Wangs Amplification - The Best Cheap Tube Amps?
If you're reading this article then you'll probably be after a mini tube amp and have discounted the usual manufacturers. They could be too expensive, not do what you want, or you may just want something a little bit different. Well let us introduce you to a brand you may not know about - Wangs Amplification. One of the best kept secrets in modern tube amps.
Wangs amps aren't that well known outside China. They do something a little bit different. Most Chinese companies go straight for the lowest price possible. They usually use lower quality components and reliability can be a little suspect. So yes, you'll have a cheap tube amp which may sound ok for a while, but it's unlikely you'll be blown away.
Wangs use high quality European and Japanese components along with durable wooden enclosures backed up by their warranty scheme. They're often described as semi boutique, but without an astronomical price tag. It’s weird to describe them as this, but they’re budget boutique (Guitar World actually called them this - and we think the label works really well).
OK, let's address the elephant in the room. The name. Yes we all like a cheap laugh but Wangs is actually pronounced "Wongs". It's a very common name in China and named after the amps designer - Mr. Wang. But if you can look past the name you'll find some real gems.
Let's look at some of the smaller amps in their range, since these are the most popular.
The VT-1H is one of the smallest and best value tube amp heads on the market. Our customers have told us how much they like to use this for recording and practice. It’s possible to use it for smaller, quieter gigs too but gigging isn’t where this unit shines.
The VT-1H is described as VOX-like with an incredibly good lower end. It’s super easy to use with the single volume and tone control, and it’s simple to quickly dial in great tube tones. Perfect if you’re going for a simple and clean sound – just your guitar and amp.
However like all Wangs amps it does work well with pedals, so there’s plenty of room for experimentation.
See what our customers think of it here!
Update - The Mini 5 is getting some incredible reviews. We really encourage you to check them out!
The big brother of the VT-1H comes with more options and more power (5w). It runs on a pair of 12AX7 tubes and a 6Z4 rectifier. There are Bass, Middle and Treble controls as well as the Volume knob. There’s even a 3 way selector switch with Tube, Standby and Diodes as well as a 2 way selector with Bright and Warm modes.
The Mini 5 is incredibly clean, dynamic and responsive. Yet it works well with pedals too which really allow you to hone In on a specific tone.
Despite its size it really sounds much bigger than it is. It can even go loud enough for gigs.
You can buy the Mini 5 from us – make sure to check out our customer reviews on that page too. But we would say positive things about it since we’re selling it. So we encourage you to check out the following forum post which has some reviews:
The VT-5 is a combo amplifier and is perfect if you want to experiment with tube tones. It’s essentially very similar to the Tweed Champ but at a fraction of the cost. The build quality on this thing is really high. You’ll notice the premium wood finish and leather handle.
But inside is where the real magic happens. It has a Celestion speaker along with Japanese and German components. It’s hand wired meaning that Wangs can put which components they want inside, and not just one which will work with a PCB board. However there is a cheaper PCB version available too. You’ve got all the controls you need to shape your tone – Vol, Bass, Mid, and Treb as well as the pentode and triode switch to control the 12AX7 and 6V6.
The best way to understand this amp is by actually hearing it:
Check out the amp on our site here.