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  1. #1

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    I’ve been having a lot of fun with Gitterbug’s Toob and a TC Electronics BAM 200, but I quite fancy getting something a bit more dirty and daddy wants a new toy.

    What‘s cheap and fun for recording and maybe small gigs should things improve?

    Headroom not a major consideration, think bluesy

    Will consider
    - hybrid units
    - preamps

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hey Christian,
    I'd recommend a Frenzel tube preamp!

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Hey Christian,
    I'd recommend a Frenzel tube preamp!
    Now that is a sweet looking website. It drools Classic Amps

  5. #4

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    The VHT Special 6 head is handwired, 6 watt tube head and was reasonably priced last time I checked.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Hey Christian,
    I'd recommend a Frenzel tube preamp!
    Oh they look sweet.

    Maybe at some point - a little pricey for what I have in mind (I only really gigged a clean amp in the Before Times.)

  7. #6

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    I haven't tried one, but have heard good things about the Hotone Nano amps (tiny, cheap, and dirty)

    John

  8. #7

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    Hi Christian,

    NYC guitarist Greg Ruggiero has been gigging with the Toob speaker for a couple of years.

    I've seen him recommend on social media three small amp heads to go with it:

    The GSS Tube Sandwich mini head (£456 GBP)
    Boutique

    Wangs Mini 5 tube head (£195 GBP)
    Wangs Mini 5 Tube Head Amplifier VT-5H – Spartan Music

    Joyo Bluejay (£105 GBP)
    Joyo Bluejay – Thomann UK





  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I’ve been having a lot of fun with Gitterbug’s Toob and a TC Electronics BAM 200, but I quite fancy getting something a bit more dirty and daddy wants a new toy.

    What‘s cheap and fun for recording and maybe small gigs should things improve?

    Headroom not a major consideration, think bluesy

    Will consider
    - hybrid units
    - preamps
    You have a Fly Rig which can get very dirty, you want tubes and what else more ? Budget ?

  10. #9

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    take a look at the vox mv50 series...50 watts with nutube technology...they have different voiced versions...clean, ac (as in ac 30) & rock/gain versions

    cheap enough

    a friend has the clean..he loves it..plenty loud too


    cheers


    Last edited by neatomic; 09-26-2020 at 04:32 PM.

  11. #10

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    I haven't met Greg Ruggiero (yet) but we have corresponded extensively, and the TOOB Metro 6.5 cabs were developed on his suggestion. Greg is a constant searcher, known as the "small amp guy" in NY circles. These guys haul their gear on the subway, so every cubic inch and ounce counts. Greg's ideal amp has a tube/micro-tube preamp, three-band eq, fx loop and on-board reverb in the smallest possible pack. As far as I know, he gave up Wangs for reliability issues and GSS for tone quality. He used an Orange Micro Dark for awhile, and the Joyo Bluejay thereafter. Currently he's testing a prototype made somewhere in Europe to his specs. Needless to say, I'm interested in the outcome, as there's been so many queries about a TOOB combo or at least a powered cab. The BAM200 is great, although some early samples emitted a hiss whenever the left "sig" light went on, but it lacks both fx loop and reverb.

  12. #11

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    My son and I have a long experience with the VOX MV 50s. So have several TOOB users. Revolutionary when introduced, they are still among top-draw micro-amps. The handle makes them look like a travel iron and is perfectly useless. I have had three Clean samples, and there's some variation in how much clean headroom they actually offer. If you want some lint on your tone, the AC might be the right choice. My son, a 80s shredder, has the Classic Rock version, and Christo Ball, a pro guitarist/vocalist and teacher from Dresden, prefers the Boutique version. Apparently, VOX has masterminded the product differentation in hopes of selling several versions to the same customer. A bit more clean headroom and on-board reverb is what the straight-ahead jazz community would appreciate. In terms of volume, the 50 watts are real and present. At the Mannheim Guitar Summit 2018, sliced between Hughes&Kettner and Thomas Blug's BluGuitar, we were perfectly capable of making more than enough noise.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    You have a Fly Rig which can get very dirty, you want tubes and what else more ? Budget ?
    I don't like the Fly Rig's Plexi stage. I can get a decent sound from driving the sansamp stage.

