Anyone gigging a 5W valve combo

horseman308

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Like @runstendt and @Cosmic Cowboy, I gigged regularly and did open mic blues jams with a Special 6 running through a Celestion V30, all in the same size bars/pubs you're talking about. In those settings, with mild drummers, it was more than enough. In my current band, we're a fair bit louder, but use a good PA to mic everything. I gigged the S6 last Friday and left it on the half-power setting with plenty left in the tank. FWIW, I'm running a 6L6 in it at the moment, so it might have a bit more juice than a 6v6, but not by tons.

Point is, with the right speakers, 5-6w is plenty loud if you set it up well and it's not a loud band. With a decent PA, even that's not an issue any more.
 

keithb7

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Remember the Epiphone Valve Jr? I had one. I rehearsed with it with my band at the time. It was cranked. I had a pedal array out front. It worked. Barely. Natural drum kit.

100 people in room with dancers and people socializing? Nope.
 

Dismalhead

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I've got a little 5-watt Supro 1606. Loudest 5-watt I've ever heard. I've been taking it to loud jams with a drummer where I leave with my ears ringing and I haven't turned it up much past half way on the volume knob. I'm sure I could play small places with it.
 
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Alter

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I gig a Victoria 518 5 watter, but usually with gigs that have no drummer. With drums, you can do it and it sounds superb, but it can easily drown if the band gets loud.
 

Nogoodnamesleft

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All you need is one of these. Stick it in front and run it through the PA. You can run it through foldback if you have it. I gigged a EC Custom 5F1 successfully until it crapped out.
I was going to suggest the same. A Sennheiser e609 (or e906 if you want the higher series) hung in front of the speaker from a cable draped over your amp. You don't even need to bring a stand.
 

bettyseldest

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I used to gig with a VHT Special 6 (I know, 6 is more than 5, but it's pretty close.). I never had a problem with volume, and I used that amp to play with some rather loud drummers. Since you're playing with a restrained drummer you should be fine. I think that they weigh around 27 pounds. In my experience the Special 6 is a great little amp that provides a starting point to modify your sound with pedals. It might be worth looking into.

EDIT: I was using the combo version of this amp.

I had a VHT Special 6...and had it biased to run a 6L6 instead of the 6V6. I ran it into a 2X12 closed back with V30s and a tiny pedal board for 2 years....(maybe 15 gigs) from bars, to patios, to bandstands in big rooms...to fairgrounds.

And there was enough headroom most of the time....until I met a drummer that it didn't work in the guys living room.

Before moving to a digital desk and iems, we usually just ran the vocals through the PA. With a tasteful drummer I happily played through a VHT Special 6 Ultra 1x12" combo. The other guitarist used a 50 watt Marshall combo. Her boyfriend always complained that I was too loud! What was happening was that I always used an amp stand and would play triads up the neck, so I was not competing with the bass and drums. I had most of that section of the sound spectrum to myself. My colleague sat her amp on the floor, tended to play cowboy chords, and never boosted her volume to play leads, so she was loud without being heard too well.

With our more energetic drummer I either add an extension cab, or use the Special 12/20RT combo, but I'm not sure I need it.

I also have a Laney LC15, 15w 1x10" combo, more power, but similar size and weight to the Marshall. It's a very convenient package to gig with, and I can see why you are attracted to the idea of gigging the little Marshall. If it were not for my preference for 6V6 over EL84 valves, I would probably gig the Laney more.

Give the Marshall a go at rehearsal, sit it on a stand, if it is still not quite there add an extension speaker, mike it through the PA, or consider a Laney they are still available used for £100-£150.

On the microphone front, I'm all for hanging it over the front, in a UK pub you rarely have room for an additional mike stand. The Sennheiser e609 is only £77 through Thomann, the £32 Behringer B906 gets good reviews, and for £33 you an get the Superlux PRA 628 MKII, which I have been happy with.

