Lowering wattage output on amp?

Strowbri86

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I don't own my own gigging amp. I have a tiny practice amp and then an amp that I use at practice and at gigs that technically belongs to the band. Now if I wanted to I could buy it and have it be my own for a good price, but I'm not sure about doing that verses saving up a little more and getting my own amp that is more to my liking. So the amp is a fender DeVille hot rod. It's a 2 by 12. It. Is. Loud. Even gigging Outdoors to 500 people the loudest I've ever put it at is two and a half.

That being said, it is a nice Fender and has a spectacular clean tone. But I really prefer amps better in the 15 to 20 watt range because I love the natural breakup of the fender or any amp really in fact I sort of rely on it in an ideal situation. Yeah I could get a blues Junior used for like 300 bucks but let's not kid ourselves it does not sound nearly as good as something like a DeVille when clean.

I work on guitars a lot but I am a total amp noob. So is there a realistic way that I can get this thing quiet enough to be able to get it to break up naturally if I want without blowing out everyone's eardrums? I know I can get an attenuator, but I don't have much experience with them. If I turn the attenuator volume down really far so that it's quiet but then crank the volume of the amp will I actually be able to get break up that way or will it simply be the same thing but quieter? I would also consider taking out one of the speakers as I really prefer 1 by 12s. But I don't know if that is problematic for the amp, like if that would overload anything.

What do you guys think? Is it worth doing whatever I need to do or is it even possible to get the DeVille to where I can bring it down several notches and get some break up or should I just say f it and get an amp that isn't nearly as powerful?
Sorry for the long post and thank you ahead of time for your responses!
 

Old Tele man

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Go down to your local Fender dealer(s) and PLAY some of the amps they have on the floor. It's the BEST way to "listen" for what you want/need...and, bring along YOUR guitar for the best testing!
 

Dacious

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Welcome to the HRDv conundrum. You can try replacement of the first preamp tube with a lower gain 12AT7 or 12AY7.

That reduces the effect of the ridiculous linear pot Fender puts in (since 1996....). The volume and eq controls become more usable and the amp becomes sweeter. It's still a bit too much amp esp if it's the 60 watt 2-12 version.

You don't have to buy it to do this, it's reversible and will also make reverb sound nicer.

If it were me, I'd get a used Deluxe Reverb. Not a Hotrod Deluxe or Blues Deluxe. They are essentially similar to the Deville
 
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Finck

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Short answer: no, you cannot make that amp sufficiently quiet.

Even using a power soak, at least without mess with the tone you like so much. To reduce the sound pressure by half, you need 10% of the power. To reduce to a third, 1%.

In order to force the output tubes into break up AND have a tolerable sound pressure that will not let you entire neighborhood crazy, even a 5W amp is too much. I have a 1W DiY tube amp that I cannot play on maximum in my apartment without get in trouble...

That said, you'd have to attenuate more than 95% of the power that amp sends to the speakers. It's a waist, and the power soak will contribute in a very bad way to the resulting tone.

Just my opinion, of course...
 

Frodebro

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A 25Kohm volume pedal in the loop will bring the volume down to manageable levels. IIRC, many of the Hot Rod series amps had linear pots for the master volume controls, which will cause the volume to ramp up VERY quickly. Or, on the cheap, a simple volume box with a 25Kohm pot and a couple of jacks to run in the loop will also do the same thing as the pedal.
 

VintageSG

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A lot of the criticism of attenuators comes not from them changing the sound per se, but from our perception of the sound. Have a look at Fletcher-Munson curves.
Some of it is valid. A resistor doesn't have much of a sound of its own, so you could argue ( unsuccessfully ) that the simple L-Pad + serial/parallel doesn't change the sound. It does.
A speaker doesn't have the flat impedance a resistor has. Their impedance changes, a resistor merely resists. As you drive a speaker, it 'pushes back' ( for want of a better term ) to the transformer too. This interaction is lessened and some of the joy of a singing valve amp is lost to translation.
Better than nothing, and better than having the amp merely idling. Getting the output stage growling away is truly a joy, but it is a system, and anything that affects that system will affect the sound and probably your enjoyment.
Next up are are more expensive attenuators. They give better results, but for more coin. Then there are the fully active power soaks. Deep pockets needed.
All attenuators allow you to get your amp in its sweet spot, but that lack of push back, and the way we perceive the sound may leave you underwhelmed.
Some amps have power scaling built in, which is nice. There are resistive schemes, voltage reduction schemes, pentode/triode schemes and combinations of them. Don't be fooled.
Resistive schemes tend to be limited to lower power amps. Sometimes in combination with voltage reduction. There are variable voltage reduction methods that work quite well too, but if the amp isn't fitted with it to start with, retrofitting may not be feasible or possible.
You'd be surprised just how much of the heavy lifting the first Watt or so does.
Even my tiddler amp, at somewhere between 2~3 Watts, has to run through my attenuator if I want the output deliciousness that comes from the output valve working hard.
Experiment. Try the volume pedal in the loop, try something like the Jet City Jettenuator ( about as cheap as you can go without building it yourself ). There's even a speaker with variable efficiency ( sorry, can't remember the name ). Try running the amp hot, but turning your guitar down That's quite a nice sound too.
Buy the least efficient speaker you can find. Consider an inefficient 1x10" for home use. You could even consider a soundproof box with a speaker in it, mic that and run the output through a pair of monitors.
There's more than one way to skin a cat.
 

