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Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Tomm Williams, Aug 16, 2018.
As far as I'm concerned, the whole bedroom amp dilemma isn't a dilemma anymore. It used to be a tough nut to crack, before amp makers realized the market for amps 1 watt and under, and jumped on that opportunity; now we are inundated with low power practice amps.
Now there are more choices in that category than there's ever been. If someone can't find a good low power practice amp now, then they aren't very good at finding things. For me, the perfect solution was the Blackstar HT 1R, 1w quality amp with tube output stage and great clean and overdriven tones at perfect home volume levels, IMO.
I normally play at home, and have struggled with the volume thing for years (see my forum name). For clean playing, I have no problem using my larger amps and simply turning down. But for playing with overdrive, it's more complicated. There are some OD pedals that I like, and do use. But when I was playing in bands, I grew very fond of the sound of a non-master-volume Marshall. It's the whole interaction with the amp that gets you. It just can't be duplicated with pedals, at low volume. But I love that playing experience. I have long ago let my large Marshalls go, because I really could not use them effectively at house volume. I do have an attenuator, and use it often. That was my best solution for many years. But the better answer for me came in 2012, when Marshall released their 50th Anniversary 1-watt limited edition amps. I bought two. One is the JMP1c, and the other is the JVM1c. These have been a godsend for me. They really give me the Marshall sound and interaction, but in a small package at reasonable volume. They can get pretty loud in the 1-watt setting, and I have actually done a small gig with the JVM1c fed through a PA. But when you need to be below TV volume, they have a 0.1-watt setting, and they still sound great. The JMP1c is non-master-volume, and has that Plexi sound going for it. It's my favorite small amp of all time. The JVM1c is a more modern Marshall, with channel switching, master volume, and a line-out. Just a perfect grab-and-go amp for jams and small gigs. Playing at home, with reasonable volume, doesn't have to be boring. I want the tone that usually comes with big volume, except without the big volume. That's what my little Marshalls bring to the party. Not cheap, but worth every cent.
I have a laney cub head with a >1watt setting and its still to loud through a 12" speaker, to the extent that its too loud when the kids are in bed. The blackstar id core 10 is great as it just doesnt carry like any of the other amps i have but if i did feel it was too loud or too late at night i'd use headphones. The blackstar is great as you can plug your phone into the amp as well and play along with lessons, tracks etc.
Also, it depends what youre playing. Using drive i tend to play rockier stuff, which tends to get me a'****'. I rarely get that if im finger picking van morrison or something clean. The big variable in this conversation is not whats comfortable for us, but at what level our volume annoys the people we live with.
Personal question - are you married?
I'm glad I don't live near some of you people.
It sounds like the OP has found his perfect bedroom amp. So have I.
why you ask ? how about married..wife is singer....and its easier to move out the front of the house instead of the band room when we are going back n forth to studio, if you must know....married..4 kids 4 grankid &s 1 on the way....how about you..you married ...in my world its normal to have gear everywhere
That’s cool. Glad to hear it. I am married. 2 kids. Thanks for asking. I have no need for that gear but it’d be fun to have. But not enough room with everything else, regardless. Unless I wasn’t married and had no kids. In which case, I’d be sad. Congratulations! Have a great weekend.
cool man, most of that gear comes from the type of gigs we do, a lot of outside with pa support but as a band we always set to a kick..that 5150 stack i got for my rhythm guitarist and i go marshall dsl and 1960b, we set to the kick and stay fairly consistent from practice to stage. usually have 2 heads on the 2x12 cabs and they stay in the BR, they are my ref point. One has a gt75 & v30 and other has greenbacks..so we can get best sound for recording. trust me, when the studio over in a few weeks, cabs go to band room and the BR gets sorta back to normal..if normal means a PA in your BR..
Sweet Carlsbro! Fellow Carlsbro owner here too. My 50 Top is used at rehearsal and only the most premium gigs. My Carlsbro 59 Spirit prototype is my stay at home/studio amp. Although the 59 spirit is 50 Watts Into a celestion classic lead 80, I can dial anything into it with the baxandall EQ even before really dialing back the master. The bass can be non existent even through the beefy 12” speaker if I wish it so. And to me that is one of the largest reasons people need a “bedroom” amp besides the sheer volume factor. I have a fender Greta too. The mrs likes both amps but both surprisingly make great bedroom amps for my living room.
Or studio monitors with the appropriate modeler/profiler
Mine is I believe the CS PA100 model? It was hard to find info on it but it's a 4xel34 model otherwise similar to the other Carlsbro heads
Twins for clean sound good at any volume.
The sooner you realize the God-like qualities of a Twin, the happier you'll be.
Yes I think you’re right. I don’t know if CS100 is how Carlsbro originally listed it either but here’s a link to a blog about one in repair. http://www.chambonino.com/work/carlsbro/carl17.html
I feel like I’ve seen schematics for this one too. It’s definitely a known amp but not common in the US. I didn’t check though. Are you US or UK side of the pond?
I actually, uh, have a 2x12 in the bedroom that gets used as, well, a prop, with a cushion on top of course.
A man has got to know his limitations!
This is the part I don't understand.
My assumption is that keeping the guitar gear in the bedroom is a kids living at home thing, not a gigging musicians thing.
WRT your comments about playing bigger amps at lower volumes, I agree with your comments about being able to turn down bigger amps.
I've had some that sound bad at low volumes and others that sound fine turned way down.
My 50w Marshall sounds better at middle of the night volume than my 18w Marshalls.
Part of that might be the G12H30 55hz paired with a Gold, which sounds fat and full at a whisper.
I had a Pro Jr. with a small physical space footprint that was either "off" or "pretty damn loud at the least." I have a 70 watt National that takes up a good amount of space but has a decent "bedroom" volume range. I consider the National a much more usable bedroom amp. Granted, I'm using pedals for OD.
If that works for you more power to you.
But there is not just a loss of dynamics, in most cases of high-output amps turned down to the "1 or 2 range" theres a loss of frequency response on the low end and tone becomes "flat", losing some harmonic depth. Some players, especially those who play only clean, find that workable. But many of us do not. We want an amp at low volume to sound like an amp running at the top of its headroom.
There are setups that DO work when the right speakers are involved. But those may not be practical for gig purposes, or have the right sound at gig volume. And inexperienced players may be satisfied with anything that will sound "ok" at bedroom volume. But depending on what style them play is it doing them a service to point them towards someting that won't have the sound they would be using at gig volume? I don't think so.
You may not understand the question when posed by some experienced players because the tonal changes may not bother you. But if you consider the changes in the club scene, where players are using lower-output amps and prices of smaller tube amps now exceed many of the large ones, it should be logical that the same thing is going on as far as practice amps are concerned.