How does everyone play such loud amps?

bettset

Member
Messages
4,346
Not in the least. You'd be shocked at how quickly sound can disappear on stage.

Depending on the theatre I've occasionally been unable to hear myself in my Floyd act, and I'm using a pair of Hiwatt half-stacks.

Trust me, when you're twenty feet in front of the amp in a large space you're already gonna have a hard time. Remember, sound intensity is an inverse square law thing - so you're losing about 6db every time you double your distance from the speakers. Add some other people playing into the mix and that Deluxe Reverb is totally lost.
small stage i'll use a 2x12 cab with a 50/60 watt amp. sometimes i'll use a 100 watt. you turn up some but it isn't over blowing and killing people or the sound guy. big stage......4x12 or two 2x12 cabs and the 100 watt and it's turned up. and placing the monitors right helps you hear too. i use hearing protection and hear it all fine. with practice you usually can get a good balance with everybody. and yes, it helps having a sensible drummer who plays for the music and not to break up his kit every other show :munch
 

scotty31

Member
Messages
4,780
i am sure my neighbours hate when i fire up the SLO & Mark III.
Not helped by the 412 cabs i run them into either :p

SLO has a Captor between it and the cab.
I find the Mark i can play at lower volumes and it still sounds good.

Still, sometimes you just have to move some air......cos you only live once :D
 

Pongo

Member
Messages
1,347
Hi all, might be a bit of a noob question, but I’m amazed at how loud people must play their amps. I had a ‘65 Fender DRRI 22-watt and that thing was crazy loud if I basically raised the volume to 4 or 5, which IMO was needed to warm up and thicken the sound a bit.

I’m puzzled at the thought of people actually diming the thing to distortion, I mean I seriously can’t imagine being able to do that, let alone play even bigger amps and crank to natural distortion, etc...is the trick being super far away from the amp or something? Please enlighten me. Lol. Thanks
My '65 DRRI is a lovely amp, but if my drummer and bassist are feeling rowdy, it ain't keeping up with them.

That said, there are few opportunities to really open up a 100-watt amp nowadays. I have live rehearsals with a 100-watter and 4x12 each week just because it's dumb fun, but there are all sorts of considerations now that weren't a thing decades ago:
  • Is the hearing protection in?
  • Is the soundproofing in place?
  • Are we between the hours of 11am to 9pm?
  • Are the roomies here and/or doing something that requires concentration?
  • Etc. etc...
Sucks growing up and not being independently wealthy!

If you have a dedicated space, however, you'll get a few opportunities to really crank your gear, and it's super fun! You're not going to want to crank the big iron in your practice space without attenuation, though. That is not super fun (and no matter how good your attenuator is, it's not the same, but for most of us, it's close enough).
 
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1,022
Depends on your style too. I play mostly 70s rock/metal and early 80s non hair band metal.

Even by myself in my band room...50 doesn't quite cut it. Just not enough headroom on the cleans. But...I like it LOUD!

Distortion is good for the most part but missing some low end imo.

Cleans are the big problem. My style alternates between clean and distortion frequently... at least 40 percent of the songs anyway. I can't have low headroom, fuzzy, or wimpy cleans.

100 tube watts or bust!
 

Steviecaster

Member
Messages
804
Depends on your style too. I play mostly 70s rock/metal and early 80s non hair band metal.

Even by myself in my band room...50 doesn't quite cut it. Just not enough headroom on the cleans. But...I like it LOUD!

Distortion is good for the most part but missing some low end imo.

Cleans are the big problem. My style alternates between clean and distortion frequently... at least 40 percent of the songs anyway. I can't have low headroom, fuzzy, or wimpy cleans.

100 tube watts or bust!
Me too, my friend. I've got to have loud, punchy, heavy, dynamic cleans. And only 100w does it.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
10,972
Modern amps are great, but non master volume amps have something that Modern amps don't. There’s a place for both.

We'll just have to agree to disagree if we are talking about the same type of circuit with and without a master. In my experience all the classic non-MV amps can be reimagined to work just great as master volume ones but it's not going to be a simple "take this exact circuit and add a MV" type deal but designing the amp to best work with the MV. I've played enough MV amps that do those Fender Blackface, Vox AC or Marshall Superlead type tones just great without cranking them.

For example take my Bogner GF45 Superlead's clean channel which is basically a variation of a Fender Blackface. If I crank the MV and use it like a NMV amp (gain becoming the equivalent of volume control) then it behaves a lot like say a Fender Super Reverb (for about equal power amp) would: It's thin and bright sounding at low volume and gets fatter as you turn it up. But thanks to the master, you can turn up the gain and turn down the master. Gives you that thicker sound but without the loud volume. It still needs to have the master turned up if you want some more grit out of the thing because it doesn't have much preamp gain but it still works better than just having the whole thing as a non-master volume setup.

The Marshall based overdrive channel picks up from there and it has a whopping ton of gain on tap not only from an extra all tube gain stages via the boost but also has higher preamp gain than equivalent Marshalls would. That combined with a very gradual master volume (powertube distortion comes in at ~8/10 setting) gives you some real great classic Marshall tones from Plexi to JCM800 without your ears ringing. No attenuators needed, in fact I don't even particularly like how the amp sounds when cranked to powertube distortion and the overdrive channel is clearly tuned to get most of its tone from the preamp.

But if you insist on non-master volume, then you can just buy a great attenuator like the Fryette Power Station. That's another way to solve the problem. A heavy, expensive way but a really well working one!
 

