So what do you city living apartment dwellers do?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Random Hero, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

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    I'm somewhat in a quandry about what to do regarding my rig. I'm a little unsure at this juncture as to whether to live with it, sell up and get a smaller, low wattage tube amp plus something like an XT/X3 Live, or go the whole hog and get an Axe-FX with the funds raised.

    What do you guys who live in cities do? Particularly if you live in an apartment and/or own no car.

    Further details of my predicament detailed here; http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=508811

    Curious to see what you guys in similar scenarios are using...
     
  2. tedisdead

    tedisdead Member

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    I've got a small studio in the second bedroom. Nothing special, but it serves my purpose. I'm using a Crate VC20 1x10, and it's a little loud for the room, but good tube tones at lower volumes. I was using a vox AD50, but it wasn't tube, and even at low volumes, it just didn't have the sound I was looking for.
    I think a small low wattage tube amp and your pedalboard should make anyone happy.
    One other thing. Put your amp on an amp stand. It keeps it off the floor, so the downstairs neighbors are happy, and it points the amp at your seated head, so you don't need it quite as loud as if it were on the floor. Works for me anyway.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Paul86

    Paul86 Member

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    I hear you. What I did was sell my 4x12, and I bought a Ho/UA. The beauty of this arrangement is that there is no learning curve. You rig stays 'intact', so to speak. Also, it's relatively cheap.
     
  4. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    I live in an apartment in a high rise building in downtown Philadelphia.

    I have an Axe FX and can play it at any hour without complaint. I also have a VHT Sig:X that sounds great at low volumes and I have played it without complaint up until 1:a.m. or so.

    I also have a Rivera KHR 100 that really doesn't open up unless the master volume is above 3. One day I took off from work, had a few, and cranked the Rivera for about 15 minutes. The next day I had a letter from the management office. It's the only complaint I've received in two and a half years.

    I play the Axe Fx (powered by the Rivera) and the Sig:X through two 4x12s and even so, I can adjust the volume with either so that it's low enough that no one complains but both still sound great. I also occasionally play through a Cube 60 or even a Micro Cube if it's after 4 a.m.

    With all of that said, I have young, friendly neighbors who enjoy my playing and whose only complaint is that sometimes they have to strain to hear what I'm playing because it's not loud enough. Good relations with neighbors are as important, if not moreso, than which amp you're using.

    Some folks will complain if they can hear it no matter what your volume is. From my experience, making nice with the neighbors is critical to playing in an apartment if you want to avoid complaints.
     
  5. indravayu

    indravayu Senior Member

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    I use an attenuator and live in a noisy, marginal neighborhood where people don't call the cops unless something serious has happened.
     
  6. hawkeye17

    hawkeye17 Member

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    Check out a Blackstar HT-5 head. I see you have an Einstein and if you like higher gain stuff, the Blackstar is elite at lower volumes and still gives tube tone. It has a decent clean channel too and you can't beat the price($299).
     
  7. Dexter.Sinister

    Dexter.Sinister Still breathing Gold Supporting Member

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    1) I get to know my neighbors. They come over to hang. I play for/with them. I discuss the need for volume now and then. We work out an agreement. They like to hear me play, so long as it is during times when it is ok for noise. A little community relations plus sense goes a looooong way.

    2) I use an attenuator on my 50 watt head and a master volume on the combo. When I use my smallest amp, I use pedals if needed to get break up without being quite so loud (still loud, though).

    3) I rehearse with my trio in a studio. That is at performance volume.

    As for no car...I used bike and trailer or bus or train for the better part of 20 years...

    DS
     
  8. sixty2strat

    sixty2strat Member

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    I live in center city philly in a big old stone building and never had an issue for 4 years, used to sit in the window play. 50 watt Jmps on 10, picked my time and days to crank .Now the hipster boutique that was cool with hot chicks is a toy shop that sells toys that seem more geared to creepy older men ( a bait shop?) and the owner has made my life a hell, I was told not to play at all, even a 5 watt supro was forbiden, and no stereo too. rather than talk to me he went to the landlord.... which was l even more harsh since my mom was dying of cancer and comming back from visiting her at the hospice, playing was my solace. looking for a house to rent in fishtown at this point .
     
  9. doyle o'brian

    doyle o'brian Member

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    I live in an apartment in Chicago and as a result play mostly through my Swart 6v6se or using my line6 podxt live with headphones (which I hate). Unfortunately, unless I am wearing headphones, my neighbors can hear every note I play even with the swart. I agree with the others who said that getting along with the neighbors is important, and I have never really had any complaints. Ocasionally I will crank up my amp just to hear it, but I am always self conscious about what I am playing, knowing that everyone is listening and possibly annoyed. I try to think of this as a good thing because it forces me to play songs rather than just noodling. I feel like I am always performing if I am playing at volume. Every once in a while I will bring my amp over to my parents house to rock out in the basement, and I gig enough that I don't worry too much about not being able turn up at home. So bottom line is get a headphone amp that you can deal with, learn some songs that your neighbors like, and get some gigs!
     
  10. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

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    The thing is, I have a good relationship with the neighbours upstairs (we're on the ground floor of a three storey house so only the people above to worry about) and they know I play, when I tend to play and say they don't mind. Which is great. Problem is, I dunno why, but I feel like I could be annoying them at any moment with the volume despite the relationship. I'm not the type of guy to push it until I'm caught out, so to speak.

