Well that's it. I've officially seen the light in tube amps. This past Tuesday and Wednesday I went out and tried out some small wattage tube amps. These included a Mesa DC3, a Peavey Valveking 2x12, Mesa F50 and a Rectoverb 1x12.
All I can say is - why don't I have a good tube amp. So anyways I was talking to the guy who had the F50 & Rectoverb and he suggested an ENGL E530 Rack pre-amp.
Now I've heard few clips online & after talking to S7eve for a long time I think I might have found the one.
Basically I'm thinking of getting this and running it into my Behringer SS amp which will then become a glorified poweramp+cab. In addition I only need a few stomp boxes (delay, chorus, eq, noise, ts7) so i could rig those up to the fx loop and then I'd be done.
If I needed to play at night the ENGL has a need feature in that it has dual stereo 1.5W power amp built in which is enough for stereo headphones.
Anyone got any other advice/options/comments?
Tube preamps are nice, and the Engl is a seriously good peice of gear, don't get me wrong. However, my experience has been that the REAL advantage of a tube rig comes from the poweramp, so if you're running a tube pre into your Behringer, you're only getting a small part of the benefit for a fair amount of money.
If you want that Engl pre, then look at some tube poweramp options as well - the Mesa 20/20, Peavey 50/50, and something from Carvin whose model number eludes me are all relatively affordable and I've heard good things about. On the cheap, though, you're probably better off just getting a tube combo, and not having to worry about a seperate poweramp and cab.