#1
Hi guys I posted a thread about tube amps a while back and im back at it again this time with a different question. First, let me explain my problem. I recently learned that tube amps are really loud and mainly used for guys that gig. I was going to buy a peavy classic 30 based on YT reviews but after testing it in a store I realized it isn't for me, the amp is loud even at like volume on 3. My current set up is a MIM strat > Proco Rat 2 (Distortion) > Fender Champ 20. I'm really sick of the distortion tones this amp gives me after playing in a tube amp and actually hearing what my guitar sounds like distorted. I want to get a tube amp very badly because of this but I cant crank a peavy classic 30 in my house. I recently saw some low wattage tube amps like the Blackstar HT5R and was wondering if its good for bedroom levels. To put it in perspective, is it possible to get a low wattage tube amp that is as loud as my current amp but gives me good tone? From what I hear, tube amps only sound good played at higher volumes where they really begin to kick in. This makes me wonder if I'm wasting my time because I dont see myself gigging in the near future. Tbh, I really just want to be a pedalhead and experiment with many different pedals on these amps in my bedroom. Pedals are actually what attracted me to guitars in the first place and what you can do with them. This brings up another question, should the tone the tube amp I'm considering buying matter since I plan to run pedals through it? Idk if that makes sense but lets says for example I'm getting a Fender Blues Junior. From what I hear, Blues Juniors are good for clean tones. Does this mean a guy like me who wants a moderately heavy distorted tone, but also wants to be a pedalhead should't buy it because I wouldn't be able to get high gain distortion using pedals into the amp in the first place? Or does it not matter because my pedals would be doing the job of getting the distorted tone I want? Im sorry guys, I know the post is long im just really careful this time around when buying an amp, I'm just a noob after all. I just really want to know if in my predicament should I only be considering the volume of my tube amp (does it do bedroom levels) when buying. Thanks .
Last edited by LikeWater at Aug 8, 2015,
#2
What most people like about tube amps are the power tubes saturation.
That means, crank it up.

Even for bedroom level, my vox ac4tv at 4 watts is bloody loud.

Like you, I have to either use pedal distortion (ts808/ds-1/etc) on a clean channel or a modeling amp.

The difference is my tube amp has a built in attenuator, so I can go from 4 watts to 1 watts to 1/4 watts.

It's still plenty loud even at 1 watts, but tone is not as good anymore the lower wattage you go with the attenuator.

For real tube amps at bedroom levels, I think 1 watt is the sweet spot if you never intend to gig with that amp or plan to mic it up for gigging, which is fine.

I say to try to find a real tube amp head that is below 5 watts (preferably 1 watt) and try it out yourself first, or something with a built in attenuator.

Marshall used to make 1 watt tube amp heads but I think they failed pretty badly in the market because the asking price was nonsense for them. Consider other amps instead.
#3
Everything sounds better when turned up loud but cranking up the tube amp only matters if power amp distortion important. Thats classic rock stuff. Modern heavy music is all in the preamp distortion so higher the wattage the better because you need to keep the power amp clean. You usually get more thumping low end too with high wattage amps too compared to low wattage lunch box amps.

Only thing you really want in bedroom use is a global master volume (something like my Bugera 333 has) which you can turn way down, making adjusting the channel volumes much less sensitive job. Typically amps with single volume knob per channel the volume goes from whisper quiet to super loud with a slightest touch. This has nothing to do with wattage as some low watt amps also behave this way, they just use a volume pot with stupid fast ramp up curve. They can be used in bedroom but its hard to find a good sweet spot.


So it all depends on what you play. If you want authentic classic rock tone with distorting power amp you need a low watt tube amp and an attenuator. If you play Heavy Metal and so on stop staring at the wattage number as its meaningless. Just make sure you can control the volume without too much hassle.

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Last edited by MaaZeus at Aug 8, 2015,
#4
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#6
My rule of thumb is if you don't need power tube saturation, you don't have to crank the amp. Even then, you can get attenuators to drop the power between the power amp output and the speakers. And my opinion is, you probably don't need power tube saturation even if you think you do.