    I kind of fancy something a bit more Raarrr though.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I don't like the Fly Rig's Plexi stage. I can get a decent sound from driving the sansamp stage.

    I kind of fancy something a bit more Raarrr though.

    -Victory BD-1 Victory Amps | BD1 | compact amp

    -Engl Ironball E606 ENGL Guitar Amplifiers

    -Demeter Mighty Minnie. TGA-1-180D The Mighty Minnie

    -Orange Micro Terror

    small and tubey but not cheap
    Last edited by medblues; 09-26-2020 at 06:09 PM.

  15. #14

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    Christian, grab your TOOB and cycle to the nearest Orange vendor. The MicroTerror you can skip; the Micro Dark and the new Terror Stamp are worth trying. I think they break too early, being meant for rock, but a milder preamp tube might resolve that. I'll see if I find which tube Greg Ruggiero has been using, he told it hundreds of e-mails ago. The Terror Stamp is meant for pedalboard but is a perfect physical fit to your Metro 6.5BG. The tube is horizontal, allowing for a flat enclosure.

    Edit: Greg's tube is Tung-Sol 12au7, apparently available as NOS. He gets a better response from it on the Micro Dark than the Terror Stamp, indicating the circuits are not quite the same.
    Last edited by Gitterbug; 09-27-2020 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Additional information

  16. #15

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    There is also the very inexpensive (less than US$100) Monoprice 5 watt tube amp which has a speaker-out. The amp itself is not much bigger than a head, has an 8" speaker and I've had a lot of fun with it.

  17. #16

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    I just watched some videos on those little Voxes, and I am very tempted to pick one up as a back-up amp for gigs (it's a classic rock band). The "Boutique" one sounds very nice to my ears.... but then even when I'm playing clean I like a little hair on it....

  18. #17

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    I'm no engineer, but I can't imagine it would cost that much to put a reverb chip into these micro amps.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Christian, grab your TOOB and cycle to the nearest Orange vendor. The MicroTerror you can skip; the Micro Dark and the new Terror Stamp are worth trying. I think they break too early, being meant for rock, but a milder preamp tube might resolve that. I'll see if I find which tube Greg Ruggiero has been using, he told it hundreds of e-mails ago. The Terror Stamp is meant for pedalboard but is a perfect physical fit to your Metro 6.5BG. The tube is horizontal, allowing for a flat enclosure.

    Edit: Greg's tube is Tung-Sol 12au7, apparently available as NOS. He gets a better response from it on the Micro Dark than the Terror Stamp, indicating the circuits are not quite the same.
    Great, that's very interesting. I like the way those Orange amps sound. It's probably cool to clean up the preamp and then if I want mega gain hit it with a boost or a TS or something. But I think what I want is more of a classical brit amp sound, and the Orange seems to do that unsurprisingly.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Christian, grab your TOOB and cycle to the nearest Orange vendor. The MicroTerror you can skip; the Micro Dark and the new Terror Stamp are worth trying. I think they break too early, being meant for rock, but a milder preamp tube might resolve that. I'll see if I find which tube Greg Ruggiero has been using, he told it hundreds of e-mails ago. The Terror Stamp is meant for pedalboard but is a perfect physical fit to your Metro 6.5BG. The tube is horizontal, allowing for a flat enclosure.

    Edit: Greg's tube is Tung-Sol 12au7, apparently available as NOS. He gets a better response from it on the Micro Dark than the Terror Stamp, indicating the circuits are not quite the same.
    Well the Microdark sounds quite different, a very nice clean tone surprisingly


    I do like the channel switching/boost functionality and mid push of the stamp though...

    interesting stuff

  21. #20

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    Obviously, amps and cabs are of low interest to Forum actives. No-one else has reacted to the previous post. Yet, the amp, the cab and the speaker are key constituents of the sound as heard by the audience. People can (and do) debate on end on a given archtop's acoustic properties. We are frequently blessed with great acoustic chord-melody performances. But aren't they mainly addressing an audience of one - the ego holding the guitar?

