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I’m search of gorgeous cleans at TV volume...

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Tarnisher, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Because tube amps don't sound right unless their speakers are moving some air, while small solid state and modeling amps are specifically designed to sound good at lower levels. Anyone who doesn't understand that is only fooling themselves. I could afford a Blues Jr. or something similar, but when I try them in a store at the low levels that I play at, they don't sound any better than my modeling amps, if even as good. So, I save my money for things that actually do sound better to me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
  2. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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  3. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    The store where I worked was a Vox dealer, and when we got the MV50s, we were blown away by the Clean and AC30 versions. The higher gain ones not so much. But, they sound a million times better with the 1x12 matching cab than the 1x8 one.
     
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  4. Vibro Chimp

    Vibro Chimp TDPRI Member

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    In my opinion, Fender tube amps sound better for clean tones at low volumes than digital/solid state amps. Better treble, more “3D” quality. The downside is that you’ll have to use a pedal to get even the slightest amount of distortion at low volumes.

    Another vote for Fender.
     
  5. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Meister

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    I used to own a Blackstar HT1. Very little clean headroom but it was good for TV volume playing (not that I often played while watching TV). I don’t remember its cleans being particularly gorgeous but it still sounded good and overall it worked for apartment living at the time.

    I like my PRRI for cleans at low volumes but it can still get a bit loud. Then again, I’m pretty self conscious about it since my partner and former housemates have often seemed averse to any audible guitar sound.
     
  6. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    Mesa MK5:25. Mesa cleans slay at any master volume setting. Graphic EQ lets you shape the low volume tone.

    FX loop for time based pedals.
     
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  7. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve owned numerous Princetons, from PRRI to tweed Princeton 5f2. My current main amp is a brown Princeton (Stapleton signature).

    I only play clean these days (solo or duo jazzy chord melody guitar).

    Do the Princetons sound good at bedroom level?
    -> Yes, they all do. The PRRI was perhaps the best at it.
    Turning up the amp and reducing the guitar’s volume sounds better to my ear.

    Do they sound better still clean but turned up?
    -> Yes they all do.
    But to be honest, my small solid state Vox Pathfinder 15 sounds its best when turned up a bit too.
    If you want to play clean, the problem is not really tubes vs solid state: it’s the way you hear. And there’s no real way to change that.
    I’m not talking huge volume here, but enough to annoy your neighbors in a condo.

    You can get good tones at very low volume, but they’re likely to be always less satisfying than with a bit of volume.

    These days, unless I authorize myself pushing the volume a bit in the middle of the day, when playing at home I always use my Yamaha thr5.
    It doesn’t sound better than my Princetons when playing in my living room 5 feet away from the amp, but I can put it on a shelf and play 2 feet away from it. Then it’s a more pleasing experience since you get the feeling to be surrounded by sound, a bit like you were playing at higher volume.

    I know you’re not asking for solid state amps, but with a low wattage tube amp you could achieve a bit of the same result by hooking it up to an 8 inch speaker and put it at head’s level.
    In this case I would strongly recommend the use of a good compressor pedal because with every tube amp there are peaks of signal on transients that can definitely damage your hearing.
    On my modeling THR5 I haven’t got that problem.

    By doing that you’ll likely get the treble sparkle that you’re missing back, but at the expense of bottom end response.

    It’s always a compromise.
     
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  8. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

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    Maybe an acoustic guitar?
     
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  9. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Afflicted

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    IMG_20210221_205047390.jpg
     
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  10. drewg

    drewg Tele-Meister

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    The clean tube sound that just grabbed me the first time I heard it is the Port City Pearl. 6L6s. Hand wired. The 50w is known to have a good clean sound at bedroom levels and a great pedal platform. I've played one a couple times on low and love it, though I don't actually own one. Yet. I'm biding my time until I can get one. Not cheap, but well made with very nice heads. I'd say it fits what you're looking for (except maybe the price):
    https://portcityamps.com/product/pearl-head/
    Screen Shot 2021-02-25 at 12.45.22 AM.png
     
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  11. drewg

    drewg Tele-Meister

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  12. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks, yes. 5watt tweed princeton
     
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  13. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    Blackheart Killer Ant.