Look into some of the Jet City combos, they are a bit more versatile for the money.
#7
"Tube amps need to be cranked to sound good"

Why does this myth keep getting perpetuated?

I can run my 6505 (60 watts) on the lead channel with an insane amount of gain all the way down to barely audible levels. Still sounds far better than any distortion pedal/solid state distortion I've ever heard. Naturally though, I do like the sound better when it starts to move some air.

Most of these new lunchbox heads with the variable wattages are just using that myth to sell a gimmick. I say "most" because there are a few that are designed to get power tube saturation. In that case, it can be beneficial to lower the wattage because you can then hopefully get more power tube breakup at more ear-friendly volumes (still quite loud though -- power tube distortion simply doesn't happen at low volumes). But by and large, most of those lunchbox heads are designed to get their tone from preamp distortion, where higher wattage is actually a benefit.
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Last edited by KailM at Aug 8, 2015,
#8
Quote by KailM
"Tube amps need to be cranked to sound good"

Why does this myth keep getting perpetuated?

I can run my 6505 (60 watts) on the lead channel with an insane amount of gain all the way down to barely audible levels. Still sounds far better than any distortion pedal/solid state distortion I've ever heard. Naturally though, I do like the sound better when it starts to move some air.

Most of these new lunchbox heads with the variable wattages are just using that myth to sell a gimmick. I say "most" because there are a few that are designed to get power tube saturation. In that case, it can be beneficial to lower the wattage because you can then hopefully get more power tube breakup at more ear-friendly volumes (still quite loud though -- power tube distortion simply doesn't happen at low volumes). But by and large, most of those lunchbox heads are designed to get their tone from preamp distortion, where higher wattage is actually a benefit.



Vintage amp creamy tone.. sounds best when cranked. This is true for my ac4tv, which has no gain knob.. Yummy creamy cranked sound all the way up. It's eargasmic.
#9
Ok, if you like messing around with your sound, why not look at something like a Pod XT live or X3? You can run it into anything you like, a small powered computer speaker even. This would get you any sound you can dial in with the pod at any volume you like.
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#10
Quote by sfx
Vintage amp creamy tone.. sounds best when cranked. This is true for my ac4tv, which has no gain knob.. Yummy creamy cranked sound all the way up. It's eargasmic.

That probably has more to do with your amp's limitations (no gain knob) and the loud volume itself, and less to do with tubes. I wouldn't even know tube amps are too loud for apartments if it weren't for the internet. I never got the memo and used a tube amp anyways.
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#11
If it has a master volume, it's a non-issue
I use a 50W marshall clone as a bedroom amp, and it sounds great.
Does it sound as good as it does when I can open it up?
No.
Because the ears like things louder, and a louder amp is pushing more air out of the speaker.
Does it sound bad whisper quiet?
No.

And you always have the ability to turn it up should you find yourself in a band or open mic.
The myth that tube amps NEED to be cranked to sound good is just that.
A myth.
Modern music (even 80s metal) is all about the pre-amp gain, which is achieved regardless of volume by the amp's design.
You actually WANT a higher wattage amp so the poweramp doesn't distort and muddy things up.
You don't need to crank your amp unless you want poweramp distortion.
And even a 5W would be too loud for that.

Wattage does NOT go hand in hand with volume.
#12
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#13
I can run my RA100 at bedroom levels, even recording, and it sounds good.

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#14
Quote by sfx
What most people like about tube amps are the power tubes saturation.
That means, crank it up.

Even for bedroom level, my vox ac4tv at 4 watts is bloody loud.

Like you, I have to either use pedal distortion (ts808/ds-1/etc) on a clean channel or a modeling amp.

The difference is my tube amp has a built in attenuator, so I can go from 4 watts to 1 watts to 1/4 watts.