 

markal

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I’ve done it with the mic amped to the PA and at blues jams without running into the PA. But my 5 watt amp is quite loud for five watts (Laney Lionheart). Otherwise, I think you’d need a very tame drummer or hand percussion.
 

ballynally2

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If you don't need clean and have a little PA in the club, I think you will have a lot of fun.

I rehearsed and even gigged with a vht special 6 head and a 1x12 Cab for some time.

In the end I settled on a DIY 15 watt 1x12 combo, and thinkin about 25/30 Watts, to get more clean volume and "weight"; but strictly for lead and distorted sounds a single ended amp at his limits Is gorgeous.
I have yet to gig with my Special 6 (head) but what i can tell you is that it has a pretty beefy output transformer so it is the opposite of say a Champ in terms of power out.
The downside is that the circuit is set up rather at the spitty/ratty side of things so i modded it back to Fender specs and got rid of the lossy tone stack. Now it has more raw power. It is pretty loud already and pushing the preamp with a boost really makes this amp gig friendly.

But, most people will (nowadays) say that 15w minimum is the comfort zone. So that is push/pull 2 valves. Some say a DR or a HRD. It depends on the amp and the situation. A 15w amp in which you can bypass the tone stack like my Traynor DH15 easily holds up in any pub situation.
The budget best seller Blues Junior is compact and gets pretty loud.
In some situations even a Princeton Reverb will do..

Another thing is that people think 5w is 5w and yes, they are correct but if your amp is setup without a lossy tone stack and the circuit supports enough power to the PT and OT (like the VHT Special 6) you get more raw power out. Remember that most of the watts go into the low end so if you control that you can have those mids just coming out nicely. Clean low end= more watts needed.
I do love the sound of single ended cathode bias amps properly set up.
nice harmonics..
 
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drumtime

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I don't have one, but I have seen it done. One thing to remember is that pushing the bottom end takes a lot of power. In a band setting, with bass & maybe keys, you might not need so much of that, so dialing out some low end might leave you more juice for mids & highs - which should be your sonic territory anyway.

Or, mic your amp - best overall solution if there's PA, IMO.
 

Kevin Wolfe

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I don't have one, but I have seen it done. One thing to remember is that pushing the bottom end takes a lot of power. In a band setting, with bass & maybe keys, you might not need so much of that, so dialing out some low end might leave you more juice for mids & highs - which should be your sonic territory anyway.

Or, mic your amp - best overall solution if there's PA, IMO.
That’s very true. That’s the reason bassist in the know use a LPF in the signal chain.
That way the amp doesn’t need to waste energy reproducing frequencies that can’t even be heard by the human ear.
 

horseman308

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@ballynally2, can you say more about the "lossy tone stack" of your Special 6 and what you did to mod it? I've never been bothered by mine, but I'm always curious.

If this is too much of a thread hijack just let me know, but it might be useful to anyone thinking through gigging with a <10 watt amp.
 

ballynally2

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@ballynally2, can you say more about the "lossy tone stack" of your Special 6 and what you did to mod it? I've never been bothered by mine, but I'm always curious.

If this is too much of a thread hijack just let me know, but it might be useful to anyone thinking through gigging with a <10 watt amp.


Here is the link to the thread: https://www.tdpri.com/threads/vht-special-6-mod-thread.207986/

My mods are in there.at #1170
BYPASSED THE TONE STACK BY CLIPPING R12.
1655758778695.png

Is a good place to start but i do see that in combination with a lower V1 plate resistor (from 220k to 100k), making it closer to Fender specs. Plus i also use a lower gain 5751 in V1.
The point being to not soup up the pre in the circuit but to keep it Fender spec. You can then boost that with a pedal in front.
You could possibly decide to connect R12 to the boost switch so you have the option of tone stack vs lift. Mind you, this is the stock one, NOT the Ultra which has a different resistor nr.
 
