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#1
Hello guys

I came to the conclusion that 100W amps and even 50W amps are WAY too loud. What's the sense of setting your volume level so high to get great tone, whilst getting deaf?

Most amp companies build 100w amps (traditionally), but that is much too loud. Problem is: there's no great amps on low wattage if you want to play thrash metal, black metal and heavy metal.

Blackstar has a 5W ht metal stack. Isn't that just too little wattage then?

I don't know anymore.
#4
Metal amps are built with high wattage so they retain a large amount of headroom and the bass stays tight when turned up loud. These amps aren't really made to achieve lots of power tube saturation, as they'd become muddy and loose. You don't need to turn them up super loud because the tone shaping comes from the preamp.
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#5
You don't really need any more wattage than what you need to mic your amp at a good tone. 5 watts could work, yes but you might start to sap on strength if you need to crank and mic the amp. I have a 20 watt that sounds good.
#6
**** the watts. Ignore it. Focus on the perfect amp for the sound you wish to achieve and use the damn volume knob.
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#8
Quote by aduyvejo


Most amp companies build 100w amps (traditionally), but that is much too loud. Problem is: there's no great amps on low wattage if you want to play thrash metal, black metal and heavy metal.



There are no amps? Mesa has the mini rectifier, Orange Dark Terror, Carvin V3 mini, H&K has some too, etc...

Marshall 50 watters usually have 1/2 power mode or you can take power tubes off to achieve lower wattage. Honestly, I think the reason why metal amps are so loud is because of metal drummers that pound the skins like maniacs. I was barely cutting above my drummer with 50 watt Marshall, but it operated in its sweet spot so no foul there...
Last edited by diabolical at Feb 2, 2015,
#9
Quote by aduyvejo


Most amp companies build 100w amps (traditionally), but that is much too loud. Problem is: there's no great amps on low wattage if you want to play thrash metal, black metal and heavy metal.


The Orange Dark Terror is 15w (and can be run at 7w), and it's one of the best sounding heavy metal amps I've ever played.

Higher wattage amps have their purpose, but they are absolutely NOT necessary. If you can't find a low wattage amp that gets a great metal tone without blowing your eardrums, you haven't searched nearly hard enough. The Dark Terror is just one example, from one brand. There are plenty others.
#10
Quote by lemurflames
**** the watts. Ignore it. Focus on the perfect amp for the sound you wish to achieve and use the damn volume knob.


Also, seriously, this. Just about any decent amp is going to have a "master" volume knob, which controls volume without changing gain. With that, if it sounds good at concert volume, it can sound good at bedroom volume, too.
#11
Power is related to the max volume you can get to without distorting your signal.

Amps have volume controls, and you can turn down the volume on a 100w amp to make it lower than on a 5w amp.

Small amps don't sound better than big ones at low volumes just 'cause they're small.
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#12
The secret art of volume knob. Master it and you will be unstoppable.

No, seriously. Many of us have or had big halfstacks in our bedrooms and they work in low volumes just as fine as small lunchbox heads do. The feature you want to look at is having a separate global master volume that controls all channels. Amps with only single volume knob per channel tend to skyrocket the volume when you even barely touch it, and this is the case even with low wattage amps! However with a separate master volume you can get more room for fine tuning your volume by turning the master down.

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#13
So you guys basically think that wattage is no problem? Are you SURE it is not too loud?
#14
It can be true that there's master volume, but i still think that if you don't turn up your channel volume, the tubes don't perform too well.
#15
I'm thinking of buying or a Blackstar HT metal 100 or an Egnater Vengeance 120W switchable to 60W.
#16
You need to try the amp at bedroom volumes to know if it sounds good. Wattage doesn't really tell anything about that. Even 5 watts is going to be loud for bedroom use (if cranked). But that's what volume knobs are for - to control your volume.

There are amps that sound good at bedroom levels and there are amps that sound like crap at bedroom levels. You need to try the amp to know.

