Tubes at 'home only' volume - is there any point?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by VerySlowHand, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. thankyouguitar

    thankyouguitar Tele-Meister

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    I was also going to say Pro Jr! The other low watt small tube amp I've been playing that might fit the bill is the silverface MusicMaster Bass.

    But these are what I have found I like in the local guitar shop for auditioning guitars. At home, I ended up making my own 1watt solid state amp......
     
  2. VerySlowHand

    VerySlowHand Tele-Holic

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    Blackstar HT5R mkII looks perfect on paper. I used to have the ID 30TVP and liked it. I just fancy a Fender... Bassbreaker 15 has the fx loop, none of the other smaller tube amps do.

    Need to go to my local guitar dealers and try a few, but thanks again for all the suggestions and nuggets of wisdom.
     
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  3. MuddyWolf

    MuddyWolf Tele-Meister

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    Electric guitar at home only volume. Is there any point? Not really. Might as well get an acoustic or a dobro. You'll probably get good after awhile.
     
  4. VerySlowHand

    VerySlowHand Tele-Holic

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    Home use ONLY. Not 'ONLY EVER' at low volume. There's a difference, but thanks for the, erm, 'contribution'. :p
     
  5. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, there's plenty of point. I've been playing electric since I was 19 or so - I play acoustic too and enjoy it, but electric is an entirely different instrument with it's own sound and feel. I'd hate to ever have to give up either, but electric is more like home to me, so if I had to, I'd let the acoustic go. For some types of music, electric sounds better loud, but there are plenty of contexts where it sounds just great not that loud. If you don't like it, by all means, don't do it, but I'll be playing electric, mostly at home at low volume, for as long as I can hold it and move my fingers...
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  6. milopera

    milopera TDPRI Member

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    Get a small 5w tube amp! Best of both worlds!

    I have a Fender Champion 600 and it sounds nice when I push the tubes on it and I'll still be at "home volume" (loud enough to play along with the stereo speakers in my living room).
     
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  7. tweeet

    tweeet Tele-Holic

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    I've got a Laney LT20 but they do the LT5 (5w). I've never turned the volume on my amp further than 4 for the biggest of gigs (150 plus...large bar) ! I can't recommend this amp enough and you can pick one up on ebay, gumtree or FB marketplace for £300. I went to Brighton GAK to buy a Vox ac30...tried it ...tried a Fender Tweed BJ...a Blackstar....but the Laney just blew them away and it looks the dogs too ! Try some out at the best store near you...I think it's the only way to get an idea of sound.

    https://www.laney.co.uk/products/lionheart-l5t-112-tube-combo
     
  8. richbike

    richbike Tele-Meister

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    Cheep as chups. Does clean and drive well at very low volumes. Can also chuck it out full blast but it's a tragedy they didn't do it as a 12" combi...
     
  9. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Interesting thread. I've got tube amps ranging from 15 watts to 100, and modelers ranging from 10 watts to 600 (yes, the Kemper actually has that much under the hood). Any of them are capable of sounding good at low volume levels, some better than others, but all of them are still capable. All of the tube amps have good master volumes, which is the key. Anybody that claims that you can only sound really good if you're running a non-master volume amp at painful volume levels hasn't been paying attention to the changes in amp designs since, oh, about fifty years ago.

    Does louder sound "better"? Usually, but that's more to do with how our ears hear things than the type of amp making the sounds.
     
  10. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    Buy a Princeton reverb. It’s perfect for what you describe.
     
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  11. adjason

    adjason Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    yes get a tube amp-they sound better even at low volume- the good news is, if you don't have to move it, don't overlook the big amps like twin reverbs- they are cheap these days and I prefer their sound over a champ (I've owned and sold two vintage ones)any day at any volume
     
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  12. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    There must be something wrong with me because I have gotten great sounds at low volume out of any amp I've ever had, from a Vox Lead 125 (4xGL34s, 125W) through various Mesas down to a Fender Pro Junior and even a Blackstar HT-1 (1 W). Unless you require power tube saturation for your sound, an approach that I think was necessary back in the day, given the rigs and pedals at hand but unnecessary now, I don't see the obstacle. My Pro Jr. (first issue, MIA, modded, etc.) absolutely covers the range from dinksville to moderate-sized venues and is usually my home amp, but lately I've been using a Mesa Nomad 55, which can shriek, but also works fine at bedroom levels. And if you doubt this, I'll get my wife, a light sleeper who gets mad as hell when awakened, to post a confirmation that yup, you can do low volume in this way.
     
