Ibanez Valbee amp

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Ibanez Valbee amp

Postby jay » Fri May 18, 2007 12:45 pm

Hi guys/gals,

I'm looking for a low cost 5(ish) watt tube amp and have narrowed down to

Fender Champion 600
Epiphone Valve Junior
Harley Benton GA5 (same as the epi but with a tone control and half the price)
and the Ibanez Valbee

Just wondered if anyone had tried on of these Ibanez puppies out for harp?

All comments would be most appreciated...
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Postby jeffl » Fri May 18, 2007 3:03 pm

No, but I jus' bought a Valve SPECIAL for harpin', as a home and rehearsal amp, and I love it. I believe that it's got a bigger cabinet than the Valve Jr., and that seems to make a ton of difference for low end response. If yer thinkin' of a Valve Jr., I'd make sure to try out a Special. The downside is the fact that the cabinet's as big as my Peavey 30 Classic, although much lighter, so it's not as handy to lug to rehearsal as a Champ or some of the other low output amps. BTW,the Valve Special is 5 watts.
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Postby t bone bruce » Fri May 18, 2007 9:42 pm

First off, welcome from another Essex harper!
I'd give the valbee a miss. If you go to Ibanez website it tells you "high gain distortion sound for heavy rock players"- as a translation for harp players this means "feedback prone" - the valbee uses a diode clipping circuit in there too, Kiss of Death for us harp players.
The Valve Junior has a reputation of being a highly affordable, modifiable amp, I know a quite few harp players through the 'net who use them (modified) with good results, and the Harley Benton is made in the same factory.
I've played through the valve junior in the shop and liked the results, although I ended up making my own amp. The valve junior or HB are similar to the Kalamazoo Model One circuit wise, and can be modified to get them even closer. The kalamazoo's are a kick ass small harp amp.
The valve junior head would give you the option of trying different sized or multiple speakers if you wanted. Jeffl is right that a bigger cabinet sounds better, and gives more bass.
I haven't tried the Champ 600.
I'd go for the VJ or the HB. I can modify a Valve Junior for you if you want, or sort you out for a good tube swap for harp. PM me if you're interested.
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Postby ricochet » Fri May 18, 2007 10:27 pm

t bone bruce wrote:The valve junior head would give you the option of trying different sized or multiple speakers if you wanted.
That works just as well with the combo. It has a jack on the back of the chassis that the speaker in the cab plugs into. You can unplug the speaker and plug in any external one. Never mind that the stock jack is 4 ohm, an 8 ohm speaker works fine in it and won't hurt it, I've done it with mine. If you want to make a regular practice of it, the wire for a proper 8 ohm hookup is there inside the chassis just waiting to be hooked up to an extra jack, or to an impedance selector switch.
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Postby t bone bruce » Fri May 18, 2007 10:43 pm

Sure, a 100% speaker impedance mismatch won't hurt the amp. Been there and done that..And putting in an extra jack, impedance selector switch or even a "quick and dirty" line out is not a problem.
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Postby jay » Mon May 21, 2007 7:38 am

Thanks for the advice guys. I think I'll order a HB/VJ once payday gets here. I don't gig or anything so I don't think I'll need anything bigger than the stock combo version.
t bone, apart from a lower gain preamp tube what kind of mods would you suggest?
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Postby ricochet » Mon May 21, 2007 5:54 pm

Try it with what it came with first, then decide. You probably will want to drop the gain for harp, though.
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Postby t bone bruce » Mon May 21, 2007 7:38 pm

Good advice there Rico, I'd see how it matches with your mic first. Lots of people go on about tube swapping, and yes it does work, and it's great if you decide to sell the amp unmodified later. The increased current draw can cause you to fry resistors. I've got some spare lower gain tubes if you want to try one for it.
Mods should be made one or two at a time to get used to them before making another mod...what works well for one amp doesn't always work in another.
Actually I would keep a 12AX7 in there rather than subbing the tube for a lower gain one, as it's easier to get hold of 12AX7's in music shops but finding a 12AY or AU at short notice can be tricky. I'd get rid of the cathode bypass caps on the preamp stages. This drops the gain off to a more manageable level. The other mods I'd do straight off would be to install 0.1 uf coupling caps to allow more bass to pass through, and put a 1 meg resistor to ground on the input to work better with harp mics. Those would be my starters. straightforward and simple, proven mods. I'd see how it went and take it from there.
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