I've been playing guitar for several years, only really at home.

I bought a new Blackstar Ht5 about a year ago, which I'm delighted with. I love the sound and it's more than loud enough at home.

I'm now actively looking for a band, as I feel I'm at a gigging standard, and had the opportunity last weekend for a jam with my cousin, who plays the drums. I was a bit disappointed that despite having the gain and volume turned right up, I was struggling to match the volume of the drum kit.
I could kind of compensate by picking harder, but then I found I was making mistakes or just losing the normal sound I got, as I wasn't playing in the relaxed way I was at home.

Is there any simple way to increase volume coming out of my speakers? I've seen a few pedals that include a boost function. Would that make a reasonable difference? And if not, is there anyting else I could do?

Is it reasonable to expect venues you gig at to have PA systems I could play my amp through?

Unfortunately buying a bigger amp is out of the question. My wife would never let me!

I'd be grateful for any advice.

A boost might work, but would probably change the tone you have somewhat. Most venues should have PA systems though, unless you're playing incredibly dingy little pubs anyway. If you had the option I'd suggest a bigger and better amp, something small, just 20 or 30 watts would probably do for what you need.
You can raise your pickups. Though again, this will change your tone.

Ask the venues themselves about PAs, some have, some don't.
Most places I've played have had though.
you shouldnt expect the place to have a pa

i just played a show that i expected(i was told) would have a pa and it was the worst gig ive played since i first started noone could hear me...anyway

but yeah try getting a slightly bigger amp 30 watts would be fine
or if youre gigging try keeping it at the practice place and take it to the gig from there

unless its a matter of money then im sorry
maybe a bigger cab could help you get a bit more volume
Thats why I don't like suggesting anyone a small amp for "bedroom" use.

What you really need is a new amp.
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A bigger cab should help quite a bit, that's the way I've read it often enough in the likes of the guitarist magazine etc. Also not sure about your area but some shops rent out PA systems which could be an option if you have a gig and for practice the drummer should try not to drown you out, it's part of being a musician in a band. You're supposed to help each other out, not try and be louder than each other.

Ps my bedroom amp's a 50watt valver lol
A bigger cab probably won't do a whole lot for that amp.
Ibanez SIR27
Pod HD500x

Mesa Boogie Roadster 2x12 combo
Cmatmods analog chorus, phaser, tremoglo, signa drive, butah, and deeelay
walrus Audio Descent
Thank for the replies.

I had feared that a new amp would be the answer.

I bought a new guitar only a couple of weeks ago, so there is no chance the boss (the wife) would allow another big outlay on an amp.

I guess I'll just have to make sure that if a venue says they have a PA, that they are telling the truth!
Can a drummer just play more quietly without affecting the sound he makes too much?

I'm ignorant about drum related things. Actually I'm ignorant about most guitar related things too, but that's beside the point.
Get a bigger and better amp.
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Playing quietly for a drummer = hitting softer = different sound.

That's a pretty basic way to look at it since I'm not a drummer, but that's pretty much the gist of it.
PAs largely depend on the venue you're playing at. But the general rule is if you're playing in an original band then the venue will usually have a PA for you to hook into. But if you're playing as a cover band or a band that does weddings/functions/parties then you'll need a PA of your own.

But keep in mind, if neither you nor the venue had a PA you wouldn't be able to play there anyway since your vocalist needs to go through a PA

Realistically you need a bigger amp, which brings us to your wife.

What would her problem be with you buying a bigger amp? I assume it's either volume/money/size.

If volume is the problem... Well they come with a volume knob for a reason. I play a 90watt amp and only disturb my gf or neighbours if I choose to disturb them. Some high wattage amps suck at quiet volumes but there are plenty out there that still sound great even if you're playing at 11pm at a volume that won't disturb a sleeping kid in the next room.

