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February 14, 2012

The smallest model in the GVT series, the GVT5-110 is a 5-watt 1x10 combo with a simple complement of Volume, Treble, and Bass controls. The amp is heavy for its size and power, which is primarily a result of solid construction and a 10" speaker. For reference, my 5-watt Fender Vibro-Champ weighs about nine pounds less.

The GVT5 doesn’t have much front-end gain, so getting grind tones from it requires that you crank it up to get the 6V6 cooking. The maximum volume at the five-watt setting is on par with most small tube combos of similar power, but if you need to wail with even less aural impact, the half-power setting cuts the loudness significantly.

The GVT112EW cabinet features Ampeg’s
Portaflex double baffle design.
Finding the right EQ setting for different guitars requires a bit of experimentation, as the GVT5 doesn’t respond quite like a classic five-watt tube amp. Part of this may be due to there being no flat setting with a Baxandall EQ. No matter where you set the controls, there’s some tone-shaping going on. Still, it’s not difficult to get happening sounds in the clean to mildly overdriven ranges by adjusting the Bass and Treble controls until the balance is right for a particular guitar.

The GVT112E is a more compact, non-Portaflex cabinet.
For pure distortion, my preference was to back off the volume enough to get a relatively clean sound that could be propelled nicely into the grind realm with the Fuzz Face. The response was also noticeably smoother when the GVT5 was driving the GVT112EW cabinet, which isn’t surprising considering the difference between a single 10" in an open-back combo and a 12" Celestion Vintage 30 in a double-baffled closed-back cab. The deep, clear response of GVT112EW is impressive, and the GVT5 definitely sounded louder and badder through it.

Bringing the Ampeg mojo into the pintsized domain, the GVT5-110 has a nice affinity for pedals, and would be a great choice for studio work or for low volume rehearsals and practice.

More from this Roundup:

Ampeg GVT5-110, GVT15H, and GVT52-112

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