Designed by Andy Marshall and licensed by THD Electronics, Jet City's PicoValve amp head is a compact, low-wattage tone machine. The amp head features THD's unique topology, which allows the user to s... Click To Read More About This Product
Designed by Andy Marshall and licensed by THD Electronics, Jet City's PicoValve amp head is a compact, low-wattage tone machine. The amp head features THD's unique topology, which allows the user to swap the power tube at will”use nearly any octal-based tube without the need to re-bias the amp. With 5 watts, and a 1/2-power mode, you can get full power-amp distortion at volume levels which won't upset the neighbors. The tube guitar amp features a full-tone stack with treble, middle, and bass controls. Preamp and Master Volume controls dial up just the right amount of overdrive and output level. Housed in THD's signature steel cage design, this Jet City amp head is sturdy enough to stand up to the elements, and packs all the tube distortion you're looking for.
Reviewed by 4 customers
Displaying reviews 1-4
I just got my Pico Valve in the mail today after waiting months for Jet City to finally release the amp. First impression: sweet liquid distortion but very hard to get ANY clean tone out of the amp but it is 5 watts so that was expected. The amp is stock with a Chinese 6l6wgb electron tube. I assume that a very high grade tube will definitely improve the tone but I want to review it in stock form. One thing I noticed is that every once in a while when I switch the main power switch, I get an odd very quick electronic "eerrt" and it's intermediate so I'm thinking that it's not supposed to do this... I will contact the manufacture about this and ask them. The amp looks really well built and the main power button illuminates blue and that's totally sweet. This amp is designed by Andy Marshall of THD Amps and you Can put ANY power tube in this amp! COOL!!! The sound is like a fire breathing dimed out Marshall amp that is totally pushed/cranked. Perfect for rock and even metal. The half watt cut switch that switches the amp from 5 watts to 2 watts really is kinda cool. Only thing about running at 2 watts with both the preamp and master cranked it's still very quiet.. Switching back to 5 watts from 2 watts and leaving the pre and master cranked the amp is 50% louder and crunchier. So far I'm liking it! Just wish I could get a non-gritting sound out of it but it's too low wattage output to have headroom to achieve this but I'm sure my USA tele and stray will be a lot cleaner than the single humbucker cort guitar I tried it with just to get the feel of the amp to write this review for you guys and gals. Enjoy
As said before been waiting on this for months. I've owned just about all the small 5 watters out there. This one has the best build quality, I've owned the THD UNI and this seems just as nice. A steal for the price. The amp is loud in the 5 watt mode and very crunchy. The 2 watt mode is a great late night/bedroom level. I'm using a Gibson LP with a 496/498T and the bridge pickup will start breakup early on the preamp dial around 3 and it keeps on going to an extreem that sound great thru out the range. The master has a nice range also and the tone stack is very usable, many tones here. Can't wait to try some tube swaps EL34 and a EL84 via THD yellow jacket and some dif preamp tubes. The stock tubes are all china and have a good sound, I was surprized it had a 6L6, I was expecting a 6V6. I have her pluged into 2x12 Cdelestion 80's closed back cab. No effects loop (hope it can be moded).
I really wanted to like this Amplifier. I like small 5w tube amps. I use an Epiphone Valve Jr. when I rehearse in my band's basement studio. The Epi's transformer blew, so I figured while fixing it [or maybe not], I'd try Jet City's new PicoValve. GuitarCenter had it on store blowout, so why not. It's nicely constructed, very burly and sturdy, with a nice aluminum lunchbox handle on the side from which you can pick it up. It's no lightweight, it's pretty hefty, but the small size makes it easily transportable in a small gym bag. As for the sound, it's great if you really do not want a loud amp. Plain and simple - this amp does not sound very good when it's getting loud. The main issue I have with the amp, is in order to get some degree of non-saturated tone [tube breakup] from the amp, you have to set the gain control to 1-4 max. The Picovalve goes so quickly into it's distorted hi-gain breakup, that there's really no headroom left for any tone from your guitar, other than a compressed overdriven sizzle. Turn the Main Volume up to the limit, and it just gets louder, without any definition to your playing - all supersaturated mush. All this happens even before I activate any pedals on my pedal board - do that, and it's oversaturation city. It's not possible to turn the gain control low enough without cutting the sound off completely - it's tied to the main volume control in some way. The only realm where this makes sense is when the main volume control is set lower, and the Gain is as low as you can go, but then a bongo player will be drowning you out.... To make it short, the Picovalve is an incredibly well made one trick pony, that never will leave the stable. That's terrific if that's the only sound you ever want. Factor in, that even at almost max main volume [7-8], the amp is barely as loud as my lowly Epiphone Valve Jr. when set to 1/4 max volume. You will not gig at all with the PicoValve, or even play a loud party. But, at 3am in the morning when you want to play "Sweetleaf", or some Jesus and Mary Chain song, it would actually be pretty good. BTW, when switched to 2-watt mode, all of the above happens at even lower volumes! Great, if you're rockin' in the Casbah and don't want the Shari to find out. So, if you live in a highly restrictive theocracy, you're all set to rock out! It's not that it's a bad amp, which is why I gave it at least 3 stars, it's just not for me. Lastly, G.C. had the PicoValve and Jet City's J20H head on sale, and I should have gone with my gut and gotten the J20H. The J20H has the tone headroom and clean, yet gritty sound, that blows away the one dimensional PicoValve. Nice try JCA, but even your own amps dwarf this Pico.
I gave this amp 3 stars as is, but do not fret! If you don't have the greenbacks for a THD Univalve, there are things you can do to make the Pico valve sound almost as good. First: get the River City mod kit. Takes care of a lot of the "pop" you get when you go from standby to power. There are also a number of cap/resistor changes that make the EQ more responsive, and give you a little more headroom for clean playing. The muddiness is cleaned up to a reasonable standard. Also, the non-linear effect when you hit the bright switch is corrected by soldering a 1meg resistor from V2/pin2 directly to ground. Also, there are tube changes you make that effect the tone stack. It took me about 1.5 hours to disassemble, modify, reassemble to complete the mods! I now have a low powered, bedroom friendly tone monster- worth the effort!
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