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Forgot How Loud Tube Amps Are

Pinkycramps

Experienced
All I have left from my collection is my Mesa Mark V combo. I never turn it on. I think it's been sitting for at least 3 years. I keep saying to myself "I should sell that thing", but I've been too lazy to take the steps. Already parted with my Fenders, my Marshall, my Carvin, and all of my other amps a while back. They were just too loud to use properly. They could make amazing tones, but I could never approach those tones at any gig because I don't play in stadiums.
 

FullThrottle64

Inspired
Anyway, that feeling of a rather cranked amp that makes move the bottom of your pants is unforgettable and kickass; it's great.
Yes, it is. Trouble is, it's basically unusable anywhere other than a stadium gig. It's great for us, but not so great for everyone else.

I practice louder at home with my Bogner than I can play at most of my shows....so I'm going to leave the tubes at home for a while and try the Axe FX for a gig rig.
 

lauke-lux

Fractal Fanatic
Yes, it is. Trouble is, it's basically unusable anywhere other than a stadium gig. It's great for us, but not so great for everyone else.

I practice louder at home with my Bogner than I can play at most of my shows....so I'm going to leave the tubes at home for a while and try the Axe FX for a gig rig.
I just had a DLR that would breakup at a level where you dont blow the roof of. Anyway even with an axe fx if you play with a drummer and bass that do their job you'll need a bit sound pressure to be comfortable.
Once I had the occasion to rehearse on one of those 100W London City Chinese reissues with a 4x12 cabinet that a shop left in the club for fun. It was quite loud not.to say "bloody loud" but I'll always remember that enormous "chunk and chime" when I let rock'n roll the guitar a bit. Wouldn't recommend that on the long run though.
 

GreatGreen

Power User
Modern modeling and reactive load boxes have completely changed the experience of playing guitar for me.

I remember in the mid 2000's I sold a Peavey 5150 because I couldn't get a good sound out of it at less than "apartment eviction" volumes. These days, I'm actually entertaining the idea of getting a Plexi. A Plexi. And with a reactive load I'll be able to crank it to 11 any time I want, that is, when I'm not playing a model of it, which is every bit as fun.
 

dupere11497

Experienced
Tube amps were not design to be played in a bedroom in the first place. Sure you can use a load box but it's not the same. It's been more than 25 years since I last played a gig. I play in my bedroom home studio exclusively through high end studio monitors. Unlike most guitar player, I hate playing loud. I don't want to ear noise, I want to ear tone. When I listen to music on my car or on my iPhone with headphones, the volume is at a level where I can ear all the instruments and details like cool subtle effects you just can't hear if the sound is crack all the way up. I monitor my FM3 at that same kind of moderate volume which allows my ears to catch every nuance and dynamics out of my tone, and I still get a great feel picking the strings, just like a great tube amp, but at low volume!
 

sprint

Fractal Fanatic
Tube amps were not design to be played in a bedroom in the first place
They were not designed to, but when a kid's mum brought him/her to the guitar store in 1977 to get his 1st guitar rig so he could play Black Sabbath, the salesperson would sell her a 50Watt Marshall Head + 412 cuz, "maam!, for bedroom playing and jamming with his friend, he doesn't really need a 100W head - a 50W will be fine for now" lol!
 
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mr_fender

Fractal Fanatic
A big part of an amp's actual volume is the sensitivity of the speaker(s) it's driving. Keep in mind it takes roughly 10 times as much wattage to double the perceived volume an amp produces. A 100 watt amp will only be twice as loud (~10 dB) as a 10 watt amp through the same cab. The difference between a 50 watt and a 100 watt amp is only about 3 dB with all else equal. Different speakers can vary as much a 10 dB or more in their sensitivity ratings, so you can get a lot of bang for the buck by choosing a sensitive speaker for smaller amps. The reason your old 15 watt Crate or Peavey practice combo amp was not loud enough was likely not the amp, but the cheap low sensitivity speaker in it. Plug that same amp into a 100dB rated Vintage 30 and it will ring your ears pretty good.
 
They were not designed to, but when a kid's mum brought him/her to the guitar store in 1977 to get his 1st guitar so he could play Black Sabbath, the salesperson would sell her a 50Watt Marshall Head + 412 cuz, "maam!, for bedroom playing and jamming with his friend, he doesn't really need a 100W head - a 50W will be fine for now" lol!
Word for word what you said but ‘86 for us.
Too funny- where are all those half-stacks now. Lol.
Probably in Japan.
Mine eventually went back to Daddy’s music when I realized how bad it sucked dragging it around the neighborhood.
I left Daddy’s with a brand new Ibby fitted with aftermarket EMG’s before even leaving the store- and a Crate Combo that even I knew sounded atrocious- but I could carry it.
God awful tone was never so much fun.
I wrote my first hit on that rig “Police Dogs on my ass”.
 
