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Guitarist Christmas – Best tube amp combo for the money

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Under the brand name Stage Right by Monoprice, their website has the entire range of products from pedals and amplifiers all the way to pedalboards and, you guessed it, amplifiers.

Monoprice is a well-known online marketplace for those who are tech-savvy So it’s not a stretch asking me if the Stage Right by Monoprice 30W Tube Guitar Amp Head and 1×12 Carabiner would live up to the quality that they have produced in their previous popular items. For less than $600 to purchase the complete package and the astonishingly high-quality quality of sound and construction are above average.

The Stage Right by Monoprice 30-Watt Tube Guitar Amp Head looks overtly nondescript with all-black tolex, save for the triangular-perforated metal faceplate bearing the “SR/Stage Right” branding. 

It’s a simple, selectable two-channel amp design with low and high inputs as well as a single Bright and Volume switch for the clean channel, Gain and Overdrive Volume controls on the overdrive channel and a Channel Select switch. Bass, Middle and Treble EQ controls as well as Tone and Reverb controls and Power and Standby switches.

The head is rated at 30 watts and features a quartet of EL-84 power tubes as well as three preamp tubes 12AX7, featuring a tube-driven reverb powered from one preamp tube and an effects loop on the rear. The cabinet is equipped with one 12-inch Celestion Vintage 30 speaker. The package includes a two-button footswitch to select channel and the reverb feature, as well as a 1/4 inch TRS audio speaker.

Before any brand snobs totally dismiss this as some generic foreign amp, I’d like to say that the Stage Right head is an amazing amp. It’s an extremely tuned amp that truly cuts. I have found excellent tone and touch-sensitivity at all levels of volume (and the amp can be quite loud! ).

Channel one has full-sounding cleans, with lots of chime. It can also work fittingly as a pedal platform. Switching to channel two presents lots of warmth as well as a hint of high-end that can be subdued and controlled by using tones control.

Although the knob for overdrive is dimed, it”s not a saturated or flabby crunch, instead, it’s a tight, musical drive that begs to have an additional overdrive pedal to fully compliment the tone overall when you push it. There is a general consensus that every amp value (like the EQ or reverb) is calibrated in moderation so that you can easily create a powerful tone.

In particular, the built-in reverb is little weak, but it doesn’t interfere with your tone, so surfers will need to create their own reverb here, but again, what is noticeable is the overly stellar, no-frills sound the amp produces.

The 1×12 cab that comes with the Celestion V30 sounds great, but I also plugged in the SR head to other cabs for more impressive and superior outcomes. As a compact unit which is just stunning? I’m going the Stage Right.

  • STREET PRICE: $607
  • Type: Tube amp head with matching cabinet
  • POWER: 30-watts
  • TUBES:3x 12AX7 in preamp, 4x EL84 power tubes.


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