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Ive given up the ghost...tube amps sound like crap at bedroom volumes

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by semi-hollowbody, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. goonie

    goonie Friend of Leo's

    Dec 20, 2011
    Australia
    +2 (or is it 3?) on the attenuator. Pro Jr through my cheap eBay tone-sucking attenuator sounds great (hint - if the attenuator knocks off highs, adjust tone knob accordingly).
     

  2. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2009
    atlanta
    dont even get an amp. Just play thru your computer, get amplitube or something, or play Rocksmith.

    I agree, tube amps dont sound good at very low volumes.
     

  3. jonrpick

    jonrpick Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2014
    Marietta, GA
    POD for headphones....

    I use a Vibro Champ, cranked, volume way down on my guitar. No one hears it.
     

  4. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2009
    Nashville TN
    I like to play unplugged when the house gets quiet. Less distraction. If I'm testing a pedal or something, I've got an old Randall RG-15 that goes down to a whisper. I think I paid $30 for it. I gave up on playing my 5E3 at home a long time ago.
     

  5. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 21, 2007
    Wisconsin, USA
    Join the THR club.

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/amp-owners-clubs/343478-yamaha-thr-5-10-club.html

    I have small tube amps and as big as my Mesa 2x12. I've tried several popular solid state practice and box solutions. What the THR family does different is have two or stereo amps and an engineered speaker chamber to get you a desk or table top amp that somehow gives some springy and touch response with nice tone at low volume.

    With a blackface Princeton Reverb and top notch pedals in my basement I'll still be happy to play through the THR when the rest of the house wants quiet. It keeps the player and rest of family happy in ways no other amps have.

    You get more than just a practice amp with these, and you get a serious class act in Yamaha because they gave or give the v. 2 firmware upgrade to anyone who bought the original version or who buys a used one and wants that upgrade along with a way to take it back to v. 1.0.4 if you like the way that sounds or behaves better.
     

  6. Riffraff12571

    Riffraff12571 Tele-Holic

    749
    Sep 30, 2011
    Dutchess County NY
    The C30 has an EFX loop. Get yourself a Ernie Ball Jr volume pedal and run it in the loop. Make sure the one you pick up is the one for active circuits, the 25K one not the 250K one that you would use between a guitar with passive pick ups and an amp. Then you can crank that amp up into it's sweet spot and use the volume pedal to control your volume. I do that with a Delta Blues (same amp as the C30) and a 6505+ and it tames those beasts perfectly for bedroom playing. If you ever want to use that pedal on your pedal board run it after an OD pedal or some other pedal with a buffer and it will work perfectly there too. Sometimes the MV on an amp can jump from no volume to too much volume. These amps are a bit like that....the EB JR fixes that.

    [​IMG]
     

  7. sulaco

    sulaco Tele-Meister

    270
    Aug 24, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    this legitimately made me laugh.
     

  8. Alex W

    Alex W Friend of Leo's

    I feel your pain. I haven't forsworn tube amps altogether but I get a lot of great late night playing out of little solid state Orange Crush 12L. It was a floor model that I picked up for $70. It's a great little amp.
     

  9. GuitOp81

    GuitOp81 Tele-Holic

    513
    Oct 13, 2013
    NJ
    Every amp sounds immediately worse at lower volume, it is the reason why producers crank up the volume of their commercial edits. Worse does not mean bad but once you got used to the higher volume it will always sound bad at low volume.
    The only reason certain amps sound good at low volume usually is because they are small and you can keep the speaker close to your ears, the same if you use the trick of putting a virtual speaker very close to your ears using two amps, even small, ss and at low volume, in stereo.

    Those are a few of my broad generalizations.
     

  10. FrancoisVillon

    FrancoisVillon Tele-Meister

    122
    Mar 17, 2012
    New York
    Wally,

    This comment provided a genuine belly laugh for which I am much obliged.

    For the OP: I've got a 100 watt Twin Reverb and 50 watt Bassman that sound fine at television volumes, though not as good as they do cranked up. If you adjust EQ to account for the Fletcher-Mundson "curve" (i.e., drop mids and raise bass and treble at low volumes) you'll have a better outcome. Meanwhile, as others have said, look into a Tweed Champ with an 8" or even a 6" speaker if you need low volume overdrive or a VHT, some of which are hand wired for $225.

    Just about any tube amp should make good clean sounds with a bit of reverb--provided we agree on what "clean" is. Many players mistake edge-of-break-up for a clean sound. Fact is, all electronics distort the "acoustical" sounds of strings vibrating in physical space (in a good way, I think we'd all agree).

