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The "Bedroom Amp" question. Help me understand ?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Tomm Williams, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Afflicted

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    Perhaps the reason this reply is being ignored is because it was a poor reply to the basic question. This thread has produced many interesting and informative variables offering many, many answers. This reply did not.
     
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One very important factor I forgot is how our playing technique impacts amp volume.

    A Townshend technique will produce far more volume from the same amp settings than a Gilmour technique.

    If the repeated assertions that big amps turned down sound lousy are based on turning the amp down far enough to get conversation volume from a hard strummed barre chord, I'd agree that the sound will not be very good with the vol turned down that far.
    And I suppose it's fair to say that this is the actual amp volume.

    What I'm referring to is the low volume sounds I can get from some big amps.
    So not only taste is in play, but also technique.

    In order to get those sounds, I use the same basic technique I use for louder sounds, but that involves turning the amp up louder than the desired volume, and reducing the actual volume with picking and muting technique.

    This is more Gilmour technique than Townshend technique, which is not to suggest one or the other is better, just different.

    When I'm getting conversation volume from a 50-80-100w amp, the amp is set to a volume that would be much louder if I hit all the strings hard!

    I prefer this technique because it allows me to ride the amp for sustain and dynamics, and gives me access to a wider range of sounds at the given setting.

    But a player more in the Townshend style would indeed not get the same use out of my settings!
    And a HPTT turned down for conversation volume Townshend chords will sound pretty bad!
     
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  3. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Sorry, a SOLID STATE Quilter or Modeling set up such as a Helix (which is not an amp, but a modeling system you have to amplify) or some other modeling system. Obviously, I don't know what I am talking about and have no knowledge about home playing.

    Sorry, I exaggerated a little.. I'll stick with conversational level or TV level. Is that better? less argumentative?

    But, many times, even that is too loud. Some apartments have paper thin walls, some babies are light sleepers, some wives or parents are particularly sensitive to disturbance. Not all of us have the support to play above a whisper. it happens. I also don't think I ever suggested that 'most' players do need to play at whisper volumes.

    You suggested that a Champ could be used at home, then gave Layla as an example. Did I take it incorrectly or out of context somehow? If so, than I apologize for misunderstanding what you were trying to say.

    I posit again that a Champ can get too loud for home play very quickly. Especially if someone IS looking for distorted Rock and Roll sounds. (But, my Twin will NEVER get them those distorted tones at home levels either, so it's kind of a non-argument).

    Seriously? My Twin sounds amazing at conversational levels! It is warm, rich with lots of beautiful overtones.

    I would suggest that if you cannot get a great tone out of a Twin at low volumes, something was wrong with that tweed Twin.

    I guess we shall agree to disagree. (or maybe just disagree).

    My experience, obviously and admittedly not all encompassing, is that a 2x6v6 amp is usually thinner at low volumes and that the volume taper is more abrupt than 2x6L6 or even 4x6L6 amps. Of the 1x6V6 amps, I have tried, none have had enough bass for my tastes (in the room, obviously recorded tone is a whole different discussion). So, to me, they don't have a tone I am happy with. Not until they are cooking a little bit.

    I am trying not to be an ass... But, I really want to be a totally sarcastic jerk as you have continually been condescending towards me throughout this discussion. Your experiences are obviously different than mine. But, I do not accept your word as the rule of truth. You do not have to accept mine either. This discussion really needn't get heavy or contentious and I apologize for any part I may have played in escalating that (even within this reply)


    Trying to redirect myself back on topic.....


    I do agree with @telemnemonics, about the tone of my Twin. It is glorious at any volume level. Period. However, I have repeatedly turned people away from this large of an amp when they ask about home play. I continually warn folks that if they want tube saturation and overdrive from a tweed Twin, or Bassman, or Super Reverb, or Vibrolux Reverb, etc, then they need look elsewhere. Not everyone can show volume restraint or is looking for the clean, slightly hairy tones I am looking for. That has been my point in this whole discussion... What I do at home is different than other guys. my needs are different. My tastes are different. not better, or wrong or right. Just different.

    What I took as the question from the original OP was that he was trying to understand why people asked for a small amp for home play. Why would someone want to sound like Clapton playing Layla on his cranked Champ at low volume? The reality is that not everyone has a big room, sound proof studio, or need for even so much as a 20 watt amp. A lot of the times, even those 5 watt tube amps will be too much. So, I usually suggest that a solid state or modeling solution is the proper direction.
     
