#1
Hi guys

Maybe most of you see this post naïve... but I have been trying to find an answer to this on youtube with no success.

I see many posts describing how beautiful the tube amp sound when it is cranked.. some others call it the amp sweet spot (unless sweet spot is something else)... As far as I got, cranking the tube amp (or sweet spot) is increasing the volume till the clean channel starts to sound some gain or distortion... I am not sure whether it is all about that or not... However, I have few inquiries about that

1- For me, having gain sound over clean channel is something bad not good. Why is it considered "the beauty" of tube amp ??
2- How can I know that I reached the sweet spot or amp cranking ??
3- Is it just about volume ? In other words, can I get the sweet spot at low volumes ??

I got my first tube amp, Laney IRT Studio, few weeks ago so I am not experienced with them yet !

Cheers
'12 Gibson '58 Re-issue
'14 Fender American Special Stratocaster
'14 Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster
'05 Ibanez RG320FM (With Upgrades)
Laney IRT Studio (IRT112 Cab)
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
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#2
The sweet spot is just the volume at which your amp sounds best. At high volumes your tubes get hotter. There's a moment where your tubes and speakers really start giving and you feel the amp is brought to life more than usual. The sound of your amp also drasticly changes when you adapt the volume and you'll find that playing at low volume or high volume requires different EQ settings.
This depends from amp to amp though, some sound bad at low volumes, some sound really good etc....

But thing is, don't worry about this, just set it like YOU think it sounds best.

What always is a good idea though, is letting your amp warm up on standby a few minutes before you play. It will sound better thanb when you directly pump your cold tubes full of power.
Last edited by AEnesidem at Oct 25, 2015,
#3
When we're talking about amps in general I personally think it's when the speakers move some air the best-not to sound like shreeky shit and not sound to thin at the same time.

In valve amps it's when the valves add their own flavours to the sound.
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#4


Just my perceptions:

1. Light break-up on a clean amp setting can be very expressive. It also generally helps drive pedals to sound better when they are "boosting" the amp. Some people want crystal-clear cleans, and that's fine too.

2. When it sounds best. Generally you want it to be the most expressive point for you, and enough air moved for a mic (if you are mic'd) to pick up the amp's real sound, bass and all. The frequencies are there at low volumes but harder to ear by the human ear.

3. Yes although again our ears hear the intricacies and lower frequencies at louder volumes. If your sweet spot is power tube distortion you have to crank the amp/use an attenuator.
Last edited by Will Lane at Oct 26, 2015,
#5
It's the volume point at which the Fletcher-Munson curves kick in and make it sound "better".

All the above nonsense about the technical details of tubes, speakers and etc. is when the Dunning-Kruger effect kicks in.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#7
The sweet spot is when the power amp is distorting and then you kick in a muff and a fuzz, creating a wall of dank dark noise. The sonic equivalent of a dying wino shitting his guts out on a park bench.
#8
Thanx all

So it is all about volume... Can I get this sweet spot at low volume?
'12 Gibson '58 Re-issue
'14 Fender American Special Stratocaster
'14 Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster
'05 Ibanez RG320FM (With Upgrades)
Laney IRT Studio (IRT112 Cab)
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
BOSS GT-8
#10
Another question.. is the sweet spot just a starting point for the amp or it is a specific point? In other words, increasing the volume more after reaching the sweet spot will lead to worse sound or starting from sweet spot, all more volume is "sweet"?
'12 Gibson '58 Re-issue
'14 Fender American Special Stratocaster
'14 Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster
'05 Ibanez RG320FM (With Upgrades)
Laney IRT Studio (IRT112 Cab)
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
BOSS GT-8
#11
Quote by Arby911
It's the volume point at which the Fletcher-Munson curves kick in and make it sound "better".

All the above nonsense about the technical details of tubes, speakers and etc. is when the Dunning-Kruger effect kicks in.


+1
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#12
Quote by Arby911
It's the volume point at which the Fletcher-Munson curves kick in and make it sound "better".

