Tiny Tube Amps | Warehouse Guitar Speakers

Tiny Tube Amps

Tiny Tube Amps

More speaker shoot-outs this week!   In a way, this week’s blog is an extension of the work we started with last week’s speaker shoot outs; but in another way, it’s the exact opposite!   Last week we were comparing rock tones as dished out by a fire-breathing Marshall JCM 900.  This week’s tones will be coming to you via a couple of "tiny tube amps", an Eppiphone Valve Jr., and a Vox lil’ Night Train.  These amps reflect a trend that we’ve seen in the last couple of years towards low-wattage tube amps.  These are not amps that will keep up with a slammin’ drummer on a gig, but they can dish out some pretty cool tube-amp-on-eleven tones at a bedroom volume.  Plus, recording engineers will love you for NOT bringing your 100-watt stack to a session!  This week, I’m using one of Todd Tillaman’s Gibson Robot Les Pauls.  Todd insisted I play in tune!  So, shall we let the low wattage fun begin? Read on to watch all the shoot-outs.

First, we pitted the Celestion G12H55 against the WGS Reaper55Hz through the little Eppi.  These little amps really don’t sound all that great, but they are very popular because they can be had on the cheap, and they make a nice platform for mods, too.   Like it or not, for a lot of young players, the little Valve Jr. is their jumping-off point into the world of tube amps.  In this shoot-out, the Celestion definitely has more upper midrange bite, and the WGS speaker has more bottom end girth and warmth.  Which is best?  Depends on what you’re going for! Here is the video, make up your own mind:

Next we pitted a Celestion Vintage 30 against a WGS Veteran 30.   Again the Vet 30 was smoother and had less bite in the upper-mids.  To me, the Veteran 30 was more "inspiring" to play through.  The WGS speaker especially sounded bigger/better when trying to coax clean tones out of the little tube gal.  Here is that video:

Last, I switched to the Vox lil’ Night Train.  This amp is about four times as spendy as the little Eppi, and offers up a more refined tonal palate; in fact, I gotta tell ya that I really love the tone of both the Night Train and the lil’ Night Train! The speakers I compared were a Celestion Green-Back in a Vox Night-Train (open back) cab and a WGS Reaper in my Burriss cab, also running open-back.  Quite honestly, both speakers sounded great with the little Vox.  The winner was tough to call in this race.  One note, I noticed when previewing the video, that the left and right sides seem to have gotten flipped when I uploaded this video ... either that, or I just plain got it backwards while I was filming - but I doubt that, because my buddy Todd was present, and he would have set me straight right away if I started messing up THAT big-time.  At any rate, here’s the vid:

Next week I’m talking Beatles.  Just because...


email vaughn     About Vaughn Skow

03/30/2011 12:01pm

Im glad you touched on low power amps, however the amps chosen are suspect. The Valve Junior just sounds awful unless modded. The Blackstar Ht-5 or an Orange Tiny Terror would have been much better choices to demo from. They both have better cleans and gain that sounds pretty amazing given the wattage. The Junior just did not do justice to those speakers or to peoples perception of how small amps sound. Keep the demos rolling though. Youve sold me on the Vetereran 30.

03/30/2011 4:35pm

The little Eppi's do sound pretty "awful" stock, as you suggest.  Again, the reason I chose one was because hundreds of thousands of them have been sold!  Worldwide, they ARE in fact quite popular.  Not everyone can do things like replacing trannys, caps, etc ... but almost everyone can in fact swap out speakers in a cabinet.  So, does that make it all make sense?  I do like your ides of the Blackstar and Orange amps, which are also becoming very popular ... especially the Blackstar, as it is almost at the price point of the Valve Jr.  Maybe for "tiny tube amps - Round Two"!  Oh, and ya gotta agree that the little Vox actually sounds quite good.  As always, thanks for taking the time to comment, it's always appreciated! -VS-

03/31/2011 4:42pm

Thanks for the tiny amp shoot out! I play the Night Train (the bigger, 15 watt original) and it really is a great sounding amp, clean or crunchy. I play through a Greenback (which fared much better this week than it did with the Marshall last week) but I think I might have to consider a Reaper (although I was considering the ET65 as well). Thanks again for the demos. They are great and I hope there are more shoot-outs coming down the line!

04/01/2011 2:43pm

Yea, the Reaper is rapidly turning into one of my favorites.  I consider some of the WGS speakers to be an Rx for a tone-challenged amp ie, the ET65, which really helps beef-up and smooth out an overly harsh/bright amp.  The Reaper, on the other hand is an all-around awesome sounding speaker - I think you would really dig it with the Night Train.  I will say this, however ... the addition of an additional cabinet loaded with an ET65 - added to the Vox/GB cab would be an awesome combination.

04/01/2011 2:11pm

Hi Vaughn, Thank you for your work on the blog, I enjoy and appreciate them. I think your focus on TONE is excellent. The fact that you are a sound/tone guy makes a difference that keeps me interested. In tune; out of tune; your demos are to help us made decisions about speaker acquisitions. To my mind and ear you do a very good job. I also appreciate and enjoy listening to what you have to say about what you are doing.

I am a 58 year old who roamed the streets and garages of the San Francisco Mission district from 1962 through 1972.


04/01/2011 2:36pm

Yes, my focus is always on TONE ... and I'm glad you noticed!  These shoot-outs actually take a good little bit of time, and it sure is nice to know that they are appreciated.  Thanks for taking the time to chime in! -VS-

04/09/2011 2:01am

Hey Vaughn. Awesome demo and I really appreciate the time you put into doing these. I originally found warehouse speakers by watching VOX demos (non promo) where somebody replaced their original with a warehouse. I think Warehouse Speakers sound amazing! Here is an idea...if you get the chance (and are taking request) can you compare Warehouse on Warehouse speakers? I am re-vamping my AC30CC2 and I am not sure if I want to go with a Reaper/Green Beret or a Black and Blue. By description alone I would like to say I am leaning toward Black and Blue but I am just worried that I will not be able to really crank my amp when the moment strikes because of the lower power handling of the Black and Blue. Can you help?


Keep up the good work,


04/09/2011 9:10am

The WGS vs. WGS shootouts are a recurring request, so I will certainly get to it ASAP.  As far as the BnB goes, it's rated equal to a Celestion Blue ... but having said that ... I'd suggest the Blackhawk instead.  Same overall tone with a little more bottom, and you won't ever have to worry avout the AC30 eating it!