#1
I have been using a Marshall DSL15C for quite a while now but it is far too loud for my bedroom and it's limiting what I can do. On the 15W power mode, I might be able to get the volume on the drive channel to maybe 2 and a half, before I start to annoy my mum and dad.

My bedroom walls are very thin and for this reason I struggle to play my guitar without annoying people in the house. People downstairs can even hear my acoustic guitar when I have my door closed.

I would like to sell my DSL15C and get a new amplifier but I am unsure what my best options would be. I don't want a crappy amplifier but then again, I have never gotten the potential out of my Marshall as I cannot play it loud enough.

Any suggestions would be great on what amplifiers might be best for me. As it stands, I only play on the clean channel but I would like to be able to play along to tracks from, for example, Appetite For Destruction. I understand to get a sound like this I may need to drive an amp at a loud volume. If anybody has any suggestions as to how I can get a sound like this without causing an annoyance in my house, that would be great.

Cheers.
#2
Quote by Benn14
I have never gotten the potential out of my Marshall as I cannot play it loud enough. [...] I understand to get a sound like this I may need to drive an amp at a loud volume.

Not really.

The sound you're looking for comes from the preamp, and you can achieve that by turning the gain up.

There's this misconception according to which tube amps sound good only when they are set at a high volume, and this other according to which power amp distortion is something you absolutely need to sound good.

Let's get technical now:
most guitar amplifiers have basically two sections.
The preamplifier, which in your case uses 3 tubes to amplify your signal to a very low level from a damn low level, and the power amplifier which, with 3 tubes, gets your signal to an appreciable level.

Nowadays, most amps have a master volume, which is a piece of circuit that reduces the volume of your signal after the preamp, to put it simply.
If you set the gain higher, you start to get distortion by saturating part of the preamp.
Then with the master volume you get the volume low again.
If you don't use the master volume (you set it all the way up, so it acts like it's not there) you get power amp distortion before preamp's, which means that you are now saturating the power tubes.

To put it simply, if you set the master volume high enough you get power amp distortion.
If you set the gain high and the volume low you get preamp distortion.

Now, why do people think power amp distortion sound better?
Most of heard it "somewhere on the internet/from a friend, so it must be true".
Though some people actually prefer it, it's really a matter of taste.

And why do people think you need to play at high volume to get a better tone from a tube amp?
Again, internet/friends for the most part.
Thing is, most amps (not only guitar ones) sound better at higher volumes because of the speakers and not because of the amp - higher volume means more air moved, which means more bass usually.
Speakers tend to sound a too trebly at low volumes, and the human hear tends to percieve more treble than bass at low volumes.

Also, unless you get a way-less-than-1w amplifier, you will not be able to get power amp distortion at low volumes anyway.
Also, more tubes in the power stage means more gain, and more gain means more distortion.
Low wattage amps that I know of have no more than 1 tube in the output stage, which means that you can't get the distortion you want from there.
Boosting them could do, but the distortion resulting from a highly saturated power tube is a blocking distortion, which is usually regarded as ugly.

You could get an attenuator and put it between your amp and your cab, but that would require:
-An attenuator (0.k. that was easy)
-A cab
-An amp with a power stage powerful enough to produce the distortion you want

Not easy.

To sum up all of these stuff, you could probably get a new and smaller amp, but it will not solve your problem.
You even have a DSL15c for ****'s sake, you can get a tone at least similar to what you want from it.

P.s. I kinda find it funny how every thread turns into a "what you really need is a new amp" thread, and "I need a new amp" threads sometimes turn into something else :P
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#3
Spambot,

Thanks for taking the time to explain this to me.
I guess it's up to me to mess around with the volume and gain controls to find an acceptable tone at low volume. Hopefully you'll be saving me some money.

If anybody else has any input, it would be greatly appreciated.
#4
I know what you're talking about not getting full potential, and attenuators/vvr's will definately improve your tone.
I've recently built an attenuator, and haven't been playing without one since, but it's obviously lacks the overdriven speakers effect. Still, i would definately go that route.
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#5
Swap for Vox AC4? Do you play live, do you NEED 15w of power?

