The Special 6 popped up in a couple of posts on Harp-L. Here is my two cents as posted on the "L"...
I don't have sound clips, nor the gear to get a good recording up.
HOWEVER, I was asked to play harp on several tracks for a band's
upcoming album. I will post what I can from those sessions in the
next couple weeks.
FWIW, try sticking with the 12ax7 in there. I've scoured the web for
anything I can find on this amp, and one item that comes up again and
again (if I was a techy type and could read schematics this is
probably obvious) it is mentioned that this amp is voiced "dark".
Meaning, the internal settings for the tone controls are heavy on bass
and light on treble. I've heard it compared to a bass setting of 10
and treble of 2 on a typical tolex Champ.
I tried the amp with a full band - and we are a rock band - with a
5751. I also did a brief solo performance in a gym full of 400
students. In both instances, there was enough volume, but the amp was
way too dark. I miked the amp for the band gig. It had enough stage
volume except for our most loudest passages. That room sat about
150-200. It is all hard surfaces and not set up for music. In the
gym I didn't even need to crank the amp at all.
This past weekend, we did an outside show that was full band but
pretty laid back. We were in an enclosed area. I had the 12ax7 back
in the amp. Plenty of cut now. I had the amp on low power with the
pull boost on. It sounded like a tweed amp, IMO. I didn't even have
the amp at 50% on the volume knob. I had PLENTY of volume, even when
the drummer was hitting hard.
So I guess what I am getting at, is for stage volume, this amp can
easily do whatever a Pro Jr or under 10w type amp can do...bone
stock!!!!!!! So for under $200 you can have an amp that is easily
giggable, especially so if you play in a low volume band. I mean my
band will straight out rock and the amp has held its own. I was going
to get an Eminence Ramrod, and probably still will, but the stock
speaker is fine - if you like a clean ceramic sound. I did put a JJ
6v6 and Tung Sol RI in the amp. However, the stock tubes are fine for
harp. The 6v6 looked a little cheesy, though.
While I don't think the stock amp is quite as loud as a Princeton
Reverb, I picked it over a HG Rockbottom, Epi Valve Jr, Super Champ
XD, and Pro Jr. I have no regrets. This amp smokes for harp and even
has many of the "mods" guys would go after - no negative feedback
loop, larger OT, darker tone caps, tweed mod, etc. My HG50 is THE amp
for me. I get lots of compliments and I am able to get a fantastic
tone at any volume. However, there are times where we play small
stage areas and room is an issue. The VHT gets about as loud as the
HG50 on close to 3. However, the 50w adds a lot more bass, and the
treble control adds a lot more bite - making it feel bigger and
***Again with the speaker, I contacted VHT. It is allegedly rated at
97db. It has a very flat frequency response and it takes some of the
ice pick highs out when used with guitar. It was manufactured to be a
great speaker for recording guitar. That being said, I plugged it
into my HG 50 1210 cab and the added bite from what I think are the
increased mids of the Cannabis Rex sounds absolutely FANTASTIC and
does make the amp seem louder and ENORUMOUS. In fact, through that
cab, the VHT hit my typical stage volume. I like the idea of trying
the Ramrod as Eminence thought it would be a good fit as did Mike
Wesolowski. I think the Lil Buddy would be too dark. The Ragin Cajun
might work too.
So if money were no object, I'd look at the Classic 6 and get a
Cannabis Rex in there. With $300, you could get the Special 6, retube
it, and get a Ramrod in there.