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Best Low Wattage Tube Amp

Best Low Wattage Tube Amp: Expert Advice on What to Look for and Why

Investing in the right amp is key to getting a great sound. Many musicians spend a lot of time and money buying the wrong amp, not even knowing the benefits of buying the best low wattage tube amp. With so many amps on the market to choose from, it can be tricky finding the best one for you. All-tube amps provide great tone that is unmatched by any other equipment. However, you don’t always need all the raw power that comes from investing in a large tube amp.

If you are looking for a low wattage option that allows great sound control and gain without too much volume, then you need a low wattage tube amp. These allow you perfect sound and tone control, but they won’t bother others. While everyone wants great sound from their amp, you don’t always need the power of larger equipment. Rather than trying to find the best small tube amp on your own, you can rest assured that one of these options will meet your needs.

1. VOX AC4TV All-tube Practice Amplifier

VOC is famous for their powerful AC series, and the VOX AC4TV is the smallest amp that they offer. Even though it is small, it still has the distinctive sound and all of the power that you want from a VOX amp. If you’re in a hurry and want to learn about the VOX AC4TV, but you don’t need all of the details, then check out these quick specs:

  • 4W output
  • RMS 16-Ohm
  • 84 pounds
  • 1 x 12AX7, 1 x EL84 valve/tube complement

If you’re looking for traditional British tone, then you will want to consider this amp. It has a unique sound and is considered to be a reissue of the popular 1961 VOX AC4. Some musicians are surprised to hear how much sound they can enjoy from just 4W of power. Check out the power of this amp at this link or watch it This will let you decide whether or not it offers the power that you want. You’ll be able to determine whether or not you can see yourself rocking out with this amp.

This amp was designed for use on the go. The durable handle is surprisingly sturdy, and the cabinet offers all of the protection that you need. Not only does the VOX AC4TV look amazing with a creamy color and durable cabinet, but it’s packed with powerful components.

The VOX AC4TV is the best low wattage tube amp on the market, thanks to the power and tone it offers. Cranking it all the way up is sure to bother the neighbors, but this means that it can be used in the studio and during rehearsals. When used at just 1W of power, the amp suffers from a drop in headroom. This isn’t a bad thing though. It simply means that musicians can get more drive at a much lower level.

Thanks to the tone control variation, musicians will be able to enjoy both a cutting and clear sound, as well as something darker and more muddled. This is great for musicians who want to be able to switch up their sound in a hurry.

What We Liked

  • Simple controls for power, volume, and tone
  • Built-in attenuator
  • External speaker output
  • Vintage VOX styling is attractive and helps the amp stand out
  • Features a custom-made 10” Celestion speaker

What We Didn’t Like

  • Can be difficult to find for sale
  • Tends to be a bit expensive
  • Doesn’t have a lot of clean headroom

2. Fender Pro Junior IV

Fender has long been known for producing high-quality amps, and the Fender Pro Junior IV is no exception, even though it is much smaller than many other Fender amps. Even though it only has two controls, it’s easy for musicians to adjust their volume and tone for the perfect sound every time.

If you want to know the specs about the Fender Pro Junior IV without reading all of the details, then you can find them here:

  • 15W output
  • 10” Jensen P10R Speaker
  • 1 x ¼” input
  • 85 pounds

Before you buy an amp you will want to make sure that you like the way that it sounds and that it offers you the power you need. You can hear the raw power of this Fender amp here or watch directly in the video below. It does a great job producing clear and crisp sound. This is great for soaring guitar solos, but this amp can also produce a relatively gritty tone. The included Jensen speaker is a huge update to this amp, resulting in great sound quality.


Thanks to the upgraded capacitors, musicians can run a lot of power through this 15W amp without worrying about quality. Additionally, these modifications affect the bass response. The result is a much tighter bass response as well as an easier transition between overdrive and clean tones.

Musicians who love the look of vintage amps will appreciate the lacquered tweed covering on this Fender amp. It looks like an amp from the ‘50s, but it has all of the power and control that modern musicians demand. This makes this amp really stick out and ensures that it looks incredibly cool on any stage.

One of the best things about this Fender amp is its simplicity. It’s incredibly easy for musicians of all skill levels to plug into this amp and enjoy perfect control over their sound. The end result is bright and vaulted, ensuring that the guitarist using this Fender amp will stand out in a crowd.

What We Liked

  • Modified volume circuit ensures ability to dial-in the perfect tone
  • Chrome control panel is incredibly durable
  • All-leather handle is classic and strong
  • Upgraded circuitry makes it a professional amp at a lower price

What We Didn’t Like

  • Doesn’t have a headphone jack
  • Chassis isn’t very durable and can easily be damaged during transport
  • Doesn’t have an FX looper

3. Fender Blues Junior III

One of the best features of the Fender Blues Junior III is that it offers incredibly pure and bright tones that are clear and refreshing. It’s clean and punchy, allowing you to really show off when playing riffs and solos. Check out the specs of the Fender Blues Junior III if you’re in a hurry and don’t need all of the details:

  • 15W of output power
  • 8 Ohms impedance
  • One input
  • Spring reverb effects
  • 31 pounds

The entire design of the Fender Blues Junior III is very tidy. This means that you don’t have to worry about it taking up a lot of room on the road. Thanks to the quality of the 12” speaker, it can easily handle all of the power that you want to pump through it. It’s perfect for practicing at home, but it performs just as well on the stage.

