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STP-YB1po

epiphone Valve Junior Tube Amplifier Head



Sound Quality

Not as over the top as the original EVJr but infinitely more useful. Still pretty barebones considering all the added features. The master volume is a no-brainer. Even though it was only five watts, the original could still peel paint off the neighbor's walls, especially in an apartment or dorm. The Hot Rod delivers handsomely cranked tone at much more reasonable volumes, with the headphones to boot.

The tube reverb is a nice touch, even if the springs are only an inch and a half long. It takes a bit of tweaking but you actually can get a sweet, vintage reverb. People have complained about the reverb but I've found placing it OFF the speaker cab prevents unwanted spring vibration, especially if the master is anywhere past noon.

Love the cathode bias -- I really think this thing would do better with some JJs or NOS Mullards and it's totally open for experimentation. Compare to the Blackstar HT-5 where you void the warranty for doing something so silly as even swapping tubes. All-in-all, it really is a hotrodded EVJr. A five watt workhorse -- whoda thunk?


Reliability/Durability

Seems solid, but I'm not sure I'd want to drop it or spill beer into it... I only mention it because my old Valvestate took all kinds of abuse  and STILL sounded like crap.


General Comments

This is the perfect companion to what was already pretty close to perfect in the original Valve Junior.

 

In fact, you can run the Hot Rod as a preamp into the EVJr and even run an extension cab at the same time. I've got mine set up in a stack configuration, and it absolutely howls. Or, you can run a speaker and a line out to the board. Or into the computer. You can use it as a stand-alone distortion box. Or a stand alone reverb tank. Or all on its own, using the gain control to give a little more clean head room than the original allowed.

 

In fact, running it full bore into the clean channel of a Marshall 100-watt sounds more like a Marshall than a Marshall. Roll back the gain and you've got a decent blackface too, at a tenth of the price.

 

In all, great fun and still a steal at $250 or whatever it's going for. You'd be hard pressed to find something under $500 to a grand that kicks ass like this thing does. Three thumbs up!




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