    I suppose the volume is only half of the issue however. The other is the fact my rig is huge and heavy and I have no way of transporting it. I'm just concerned the Axe FX isn't gonna give me the tone I desire, although I've no idea why?
     
  11. xroads

    xroads Member

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    To me, the key is to have a good master volume. Even a 5W tube amp can be too loud for an apartment, a 50W with good MV can be dialed in to sound OK at bedroom levels.
     
  12. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

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    Yeah, my Einstein does have a very good MV, that's for sure.
     
  13. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    Total bummer. Was it by South Street or 13th and Pine by any chance?

    If you do decide to move to Fishtown, make sure you move to somewhere that your gear will be safe...there are some people with bad habits there as I'm sure you know.

    Same here.

    If you play like it's at a concert the neighbors are more likely to enjoy it than if you're just practicing. I always practice at low volume.

    It's a reasonable concern given that you aren't experienced with one. You can't be sure you'll like any amp no matter who else likes it until you play through it yourself, and clearly some have been more satisfied with what they have achieved with the Axe FX than others.

    Regarding annoying the neighbors, see the post above. Playing as well as you can will make all the difference in the world. Just don't bug them with repeated scales or numerous starts and stops and you should be fine, they sound like reasonable people.
     
  14. lukeII

    lukeII Supporting Member

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    I live in an appartment and have a Two Rock and a Matchless Chieftain through a Reinhardt 1x12 cab. I use pedals for OD when I need really low volume as it seems to work better than amp drive for those low levels. Out of your set up the only thing that doesn't seem compatible with an appartment (unless you have some really tolerant neighbours and a big appartment) is the 4x12 which I would replace (depending on the size of the room you play in and the wattage of your Einstein) with an oversized 1x12 or a 2x12 (for playing out only) with some inefficient speakers. the inefficient speakers will allow you to push the amp more.
     
  15. Alex W

    Alex W Member

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    I'm happy with my X3 Live through a set of Bose headphones. I think it sounds great. When I'm playing out I'm running the X3 into my amp.
     
  16. birv2

    birv2 Member

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    Just moved into an apartment in the city, and though I knew this would be an issue, I'm finding it an adjustment. I have a Peavey Bandit that I can play with headphones, but I frankly can't stand the tone that way (it doesn't sound too bad otherwise). The next best thing is my little Digitech RP50 modeller, which actually sounds OK with the phones.

    What I really want to do is crank my Pro Jr and try out my pedals, but I only do that if I get home from work early (before 5pm) for a bit. No complaints so far. I'm hoping that most people aren't home at that time. But it's definitely a drag. It does make me really look forward to jam night, though!

    Bob
     
  17. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I now live in a home that has no neighbors, and I can play when and almost how loud I want, but when I didn't...

    EVEN with great neighbors, even ones that tell me they "like hearing it", I think that can wear thin for them, and I don't like causing other people discomfort with my music.

    When I lived in apartments I almost exclusively played into devices like the V-amp2, Tonelab, etc. or Tascam GT-1. All excellent "second best" options. Tube amps, even set really low, just plain carry, and when I noodle or especially when I practice a riff or part over and over, it would be just nerve-wracking for neighbors, so I stayed int the headphone world.

    The other option, you find (hopefully close by) and rent a practice room, where you can have the amp there (storage closets with locks, and security) and go there and crank it all you want. There is no substitute for a decently cranked amp moving actual air in a room. I need to do it once in a while no matter what the situation (in a band, not...etc.).

    Building an isolation booth could be tricky, and may not isolate enough, plus it would be cramped, etc. There just aren't good solutions and alternatives I don't think. We had a similar thread recently here, and it seemed like even acoustic guitars (and how many tube amps can you really play down at acoustic guitar levels?) bothered neighbors MORE than a stereo played at higher volume levels. Many of us experienced that.

    Alternatives are times when closer neighbors are out, etc.
    Just seems like the best solution is renting practice room, or finding a place in the building (storage area?) where it won't carry.
     
  18. zhivago

    zhivago Member

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    I play acoustic at home, and plugged in at rehearsals :)
     
  19. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

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    Yeah, V-Amp is what I'm using at later hours at present. Well, that or one of the software modellers (Revalver/Guitar Rig 3). They don't sound bad but there's something I don't really enjoy about playing through headphones. It's not life or death obviously, but an irritant. For modellers I own though, it's either those or a ****** old Line 6 Spider II, which is even worse!

    I think you're right about tube amps just carrying. I guess my 4x12 particularly isn't helping, due to the spread although the 2x12 Mesa I had was almost too directional. Maybe I should look into other 2x12s or even a 1x12.

    And I definitely agree about making sure it's songs I'm playing loud rather than scalar stuff etc. When I have days off from GIT, I just wanna play my rig, but know there's stuff I gotta practice too, so I end up playing scales/arpeggios through it then thinking "maybe this might be a little annoying..." and end up going back to the 'phones.
     
  20. PlexiFuzz

    PlexiFuzz I know karate. Voodoo, too. Silver Supporting Member

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    I loved for the better part of a decade in apartments in San Francisco. My ultimate solutions were 1) a 25 watt amp (Sewell) that had a good MV and was set clean with pedals and 2) a power scaling amp (Fargen Mini Plex MkII with a 2x12). Both worked like a charm and neither received any complaints.
     

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