Because hearing is believing, you’ll want to listen to this Fender amp before you buy it. Click here to listen to this amp in action or watch the video below. It’s easy to drop the volume on this amp down low for private practice. If you don’t feel like using any of the pedals that you have, you can rely on the FAT boost switch for a bit more extra power and sound.

 

While some musicians want their amp to be packed full of features, purists know that all you need are your regular controls. Part of the appeal of this Fender amp is in its simplicity. It’s easy to hook up, easy to control, and easily offers a powerful booming sound when the volume is cranked up.

The tube circuitry in this amp is held to high Fender standards. It offers impressive tone richness and dynamics that are shockingly touch sensitive. This results in the classic Fender sound that so many people crave from their amp. With a shimmering sound that can be barely there to overpowering tones that rock the stage, this amp can do it all.

What We Liked

  • FAT boost switch makes it easy to boost any mid-range frequencies
  • Includes vintage voiced Jensen speaker
  • Warm 12AX7 preamp tube overdrive
  • External speaker capability
  • Control panel is easy to read

What We Didn’t Like

  • Output can easily strip
  • Doesn’t always have the bold sound of a Fender amp
  • May require regular tube replacement for best sound

4. Marshall 2525C Mini Silver Jubilee

This is a great amp for anyone who wants a powerful low wattage tube amp, but who doesn’t want to give up the volume and control that they crave. It offers the best of both worlds, thanks to its ability to switch between 5W and 20W. You can check out the Marshall 2525C Mini Silver Jubilee here if you’re not interested in reading all of the details:

  • Optional 20W or 5W
  • 12” Celestion G12M speaker
  • Effects loop
  • Impedance of 4, 8, 16 ohms
  • 8 pounds

Even though this amp may not be as popular as others on the market, it’s worth a listen. You can listen to this Marshall amp in action here or watch directly the video below. When you hear it in action, you’ll be able to see how the reworked EQ section has updated this amp. It makes it easy to get the perfect blend of preamp drive and power grind. This results in the perfect sound every time.

 

With impressive quiet channel switching, musicians will enjoy surprisingly controlled gain without all of the noise that you can get on a lower quality amp. Rather than investing in a full-size amp for the power that you crave, you can get it with this Marshall 2525C mini silver jubilee.

Thanks to the power that you can run through this amp, it can easily handle quiet jam sessions with the band as well as larger performances without a drop in sound quality. It is important to be careful not to push this equipment too far, as maxing out the volume can make the sound get just a little muddy.

It sounds best when the sound is clear and bright. Thanks to the power that this amp is pushing, it even sounds powerful when on 5W mode. Musicians looking for a versatile option will definitely want to consider this amp.

What We Liked

  • Ability to switch the power you want from the amp
  • Great tone even at lower volumes
  • Attractive design
  • Straightforward panels and controls allow for immediate use of the amp without changing a lot of settings

What We Didn’t Like

  • Larger size can make it a hassle to move
  • Higher price tag can put it out of reach of some musicians
  • FX loop can be difficult to control

5. VOX AC4HW1

Purists who want an amp that not only looks great but offers the sound and quality of hand-wired amps in the past will want to consider the VOX AC4HW1. This is a powerful amp that is gorgeous in its simplicity, making it appeal to many guitarists who value tone and a clean, basic sound. Check out the VOX AC4HW1 if you don’t need all of the details about this amp:

  • 4W of power
  • 12” Celestion GM12 Greenback speaker
  • 74 pounds
  • 12AX7 preamp tubes

One of the best features of this VOX amp is that it is hand-wired. This means that only professional craftsmen design and wire the amp, resulting in a gorgeous tone that doesn’t suffer from loss or much restriction. You’ll want to hear any amp you’re considering buying before spending money. You can hear the power of this VOX amp by clicking here or watch the video here:

 

All of the custom parts, chassis, speaker, and tubes in the amp were hand selected for the best possible tone. This is the ultimate amp for anyone looking for a basic amp that sounds anything but. While the old-school looks of the VOX AC4HW1 are sure to make anyone take a second look, it’s the sound it offers that really sets it apart.

Thanks to the turret-board wiring and large speaker, this amp produces grown-up tones in a small case. The gain pot allows musicians to add plenty of distortion to their sound, while the cool mode allows the treble and bass to round out and really shimmer.

With plenty of headroom, this VOX amp is perfect for both small gigs as well as live rehearsals. It sounds great no matter what type of music is played through the amp, making it one of the most versatile options on the market today.