If the problem is money... Well you can get a good amp for a reasonable amount of money... So sit down and talk to her about it and see what kind of solution or compromise you can come up with.... and if you married a woman unwilling to compromise with you, then I hate to say it but you married the wrong woman.
Don't worry, I definitely married the right woman.

I'll have a chat with her.
I'm assuming you have a PA system so that your singer can be heard?

And in that case have you thought of micing up your HT5?
using a boost into it when it's cranked is not going to give you a volume boost. boosts need amp headroom to perform, which cranked amps do not have.

so as everyone has said, new amp, or mic up your HT5.
first off, there are amps with variable power/power soaks etc.

secondly, speakers can have a HUGE impact on decibels. get the highest sensitivity you can find. generally, 103 is about the highest. standard speakers are about 95 or 98.

for example with a 5 watt amp:

95 sensitivity speaker = 1 watt at 95, 2 at 98, 4 at 101, and 5 and say 102 decibels
103 speaker = 1 watt at 103, 2 at 106. 4 at 109, and 5 at say 110

factor in overdriving the amp (which is very easy for you) and it keeps going. The difference between 5 and 8 decibels is more than a boost. its huge. its enough that if you had 2 guitarists next to each other, one would get drowned out. definitely enough to throw off the mix.

i got this off the internet:
Background noise: about 35 dB
Normal home or office background: 40-60 dB
Normal speaking voice: 65-70 dB
Orchestral climax: 105 dB
Live Rock music: 120 dB+
Pain Threshold: 130 dB
Jet aircraft: 140-180 dB

the difference between being silent in your office, and talking to the guy next to you is about 5 decibels.

so speaker, boost, and mic the amp. you should mic the amp because you will need teh head room, and at 5 watts you literally dont have any. you will also be able to amplify it with yyour PA.

another tip? tubes that have a very late breakup. your amp is 5 watts - you need headroom and overall volume. its 5 watts so your going to get natural drive, that not a concern. you needdrive while keeping the ability to play clean (ish) and maintain your tone at the desired volume without being dictated by uncontrolable factors (like being forced to push a tiny amp with no headroom).

if i had to pimp your amp rig:
sure sm57
speaker like the eminence wizard (decent speaker with 103 sensitivty rating)
new tubes that sounds good (cause your going to drive them hard and hear them working) and have headroom (again, cause you will be driving them hard and you need headroom).

ideally, yeah man just get a bigger amp. i do have to say for bedroom it just doenst sound the same. i want a vox lil night train 2 watter for my bedroom SOOO bad. those little amps sound dead sexy. or a zvex mini 1/4 watt amp.

i also wish i had 400-500 to spend on something so frivolous
It's a while since I opened up this thread, but I'm back, looking for some more advice or opinion. Thanks for all the help so far!

I've made the decision that I'm buying a bigger amp (and had the wife's support to do so, although I can't say she was delighted).

I really like my Blackstar HT5, so I'm keen to stick with the company.

I initially tried to decide between the HT Stage 60 and Soloist 60, and decided in the end that I preferred the look of the Stage 60, with it's extra overdrive channel and extra speaker in the cab.
Then I came up with my first question. I don't have room for 2 amps, so I'll be selling my HT5. know that turned up, a 60W amp is far too loud for home use, but can you get a reasonable sound from that kind of amp with the volume turned right down? I've never used an amp that powerful, so really don't have a clue.

I saw also that Blackstar make a different (and unfortunately quite a bit more expensive) amp, the series one 45, which has a neat feature of being able to alter the power between 4.5 and 45W, which would certainly solve that problem, but I'm not sure I can justify the extra money for that.

There aren't really any direct comparisons between these 2 amps, as they are in different price brackets. Does anyone have experience with the 2, if so what are your opinions on them? There would have to be more than just the power variation with the series one model to make me spend the extra.

Any advice would be great.


By the way, if there is anyone near Birmingham, UK, who would like a 9 month old HT5S for something close to £300, drop me a message.