Ken B Jammen

The Essential Ken B Jammen

Orange Tiny Terror Review.

February 10th, 2015

The Orange Tiny Terror is a switchable 7/15 watt amp.  It is a head only with no reverb or effects.  No effects loop is present in this head.  Controls are Volume, Tone, Gain only.  There are three outputs for different speakers of different resistance.

You may find the lack of controls a positive thing or a negative thing depending on how much control you would like.  Controlling the output tone can be challenging to get set sweet (especially if playing several guitars and switching during a set).  An easy fix would be to get an EQ pedal, I personally do not find it too difficult to turn the tone knob.   If you are a put it and leave it person, you might actually find that fewer controls are better for you.

It is easy to push this tube into power amp overdrive, especially in the 7 watt setting.  I didn’t have any problems eclipsing 100 decibels at 10 feet with a 16 ohm 2×12 cabinet *(with the stock tubes).

Here is the only downfall with this amp.  Mine came stock with tubes labeled 12AX7B china, and EL-84 China.  These tubes are gainy and gritty.  The pre-amp distortion with these tubes is fizzy and grainy.  A simple tube replacement took this amp and made it much more pleasant to the ear.  I used JJ tubes from www.tubesandmore.com and replaced the whole set.  While replacing, I first did the pre-amp tubes and fired it up.  The amp was clearly better following this change, with the elimination of the fizziness of the China 12AX7B stock tubes.  Replacing the power tubes was the icing on the cake tone wise.   As far as the technical skill required replacing tubes, simply remove the 10 screws holding the top and gently pull the tubes.  Align the new tube pins and gently work the new tube in.  Make sure the amp is off and unplugged during a tube change.

The tube change did cause a few decibel drop in total output, but the improvement in tone is worth it.  I was able to get 101dB at 10 feet with everything maxed.

This is a one trick pony.  This is a one channel amp.  Don’t expect super clean cleans and harsh overdrives.  This does what it does, and does it really well.  I am slightly disappointed in the poor selection for stock tubes with this amp.  Some do ship with adequate tubes and some do not.  Orange would do themselves well to put higher grade tubes in this amp and pass the cost on to the consumer.

Overall rating 4 out of 5 stars.

Single Coil Sunday – Preamp buzziness at low levels

December 28th, 2014

Here’s Single Coil’s opinions on nearly everything important about guitars. I’ve limited to 20 points, all of which should be accepted as Gospel. Trust ye the word of Single Coil on this folks, he knows what he’s saying.

10.  All preamp distortion, tube or solid state, will sound buzzy at low volumes. I don’t care if it’s a point-to-point wired Matchless Hotbox, a Boogie V-Twin or whatever, preamp distortion sounds buzzy unless it’s used moderately in combination with a hot power amp. That’s just the way it is.

Maybe less true now than ever.  I do get where the original poster is coming from though.  At lower volumes amplification of the waveform effects the waveform differently.   Now more than ever advances in technology and circuitry allow less problems at different levels.

I am going to refer to the perpetual motions mod DS-1. This effect sounds clean and not grainy at any level. Sure the run of the mill Boss pedals will have their own problems at low levels and need to be pushed, but your high end pedals can really shine.  A great point: Even at almost silent levels, a modeler (as much as I cannot stand a modeler) sounds the same at any level. That is really how it is in 2014.

And that will be the last Single Coil post for 2014.  I wish all my readers a happy and blessed 2015.

Single Coil Sunday – Humbuckers sound “bigger”

December 6th, 2014

Here’s Single Coil’s opinions on nearly everything important about guitars. I’ve limited to 20 points, all of which should be accepted as Gospel. Trust ye the word of Single Coil on this folks, he knows what he’s saying.

Point 7  Humbuckers sound “bigger” when playing at higher gain. And they are undeniably quieter. When playing clean or at lower gain overdrive, however, no humbucker can match the sparkle and definition of a good single coil. That’s just the way it is.

Ok, Humbuckers will sound bigger when playing at higher gain, and they are quieter. After that with the advances in pickups and the selection of high end pickups out there, this is less of a truth than it was ten years ago. Cheap pickups will sound cheap. After that a guitar and pickup selection should be aimed at the style of music you are going to play with that instrument. If you are looking for an “all around” instrument, you will have areas where there will be weakness. If you focus your instrument toward a particular tone or Genre you can actually do better. Here’s a good example. If you are setting out to be the next Chet Atkins, don’t get caught up in an Ibanez RG series guitar. Neither the guitar nor the pickups are designed for that style of music. Sure, you COULD play that style, but the guitar is set up to be a rocker. Coil tapping is another thing to consider to make your humbucking pickup more versatile. Well done it can go a long way. I have no idea why the whole concept of the P-90 pickup was left out of this discussion, because when you look at it, A single coil IS NOT a P-90 IS NOT a Humbucker, they all have unique and individual qualities, that is really how it is in 2014.

Let’s not forget to discuss active electronics.  There was a move not that long ago to go to active electronics in guitars.  There are some serious plusses and minuses to active electronics in a guitar.  Active humbuckers will certainly out gain non-active, but that comes with a cost.  Batteries, grittiness in low wattage amps.  That could be a discussion all on it’s own….

Single Coil Sunday – Tube Amp Power

October 26th, 2014

Here’s Single Coil’s opinions on nearly everything important about guitars. I’ve limited to 20 points, all of which should be accepted as Gospel. Trust ye the word of Single Coil on this folks, he knows what he’s saying.

Point #1

The vast majority of players play amps that are too powerful. If your tube amp is not being turned up past 5 or 6 on a regular basis, you’re not using it to it’s design specs. Most people don’t realize that a “little” 15 watt tube amp is pretty loud. Sure, you may need that 100 watt head for the next 120,000 seat outdoor festival you play . . . but you’ll still have to mike the amp. And how much stage volume do you really need? That’s just the way it is.

I continue to agree with this. Go to any guitar center and find the amps that everyone is playing. The ½ stacks, the large combo amps, etc. A great sounding 1 x 12” tube amp combo with the right microphone will sound better than any modeling amp. That is really how it is in 2014.  The idea that you need a bigger amp because you need more headroom really doesn’t fly when you are lugging around 5 different overdrives.