It's still plenty loud even at 1 watts, but tone is not as good anymore the lower wattage you go with the attenuator.

For real tube amps at bedroom levels, I think 1 watt is the sweet spot if you never intend to gig with that amp or plan to mic it up for gigging, which is fine.

I say to try to find a real tube amp head that is below 5 watts (preferably 1 watt) and try it out yourself first, or something with a built in attenuator.

Marshall used to make 1 watt tube amp heads but I think they failed pretty badly in the market because the asking price was nonsense for them. Consider other amps instead.


I'd take it as a personal favor if you would quit dispensing bullshit and pretending you know what's what.

Shall we now discuss the tube circuit in your Vox?
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#15
The Peavey Classic 30 isn't too loud for home use. Tube amps sound just fine at low volume. They do sound better when opened up - but that doesn't mean they sound bad if not cranked.

A big block chevy sounds pretty awesome at idle, sounds even more awesome wide open. That's the way it is with a tube amp. They sound fine at low volume, sound better opened up.

I will recommend an Egnater Tweaker 15 to you - heck even an Egnater Tweaker 40 would be great. Not because it is "low wattage so it must be quiet" or something like that. I recommend them because the volume knobs on the Tweaker amps are less sensitive when adjusting. They don't spike up in volume as quickly on the dial in my experience. They are a bit more controllable for quiet jamming.
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Last edited by ThunderPunk at Aug 8, 2015,
#16
If I could afford it, I would get one of the good lunchbox amps, like a Mesa Transatlantic.

I have a 12-dB L-pad attenuator in my Epi VJ, and it is a tone killer, so I wouldn't recommend that route. My choice has been clean plus a few carefully chosen pedals; the H&K is OK on the gain channel with the master volume turned down, but I really still prefer clean plus pedals on it. I'll note that the Epi VJ has two bright switches, and the H&K is also very bright - I would rather have the treble there in the amp chain and wind it off at need rather than not having enough in the first place.
#17
Quote by metalmingee


+1 to this, read it and re-word your opening post that wall of text is higher than the wall that protects the north
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#18
Quote by Arby911
I'd take it as a personal favor if you would quit dispensing bullshit and pretending you know what's what.

Shall we now discuss the tube circuit in your Vox?


+1

Sfx, I hope that nobody listens to you.
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#19
The amp itself isn’t such a big deal for low volumes as long as it’s a master volume amp. Small cabinets and the cheap 8" and 10" speakers they come with aren’t good at getting a nice tone at low volumes. An oversized cabinet with a good speaker is what will get you the best low-volume tones. Buy an oversized 1x12 and throw in a speaker that gets good reviews for low-end response at volumes. Then you can pair that with any master volume head for a nice bedroom tone and still open it up if you want to play with other musicians.
#21
Just buy yourself a used Classic 30.
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#22
Quote by darkwolf291
If it has a master volume, it's a non-issue
I use a 50W marshall clone as a bedroom amp, and it sounds great.
Does it sound as good as it does when I can open it up?
No.
Because the ears like things louder, and a louder amp is pushing more air out of the speaker.
Does it sound bad whisper quiet?
No.

And you always have the ability to turn it up should you find yourself in a band or open mic.
The myth that tube amps NEED to be cranked to sound good is just that.
A myth.
Modern music (even 80s metal) is all about the pre-amp gain, which is achieved regardless of volume by the amp's design.
You actually WANT a higher wattage amp so the poweramp doesn't distort and muddy things up.
You don't need to crank your amp unless you want poweramp distortion.
And even a 5W would be too loud for that.

Wattage does NOT go hand in hand with volume.


this is pretty much it. i use a 50 watter as a practice amp at home and it's fine. look, as has been mentioned the ear likes louder (to a certain point) and yes technically tube amps sound "better" louder. this in no way means you can't get a decent tone at lower volumes at all. it may not be the ultimate tone that is to die for but it will certainly be fine for practice. get yourself an overdrive and take some time to find the sweet spot when dialing in your amp at a volume that won't piss peope off. with many tube amps 3 is when you start getting to band practice volume
#23
I'm still not understanding the point of tube amps in bedrooms and apartment settings.