    Cheers,
    fv
     

  11. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody TDPRI Member

    76
    Dec 6, 2013
    Metro Detroit, MI
    roland microcube sounds good at any volume...I think that's the nature of solid state...I owned a few solid states when I started playing and they sounded the same at low volume as they did at high volume...

    when I got my first tube...drri...at a loud volume NONE of my ss amps can compare...but it doesn't sound as good at low volume...make sense??

    I want a ss that can hang at band practice and do low volume at home...the fender frontman 112 I used to have could do this and sound good at low volumes...not great, not like my drri turned up to 4-5, but good...

    I finally got the power tubes I ordered for my drri (groove) and classic 30 (jj's)...and my wife and kids are out of town so I was able to crank my tube amps last night and yes they sound great, no ss ive ever tried can compare to it...which is why im keeping them....but most of the time I cant do this...need something else

    and I would rather not play than play an electric guitar unplugged...ugh...
     

  12. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 21, 2007
    Wisconsin, USA
    You have to try the THR family as suggested earlier if you're talking Micro Cube. I have both but SO love the THR for home practice. It's not only able to achieve a touch or dynamic I love but the aux or USB input will play at fidelity the Micro Cube wont. Last night I played high quality drum and bass tracks from my cel phone into the amp while also using my looper. The ease of interface and the sound were just SO superior to using my Micro Cube. It also makes it easy to move it all around compared to being at computer or pedal board.

    Make sure you understand the THR is not just a small amp like my Micro Cube but also a USB recording device, portable hifi, and a tool for making pleasure where and when my Micro Cube, Fender black face, and Mesa amps can't.

    Go to a traditional music store where it won't be a sound zoo like many places. That's how I was able to discover how awesome the THR is for "bedroom". It is a battery burner compared to a Micro Cube.

    :)
     

  13. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody TDPRI Member

    76
    Dec 6, 2013
    Metro Detroit, MI
    sorry, what is a THR???
     

  14. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

    Jul 17, 2007
    Virginia
    if you never crank your tube amps the tubes should last forever.
    literally if they are NOS US or British tubes.

    tube amps sound fine at low volumes, its just that
    they sound glorious cranked.
     

  15. King Fan

    King Fan Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    Not here to defend tubes per se, though I love 'em. GuitOp is right; in our brains, loud = good. The guy at the high-end audio store always played the $1000 speakers a bit louder than the $500 ones. Given that, I'm not really sure SS amps sound better turned down.
    If tubes themselves may not be the problem, still be aware even 5w amps can be as loud as anything else you'd be tempted to use at home. 5w class A (Champs, etc) are loud little guys.
    All that said, I can play my 5w and 12w tube amps at home and they sound gorgeous. For distortion, I use a Weber MicroMass attenuator -- the separate bass/treb knobs make tone adjustment easy, and I don't mind a little compression for dirt.
    To be fair, neither the cleans nor the attenuated breakup is totally 'quiet' -- a baby might not fall asleep in the next room -- so all the ideas here for late-night quiet play are excellent. (OK, building a barn for your wife to sleep in seems extreme.) ;)
    If you do go SS, you can console yourself with my favorite tube-snob putdown, which boomerangs into an endorsement: "Albert King was great, but he played a solid-state amp."
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015

  16. BartS

    BartS Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2013
    St. louis MO
    The tube amp built sounds great at any level. That being said so does the solid state. If it doesn't sound good with the dial from 1 to all the way up with out effects sell it. It's junk and try something else.
     

  17. 13ontheB

    13ontheB Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 16, 2005
    North West England
    +1
     

  18. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

    398
    Dec 27, 2012
    Lawrence, KS
    Talk someone out of their Vox Pathfinder 15R !!!!!!
    Who says SS has to sound bad?
     

  19. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 21, 2007
    Wisconsin, USA
    Sorry, I thought I referenced this early here.

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/amp-owners-clubs/343478-yamaha-thr-5-10-club-17.html

    http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musi...sses/amps/thr/?mode=series#tab=product_lineup

    I have the original model 10, and I've done the v 2 software upgrade.

    Of course there are very strong opinions about all this stuff but my love for this as low volume practice tool came after buying, selling and trying lots of popular small amps.
     

  20. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 14, 2004
    New England
    Another day, another Princeton Reverb.

    Cranked.

    With the Lil' Tyrant mod. :twisted:

    Sounds like vintage Malcolm Young.

    I'm grinning. My face hurts. :D

    They say I'm too loud. I say they're too old. :D
     

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