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AndrewG

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Lots of interesting replies, thank you all. Now, I'm wondering if this might help with loudness; a friend has a home built 2x10 containing 150W Celestion Sidewinders he's selling off. I considered replacing the stock speaker in the DSL with one of them. Would the 103dB efficiency of the Sidewinder produce a significant increase in volume over the stock Celestion 10/Thirty, rated at 95dB? Is 5W even enough to drive a speaker rated at 150W handling? You can tell I know very little about this stuff!
 
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bettyseldest

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Lots of interesting replies, thank you all. Now, I'm wondering if this might help with loudness; a friend has a home built 2x10 containing 150W Celestion Sidewinders he's selling off. I considered replacing the stock speaker in the DSL with one of them. Would the 103dB efficiency of the Sidewinder produce a significant increase in volume over the stock Celestion 10/Thirty, rated at 95dB? Is 5W even enough to drive a speaker rated at 150W handling? You can tell I know very little about this stuff!
I copied this from a website, but I've seen similar in many places including on TDPRI.

"A change of 3 dB is accepted as the smallest difference in level that is easily heard by most listeners listening to speech or music. It is a slight increase or decrease in volume.

To produce an increase of +3 dB you simply need to double power (watts). "


So If you add 6 dB with a 5w amp it will sound like a 20w amp, and 9 dB will sound like a 40w amp. So an 8dB increase will have a significant impact on how loud your amp sounds. If the speakers give you the tone that you want it looks like a good move.

What you need to be careful with is how many Ohms the speakers are, both from a loudness point of view, and also with regards to overloading your amp.

I have a pair of very efficient 10" 200w speakers. I have used them for vocal PA with a 25w per channel power amp. They were more than enough with a loud band, and the low power of the amp in relation to the speakers was not an issue.
 

AndrewG

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I copied this from a website, but I've seen similar in many places including on TDPRI.

"A change of 3 dB is accepted as the smallest difference in level that is easily heard by most listeners listening to speech or music. It is a slight increase or decrease in volume.

To produce an increase of +3 dB you simply need to double power (watts). "


So If you add 6 dB with a 5w amp it will sound like a 20w amp, and 9 dB will sound like a 40w amp. So an 8dB increase will have a significant impact on how loud your amp sounds. If the speakers give you the tone that you want it looks like a good move.

What you need to be careful with is how many Ohms the speakers are, both from a loudness point of view, and also with regards to overloading your amp.

I have a pair of very efficient 10" 200w speakers. I have used them for vocal PA with a 25w per channel power amp. They were more than enough with a loud band, and the low power of the amp in relation to the speakers was not an issue.
Thanks; yes I'm aware of potential impedance mismatches, and the Sidewinder I'm interested in is the same 16ohm rating as the stock speaker so should be ok. I'm excited to give it a try! I'll report back with my findings. Thanks again.
 
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bebopbrain

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Another thing is that people think 5w is 5w and yes, they are correct but if your amp is setup without a lossy tone stack and the circuit supports enough power to the PT and OT (like the VHT Special 6) you get more raw power out. Remember that most of the watts go into the low end ...

Umm, the tone stack loss affects gain, but not power. Also, power is measured at the speaker, taking transformer losses and inadequacies into consideration.

Agree 100% about low end. One 5W head can be louder than another by using the spectrum where the human ear and speaker are sensitive.
 

AndrewG

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Ok, so I did a deal with my friend (swapped a Cube 20) and found myself owning two 150W, 10" 103dB Celestion Sidewinders, one of which is now in the little Marshall-and what a difference; not just subtle but massive. All the top end fizz on distorted notes has been smoothed out, the amp sounds 'fuller' and 'bigger', and the hike in volume is very noticeable with the extra 8dB over the stock speaker, which I discovered isn't the best Celestion ever made! Pressed steel chassis and a tiny magnet, against a cast aluminium chassis with a huge magnet in the UK-built Sidewinder. Yes the overall weight of the combo has increased by a couple of pounds but that's really a minor consideration. I'm fairly confident about gigging the DSL un-reinforced now; the swap really brought the amp to life.
 
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