“Small” practice amps with battery option

aamefford

The (should be) Committed
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Nov 17, 2021
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Well, I’m back to the drawing board. I was all set to get a Yamaha THR10ii but it appears only the wireless one has battery capability. I don’t need the wireless option. I’m trying to keep the price at or below $300, which is occasionally doable with the THR10II.

Any thoughts on other options? New preferred, used is ok if it’s a smokin’ deal.
 
It depends on: 1) how much output you need and, 2) how much battery time you need.

Without an answer to either of those, Roland Micro Cube- my (older version) lasts for HOURS on 6 rechargable AA batteries. I had a 3 year running weekly gig that was always more than an hour, and I only charged them every 2 months and they were never close to needing charged when I did, but I didn't want to run out during the gig.

Mustang Mini probably sounds better but I've never tried batteries in it because it takes much bigger ones and doesn't last as long.
 
I had a THR5 that had a battery option, the THR10 (discontinued) does as well, AA batteries. I used rechargeable batteries.
 
If you're only playing for yourself, the Boss Waza Air set is pretty wonderful. I picked mine up used for a hair over $200. They sound good, the headphones are very comfortable (I've got a large head), and it's very easy to use. I'm very much looking forward to using it camping in a couple of weeks. It's what I use in my office, where I have to keep the volume level to nothing.
 
For what they do the positive grid spark amps aren’t bad. They’re not my tube amps, but one of them might fit your needs
 
If you're only playing for yourself, the Boss Waza Air set is pretty wonderful. I picked mine up used for a hair over $200. They sound good, the headphones are very comfortable (I've got a large head), and it's very easy to use. I'm very much looking forward to using it camping in a couple of weeks. It's what I use in my office, where I have to keep the volume level to nothing.

I use mine all the time..awesome little rig. Can't recommend it enough.
 
If you're only playing for yourself, the Boss Waza Air set is pretty wonderful. I picked mine up used for a hair over $200. They sound good, the headphones are very comfortable (I've got a large head), and it's very easy to use. I'm very much looking forward to using it camping in a couple of weeks. It's what I use in my office, where I have to keep the volume level to nothing.

I use mine all the time..awesome little rig. Can't recommend it enough.
I’ve considered the Waza Air. Best I’m seeing atm is $300ish plus tax. Keep hoping I’ll find some on CL. I have headphones and a mustang micro. Good, but not quite what I’m looking for a lot of the time. The wireless would solve some of that.

My thoughts with the thr10II was good tones, flat input option to use my UA Dream, hp out when I want cans, and a few hours of battery. That way I don’t have to dink around with finding an outlet. They are never where they should be in our house.
 
I had a Pignose amp a number of years ago. Decent price (at the time), sounded great and plenty loud for for the 20’ x 20’ room I used it in.
 
I’ve considered the Waza Air. Best I’m seeing atm is $300ish plus tax. Keep hoping I’ll find some on CL. I have headphones and a mustang micro. Good, but not quite what I’m looking for a lot of the time. The wireless would solve some of that.

My thoughts with the thr10II was good tones, flat input option to use my UA Dream, hp out when I want cans, and a few hours of battery. That way I don’t have to dink around with finding an outlet. They are never where they should be in our house.
I know this is a weird way to use the Waza Air, but - could one go guitar to pedal, pedal to Waza’s wireless thingie? Do the Waza’s have a clean, no amp or speaker sim? Just curious if I could use my UA Dream if I wanted to?

I did find a pair, for a bit more than a hair over $200, but enough less than $300 locally. These might make the most sense for me.
I had a Pignose amp a number of years ago. Decent price (at the time), sounded great and plenty loud for for the 20’ x 20’ room I used it in.
God, I remember nearly 50 years ago some kid walking the halls in high school with a pig nose strapped to his back. Loud AF. Didn’t sound bad asi recall.
Roland Micro Cube.
Not the GX, the original one.


This would have to be a CL find for me. Second recipe for Roland cube. I’ll keep an eye out.
Blackstar Fly is decent
And relatively inexpensive. I’ll have to find one somewhere to try.
 
I know this is a weird way to use the Waza Air, but - could one go guitar to pedal, pedal to Waza’s wireless thingie? Do the Waza’s have a clean, no amp or speaker sim?

It plugs into my pedal board.. Not quite the same as the amp or just the headphones and unit, but I don't expect it to be. I probably could eq it out better. There's also a clean and OD channel built into buttons on the headphones, and an app for your phone.
 
I use the Positive Grid Spark stuff. Great for battery & air travel (the Spark Go fits in the pocket of your guitar case). Sounds great when configured properly and though I only use them for campfire stuff or practice on cruise ships they all have line out so they can be used as modellers into the PA if you need. You do need to tie into them via Bluetooth with your phone or tablet to tweak tones and effects but once your presets are configured they can be used without the connection for the four presets you store on the amps. Build quality is okay but typical of Chinese mass-produced electronics in their price range. Still, for that price, I don’t think there are any better practice amps out there right now.

