#1
I don't like loud - I play at about acoustic guitar volumes - and I've never been to a rock concert, but I like the tonal quality that you hear on some live performance vids. For example, is it possible to get Slash's LP/Marshall stack tone at man cave volumes, and how would you do it? - That thick creamy smooth tone, without the rattle that seems to be part of low-volume OD sounds. Mick Taylor sounded pretty much the same on live vids, and that is the application I'm thinking of - electric slide.

I think the guitars are OK, plenty of choice in P90s and humbuckers. The amps are both very bright, an H&K St Dual EL84 and a bright-modded epi VJ. What, if anything, could you do with tone settings and pedals? I've currently got reverb, delay and assorted OD, distortion and fuzz.


Thanks.
#3
Crank the amp and use a boost/OD pedal to bring the volume down. The EHX Soul Food works great for this but pretty much any boost/OD will do the trick. The result is much more response from the amp, it has more flavor than if you were to run your guitar straight into the amp at very low volume. This works very well for me.
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#4
I use a multi-effects pedal (along with other effects) to get a solid, workable tone. For low-volume practicing and stage volumes, I run that through a small modelling amp, the Roland 20X Cube to be specific. Using higher-wattage tube amps (and even lower wattages) without being above a certain volume floor leads to some craggy, not-so-good tones. Using a smaller solid state amp allows you to be quiet but have the fullest tone possible at the quiet tone. Cranking the mids/bass up a bit helps too.

And as the Blues Kazooist above me has said, using an pedal as an attenuator works well too. c:
#6
Use a variac

If you have a tube amp you have to turn it up to get the sound you hear from recordings. It is because the volume pushes the amp, which changes the sound. If you have solid state, then it doesn't matter, turn it down as low as you want.
#7
there is no perfect solution, but since i have moved into an apartment i have been forced to work at lower volumes.

i use two main techniques when i have to be quiet:

1) amp sims. i have a fairly nice setup at home, i run my guitar into a channel strip and run it into a computer interface and i use amp simulation software through my PA. does a pretty damn good job.

2) load box/speaker simulator. i use a Two Notes Torpedo, which let's me plug one of my tube amps into it, then it allows me to choose a speaker cabinet simulation. i have been pretty happy with the results

i do have this old, very inefficient supro at my apartment too. i'll plug this in every once in a while, but it is a louder option than the two mentioned above. i also will mic a guitar (acoustic or an amp) or use an amp sim and then use a mic to sing into and i'll monitor with headphones when i really want to keep quiet.
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#8
There have been some solid and viable solutions mentioned so far but I'd add the suggestion of getting a small tube amp (say 5-10w) that would still be relatively quiet when cranked but give you that unique cranked tube sound. It's well known that Jimmy Page used this approach on the early Zeppelin albums and the proof is in the pudding there as far as the sound is concerned.
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#9
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#10
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There have been some solid and viable solutions mentioned so far but I'd add the suggestion of getting a small tube amp (say 5-10w) that would still be relatively quiet when cranked but give you that unique cranked tube sound. It's well known that Jimmy Page used this approach on the early Zeppelin albums and the proof is in the pudding there as far as the sound is concerned.



A 5-10 watt valve amp is not a quiet beast when cranked
#11
^^^ The Op has a Epi valve Jr. So 5 watts is to much. Maybe find a 1 watt tube amp and not a damn Blackstar.
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#12
Quote by RJH11
^^^ The Op has a Epi valve Jr. So 5 watts is to much. Maybe find a 1 watt tube amp and not a damn Blackstar.


Most guitar speakers are efficiency rated at 1W/1m, and many are still 98db+, which is pretty damn loud!

"Find a smaller wattage amp" is pretty much always the wrong answer to this question.
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Last edited by Arby911 at Jan 12, 2015,
#13
^ Good to know learn new things everyday its why I like this place.
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#14
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#15
I don't get the whole "tube amps are too loud for an apartment " talk. I have guitar rig/garageband, solid state amps and tube amps, and live in an urban duplex. Even late at night, at low volume, I very much prefer the sound of a tube amp. I'm not saying that its the best option for everyone, but it is for some of us, its not an impossible practice. Get the amp off the floor and throw an od pedal in front, you're set. Of course it sounds better louder, that doesn't mean it sounds bad at low volume. There's still a significant difference in tone quality and responsiveness. As long as you're not sporting a 4x12, I don't understand what the problem is.

Besides neighbors that go out of there way to be assholes because they hear the faintest sound.
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Last edited by lucky1978 at Jan 12, 2015,
#16
The best solution (if not the cheapest) is a re-amp rig. As gumbilicious mentioned, you'd need a load box/attenuator with a line-out feature (THD Hot Plates work great for this) & a small power amp (right now I use a $99 Crate Power Block while saving for a killer power amp). I crank my 50W Mojave Scorpion into the load box, & it has remarkable old Van Halen sound at whisper volumes, with all the punch & dynamics you'd feel if it was cranked.
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Last edited by riffhog at Jan 12, 2015,
#17
Your best solution here is probably an amp sim on the computer. I use Peavey Revalver and it is great.