    Through my computer's speakers, I heard much less difference than from my real-world experiments with the Oranges. Whoever manages to shoehorn a decent reverb into an amp of this caliber, will be the Apple, i.e. the winner.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Obviously, amps and cabs are of low interest to Forum actives. No-one else has reacted to the previous post. Yet, the amp, the cab and the speaker are key constituents of the sound as heard by the audience. People can (and do) debate on end on a given archtop's acoustic properties. We are frequently blessed with great acoustic chord-melody performances. But aren't they mainly addressing an audience of one - the ego holding the guitar?

    Through my computer's speakers, I heard much less difference than from my real-world experiments with the Oranges. Whoever manages to shoehorn a decent reverb into an amp of this caliber, will be the Apple, i.e. the winner.
    For me amps are very interesting, but I can’t seem to keep track of discussions using the Tapatalk app. Anyway a dirt cheap one would be the 5W Epiphone head, second hand. The combo has huge noise issues. I was also thinking a class A circuit board from eBay with a 6L6, a 12AX7, a reverb chip and two transformers put in. Too much work probably and risking non-satisfactory results.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I’ve been having a lot of fun with Gitterbug’s Toob and a TC Electronics BAM 200, but I quite fancy getting something a bit more dirty and daddy wants a new toy.

    What‘s cheap and fun for recording and maybe small gigs should things improve?

    Headroom not a major consideration, think bluesy

    Will consider
    - hybrid units
    - preamps
    If I were in the market for what looks like a FUN little amp, I'd check out the Peavey Classic 20 Mini Amp Head.

    Classic(R) 20 MH Mini Amp Head | Peavey.com


    • Attenuator switch for 20 watts, 5 watts or 1 watt output power
    • Two EL84 power tubes and three 12AX7/ECC83 preamp tubes
    • Two footswitchable channels with 3-band EQ
    • Footswitchable global volume boost, reverb, and effects loop
    • Footswitch included
    • T.S.I.™ (Tube Status Indication) circuit
    • MSDI™ Output with XLR and ground lift switch
    • USB Output
    • Speaker defeat switch
    • Headphone output.
    • Footswitch included
    • Impedance switch for 16 or 8 ohm cabinets
    • Weight Unpacked: 16.75 lb(7.6 kg)
    • Weight Packed: 20.50 lb(9.3 kg)
    • Width Packed: 13.25"(33.655 cm)
    • Height Packed: 19.375"(49.2125 cm)
    • Depth Packed: 12.375"(31.4325 cm)

  24. #23

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    That’s a great blues amp. I’ve played the 30 and 50 and they sound great.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  25. #24

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    Yeah I’ve played the Peavey Classic 20 on a gig through the matching cab (it’s the house amp at a local music venue.)

    Sounds GREAT! A bit heavy and a bit lacking in headroom for jazzy jazz. Also too heavy to be worthwhile for me really.

    I need something featherweight as... well... London’s kinda screwed transport wise? The Tories are trying to get Sadiq Kahn to extend the congestion charge zone to encompass all of London, which means every time I drive that’s £12. The transport network is also likely to get more expensive and clobbered with reduced services.

    I might have to get a bike. So yeah micro amps are the way forward. Getting the H&K Spirit of Vintage because apparently it has mega headroom. But yeah, lack of reverb is annoying.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-30-2020 at 06:00 AM.

  26. #25

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    I mean I have no gigs anyway so it’s a moot point.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Yeah I’ve played the Peavey Classic 20 on a gig through the matching cab (it’s the house amp at a local music venue.)

    Sounds GREAT! A bit heavy and a bit lacking in headroom for jazzy jazz.

    .
    Jazzy jazz. As opposed to non-jazzy jazz. Love that! lol... reminds me of a thread here...

