#1
I'm moving into an apartment in a few weeks, and as a result I won't be able to play my amp, a Mesa express 5:50 2x12 combo.

I looked at the price of power attenuators, quite pricy, I could buy a smaller blackstar HT5-R for the same price at the only local music store for the same price.

So is there any clever ways I can get around this situation? I'm tossing the idea of selling my current amp, I no longer gig so don't need such a big amp. Using the money to buy a new guitar and a smaller amp.

Am I right in thinking a tube amp with separate volume controls on each channel and a master volume will work the same way as an attenuators on my current amp? So I can crank each channel for good tube tones, but turn master down to not piss my neighbors off.

All help and other suggestions much appreciated.

Thanks, HKS
#2
Volume pedal in the FX loop? Flip from 50 watt to 5 watt operation? Build an isolation box out of plywood, line it with accoustic foam, stick the amp in there?

If you're happy with the Blackstar, you can get it, but I'd hold on to the Mesa. Might be worth something some day. Isn't that Blackstar a Hybrid amp?

I tame my 100w Marshall head at home with a GNX4 in front of it, but I rarely even bother with it much anymore, as the GNX4 sounds almost as good through the keyboard amp sitting right next to the half-stack. For a while I was using the line out on the head into the keyboard amp instead of the cab, but the costs didn't outweigh the benefits.

Maybe it's time for a Tonelab, an HD500, or a Mustang Floor for you and listen through headphones, monitors, PA, or a stereo? Or you can still use those through the Mesa if you want--you just won't need to push it so hard to get your tone.
Last edited by jetwash69 at Apr 1, 2012,
#3
Absolutely keep it, you'd most likely regret selling it. I'd say get a Blackstar HT Dual pedal, rather than a Blackstar amp. Use the pedal fora nice distorted tone when you aren't able to crank it up.
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#4
Yeah. The issue is with this amp it sounds very flubby at low volumes.

On the volume pedal in the FX loop, will this allow me to crank the tubes and lower the volume to still get a good tone without having to go loud? I've always left it on 5w mode and have never struggled to keep up with drummers. So it's quite loud on 5w mode
Last edited by HKSR33 at Apr 1, 2012,
#5
Your amp has a volume knob. It controls the volume.
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#6
Quote by Offworld92
Your amp has a volume knob. It controls the volume.

He's just said that it sounds flubby at low volumes. As such, we are helping him find a solution... Informing him that the volume knob controls the volume isn't going to do much in the way of helping here.
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#7
Quote by Offworld92
Your amp has a volume knob. It controls the volume.



Thank god captain obvious is here to inform us. Incase you have ever used a tube amp, and have gigged With them, driving the tubes is where all the good sounds are found. Also at low volumes the speakers aren't pushing enough air to sound nice. Which means playing don't sound good. Also your answer didn't answer my original question.
#8
Quote by HKSR33
Thank god captain obvious is here to inform us. Incase you have ever used a tube amp, and have gigged With them, driving the tubes is where all the good sounds are found. Also at low volumes the speakers aren't pushing enough air to sound nice. Which means playing don't sound good. Also your answer didn't answer my original question.


Yes, I've owned a 5150 & two Valvekings (one 100W, one 5W). I've played countless more. I know a little about them.

A tube amp is a tube amp is a tube amp. It doesn't turn into an SS amp because you turn the volume down.

An attenuator won't do squat for you, btw. They don't work the way you think they do.

A low wattage amp is A) not even any quieter than a high wattage amp, but B) will never give you the tone an amp with more tubes and larger transformers will.