As I said, 5 watts is loud. It may not work for a band but if you crank it in your bedroom, it is loud and will piss your neighbors off. 5 watts doesn't mean good bedroom tones. 5 watts means less headroom - you will not have clean tones at higher volumes. That's why many metal amps are so powerful. They have enough clean headroom to stay clean even at really high volumes.

Don't look at the wattage. Just listen to the sound. If it sounds good, it is good.

Also, the difference between 60 watts and 120 watts isn't that big. In bedroom use you won't even notice any difference between them. You will only notice it at higher volumes. The 60 watt amp's power section will distort earlier than the 120 watt amp's power section.

I tried a 50 watt Marshall Vintage Modern head which sounded like crap at bedroom volumes. But a 50 watt Engl Screamer head sounded just fine at low volumes. Same with a 100 watt JCM2000 head. It has nothing to do with the wattage, it's about the amp design. Some amps just sound better at low volumes. Also, I would guess no tube amp sounds good at extremely low volumes. You need to turn it up a bit. I would say my amp starts sounding good at loud speaking volumes. So you won't be able to practice late at night. If that's what you are after, get a multi FX pedal and use it with headphones.

As MaaZeus said, having separate channel and global master volume controls helps controlling your volume. That way the volume doesn't jump so easily. But bedroom tones are doable on amps that don't have separate channel and global master volumes. You just need to be more careful with the master volume.


BTW, do you play in a band or are you a bedroom shredder? If you only play in your bedroom, I think getting a good multi FX unit would be a better idea than a tube halfstack.
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#17
Maggara Marine

I would use the amp to record in my studio and play it live but rather small gigs. Isn't it better to purchase a 60W combo of blackstar instead of a 100W head? Perhaps the volume level will be lower and it will be more nice to work with. I can later on connect the combo to a 4x12 cab. Will this be the same as the 100w sound?

Big difference: the 100W has 7 tubes, whereas the 60W has only 4! Does this change anything to the sound?
#18
Quote by aduyvejo
It can be true that there's master volume, but i still think that if you don't turn up your channel volume, the tubes don't perform too well.



It depends on amp. Tube amps do sound better when turned up but not all HAVE to be turned up. Marshall JCM800, which is the classic rock and metal amp, is a good example of an amp that needs to be turned up because the tone comes from both cranked preamp and power amp.

Most today high gain metal amps like Peavey 6505 and Engls get most of their tone from the preamp section. Turning it up and getting some power running through power tubes is extra.

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#19
Quote by aduyvejo
Maggara Marine

I would use the amp to record in my studio and play it live but rather small gigs. Isn't it better to purchase a 60W combo of blackstar instead of a 100W head? Perhaps the volume level will be lower and it will be more nice to work with. I can later on connect the combo to a 4x12 cab. Will this be the same as the 100w sound?

Big difference: the 100W has 7 tubes, whereas the 60W has only 4! Does this change anything to the sound?


The max volume difference betweem 50/60W amp and 100/120W amp is about 3db or such. Double the wattage is not double the volume. However the 100W does stay cleaner and bass keeps its power for higher volumes before power amp starts to saturate compared to 50W.

On the plus side 50 or 60W has only two power tubes which is always money saved when you replace them. And it is easily loud enough to keep up with a drummer and gig with one.

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Last edited by MaaZeus at Feb 2, 2015,
#20
Quote by MaaZeus
It depends on amp. Tube amps do sound better when turned up but not all HAVE to be turned up.
Everything sounds better when turned up.

This though doesn't have anything to do with power, and if you're thinking about power tube distortion then also 5w will be plenty loud.
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Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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#21
Quote by aduyvejo
Hello guys

I came to the conclusion that 100W amps and even 50W amps are WAY too loud. What's the sense of setting your volume level so high to get great tone, whilst getting deaf?

Most amp companies build 100w amps (traditionally), but that is much too loud. Problem is: there's no great amps on low wattage if you want to play thrash metal, black metal and heavy metal.

Blackstar has a 5W ht metal stack. Isn't that just too little wattage then?