  4. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    No clue... LOL

    I can re-wire amps, even do some simple repairs and trouble shooting. But, I do not understand all of the electrical functions, interactions or design ramifications. Nor, do I believe everyone agrees on where all the tone comes from. I do believe it is a combination of all the pieces working together. Sum of the parts, as it were.
     
  5. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Undeniable Internet Fact #9841: Amps don't sound good unless they're cranked.

    Complete nonsense.

    Some amps really sound like dog doo when they're turned down. Some sound like dog doo when turned up. Some never sound good.

    The solution? Find an amp that sounds good at the volume you need for a particular purpose, whatever that purpose is. There are more amps out there than ever before, at all price points, and with every aesthetic value (cork sniffiery) you can imagine. Just go play a few amps, the answer will be obvious.
     
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  6. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Exactly. It's not hard to get a guitar sound at low volume with an amp like a Twin Reverb, and there are a good number of people that are happy with that sound. But like MilwMark there's just too much missing in the way of dynamics, harmonics and sustain. I'll add [

    Very common situation

    As I said several times, tone is subjective. Every "tone" comment should be assumed to followed by "in my opinion". There is no right or wrong.

    Except I'm always right and what I say is guitar tone canon. :lol:

    I'd guess you are playing through some small amps that either need work or just aren't good amps, but there's no way to know.

    There's also a big difference between "small amps" and "amps with low output." I thought this discussion was about volume level - not amplifier size. Let's all try to take it back to "volume" as the primary parameter.

    I have tube amps that can be played loud enough to hold a conversation over without yelling and sound wonderfully full, dynamic and responsive. Some examples:

    1950 Magnatone 199-3J Student - a low-powered tube amp that's about 1/2 as loud as a good Champ. Big, fat, round tone with the stock 8" speaker and even better (but not all that much louder) through a good cabinet.

    1953 Silvertone 1342 - a 1x12 that puts out about 12 watts but "opens up" at a very low volume level.

    1955 Fender 5D3 Deluxe - another 12 watt combo that is fatter with a "rounder" tone at low volume than the later 5E3.

    1960's Hammond A0-41 head conversion - a 15 watt tube amp that I run through either a 2x10, 1x12 or 2x12. Full, round clean tone at conversational volume

    1960 Airline 003 - a 12 watt 1x12 with tremolo. Big, round sound at low levels.

    1964 black tolex/tweed box Fender Champ - very well known circuit often built from a kit. With a 12AU7 preamp tube, the right 6V6 (there are many) and the right bias setting - yes, you can adjust the bias in any "self biasing" amp by changing the 6V6 cathode cap and resistor - and a low sensitivity speaker It's amazing sounding at speaking volume, and even better run through the right 2x12 - or even a 4x12, where it sounds huge, but not loud.

    But most players just run them stock, and they can be extremely loud under many circumstances.

    1976 Traynor Guitar Mate - a 20 watt 1x12 with reverb that is a great bedroom amp...and the reverb is a plus! The lousy speaker makes it work for low volume playing. If you put a high-sensitivity speaker in it it's a very loud amp

    1999 and 2001 Holland Little Jimi's. these are 1x2 and 2x10 amps with reverb that sound superb at low volume, break up early, and are also excellent club amps.

    2012 Fender Greta - a (roughly( 1 watt amp using a 12AT7 as a power tube in stock configuration. "Unique" sounding with the stock speaker, better with a well-known $10 replacement, and tremendous at talking volume through a good 2x12 or other good cabinet. Heck, I run TWO of them through 1x12's in stereo - tremendous sound and not loud at all. Not even loud with a slight "edge" of saturation.

    2009 ZVex Nano tube head - uses two micro tubes and made its reputation at NAMM shows being run with a slightly saturated "overdriven" tone through a Marshall 4x12 loaded with Greenbacks. this is at a trade show where they need to talk to people and management comes down hard on loud booths. I run mine through various cabinets and it sounds like a big amp at speaking volume.

    I admit a vintage 5D3 would be expensive - but a kit version wouldn't be. You can find used Holland Jimis for $700-1000. None of the others run over $400, and comparable Airlines and Silvertones that would also work for small clubs can be found for $250 or so (I paid less or both, and recently, just shopping on Reverb).

