Practise amps that aren't digital modellers?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by gnoll, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    There are tons of speakers out there that sound great at lower volumes, just look at stuff with lower wattage and pay attention to the frequency chart.

    Cabs are one of the most overlooked pieces of gear, not because the options aren't out there.
     
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  2. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    In that video what you are hearing is a camera or cellphone mic in a room with about the lowest quality YouTube has to offer. Here's a video that is done in a similar way but with better quality:



    To me that sounds kind of flat and anemic. That's not a strike against the preamp itself, just that its own little solid-state poweramp is not the best representation for it.

    As for a 5150 becoming flubby when pushed, that's what happens if you don't take down the gain as you go to higher volumes. Poweramp compression can smooth out the tone too and generally too much of that is not desirable for modern metal tones. Even on my Axe-Fx 2 I run high gain amps with about 4 on the virtual master volume to get the tightest response.

    Seriously, just give modern modelers a chance and you might be surprised how good they can sound at low volumes.
     
  3. DarthV

    DarthV SS.org Regular

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    I'm convinced that a lot of tone issues with running valve amps at low volumes are very much related to speakers just not responding like they do when they are pushed. For TV volumes, I'll take my Kemper over my 5150III/MarkV25 every time.
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    :agreed:
     
  5. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    But even if I had a Kemper I'd have to run it through speakers, wouldn't I...? I don't want to play guitar through monitors or headphones, that would just sound like ass.

    I still don't get this whole thing that valves = shit at low volumes. I think my 5150 sounds ok at lowish volumes, and that's got a huge power section.
     
  6. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    The Kemper is just being amplified. It's like turning up your stereo. The sound is the changing with the increased volume like when you're rolling the master knob up on a tube amp.

    The 5150 gets most of it's tone from the preamp, which is then run into a cold biased power section. A lot of amps function that way, especially those built off the SLO.

    I didn't think my 5150 sounded awful at relatively low, yet still loud volume levels. Same with my Rectos which are also SLO based. But I didn't think the tone was all that inspiring at bedroom/night time levels.

    I think you owe it to yourself to go play with a current generation modeler. You're not really going to get what we're talking about until you mess with it yourself, at least from what I can I tell. It shouldn't be too hard to track down at least a Helix.
     
  7. DarthV

    DarthV SS.org Regular

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    I'm using a pair of 5" monitors and they sound awesome with my Kemper.

    And nobody's going to say tube amps sound bad at low volumes, they just don't sound their absolute best when not turned up. The big advantage of modern digital rigs that use good/great IRs is that they are emulating how a DRIVEN speaker behaves. At volumes that won't need ear protection or eviction notices.

    And some people are perfectly fine running their valve amps at low volumes. Everyone has their own take on what tradeoffs they are willing to live with. For me, 95% of the time I'm not playing loud, so given the choice between the Kemper, 5150III and Mark V, it's the Kemper that gets turned on. If I want to move air or go jamming, it's one of the valve amps. Well for now, have a feeling I'll be moving those heads, and buying a PA speaker or power amp to use with my cabs, this summer :p
     
  8. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Mmhh, yeah I mean I guess I'll have to go try some stuff out. Thing is I'm sure that the expensive digital stuff is indeed good, but then it gets expensive and then it's like well, I could just get a kickass preamp and a Fryette Power Station or something if I'm gonna spend that much.

    Still pretty sure I wanna play through guitar speakers though. I'm not really big on cab/mic emulated tones. I really think I prefer the more raw tone straight out of a cab.
     
  9. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    That is how I am too, which is why I suggested the Katana. Even though I have an Axe-FX and such, I still mostly play it through guitar cabs.
     
  10. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Blames it on "the rain"

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    Have you watched any clips on the new Tremonti 15 watt lunchbox (PRS MT15)? It sounds pretty awesome from what I’ve heard; and the fact that they’re using 6L6 tubes over smaller 6V6 or EL84 probably has a lot to do with that. It’d work great with your 2x12 as well.
     