You can also get something like a Line 6 POD HD500X and some 6-8" monitor speakers.
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#18
Ok, thanks for all the replies.

In reply:

The Epi VJ is waaaaaaay too loud to use at OD levels. It has a 12dB L-pad attenuator built in as part of the mods, which brings it down to less than 0.5w output. Unfortunately those things are tone killers, and I have been wondering about spending some serious $ on something a bit more sophisticated like a TDH. However, I will give the L-pad another go and try fiddling with the input tone controls.

I tried cranking the amps, but they get noisy in my man cave, so any solution that involves that option isn't going to work very well. This problem has cropped up in other contexts, it is partly the MV lamps, but there also seems something odd about the power supply or earthing. It should be OK, it was only done about 10 years ago. I might address that in another thread.

From what you have suggested, I think my best option is going to be clean plus pedals or amp sim. I've tried a couple of digital multiFX/amp sims in the past, and wasn't wild about them, but I have a Sansamp Character British that should do the job if I spend some time with it. (Is Joyo making copies of these?) I have also been wondering about those little stomp box amps, especially the Ethos, but it is the same price range as a tiny little tube set up.

Another aspect of this is that the recordings of sounds I like have been smoothed out by the recording process, and the same thing might happen when you listen at rock concert volumes. Dunno, but the thought has occurred to me.

Anyway, you've given me some things to think about.
#19
You need a master volume amp. I set the master volume high and the channel volume low to get huge full bodied sounds from the amp at low volume levels.
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#20
if thats what you really want, im thinking digital is the only way to give you earth shattering type tone at acoustic, sing along campfire volumes. line 6 amplifi, pod HD, those type of things. i mean axeFX and kemper but those are pro level, 3-5K setups minimum. a good amplifi or pod will be 400-500 and give you total flexibility.

now, you can go tube like a vox lil night train 2 watt. even at 2 watts, that thing will get teh cops called on you depending on the cabinet. 2 watts can still be really loud. but, point is, you can get that ACDC, cranked realy tube tone at a resonable volume, and have ultimate touch sensitivty to your pick attack and volume knob. 2 watter are incredible in the house.

but a vox lil night train like that is a 1 trick pony. it may take pedals well, but you gotta pay for good pedals. the pod or amplifi with do modelling from fender cleans to deizel hardcore dropped tuned metal. it may not sound as live and good as the real amp....but we talking 400-500 bucks here, not multiple thousands.
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Last edited by ikey_ at Jan 17, 2015,
#21
i don't see an issue. while my parents are in apartments, and can plah loud. and i can get a nice sound from my recl MKIV, Fryette Sig:X, and the all do well all through the night.
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#23
play with the EQ and of course get a good overdrive. I live in an apt (after being at a farm where I could crank it). you'll never get that concert feel at low volumes but you can get a decent sound at low levels. I use a 50 watt tube amp (or even at times my 60 watt 2x12) and can get a decent sound. eqing is critical to getting a good tone at low volumes. remember that those settings are usually different than they would be at band volumes. ease up on the distortion you need less than you think. feedback tricks and the like just don't really work at low volumes so forget about those.
#24
Your best bet is probably a good overdrive pedal. Then tweak the EQ to get a good fat sound.

I play a 6 watt Fender Champ at home all the time, it sounds great dimed but most of the time I want it a bit lower, in the range of 5 or 6 on the volume knob, so I just plug into my Marshall Bluesbreaker overdrive and it does pretty well. Still not the sound I get form the same pedal into the Super Reverb onstage, which is killer, but the little 8 inch speaker is just not going to get me that "wall of sound" feel like the 4x10 Super Reverb at loud onstage volume levels. I've had that thing dimed onstage more times than I care to try and count...Can't get that at home, I've tried. Close as I can get is either the Champ dimed or at a saner volume level with an overdrive pedal. No solid state amp I've ever played would duplicate it, no pedal either. Tube amp and overdrive pedal is as close as I've ever found...My Peavey MX amp and Kustom 2x12 cab will get pretty close too if I play through the gain channel, but still not the same.

Probably 90% of the time I don't even bother with the pedal, the Champ sounds good enough clean I just grab a guitar and play. Ditto for the Super Reverb, I've played it at bedroom volume for 15 years, and it's the same. If I want a little dirtier sound I grab the overdrive pedal. That doesn't often happen with the Super Reverb though, it just sounds so good clean it's hard not to like it...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...