#1
Hi there!
Tube amps sound their best when played loud but most of the time sound engineers tell you to turn down and in the end you end up playing with you volume under 1 with an 50 W head. It's the same while recording guitar. You get told to turn down. But why?
And another question of mine is: Are there any possibilitys to crank your power tubes while still playing at low volumes? (I don't like attenuators) The blanket trick? And where should I place the Mic when I do the blanket thing?

Cheers
#2
If your amp truly does need to get the power tubes hot to get its best tone, I'd suggest looking at speakers with a lower efficiency rating as a first step. This is often overlooked, yet there is quite a difference between a 95 db sensitivity and the 102 db sensitivity of a Celestion Vintage 30 or Eminence Governor, for example. Running a lower sensitivity speaker might be enough to take the edge off while still getting into power tube breakup. If I recall, Eminence actually makes a model with adjustable efficiency.

Other than that, I'd recommend boosting the amp with an OD pedal and/or running an EQ pedal in the effects loop. That can help you adjust your tone to various volumes in a big way.

Personally, I can get great tone even at whisper volumes out of my 6505 driving a 412 cab, but then again, I'm not trying to get power amp breakup at all.
#3
Quote by maxxxkolo

And another question of mine is: Are there any possibilitys to crank your power tubes while still playing at low volumes? (I don't like attenuators) The blanket trick? And where should I place the Mic when I do the blanket thing?


Aside from attenuators, there are two other ways to crank your power tubes while still outputting low volumes to a room.

One is to use an isolation cabinet -- basically you have the speaker inside a cabinet (usually with the mike) that's got a ton of soundproofing to prevent sound leaking out. These are usually too big (if they're really effective) to be very portable.

Another is to use a Flux-Tone speaker. Fluxtone is a company that uses the moving parts from your favorite speaker (EV-L, Vintage30, etc.) and substitutes what amounts to a variable electromagnet.

By reducing the efficiency of the magnet on the back of the speaker, they're able to reduce the output of the speaker from 21-25 dB (roughly the equivalent of reducing the power on your amp from, say, 30W to about 1/8th watt.

Why is this different from an attenuator? An attenuator inserts itself into the circuit between the output transformer and the speaker's voice coil, and on a tube amp, this circuit has a LOT to do with the tone you hear from your amp. That's why almost all attenuators have tone controls that attempt to replace some of what's lost.

The Fluxtone speakers, on the other hand, don't touch that circuit at all.

The first time I ever heard one of these was at the LA Amp Show (held in Van Nuys the first weekend of October every year at the Artel Airport Hotel). The hotel, situated right next to a busy airport that handles commercial, private and even military aircraft, has rooms with a lot more soundproofing than usual. Amp manufacturers bring their amps, set up in their own room, and are able to invite show-goers in, close the door, and crank those amps as high as they can go (the Show hands out Hear-Os with your entry) and blast away. In one room I walked into, a guy was blasting away on the guitar and a man walked over to his speaker cabinet and dialed something on the top. The sound *did not change* in tone at all, but eventually reduced in volume so much that you could talk about it while sitting on the cabinet. The tubes were nearly smoking, they were being driven so hard.

Just be aware that this is NOT an inexpensive solution. Nor do any of these solutions apply to (or are they necessary for) a non-tube amp.

http://www.fluxtonespeakers.com/
#4
Quote by maxxxkolo
Hi there!
Tube amps sound their best when played loud but most of the time sound engineers tell you to turn down and in the end you end up playing with you volume under 1 with an 50 W head. It's the same while recording guitar. You get told to turn down. But why?


There are several reasons why the sound guys make you keep your volume low onstage.

One, high volume is usually damaging to your hearing.
Two, it's difficult for them to balance the entire band for a given room if one or more of the instruments is already louder (and area-specific) than the overall mix.
Three, there's a timing difference between when the sound from your amp hits the audience and when the sound from the PA system hits them (this is a physics thing) and they want to eliminate the phase and other issues this causes.
Four, if you have vocal mikes that you also need to regulate, the loud stage volume invades those mikes and makes it difficult or impossible to turn the vocals up without turning up the contamination with it.

When recording, it's often desirable to work within the sweet spot of the mikes that are doing the recording. If you're too loud, you can't do that, especially with close miking.

There's also this:
Tube amps don't necessarily sound their best cranked all the way up. I know that's some kind of heresy among tube amp owners, but power tube distortion is often not the best sound for a tube amp, sorry. "Loud" is a testosterone-driven thing with a lot of guitarists, but anyone who's played a Marshall stack (for example) or recorded with one knows that as the volume goes up, the bottom end of these amps disappears. While the thought of a 100W Marshall being underpowered may boggle some minds, the fact is that at the lower frequencies, and with 8 speakers to push, it is.