I don't know anymore.


this whole thing assumes you can't get great tone at less than ear killing volumes. that would be wrong. now i'm sure that most would agree that there is a special something when playing at high volumes (besides it being fun) but to say you can't get a great tone would be just wrong.

there is an art to playing at lower volumes and much of it has to do with EQing properly. the same settings you use at say Band volumes often doesn't work at bedroon volume and vise versa. this is often where the confusion sets it. guys leave every thing the same and change the volume and say "well it sucks now". sure getting as full of a bass sound at lower volumes is tough and the tone might suffer a little bit but usually not enough to make practicing a beat deal. i manage to play throug both of my amps at home (50 and 60 watts) and get a decent tone.

personally i wouldn't want to gig with a 5 watt amp miced or not it just doesn't leave you much room to work with. on the other hand for recording they can be awesome. but that's just me.
#22
20 watts is too loud if you're turning it all the way up in your apartment buidling.

100 watts is just right if you're playing in a dive bar with no PA and a drummer with no selfcontrol.
#23
My half stack sucks at bedroom volume... Just go out and try a bunch of amps or get a kempler (sp)
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#24
Quote by aduyvejo
It can be true that there's master volume, but i still think that if you don't turn up your channel volume, the tubes don't perform too well.


That is exactly the point of a MASTER volume. You turn your channel volume up as much as you need to get the tubes warm and sounding good, then use the MASTER to actually control how much sheer noise is coming out.
#26
Quote by the_bi99man
That is exactly the point of a MASTER volume. You turn your channel volume up as much as you need to get the tubes warm and sounding good, then use the MASTER to actually control how much sheer noise is coming out.



Yep. Got a 120 watt tube amp right next to me. Preamp volumes are at 5-6 and master volume is around 1 for the basement. Sounds great. You can also go the other way with some amps if you are looking for power tube distortion and run the preamp at 1 and the master at 8 or so. It gives a bit different sound but just as nice.
#27
You can use any amp anywhere if you know what you're doing. Look at my sig. I have everything from 5W to a couple of 100W'ers. I sometimes gig with 20W, sometimes with 100W, I used to use 60W. The 20W only just pulls of the job but it does do it. At home I use whatever is closest and easiest.
What is all this bullshit? If you're playing metal you need headroom in the power amp - that's why they're big. It isn't rocket science, man. And not everybody gives a shit about their tone at home. So it doesn't sound as good as it does cranked at a gig - wtf do you expect? Of course it doesn't. Who cares?
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#28
Quote by Cathbard
You can use any amp anywhere if you know what you're doing. Look at my sig. I have everything from 5W to a couple of 100W'ers. I sometimes gig with 20W, sometimes with 100W, I used to use 60W. The 20W only just pulls of the job but it does do it. At home I use whatever is closest and easiest.
What is all this bullshit? If you're playing metal you need headroom in the power amp - that's why they're big. It isn't rocket science, man. And not everybody gives a shit about their tone at home. So it doesn't sound as good as it does cranked at a gig - wtf do you expect? Of course it doesn't. Who cares?


kinda what i was getting at but more eloquently stated. you're right you can't expect the exact same tone at bedroom volumes that you get at gig volumes. you can make a few minor compromises and easily live with it.
#29
I have a 6505+ 120 watt half stack, I'm thinking about getting a THD hotplate to get better sound at bedroom volume, but it don't sound bad at low volume if you can get it to a low volume but the post gain is touchy and from 1, 1 1/2 to 2 it jumps considerably, I have no problems getting killer tones at bedroom volume form my MESA DUAL REC Roadster 2X12 combo, @ the 100W or 50W setting even when it's hooked up to my 4X12.
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#30
Don't waste your money on an attenuator. The 5150/6505 series won't benefit. It might actually make it sound worse.
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#31
ALL amps are loud. i have played that game for years. it gets you nowhere. design is everything.

the only time low wattage begins to cut volume is 1 watt or less. half watt. 1/4 watt. at 2+ watts and a good cab you can still be REALLY loud. most amps over 10 watts can still be too loud.

there are a few factors here - headroom and response are KEY. if you want a lot of headroom, you need at least 30 watts. high wattage, higher headroom amps respond different than the oppose as well.

