First, I was looking for a minimalist tube amp that was strictly a bedroom playa. Think of it as an exercise in zen haiku. Take away everything but the bare essentials that define it as an amp and what is left is the guitar, your speaker cab, and you. BTW my cab is an HB 112 vintage...
This little peanut whistle came well packaged:
And as I said it barely has enough parts to call it an amp. Controls include on/off, tone, and volume. On the back you can switch voltage and that's about it.
Out of the box it wasn't bad at all. I'd say it's voiced more like a Fender than anything else - at least the breakup sounds Fenderish... The Chinese no name tubes aren't bad but they do deliver some pretty harsh ice pick highs. Not at all that pleasing really...
So I decided to do a little tube rolling. It turns out this little cat can change her spots pretty radically based on how you intubate her. She depends on two 12ax7s and one 12au7 to make some noise. First thing I did was order some garden variety JJs which helped immensely. Rounder tone, more volume, and an ice pick-ectomy. Not bad at all!
I also had a few tubes laying around from a re-tube of my Blackstar HT-1R. First off an ElectroHarmonix 12au7 - bad move, it was like throwing a cold wet blanket on the amp. Mushy muddled tones and and the volume dropped to a whisper. Ok - forget that one... So next I tried a Sovtek 12ax7wa. My god, the clouds parted and the heavens shown down from above! Could this really be the same amp? Yup.
The Sovtek rounded out the bass response and added some richness to the mids. The volume went up and the amp suddenly had more clean headroom. Now it sounds like a proper little blues amp! Tube breakup and distortion - yes. Heavy duty gain - no.
So I said to myself I said - what happens when I put it in the other 12ax7 position? Well - it sounded like pure crap... The clouds rolled back in and thunder and lightning voiced the gods disapproval. Yes, I am paying attention...
I love playing this little bugger. Both (that's it folks) both of my pedals work just fine into the input. To be honest, I don't usually play my Sweet Baby but the Biyang Tri-Reverb is always on just enough to give me splash of basement fantasy greatness.
I was able to get this for about $150 delivered though they are a bit more now. If interested, let me know and I'll share the source.
Now... Should you buy one? How on earth would I know what you like? I can say it - along with its soviet block brute ugly hipster pizazz shape really work for me.
And yes, my teeth are a little whiter, I've lost several pounds, my hair is growing back and women seem to find me and my new Wangs more attractive. Strangely, my wife has started mowing the lawn.
Go figure .
What people are saying about Wangs
🤩 Joey “The CowPolka King” Miskulin 🤩
Member of the Nashville Cats and Riders in the Sky, 4 time Grammy winner, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, K-Tel Records artist, Sony Music A&R, Disney/Pixar producer and musician and who has worked with just about every major artist on the planet..!!!
Here are his words:
"These amps are incredible.They remind me of my childhood when amps were a work of art and came alive as soon as signal passed through it." "When it comes to tone They remind me of the old Marshall Plexis that are so very collectible today." "And what I like the most is that Wangs Amplification gives amateurs, bed room rockers, and small gig musicians the ability to play quality handwired amps." Because lets face it, even gigging musicians usually don't have the means to dump $4,000 on a Matchless DC30 or a Marshall JTM45 Reissue." But those type of players are able to save their money to get an amp of that caliber for 1/3 of the cost." I opened up the back and all the parts are of high quality which is why the tone is so transparent and vibes vintage handwired Marshall's." All in all Wangs Amplification is a step above the rest in the area where they compete." And last but not least as soon as I heard them it immediately brought me back to the 70s and 80s. All in all a top notch brand at a price point where everyone can have these amps."
- Joey Miskulin
Blues Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy winning artists Darrell Mansfield
Initial Review: Wangs VT-5 combo: Vintage tone with a blues harp in the palm of your hand. To put it simply, this little guy puts out nothing but pure tube tone. At five watts, it breaks up perfectly and gives you a tone that sounds like a vintage blackface champ that’s being pushed exceptionally hard. Additionally the tone control on the amp can really brighten or darken your sound depending. With it cranked up, the VT-5 screams fender style sparkle.
Please continue reading more of these great reviews. We will be updating this section often...
Wangs Artist Joao Cupertino of Labia from Portugal
Review from Joao Cupertino of LABIA
I came across the Wangs VT-15 by accident while I was living abroad for a while and needed a small amp for practice. My initial idea was to use while I was away and sell it before I came back home because I had already more than a dozen tube amps (some of them vintage amps) and I really had no need for one more amp… But this little amp really surprised me, it sounded really great (and loud) typical Marshall sound, because the preamp is based on the Marshall JCM800 with the addition of an effects loop between the master and the phase inverter, which is a great plus! Both the Hi and Low inputs are usable, nice cleans. Where this amp really excels is on the crunch to high gain sounds (I’m talking classic rock high gain, not metal high gain).
The only downside was that with my 1x12 cab with equipped with a Celestion Greenback it sounded too bright and I had to keep the Presence and Treble knobs very close to “0”, it sounded great but it bothered me that I had two EQ controls I was not able to use to make it a more versatile amp… So I went online and found some people with the same issue who had performed a mod (now known as the “Vasectomy Mod”) that consists of nothing more than clipping two bright caps on the input of the preamp (there is not even the need to use a soldering iron)… I'm by no means a technician but I know a little about electronics, I have opened all my amps and modded some of them, so I opened it and was really surprised with what I saw in the guts of the amp: decent size transformers, very well laid out, thick PCB, German made Wima capacitors, ceramic tube sockets, plywood enclosure, in short: a well designed amp with a build quality that is much better than most of the Chinese made amps I've seen (and I have seen a lot of them and owned some),
So I went forward with the “Vasectomy Mod” and as a result the Presence and Treble became very usable, I still can get the amp to sound very bright if I want to, but now I have the same sound I was getting with those knobs completely rolled off with them around the twelve o’clock position! By now I had decided this amp was a keeper and decided to upgrade the power tubes to a pair of JJ’s EL84, my “go to” EL84 tube: these are great sounding and cheap and it makes a very noticeable of difference, it really helps “rounding” the sound a bit more. Since then, I have used this amp extensively playing live on small to mid size venues, it is so small and light but still loud, and it has never let me down, very reliable.
I have also tried it with a lot of different cabs and speakers and it always delivers a great Marshall sound, I have used it as a preamp with a Marshall el34 50/50 power amp, I have changed V1 to a NOS Brimar 12UA7 which brings the gain down a lot but introduces a kind of “Voxy” characteristic to the sound, too cut a long story short: I’ve been having a lot of fun playing and experimenting with this amp, since it is a cheap amp I have no problem trying stuff I would not try with one of my vintage amps.
Is it the best amp in the world? Not by far! But for a Marshall sound on a budget in this price point (and even higher) with this build quality I can’t think of a better option even today, several years after this amp’s release.
This is a review of Mini5 from the guitarist from 60's beat band "The Abstracts"
Here are his words:
My sole previous experience with a small tube amp is that of a `50s era, Champ circuit, type. That amp was basically a simple "student" grade one. Those amps were meant to be used at very moderate volume -- and their fame is based on the wonderful stuff that happens when you don't; when you drive them really, really hard. They distort like mad -- but in a very musical sense. Creamy smooth. Electric whip cream if you will.
Just think Clapton's guitar in Layla. Simply wonderful.
Okay, that was my expectation for the Mini 5. That'd it'd be a Champ but with great tonal flexibility;ity. It is NOT.
What it is is a technically low power (5 watt) amp, that does what a much larger (yes MUCH)) and more expensive (yes, MUCH) amp does. It is articulate in the way that a Twin Reverb is. Every inflection of one's playing comes through.
You can flavor those inflections in a large number of ways. Warm. Rich. Full. Thin. Bright. Mid-range rich. But it will always remain articulate. This amp ain't whip cream. It is the bull that chased the cow and you out of the pasture.
I just had a long an fun session trying to use the Mini 5 in different ways. First turned up loud. Tube glowing hot. I had the speaker soak down to one. It was still pretty loud. But it was almost as articulate as when the soak was at ten and the amp was at one or two. More "gritty," yes. But every nuance of my playing still showed through.
That explains why there is a choice of two rectifiers. Choose solid state and there is no evidence at all that this is a low output amp. It is totally quiet and VERY loud. Go over to the tube rectifier and then there is some feeling of the amp being driven. Some "oh, stop asking so much of me" compression. But only some. Pick softly an you will never experience it. Demand a lot and it'll show itself. Again there's that word -- articulation.
Want "creamy"? Want a lot of distortion? Then with the Mini 5 you'll have to do what you do with any other "big" amp -- use pedals.
Some weeks back someone on a guitar forum asked for the recommendation of a small amp that has the sound of a Twin Reverb. I and several others with great authority said "Nope! There is no such thing." But in fact there is. Well, almost. The Mini 5 is it.
When Wangs (and independent reviewers) said this is a "boutique" amp they were't speaking advertising hype. It really, really is.
The Mini 5 is a small amp (really small!) that does what no small amp is supposed to do. It truly sounds big. And not a synthesized 'big." Not a little amp faking it. No -- a truly big amp that just happens to have been made small...../.....Okay, had another session with the Mini 5 this morning and yes, it is to be, I sincerely think, a lasting "love."
I'd sensed that the articulation -- the Mini 5's ability to reveal every nuance of a tone -- would likely make it special with HB-equipped guitars. That was so to a pleasant degree with the 1980 ES-Artist I played yesterday. But today I plugged in an `88 Les Paul -=- one with the highly overwrapped PUPS (490 and 495?) of that era, -- and what a wowsa! No need to up the amp into overdrive. Every tasty nuance of the guitars tone just poured out of the speaker. Gritty in the natural way such PUPS were back when amp had no artificial way of boosting gain.
No fuss and bother finding the tone either. It was just there. Everywhere.
So much did I enjoy playing that guitar through the Mini 5 that I just ordered a back brace so I can do so for more than a few minutes at a time! That `88 'Paul is bleeping HEAVY!!!
(Yeah, getting older does have some "downsides.")
Matt D. WAUSA customer
Wangs Amps USA customer
The VT-1H takes pedals exceptionally well, I've tried delays, treble boosts, distortions, and overdrive pedals and for lack of better words, they sound organic and clear- not mushy or muddy.
I plan to use this guy for recording, home practice, and as a plan b for those shows where an amp is already supposed to be there but never showed up. It's not loud enough for a drummer but no problem, plug it into a cab, mic it up and you're good to go.
I really can't say enough good things about the amp, construction wise it's solid as a rock and could easily double as a weapon if needed. Inside and out its safe to say I'm impressed. Thanks Wangs, keep it up!
Chris Reidy of Judge RoughNeck
Guitar friends....I have been playing shows for a few months now using this new Wangs amp. I really like this amp, especially the clean channel!
Repeat customer Tim M:
— 5 starMeaty vintage tone with big shoulders - every gig I take it to, the sound guys freak out over the tone. Solid and dependable, meticulous attention to detail - what's not to like? And for the price - you just can't come close to the sound you get for the money with any other amp out there. Period. Thinking of getting a second one with a little less power for smaller gigs.....\m/ !!!!
Donnie Chee Wah — of Denver's Horse
5 star-A lot of guitar players you know and love have a little secret I will reveal to you today. Guys like Eric Johnson and Bonamassa to name just a few. They use multiple rigs onstage live and generally have one amp set to a very clean tone with little or no effects that they keep on all the time to beef up the tone. I use my Wangs VT-100H to do exactly that and I can tell you with genuine confidence, I would stack it up next to just about anything for the quality of clean tone. I love it, the mean tone blend just thickens up like a diabetic donut addict, and when we go clean... You can really hear the pickups in my Strat get all slinky and chimey. I also use my Biyang pedals along with it for sparkling reverb and delay. Great products especially for the price. I recommend them because I use them and I wouldn't if I didn't love them. Check ...hmm a Wangs. I play with mine all the time, and I don't apologize for that!
5 star-What can I say other than I am hands down impressed! I'm going to NAMM this coming week to represent Godin Guitars and planned on amp shopping and those plans are off! I had the pleasure of playing through both the VT-15H and the OD-15H and out of each I was easily able to dial in the variety of tones I was wanting to hear! I can't wait to put one of these on stage next to me and blow the audience away!
This AMP, is starting to show up a lot of places!!!! Other amps, might have competition, if they sound, and the way they build them, is very impressive, and these days a little above impressive is the way it has got to be !!!!!!!!!!!
Scott Baker A.
I have been watching this company for several years and continuing to check out demo videos and reviews of their products. I am a big fan of smaller boutique companies that have a niche market, especially when they are putting out multi-channel higher gain amp models.
I finally happened upon a mint condition used HD15-H Wangs head that was at a price I could not refuse.
I was pretty excited to get a hold of it and right away was impressed by the quality of its clean channel. Very Very clean and bright without all the brittle tones that so many amps out there have. The variety of dirty sounds is also very impressive for such a small wattage.
The HD15-H head is best suited for small gigs and recording in my opinion. Unless of course you have a great sound-man that knows how to properly mic an amp.
Once I got the HD15-H I immediately set my sights on the HD30-H. This amp is twice the wattage with the same great tones and even louder crystal clean bell like tones.
After a few weeks I still have nothing but good things to say about the quality of both my Wangs tube heads.
Both the HD15 and the HD30 sound great even without any effects inline whether series or parallel via the built in effects loop. I think that it really says an awful lot about the quality of the Wangs products.
If I had any criticism or wishlist for these amps, it would be the following:
1. Make the channels multi-switchable via the foot pedal to include all switchable possibilities.
2. Input output level knobs on both the send and return of the effects loop
3. Two outputs for speaker cabs with a simple switch for 4, 8 and 16ohms
4. A Matching 4x10 8ohm speaker cabinet is a no brainer. MAKE IT!!!
That being said, for the price Wangs is most definitely the greatest and best sounding bang for the buck out there.
It just goes to show you that even though there is a lot a garbage that is coming out of China that there are those there that are making a product that any amateur or pro player would be proud to have on stage with them.
I am very happy and pleased to have these amps in my toolbox to be able to use. I look forward to using them on both my upcoming releases with TSK and Flight. I would be more than happy to be part of Wangs North American endorsed players.
To all the folks at Biyang / Wangs all I really have to say is WELL DONE!
I own a Wangs VT-15 head, which is a 15 watt all valve head. It has 8/16ohm speaker jacks, high/low inputs, presence, bass, mid, treble, and gain controls, and a standby switch.
I swapped out the stock EL-34 power tubes for JJ's, just because I had just bought them for another amp, and ended up not using them. I like tube rolling pre-amp tubes, but the stock Chinese 12AX7's sound quite good!
I purchased the Wangs OD 15 head and was blown away by the tones. I perform in a rock band which plays around 40 shows a year and I have went through many different amps in my years of playing. I thought I would give a low watt head a shot as a rehearsal/practice amp and this thing rocks! Plenty of volume to get over a loud drummer and 2 channels makes it a workhorse. I found the best settings (for me) is to crank the gain on both channels, align the volume on each channel to suit your show, then slap in a boost pedal in front of the amp. Clean channel is your sparkly cleans, red channel is your crunch, boost it for the juicy solos and heavier riffs. Great tones!
After being on a budget, and fed up with not being happy with amp, after amp, I set myself a fixed amount of money to spend, and weighed out pros, and cons in my price range. I ended up with a Wangs VT-15 I found on ebay, for a little over $200, and I couldn't be happier! For 15 watts, this amp is very loud as well. It sounds great with both a 1x12, and a 2x12 cab. I just ordered a pedal sized attenuator for Christmas, and I can't wait to try it out on this amp. As long as this amp holds up, I see no reason to ever get rid of it. You really can't beat this amp for the price!
- W. Hair
If you already have a speaker cab this is a no-brainer
I picked up one of these on a whim, (won a few bucks at the casino) and I'm still in love after 2 years. If you love that bluesy/ rock crunch but don't want to wake up the misses this is for you. Nice and creamy tube breakup with plenty of sustain too, I doubt if it does doom/ death metal very well (but that's not my thing) It works great with a variety of effects (reverb, tremolo, chorus), even multiple overdrives and crunch pedals can be stacked without incurring too much hum. Most people still don't believe its only one watt!!
- C. Hall
I own two WANGS products and they are first class, I have the one watt amp which is a great practice amp, I play mine thru a 8 inch orange cabinet, but a ten inch would be way better I think, you could mike it and know one would ever know it was a one watt amp, it takes peddles very well too! Then the second amp I bought was the VT-18 and I am lucky to be the first person in the USA to own one it is a true Blues Breaker amp, it sounds phenomenal The quality is there all the way thru, from cabinetry to sound, this is the best amp I have ever owned!