Cranking a 5W amp is way louder than just using your amp at a reasonable volume. Have you tried re-EQing your amp? Because of the way we perceive sound, we need to EQ our amps differently at lower volumes to get good tones. Also an OD pedal in front and an EQ pedal will help a lot with getting good tones at lower volumes, if you're not using them.
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#9
I'd keep the Mesa and buy a cheap lil practice amp. You can get sweet apartment volume tone for $100
#10
Offworld, that's all fine, but when there's neighbors either side of the two walls in your apartment.....well you gotta be curtious. Since I can hear their TV through the wall while viewing the place last week, I can only imagine what my amp is going to do, even at the lowest of volumes. My current neighbors have complained about my amp being to loud when the volume is at 9 o'clock. Anything lower then this, no matter how I set the eq's results in a flubby bottom end. Turning gain down, using OD and tube screamers also don't quite fix it. I see where your coming from but I'm trying to avoid sacrificing sound quality here. and since I play a bit of hard core punk and alternate metal I need tighter bottom end. Hence my query into options to help solve this.
#11
IMO the HT-5 isn't really any better than a Epiphone Valve Jr with some pedals. I've had both and the HT-5 is a good amp. But I'd take the Vjr and save some money. You can get a combo and add a cab later if the 8" speaker doesn't do it for you. But in an apartment at low volumes the 8" will most likely be fine.
#12
recycledsound do a really cheap attenuator called the Power Plug and they arent bad from what ive heard.

they go for around $90

http://www.recycledsound.net/
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#13
Quote by HKSR33
Offworld, that's all fine, but when there's neighbors either side of the two walls in your apartment.....well you gotta be curtious. Since I can hear their TV through the wall while viewing the place last week, I can only imagine what my amp is going to do, even at the lowest of volumes. My current neighbors have complained about my amp being to loud when the volume is at 9 o'clock. Anything lower then this, no matter how I set the eq's results in a flubby bottom end. Turning gain down, using OD and tube screamers also don't quite fix it. I see where your coming from but I'm trying to avoid sacrificing sound quality here. and since I play a bit of hard core punk and alternate metal I need tighter bottom end. Hence my query into options to help solve this.


That's tough, and I definitely know how that is (I live in an apartment myself). The trick is finding neighbors who are okay with you playing. I've had neighbors who mind very much, I've had neighbors who don't even mention it. It's all about finding cool/understanding people.

I say, if I have to listen to people around me have loud awkward sex every night, I should be able to play my amp in the day

Might I suggest the Vypyr Tube then? I sold my 5150 after I got mine, just because I didn't even play it anymore. It has, by far the best volume control I have ever used. And it sounds really good, on top of that. Just something to check out. I can make my Vypyr as quiet as a whisper if I want, and it retains it's tone at every volume.
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Line 6 Pod HD500X
#14
Quote by HKSR33
...On the volume pedal in the FX loop, will this allow me to crank the tubes and lower the volume to still get a good tone without having to go loud?...


If you get your tone out of the pre-amp, then hypothetically the volume pedal in the FX loop would work like a master volume control. If you're crafty, you can build a volume control stomp box. All you need is a box, 2 1/4" TS jacks, a pot, a knob, and a couple of wires. I don't know what value pot would work best, but perhaps a volume pot from a guitar might work? Perhaps not; you might need more resistance to attenuate the FX loop signal--I don't know if that's instrument level or line level.

My head has a switch to let you select which level you want to use. It also has a wet/dry pot built-in so you can use it like a parallel loop. If you back it to almost completely wet and don't have anything plugged in, it takes the minimum volume (with pre-amp cranked) down to 85db. Without that, min volume is around 95db or nothing. Using my GNX4, I can get it quieter.

It's worth a shot. You could probably by all the parts at Radio Shack for under $15 if you don't already have them lying around. But you might be better off getting them from AllParts or something like that.

Last time I lived in tight quarters, I ended up just playing my electric unplugged. I had brought an MS-2 with me, but that was too loud unless I plugged in earphones--but that wasn't worth it. You could hear the unplugged guitar in the neighboring units if the air conditioner wasn't on, and in the hall. But it wouldn't keep anyone awake and it wasn't enough to complain about. I could hear a guy a couple of units down the hall playing an acoustic sometimes. It was pretty ridiculous; luckily I was only there for 7 months.
Last edited by jetwash69 at Apr 1, 2012,
#15
Basically, if you have a tube amp and sensitive neighbours, any volume is too loud. I doubt it's anything about how loud you really are, but the perceived notion that you are loud.

Chance are, if they know you're a guitarist, even petting your dog or taking a leak will be too loud.

If your neighbours really are that sensitive, you really might need to look at something like a Pod HD through earphones.
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#16
What Ragingkitteh said about all tube amps being loud is correct. It has more to do with the perceived frequencies than the actual volume. Buying an attenuator in the hopes of playing at bedroom volumes is a fallacy. Real attenuators are for the gigging musician who wants a cranked tube tone at reasonable stage volumes or for use in a recording studio.