Milspec

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The Deville has its place and so does a Blues Jr., it just comes down to matching the amp to your needs. As my Father always said, "You don't buy shoes by how they look, but on how they fit" and the same is true for amplifiers and guitars for that matter. Start with what fits your needs (style, volumes, etc.) and you will be far better off.

I would strongly suggest trying out the Blues Jr. again as well as the Bassbreaker. For the money, they are a pretty good amp for home usage and small gigs. I still use my early 90's Blues Jr. quite often and have not been disappointed by it's clean tone and it takes pedals well so throw in a little delay and you get a very good clean tone out of either one.
 

JazzboxBlues

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What works for me is two amps. A Tweed Princeton and a Blackface Princeton Reverb type amp. The Tweed Princeton when I want a natural overdrive and the Princeton Reverb for clean. The reverb and tremlo don't hurt either. I tend to favor the Tweed but then one day I want the the other. In real application(home use for me) the Tweed Princeton is most practical and would love to use a reverb tank with it. I do find a 10-15 watt amp(Tweed Deluxe, Tweed Harvard or Princeton Reverb) can be used at home but that's the limit. Tube amps can be loud especially if you want the goods. I had a Tweed Pro and for me was way too much amp for home.
In short get an amp for the intended purpose.
 
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Silverface

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You can get tube adapters that will allow you to use EL84's in cathode bias configuration, bringing the power down by more than half.

But you'll still have a VERY loud amp. Power isn't the major governing factor; the subject has been covered in depth over a hundred times and you'd be better off using the search function for the information. But if you're not a tech it won't be of much use.

In your case the best thing, IMO, would be to start researching small practice amps.
 

Dacious

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.

If you are just doing clean, look for a Peavey Bandit or the next one down that's around 40 watts. Or these solutions:



.


Well, I can only speak to the Joyo JF13(?) Vox version. I thought my Marshall had given up the ghost at rehearsal the other night. Turned out to be a power adaptor on my effects (phew).

I had this pedal in my case as a backup based on reviews here and elsewhere, thought ideal chance to try it out.

Plugged effects into it, plugged it into line in on PA.

I tweaked all the settings. Voice, gain, level, treb-mid-bass.

It sounded like varying degrees of doggy-doo at every setting. It was a relief when the battery died - plugging straight into a channel strip was almost better.

Later I plugged it through my Champ on a clean volume - it sounded just as wet-blanket dull with a screeching harshness when I turned the drive or voicing up. Backing off mid-bass trying to clean up the mudddd all the balls dropped out. As far as 'feel' and touch it felt like playing my Strat with baseball gloves on. Seriously. Notes didn't bloom off the fretboard so much as kamikaze dive into a spit bucket.

It may have been because of a rehearsal room PA; which was old, but doing vocals and keys just fine.

I read the instructions, and comments on this site about these pedals and it mystifies me how anyone could conceive this particular one is a viable option for live or even bedroom playing. Unless you had nothing else.

Turned up it dominated the mix like a buffalo herd stampede spoils romantic moonlight in the haystack. Backed off it turned into someone backing the band from the end of the next street.

I don't know how the guy got the sound in that review above with the Fender pedal, maybe it's just the Vox that's a turkey. Maybe, when you wash the sound files through his computer sound card it homogenises the files.

I just fleabayed it - did $30 cold. Glad to get rid off it.
 
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Anode100

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I second the suggestions of trying out smaller amps.

A big amp will almost always sound crappy if it's been castrated.

Smaller amps working their nuts off, however, can sound great.
 

Felino

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Joyo American Sound (Fender amp sim, Tech21 pedal rip-off) works fine, in my opinion. Direct to PA or amp, whatever. Just don't crank gain past 2 o'clock.
Same with Joyo California something (Messa amp sim).

Joyo AC Tone (Vox amp sim) not so, or I can't bond with it well. It doesn't get much love online, too.

In case somebody is wondering, I have never tried their Marshall sim. Well, in fact, once I had, in the shop, it sounded overcompressed or something, I didn't like it. Anyway, I would like to spend more time with it, tho, at my place ;) .
 

clintj

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Welcome to the HRDv conundrum. You can try replacement of the first preamp tube with a lower gain 12AT7 or 12AY7.

That reduces the effect of the ridiculous linear pot Fender puts in (since 1996....). The volume and eq controls become more usable and the amp becomes sweeter. It's still a bit too much amp esp if it's the 60 watt 2-12 version.

You don't have to buy it to do this, it's reversible and will also make reverb sound nicer.

If it were me, I'd get a used Deluxe Reverb. Not a Hotrod Deluxe or Blues Deluxe. They are essentially similar to the Deville
The '95 schematic uses 15% audio taper for the Volume and linear for the Master. They switched to a 30% audio taper for the Master for the HRDLX iii and the Blues Deluxe, and kept the Volume pot the same.
 

Wally

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+1 on using a 12AY7 or a 5751 in V1 to change that sweep on the first volume pot. As noted, it also improves the rest of the amp. Since you are looking for clean, that simple tube change may very well allow you to use the amp since it yields much more precision to that volume control....what happens at ‘2’ with a 12AX7 there happens at about halfway with a lower gain Tube.
 




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