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  13. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Ha ha, I went and put some pants on just so I could type at the end that you can now take my opinion seriously, and now I can't remember what I was going to say.

    Something along the lines of general agreement to the above, I think.

    Only you know your situation, so just go listen in a shop if at all possible, and don't listen to others re valve vs solid state vs modelling.

    At home (detached on about an eighth of an acre), I have a solid state amp that sounds like rubbish at any volume (so I occasionally use it for bass, where it sounds fine) and a valve 4 watt master volume Vox AC4HW1 which sounds flipping glorious at any volume (albeit a different kind of glorious depending on the volume).

    I'm on holiday at the moment (staying detached on a quarter acre), with the use of a solid state THR10 and a valve Mesa Boogie Express 5:25. The THR sounds great at any volume and the Mesa sounds like rubbish on 5 watts and great on 25 watts, even with both gain and master low (cleanest channel and about 9:30 and 8:30 on the dials respectively).

    Thus with solid state and valves, and lower-ish wattages at least, I can get what I consider great sounds at what I consider home volumes. The caveat being, all of this is 'to me.'

    However, I much prefer the valves. For no logical reason. I *think* they sound and feel better, but I really like the THR too. In the end, I don't really care if valves sound better, the same or worse than the other options. Just the same as I don't really care if three barrel Teles intonate better, the same or worse than the six saddle type. I prefer / like the idea of the former way more than any of the other options. Floats my boat, works for me, etc. It's important to me. So, that's what ultimately informs my choices.

    So, in answer to the original question, yes there is a point - 'to me.'

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  14. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Afflicted

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    Am I the only one who usually plays louder at home than at gigs?
    I can't usually run my tweed deluxe past 3 1/2 at gigs but I can crank it to whatever I want at home.
    But a tweed deluxe on volume 2 gives some of the nicest cleans to be heard and it's probably quiet enough to not bother others in the house.
     
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  15. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Yes.
     
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  16. BramptonRob1958

    BramptonRob1958 Tele-Meister

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    I am a tube fanatic as I grew up in the 70’s and was weened on them!

    However after getting back into the electric guitar world 2 years ago, I have been chasing the “Home usable” tone and volume issue as well.

    I’m 61 and strictly a home player at this point and play for pleasure only. Cleans aren’t a problem at lower volumes but getting to the edge of breakup and beyond can be troublesome. Truthfully even cleans sound better as the volume increases.

    Started out with a Tele and a Fender Hotrod Deluxe it was ok but wasn’t what I was looking for...

    Brought home a Vox AC15 nice amp but again cleans only...

    Picked up an Orange Tiny Terror and 12 inch cab was able to dial back from 15 to 7.5 but it really didn’t make the much difference in useable volume. Wasn’t crazy clean or crunch

    Ended up buying an Orange AD30 head one channel for clean and one for dirty. Probably should have tried this one through a 2x12 however quickly decided it wasn’t for me.

    Lost my mind and figured back to Fender and adopted a Fender Twin Reverb as I had fond memories from playing in the 70’s! This one actually was a pretty good fit at low volume believe it or not but weight and anything on the volume knob over 2 rendered it unusable. It did take pedals well but the Twin doesn’t shine at 2 Go figure.

    Last August I survived a Heart Attack and decided needed something that I could actually move if needed. I traded the Twin for Deluxe Reverb RI. Again ok but compared to the Twin it paled in comparison. So I returned it.

    Decided to try the Katana 100 1x12 MKll a try and it was the most versatile for use at home in terms of clean, breakup and beyond. But I kept saying where are the tubes! Lol

    Last Boxing Day I stumbled across a Fender 57 Custom Champ RI and at 57 percent of regular retail it was a no brainer. 5 watts reasonable volume and fantastic tone. All boxes checked.

    Or so I thought.

