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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Stage Right (Monoprice) 15W amp
Stage Right (Monoprice) 15W amp
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jpmcbride
286 posts
Sep 11, 2021
10:52 AM
I like mid-size amps (12-15W)with 12" speakers. For me this is the sweet spot for an amp. Loud enough to play with my band, small and easy to move around, and lots of low-end and punch from the 12" speaker.

My main amp is a 1954 Gibson GA6 (12W with 12" speaker). Its easily the best amp I've ever played through. Amazing low end and lots of breakup. But its a 1954, and even though I've gone through it carefully, its bound to break down at the worst time. So I set out to look for a backup. The idea was to get something relatively new, just for the purpose of backup. I wasn't looking for vintage.

I've been hearing a lot of positive things about the Stage Right (Monoprice) 5W amps. When one of the 15W versions showed up locally on Craigslist I decided to give it a shot and picked it up for $140.

This is a great amp and a steal at this price. Its 15W, with a 12" speaker and all tube. Actually its not all tube, there are some op-amps in the FX Loop circuit and I think driving the spring reverb tank, but they're not in the gain stages so they're not affecting the sound. It also has separate Gain and Volume knobs. This is a great feature that I wish more amps had. It lets you dial in the amount of distortion you want and different volume levels.

It has Bass, Middle, and Treble knobs, but it also has one labelled Tone. The Tone knob is a tone adjustment located inside the pre-amp, separate from the Bass/Middle/Treble tone stack. Its an interesting idea, but not really useful for harmonica. If you turn it down, it kills the sound. I keep it around a little less than half-way up all the time.

It has a spring reverb which is decent, no complaints.

It has a 15W/1W button the front. It allows you to run the amp at 1W for low volume practice. The 1W setting somewhat kills your tone, as all power soaks tend to. But a tweak of the EQ adjustments will give you a playable tone at 1W.

The amp feels solid and substantial. The white tolex is well done, and it has a real leather handle. And it comes with metal corner protectors which is a nice touch. The white tolex may not be your thing (I'm still adjusting to it), but it does have kind of a cool retro vibe.

The sound is powerful and punchy. Not as much low end as my GA6, but plenty. It breaks up fast and its not hard to dial in a great amplified tone. I'd play it anywhere, no problem.

The only thing I did to mine was a couple of tube swaps. I changed the 12AX7's in position 1 and 2 to 12AT7. it still sounds great, but now I have more adjustment room in the Gain and Volume before feedback. It just makes it easier to setup and play.

I think these things went for $249 new. If you're looking for a mid-size tube amp that sounds great and is not expensive, you might consider picking up one of these used.

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Jim McBride
jbone
3377 posts
Sep 11, 2021
3:07 PM
Nice writeup Jim. I like the same sort of amp and have a Silvertone 1482, 12w, 12" speaker. It has a tremolo circuit and just volume and tone controls aside from the speed and intensity settings on the trem side. I've had this one for a number of years and we got the same amp for Jolene to play guitar through and these amps have done all we have needed. On my amp id did a similar tube swap and I run a Lone Wolf Harp delay pedal and that's it. I have a few mics I use, a Shaker original dynamic model, an EV military mic modded by Greg Heuman, and a Shure 585 hi z ball mic. All sound good.

This amp you just got sounds decent too.
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jpmcbride
287 posts
Sep 11, 2021
3:33 PM
@jbone I know a lot of players like 8" speakers, but I really like the punch from a 12". Sounds like you do too.

The only thing I run in front of my Gibson GA6 is a LW Harp Shield to help control feedback. On stage with drums and guitars it can get loud and the Harp Shield helps me get a little more volume from the amp. Its a great pedal. I also sometimes use a LW Harp Delay too.

