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Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by JBFatFingers, Mar 23, 2017.
I had a 1W Blackstar HT-1 that I sold during a move, but I'm planning on getting another one because it was so useful. The clean didn't get that loud but was fine for bedroom use. I loved it because I got lots of blues and rock tones at low volumes (never needing to use the drive channel), it has aux in to play backing tracks with, a jack to connect the amp to a different cabinet, it was small enough to throw in the bottom of a big backpack and bring with me on vacation, and was nice and cheap used. That amp more than earned it's keep. You could buy one for $150 and have $350 left over to get a used Monoprice 5W, extra cabinet, ditto pedal and a drive pedal for the 5w.
In my experience, a big amp at low volumes still sounds big. Whereas a small amp at low volumes just sounds small. The beauty of a small amp, IMO, is being able to wring it out nicely during a gig without tearing the audience's faces off. But when playing at home with the volume at a reasonable level (equivalent to a television or home stereo), they just sound wimpy. As mentioned, a Twin at those volumes will still sound rich and full. So will a modern MV Marshall or Mesa half stack. Yes, they'll sound better at higher volumes, but they can still sound full at home volumes.
While I'm sure many disagree with me, that's my experience.
In my living room I've been using an old Seymour Duncan Convertible head, 100 watts, through a 4x12 Celestion cabinet (Bogner). The Duncan has a built-in power soak and can be dialed back to 5 watts, but it only sounds right at the full 100 watt setting. To mix things up, I also have a 2x12 piggyback Fender Band-Master and a 4x10 Super Reverb (both mid-60s blackface) -- so, in the 40 watt range. All of these amps produce glorious cleans, at volumes slightly louder than an acoustic guitar.
On the rare occasions I want dirt, I have a few choice pedals on hand.
mine is a special 6 into my new cheap vintage 30 cab. the sp6 has low and hi inputs AND low and high power options. you can use it for home use, practice or gigs.
II have amps from 100 watts down to 5 watts (less if you count the powerscaling in that amp)
If you dont have something with a master volume and/or pedals, you're still going to be LOUD trying to get a tube amp to overdrive. My 5 watt amp literally shakes the house. And even running it clean I'll get noise complaints... If I use the powerscaling, it gets lower, but also hurts the tone, IMO. I actually prefer using an amp with a master volume. The power scaling hurts/changes the tone more, IMO, especially at more extreme settings.
It's funny how many people avoid master volumes assuming they somehow kill your tone, meanwhile, I find 'half power' switches, power scaling, and attenuators all to greatly effect the tone more than a well implemented master volume.
also keep in mind, if you feed 1 watt into a reasonably efficient speaker, you're already looking at roughly 100dB which is louder than most vacuum cleaners.
Just my .02
The hard part about these "home amp" threads is two fold.
Obviously we each have ideas of proper home volume.
Mine went up when I moved out of town last year. It was probably already high because I lived in a house with a basement.
The other is the sound we want to hear coming from the amp. I'm perfectly happy playing straight into a bigger nonmaster amp with whatever sort of dirt I get.
Not everyone is and that's ok.
But it sure makes for some long threads.
Yes, it's bound to be different in an apartment or a semi-detached.
These Marshall AVT 20s are hard to beat...