The Victoria Amplifier Company is know far and wide for crafting some of the finest tube amps available today. Company founder/tone guru Mark Baier has a sterling reputation for his 50’s Fender Tweed recreations as well as his original amp designs and has seen his amps used by players like Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, Steve Cropper, Charlie Hunter, and Greg Koch.
One of Victoria’s most popular models is the 518, which is Vic’s version of a 50’s Fender Tweed Champ. It delivers five blistering watts into a single eight-inch speaker via a 5F1-type circuit. Tubes employed on the Victoria 518 are one 5Y3WGTA, one 6V6GT, and one 12AX7. The speaker is either a Jensen P8R or C8R. The 518 is as pure and simple as an amp gets, with only one knob on its control panel that turns it on and controls its volume. There are no EQ knobs of any kind. The tone coming out is determined by what kind of guitar is plugged into it. Read more
First up in this tube guitar amplifier shootout is the Peavey 6505+ (aka Peavey 5150) – Peavey 6505+ 120W Guitar Amp Head is great for hardcore or metal players. SIX – 12AX7s in the preamp add up to even more terrifying punch and mind-rattling gain. Read more
Like all great inventions, the first Sunn amps were born of necessity. After the Kingmen stormed the charts in 1963 with their megahit “Louie, Louie,” the group’s bassist, Norm Sundholm, found that his amp wasn’t nearly loud enough for the large venues into wich his band was suddenly booked. He turned his brother Conrad for help, and by 1964 the pair had designed the world’s first high powered bass amp. The next year, with rock experiencing a massive growth spurt, their Sun Musical Equipment Company was well on its way to a place in the rock music history books, supplying rock band from Cream and the Who to Queen and Kiss with thundering stacks of loud, reliable gear. Now, over a quarter-century after its birth, Sunn, which was purchased by Fender in 1985, is taking a second stab at rock greatness. If the Model T is any indication of great things, just look at some of the equipment Sunn had pulled off. Read more
When it comes to rocking it out on stage or in the studio, you need a reliable amplifier that can provide that big tube tone. In this regard, Peavey’s ValveKing II Micro-head seems to be on everyone’s lips.
Boasting top-of-the-line features such: as a switchable 20W/5W/1W power output, three 12AX7 tubes, pair of EL84 power tubes, and a USB recording output. The Peavey Valve King II micro may be what you’ve been looking for.
In this Peavey ValveKing II review, we examine whether this unit is worth your money. Read more
To get the most out of your tube amp, which can be a hefty investment, here are some easy to follow handling and maintenance tips. There’s no arguing that tube amps still set the standard for tone – modern solid state and digital amps merely emulate the tube amps of the past. The unfortunate drawback however, is that tube amps are more expensive and fragile compared to solid state alternatives. Repairs and maintenance add to the already high costs of tube amps. Thankfully, some of these extra expenses can be avoided with proper care and maintenance. Read more
The introduction of Fender amplifiers almost coincided with the company’s electric guitars in the mid 1940s. The earliest venture into the amp market by Fender was marked by the production of what they named the “Tweed Amps” which had an output ranging from three to seventy five watts. However, these amplifiers had an inbuilt Read more
Since 1965, Peavey has built a reputation for making awesome guitar amplifiers, and they continue to evolve under the guidance of the company’s founder, Hartley Peavey. Their reputation has been solidified with a series of amazing amps, such as the 6505, JSX Joe Satriani signature amp, the Valve Kings, XXX, the Classic series, the Windsor, and others. In the non-tube amp category, their patented TransTube technology is almost indistinguishable from real tube-driven amps, setting the standard for performance, tone, and affordability. And now, with their VYPYR series of amps, Peavey finds themselves at the forefront of the modeling amp race as well. Read more
The almighty Mesa Boogie Roadster is a great sounding and versatile amp that is designed with the plug-in-and-play guitarist in mind. It is a brother to the Road King amp and is basically the same as the RK minus Mesa’s Progressive Linkage technology and some other back-panel features that some feel a player needs an advanced engineering degree to operate.
The Roadster gives less tech-friendly players a number of foot-switchable options to craft their tones with, without the anxiety of tons of power amp features they don’t understand. The Roadster’s channels one and two give up classic clean tones that can be duplicated across both channels for rhythm and lead applications. They also have TWEED and BRIT modes that work with the mid frequencies to get classic American blues and British rock sounds from clean to clipped. These two channels would make a great sounding and versatile amp all by themselves. Channels three and four offer players all the legendary tones found in Mesa’s Dual Rectifier Solo heads and contain all flavors of gain from mild to wild. Again, the sounds can be cloned across the channels for ultimate tonal control. Read more
What is a vacuum tube? — If the link between a light bulb and a raging Marshall stack doesn’t seem obvious, take a glance at those vacuum tubes glowing inside your amp. And then pay your respects to Thomas Edison, the Wizard of Menlo Park, New Jersey.
Edison produced an incandescent light bulb in the late 1870s by feeding an electric current to a filament until it burned bright red. He then sheathed the filament in a glass bulb and extracted the oxygen, thus creating a vacuum to prevent the filament from burning up.
During further experiments in 1883, Edison detected electrons flowing from the filament, through the vacuum and over to a metal plate he had placed inside the bulb. This discovery, named the Edison Effect, remained a minor phenomenon until another scientist, John Fleming, found that these electrons could be used to detect radio waves and convert them into electricity. Fleming added a second metal element to the bulb, thereby creating the first diode, or—to use a name more familiar to guitarists—rectifier. In 1906, inventor Lee de Forest added a third element to the bulb and found that the resulting triode could be used as both a switch and an amplifier. Today, the vacuum tube has evolved to include a complex assembly of plates, grids and heating elements that produce a more efficient part. Read more
There seems to be an awful lot of interest these days in tube amps that put out lower amounts of power, especially in more boutique, cork-sniffing circles. Just about every amp company has some kind of lunchbox-sized head or ankle-biter combo that puts out five to fifteen watts of power, it appears, and many players are taking the bait and paying top bucks for these little guys. Devotees of these things claim that “five watts is plenty to gig with” and they are more than able to hang with a drummer. Personally, I have a hard time with that statement. Read more