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mr_fender

Fractal Fanatic
I've read Pete Townshend has some pretty bad Tinnitus. A lot of these older headliner rockers have learned a hard lesson as many have major hearing damage. Saw Van Halen a half dozen times mostly in the early years with disappointing sound being too loud, but, interestingly, the last show I saw about 10 years ago (Different Kind of Truth Tour), the volume was balanced - good quality PA - great show. Rush figured this out early on as the Rush shows I saw even in the late 70s always had great sound / reasonable volume.

Pete also had permanent hearing damage in one ear because Keith Moon put too much gunpowder in his kick drum for an exploding drum gag on the Smothers Brothers Show and Pete was standing in front of it when it went off.
 
I had a beautiful CAE OD100, first series, what a beautiful amp it was!
Live, on 15mx10 stage I had a row with the sound engineer 'cause in his opinion I was too loud on stage.
The volume was between 1 and 2.
Thank you Cliff, thank you Fractal.
 
Modern modeling and reactive load boxes have completely changed the experience of playing guitar for me.

I remember in the mid 2000's I sold a Peavey 5150 because I couldn't get a good sound out of it at less than "apartment eviction" volumes. These days, I'm actually entertaining the idea of getting a Plexi. A Plexi. And with a reactive load I'll be able to crank it to 11 any time I want, that is, when I'm not playing a model of it, which is every bit as fun.
It’s not a sin to PPIMV mod a SLP after ‘71.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
 

OddManOut

Inspired
I almost exclusively use tube amps into a load box or a speaker in an isolation box or room. I finished updating the Blues Jr. today. Probably one of the quieter tube amps made. For yucks I decided to compare it with it's built-in speaker to the Axe-Fx through monitors. All knobs on noon except MV at 3ish.

Holy carp!!! I'd forgotten just how loud even a lowly Blues Jr. can get. And that's with the MV pretty low.

They're actually pretty decent little amps and sound great when cranked.
Yup! That's why I haven't been able to part with mine. Gigged with it for years, always sounded great and plenty loud. Alas, the only amp that gets regular use around here is my AxeFX III. ;) BTW, absolutely loving the Cygnus beta. Great work Cliff and team!
 

James Nash

Inspired
Modern modeling and reactive load boxes have completely changed the experience of playing guitar for me.

I remember in the mid 2000's I sold a Peavey 5150 because I couldn't get a good sound out of it at less than "apartment eviction" volumes. These days, I'm actually entertaining the idea of getting a Plexi. A Plexi. And with a reactive load I'll be able to crank it to 11 any time I want, that is, when I'm not playing a model of it, which is every bit as fun.
Good luck with your quest! I'll warn you: when you take an old amp like that and crank it into a load box, you're confronted with the reality of how brutal it is to the amp... the chassis creaks, you can smell the tolex, and you'll even hear audio coming out of the power tubes.

You might love it, but... not for the faint of heart :)
 

Vio

Inspired
All I have left from my collection is my Mesa Mark V combo. I never turn it on. I think it's been sitting for at least 3 years. I keep saying to myself "I should sell that thing", but I've been too lazy to take the steps. Already parted with my Fenders, my Marshall, my Carvin, and all of my other amps a while back. They were just too loud to use properly. They could make amazing tones, but I could never approach those tones at any gig because I don't play in stadiums.
I have the same amp and couldn't play it because it's loud.
Get a reactive load box (I got a two notes torpedo captor 8). Plug the speaker output from the amp in it using a speaker cable and disconnect the cabinet (or connect it to the -20db jack). I play mine attenuated but I can disconnect it listen to it through headphones plugged into the captor xlr using the default guitar speaker simulaton. sounds awesome.
 

GreatGreen

Power User
Good luck with your quest! I'll warn you: when you take an old amp like that and crank it into a load box, you're confronted with the reality of how brutal it is to the amp... the chassis creaks, you can smell the tolex, and you'll even hear audio coming out of the power tubes.

You might love it, but... not for the faint of heart :)

Ha! Can't wait.

It's already just a little bit audible when I use a reactive load with my preamp-centric tube amps. If I were to plug a 100w plexi into a reactive load and crank it, I'm half imagining the thing would do a flip before I turned it off.
 

Gregmang

Fractal Fanatic
Ha! Can't wait.

It's already just a little bit audible when I use a reactive load with my preamp-centric tube amps. If I were to plug a 100w plexi into a reactive load and crank it, I'm half imagining the thing would do a flip before I turned it off.
I had a Marshall JCM800 2210 back in the day and you literally could hear what you were playing coming off the power tubes.
 
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