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Old 05-21-2013, 09:34 AM   #1
DannyV783
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pushing power tubes

My question is how can I drive my power tubes more at the bedroom levels that I play at I know there is attenuators but for some reason they run 300-400$ and I have a combo amp so that's out of the question unless you guys know of one under 200 in that case I can get someone to add an input for one if I need to. IV also heard of DIY atten. But IV never worked on an amp so that seems dangerous, but maybe one of yall have had some luck with one and I could pay you. Or are there any alternatives? I just really wanna use the full power of my amp but I'm not a touring musician I just love trying to get better tone thnx.
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:39 AM   #2
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Also a side note has anyone ever used euro tube tube damper rings or something similar to good effect to get rid of tube rattle?
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:47 AM   #3
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Keep in mind that you'll also need to push your speaker(s) in order to get the most out of your amp, so just attenuating the output wont magically make things sound amazing.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:04 AM   #4
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small tube amps. I recently bought a Vox AC4TV because I was having a similar issue, and even at a 1/4 watt it's loud enough that you won't get away with playing it at midnight in an apartment. It's slightly more than 200$.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:10 AM   #5
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Pushing the power section means more volume. You can't do it quietly unless you have something to soak up the signal (whilst still giving the amp the right load to work with), i.e. an attenuator.

Using a smaller speaker gets you lower volume. A <1w amp with an 8" speaker can get reasonably pushed without pissing off the neighbours too much, if you have thick walls/ceiling/floors. Bear in mind that unplugged, unamplified electric guitar strings can usually be heard through one wall/ceiling/floor so if you're turning your amp up loud eough to not hear your own strings then everyone next door will be hearing you, too.

Amplifiers amplify, they are not meant to sound full quietly.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:25 AM   #6
DannyV783
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So could I maybe downsize my speaker then from my 15"? Or would putting a smaller speaker in have a chance of blowing it?
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:31 AM   #7
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What amp do you have, and what tone are you trying to get? Low volume power tube distortion just isn't going to happen in most cases, even with attenuation.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:39 AM   #8
DannyV783
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Peavey db115 I like my tone but It loses it edge at lower volumes
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:27 PM   #9
ibanart300
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Not all attenuators cost 300-400. Weber make some great attenuators in various sizes with different features for around $150 depending on the model.

EDIT: Is your speaker hard-wired into the amp, just re-read the post and noticed it doesn't have an input you mentioned?

Last edited by ibanart300 : 05-21-2013 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:56 PM   #10
DannyV783
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What I meant is it is a combo amp so I'd have to install an input so that the attenuator could go in between the speaker and the amp stages,
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:50 AM   #11
ibanart300
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I understand that it is a combo amp just wasn't sure if you meant it had an input or not but never mind I get what you mean now. Anyway I found this over on the Weber's attenuator page that should let you use an attenuator with the stock included speaker.

https://taweber.powweb.com/store/pvmh.htm

EDIT: They are $15 dollars:

https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/acc.htm

Last edited by ibanart300 : 05-22-2013 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:52 AM   #12
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:16 AM   #13
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:18 AM   #14
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:00 AM   #15
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its NOT just a small POWERED amp.

i bought a DV Mark lil 40 watt head. it attentuated down to 0.5 watts. ive also tested an egnater rebel series which goes down to 1 watt. anyone will tell you it makes a negligible difference at low volume.

the DV mark did break up, but it was enough to call the cops. for those 10 minutes i may have been a clone of angus young, but the amp was not suiting.

design is key. and tubes are key. i am starting to conclude that 6l6s for example (dv mark) are just not going to break up well at any reasonable volume. they are just too big and too clean. compare that to an el84 amp or an amp so small it uses a preamp tube as a power tube (vox lil night train), you can drive that into distortion very easily at bedroom volumes.

so be careful. what your going to need is a SMALL amp like vox ac4, vox lil night train. the biggest you can get is a blues junior or fender excelsior maybe, but that will give you breakup, not full on saturation at reasonable volumes.

i have given up on the power tube breakup in my room. the only way to do it is invest in an expensive attentuator, or a new amp like a lil night train, either way costs me about $400.00.

i have learned to get a darn good natural tone from my preamp, and try to keep the power as hot as possible (and push it with boosts, etc).
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:39 AM   #16
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I've been a big fan of power tube break up since I 'discovered' how awesome the clean channel of a Laney VC30 sounds when pushed.

I started out with a home made attenuator using an L-pad for about 15. It's basically a big chunky potentiometer (like a guitar volume control) that is capable of handling 50 watts or so. All I had to do was wire in the appropriate connections to connect the amp speaker. It worked pretty well, but you lose a lot of top end.

The more expensive attenuators are supposed to give better results, with less top-end loss. I wouldn't say they're very expensive. I got a weber mini-mass for 110(GBP) new. So second hand will be a lot cheaper. Check out the weber stuff, or THD hot plate. Marshall power brake normally goes for fairly cheap, though I'm not sure how good they are.

Just make sure when using attenuators that you match the impedance of the amp output, and that the attenuator has a power rating at least that of the amp. Also note that you should use proper speaker wires, rather than guitar cables, to make the connection.

The other issue is how to connect it. The peavey is a pretty open casing so should be pretty easy. If the amp chassis is wired directly to the speaker (rather than via a 'speaker out' connection) you just need to get the appropriate connectors from your local electronics store.

I love power tube breakup, more than preamp breakup, or speaker breakup. At the end of the day, the classic sound of valve amps is classic because of the awesome sound it makes when CRANKED. So crank it!
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:24 AM   #17
DannyV783
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibanart300
I understand that it is a combo amp just wasn't sure if you meant it had an input or not but never mind I get what you mean now. Anyway I found this over on the Weber's attenuator page that should let you use an attenuator with the stock included speaker.

https://taweber.powweb.com/store/pvmh.htm

EDIT: They are $15 dollars:

https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/acc.htm


Damn thats really cool yea that will work perfect for my amp thanks alot!
and that further cements that im going to get me a mini mass. hope its not a waste of money Ill post my results when i get it
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyV783
Damn thats really cool yea that will work perfect for my amp thanks alot!
and that further cements that im going to get me a mini mass. hope its not a waste of money Ill post my results when i get it


No worries, I love my Mini Mass. I have one for my Deluxe Reverb, as the loudest I can get away with at home is about 4. Hope it all works out!
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:23 AM   #19
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ho...ly sh**********t.

https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/masslite.htm

why did i knot know of this before? this may be an impulse buy...now. need to do mucho research on these things.

even cheaper for the less good type in 50 watts, but it says for lots of attentuation get 2x wattage, and i would the foot switch, line out, good model all that jazz.

i may be able to swing 200ish for this unit.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:08 PM   #20
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The best way to get saturated tube power amp tone is using a re-amp rig like Van Halen's original rig. Crank main amp to 10 w/ a load box instead of a cab. Line out from main amp to separate power amp which drives the speaker cab. The cranked main amp acts like a pre-amp in the signal chain. With this setup, you get the full sound, tone, & dynamic response of your main amp fully cranked, & it sounds virtually the same at any volume, even at whisper volume-which is all controlled by the separate power amp (I use a cheap $99 Crate Power Block).
There is not any other setup that will come even close to this for supreme performance & tone. That's why EVH used it for the first 20 yrs of his career.
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