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9 View Post
    Jazzy jazz. As opposed to non-jazzy jazz. Love that! lol... reminds me of a thread here...
    Jazzy jazz wot goes noodlynoodlynoodly

  29. #28

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    I've got the Quilter Microblock, a Hall of Fame and a Boss EQ. Fits in the guitar case if necessary. It's built for clean sound, though.





    But yes, the Spirit of Vintage ticks a lot of boxes...

  30. #29

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    The Spirit of Vintage has a lot of chimey treble end. But Chris, you will find it an excellent companion to your Metro 6.5BG, which doesn't.

  31. #30

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    A Quilter Interblock 45 and a ZT speaker are the tiniest rig I can come up with with my gear.

  32. #31

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    Try a TOOB metro! :-)

  33. #32

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    Wow! That's even smaller and probably louder than my light rig (quilter micro block 45 going into a passive ZT lunchbox cabinet). I wonder if the Joyo head will work internationally.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjang1993
    Wow! That's even smaller and probably louder than my light rig (quilter micro block 45 going into a passive ZT lunchbox cabinet). I wonder if the Joyo head will work internationally.
    Hi there!

    Yes, a TOOB Metro 6.5BG (Bass&Guitar, the one Christian has) weighs 2.1 kg / 4.6 lbs vs. 3.2 kg / 7.0 lbs of the Lunchbox extension cab, with power handling of 130W vs 100W. Tone is a matter of taste, and Lunchbox seems to divide opinions. If the speaker in their extension cab is the same as in the original combo (which I had years ago and ended using to amplify a budget-priced plectrum banjo with no tone ring), it's low sensitivity even for the size. My pretty safe bet is that the Metro is louder, which means that any micro amp's clean headroom goes a longer way. The Yoyo power supply unit handles 110-240V, 50-60Hz, so it's universal, like the Interblock. However, I again want to remind you of the TC Electronic BAM 200, which has a very tube-like tone and an internal, universal power unit, plus weighs half of the Yoyo.

    The hybrid micro-amps with their single preamp tube sticking up require a relatively bulky enclosure vs. the pure Class D "bass" (in reality, universal) amps. Weight and size hyperconscious Brooklyn jazz guitarist Greg Ruggiero has built his own enclosures for the Orange Micro Dark and the Yoyo Bluejay. I don't know whether he removes the tube for transport, but it sticks out like a lighthouse in all photos I've seen.

  35. #34

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    Also TOOB seems much better made than the ZT stuff which I have to say from experience is not well made. The thing just died.

    Lunchbox speaker definitely less powerful; you can tell how inefficient it is because the Lunchbox sounds really loud through even a 1x10 cab. If they rolled out a head version I might be interested.

    TOOB Metro is loud enough to play solos over a big band. I wouldn’t use for a rock gig, but it’s deceptively loud and everyone who’s seen it is kind of knocked out by how powerful it is for its size.

    Looking forward to seeing what the little H&K sounds like through it.

  36. #35

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    Thanks, Christian!

    Actually, the Metro BG just found its limits . A recent Finnish bassist customer took it to the rehearsals of a heavy metal band and did not get quite enough clean volume on a C-tuned bass, i.e. two full steps below standard tuning. Well, you can't cheat all the laws of physics all the time. He's quite happy with the BG in his other band setting, which I understand is more more melodic pop on more reasonable volumes.

  37. #36

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    Haha, oh well you can’t win ‘em all.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Thanks, Christian!

    Actually, the Metro BG just found its limits . A recent Finnish bassist customer took it to the rehearsals of a heavy metal band and did not get quite enough clean volume on a C-tuned bass, i.e. two full steps below standard tuning
    thats hilarious !
    I amazing that he didn't blow it up .....

    you make good kit GltterBug
    I love my metro

  39. #38

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    Wooo! I just ordered a Toob Metro 6.5BG, Markku did an amazing job helping me decide which of the three to get. I have a Quilter Microblock 45 that I usually run a Joyo American Sound. I'm thinking of getting a Joyo Bluejay head to have some more amp head options.

