#1
Okay, so let's say I want to play at low volume on my tube amp. Would I want master volume up and channel volume down? Or channel volume up and master volume down?

Or does it even matter? Each way the volume would be low and the tubes relatively inactive compared to their full blown state.

My DT50 has a low volume and high volume mode but I read some review suggesing to not use the low volume, instead put master volume at like 80 and channel volume down. Is this just bs? At least the low volume mode is meant for low volume, I don't know if it reduces headroom or lowers the wattage or what.

But also in the grand scheme of things, in general with tube amps, is there a difference?

Oh and I would like to extend this question:

I use a Savage 120w head for live. I usually am not pushing more than half volume and I usually set channel volume half and master to near half. Should I use one up more than the other?
Last edited by Knight Elijah at Oct 29, 2015,
#2
master volume controls the overall volume of the amp so to play quieter it would be turned down.
#3
Quote by monwobobbo
master volume controls the overall volume of the amp so to play quieter it would be turned down.



...I'm talking in terms of quality of sound...

Obviously I understand that a volume would turn down volume haha
#4
in a tube amp if you turn the channel volume up but keep the master low it will most likely result in some sort of distortion (preamp style). if you keep the channel volume down and turn up th master than it will give you a more clean sound. i'm guessing you know this so it's hard to understand exactly what you are getting at. cranking the master can result in power amp distortion but that still requiers a fair amount of overall volume to really work. when you say better sound quality what are getting at?
#5
Quote by monwobobbo
in a tube amp if you turn the channel volume up but keep the master low it will most likely result in some sort of distortion (preamp style). if you keep the channel volume down and turn up th master than it will give you a more clean sound. i'm guessing you know this so it's hard to understand exactly what you are getting at. cranking the master can result in power amp distortion but that still requiers a fair amount of overall volume to really work. when you say better sound quality what are getting at?


I was referring to how when a high wattage tube amp is too low volume, the breakup quality doesn't happen and it doesn't sound nearly as good as it can at high volumes. I was wondering if changing which volume knobs are up/down can help foster this kind of tube breakup more or less while at lower volume. Of course it won't be the same as if it were at a high volume but I was wondering if one would be better than the other in terms of the saturation
#6
This probably depends on the actual amp.

I think my Mesa sounds better with Channel Volume down and overall Master up a bit at low volumes.

If Channel Volume also controls Gain then this is a different conversation.
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#7
Quote by Knight Elijah
I was referring to how when a high wattage tube amp is too low volume, the breakup quality doesn't happen and it doesn't sound nearly as good as it can at high volumes. I was wondering if changing which volume knobs are up/down can help foster this kind of tube breakup more or less while at lower volume. Of course it won't be the same as if it were at a high volume but I was wondering if one would be better than the other in terms of the saturation

If I understand what you're asking, the answer is no. That raw, punchy power tube overdrive only happens at high volumes - when the preamp tubes AND the power tubes are being overdriven.

If you crank your master volume up and keep your channel volume low, you will most likely end up with a punchy, round tone that is relatively clean. On some amps there might be some breakup but it's not the kind of saturation you're talking about.

If you crank your channel volume up and keep your master volume low you will probably end up with some saturated overdrive, but if your master volume is too low it won't sound as thick and organic. Although some amps are better at getting thicker tones at lower master volumes.

But crank both and that's where the magic lives. Unfortunately most of us live near civilization and that's not possible at home (unless you have incredibly cool neighbors)

You want an amp that can do the cranked thing at bedroom volumes? Check out a Reason Bambino. Holy crap. Biggest sounding little amp I've ever played. I had one for a while and it made me sell my Mesa. At every volume the amp sounded like it was on "10"... no joke.
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#8
Get an OD pedal to boost the front end of the amp. This will give you a much closer sound to the amp being loud than just about anything you can do.
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#9
^ +1

Quote by metalmingee
This probably depends on the actual amp.


yeah i think so
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#10
I dont think you will discern much of a difference either way. Your tone will sound better once it gets over a specific overall volume threshold and your speakers are working harder. Clean tone is really obvious here; when your volume is too low, your cleans will just sound really weak, brittle and dull. Once you crank your volume, the highs start to sparkle a lot more and your lows really fill in. High gain usually sounds pretty good at low volume because the sound saturates and naturally becomes more full; however, when you crank high gain, it still sounds a LOT different. To my ears, it sounds like it loses saturation, but has a load of punch and much more bite. This all makes sense, due to the fletcher munson curve
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#11
I think the channel volume is just for level matching between the two channels. IOW, it probably doesn't make much difference which control you use if level matching isn't an issue. The trade off is between the drive/gain control and the volume control (master or channel).
#12
Ah alright, thanks everyone, so live I will continue to put both at about equal levels unless needed for a different volume change between channels