 90s) so I just ordered some JJ 5751s since they were on amazon and I could return them that way if they’re stinkers. I was at an organist buddies last night for a jam and it’s been a while so I forget how loud it can get with a B3 and drums. Gigs aren’t typically that loud but I’ll be curious to see if that amp can hang in that context. I think even if I just use it for quieter stuff and recording then I’ll be happy but I’m very curious to see how it will perform.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,717
    Hey Lawson, I have one more question if you don’t mind. I was doing some reading to catch up on tube amp terminology and so on and am wondering why you choose to replace the V1 and V2 tubes but not V3. I ordered 3 5751 tubes figuring if I do the same as you I can keep the third as a spare but wasn’t sure if it’s worth it to swap out the V3 as well. From what I’m reading it seems that V3 doesn’t have an affect on the tone on some amps?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Posts
    6,009

    Monoprice 15 Watt Tube Amp-Mic and Direct

    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    Hey Lawson, I have one more question if you don’t mind. I was doing some reading to catch up on tube amp terminology and so on and am wondering why you choose to replace the V1 and V2 tubes but not V3. I ordered 3 5751 tubes figuring if I do the same as you I can keep the third as a spare but wasn’t sure if it’s worth it to swap out the V3 as well. From what I’m reading it seems that V3 doesn’t have an affect on the tone on some amps?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    V3 is the phase inverter and lots of folks do replace that but with a 12AT7. V1 and V2 are the actual pre-amp stages. YOu also have 2 EL84’s in the power amp. I”d suggest doing nothing with those and just see if you like them. I was pretty happy but got the Tube Rolling Disease and wanted to try some others. NOt sure it was worth it, but replacing V1-2 with 5751’s was a great move (for me anyhow). I can’t wait to hear your reactions. We can be a Study Group of 2!

    Also, the numbering starts on the RIGHT as you look at the back of the amp. V1 is on the far right.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Wichita, KS
    Posts
    1,505
    I've done a fair share of tube rolling, but in a lazy non-tech sort of way.
    But I will say that IMO the V1 position is the biggest tone changer, and that a good old NOS 5751 in V1 is just great in so many amps.
    If you are messing around beyond that, might as well look at some upgraded power tubes as well just for kicks.

    JJ's, Tung-sols, Tads, NOS, . . . it's all fun, but it's a deep rabbit hole for sure

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,717
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    V3 is the phase inverter and lots of folks do replace that but with a 12AT7. V1 and V2 are the actual pre-amp stages. YOu also have 2 EL84’s in the power amp. I”d suggest doing nothing with those and just see if you like them. I was pretty happy but got the Tube Rolling Disease and wanted to try some others. NOt sure it was worth it, but replacing V1-2 with 5751’s was a great move (for me anyhow). I can’t wait to hear your reactions. We can be a Study Group of 2!

    Also, the numbering starts on the RIGHT as you look at the back of the amp. V1 is on the far right.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Ah ok - that’s for the heads up regarding v1 being on the right! It’s supposed to arrive tomorrow if the incoming snow doesn’t stop UPS (crossing my fingers) so I will certainly check in about it. I won’t be able to really push it to check the volume until I’m at work on Thursday unless my neighbors are out but I’m still really excited to try it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,717
    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go View Post
    I've done a fair share of tube rolling, but in a lazy non-tech sort of way.
    But I will say that IMO the V1 position is the biggest tone changer, and that a good old NOS 5751 in V1 is just great in so many amps.
    If you are messing around beyond that, might as well look at some upgraded power tubes as well just for kicks.

    JJ's, Tung-sols, Tads, NOS, . . . it's all fun, but it's a deep rabbit hole for sure
    I got JJs just because they’d arrive at the same time as the amp but I’d like to find NOS tubes. Good to know regarding v1 havingthe biggest impact - thanks for the info!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Posts
    6,009
    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    I got JJs just because they’d arrive at the same time as the amp but I’d like to find NOS tubes. Good to know regarding v1 havingthe biggest impact - thanks for the info!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    The hilarious irony is that you can spend more on the tube rolling than you spend on this amp! But it's so much fun. Something about this amp just makes me want to experiment.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Wichita, KS
    Posts
    1,505
    That is very true! Some dudes seem to get addicted to it.

    I kinda stumbled into tube rolling because I bought a couple of pawn shop amps that just happened to have expensive NOS glass in them. I eventually sold the amps, but kept the good tubes! When I had a VHT Special 6, I really got into trying out the various sounds. Eventually, I got tired of piddling around and got back to putting my time into practice. But I did discover the NOS 5751 along the way. It's been my go to ever since. The amps may come and go, but I don't sell my favorite tubes.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,717
    The amp arrived today - schools and many businesses were closed due to snow but UPS not only delivered but delivered early.

    This amp has no right to sound this good at this price and that’s even before the tube swap. The replacement tubes should arrive before the end of the week and I think I’ll have a chance to record with it on Sunday but so far just in my living room I am THRILLED with how it sounds with my L5.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Posts
    6,009
    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    The amp arrived today - schools and many businesses were closed due to snow but UPS not only delivered but delivered early.

    This amp has no right to sound this good at this price and that’s even before the tube swap. The replacement tubes should arrive before the end of the week and I think I’ll have a chance to record with it on Sunday but so far just in my living room I am THRILLED with how it sounds with my L5.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    That's a common reaction judging from other forums I've cruised reading discussions about this amp. All your tube replacement will do is buy you some more headroom and the 5751 gives a sweeter tone somehow, hard to describe (might be my imagination). For a "Fender" vibe turn the EQ mid knob down to 1 or 2, bump the T and B up, put the tone knob on about 6 and find the spot on the gain where the break-up comes when you really dig in. It's a pretty decent tone. Not a 65 Princeton Reverb, for sure, but a very fine and respectable warm, tube-clean tone.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

Join our Facebook Page

Get in Touch


Jazz Guitar eBooks
How To Get a Jazz Guitar Tone?
Privacy Policy

 

 

Follow us on:

Jazz Guitar Online on FacebookJazz Guitar Online on TwitterJazz Guitar Online on YoutubeJazz Guitar Online RSS Feed