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#1
So I understand that tube amps are generally preferred over solid states, but i wanted to know if tube amps are playable at quite low volumes like for playing at home and if they still maintain the superior sound at these low volumes.
I am in the process of looking for a new amp and im trying to upgrade from a line6 spider 3 15w which doesn't really sound good to me, but i have noticed that i usually dont turn the volume up past 2.

This got me thinking about weather a tube amp would sound good for practicing at home at low volumes or if there only made for pros for gigging and to be played loud as hell.
If that is the case, i guess i have to stick to SS amps then... right?
or
If I should pursue tube amps, can you guys recommend me some decent ones?
I play lots of metal and hard rock and a good bit of clean stuff too and i want to stick to a combo amp and i would prefer probably 30 watts but no more than 50.
Also i want to emphasize that this is strictly a practice amp for use at home by myself and gigging and playing over a band is out of the picture right now.
My budget is kind of open since i have saved a good bit but defenetly under $1000 probably somewhere between $200-600 preferably but i could go up slightly if its worth it.
#2
I would say peavey classic 30.

If its to loud for you, then you could always spend the extra and get an attenuator.
#3
get a small tube amp maybe 5 or 15 watts, where the volume is up when you play at bedroom levels. But i would suggest an Epi VJ or Blackheart LG. To get the metal tones, you might need an OD and an EQ with the natural overdrive of the tubes. Go and try out the smaller 5 watt tube amps at your local guitar shop

EDIT: ^^^ i have a classic 30 and i can only turn the volume up to about 2-3 at bedroom levels
#5
they sound decent at low volumes but not nearly as good maxed out but for practice u should be fine. u could always look at a power attenuator to get that saturated tube sound at low volumes
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#7
well, it still sounds good at low volumes, but tube amps are meant to thrive at high volume
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#8
oh yeah forgot to mention i also have a metal master dist. pedal so i believe i can pump some nice metal distortion out of any amp.
and attenuators these are like the opposite of gain right, they suck the volume outor something? Im assuming i would need to mod my amp for those and honestly im trying to avoid that now.
also someone mentioned the peavey classic how is that compared to the valveking 112?
ive noticed that the VK is in my price range does anyone have any experience with that compared to the classic?
#9
I would check out the valveking thread for answer there as i havent tried one.

The peavey classic 30 that i tried was awesome, it would need a pedal for metal. But the cleans were good. Which you said you wanted.

And you dont have to do any modding to your amp with an attenuator.
#10
Didn't read all of the posts but I've got similar issue where I can't play at loud volumes but enjoy the tone of a tube amp over solid state. I've got a peavey valveking 112 and it gets LOUD. My solution was BBE Sonic Maximizer, it really clears up the tone of your amp even at low volumes so you get a sharp metal overdriven tone without the muddiness. EQ pedal + BBE sonic maximizer and maybe an overdrive pedal if you're getting a 5-10W tube amp will make a tube amp sound as crushing as it would without the help of the pedal at loud volumes, where tubes are overdriven so much that the tone needs no boosting.
#12
Yeah ive seen those orange amps too. Arent they hard to find in the US though? or are they just overpriced here?
#14
Yeah but id rather stick to a combo at this point but im considering those peaveys and some others i have seen i think some laneys and randalls i guess i would prefer new but i am also open to used as long as its within my range i mentioned.
also from what ive read on here is it fair to say that a tube amp will sound better than a ss amp even at low volumes but will sound even better at high volumes?
#16
a epi vj and a couple pedals is perfect for the bedroom.
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#17
So... many.... bad.... suggestions....



If you're playing metal and hard rock, with that budget, playing quietly on your own, any tube amp you could get (bar the greatest deal ever known to mankind falling into your lap) is just going to be a massive waste. End of.
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#18
Getting a hotplate should solve your problem


EDIT - or sometimes referred to as an attenuator

Check this thread for more info.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=943631&highlight=hotplate
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Last edited by GozitanThrasher at Oct 19, 2008,
#19
My Engl Fireball sounds killer at low volume (loud conversation volume and up). I bought it specifically to play at home. It's amazing. Blows my Peavey XXX Super 40 out of the water.
#20
*sigh*

Once again, you do not need to crank a tube amp to get a good sound out of. If you're playing metal, a low wattage amp is a bad idea, it will not be voiced for metal and cranked it will become flubby in the low-end.

