How many controls does an amp need?

jblake

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,234
Maybe it is just a characteristic of getting older, but I’ve also started to appreciate fewer knobs over the years. A tweed deluxe is just about right: volume and tone. Of course those controls are duplicated on the guitar and again on any drive pedals you might be using.
 

WillLane

Member
Messages
1,982
I've just been looking at the new Boss Nextone Special. Leaving aside the three controls for effects on each channel, the clean channel has seven knobs, the drive channel has eight. Plus a boost control for each channel and an overall master. I'd hate to have to tweak this thing at a gig.
The amount of controls on that amp is kind of silly, but it is a modeler with ~WYSIWYG controls. That could be a breath of fresh air for those who hate the menuing and encoders of many other modelers like the Spider V or Mustangs.

I like my modelers and "jack of all trades, master of none" amp(s) to have lots of controls and tweakability because that's the point; tweakability and versatility.

However, for the "master of one" amps, the fewer controls the better. I play AC30 circuits most often so Volume and Cut is all I really need.

That's for vintage-styled amps, though. For modern (higher-gain) amps, volume, 3-band EQ, master, and resonance/presence are pretty important.
 

ProfRhino

Member
Messages
7,172
as many as you want, minus the master volume ! :idea
MVs rob you of the best part of a tube amp - power tube saturation ! :tapedshut

if you need quieter, there is no cheating - you gotta achieve this between the speaker out and the cab. :dunno

ymmv, mine doesn't,
Rhino
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,004
The older I get the fewer controls my amps have! Now I bring a Champ(and a mic to mic it) to my guitar gigs. It has one knob, volume. I do use pedals in front of it though.
Same. The Down Brownie has a ton of switches and options, but at its base, it has a volume and a tone, plus trem on one channel.

So it’s basically several very simple amps.
 

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,149
The correct answer is three, but I did go through a minimalist phase where I did a lot of sub gigs with a Junior, Carmen Ghia and a mic, so 4 knobs total, not counting pedals. But both these heads (YBA-2s, one with 6V6es and the other with EL-84s) always sound good with all 3 knobs at noon. Even I can manage that.
 

teemuk

Member
Messages
3,156
The more controls there are the more you can fine tune your tone to your preference. Sometimes simple controls just don't cut it when you have to adjust to different environments or different tones altogether. This regardless of how great "base tone" the amp provides.
I wonder... How many of you folks having just one or two knobs in the amp actually make it up by having several knobs in a pedal board?
 

Adam1578

Member
Messages
144
My Orange Tiny Terror has 3, works decently for the most part. Could use more than just one tone knob though, like a eq section or something.
 

Alton

Member
Messages
1,190
At last count to really make it sound it's best you need 6 rows of 9 knobs each so 54 knobs would be just about perfect. That's just on the front of the amp. More will be needed on the back and quantity is dependent on feature(s) of the amp. Later we can talk about the 2' deep x 6' long 2 tier pedal board...the knob count on that will beat ANY amp!
 

Just Mike

Member
Messages
414
As an amp builder (hobbyist), I have to say if you need more than a couple of knobs you're probably using the wrong amp.
 




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