    Around here players no longer use high output amps like Twin Reverbs - they are overkill in clubs and they don't like the "bedroom/home" tone. Most own more than one amp for gig use to "fit" different venues and many a third "bedroom" tube amp (and there are quite a few like me with more amps than are really needed, but are part of "collections" of vintage gear.

    It's just NOT that hard to find small tube amps for home use without breaking the bank, and many are also good small club amps.If a player likes the sound of a big Marshall or Twin on "2", great. But there are tons of options for those that don't or own a big amp and just aren't sure about the bedroom tone.
     
  7. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    But we're talking about playing at bedroom levels, not playing with "amp distortion" at bedroom levels.

    Again, are you talking about a high-power Twin? If so then we simply have a different perception of tone, which is just fine. As I have said repeatedly.

    I have not. If you think so I apologize. But I have called out your exaggerations, which tend to distort the conversation.

    I didn't ask you to. I'm only giving my opinion, as I have said repeatedly. Do you not understand that?

    You missed it completely. That was not close to what I said about Champs and "Layla". Just drop it.
     
  8. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    I've used various smaller and larger amps for quiet home/apartment playing over the years. Certainly some have sounded better than others for attempting to emulate gig level sounds and dynamics.

    However, I don't worry about it all that much. I can accept that I won't be having the same feel in my apartment as I would at a gig. For me, amp tone is easy, it's the left and right hand techniques that I always need to work on! For that, optimal amp tone is not required, heck, even an amp is optional for left and right hand technique woodshedding.

    As always, YMMV!
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
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  9. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    @Silverface - I will not argue any more of these points with you on this thread. I believe we have come to a point where we can agree to disagree on a few of the things we've discussed. But, I hope we are heading in different directions without any hard feelings here as I have gleaned some good info from several of your recent posts on other topics.


    The interesting thing to me on this topic is how incredible so many of the modern builds and the varied paths amp makers are taking today. So many lower wattage products coming out, it is impossible to keep up with it all.

    I remember when I first came to this site, the most popular amp was probably the Deluxe Reverb. It was touted as the perfect amp. Loud enough for gigging and quiet enough for home play. I was unhappy with both for this amp. A lotta guys still swore by Twin Reverbs. The Vibrolux Reverb was the holy grail of amp for many folks. There has always been the smaller wattage crowd who espoused Champs and such... Modeling was really awful back then. Everything sounded so digital and funky. Now, all of that has really changed. Many more 'off brand' builders and companies, more Marshall love, and more love for non-tube technology. It's an interesting time to be involved in the music world.
     
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  10. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Of course it does. The many, many answers that you find interesting and informative, are the ones that corroborate your OP, and like what you like. Which is my point for the third time in this thread.

    Test: I don't like the same tone that you like. I'm not satisfied with the tone of my 12W 5e3 at merely 10% or 20%, much less my 100W Twin at 5%. Have I produced a non-interesting or non-informative contribution? Am I wrong to not like the tone at those settings? Am I wrong to believe the tone at high settings is not scalable to low settings, likable or not? And am I wrong, to not agree with those who believe otherwise?
     
  11. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    It’s very apparent from this discussion that while many of the posters are using the same words, they are talking about different things. The terms bedroom amp, bedroom volume, good tone, acceptable tone, studio volume, home/apartment levels, etc are all wildly vague, subjective, and can mean very different things to each of us.
    Some have tried to define things, but saying bedroom volume = tv levels is hardly a definition; sometimes I can hear my neighbors tv, sometimes I can’t hear my own tv in the next room.

    I think most of the contention and misunderstanding here is a result of using these undefined terms. It’s like you’re all trying to play the same song together but everyone has a different click track in their headphones.

    For me, the bedroom amp dilemma originated with players trying to get *overdriven tube* sounds from an amp at volumes that wouldn’t disturb others in the house in different rooms. That’s what it means to me, at least.
    If you only want clean tones, you are not, IMO, affected by the issue in its classic meaning. Because nearly *every* guitar amp ever made can produce clean guitar tone at low volume you can talk over. However, very few amps can produce decent *tube overdrive* tones at low volume. At least that used to be the case, before amp makers rushed to fill that need.
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I was actually joking and riffing on the recently passed trend of building a 5e3 clone or buying a PRRI and immediately starting a thread asking how to “fix” the problems of mushy bass and too little headroom in amps that are legendary for exactly what they do in stock form.