    The Blackheart Killer Ant BH1H is a boutique-quality, 1 watt, tube amp for the garage-playing musician that follows the tradition of Blackheart Engineering's Little Giant 5 amp. The Killer Ant amplifier head features Class-A, single-ended circuitry.

    I have the little giant and it slays. Yes, as you crank up the volume past mid point you'll start to get natural tube distortion, but just keep the volume recently low and it will be beautiful chimy cleans. I'm a pedalboard user and get all my dirt tones from pedals, so I need a very clean platform just like you're looking.
     
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  14. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    A Blues Jr with a clean boost helps dial is some nicely saturated cleans at low volume. The clean boost (an LPB-1) is the secret sauce there.
     
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  15. mally

    mally Tele-Afflicted

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    That was my suggestion the OP didnt like it
     
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  16. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Google "Fletcher Munson curve." Seriously, google it.

    The ears are not a microphone: they don't listen objectively. They are more sensitive to some frequency ranges than others, and that sensitivity changes with volume. It's been well studied: it's a well known fact of human hearing. Most commonly you would boost the highs and the lows as the volume drops, but most fender style guitar amps are already boosting the highs and the lows, so the tne controsmarent' really dong what yu need. You could try am eq pedal

    What you seem to want is not "clean" tone at all but the harmonics produced by saturation, except at low volume.

    You can try using pedals to produce saturation and harmonics. I really like the Barber Gain Changer for that, but you'll get recommendations for pedals all day long.

    IMHO the only way to get what you want--the sound of high volume at low volume--is a modeling amp. Good modeling amp, headphones: BOOM you are 90% there. But Oh no solid state the devil is in the room
     
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  17. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    Single ended 6L6...a princeton with a 6L6 and a low gain pre-amp tube...preferably octal. Also add 2 separate cabs with some distance between at ear level...which gives a nice depth of field without the increased/loud volume.
     
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  18. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    Savage Macht 6.

    Low wattage like a Champ, but the 12 inch speaker really adds fullness and depth. Really lovely tremolo too.

    A Swart or Victoria 5112 would be worth checking out, too.

    I hope you can figure out a solution. In my apartment days years ago I found times to play when neighbors weren’t home.

    Life is too short to play at TV volume.....
     
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  19. Alex_C

    Alex_C Tele-Meister

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    Laney Lionheart L5 Studio. 5watt or .5 watt output. All tube. Sounds like a big amp, just quieter.

     
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  20. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

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    I have these two I like that may meet your desires...tubes/clean:

    Bugera G5 Infinium...on a 1x12 cab...a really nice sounding amp with a few options to dial in. Decent reverb.

    VHT Special 6 Ultra 6 head...with a 5751 in V1 and a 6L6 power tube...through a Harley Benton attenuator...on a 2x12. This one took me a while to get it where I wanted it...originally just too gainy for me. Now, I typically run the amp on: high power, watts 3 o'clock, volume 3 o'clock (boost switch up, but not engaged at the pedal), ultra at 3 o'clock, guitar input to ultra, HB attenuator at ~1/2-3/4. This head might interest you because it offers the ability to do a great many tweaks for personal preference...check out some of the threads on it. No reverb.

    AND actually a third, this one a combo...the Monoprice Stage (f)Right 611815 15/1w...I have rolled the V1 and V2 in mine, but even new it did (and does) a nice bedroom volume clean, imo. I use it almost exclusively on the 1w setting. Decent reverb.

    Price-wise...I purchased the heads used at ~$200 each and the combo came in ~$290 with shipping (although they may be had on sale from Monoprice for ~$200 when they do a sale...I just happened to miss it and had GAS:oops:).

    Happy Hunting!
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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