Stage 5 docs
The Stage 5 Blues Harmonica Amp
Congratulations for choosing the Stage 5 amp! We know you will love it: The Stage 5 has a full, crunchy, colorful tone very similar to the tweed amps of the 1950s. It is one of the coolest sounds in all of blues music, a real vintage vibe. Your amp is specifically tuned for blues harmonica, and it is suitable for practice, recording, or performing in any venue.
The Stage 5 Amp is a new blues harmonica amplifier designed for novice to pro players. We begin with the Stage Right amp from Monoprice in China, which is well constructed with a rugged cabinet and robust internal circuit boards. To create the new Stage 5 Amp, Bruce Collins radically alters the internal circuitry of the Monoprice amp, converting it to a perfect little blues harp beast. The finished Stage 5 Amp is supplied with a new Weber Signature speaker, a 6V6 power tube and 12AY7 preamp tube.
The tone control on the Stage 5 Amp is a brilliant piece of engineering, different from any you’ve tried. It is much more than just a typical high cut, found on most all simple and inexpensive tube amps. You can use the volume and tone controls together to sculpt the sound from clean, to warm, to compressed, to crunchy, to singing. It rewards your good playing technique with an amazing range of cool tones. The amp is very loud and punchy for its size.
The performance is pro-level all the way, but the price is entry level. The Stage 5 amp is a great tool for serious players. It is gig- or studio-ready.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
Save all the packing materials!
Connect your harp microphone to the amp via the INPUT jack on the top panel. The jack accepts a ¼-inch phone plug, like on a typical guitar cable. If your harp microphone is wired for low impedance it will have a different connector and you will need a converter. I use the Audix T-50K converter and I recommend it, but there are many other good products out there.
Switch the amp on and wait for the tubes to warm up. This will take about 30 seconds. Make sure the volume and tone controls are set low at first. Increase the settings as needed after the amp is ready.
USING AN EXTERNAL SPEAKER
You can connect to an external speaker cab to make the Stage 5 amps sound huge! Connect to an external speaker cabinet using a speaker cable that terminates with a ¼ inch phone plug. This will switch off the speaker inside the amp. The external speaker jack is clearly marked on the back of the amp.
USING THE OPTIONAL LINE OUT
The Stage 5 amp has an optional line out feature that allows you to easily connect the amp to a PA sound system so you can be heard in any venue, no matter how large. It sends a line level signal from the amp. Use a regular instrument cable with ¼-inch phone plugs. The line out jack is on the back of the amp next to the external speaker jack. Plug the cable into a Mic or Line input on the PA mixer, or ask the sound tech at the gig to take care of it.
The Line Out signal originates at the speaker tap on the output transformer, downstream of the output tubes. The line out signal carries all of the tube goodness and much of the speaker effect to the PA or FOH system.
I start with the settings on the mixer channel all “flat”, or straight up. PA systems and speakers tend to sound bright, so I sometimes boost the lows and roll off the mids and highs in the mixer channel. I recommend you send just a little of the signal to the monitors: too much and it may cause feedback.
You can also use the line out to connect the Stage 5 Amp to another amp. Use an instrument cable from the line out jack on the Stage 5 amp to the input jack in the other amp. You will hear the great Stage 5 tone and breakup in a bigger, more powerful amp when you need it.
PLAYING THE AMP
This is the ultimate grab-n-go amp! Great tone in a small 17-pound package. When practicing at home I usually dial the volume and tone to 3. When gigging I sometimes use the line out and set the volume on 7 and adjust the tone to suit the room. Your settings may vary a lot because of room acoustics and your personal tastes.
The Stage 5 amp has a wonderful crunch when you attack with more than one reed. Open your playing aperture a bit to allow adjacent reeds to play on a draw note, applying a slight bend. Hit it a little harder on the attack and then quickly drop to normal pressure. This is one way to get the crunch and color you hear in the example videos at the Memphis Blues Amps website. This amp loves the overtones generated by multiple reeds!
5 Watts / 1 Watt
The power of the amp is switchable from a full 5 watts to 1 watt. Use the 1 watt setting to make the amp quieter for practice.
All harp amps feed back at higher volumes. Feedback has seldom been an issue with the Stage 5 amp. If you are playing in a small room with reflective surfaces the amp may begin to feed back. Reduce the volume and tone. Try pointing the amp away from you. Work on your mic cupping technique to isolate the mic from the sound of the amp. Move to a larger space.
If you are playing in a club and you hear feedback, try the solutions mentioned above and also consult the sound tech. The most likely culprit is too much harp signal in the monitors.
WARRANTY AND SERVICE
The Stage 5 amp comes with a limited warranty for the period of one year from the date of new shipment. There is a 90 day limited warranty on tubes and speaker subject to approval. Any modification to the amp or abuse will void the warranty. Shipping for warranty is the responsibility of the buyer.
DO NOT return the amp unless you have first obtained an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization). No exceptions! You may contact us here:
Call or text 530-408-6710, or
-In the case of a return, shipping costs are not refundable.
-Prices, specifications, and components are subject to change at any time without prior notice or publication.
-With respect to our warranty policy, repair or replacement is at our discretion only.
Thank you again for choosing the Stage 5 amp! Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions you may have. I’ll be happy to help you get the most from this great little harp amp.
Sheridan Wyoming USA