Spark Go & Spark Mini
 
I have been through all the "small" battery amps, except for the Yamaha stuff, but of the rest, I find the Spark Mini is the best. Any smaller (the "Go") and you lose decent tone. Any bigger and it begins becoming less portable.

The Blackstar Fly is a toy, not an amp.

The Roland Microcube (both the original and the GX) get honorable mentions for 2nd place. But the tone of the Spark Mini has them beat.
 
I use the Positive Grid Spark stuff. Great for battery & air travel (the Spark Go fits in the pocket of your guitar case). Sounds great when configured properly and though I only use them for campfire stuff or practice on cruise ships they all have line out so they can be used as modellers into the PA if you need. You do need to tie into them via Bluetooth with your phone or tablet to tweak tones and effects but once your presets are configured they can be used without the connection for the four presets you store on the amps. Build quality is okay but typical of Chinese mass-produced electronics in their price range. Still, for that price, I don’t think there are any better practice amps out there right now.

Spark Go & Spark Mini
Yes +1 for the positive grid! mini amps with a cool virtual rig.
 
I use the Positive Grid Spark stuff. Great for battery & air travel (the Spark Go fits in the pocket of your guitar case). Sounds great when configured properly and though I only use them for campfire stuff or practice on cruise ships they all have line out so they can be used as modellers into the PA if you need. You do need to tie into them via Bluetooth with your phone or tablet to tweak tones and effects but once your presets are configured they can be used without the connection for the four presets you store on the amps. Build quality is okay but typical of Chinese mass-produced electronics in their price range. Still, for that price, I don’t think there are any better practice amps out there right now.

Spark Go & Spark Mini

I have been through all the "small" battery amps, except for the Yamaha stuff, but of the rest, I find the Spark Mini is the best. Any smaller (the "Go") and you lose decent tone. Any bigger and it begins becoming less portable.

The Blackstar Fly is a toy, not an amp.

The Roland Microcube (both the original and the GX) get honorable mentions for 2nd place. But the tone of the Spark Mini has them beat.

Yes +1 for the positive grid! mini amps with a cool virtual rig.

Wow, 3 in a row for positive grid. I had avoided them initially because of a personal bias against crowd funded stuff. Also initial reviews that the chord figure outer feature was kinda lame. Kinda lame reasons now though. It seems like PG has worked through most of their start up issues with their products. I’m not a big fan of app diving - how dependent On the app and how tedious is the Diving?
 
Wow, 3 in a row for positive grid. I had avoided them initially because of a personal bias against crowd funded stuff. Also initial reviews that the chord figure outer feature was kinda lame. Kinda lame reasons now though. It seems like PG has worked through most of their start up issues with their products. I’m not a big fan of app diving - how dependent On the app and how tedious is the Diving?
Today the quality of digital is light years away from the 80s, it's crazy how intuitive it is, for the price it's quite correct, a mobile phone, a Bluetooth connection and you have a panoply effects, fairly realistic amps. Create a small virtual pedal board with clear images and that's it.

Of course it's not an axe fx or Kemper.. etc.. but to relax at the campsite or on the terrace, this little box is really cool!
 
Today the quality of digital is light years away from the 80s, it's crazy how intuitive it is, for the price it's quite correct, a mobile phone, a Bluetooth connection and you have a panoply effects, fairly realistic amps. Create a small virtual pedal board with clear images and that's it.

Of course it's not an axe fx or Kemper.. etc.. but to relax at the campsite or on the terrace, this little box is really cool!
They do need firmware updates from time to time (you plug it into your laptop for the download). The controls are better with a tablet than a phone. It’s cheap fun for sitting out on your deck. It also occasionally serves as my 5 year old‘s “amplifier”
 
Wow, 3 in a row for positive grid. I had avoided them initially because of a personal bias against crowd funded stuff. Also initial reviews that the chord figure outer feature was kinda lame. Kinda lame reasons now though. It seems like PG has worked through most of their start up issues with their products. I’m not a big fan of app diving - how dependent On the app and how tedious is the Diving?

Well, you don't have to use the app at all if you like their presets. I programmed my own presets, so I don't use the app much. But when I do, it's pretty easy, ands it's all bluetooth/on my phone, much preferred to having to hook up to my Mac, like some pedals I've bought over the years.

I would prefer a WYSIWYG setup (what you see is what you get) like the Microcube, but the size and tone of the Spark Mini is pretty hard to beat.

And I'll just say again: IMO, don't bother with the GO model. It's simply too small to sound very good. And can't get to any semblance of loud. And by loud I don't mean jamming with other people, the thing is a glorified headphone amp with a speaker. If you turn it all the way up the speaker farts out and breaks up terribly. But the Mini is pretty great.
 
I have the Roland street which really excels for clean tone like Jazz but without any gain control it fails miserably at overdriven sounds. Haven't tried a distortion pedal yet.
 
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