1u Tube Power Amps


Power User
I enjoy my Fryette Power Station but still want a 1u tube power amp. Having a hard time justifying the price of the LXII or Syn 50-50, neither of which is available yet anyways.

Found these other options. Unfortunately nothing gives much hope of reliability. Kind of rolling the dice.

http://victor-custom.com/en/1u-50w-guitar-tube-power-amp-with-7-band-eq/ Its mono but I like the 7 band eq option and I don't really need stereo.

RNR Amps - http://rnramp.com/products/PWR_150 - mono
Garland AMPs. - http://www.garlandamps.com/index.php?p=3 1u stereo bridged 80watts or 40 stereo.
I had a Mesa 20/20 stereo tube power amp, which is a lot louder than you might think, but it isn't a monster power amp if you really need 80 or 100 watts. It is 1U, and used properly it sounds fine. "Used properly" just means it is a tube power amp and, as such, colors the sound so you should build your presets with it and the cabinet(s) you're driving to get the best sound. You can find them used for a decent price occasionally. It's the only one I recall, and runs on EL-84s.

That an amp has tubes in it at all, especially 6L6GCs, makes the 1U form factor a bit challenging. That probably accounts for some of the scarcity of models.
Yea the mesa 20/20 would really be the only one made by a reputable company. I guess I just recall some bashing from Cliff regarding the 20/20 and I'm afraid of how bad the coloring might be but at least the resale on that should be easiest. Maybe its worth a go.
I am also looking for a 1U tube amp but from what I can tell they are few and far between.

I am going to pick one of these up from the good reviews I have seen.


One owner stated that this was almost on par with his VHT which is supposed to one of the best so I am intrigued.

I have the following amps and will do a shootout soon.

-Fryette Powerstation 2 (great amp and not too heavy). Too bad it Is 2U and mono.
-Atomic 50/50 - my favorite gigging amp and sounds wonderful. Heavy beast and 2U. The sound is neck and neck with the PS2.
-Matrix GT1000 - right now it is my backup but I am going to incorporate it into a W/D/W setup with my PS2 for the dry signal and the Matrix for the wet stereo signal.
-Rocktron Mainline - I have one of these on order and will see how it compares to the rest.
I have a Marshall 20/20, and it's a pretty awesome power amp.
It's supposed to be run stereo at all times, but I had an amp tech install a switch to bypass one side (without damaging the amp), and it's killer through a 1x12 Theile cab.
The Mesa Boogie 20/20 is quality gear, capable of reasonably good volume. Far from flat response, but there's an easy "deep mod" (basically cutting one lead on each of two capacitors) to restore the bass. I haven't read of any negatives regarding the result, don't know how many have done it. At your own risk, will void warranty, etc. I'd talk to a good amp tech if you're thinking about it. Haven't tried it, don't play my Triaxis/ 20/20 rig since Axe FxII.
It is hard to make a truly good 1u tube power amp because design constraints for heat, transformers, and tube type are all being dictated/constrained/dominated by the form factor. If you get a bigger case and go 2u the world is your oyster. There are zillions of 2u amps.

Also, most 1u amps like the MB have a reputation for being very colorful (relative to 2u amps) due to the lower output wattage/headroom which is not a great quality for the Axe.

TBH, if I were looking for a rack power amp and did not need stereo your Fryette power station with the rackmount kit would be my *first* choice. The MB 20/20 is stupid expensive (for what it is) on the used market and the El-84 20/20 is nigh impossible to find (plus expensive) and both are going to be far more colored than the Fryette.

That said, IMHO, tube power amps are generally undesirable with AF2. The power amp modeling is so good a tube power amp brings very little to the table and has all the downsides of tubes. Cabs on the other hand: awesome. The only thing you are getting is the ability to say "I use a tube amp".
That said, IMHO, tube power amps are generally undesirable with AF2. The power amp modeling is so good a tube power amp brings very little to the table and has all the downsides of tubes. Cabs on the other hand: awesome. The only thing you are getting is the ability to say "I use a tube amp".

Different strokes for different folks..

I went from using a Matrix GT800FX to a Mesa 2:90.

Is it heavy..? Very
Does it color my sound..? Not as bad as people claim, but yes.
Does it sound good..? Insanely.

I switched because of the amount of tweaking I had to do with the GT800FX. My rig is now completely plug and play with minimal tweaking required to get an amazing sound, I also run a 4x12 Orange cab.

Many will argue that this is defeating the purpose of the AFX2 and that I'm basically neutering the product, and while they have a point to some extent.. at the end of the day like any piece of gear the AFX2 is just a means to an end, and this works very well for me.

I still use all the IR's and amp modeling for studio use, btw.
I know this is now an old-ish thread, but how about a follow up on your decisions?
Also, does anyone rate the Koch ATR-4502 or similar (1u rack tube poweramp). And how did that Rocktron Mainline go down?
I have and sell the Koch. It sounds good but very colored - even more than the Boogie. Too much for the AxeFX for my taste
I like the idea of a 1U as well but only if it is neutral.

With my Axe II I preferred my Fryette PS2 (mono) or Atomic 50/50 amps with my cabs.

However, with the Axe III I think the gap has closed a bit at least through my studio monitors or Accugroove FRFR speakers. I’ll be testing this in a live setting so we will see how it goes.

One thing that has me intrigued is the Xitone McBritt. I hear that is as good as a raw amp and cab. I bet that paired with a Axe III would be a good setup.
I used to be a tube power amp disciple but ever since I got the Duncan Power stage, I've changed my tune
on this. Matching the lower res to my cab and tweaking the depth/dynamic depth and sag, I've got
my sound and more importantly my "feel" to almost exactly match what I was getting using my Marshall JVM
for a power amp or my VHT 50/50. The Fryette PowerStation was where I was going to originally go
but I couldn't find one for cheap , so I decided to try the Duncan and I'm glad I did.
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