  40. #39

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    Just to put the record straight, after some last-minute exchanges, we finally ended with a Metro 6.5GP+ (Guitar Ported), because Jesse prefers a tone universe brighter than traditional smoky jazz. The Eminence Alphalite 6A speaker offers all the bass a jazz guitarist needs, plus reaches 1.5kHz higher than the SICA 6 L 1,5SL speaker, standard on the Metro BG (Bass&Guitar). In practice, for a guitarist, there's a 95% overlap in performance. For traditionalists and thunk-seekers, BG is the recipe.

  41. #40

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    Is there a comparison of a Metro BG to a henriksen Blu6 or the like? Would love to hear that...

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Hey Christian,
    I'd recommend a Frenzel tube preamp!
    I was all ready to buy one of his ab763 amps. I emailed him and asked him what transformers he uses and what voltages his tubes "run" at and he emailed me back that it's proprietary information that he couldn't reveal. That didn't sit well with me for repair/maintenence purposes, particularly because his circuits are all copies of fender and marshall amps anyway so decided not to pull the trigger.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_lu View Post
    Is there a comparison of a Metro BG to a henriksen Blu6 or the like? Would love to hear that...
    So would I, with no fear. But this is difficult to organize, especially on neutral ground. Plus, it wouldn't be apples to apples except regarding tone. Features, price, which amp to use with the Metro etc.

    There's just two European dealers that represent both Henriksens and Toobs, namely Liberty Music (Neustadt, Germany) and Lightweightguitaramps (Hungary). However, neither currently has the Blu on the shelf, due to the manufacturer's shipping stoppage. Ernst Weinbach and László Balogh will probably be happy to share their opinions on each. I think only László has held the Blu and a TOOB Metro BG simultaneously.

    Any volunteer Blu - or Little Jazz - owners out there? Preferably Europeisch. It's 200 euros and change; shipped via UPS, so a return sticker is included. The money stays with PayPal and will be retuned if the BG doesn't stick.
    Last edited by Gitterbug; 11-06-2020 at 01:00 PM.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    take a look at the vox mv50 series...50 watts with nutube technology...they have different voiced versions...clean, ac (as in ac 30) & rock/gain versions

    cheap enough

    a friend has the clean..he loves it..plenty loud too


    cheers


    I have the AC version and it is awesome. They are fantastic headphone amps as well. I use mine all the time when the rest of my family is asleep and I don't want to disturb them.

  45. #44

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    I didn't really like the Clean, but I could be tempted by the AC...

  46. #45

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    They do a Boutique version too
    apparently it's good for the edge of breakup thing I need

    MV50 Boutique - Vox Amps

    anyone got one ?

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    They do a Boutique version too
    apparently it's good for the edge of breakup thing I need

    MV50 Boutique - Vox Amps

    anyone got one ?
    Two pros I know of: Christo Ball, Dresden, Germany and Petteri Arvola, now head of popular music at Rovaniemi Music College. Both TOOB artists, of course.

    Cheers,

    Markku

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_lu View Post
    Is there a comparison of a Metro BG to a henriksen Blu6 or the like? Would love to hear that...
    Sorry to return to this question belatedly. It just dawned on me that Robert Vennström, a Swedish solo artist living in Bergen, Norway (où la femme est) uses a 6" Henriksen and a Metro 6.5BG as an extension cab or stage monitor, depending on the situation. He calls the combination a "cannon" - the Swedish expression for something superb. I just asked him if he's got an opinion of the tones separately. Will follow up as soon as there's an answer.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    There is also the very inexpensive (less than US$100) Monoprice 5 watt tube amp which has a speaker-out. The amp itself is not much bigger than a head, has an 8" speaker and I've had a lot of fun with it.
    SubZero (gear4music) and Harley Benton (Thomann) are "European" equivalents, in the sense that they are store brands for Chinese made tube amps, probably easier to order in the UK.

    They have several models, both head and combos. Both have tweed champ inspired models.

  50. #49

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    I am a little bit worried about bad earthing etc on the cheaper units.