Thanks to the uncomplicated sounds of this amp and the basic controls that it offers, it is a purist’s dream. Even beginners will find that controlling this amp and coaxing out their best possible sound is easier than ever before.

What We Liked

  • Comes with a boost switch and high and low gain inputs
  • Large speaker results in a full tone that is rich and deep
  • Hand-wired connections for high-quality sound
  • Impressive appearance
  • Incredibly versatile

What We Didn’t Like

  • Difficult to remove the back panel
  • Very basic design without onboard effects

6. Orange OR15H

Musicians who want a lot of crunch and raw power in their music will love the Orange OR15H. Even with low gain settings, it is much more crunchy and powerful than it is clean. This is great for musicians who aren’t interested in a perfectly clean sound. In addition, the Orange OR15H has a lot more going for it. See the specs here if you don’t want to read all of the details:

  • 15W of pure British tone and power
  • Switchable to 7W of power
  • EL84 power tubes
  • 3-band EQ
  • 19 pounds

One of the best features of this Orange amp is that it can so easily switch between 15 and 7 Watts of power. This makes it a great option for moving between the studio, the stage, and the practice room. It’s easy to switch this amp when you want to enjoy more or less power.

The Orange OR15H is small but mighty, and you’re sure to be surprised by how it sounds. You can check out how it sounds here. or watch the video below. Thanks to the impressive tube-driven effects loop, you can easily use any of your favorite pedals to customize your sound. Additionally, this Orange amp is perfectly portable. You can easily take it on the go to gigs or practice without any problems.

One thing to be aware of when investing in this Orange amp is that it doesn’t offer a super clean sound. This is perfect for musicians who want their sound to be raw and gritty. However, guitarists who want something clean and glittering may not be happy with their sound.

The gain control on this amp is one of the most impressive options on the market. It gives musicians complete control, allowing for perfect distortion every time.

What We Liked

  • Switchable wattage
  • Easily recognizable color and classic white face
  • Simple interface makes the amp easy to use
  • Great for enjoying a variety of tones

What We Didn’t Like

  • Minimalist design may not appeal to all musicians
  • New musicians may be overwhelmed by all the nuances in tone and sound
  • Isn’t easy to get a perfectly clean tone

7. Fender ’57 Custom Champ

Musicians who want a classic amp with the power of modern design will want to consider the Fender ’57 Custom Champ. This is the perfect example of “small but mighty.” It’s able to pump a surprising amount of sound through the amp, given that it has an 8” speaker and just 5W of power. Check out the specs of the Fender ’57 Custom Champ here if you aren’t interested in learning all of the details about this amp:

  • 5W of power
  • 4-ohms
  • 8” Weber Special Design alnico speaker
  • Dual ¼” inputs
  • 8 pounds

Like some other Fender amps, this one boasts great hand-wired circuitry. The end result is an amp that is easily controlled. You’re sure to be impressed when you check out the sound of this Fender amp here.  You can also watch the same video below Listening to the amp in action before you buy it is the best way to make sure that it will really meet your needs.

Not only can you easily adjust the tone and volume of this amp for the perfect sound every time, but the Fender ’57 Custom Champ also looks amazing. Thanks to the solid pine cabinet, this amp is able to withstand heavy use and gigging without being damaged. It also has lacquered tweed covering. This will make it really stand out in a crowd.

Keeping this amp at lower volumes allows the musician to enjoy clear and bright tones. Cranking it up, however, allows the true power of the amp to show through. Turning up the volume results in some of the iconic Fender sustain that musicians crave from their amp. It responds immediately to any changes, resulting in effortless sound manipulation.

Perfect for beginners, this Fender amp is designed to be incredibly easy to use. This is great for musicians who need a little confidence. This also ensures that guitarists are able to perfect their own unique sound without a lot of effort.

What We Liked

  • 1-knob control panel is simple to operate
  • Amazing hand-wired construction
  • Can be used for impressively clear notes as well as distortion
  • Yellow coupling capacitors provide classic Fender tone

What We Didn’t Like

  • Higher priced than other similar options
  • Not ideal for medium-size gigs
  • Appearance is a little more highly valued than the components

Final Verdict

The VOX AC4TV is one of the best small tube amp options on the market today. It’s designed to be easy to use and to offer any musician tons of power and control over their sound. Not only will guitarists love the way that this amp looks, but they’ll also appreciate the control and clear tone that it provides. It’s also very portable, making it great for the gigging musician.

If the VOX AC4TV isn’t quite right for you then you may want to consider the Fender Pro Junior IV. This provides a classic Fender tone without breaking the bank. This is perfect for any musician who is on a budget but still wants a great amp that looks as amazing as it sounds. Thanks to the powerful 10” Jensen speaker in this amp as well as the tight bass that it offers, it’s sure to blow most listeners away. It is easily the second best low wattage tube amp available today.

A little reminder before I let you go: as part of your music gadgets if you are looking for cool phono preamps you can check this article out or read this one. They both are related to phono preamps but address different budgets.

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Best Low Wattage Tube Amp
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