the class of amp - Class A amps, by design, are not as efficient, so a Class A amp may only output 20-30 watts whereas a very similar format with Class A/B will do 50ish easy. so, a beast of an amp like a vox ac30, is only 30 watts. most amps with 4 output tubes are going to be 50+ watts. for example, my carvin v3m has 4x el84s just like a voc ac30, but it does 50 watts, not 30.

translate into metal amps:

generally, "metal" focused amps are not class A. suppose the tone just works out that way. im not a scientist, but pretty sure a majority of the brutal amps out there are class A/B.

most "metal" amps, like high headroom. this is because "metal" tone is not power tube saturation like angus young, but preamp, REALLY SATURATED gain. that means HIGH HEADROOM. lots of watts. keep that power section clean. for that reason, most really high gain amps will be 50+ watts. some venture down into the 30ish watt area. some less than that way be "practice" style amps. really, in my optinion, for the average use case, 20-30 watts can do about anything. even un-miced. if you play live, less than about 30 watts un-miced, loud, yeah, you may get some power tube breakup.

response and power - BASS. you just dont get that oooomppphhh with low wattage. it kinda sounds "musssshyy". high wattage stays clear, powerful, tight, and BIG. you can push a lot of air, and push a huge low end bass response. there is a tone you get from a diezel herbert or an urberchall you just cant get from a 20 watt amp. thats just how it is. maybe close, but no cigar. perhaps at that stage just get a kemper or axeFX.

perhaps another weird factor - 6l6 tubes. they output about 25 watts each in a class a/b configuration. most tube amps cant just have 1 power tube. so 2x 25 means that 6L6 tube amps are generally at least 50 watts for 2, 100 for 4. my tweaker 40 was 40 with 2. 6L6 tubes are commonly used for being really clean, really big, huge bass, and a modern US type tone. even then, EL34s are about the same. 20-25 watts per tube. so same thing applies.

generally to get below 50 watts, you need to go to 6v6, el84s, etc. these tubes are known breaking up easier, and dont have the same EQ charateristics as their bigger brothers. you may hear some high gain players say they never liked an el-84 based amp. could be superstition, but i know this - ive never seen bogner make an uberschall with el84s.....


on to volume -

my amp goes to 7 , 22 and 50 watts. it literally makes no difference. ive played most power scaling amps on teh market. no difference. engater rebel that goes down to 1 watt. nothing.

i bought a DV Mark amp that goes down to 1/4 watt. still nothing. know what it did? it means that instead of making my ears bleed and it be clean, it made my ears bleed but i sounded like angus young. i sounded F-ing AWESOME. but the neighbors were still calling the cops.

why? science. you got this big a** el34 tube, and no matter what a marketing paper says, overdriving that mother is going to be loud. thats my conclusion.

i learned most power scaling amps are snake oil - and that it affects headroom but not volume.

i have learned amps DESIGNED to be low wattage, like a vox lil night train or a vox AC4 can actually be lower volume. i think its because its REAL, and not a high wattage amp just faking it via some fancy electronics.

i think speaker setups matter a lot. a speaker with 103 SPL is WAY WAY louder than a speaker at 95 SPL. speakers like eminence FDM speakers play a key role.

attentuators play a key role.

3rd revelation -

NOT ALL KNOBS ARE CREATED EQUAL - some amps, go from 0.5 to 10 real quick. some have a smooth transition and you can play at 3-4 in your house easy. all wattages. this is KEY. i wanted a power scaling amp and went from a DV Mark going from 1/4 watt or so to 40 watts, to just a engater tweaker at 40 watts only just because i felt the knob worked better. i personally, just could use the controls better.

find an amp that works for you. you will feel it, and be able to set it easier. if you cant, it may not be the amp for you.

____

to end this rant - yes. you will find a majority if high gain amp are higher wattage. all? no.

check the Baron Snott Watt

but get teh amp that sounds good, offeres the features you want, and if possible, test it, and see if you can get what you want out if it. play with the knobs and see if you can get a low wattage good tone out of it.

many people get a better low gain tone out of higher wattage amps than lower wattage amps. sometimes not. its all about the design and use case.
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#32
Quote by Cathbard
And not everybody gives a shit about their tone at home. So it doesn't sound as good as it does cranked at a gig - wtf do you expect? Of course it doesn't. Who cares?


