This product has proved that value does not need to be dipped even if the price falls. Despite its $249.99 worth, it remains the people’s choice both as a guitarist or hobbyist. Let’s take a look at whether this little guy lives up to all the hype.
Monoprice 15 Watt Tube Amp Review
An obvious element about this product is the simplicity. This amp-speaker-reverb combo comes bundled nicely in a cream faux leather exterior and chrome corner guards and a matching leather handle.
I need not tell you that it needs no guide, nothing complex about it. It has a lean regulation and control, the exact expectation of most guitarists, particularly with such price.
I doff for the tone control, it deserves a standing ovation. In essence, it is a presence knob and a powerful one at that. It’s probably one of the best things about the Monoprice 15-watt.
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Playing around with that tone knob will make virtually any guitar you hook up sound beautiful.
For that, you can thank Monoprice’s incredibly crafted power and preamp tubes. Experienced guitarists would pay big bucks for tone like this. Luckily, if you’re shopping on a budget, the Monoprice 15-Watt will do just fine.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros we found while using this amp:
We have to say it again: the tone is ridiculously good for an amp of this price point
The Celestion speaker is exceptional.
15W does the trick — if you need it to be, this thing can get loud. Even with the master volume turned down low, playing this in a townhouse or apartment will probably get you into trouble with the neighbors. Luckily, there’s a 1-watt feature perfect for casual at-home play.
As with most of their products, Monoprice has a one-year replacement warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. It experiences once the time is reached.
I play loop-based music (mostly acoustic guitar and percussion based) and chose this amp based on some pretty specific requirements needed to introduce electric guitar to my system.
I needed quality tube tone at lower volumes and with a small footprint. I also needed a line out that would send a usable signal to my loop station without muting the amp’s speaker (as the “headphone” out on many small amps do).
This checked all of those boxes on the cheap so I thought I’d give it a try. Overall, I’m very happy with it but dropped a star because I had to repair many issues.
- Excellent tone! I’m not super picky or an amp expert but Ibanez AS83 with Gibson burst buckers plays beautifully through it. All that wonderful tube responsiveness is there.
- The burst buckers send a pretty hot signal so it breaks up quickly but you get nice clean tones with again under 25%. I pretty much leave it there and use a Seymour Duncan Twin Tube pedal to overdrive. The 1w switch works perfectly and lets you crank the gain at low volumes.
- The speaker is excellent, a Celestion Seventy 80. It might sound a bit bright at first but warms up nicely after getting broken in. It’s worth noting that the Laney Cub 12R (that this amp is rumored to be a clone of, $460 right now on Amazon) stocks a Celestion Rocket 50 which is a step down from the Seventy 80.
- I think the choice to add a better than expected speaker to this combo is a big reason been so well received, it just makes an enormous impact on tone.
- UPDATE: You might end up making use of a difference Bluetooth just to feel the difference. Put a Celestion G12H-75 Creamback in it which is more efficient (louder). It might sound a bit bloomy at first but after breaking it in, the warmth and mids have surfaced.
- The amp is now at least 25% louder, with a more punchy tone, you hahave aercussive style. Keeping the Seventy 80 though you might end up using it again here or elsewhere.
- The line-out/effects send does the job. It sends a nice line-level signal from the preamp section to my loop station to loop electric guitar parts. The tone is better than I thought it would be and adequate for recorded loops. This doesn’t impact sound out of the cabinet in any way
- It’s loud as hell if you need it to be (referring to the factory speaker set up, the upgraded speaker made it even louder). I’ve been playing bar gigs in a 4 piece blues rock band and have plenty of volumes to stand out in the mix, usually at around 60% volume with the amp at full power. For solo/looping gigs, I use the 1w setting! I also mixed it recently in a large rock club and it sounded fantastic.
- Mine showed up with a broken power tube. I didn’t feel like sending it back so I used it as an excuse to replace the whole set as I was going to do that eventually anyway. I went with matched sets of JJ 12AX7s & EL84s ($65 total) and they sound great.
- The telex on the back was peeling off in many places when I received it. I just reattached it with some Elmer’s wood glue and it’s holding for now.
- The plastic hex nuts on the outputs are cheap and I broke one the first time I touched it. I just replaced them with some steel ones from the hardware store for a few bucks.
- The reverb was not very useful in my opinion (purchased in 2018 with the new/improved tank btw). It sounds nice, just very subtle even when turned up. I couldn’t even really hear it unless the guitar was being played by itself. I replaced the tank with a MOD 8EB2C1B ($25) which is the same thing but with 3 springs instead of 2 (a very easy swap, the MOD is the same size and uses the same screw holes as the factory tank). It is much much better now and I get beautiful, deep, saturated reverb with the knob at 60%.
Kind of a Frankenstein project at this point but the way I see it is I have a boutique level amp now for around $400 ($200 factory new + $200 in upgrades). And even if you keep it stock, this is an excellent bedroom-to-band amp right out of the box.
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