The question you need to ask yourself is what kind of music do you play? If it is more blues and classic rock you may prefer power tube distortion. If it is more modern tones and metal you may prefer preamp tube distortion.


Quote by Offworld92
That's tough, and I definitely know how that is (I live in an apartment myself). The trick is finding neighbors who are okay with you playing. I've had neighbors who mind very much, I've had neighbors who don't even mention it. It's all about finding cool/understanding people.

+1

Quote by Offworld92
I say, if I have to listen to people around me have loud awkward sex every night, I should be able to play my amp in the day

LMFAO

Quote by Offworld92
Might I suggest the Vypyr Tube then? I sold my 5150 after I got mine, just because I didn't even play it anymore. It has, by far the best volume control I have ever used. And it sounds really good, on top of that. Just something to check out. I can make my Vypyr as quiet as a whisper if I want, and it retains it's tone at every volume.

+1

My Vypyr 60 is a lot of fun


Quote by loki_lulamen
recycledsound do a really cheap attenuator called the Power Plug and they arent bad from what ive heard.

they go for around $90

http://www.recycledsound.net/

No offense because that was helping gesture but buying a cheap resistor based attenuator for $90 from a place called recycled sound sounds like a disaster.
#17
Pod hd 500 and decent headphones

Don't ditch the Mesa. Ever. Unless it's for a better Mesa
Last edited by Dunkelheit-164 at Apr 2, 2012,
#18
YOUR AMP CAN SWITCH DOWN TO 5 WATTS!

Just do that...although there won't be much of a difference in volume.
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#20
So has anyone tried a volume pedal in the serial effects loop?

F-it, I'm going to go try that w/my head. Back soon...
#21
Back.

The most I could get was a 10db volume drop when the MV was on min audible volume and through distortion channel 1 with channel gain and volume dimed (and in the red gain stage). So it was identical to running the FX loop all the way wet with nothing plugged in. To break it down:

- With effects loop bypassed, min volume on the 100w amp was 95db
- With the effects loop engaged and set to choke the whole signal going through the loop (with the volume pedal set to silent (and with it just unplugged) the min volume was 85db

The more I raised the master volume, the less the FX loop made a difference. At 100db bypassed, the loop brought it down to 95db. And at 101db the FX loop didn't even matter.

So:
-It's not really ever totally a serial loop, and/or
-There's a hella lotta bleed through, and/or
-The op amp between the effects loop and the power amp adds a lot of gain and/or volume

BTW, the tone sounded the same at all volumes.

That was with a Marshall JVM410h through a 1960a 4x12 cab. The FX loop might be entirely different on the Mesa and other amps, so YMMV.

For reference, 90% of the time I play through a VOX DA5 set on .5 watts (producing ~70 db)and that doesn't keep the family up at night.
Last edited by jetwash69 at Apr 2, 2012,
#22
Just get yourself another speaker cab. Something small that will work ok without being hammerred with a big signal, say a 1x12 greenback. Run the amp in 5W mode while plugged into it because they are only a 25W speaker. Plenty of clones out there that will do the job quite cheaply like WGS and Weber to name two.
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#23
Thanks everybody for the replies with different options.

price wise and everything im liking cathbard's idea the best as far as cost vs effectiveness goes.

when doing so, i need to match the ohms up to whats already being used? so get an 9 ohm 1x8 cab?
#24
Can't you switch it to whatever you need? And you will be looking for an 8 ohm speaker, you won't find a 9. Don't know why you'd want to go all the way down to an 8" speaker though. A 10 or a 12 will work just as well and sound better. You just need a lighter speaker, like a 25W'er, not a smaller speaker.
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#26
I always run in 5watt mode. The times I've needed more out of the amp I've been mic'd up so no real need to use 50watt mode. Tbh 5 watt mode is very loud in this amp. Keeps Up with many drummers and can easily fill a pub sized venue.

Oh and 9 ohm was a typo, I meant 8.

Ok, cool, so a lower wattage speaker. Obviously closed cab? 8 ohms, and a few pillows for good measure sounds like a cost effective setup.

Cheers for the tips and info. Much appreciated.