    My problem was that I really want a variety of tube amps depending the type of music I’m playing and love nothing better than to have them all sitting in my basement to plug in when the mood strikes.

    The challenge is that I can’t justify the investment to have them All and a bunch that turn my head whenever I walk in to my local music store.

    I certainly couldn’t continue to swap them out at this pace without losing a lot of money either. Fortunately, with the exception of the Orange Amps I was able to return the others without losing any of my Amp fund and the Orange Amps I was able to break even.

    Just before the return window closed on the Champ, I started investigating the Kemper Profiler.

    Definitely not Tube, Definitely not cheap.

    However, it can be played at reasonable volume to recreate pretty much any tone or amp that has been profiled. It can be played through headphones or through powered studio monitors, FRFR speakers (mono or stereo) or through normal amp cab if you get the powered head or the unpowered head it’s a power amp.

    So I took another leap of faith and purchased a decent set of headphones and had my local dealer price match the very best price I could find on a Kemper Toaster head.

    After a month of ownership of the Kemper, I’ve added a Friedman ASM10 active monitor when I’m not using my headphones. I can play cleans to heavily distorted, takes pedals while recreating the tones from every amp I’ve ever owned and many that I’ve never played.

    I’m absolutely thrilled the Kemper has killed all my Amp Gas! When I want Fender tones I adjust the dial and select it. Same with Marshall, Peavey, Dumble, Vox, Orange etc. It comes preloaded with 1700? Profiles and while some I won’t use, the choice is limitless. There is an online exchange for other non standard profiles and many more professionally profiled amp sounds that are available for a price.

    The Kemper isn’t a tube amp replacement, it’s also not a modeller. As stated previously it’s also not cheap and not for everyone. The Kemper is a solution for anyone that plays at home and want to explore and be inspired and not stuck with low volume clean tones or 800 dollars in pedals to go with the tube amp.

    For me this is the best solution. It’s not for everyone..The Kemper is at least worth looking at. If I’d known 2 years ago about Kemper, it would have saved me a lot of time and energy and the GAS bloating lol

    Good luck in whatever your choice is! Just remember the journey is part of the fun! Enjoy the journey!
     
  17. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    i have turned my Master into a full blown studio..think 9 amps are ready to mic..anyways ..absolutely love sitting in front of this, Peavey has the easiest ability to dial in..a MV then pre & post..how can ya not find a sweet spot at any level..15's are awesome a low levels..in fact any of these work at any level ya want..its all a myth..the bedroom level 333 (2).jpg amp final.jpg No Monkey rig.jpg stuff..
     
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  18. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Tweed Deluxe works for me, too. I usually run mine up about halfway and just back off the guitar volume to get some of the best cleans I've ever had - fat and clear. On the odd days when I'm home alone, I can crank it up and get that incredible tweed Deluxe vicious overdrive.

    It's my only amp. I've come to grips with the fact that Donald Fagen is not going to call me when Larry Carlton is booked up. :) One great little amp does it for me.
     
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  19. Crawldaddy

    Crawldaddy Tele-Holic

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    In your case, I would suggest a Fender Pro Junior, and use whatever pedals to get a nice sound at low volumes.

    Second to that, maybe a Blackstar HT5R.

    In my own personal context, I have a Two Notes Torpedo CAB (speaker cab and power amp simulator) so that I can use the line out from my THD Bivalve to go direct. Sounds good!
     
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  20. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree with this.

    To my ears, my tube amps sound better at low volume than any of the whiz-bang modeling stuff I have used or heard. No, they don't sound like they do turned up into their sweet spots, but the fundamental audio quality is still miles better than those modelers, and adding some light overdrive from a pedal makes the experience acceptable.

    But if I really need low volume, an acoustic guitar is fine by me. And again, the fundamental audio quality is miles above the experience of playing through modelers to my ears. And adding some variety to the playing experience definitely isn't a bad thing. Everyone should play more acoustic guitar. I think it really does make you better. There is nothing to hide behind, no settings to fiddle with, just you and a guitar.

    I think the low volume thing is blown wayyy out of proportion today. Nothing sounds like and matches the experience of playing a nice cranked up tube amp, no matter what the sellers of whiz-bang boxes say. Do it when you can, and do something else when you can't.
     
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