Low watt tube amp for (mostly) cleans?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Vivi, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    That's a new one on me. If what you're saying is true then what that tells me is that the guitar players you've been exposed to don't know how to use a Twin.
     
  2. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Or an AC30...

    I used to gig a 260 watt Stereo Chorus 212 (130 watts a side in stereo, yeah baby!!) and was never asked to turn down. I stopped using it because it weighed more than the car I hauled it to the gig in.

    I regularly run a 30 watt tube head and a 2x12 open back cab, pretty much the same as an AC30, in rooms I consider pretty small. I never have "debates" with the sound man and am frequently complimented by them for having great stage volume.

    I can say with 100% certainty that 30 watts and two twelves is the smallest tube rig I would ever gig with anywhere. If I can't trun it up loud enough to sound good, I'll use my Cube. I can get full spectrum big amp sound out of that at low volumes if I need to. Nice and full, tons of bottom, big smooth mids. Sounds like 100 watter simmering real nice, but at 5 watt mosquito amp volume.
     
  3. beep.click

    beep.click Poster Extraordinaire

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    Any particular reason you want small? What's the strategy, here?

    Best way I know to get clean with tubes is to have lots of watts to spare. Headroom.

    FWIW, I used to play a "Fender half stack." That was a blackface Pro Reverb (40 watts) sitting on top of a silverface Twin (135 watts). It sounded great at low volume, and cranked up. And yes, VERY clean.

    I like me some small amps, for sure, but I'm convinced there's more to life than small!
     
  4. tiktok

    tiktok Poster Extraordinaire

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    Too many bands in clubs are unwilling to concede that the combination of the PA and their singer will be unable to bring the vocals over the stage level of the band unless the band turns down.
     
  5. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    Once a band considers themselves as professionals, they need to have learned to play with dynamics. Singers shouldn't have to strain to be heard. Not only a good monitor system for vocals, but no one instrument should be downing out any other, including and especially the vocals. Where more guitar watt's are necessary is when the guitar part is supposed to stand out, the guitar player should be able to turn up at that point without sounding like a distorted train wreck ( although some... I guess like that sound). If the overall band is too loud on stage and drowning out the monitors, then having a sound man is pointless. On stage, as well as out front, you should be able to hear every instrument clearly without unwanted distortion. Having more watts gives you that needed flexibility. Fender Twins have been so highly regarded because they can cut through when needed and still sound full at lower volumes, WHEN the guitar player knows how to dial it in.
     
  6. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Peavey Stereo Chorus 212. You're right on both points. It sounds freaking great at low volume and has clean head room for days. It also weighs a ton, so I have it on a luggage rack with wheels and it doesn't leave my little practice room. :cool:

    These days, I don't leave my practice room either.
     
  7. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

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    I find I can get cleans at good vols with an unmic'd 15W 210 - the extra decibels for watts argument always seems to be dumped in this (for some reason passionate) debate - extra 3db for double watts, isn't it? So 50w over 15w is extra 5db, no?

    Get a more efficient speaker. I've gone from 100W to 15W in 3 years, I always mic....so....I'm a faddist I guess! ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I forgot to mention the Egnater Tweaker.
    Very tonally versatile, and comparatively cheap.
     
  9. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    ;)
     
  10. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Again, not about volume. All about tone. The 50 watter ain't much louder than a 15 watt amp. But it has a ton more clean headroom before breakup, and a much tighter and punchier low end in most cases.

    I'm not fighting for anybody to play bigger amps. If people get sounds they like with small amps, that's great. I'm not saying one can't successfully gig with a 15 watt amp. I'm just saying I can't do it. The volume is there. The tone IMO, ain't. Not for what I like to hear when I'm playing.
     
  11. dilbone

    dilbone Tele-Afflicted

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    ..
     
  12. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    A 50 watt amplifier is just as much louder than a 15 watt amp as the amount of clean headroom it provides. In the case of headroom it has 5.2dB more on tap given the same distortion level for the same design of amp. That in turn gives it the ability to play 5.2dB louder than the 15 watter. Nothing magical about it.

    And know what? Being able to turn up the volume to 8 before it distorts does not make an amp louder than if it distorts at 5. All that it says is that you have more gain on tap with the second amp. Turn down the volume on your guitar a bit and that darn amp that distorts at 5 now breaks up at 8. Kind of nifty eh? Put a pedal in front of it and you might even get that sucker to distort at 2.

    It is all about gain management. If you stick a lot of gain in the preamp stage with a hot signal and then turn down the volume to the power amp you are never going to get a lot of clean output. If you have a 50 watt amp and efficient speakers you are never going to get the output tubes to distort at bedroom levels. It is not too hard to figure out.