MrTAteMyBalls

Member
Messages
4,701
I used to love loud amps, had a super reverb and I'd jump at the chance to crank it to 7 if no one was home. 10 years of that, shooting shotguns, and frequent concerts has been a really great recipe for mild tinnitus at 25 years old. Now I play my mesa on 5 watts and wear plugs for shooting and concerts. Take care of your ears, folks, they're the only two you get!


Sounds EXACTLY like my story. I started carrying hearing protection with me at all times around age 25. I am now 40 and my hearing is still fine but the tinnitus has only gotten worse even though I protect the ears like crazy. A long recording session even at low volumes does my ears in for days. I think my band days are over. Even with protection the rehearsals are making it worse. Assuming I live a long time it is unfathomable to think I have to hear this noise or worse for the next 30 plus years.

I don't see how people do it. The guys I am in bands with don't wear any protection and their hearing is fine. No tinnitus. Some people are just pre-disposed to having ear issues I think.

I really wish I would have protected them more when I was younger but I am not sure how much it would have helped.
 

Steviecaster

Member
Messages
804
We'll just have to agree to disagree if we are talking about the same type of circuit with and without a master. In my experience all the classic non-MV amps can be reimagined to work just great as master volume ones but it's not going to be a simple "take this exact circuit and add a MV" type deal but designing the amp to best work with the MV. I've played enough MV amps that do those Fender Blackface, Vox AC or Marshall Superlead type tones just great without cranking them.

For example take my Bogner GF45 Superlead's clean channel which is basically a variation of a Fender Blackface. If I crank the MV and use it like a NMV amp (gain becoming the equivalent of volume control) then it behaves a lot like say a Fender Super Reverb (for about equal power amp) would: It's thin and bright sounding at low volume and gets fatter as you turn it up. But thanks to the master, you can turn up the gain and turn down the master. Gives you that thicker sound but without the loud volume. It still needs to have the master turned up if you want some more grit out of the thing because it doesn't have much preamp gain but it still works better than just having the whole thing as a non-master volume setup.

The Marshall based overdrive channel picks up from there and it has a whopping ton of gain on tap not only from an extra all tube gain stages via the boost but also has higher preamp gain than equivalent Marshalls would. That combined with a very gradual master volume (powertube distortion comes in at ~8/10 setting) gives you some real great classic Marshall tones from Plexi to JCM800 without your ears ringing. No attenuators needed, in fact I don't even particularly like how the amp sounds when cranked to powertube distortion and the overdrive channel is clearly tuned to get most of its tone from the preamp.

But if you insist on non-master volume, then you can just buy a great attenuator like the Fryette Power Station. That's another way to solve the problem. A heavy, expensive way but a really well working one!
I'm not sure the point. Yes, they can get "similar" sounds, but if you play your bogner, then play my Superlead, they are very very different. And that is my point. Both are great. Different strokes for different folks
 

LagunaMan

Member
Messages
804
I play my fender pro jr III tube amp at home about one foot away from me and volume set between 3-4 and soloing at around 4. I find that is as loud as I want it to be for my ears. I did crank it to 12 with it facing me and being 6 feet away and didn't like the air hitting my chest that much. It was loud but wasn't harsh on the ears and no ear ringing either. I turned it down for my neighbor's sanity. I can tell you that pick attack became important at that volume. I actually prefer to play quiet at TV volumes at home. I think an ideal home tube amp would be between 1 and 5 watts of power or like others said a 100 watt amp with guitar volume at 2 or cranked down master volume.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
10,972
I'm not sure the point. Yes, they can get "similar" sounds, but if you play your bogner, then play my Superlead, they are very very different. And that is my point. Both are great. Different strokes for different folks

Granted the Bogner is perhaps not the best example because it's not a clone but more like an "inspired by" amp where its channels are based on Fenders and Marshalls but don't necessarily represent them 1:1. The point was that a lot of people are chasing classic amp tones and think they need to buy a Deluxe or a Superlead and only those will do when there's a whole ton more modern amp designs that will do those kind of tones just as well with modern conveniences.
 

lowyaw

Member
Messages
3,729
Hi all, might be a bit of a noob question, but I’m amazed at how loud people must play their amps. I had a ‘65 Fender DRRI 22-watt and that thing was crazy loud if I basically raised the volume to 4 or 5, which IMO was needed to warm up and thicken the sound a bit.

I’m puzzled at the thought of people actually diming the thing to distortion, I mean I seriously can’t imagine being able to do that, let alone play even bigger amps and crank to natural distortion, etc...is the trick being super far away from the amp or something? Please enlighten me. Lol. Thanks


Because you're a part of the blessed modeler generation. And it's a compliment, in case it doesn't translate well in writing. You don't need to wreck havoc on your hearing to get those juices flowing.

Other than that, speaking of volume: I used to play a 4*12 Mesa rig, pretty loud, split into 2 channels, each channel 50 watt, still own that glorious animal, and it's fun, but Jesus, those rigs ARE very directional. It's literally a matter of a single step left or right when you go from icepick harsh to bass city. And past 12 oclock on the volume, you could feel 600 HZ rattling its way through your internal organs.
If I had a 2x100 watt power amp, I'd add pant leg flapping to it, too.

JCM2000 Marshalls were easier on the hearing, because thgose had 75T speakers. But still, don't stand on axis, they effing rip.
I can only imagine cranking a Plexi. We once tried to wind up an evil twin, and yeah. Kinda backed off, the amp won.
 

Oinkus

Member
Messages
7,523
Standing next to an amp is not how to hear it well. Live you setup in an orderly fashion and of course have monitors of some sort and ear protection. I have a 30" cable for anywhere that has enough space to get that far away from my amp. Everything is relevant to the space you are making sounds in and only that space. Figure out how to get the best sound in the space you play in that is comfortable to you. It is not rocket science really.
 




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