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Jim McBride
Bottle 'O Blues microphones
www.bottleoblues.com
John M G
437 posts
Sep 11, 2021
11:51 PM
I've finally found the amp I've been looking for too. It's cost me a bit more than your solution Jim, but I've never been happier.
My story is a bit longer winded though!
I hadn’t been that happy with my tone for a long time. I’d tried the whole pedal thing and wound up with a bigger pedal board than most guitar players. I’d tried different harmonicas, different microphones bits and pieces worked here and there.
In October last year in frustration I bought a brand new Fender 65 Princeton RRI but I still wasn’t happy. I changed valves, swapped the factory speaker for an Eminence Li’l Buddy, better but still not what I was after. This year at one of our group jams the 65 Princeton RRI died (simple speaker jack failure).
The amp I was given to use for the rest of the afternoon was a British design Chinese made Laney old model Cub 10 and it was a revelation. It’s twin 6V6 design with two 12AX7 pre amp valves, simple volume, tone and gain with a 10 watt and 1 watt input really impressed me. I just loved the Cub 10’s tone so immediately sold the Princeton after the warranty repair and buying my own 2nd hand Cub 10 and haven’t looked back since
I came across a 2nd hand alnico Weber 1025 08 20 watt speaker with an H dust cover and swapped out the stock and I just love the combination now.
I also bought one of the Sam Systems integral IM-10 microphones (same thing Will Wilde uses)so now I have a 10 watt amp that sounds great and can now be put through any pa.
I got hold of a Boss/Fender 63 brown face reverb pedal and it's everything I need in a package that only weighs a tad over 8.3 kg
3 months later a guitarist friend who uses the old model Cub 12R at our regular get together suggested I try his Cub 12R which I thought it was even better than the Cub 10! Next thing there’s a used one for sale and so I bought it too. I then found a second hand Celestion Gold G12 alnico, then added an Integral IM-12 and now I’m finally really and truly happy with my sound. I’ve swapped V-1 for a JJ 12 AT7 and I’m also playing around with 12AY7’s, 5771’s and 12AU7’s just to see what happens with the tone and the gain. But I’m just having fun fiddling. I’ve never been happier. The added benefits of the Cub 12R are the extra controls, a three band EQ, separate tone, volume and gain plus a very good solid state reverb which can be foot switchable and speaker extension jack for 8 or 16 ohm cabinets. It still is light enough for my back at 12 kg.I was never that happy with the Princeton reverb and the tail on the Peavey Delta Blues 210 was simply way too long.
Both these Cubs are the older units which are now discontinued. Valve changing is easy, you just remove the rear cover grill. The new Super Cubs require the removal of the chassis to gain access to enable you to swap valves. You have to remove the chassis on the Cub 10 to swap out the speaker becuase you can’t get to the top speaker nuts. If you take the valves out on the Cub 12 you can get to those top speaker screws, but on both amps it’s only 4 additional screws to remove the chassis.
If I have a complaint, it’s the way they secure the speakers on the 5 mm studs. The grill cloth side of the baffle is countersunk to take a 30 mm long countersunk head bolt, on the speaker side of the baffle plate they have a 5mm T nut which the bolt screws through, then they’ve fitted a locknut on top of that on the speaker side of the baffle! This means speaker mounting isn’t always a straight forward drop in fit depending on how much clearance there is around the speaker gasket and this nut. The other thing is the T nuts sit proud above the baffle plate because they haven’t counter bored the baffle plate so the flange on the T nut is flush with the surface of the baffle plate. All very bodgy! On the Cub 10 they’d overtightened these studs on assembly and the MDF speaker baffle was breaking around a couple of the 5mm studs. To fit the G12 G and the IM-12 this time I made a new baffle plate out of quality ply and set it up with blind nuts on the grill cloth side so I didn’t have to make a mess out of the IM-12 to accommodate the 5 mm locknuts.
I am now so happy that I’ve sold all my other amps and only have 3 amps now, the two Laney Cubs and my older Quilter Pro Block 200 and Frontliner 2x8 which I only use occasionally for vocals if needed and is now currently listed for sale and my whole pedal board is under review!
Both the Laney amps are definite keepers.
Cheers John
John M G
438 posts
Sep 22, 2021
1:09 AM
I was looking around the web and quite by chance came across the following site which seems to be from Germany.
I was really encouraged to find that they also found the Cub 10 to be a great little harp amp but also had a page with a whole load of modifications to make to it.
I just thought I'd add a link to their site which was very informative. harpamp.de


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