The Wonders of the Low Input

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by IceTre, May 3, 2015.

  1. IceTre

    IceTre Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    All my life, I've automatically just plugged into the high input of the amp. (If the amp had a low and a high). Recently, after buying a Vox AC30, I discovered that, for a clean sound, it's best to plug into the low input, and turn up the channel gain (and, if it has one, the master volume). Duh. :bonk Should have been doing that for the last hundred years. So much better. Gets those tubes cookin'. A much richer clean tone. Now I only plug into the high output when I want distortion.

    But y'all probably already knew that. I'm a little slow.
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  2. Optimus Rhyme

    Optimus Rhyme Member

    Jul 8, 2014
    Ontario, Canada
    I've found the same thing with my Swart AST Pro. It's got the 55Hz greenback that is just starting to settle in. But the low input really brings out the subtleties of the amp and speaker. I find the hi input gives too much in the mid range.
  3. manasquanto

    manasquanto Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    where gear is fun
    I'm glad you wrote this, I must be as slow as you ;)

    I was wondering why my deluxe reverb sounds so blackface clean at night when I play at lower volume through the low input, and during the day when I change inputs and crank it a little I don't even recognize the sound. Like you said, it's all mids.

    I'm sticking with low. Thanks again.
  4. Bobche

    Bobche Member

    Apr 24, 2015
    Im in the same boat mate!

    I only discovered the wonder of the low input channel on my ac15hw the other week for the top boost side. Plugging into it give the amp a much cleaner tone! Bass/treble at 12 o'clock, gain cranked and MV at 1 o'clock sounds amazing for the clean stuff. Volume is neighbour friendly. For dirty grit I still prefer the high input at edge of breakup and an od pedal pushing it.

    Low input gets even better with MV bypassed and chanel vol high!!
  5. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2014
    I'm with you OP. Being doing this for a while, some great tones to be had there.
  6. e???

    e??? Member

    Jan 12, 2015
    Minneapolis, MN
    Same here. Especially since I've gotten into p90's I've noticed that on fender amps, old and new. I think strats and teles sometimes work better with the high input, but p90's and anything with a stronger output fares better in the low. I usually play clean though, people who play with a lot of grit may feel differently about this
  7. JPF

    JPF Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    New England
    Yep. My P90-fueled Jr. Sounds a lot better through my 18w clone's low input. It took me awhile to figure out which input to use for my EMG SA-powered strat, passive s/c, P90 and HB I were guitars - it really does make a massive difference which input you use and how you eq them...
  8. joevacc

    joevacc Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2015
    New York
    It's true, It's true!

    What I have done with my Vox AC15C1X is build a simple A/B pedal. I connect into BOTH inputs and set one to clean and one to distort.

    The best of both worlds really... I love the normal Input for a lot of stuff but I've found that when playing with certain drummers/bass players I really need the top boost channel for my clean sound. Alternatively, the normal side cranked is a great heavy sound.

    So I do switch which channel I use as the clean side but I have both channels at my disposal!
  9. Echoplexi

    Echoplexi Silver Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2012
    Plymouth, MA
    Low inputs on marshalls are great too. Loved it on my 2203/2204 amps
  10. deeval

    deeval Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2003
  11. mattpas

    mattpas Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    Sunshine State
    Lower inputs are great for warmer clean tones and for use with high-gain pedals.
  12. Seektone

    Seektone Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    Great post OP! I have been loving and preferring the low inputs on my Greer Cam18 and 65amps soho. I get more useable boosts for leads especially. Also better for midgain fuzz pedals.
  13. Grimace

    Grimace Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    For Fender's with bright caps, it can lessen the effect of the cap at a given volume. Playing at low stage volume with a venue's backline, if it is a fender with a bright cap, I will usually go into the low input, so I can roll the volume knob up a bit more and get relatively less bright cap treble.
  14. neville5000

    neville5000 Member

    Oct 11, 2009
    A welcome discovery for me as well a few years ago.
  15. Seegs

    Seegs Member

    Jul 13, 2004
    I have never liked it as I always feel it lacks the top end with all the amps I have had...

    That is until I got my Matchless SC30...the low gain input on this amp is outstanding and there is no lack of high end frequencies...

    I just did a gig on low power and low gain input with my Les Paul with its volume control on 6 for rhythm and on 10 for solos...I was in low volume heaven...
  16. MrMilkman

    MrMilkman Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2014
    I exclusively use the lo input on my Dr. Z M12. With the bass on around 10:00 and treble on 9:00 I can get the volume up to about 2:30 and it stays wonderfully clean with plenty of highs. Kick in the Fulldrive for dirt and it's a thing of beauty.

    My other two amps are four holers (Marshall 1987 clone and a 5e3 clone) and I've done the same thing with both of them on their respective bright channels. Really allows me to crank the volume and get the tubes working without imparting a ton of breakup, then push them with the OD pedal.
  17. pale fire

    pale fire Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2013
    Tampa, FL
    I have resisted this in the past as I like all the high end, etc... that comes from using the hi input; but I went home yesterday and tried the lo input on my Swart ST45 for a while and I think I will go with it....I am ready for some mellower highs and mids......and since I run the master all the way up, this lets me get the volume knob past 2!

    Have tried it on my Reeves Space Cowboy before and probably wont go low input there - that amps' controls work real well (for me) without having to pad the input - but I also run the master lower on the Reeves and use the "boost" function.

    Thanks OP!
  18. IndyMead

    IndyMead Member

    Jan 6, 2015
    Can someone explain what exactly the low input side does? I've always been a bit confused. Does it just hit the preamp section with less making the amp less likely to break up? I have a Hot Rod Deville with a low input but haven't ever really used it primarily because I'm ingorant to how its supposed to be used.
  19. Cirrus

    Cirrus Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    My understanding is it usually works a couple of ways - firstly, the low input hits the first preamp valve with less signal which = less distortion. Secondly, it presents a lower impedance to whatever is plugged into it - how much that matters depends on what that something is. If it's a buffered pedal, probably not much. If it's a guitar pickup, it'll shave off some treble.

    Most amplifier volume/gain knobs are after the first gain stage, so the only way to reduce the signal strength hitting that first valve (besides turning the guitar/ effect output down or playing softer of course) is to use the low input.

    On something like an AC30 I prefer the high input because it's brighter and has more grind when you really dig in. On something like a late JMP/ JCM style amp, the high input has basically no clean headroom so the low input is essential if you want cleans/ use pedals for your core tone. In any amp, the low input can be a godsend if you're plugging in something with a hot output like a keyboard.
    Scrapperz likes this.
  20. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    I did not care for the low input on JCM800's when I had them. I liked the high input and roll down on the guitar, so I could control the break up by attack. The low input seemed sterile. But I do like it on my Naylor. Gets a nice Stones-y kinda break up if I want and then play softer and it's very clean. I like that kind of elastic kinda tones from a tube amp.

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