    My most often played “small distorted amps” are an 18w Marshall clone by Lil Dawg and two 18w TMB variants.
    These amps have tighter bass and more headroom than the extremely popular and mushy 5e3 and PRRI if paired with suitable speakers, but sometimes I still want the more solid punch and bottom of a 40-50w amp.
    My 18 watters are running fine though!

    Lately it seems like we don’t get as many threads asking how to tighten up small amps, so I guess we are in a period of peace where all is well in small amp heaven.

    If I manage to outlive the collectors who own all the ‘66and ‘67 Plexi 100’s I may buy a few when they drop back down to the price of a ‘66 Ampeg!
     
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  13. bftfender

    bftfender Poster Extraordinaire

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    for alternate opinion..my jmp50 is by far the best low level amp i ever played(way against popular opinion)..for//blues rock..anything normal..now go heavier i cant use it at any level.it will not sound right...so i move in the next progression the DSL..more pre amp forming tone..hence overdrives at any level..but since you guys basically tout fender..i will challenge you to get a fender made EVH 5150iii head ..it has a fender clean and the next 3 steps of dirt fender could never do in an amp..NO break up at any level, if you want it for headroom(whatever that means to a bedroom player)or the most wicked gain you could ever want and headroom, it has it for days...read the metal reviews(it has the most useful volume control from o-10 than almost any amp made)..remember our cleans are just as important cause we go back n forth ..drastically...all my friends that are fender based metal guys play that/....the rest are mesa/marshall,peavey,,my point..if you know how to use am amp and its proper application..the bedroom amp thing is a myth...or an excuse...and .. but you fender guys check that 5150 out..its crazy good, not for me but prob the best controllable amp i ever experienced, my BF owner friend was stumped what cleans it had, even with mid style celestions...PS when an amp overdrives..dont forget to calculate the speaker...not sure about BR level playing..but i have dif cabs for down tuned metal...strait rock/blues and jazz gigs and just bring a DSL head
     
  14. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Most of your post was dead-on, but I think you're missing one of the most contentious points -

    Whether or not a high-output tube amp can produce a "good" clean tone.

    That is where opinion comes into the picture. Personally, I do not like the clean tones produced by most high output tube amps (a Twin Reverb is a good example) as I don't care for the narrowed frequency response and "cold" nature of the sound compared to the same amp - or many low-output tube amps - run at mid volume or near the upper limit of their headroom. I hear a big difference in frequency response. an d "fullness". I've owned at least a hundred [different tubee amps and worked on countless more, so I have a fairly decent sample size to work from.

    But -

    That doesn't mean that anyone who likes the sound of a Twin Reverb turned up to "2" is wrong.

    ....it just means they're not right....:lol:
     
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  15. dotpc

    dotpc TDPRI Member

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    Many will say that bedroom amps allow 'huge' tone at lower volume levels.

    But, I think the main reason is that most guitarists just love excuses to buy more gear.
     
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  16. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    to me the entire thread was started as satire.

    If we play in the bedroom we gotta be lower than the TV in the next room or we can't play louder than someone talking.

    Is someone actually sleeping in the same bedroom while we are playing ?

    Growing up I had a Super Reverb, yep in the bedroom. I even had my own phone ( the old dial kind) I got yelled at more often for talking on the phone, they could hear me while watching TV. The Super Reverb wasn't even on.

    I had my own TV as well, I also got yelled at for having that too loud, evidently my TV was louder than the living room TV. Plus I was probably watching the Monkees.

    When I practiced guitar I played so low that even I couldn't hear myself.

    But I didn't get yelled at.

    Then I got married, and she didn't want me to play guitar in any room at any volume at any time, So I eventually got UN-married

    Then I got a Twin Reverb

    I won the war

    But I wish I still had that Super Reverb from my bedroom !

    Got remarried, babies were born and I got headphones , what a novel concept. I practiced with headphones.

    Wife to me: "Come help me with the kids"

    Me to Wife: " What ? I can't hear you I have headphones on "
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  17. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    I like having lots of amps. I've got this:


    and something like this:


    And lots of others in between. Some with a headphone out even.

    Sometimes I think to myself, "If I absolutely had to narrow it down to one amp and one guitar, it would be my tele and a Quilter head and 2x12. That covers everything - quiet, loud, clean, distorted."

    But, I like having lots of amps.
     
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  18. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    I think that's the answer to your question, yes.
     
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  19. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    And it's way too long for what it is. Feels like Gearslutz or the Gear Page.
     
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  20. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Worse - lower expectations are a given for those forums.
     
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