Options for volume control on NMV amps- Non invasive options for volume control?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jackaroo, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

    Aug 23, 2003
    I'm looking at vintage Marshalls, and I'm a little overwhelmed by how much volume they have. It's just incredible. So Fing loud. They sound great, but it's kind of impractical and in this day and age.

    So volume control is obviously an issue- something that's paramount on small stages and in my home studio. Here are options that I know of for taming the beast along with their respective cons. I'm not sold on anything, because frankly I need to do more homework. What am I missing, what tricks are there that I should know about? BTW if my assumptions/factoids are wrong regarding the cons listed below- please set the record straight!

    PPI Master- good if not on a vintage amp, also the power section isn't working as hard as it should so tone and feel are different/suffer.

    Variac- expensive, heavy, only effective to 85v after that tube damage- squishy response (I like that BTW). Not that much attenuation. Damage amp's tranny and tubes is possible?

    Power scaling- expensive, and not an option on vintage gear. Questionable efficacy depending on tech who installs it.

    Inefficient speakers 96dB vs 100 dB. Not too much attenuation- but at least it's natural.

    Number of speakers 2 vs 4. Less air, less oomph.

    Attenuators. I'm told sacrifice tone/feel and can be dangerous to trannies

    Reamp. Ultimate attenuator- all this money to then go SS? Big $$$ still has risk to tranny.

    Load boxes to poweramp. Another thing to haul around and maintain!

    I'm already looking at smaller amps, like the JTM 45 which is closer to 30-35 watts- not 45 or 50 like the 1987 series. And I plan on using just 2 Heritage GB speakers @ 96 dB (G12m) rather than the 30 H mags which are 100dB I believe. I'd use a variac if it was safe, but how much does that really lower volume?

    I wont be running the amp full out, more with a touch of breakup, and plan on using boosters and fuzzes to get the gain cookin'. But still, is there a way to get the volume down say to 10-15 watts without any risk to the amp or irreversible mods.? Say... someway of fooling the amp into thinking it's feeding more speakers? By sending a portion of the signal out to a dummy load that just goes nowhere while a portion of the signal goes to the cab unaltered?

    Please let me know what you know works but wont kill my old amp, cost a fortune, add too much gear to my insanely cluttered world, or make my nice amp sound like poop.


  2. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Apr 6, 2007
    A multiple speaker load will help.

    I tame my Hot Cat 100R running it through my '73 Ampeg SVT 8X10 cab.
    Great tones but a much more comfortable volume running at 4 Ohms.

    For live stage, the plexi panels will help you control stage volume to the front.
  3. localmotion411

    localmotion411 Member

    Feb 1, 2006
    Madison, MS
    By multiple speaker load, are you saying that a 4x12 could be quieter than a 2x12? I am trying to tame stage volume with my Komet, and I'm wondering if I'd be louder with a 2x12 with 65-watt Scumbacks (96-97 dB efficiency) or a 4x12 with 25-watt greenbacks.
  4. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    British Columbia
    I posted this yesterday. The Ultimate is the Ultimate.

  5. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    under the stars
    I have a Germino Classic 45 (JTM-45 clone) and I like it just perfect with a Weber Mass, dialed down just a touch, and a Cot50 on input to goose it at lower volume into the SOUND I want out of it. Also, it keeps me able to get good headroom.

    I hadn't been using the Cot50 so much with my other amps, and didn't realize what a great pedal it is until I tried it out with this one using it to get the amp over without being too loud.

    The Weber Mass helps too, and I don't feel like it compromises my sound at all. I like what it gives me.

    I am running it mainly into a Marshall 8412 cab that I think has Celestion G12 somethings in it...I have no idea how efficient the speakers are (or indeed....I still need to open it up and check what speakers are in there, I bought it used and the guy wasn't sure).
  6. hamfist

    hamfist Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    I'm not sure where the idea that power-scaling is expensive these days comes from. It costs pretty much the same as the cost of a Hotplate to have a good tech power-scale an amp.
    I used to have a power-scaled Ceriatone Jtm45, and that worked just fantastically for authentic crunch at low volume levels.
    I currently use a Hotplate with a NMV AC30, which I'm also very pleased with.
    I think for each amp/cab/player situation you have to play around and try things a little to see what works for you.
    I think in an ideal world with no financial limits, one would probably be looking at a "bit" of power-scaling, a "bit" of attenuation, a "bit" of reduction on a PPIMV and low efficiency speakers to tame a 50 or 100W NMV Marshall. Each of the volume reduction methods seems to usually work well in small amounts, but when you try to use it a lot, then tone often suffers. In my experience, well implemented power-scaling is the least tone-affecting when used quite a lot. My experience is, however, pretty minimal compared to many folks here, and I'm sure many will disagree with me.
  7. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

    Sep 17, 2005
    i regularly use more than one method (attenuation and power scaling) on a couple of my amps and it really has the benefits U suggest in Ur post, and more.
  8. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

    Jun 16, 2006
    I had a beautiful 77' JMP NMV and I tried a lot of different setups but once I heard how glorious it sounded loud, everything else seemed to fall short. I tried a hotplate, a hotplate as a loadbox , A Weber unit, Yellow Jackets running EL84's, different speakers, dirt boxes etc... Nothing really worked for me. I've heard great results from power scaling and PPIMV mods but I chose to sell the amp and got somthing that fit my needs better.

    Just to add, I can and do play pretty loud but this JMP was just insane loud!
  9. Raymund

    Raymund Member

    Oct 9, 2005
    Vienna, Austria
    + 1
  10. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2005
    Surrounded by Idiots
    Very true, but you have also stated the rub. It has to be well-designed and well-implemented by a skilled tech or the results will be something rather less than what you hoped for.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice