Compared to some of the market leaders, Sawtooth is a newer brand focused on providing a wide array of classic-inspired instruments at affordable prices. Their new Tube Series amps are modeled after vintage combos – the 5-watt version offers classic tone and looks with a budget-friendly price. Does it stand up to some of the best amps in the $300 range? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Firstly, it’s clear that this amp’s biggest feature is its tube tone at an affordable price. The 5 watts in this amp run through a single 10” speaker, powered with one 6V6 power tube and one 12AX7 preamp tube.
This is a pretty standard combination, and ensures a balanced range and versatile sound. This Sawtooth also has a birch open-backed cabinet for optimum projection, with a cool retro suitcase style and vintage coloring. It’s an acquired taste, but we like it! The corner bracing and heavy-duty handle ensure you can take this thing anywhere without encountering problems.
Fans of simpler amps will certainly love this one. It features just one channel with volume, 3-band EQ controls, and gain. While it lacks reverb, tremolo, or other effects, that doesn’t mean this amp has no versatility.
Located on the top of the amp, the available knobs offer plenty of room for customization, from smooth cleans up through classic rock crunch and into heavier overdrive. This Sawtooth model also offers two extension inputs, allowing players to project their sound through larger speaker cabinets, while still maintaining the same tones.
The Sawtooth 5 performs best with gain in your sound. It can easily pump out classic rock crunch with plenty of biting top end.
The natural tone here is bright and trebly with clean, sharp articulation. It offers a sparkling sound that’s great for classic rock, British rock, and funk – though, like many other budget tube combos, the tones can get ice-picky at the high end of the range. Emphasizing the bass through the EQ settings can help alleviate this, though a speaker upgrade might be a good option for players looking for a fuller tone.
At higher drive levels, it’s strong for hard rock and heavier styles. This amp is also incredibly responsive to volume changes. While the gain switch is great for overdrive at a lower sound, cranking the volume knob creates a luscious, creamy saturation that only tube amps can truly nail.
Players looking to experiment with tube sounds on a budget should definitely check out this combo. The tones are solid for crunchy, overdriven styles, though the stock speaker could use an upgrade. If you can sacrifice the versatility of modeling and digital amps, you can really enjoy the vintage tube tones this offers. If you’re interested in this one, you might also want to look into cheaper, more well-known tube combos like the Monoprice 5W and 15W.