is less more with valve amps?

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is less more with valve amps?

Post by Stefan 4 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:47 pm

Hi All. I was just looking for some suggestions about what to do with my amp set up. I play hard rock so Guns and roses etc and currently have a black star ht-20h hooked up to a Marshall 1930 2 x 12 cab. Now I don't know what it is but I can't get out of the amp the kind of sound I'm looking for and I think its because I mainly use this at home so the volumes are kept pretty low so I don't think I'm getting the true valve tone that I'm looking for. I'm contemplating trailing a ht-1 for home use, has anyone had a similar dilemma? Would a ht-1 maxed out sound better than my ht-20 at low volumes?

Are there any other recommendations for good quality 1w tube amps available in the UK?

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by IanO on Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:52 pm

Hi stefan,  I have an old Acoustic Sound Control g100t, a 50/100w 1x12 combo and have the exact same issue. I have gotten over it to a degree by running the channel volume up high (this pushes the highs, but not in a " turn up the treble control" kinda way and gives more solid mids and lows). I then have an old Boss SE50 running through the FX loop (with the input gain turned down), this I use for delays or have the fx turned off, I can then turn the master amp volume up quite high to start pushing the power amp. It does sound and "feel" better than bedroon level amp settings. However when compared to  giving it the beans you realise that the only real way to get the best from a valve amp is to push it hard 'n' loud, It is worth noting that even a 1W valve amp turned up will probably still be very loud.
If I had more disposeable income (and less kids) then I would try the H&K tubemeister 36- switchable power settings and a Red Box DI out for silent recording/headphones etc.
This is my experience, hope it helps

Ian


Last edited by IanO on Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : My usual doddgy tpying)

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by corsair on Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:58 am

my experience is that you cannot get a full blooded, overdriven valve amp roar, unless you're using a full blooded, overdriven valve amp!! Simplistic, I know but there you go.... I used, and still use, fiddly wee amps for personal practice but to get " the sound", as it were, I need to fire up the big boy and have at it.
YMMV, of course, and todays digital revolution may have the answer; I'm a Luddite!

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by Stefan 4 on Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:15 am

I currently have the master volume dialed right down and the Chanel volume half way which kinda works but I can tell its holding back. I was consider a hughes and kettner tubmeister 5 b I t ive never used or considered a h&k amp before, whats the general opinion on these?

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by beefy thunder1a on Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:01 am

Hi , i use a 1981 marshall jcm800 with a 1960 a cab , even in the house i can get most classic rock souds using the master volume dial with the gain right up if need be then plugging guitar a or b as required , you might just be needing a marshall amp to get the sound your looking for or one of the marshall pedals guvner ect , cheers
Alan

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by Stefan 4 on Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:52 am

That could well be the case, dont know what to do for the best, may be I need to go have a play with some amps. ....

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by G.A.S. man on Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:49 am

Would try a lower watt amp but it depends on a few different things...
5 watt valve amps seem to be getting very popular with different makers an might be a bit better than a 20 watt one for getting a full over driven valve amp at lower sound levels but it normally means your using a 8" or 10" speaker instead of a 12" which effects the way it sounds..
The most important though are the type of valves used in the amp i found.. 
The balckstar amps use miniature valves i think which are different from the valves in a normal valve amp.. 
They maybe up to the same specs on paper as a ecc83 or a el84 but on paper an by ear are two very different beasts..
  
Also if the Cabinet is closed or open backed has a effect too.. 

The only advise i could give is try as many lower powdered amps as pos at the volume you need an see which sounds best for you..

Thinking about changing for another smaller watted amp like yourself an still deciding on one or two to try..Orange, Marshall and the Blackstar amps look very inviting so might be giving them a try too see which is best for what im looking for...

I run a Laney lc15R with only a few effects but mostly dry with just a 10ft cable... It sounds great when right up in the volume but when reduced it does suffer from tone drop off  loses headroom and dynamics...There are upgrade kits with speakers an different valves out there so that's a option for me,but i think it's time to try another amp too...