My Blackstar HT5 goes way too loud for home use at full whack
#6
I'd avoid an attenuator in this situation, they don't really do a great job of bringing things down to bedroom levels. IMO, the key is to find an amp that sounds good at low volumes. I wasn't a fan of the DSL15 I tried (especially the tones at lower volumes), so maybe you just don't like the amp.

Placing an OD in front of the amp has always helped me liven up low volume tones, that may be worth a try.
#7
Rock n roll is all about annoying your mum and dad, crank it up...
(otherwise what Spambot_2 said + can't you set the DSL 15 to 7.5W or something?)
Shut up and play your guitar!
#8
I bought a Blackstar HT5 thinking that 5W would be fine in a flat. Then I moved to a new flat above a couple with a tiny baby. Turns out 5 watts was way too loud for that! So I recently bought an HT1 for home practice and have been blown away by the sound that comes out of it. There's a lot of good technical information in this thread but maybe a tiny practice amp would be a solution or hey, you could plug some headphones in? It doesn't feel quite as cool when rocking out but a good set of cans would let you play to your hearts content without upsetting anyone.

#9
Quote by Spambot_2

(a) If you don't use the master volume (you set it all the way up, so it acts like it's not there) you get power amp distortion before preamp's, which means that you are now saturating the power tubes.

(b) Also, more tubes in the power stage means more gain, and more gain means more distortion.
Low wattage amps that I know of have no more than 1 tube in the output stage, which means that you can't get the distortion you want from there.

(c) You could get an attenuator and put it between your amp and your cab, but that would require:
-An attenuator (0.k. that was easy)
-A cab
-An amp with a power stage powerful ***ugh to produce the distortion you want


(a) not necessarily

(b) No, that's not how it works. More power tubes (of the same type) just mean more overall volume, everything else being equal. number of power tubes in the power amp doesn't affect the amount of power tube distortion available. you normally get modern levels of high gain distortion from the preamp.

(c) you don't need a separate cab if the combo has the speaker attached by a jack and jack socket, you could just put the attenuator between the amp part of the combo and its speaker in that case.

aside from that, I agree with the general gist of your post.
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Nov 20, 2013,
#10
I always found that boosting the signal with an OD pedal helped me enjoy my amps at much lower volumes than I'd like to play at.
#11
agreed.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#13
I run my attenuator in my effects loop and it works alright(6505+head going into a 2x12). Definitely helps for bedroom playing.
#14
Quote by Dave_Mc
(a) not necessarily

(b) No, that's not how it works. More power tubes (of the same type) just mean more overall volume, everything else being equal. number of power tubes in the power amp doesn't affect the amount of power tube distortion available. you normally get modern levels of high gain distortion from the preamp.

(c) you don't need a separate cab if the combo has the speaker attached by a jack and jack socket, you could just put the attenuator between the amp part of the combo and its speaker in that case.

aside from that, I agree with the general gist of your post.

+1
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#15
You're going about this all wrong, I feel. The purpose of an amp is the amplify a signal, whereas in your current situation an acoustic guitar is too loud already. You should give a POD HD500 some serious consideration, as you can get some serious tone at any volume from one of these. Plus you can run it through headphones and call it a day.

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#16
+1 to the HD500, though get the new HD500X as the DSP is doubled(I think).
#18
if there is 1 watt coming from your amp into a V30 at one meter away, you are around 100db theoretically. just simply stated. (if there is in error, please correct me) that could do hearing damage.

an attentuator wouldn't do you a ton. i have played with one that a friend has, but i haven't ever owned one. yes they bring poweramp distortion earlier, but likely thats not what you want. i used it most on my JTM45 i built. there isn't a master on it, gain increases with volume only. so you would want to suck some headroom off, but i think you want preamp gain. turn the pregain up and the post gain down (or gain or master) or something similar.

if you aren't in an are in which you have to play silently. i would get a POD HDX and use monitors/headphones.
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#19
yeah if even an acoustic guitar is too loud then some other way to solve this, like pod and headphones or something like that like Flux'D said, might be the best option.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?