    Read about subbing in some 12AU7's for 12AX7's and all of a sudden the amp as more clean volume. What is really happening is since you do not know how to back off on the gain, or channel volume, your tubes are doing it for you. If you turn down the volume with 12AX7's you can get as much clean output out of the power amp with either arrangement.

    Mind you if you start distorting the signal along the way (and I hear some people even like to do that) you can get some variances in perceived volume. Round of the attack in a gentle manner and you gan give more signal to your power amp before you get noticeable distortion. Some may even think of that gentle distortion as 'tone'. How much power you need depends on your style of playing.


    As far as small amps now being the current fad, well that probably comes more from all these old guitarists out there. Twenty years ago they had no problem with the volume. As the Pursuit Of Happiness said years ago, 'Speaking of hearing. I can't take too much loud music. I mean I like to play it but I sure don't like the racket.'
     
  13. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm quite aware of all of this. And agree with pretty much all of it. Same kinds of thing I said in several posts, just worded differently.

    All I ever asserted was that I can't gig tubes with less than 30 watts and 2X12's. Low wattage amps do not achieve the volumes and tones I desire without breaking up. That's all. If one can get by with a low wattage amp, awesome. I can't. Even if I could get one to stay clean enough, it wouldn't have the tone one can get from a more powerful amp. I know I am in the minority for what's fashionable in the amp world today. But I do not like sag, I do not like compression, I do not like power amp distortion. If I wanted that, I could get a long just fine with a little amp, but I think it sounds like crap. To each their own. It obviously works for a lot of players. I'm glad. It's never gonna work for me.
     
  14. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Using your post more as a jumping off point rather than finding anything wrong with it. I have got back into the music world recently but now learning how to play rather than the tech side of things. I just have read too many posts of guitarists that do not get how their equipment works. You just gave me the opportunity to vent, not that it will change anything.

    Once I get a couple of project amps built I will pretty much concentrate on playing.
     
  15. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    The comment about Gain Management is good. I'll add that you need to reserve tank to make that work.

    My perception of amp volume hasn't changed in 30 years. Myself and the people I worked with in my younger days were conscientious of our levels on stage. We made sure we carried enough watts to not have to worry about unwanted distortion, knowing that the more bodies in a room, the more your sound is going to get soaked up. When you do sound checks in an empty hall, you have to compensate for when the room fills. The volume on stage wasn't any louder than what it needed to be, however these smaller amps I've seen over the last ten years wouldn't cut it, miced or not. If you want the tones to stay consistent at higher volume, you need the watts to keep the same quality sound, and of course high efficiency speakers are part of the equation, unless you like a low efficiency type of distortion which for I hear for some people has it's place.
     
  16. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

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    I get Jakedog's preference, he likes the Tone he feels only "Big" amps can deliver.......

    But since I've seen 15W amps play to arenas, Mic'd obviously, I find this statement odd, to say the least. 5W mic'd and put out through a 5KW PA should meet most of your live requirements?
     
  17. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    You can do that, but it's not going to be the same tone that you're used to. At that point you are giving too much control over to the sound man that's not familiar what you're after.
     
  18. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    The 5W Laney L5T will cope with a non-excitable drummer whilst doing the cleanest of cleans, and has the option of switching to the other channel to do the dirty. Excellent parlour amp. Forget the EVJ and similar one-knob wonders, if you want a BJ for the home, and want cleans too, with some real dirt and proper tone shaping, get a L5T.

    But if you want to play loud on stage with a noisy drummer, get a big stage amp, no substitute.

    If the drummer is good then playing loud is good too. It's the acoustic volume of the drummer that determines the amp sizes for the band's stage volume: the band members need to be able to hear everyone else and too loud is as bad as too quiet. If you need more volume out front, then you mic up to the PA. The vocalists need kick-back monitors from the PA anyway because the PA is/should be projected forwards of the band. Once upon a time we put the amps in front of the players for this reason, that's why the knobses are on the back of the box. The stage volume does not need to be as loud as front of house. Too loud on stage and everything mushes out to white noise and you haven't a clue what you are playing.

    If you use a small amp mic'd-up, the house can hear you but you have problems hearing yourself and being heard on stage.
     
  19. mojotele65

    mojotele65 Tele-Meister

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    +1 one on the Tweaker. Great cleans for the price. (plus so much other fun tones)

    There are all kinds of "clean" amps out there. it comes down to price and volume. How loud do you want the clean and how much are you willing to pay. I money were no object, i would probably go with a Princeton or a Deluxe reverb.
     
  20. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

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    Okay, not to rain on the parade or anything. But...

    A whole lotta B Jr. buyers buy it as a mod platform with no intention of keeping it stock, and still others 'hate' the way it sounds in the stock config. If you're not a modder, and thinking about this amp, make sure it's really whatcha want! ;)
     
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