All the above nonsense about the technical details of tubes, speakers and etc. is when the Dunning-Kruger effect kicks in.
Was that directed at me? The stuff I posted was information I learned from being corrected by you and others... Or at least so I thought. I see what you meant from the first two posts.

Not trying to argue here, just not sure.
Last edited by Will Lane at Oct 26, 2015,
#13
Quote by mockbel
Another question.. is the sweet spot just a starting point for the amp or it is a specific point? In other words, increasing the volume more after reaching the sweet spot will lead to worse sound or starting from sweet spot, all more volume is "sweet"?


It depends on the amp. Some amps turn to mud once the volume passes a certain level. Others keep sounding better and better.
#14
My Marshall JCM900 in studio situations starts to "sing" above master volume of 7. The windows start to sing in unison
Don't know how to describe it but the sounds just gets super exciting in the mic. I try to be in the other room when this happens as I need to save my hearing. Some other amps don't have that characteristic.
#15
Quote by Will Lane
Was that directed at me?


Nope. Your post was rational.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#16
Quote by Arby911
Nope. Your post was rational.
Oof, thanks. c:
Quote by mockbel
Another question.. is the sweet spot just a starting point for the amp or it is a specific point? In other words, increasing the volume more after reaching the sweet spot will lead to worse sound or starting from sweet spot, all more volume is "sweet"?
It really is relative to the player. Of course someone who may be inexperienced might have less of a developed view of what sounds "sweet" to them and keeping the audience in mind, as compared to an experienced player. And if I'm correct some amps do have varying principles depending upon how they are designed and set. From my experience, AC30's have a treble bleed cap, and Valvekings start farting/woofing at high volumes.
Last edited by Will Lane at Oct 26, 2015,
#17
Quote by mockbel
Another question.. is the sweet spot just a starting point for the amp or it is a specific point? In other words, increasing the volume more after reaching the sweet spot will lead to worse sound or starting from sweet spot, all more volume is "sweet"?


For some amps, max volume is the best sounding setting. I had a single-channel Krank Chadwick, which is kind of a general "old-Marshall" vibe amp, it sounded best with all knobs set max (my ears couldn't handle this for too long though).

My Mesa Rect-O-Verb on the other hand has a golden range where anything below or above that is taking away from the sound.

There are also different implications of what's best depending on the music you play. A modern-metal player will probably like a good bit of volume to get everything tight and lively, but too much on the master dial can mean a that everything gets a bit too "squishy," and note definition for those tight riffs goes right out the window.

I love it all, the loud and squishy, the tight and precise, it's all good.
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#18
great article Arby911 !! ..... a generic/trick question with absolutely no easy answer , way to many variables that you pointed out clearly
#19
Quote by Fumble fingers
great article Arby911 !! ..... a generic/trick question with absolutely no easy answer , way to many variables that you pointed out clearly



Thanks, but in the interest of full disclosure I didn't write it, I merely helped it get published.

Craig from CECAmps is the genius behind the words.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#20
Quote by Xomar
Arby911 wrote a great guest article about this a few weeks ago:

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/the_guide_to/killing_the_myths_of_low_volume_amp_performance.html

educate yo self




So much info to swallow ... great article for understanding signal path and factors affecting sound quality at low volumes.. but how can I relate it to my question? Does it mean that high quality amps with high quality output transformers can give me the cranking sound at lower volumes? I don't think so from other replies here...
'12 Gibson '58 Re-issue
'14 Fender American Special Stratocaster
'14 Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster
'05 Ibanez RG320FM (With Upgrades)
Laney IRT Studio (IRT112 Cab)
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
BOSS GT-8
#21
My RM100 sounds better than my RM20 at really quiet volumes using the same preamp module.
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#22
You need to determine if the sound you want actually comes from power amp distortion first.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#23
If you want your cleans to stay clean, you don't want to crank up the volume too much.

