#1
I just bought a crate VC3112 tube amp (30W) and first of all, it's loud as ****, with the gain up I can't put it past 2 out of 10 (volume) or it'll wake up the whole neighborhood.

So I'm trying to figure out how to get a good distortion sound out of it (and I mean, ****, it's a tube, I can't not drive the tubes, right?). I heard an OD pedal would work, that it would allow me to overdrive the tubes at a reasonable volume. But what about a tube screamer or an attenuator? Or just a plain distortion pedal? This guy I bought my guitar from used a metal master distortion pedal and it sounded really good, but I dunno what kind of amp he had.

What's the deal? I'm really confused, and a bit drunk at the moment. Oh, and if you're like, why the hell did you buy a 30W if you didn't need the power, well I got for 200 bucks off craigs... I didn't see anything less powerful or much cheaper than that.
#2
the bbe opto stomp can bring the volume down but maintain a good amount of gain

its fairly cheap too
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Quote by Dempsey68
get a cheap marshall... my MG15DFX has a button that simulates the sound of one of the expensive tube marshall amps.
#3
Oh and I think I'm gonna replace the tubes on the amp. This one dude says about my amp "Just be ready to change out the stock Sovtek tubes - I use Electro Harmonix 12ax7s in the 1st 2 preamp stages, a JJ Tesla 12ax7 in the 3rd stage phase inverter, and Groove Tube EL84 for the power tubes (4)." Now does it matter what kind of tube I use? Do they all have their own sound? Should I just do what this guy did or like does it depend on what kind of music I play?
#4
should i just sell my amp and buy a 5W? maybe that would just be easier...
#5
the pedals dont actually overdrive the tubes. its pretty much tube stimulation. but they do sound pretty dang good. also the tubescreamer is an OD. the attenuator will overdrive your actual tubes but it is pretty pricey and it can wear out your tubes more quickly. your best bet would be to get a ibanez ts-9 (tubescreamer) or a maxon 808 or whatever. and no dont get a 5w amp because those can still be pretty dang loud.
#6
There's this Weber miniMASS attenuator for 100 bucks. Some guy combined it with a Fulltone OCD and made youtube videos that are pretty decent.

If I'm playing with my amp on a volume setting of 2/10, am I losing a lot of tone? Does driving the tubes result in a better tone even with heavy distortion or just clean or mild distortion?

I just want to make sure I'm being good to my amp, you know. She feels caged, no?

p.s. i just bought a used metal master distortion pedal for 30 bucks, in case i feel like getting my hands dirty, but my other questions still remain, and now I have more like, can you use OD with distortion, or is that just silly
Last edited by kazza2ud at Jan 26, 2008,
#7
ok one more thought. I'm trying to replace the tubes on this ancient amp as well, and the damn thing has 8 tubes right...that's damn expensive, how many do 5W amps have? You sure I shouldn't just get a 5W?
#8
^ 5watters have 2 or 3.

But then I find 5 watters don't find nearly as full as the amps that have more valves. My friend built a 5w tube preamp into a pedal form, and it sounds the same as the preamp gain in my Valve Junior - ratty, harsh and not that crunchy...

Go for a Weber Mass and a new set of valves afterwards.
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#9
So I need 4 12ax7s and 4 EL84s. I see people tend to get 4 of the same one for the power amp (EL84) but sometimes mix it up for the preamp. Are there certain combinations that work well together (I mean in the preamp) like mixing a JJ with a chinese or whatever the hell, like for instance, and i quote from some review of my amp

"I use Electro Harmonix 12ax7s in the 1st 2 preamp stages, a JJ Tesla 12ax7 in the 3rd stage phase inverter, and Groove Tube EL84 for the power tubes"

i would just assume get all Tung-Sols for the preamps and JJs for the power amp, the consensus seems to be that those are the "best"
#10
You have to have a matched quad of power amp valves.

Don't bother with Groove Tubes - they buy other brands' cheap 12AX7s and rebrand them, and make poor poweramp tubes.

For the best possible most balanced tone, you'd want all Tung-Sol 12AX7s and a matched quad of JJ EL84s.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#13
and for the EL84s, the tube store sells them in matched pairs, so do i get 2 matched pairs, or is that not the same as a matched quad...
#14
Quote by The Tube Store FAQ
2. How do I order the right quantity of tubes?

Unlike all our other tubes, which are sold individually, common audio power tubes are ordered two at a time. If you order two or more pairs, we send a matched quad unless you specify otherwise. If you order three pairs we send a matched sextet. If you would like to purchase a single power tube, just mention this in the Comments of your order. This table explains what your "Order Quantity" should be when placing an order.


So basically, order 2 matched pairs and they send a matched quad.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#15
Quote by kazza2ud
I heard an OD pedal would work, that it would allow me to overdrive the tubes at a reasonable volume. But what about a tube screamer or an attenuator? Or just a plain distortion pedal?


The tubescreamer is an OD pedal, and won't push your tubes unless you're already pushing your tubes. At lower volumes they simply simlate the sound of an overdriven tube amp. On a cranked amp with the pedal's level up, they will push the tubes harder. That's a great sound, but it doesn't help you much in the volume dept.

I don't like attenuators for everyday practice. I think they just encourage you to beat your amp. And a distortion pedal is a different sound.

Quote by kazza2ud
do you use thetubestore.com ?


I use Doug's Tubes. Small company, great service. An order this morning will be shipped this afternoon. He'll also walk you thru your order to help you get the best set of tubes for your amp. Tung-sols and JJ's wouldn't be a bad choice at all. He'll sell you a matched quad for your power section.
You Don't Need a halfstack.

You Don't Need 100W.

Quote by jj1565
i love you slats.
#16
^ Thing is Slats, I have a simple 10dB L-Pad Attenuator and my usage of that is great for home use. Sure, with a big MASS Atten you could take it down to bedroom volume at maximum setting, but it also encourages you just to turn your amp up enough for it to sound good (like 1/4+ on the dial), as opposed to having a big 30w valve amp that sits in a volume 1 zone where it's got no thickness, you know?

The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#17
^ Sounds like you have a little self control.

Standard operating procedure with an attenuator seems to be to crank everything on the amp to 11, and roll the attenuator back far enough so it still doesn't wake the baby.
You Don't Need a halfstack.

You Don't Need 100W.

Quote by jj1565
i love you slats.
#18


My attenuator is just two big wirewound resistors, at fixed resistance, I can't adjust the attenuation, it's set at like 10dB, so i've not really got much choice.

I've got plans for it though, I wanna put it in a pedal enclosure, add another half that is 20dB (giving dual input and output) and put a pair of dual-gang rotary switches in there to adjust Treble and Bass compensation
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#19
i wonder what would improve my sound more, new tubes, a new speaker, or an attenuator, (or an OD pedal but I'm sure I'll get that eventually anyway). remember i have a used VC3112, but the guy did say he barely used it.
#20
nevermind i dont think i need new tubes or speaker. only question is to attenuate or not to attenuate
#21
Quote by kazza2ud
I just bought a crate VC3112 tube amp (30W) and first of all, it's loud as ****, with the gain up I can't put it past 2 out of 10 (volume) or it'll wake up the whole neighborhood.


Don't play at night?


Have you tried it with a less efficient speaker?