Metal amps are high wattage because tons of power tube saturation is undesired in the genre, it makes your amp sound more loose, most of your gain comes from the preamp.
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#21
Quote by MatrixClaw
*sigh*

Metal amps are high wattage because tons of power tube saturation is undesired in the genre, it makes your amp sound more loose, most of your gain comes from the preamp.



So what would you suggest? I am trying to find something metal in the same price range.
#22
you can get a great metal tone out of a valve jr. it does require pedals and the vj speaker is not the best choice for metal. there are so many cheap mods for the vj and they are so easy to do. and it's a amp thats made for pedals. i've owned a peavey VK and it didn't hold a candle to the sound i get from a modded vj. was it louder yes but not better. the VJ is just a stripped down amp you can modify or use pedals to get the sound YOU want. if you do look into a a VJ or BH look at speaker for the type of music your gonna play. i chose a celestion g12k for the big bottom end and mid range hump.
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#23
You can get pretty convincing metal tones straight from a Valve Junior at bedroom levels with no pedals and just some small mods. Check this out.
#24
Quote by MatrixClaw
*sigh*

Once again, you do not need to crank a tube amp to get a good sound out of. If you're playing metal, a low wattage amp is a bad idea, it will not be voiced for metal and cranked it will become flubby in the low-end.

Metal amps are high wattage because tons of power tube saturation is undesired in the genre, it makes your amp sound more loose, most of your gain comes from the preamp.


So basically what your saying is that I can get a higher wattage amp "voiced" for metal
and still play it at low volumes without getting saturated tones and it will still sound good?

Right now i am considering a valveking, the bugera combo (forgot what model), laney vc or lc and i think 1 or 2 more i cant remember off the top of my head. I believe these are all within my price range (under $800) and i have heard most of them are good for metal.

And arent those ENGLs a similar deal to the Orange amps where they are horribly overpriced here?
Last edited by razerfaze at Oct 20, 2008,
#25
UPDATE:
Ok so ive been doing some more research and have managed to hear most of the amps I said I was looking at in action so here is what im considering now:

still a Peavey VK 112- because its probably the cheapest on my list and i figure i can do the usual procedure people recommend on these like swithcing out speakers, etc...

Peavey classic 30- i didnt want to even look at these at first because "classic" part threw me off but after seeing videos and stuff it sounds really good on clean and i already have a nice pedal for distortion and all that although im having trouble deciding between this and the VK...

maybe a Laney LC30- now this sounds pretty awesome to me and i was actaully set on this for a sec but then i realized the price is a little over my desired range. Now if its REALLY worth it i can save for a few weeks and go ahead with this but is it really worth it?

there are still a few others that i havent forgotten about like the bugera but these three are the main ones im looking at.
Now at this point, i am leaning more towards the classic 30 but i want to know if it is truly better than the VK and worth the extra $100.
#26
^If you have a price range of $800, you really shouldn't even be looking at any of those imo.

Look used and find a:

Peavey 5150
Peavey XXX
Peavey JSX
Mesa F-30 or F-50
Mesa DC-3 or DC-5
Mesa Nomad
Mesa Mark III

or go new with a:

B52 AT
Randall RG50TC
Krank Rev Jr. Pro


Don't bother upgrading an amp if it's that cheap. It's a major waste of money when you can spend the cash you'd use to upgrade it on an amp that sounds better stock in the first place and retains its resale value a lot better.
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#27
like i said if something is really worth it i can save a bit more but honestly i have looked around for used amps and found that its a waste of time. I dont want to search ebay because i might as well get it new for the prices they have there and craigslist here is pretty much useless at least for used amps.

Ive never heard of b52 so ill check that out and that randall is the same one i was considering but i scratched that off my list after reading too many negative reviews and i think that krank rev jr is out of my price range.

But i was pretty sure that those amps i mentioned were below $800, except for the laney, which i said i would save up for if it is worth it.
#29
Yeah, I got a question, I have a 5150 and it doesnt sound good(metal sound) at low volumes but it sounds good loud. Will it sound better when its more warmed up?
#30
Quote by razerfaze
like i said if something is really worth it i can save a bit more but honestly i have looked around for used amps and found that its a waste of time.