If you've already got one, fine. Keep it dialed down and, if it provides what you like to hear, use it. But I think there are better options for that situation.

One, buy a tube preamp. Mesa Triaxis, used Carvin Quad-X, Egnater M4, Randall something or other. You can listen through headphones, feed the output to powered nearfield recording monitors, or to any power amp plus speaker or powered speaker combination. The headphone option allows you to run things as loud as your ears can stand without disturbing anyone else. That's generally NOT an option with tube amps. Nearfield recording monitors are designed to have more highs and lows than most guitar amps, and will give you better sound than a barely-loaded 12" guitar speaker in a medium/small space. Powered speakers and power amps plus speakers are more or less equivalent to PA system sound. A tube preamp will give you most of the sound you would hear from a tube amp (cascading gain stages with real preamp tubes) except for power amp distortion.

Second option is to buy a solid state preamp (some MultiFX units such as Line 6 Pods, Digitech whosis, Axe-FX, Kemper, etc. are examples), which usually have far more sound options than tube preamps, are less delicate, lighter, etc. They're used in the same way that tube preamps are. Same speaker/headphone systems.
#24
Quote by dspellman
I'm still not understanding the point of tube amps in bedrooms and apartment settings.

If you've already got one, fine. Keep it dialed down and, if it provides what you like to hear, use it. But I think there are better options for that situation.

One, buy a tube preamp. Mesa Triaxis, used Carvin Quad-X, Egnater M4, Randall something or other. You can listen through headphones, feed the output to powered nearfield recording monitors, or to any power amp plus speaker or powered speaker combination. The headphone option allows you to run things as loud as your ears can stand without disturbing anyone else. That's generally NOT an option with tube amps. Nearfield recording monitors are designed to have more highs and lows than most guitar amps, and will give you better sound than a barely-loaded 12" guitar speaker in a medium/small space. Powered speakers and power amps plus speakers are more or less equivalent to PA system sound. A tube preamp will give you most of the sound you would hear from a tube amp (cascading gain stages with real preamp tubes) except for power amp distortion.

Second option is to buy a solid state preamp (some MultiFX units such as Line 6 Pods, Digitech whosis, Axe-FX, Kemper, etc. are examples), which usually have far more sound options than tube preamps, are less delicate, lighter, etc. They're used in the same way that tube preamps are. Same speaker/headphone systems.


Granted I don't use mine in my bedroom per se, but I don't have significant noise restriction and I just like 'em.

This isn't a needs based society, and I've no problem with good solid state gear, but tube amps have a special place in my heart.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#25
Quote by Arby911
Granted I don't use mine in my bedroom per se, but I don't have significant noise restriction and I just like 'em.

This isn't a needs based society, and I've no problem with good solid state gear, but tube amps have a special place in my heart.

+1. I have an mfx for headphones, a lil solid state amp, garageband app on my phone, even a lil Epi Valve Jr, but I still flick on my Randall regardless of time of day. It just sounds sweeter, that's it.
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#26
Quote by KailM
"Tube amps need to be cranked to sound good"

Why does this myth keep getting perpetuated?

I can run my 6505 (60 watts) on the lead channel with an insane amount of gain all the way down to barely audible levels. Still sounds far better than any distortion pedal/solid state distortion I've ever heard. Naturally though, I do like the sound better when it starts to move some air.

I'm with KailM. I still practice with my tube half stack (given my neighbors are freaking cool as $***) but I also have a solid state half stack that would work just as good. I prefer my tube, even if my master volume is on .75 . It still sounds killer at low volumes. Low volume and good tone is not out of reach.
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#27
Quote by Arby911
Granted I don't use mine in my bedroom per se, but I don't have significant noise restriction and I just like 'em.

This isn't a needs based society, and I've no problem with good solid state gear, but tube amps have a special place in my heart.