Even that (IMO) is giving more respect to the "tube amps need to be loud to sound good" argument than it deserves- just because it doesn't sound as good as it does cranked doesn't necessarily mean it sounds bad, or that it doesn't sound better than something else run to its full potential (if that's even possible at really low volumes, even with ss amps), if that other amp doesn't sound as good at its full potential.

As I always say, maybe a tube amp only sounds 50% as good turned down as it does cranked. Fair enough. But 50% of "awesome" is still "pretty good".

Compare that to something mediocre (or worse) but which you can run to its full potential. 100% of mediocre is still mediocre.

Long story short, a tube amp turned down may well sound better than something else you can turn up. Not necessarily, of course, a lot of this is personal preference, but it's possible.
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#33
I'm right there with Dave, I'd rather take any of my tube amps turned down than anything ss turned up.
Only good ss I've heard that could beat my tube sound was Gallien Kruger that sold for $800 new for 1x12 combo, still louder didn't sound as good.
#34
Quote by Dave_Mc
Even that (IMO) is giving more respect to the "tube amps need to be loud to sound good" argument than it deserves- just because it doesn't sound as good as it does cranked doesn't necessarily mean it sounds bad, or that it doesn't sound better than something else run to its full potential (if that's even possible at really low volumes, even with ss amps), if that other amp doesn't sound as good at its full potential.

As I always say, maybe a tube amp only sounds 50% as good turned down as it does cranked. Fair enough. But 50% of "awesome" is still "pretty good".

Compare that to something mediocre (or worse) but which you can run to its full potential. 100% of mediocre is still mediocre.

Long story short, a tube amp turned down may well sound better than something else you can turn up. Not necessarily, of course, a lot of this is personal preference, but it's possible.


but dude 50% of teh br00talz is just hard rock and that isn't metal
#35
^ noooooooooooooooooooooooo

Seriously, though, to be fair, it does depend on exactly what you mean by "turn down", because everyone's idea of bedroom volume is different. If you have to play at genuine whisper volume, then maybe tube isn't the way to go. But in that case, maybe any amp isn't the way to go, you'd want headphone/computer-based kit in that case.

^^
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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
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Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#37
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ noooooooooooooooooooooooo

Seriously, though, to be fair, it does depend on exactly what you mean by "turn down", because everyone's idea of bedroom volume is different. If you have to play at genuine whisper volume, then maybe tube isn't the way to go. But in that case, maybe any amp isn't the way to go, you'd want headphone/computer-based kit in that case.

^^


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
at work and trying to keep myself entertained

if you have to play at super low volume then you aren't going to get awesome tone but since no one will hear it it don't matter. i play quiet all the time and it's fine for practice. you don't need ear shattering volume super br00tz at 2 am sitting in your bedroom sorry.
#38
You do need brootz at 2am, that brings me back to the wonders of bachelorhood, 2am songwriting session at full blast through half stack, 3 mic configuration into the board while monitoring in another room, just cause I could do it...good times!

But quiet tube practices do exist, especially on master volume amps.
#39
Quote by diabolical
You do need brootz at 2am, that brings me back to the wonders of bachelorhood, 2am songwriting session at full blast through half stack, 3 mic configuration into the board while monitoring in another room, just cause I could do it...good times!

But quiet tube practices do exist, especially on master volume amps.


i meant sitting at home and not having a dedicated space that is soundproof. for the record i miss those days as well. now the only br00tz i deal with is my wife when she's pissed off (but very rarely at 2 am)
#40
Quote by diabolical

But quiet tube practices do exist, especially on master volume amps.



I'll never understand why amps with more than one channel don't all have master volumes. I mean, this whole tube amp thing isn't exactly cutting edge technology making it difficult to put a 1960s era potentiometer in there to control the volume.....
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