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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Master Volume - Solid state Only

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Hiker, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 20, 2008
    The discussions I'm seeing about 'how to' adjust master volume on a solid state amp seem to ignore the other volume knob.

    What works for you on solid state volume/ gain/ master volume (all three knobs)? Any recommendations for at home amp sounds without ear splitting settings?

  2. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Tele-Meister

    Feb 2, 2018
    St. Louis
    Hmm. I didn't realize there would even be a point in a master volume SS amp.
    JuneauMike likes this.
  3. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 20, 2008
    It's a Fender! ;)
    Floyd Eye likes this.
  4. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Tele-Meister

    Feb 2, 2018
    St. Louis

    Pardon my ignorance, but when you crank the gain on a solid state amp, what exactly is it that your driving into distortion/break-up/clipping?
  5. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 20, 2008
    I'm more interested in how to suggestions for master volume than the obvious negatives of gain on solid state gain vs. gain on a tube amp. I'm certain some of our engineers on the forum can speak better to solid state gain design, unless I misunderstood your post.
  6. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 15, 2017
    Harvest, Alabama
    There is no one cookie-cutter answer to the OP's question.

    It depends upon the player, it depends upon the song currently being played in the band's set-list, and it depends upon the guitar and it's current settings.

    When we play live, we tweak things.
    We make adjustments.
    We endeavor to deliver quality sounds and superior music to the paying audience.
    JustABluesGuy likes this.
  7. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Tele-Meister

    Feb 2, 2018
    St. Louis

    Sorry. I didn't intend to hi-jack your thread. I just never realized it was even a thing with SS.
  8. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 20, 2008
    Sparky2, I appreciate it. Multiple suggestions wins over cookie cutter in this thread.

    Suggestions related to Telecaster or Stratocaster with that kind of setup at home would be appreciated. This has nothing to do with a jam, band setting, or practice for any gig
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  9. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Aug 17, 2012
    Same components that you're driving into distortion in a Rat, Tube Screamer, Klon, Blues Driver, MXR Distortion, etc... ;)
    MilwMark, Tony474, Jakedog and 2 others like this.
  10. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    On mine (DV Mark FGC121) I use the master as a volume control, and the gain as a gain control. I'm not trying to be a smartass, but that's how I do it.

    I use the gain to set input level. It determines how much juice goes into the front end, just like on a tube amp. I use the master to control the output level. IE: how loud it is coming out of the speaker.

    The higher the gain, and the lower the volume, the more distorted it is. Lower gain and higher master yield clean tones.

    I like to find a compromise where I get a good clean sound, that gets a little hair when I hit hard, and use the master to decide how loud that is.

    But there is no set formula. You have to work with them to find the right balance because they're interactive.

    If you're master is higher, you're going to need more gain. And vice versa.

    What it really comes down to is experimenting and finding what works best for you. After a while, you'll instinctively be able to ballpark it for pretty any situation, and fine tune from there.
    Wally, W.L.Weller and Hiker like this.
  11. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    Which one?
    Hiker likes this.
  12. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

    Dec 21, 2017
    York PA
    That is a very good explanation for amp settings !!
    Jakedog likes this.
  13. richey88

    richey88 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 28, 2009
    philly suburbs
    On my Katana I dime the master (channel has gain and vol) and tweak the channel controls to the room. Kat sounds best with the master up as high as tolerable, also variable wattage comes into play here. Dunno if this helps or not. Just my experience with this amp, my Pathfinder is much the same...
    asnarski likes this.
  14. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    Each SS amp is specific according to make and model, but let's say you have a SS amp with 2 or more channels, you can use the volume and gain controls for each channel, set them up so that the volumes are consistent with each channel (for channel switching without unwanted volume drop or gain) and then use the Master volume for the overall volume you want to play.
  15. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 20, 2008
    This one, and the Master is now in it's proper place - dimed!
    One channel, however guys, for those of you that use gain
    to set loudness, where do we perhaps set the other volume?
    (See knob on far left side.)

    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
    Jakedog likes this.
  16. W.L.Weller

    W.L.Weller Tele-Meister

    May 20, 2014
    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but since most of us don’t have that amp (a Frontman? Champion?), and since we’re not sitting in the room with you, playing your guitars, talking about what kinds of sounds you like; you’re going to have an easier, faster time just turning all the knobs until you like what you’re hearing. This amp doesn’t really have “secrets” like the other channel’s volume knob on a 5E3 Deluxe or using a patch cable to jumper the inputs on a JMP Marshall.

    If you have a Ditto or other looper, it’s even easier because you can play a little riff, some high notes, a couple chords, and twist while listening. That way you’re not constantly leaning over/down to turn a knob while trying not to smack the headstock into the amp/wall/floor.

    I don’t know if you’ve found this out experientially, but the Treble, Middle and Bass knobs will affect the overall loudness (and character of the gain) as well.

    Also it’s your amp, and since you’re only playing for your own entertainment, you’re the only one who needs to like how it sounds. If no one else is home (and your neighbors aren’t too close) turn everything to 10, and then back off one by each until it sounds like it’s not going to catch on fire. Alternatively, start with everything on 0 and see how much of each you can add until it sounds too muddy/boomy/sharp/harsh/distorted/etc. Guitar volume and tone and pickup settings will also change how all these knob settings work or don’t.

    Lastly, if you need the amp to be at or below the volume of a loud conversation, consider non-traditional options. Guitar amps and speakers are almost never at their best “as quiet as it can go”.
    SolidSteak, Vespa_One and Lef T like this.
  17. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 20, 2008
    This is one of threads where I'm welcoming a variety of comments, and not looking to set the stage with a particular guitar, string height, strings, genre of music or other particulars. Thanks for any, and all comments.

    For anyone that may not have see it yet, there's a photo showing the amp's knobs that are onboard, above. If you have suggestions for this idea for jazz and a semi hollow, Tele or Strat with classic or modern rock, I'll take amp setting ideas there or in-between. I use both or neck pickup on semi, and all the available pickup selector settings on Tele, and Strat.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  18. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005
    Montclair, NJ
    The only SS amp I've owned with a MV was the Lab Series L3. Which had a regular volume knob as well, not a separate gain knob. For louder stuff, I'd put the channel volume up around 3 oclock, the MV down to 1 or 2 oclock. It was highly effective, worked as well on the L3 as it can do on tube amps. (Not all MVs work that well ...) At least with the L3, the MV was the key to getting a tube-like, responsive feel and sound.

    Oh, forgot the Quilter 101. That has a MV, and a gain knob only, no separate volume knob. Nowhere near as effective IMO as the L3.
  19. bo

    bo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    There are a lot of old Peavey SS amps with master volume controls. Those work just like they do on a tube amp and you can control the amount of SS sounding distortion with them, if that's the sound you like. My Pacer also had an overdrive control as well. Gotta wonder what they were thinking.
  20. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 13, 2014
    My SS amp has a gainy channel with Gain and Master controls, and a clean channel with just a Volume. It lets me use both simultaneously. Gain sets the amount of overdrive, Master sets overall volume - and then I usually blend in a little bit of clean with the driven sound.
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