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  11. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    That seems like it could be pretty cool. I'm gonna look for more demos.

    That's usually my problem with lunch boxes, I don't dig how they sound with EL84's. So if I'd get for example a 6505 mini I would always be hesitant to use it anywhere else but home, because I'd go "but the bigger one sounds better...". And that's kinda how I feel about stuff like Boss Katana; it'd just be the designated home-amp.

    That's why I'm looking at preamps now. If I got a great sounding pre, I could use that anywhere anytime with a good poweramp and it'd sound epic, and for home-use I could just use a smaller poweramp and it'd still sound pretty good.
     
  12. CerealKiller

    CerealKiller SS.org Regular

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    If I was looking for something else than my modelling rig for both practice and live, I'd go for a 5150 style lunchbox. I know you just said you didn't want one, but Joe Haley of Psycroptic had a killer tone from the EVH 5150III 15 watt lunchbox when I saw them last year. Sure, the bigger models might sound better, but they are much heavier and double or triple the price... at which point I'd probably just go with a Fractal solution anyway.
     
  13. r33per

    r33per SS.org Regular

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    I've always found the "bedroom volume level" a bit like the strengthometer of chilli spice or coffee grounds: totally fuzzy and relative to personal tastes and circumstances.

    I live in a modest detached house in a residential area of town. I have a wife and dog in the house, no kids, no upstairs/downstairs neighbours. When I'm playing guitar in what is the second smallest room in the house, I'm at about 85-87db. That's using a Mesa 2:90 on 1/2 drive attenuated into a Marshall 1x12. Does it sound better without attenuation on "full" drive? Of course it does. But in the context of where I'm playing, I think it still sounds pretty awesome.

    Also, on headphone front: the right head gear helps. I've been a silent band practises (i.e. headphones only and including the drummer on their electric kit) and it's just a party in my semi-circular canals -
     
  14. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Have you looked at any of the Quilter Labs stuff? Especially the MicroBlock 45?
     
  15. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    That's a really big assumption.

    My Triaxis and JMP-1 were very picky about what I paired them with. The GP3 did better, but I didn't bond with the unit overall.

    A pre is just the front end of an amp. It won't really address your power section and speaker woes.
     
  16. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I checked out some demos and I'm not really into it. I've looked at some other small "pedalish" solutions and I think ultimately the tone just isn't quite there.

    Well of course it's not gonna sound like it could but I'm pretty convinced that the Engl I mentioned earlier sounds good without an epic power amp. Also a solid state power amp, shouldn't that be pretty transparent? So as long as you have a good pre you should be alright I'm thinking. And that into v30's, I mean, how bad can it be really? I've heard several clips of it sounding good so...
     
  17. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Blames it on "the rain"

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    The E530 is pretty cool. I had one for a quick flip while waiting on my Kemper to show up. I certainly liked it best with a boost, and only ever used it with tube power amps. I think @lewis has one, so maybe he can comment on how plugging it directly into a cab sounds. They can go pretty inexpensively and it’s definitely a small footprint.
    FWIW I use my full size amps at home for practice and they work great. They obviously roar to life with some volume, but reducing depth or resonance knobs goes a long way at removing boxiness at low volume.
     
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  18. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Is that because you're headbanging, windmilling, or something similar? If there's a party in your semi-circular canals (vs. your cochlea), just due to the music, you might want to see an audiologist and lay-out a crash-pad while you're playing, because you're likely to lose your balance. :lol:
     
  19. r33per

    r33per SS.org Regular

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    I know. It's great fun :D
     
  20. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    You dont need the cab though. You dont need tubes. You need to invest time into learning how to dial in a POD or GT to where you want it, with leCab etc in a DAW.

    You have a 5150 and a 212? It sounds good at low volume? Congrats, you already own your ideal practice amp. Done.
     

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