+1

Plus I can't stand headphones. I never liked them as I found them awkward and uncomfortable, but since my ears have been acting up they kind of hurt me now.

I admit I've never tried the high-end modellers like Axe-FX etc, but to steal a quote from (I think) cath- I'm not about to spend that kind of money to get something which maybe sounds as good as a tube amp, when I can get a tube amp which I know sounds as good as a tube amp (because it is one) for much less.
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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.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#28
Quote by Cathbard
Just buy yourself a used Classic 30.


I've spotted deals on ebay almost too hard to believe it almost makes me not trust it. I saw one posted for like $400 used but new the amp is like $700. Should I trust it? The guy has 100% positive reviews and all that but I don't want to buy my first tube amp and have it not function properly.
#29
They're a solid amp. I'd buy it. The most it might need is tubes, there's little else that fails on them.
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#30
I like classic 30's solid, reliable, and generally great tone.
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Quote by andersondb7
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#31
I'm still not understanding the point of tube amps in bedrooms and apartment settings.


People like what they like.

I practice more with my Korg Pandora and similar devices, but I still like firing up my Fender HRD, even though I'll probably never push the volume past 3-4.

And when I get an amp more suitable for heavier genres than the HRD handles, like a Orange, I'll probably go tube again.
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#32
Quote by dannyalcatraz
People like what they like.

I practice more with my Korg Pandora and similar devices, but I still like firing up my Fender HRD, even though I'll probably never push the volume past 3-4.

And when I get an amp more suitable for heavier genres than the HRD handles, like a Orange, I'll probably go tube again.


Danny, i have figured out what amps you need. Orange Rockerverb and a mesa mkv. Should nail it all.
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Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



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#33
Quote by trashedlostfdup
Danny, i have figured out what amps you need. Orange Rockerverb and a mesa mkv. Should nail it all.

You have no idea how close you are to looking over my shoulder.

I've been looking at Orange Rockerverbs & Thunderverbs, Mesa TransAtlantics & Royal Atlantics, Vox AC15 & AC30, the new Supros...


...plus boo-TEEK amps like Two Rock, /13, Dr. Z, Matchless, etc.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#34
I'm still not understanding the point of tube amps in bedrooms and apartment settings.


Also, some pedals really don't play well with SS amps,
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#35
Quote by dannyalcatraz
You have no idea how close you are to looking over my shoulder.

I've been looking at Orange Rockerverbs & Thunderverbs, Mesa TransAtlantics & Royal Atlantics, Vox AC15 & AC30, the new Supros...


...plus boo-TEEK amps like Two Rock, /13, Dr. Z, Matchless, etc.


My favorite orange is the mki 50 watt. Its 6V6 and is just stunning. I have tried it with the mkii 50 and 100, and the goid ild mki50 is the best. I don't have a ton of experience with the thunderverb, but when I was shopping around i preferred the Rockerverb for my uses. I say the Mesa Mark series is because it is pretty much opposite of the orange. Between those two amps, there isn't much you can't hit. That way you cover a lot of ground.
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Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



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#36
That kind of thinking is what got me looking at the Atlantics and some of those fancy-schmancy amps.

I like both the American Fender and British Vox sounds, so much so that it was nearly a literal coin flip for me when I bought the HRD.

And the Atlantics & the boutique amps I like most do a damn good job of approximating both those tones. Buy one to replace my HRD (and Vox lust) and add an Orange, and I will be in a good tonal space.


Of course, that still leaves the Supro temptation...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#37
Quote by LikeWater
I've spotted deals on ebay almost too hard to believe it almost makes me not trust it. I saw one posted for like $400 used but new the amp is like $700. Should I trust it? The guy has 100% positive reviews and all that but I don't want to buy my first tube amp and have it not function properly.


I like it, ive had no problems. And 400 may be a little too much, ive seen them go around me for 300-350
Peavey Classic 30
PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow
+some pedals