This whole "sweet spot" thing comes from the age when there were no multi channel amps. The only way to get distortion was to crank up the volume. There were no distortion channels. Today tube amps also have distortion channels which means you can get distortion at any volume. But it's created differently. If your amp has a gain knob, it controls the pre-amp volume and makes the pre amp distort and keeps the power amp clean. Master volume on the other hand controls the power amp volume.

You can achieve distortion in two ways - by turning up the pre-amp volume (gain) or by turning up the power amp volume ("master" or "volume" - depends on the amp), and this creates different sounds. Power amp distortion can only be achieved at high volumes. Power amp distortion is preferred in genres like blues and classic rock. Pre amp distortion is preferred in higher gain genres.

Here is a good demo of how pre amp and power amp distortion (and the combination of them) sounds like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpXWXpiTYoA


Oh, there's one way of achieving power amp distortion at low volumes and it's by using an attenuator. But if you are really not after that sound, buying one would be just a waste of money, especially considering that your amp is really not an amp that is "meant" to be cranked like that. It's a high gain amp that can give you more than enough distortion at any volume. So you could expect that the clean channel is not meant to be cranked. But how do I know? Maybe it sounds good. Try it and see if you like it.


More volume = more distortion. That's what happens when you turn the volume up higher. Your gain knob is just another volume control. When I hear people talk about the "sweet spot", it's usually the in-between distortion and clean sound. That's how I have understood it. But I guess it can mean other things too. It can also mean the volume level where the amp sounds best. It's not a scientific term. The "sweet spot" of an amp is subjective. But if you turn up the volume past the "sweet spot" (whatever it means), you will just get more distortion. Whether it sounds good or not depends on your preferences. If you want more distortion, it's good, if you don't want more distortion, it's bad. And too much distortion may sound muddy so there's that too. But that depends on the amp.
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#24
Quote by MaggaraMarine
If you want your cleans to stay clean, you don't want to crank up the volume too much.

This whole "sweet spot" thing comes from the age when there were no multi channel amps. The only way to get distortion was to crank up the volume. There were no distortion channels. Today tube amps also have distortion channels which means you can get distortion at any volume. But it's created differently. If your amp has a gain knob, it controls the pre-amp volume and makes the pre amp distort and keeps the power amp clean. Master volume on the other hand controls the power amp volume.

You can achieve distortion in two ways - by turning up the pre-amp volume (gain) or by turning up the power amp volume ("master" or "volume" - depends on the amp), and this creates different sounds. Power amp distortion can only be achieved at high volumes. Power amp distortion is preferred in genres like blues and classic rock. Pre amp distortion is preferred in higher gain genres.

Here is a good demo of how pre amp and power amp distortion (and the combination of them) sounds like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpXWXpiTYoA


Oh, there's one way of achieving power amp distortion at low volumes and it's by using an attenuator. But if you are really not after that sound, buying one would be just a waste of money, especially considering that your amp is really not an amp that is "meant" to be cranked like that. It's a high gain amp that can give you more than enough distortion at any volume. So you could expect that the clean channel is not meant to be cranked. But how do I know? Maybe it sounds good. Try it and see if you like it.


More volume = more distortion. That's what happens when you turn the volume up higher. Your gain knob is just another volume control. When I hear people talk about the "sweet spot", it's usually the in-between distortion and clean sound. That's how I have understood it. But I guess it can mean other things too. It can also mean the volume level where the amp sounds best. It's not a scientific term. The "sweet spot" of an amp is subjective. But if you turn up the volume past the "sweet spot" (whatever it means), you will just get more distortion. Whether it sounds good or not depends on your preferences. If you want more distortion, it's good, if you don't want more distortion, it's bad. And too much distortion may sound muddy so there's that too. But that depends on the amp.




Thanks dude... best answer for me so far
'12 Gibson '58 Re-issue
'14 Fender American Special Stratocaster
'14 Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster
'05 Ibanez RG320FM (With Upgrades)
Laney IRT Studio (IRT112 Cab)
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
BOSS GT-8