Are you looking for a small amp that is perfect to take anywhere but still has the power needed to be heard above the din? Then you may want to take a look at the Lil’ 15 by Bad Cat Amps. This is a great two channel 15 watt amp capable of delivering a range tones suitable for any small to mid-sized gig. Channel 1, is the clean circuit, while with channel two you can dial in some nice crunchy overdrive. Channel one has controls for volume and cut, which is actually somewhat of a presence control. The second channel gives you master volume and gain to play with.
The Lil’ 15 uses two 12AX7s for the preamp on channel one and then brings it home with two EL84s. The second channel gets its hot sound from the EF86 tube that powers it. The amp uses hand would power and output transformers, which were used to determine just how big the Lil’ 15 is—the amp is only as tall as the transformers. The Lil’ 15 measures 14” long by 8.5” high by 7 inches deep. It weighs only 21 pounds.
The Budda Amps MN-100 Head is an innovative amp that sounds outstanding and looks pretty sharp too. This powerful and versatile amp was created in part by Mark Nason, who brings his signature style and design to the MN-100. Mark Nason is designer of Italian leather shoes for rockers who teamed up with Budda to create the unique look of the MN-100. This amp was designed to cover a range of sounds from a Fender Twin vibe on the clean channel, to a Marshall JCM 800 on channel 2 and a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier on the 3rd channel. This is one of Budda’s first entries in the area of modern multi-channel tube amps, and it’s also one of their most sophisticated amps to date. But while some amps become overly sophisticated to the point of losing sight of the most important aspect of any amp—its tone—Budda’s engineers always made certain that the MN-100 was focused on capturing a specific style and sound.
The MN-100 features three independent channels. The amp runs on 120 watts of power, although a half-power switch lets you cut it down to 60 if you prefer. Under the hood, the MN-100 uses five 12AX7 preamp tubes, a 12AX7 for the over-boost circuit, and a 12AX7 for the phase splitter. The main power section is run by four EL34s, although you can opt for four 6L6s if you like. The amp generally uses two 5U4 tubes in its rectifier section, but you can modify it to use either 5AR4s or GZ34s.
Budda claims that this leather-bound product is the best amp money can buy, and it certainly looks like it’s worth a million bucks. The final price tag for the MN-100 is $4,999. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.
Tone King calls their Metropolitan amp the most tuneful, musical, and flexible amp they’ve produced, and that’s no lie. This amp is a versatile little workhorse, doing it all and doing it well. The clean channel on this amp is full, chimey, and quite articulate. It also has great reverb, amazing sustain and tone, and much more. It’s one of Tone King's top products, and if you want an amp that sounds amazing at any volume, has sweet bluesy cleans to hard rockin' classic drive then you're gonna love this amp.
The Metropolitan is built using high quality components in all phases. Every Metro amp is hand built by Mark Bartel, the designer, using custom parts he orders from top quality manufacturers. He didn’t skimp on anything here. The secret to the Metropolitan’s abilities is the Phase-4 power control system. Its output power is adjustable and can range from .01 watts to a full 40 watts. It uses four 6V6GT tubes to provide this. The preamp section features four 12AX7s and a 12AT7, while the rectifier tube is a 5AR4. The speaker is a custom-designed 1x12 inch.
The Metropolitan has a number of different controls on the front, including separate controls for the rhythm and lead channel. Rhythm features an input gain switch, bright switch, volume, bass, and treble controls. Lead includes mid-bite, tone, and volume. The Metropolitan retails for $2,995.
The Producer by Morris Amps is a very sweet amp. It gets it's unique brand of sweetness from a combination of elements. First, there’s the custom pine cabinet that was built just for the Producer. Then there’s the thinner floating baffle and the Celestion Greenback and Vintage 30 speakers. The Producer takes it's name from an unnamed legendary record producer who owned the original prototype of the amp and swears it's one of the most versatile and best sounding amps he's ever used in the studio.
The Producer has two channels. The clean channel is very smooth and meaty, and with the help of the the response of the floating baffle, it really fills up a room. The dirty channel, is very versatile. It has two controls that let you adjust the gain and distortion on the preamp. The crunch and drive allow you to shape the fatness of the sound and dial in that signature Glen Morris grind. Then there’s a high gain stage control and the option to make your sound more American or more British.
The Producer is a 45 watt amp that uses 6L6 output tubes instead of the expected EL34s because the 6L6s work better with the Producer’s output transformer. An effects loop with true bypass is also included. The suggested retail price of the Producer is $3,495.
The 18 Watt Combo by Retro-King Amps is a two channel powerhouse that can pump out some awesome sound. It’s a Class AB cathode biased amp that is a remake of the classic 1966 Marshall 18 watt combo and if you're in the market for that sound this Retro King can save you a lot compared to the original vintage Marshall. This amp really captures the Marshall’s sound and flexibility, so you’re not losing anything tone wise.
The 18 Watt Combo has two channels, a normal channel and one with a tremolo unit. Each channel has two inputs, high and low, plus a volume and tone control. The tremolo channel has an extra speed and intensity control. In addition to everything under the hood, you can also add an optional rectifier switch that lets you switch between the tube rectifier and a solid state diode rectifier.
The amp uses two matched JJ EL84 power tubes and three JJ 12AX7 preamp tubes. For the rectifier, it uses a NOS EZ81. It has two speaker outs, a 4, 8, or 16 ohm selector, a two speed Trem pedal, and more. The entire amp is hand wired and comes in a Baltic birch cabinet. It retails for $1,169 (1x12 cabinet) or $1,595 (head version). Other versions available include a 2x10 ($1,750) and a 2x12 ($1,795). The optional rectifier switch is extra.
The Matchless C-30, sometimes referred to as the DC-30 or D/C-30, is one of Matchless’s first amp designs, and it’s still one of their best. The amp has a big, warm sound that’s great for jazz, blues, and hard rock. Shredders will want to look elsewhere for the most part, but everyone else will get a lot out of the C-30.
The 30 watts of this Class A amp are generated by four EL-84 power tubes. In the preamp section, two 12AX7’s supply channel 1, while an EF86 handles channel 2. Channel 1 features a parallel-triode circuit with interactive treble and bass, while channel 2 has a high-gain pentode circuit and a six-position tone switch. The amp features individual channel effects loops, a cut control for high treble frequencies, a power setting switch (15 or 30 watts), selectable output impedance, and a phase inverter switch. A master volume control is also available, and it comes with a bypass feature that lets you control every aspect of your sound.
The solid Baltic birch cabinet is quite nice to look at, but there is one downside to the C-30 combo: it weighs almost 80 pounds, making it impractical as a travel amp.