Have you tried looking at Harmony-Central.com, TheGearPage.net and UG's classifieds? There's quite a few high gain amps in your price range (including a XXX for sale on UG right now for $500).
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





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#31
Quote by Sweaty Balls
Yeah, I got a question, I have a 5150 and it doesnt sound good(metal sound) at low volumes but it sounds good loud. Will it sound better when its more warmed up?


Try pulling a couple tubes.

TS: MC hit it on the nose, I would definitely look into his suggestions. If you can't try a the mesa nomad, dc, or f series in person then maybe try an express. All very similar amps, the express seems tame compared to the f which is pretty raunchy, I'd assume the DC and nomad to be raunchier as well, but I've never played either. If you could make a Mark III that would be awesome for metal (think metallica)
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#32
Quote by Kevin Saale
Try pulling a couple tubes.

TS: MC hit it on the nose, I would definitely look into his suggestions. If you can't try a the mesa nomad, dc, or f series in person then maybe try an express. All very similar amps, the express seems tame compared to the f which is pretty raunchy, I'd assume the DC and nomad to be raunchier as well, but I've never played either. If you could make a Mark III that would be awesome for metal (think metallica)

Problem with the 5150 is that it loses a lot of it's aggressiveness and umph when running without all the power tubes IMO. I think the matter of good tube amps sounding good at low volumes really simply just depends on what amp is in question. For example, some 100-120 watt tube amps can sound awesome at low volumes. (ENGL..Splawn...Soldano..etc)
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#33
^That might be true, but since it's simple and free it's always worth a shot.
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#34
Update 2:
Ok guys after several weeks or research, I think I have finally reached a decision. After watching many videos and reading peoples thoughts and opinions, I think I am gonna go with the Peavey Classic 30. It took me long enough to decide between this and the VK 112 but I am choosing this over the VK because of its superior cleans and slightly better stock speaker and tubes.

Again i had searched for used amps and all that but really found nothing and I figured I might as well get this over the others because of its clean channel and i want to mention again that i will be playing mainly metal but will also make use of the cleans and occasionally play some blues or mess around in clean mode. I got rid of my digitech metal master and im gonna go with the EHX metal muff, cuz it seems like everyone and their grandma has it and im convinced that it is the best pedal for under $100.

So i guess now i just want some feedback from anyone who has or knows a bit about the C30 and tell me if it is a wise choice considering my budget (under $800) and just tell me how is it really for metal and possibly how it sounds paired with the metal muff pedal and how are the features and the quality and range of tone and all that kind of stuff.

Also at this point im almost 100% set on this amp but if there is something else that you must mention, for comparison purposes or something better that i may have overlooked (doubt that after all the research) then let me know but i want to hear mainly from C30 owners.
#35
Quote by offsetmike

or a bugera
those are awesome too


There's nothing quiet about them. What so ever. At 5 they're louder than what is generally acceptable in any small community.
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#36
I play on a Peavey Classic 30 in my room and I use an MD-2 for distortion, and when I want to play at low volumes I just turn the amp up to around 1.5 and turn the pedal down so it doesn't disturb my roommates. I just have to be sure not to turn the pedal off and wake people up. :]
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#37
Tube amps dont neccesserily sound bad at low volumes, i play my TSL100 in my bedroom and it still sounds good. Not as good as cranked would, but its easily good enough.
I really should get an attenuator though.
#38
1. Get a tube amp with a volume and master volume.

2. Crank volume.

3. Use maser volume as a control. Bright tubes and controlled volume.
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#39
^No, master volumes on most amps only controls the ammount of signal that goes into the poweramp, not after. So its not letting you get poweramp saturation, just preamp gain without cranking it like old amps (plexi etc) needed to be.
#40
Quote by littlephil
^No, master volumes on most amps only controls the ammount of signal that goes into the poweramp, not after. So its not letting you get poweramp saturation, just preamp gain without cranking it like old amps (plexi etc) needed to be.


Well, I'm not actually that sure about how circuitry like this works, so I'm guessing here, but if the power is limited, it's like a lower wattage amp running through it, and except for being quiet, a low-wattage head can sound as good as a high-wattage head cranked, so I figure it wouldn't effect the tone.

Like I said though, guesswork. I'm an idiot when it comes to circuitry and technical stuff like that, and I also don't know the difference between a power and preamp tube besides the names and that heir roles, whatever they are, are different, so this probably isn't the best debate/argument for me.
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