- P. Chorlis
You never really know what kind of company you are dealing with until something goes wrong. When everything goes smooth as silk? Hey, anyone can get that part right. When my order got swallowed up by the great shipping gods in the sky - Bendy moved heaven and earth to make things right for me. It's rare to see that level of customer service these days. Not only did he keep me updated on the issue, he worked tirelessly to make sure my order made it safely to my door. If you are thinking there was a huge payday at stake, think again. I ordered the least expensive amp Wangs sells. It wasn't about the money it was about making sure the customer (me in this case) got what they wanted. Bendy delivered - so thanks Bendy! You can bet this won't be the last thing I buy from you at Wangs USA!
I own a Wangs #1987HW, Biyangs BL-8 Blue Fuzz pedal, Biyangs CH-8 Chorus, and Biyangs Baby Boom Tri-Reverb. Bendy helped me troubleshoot a bit and decided to go into the Normal input then bridge in the High Treble input instead of the other way around which I initially had it. I thought the cleans sounded good then...NOW....all I can say is WOW! It takes pedals amazingly too. Not to mention it's built like a tank with boutique quality components.
I've owned many amps over the years including a 60's Blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb, a Crate Blue Voodoo 1/2 stack, a Peavey 5150 full stack, A Fender Twin, a Fender Blues Deville 4x10, a Marshall VS102r to name a few, along with many other hybrid, modeling, and tube combo amps. The '87 Handwired blows them all out of the water. I've only got maybe 20-30 hours of playtime on it and am just now realizing all of the potential it has. I can't even imagine once the tubes break in more.
I'll say it again loudly and proudly. Wangs has the best clean tones of any amp on the market. HANDS DOWN! Fender tube cleans have always been the benchmark and what I considered to be the best. Wangs takes it's big fat beefy sounding ass and crushes that bench.
5 minutes after playing through my new #1987hw I was blown away. I own a 1996 USA made Fender Blues Deville 4x10 that had some of the best cleans I'd ever heard until I plugged in the Wangs. It's now going to be used as the Cabinet for my Wangs until I get another cab and I'll likely sell it afterwards. If that doesn't speak volumes I don't know what does.
If that wasn't enough, the Biyangs pedals are equally as amazing! The #1987hw takes pedals like a dream, which is excellent because it's almost too powerful to use in my apartment without being evicted lol. I've still yet to take it to a larger venue and really crank her up to see what the natural tube breakup gives me. Luckily it takes pedals like a boss. The Tri-Reverb works wonders as it doesn't have built in reverb on the 1987.
The Tri-Reverb has room, hall, and spring reverbs on it. All of which sound absolutely amazing. The Spring reverb works wonders on clean. To my ears it sounds identical to the blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb I used to own. That perfect vintage spring reverb clean. Think Jimi Hendrix Little Wing, or SRV Riviera Paradise, or Pearl Jam Yellow Ledbetter. You get the idea...AMAZING! The Room setting tames it back a little and works great with OD and Distortion, give just enough extra presence to fatten up your distortion.
The CH-8 Chorus is the perfect chorus. Not really much I can say other than that. I'll never have need for another chorus on my board. I've used it to play No Quarter by Zeppelin, and Wicked Game by Chris Isaak and it works splendidly. It's very versatile and could cover pretty much anything else I could throw at it.
Lastly, we've got the BL-8 Blue Fuzz pedal. Initially I'll be honest, I didn't care for this one. I was trying to use it to get the typical "Doom Metal" tones out of it, and wasn't able to achieve it. I had almost written it off until I tried using it more subtley. That's where it really shines. It works great for that Clapton woman tone. It gives a really nice warm smooth fuzz, which was not at all what I was expecting. It's different from every other fuzz I've ever used which really makes me love it. Another thing that really makes it great is that it plays well with other pedals. I've been using it in conjunction with my OD or Distortion, or all 3 for a blistering lead tone. It also works great to get some nice Dave Gilmour "Dark Side" tones when used with a Phase 90. When cranked up a bit more it works well with my wah for anything Hendrix. This truly was the hidden gem of the 3 pedals, however the others didn't hide their quality.
I can't say enough how much I'm in love with Wangs amps, and Biyang pedals. I'll without a doubt whatsoever be a lifelong user. The most unfortunate thing about them is that I didn't know about them sooner. I've been chasing these tones for 20 years.
Don't be decieved by their being made overseas. These are boutique quality handmade amps and pedals for a steal of a price. I feel privileged to play them, and to have learned the "Ancient Chinese Secret" of amazing tone. I can't thank Bendy enough! Wangs 4 life!