Not been to much of a help really Stefan  guess... 

Gasman steve

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by Barry on Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:50 am

The active gigging players who frequent our store tend to go to great lengths to play through the big boxes. Some have even gone to the extreme of sound proofing their home practice areas.

There are some outstanding smaller (physically) amplifiers around these days which can rattle the windows and give the Marshall stacks a little competition, but in the end if you're a loud rock kinda player, you really do need to plug it in, go to eleven, and feel it in yer naughty parts. What a Face 

I love my little 5 watt VOX and use it a lot at home, mainly because it's handy, and it sounds pretty good. My 100 watt Roland and my vintage 25 watt Danelectro mostly sit idle. Coincidentally, I also have the identical amp under my workbench at the store for testing purposes.

Therein lies a problem of a sort...I tend to get habituated to the lower, more intimate sound level.Then, when I plug in to a 'real' amp, the jump in output can actually intimidate me, making my already shaky playing even more so. It becomes an additional distraction that  don't need. The stroke/arthritis is plenty thanks.

So, moral of the story? If yer a giggin' player, practice as often as possible at stage performance level. For the rest of us, especially those with with tinnitus, the lower levels are perfectly adequate for most of what is played methinks.

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by beefy thunder1a on Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:21 pm

hi , along with the jcm800  100w half stack i have an older vox ac 15 which in itself is as loud as a loud thing that's loud and if i really want to rattle the windows i have a seventies peavey  mace , 160 watts of building shaking power , i've only ever had it at 2 1/2 or there abouts and that was louder than the marshall at 4 , it usually only gets played when i'm in a skynard mood , i also have a duece that i've loaned out to my nephew and then there's the wee epi valve jr which very rarly gets used at all  , i've been a marshall man since i was around 18 and there's not much can touch them soundwise in my opinion . i do have a couple of smaller amps but unless i'm in a rory mood the vox is never on and the epi gets fired up once in a blue moon , so for me smaller isn't better , cheers
Alan

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by The Chad on Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:39 pm

House levels are always frustrating!  You'll never get a truly satisfying tone, mostly because it's not loud enough and you can't really "feel" it.  Smile  

Tube amps are 'spensive, but a 1 watt may do the trick for you.  A 5 watt may even be too loud, actually.  I have a 50W Marshall JVM that I use even at home, it's just not the same on low levels!  But I deal with it anyhow, and crank it a bit when the Wifey's out.  

So my input is to buy a 1 watt if you're buying a tube amp.  Plenty loud enough from home use.

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by Stefan 4 on Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:50 pm

I've heard good things about the Marshall jvm1-h, they are quite expensive but if it did the trick I could be tempted. A really good quality 1w valve amp might be the solution.

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by The Chad on Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:55 pm

Oh yeah, that Marshall would be the bee's knees.  That's what I was thining of, either that or another of Marshall's 1 watt's they sell.  If you have the cash for it!  I'd try to find one used, SO much cheaper.

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by gittarasaurus on Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:57 am

Barry wrote:….. If yer a giggin' player, practice as often as possible at stage performance level. 
like this…affraid 

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by Barry on Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:19 pm

Twisted Evil Yep. Sumthin' like that!

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by Stefan 4 on Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:45 pm

Lol. Obviously that's the more is more approach Smile

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by Stefan 4 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:53 pm

I think I have resolved this issue now. I've dialed out the master volume and cracked the channel volume. The only issue with this is that the sound is very muddy ( I think as a result of this) I then added my eq pedal into the effects loop and dialed in the top end,its now sounding something a bit more like now. Is there any science behind my findings or have I just stumbled on something that seems to work?

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by Westbone on Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:04 pm

Have you tried an Attenuator?

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

Post by beefy thunder1a on Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:49 am

or a rangemaster (or clone) , they sound superb with a vox ac15 or 30 and also pretty sweet through the old mace which is a very dark amp till it's cranked a good bit , cheers
Alan

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Re: is less more with valve amps?

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