Tone King 20W or 40W Newbie Volume Question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by larryl, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. larryl

    larryl Supporting Member

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    I have an opportunity to purchase any of these. Need an opinion from owners please. Lot's of options:

    > Comet 20 112
    > Comet 40 w/1/2 Power Switch (or take out 2 power tubes to make it a 20W)
    > Meteor II 112 40 w/1/2 Power Switch (or take out 2 power tubes to make it a 20W)

    I am a home player - never gig. Which of these amps would you recommend for moderate home volume levels?

    Can I tame the beast with an attenuator and still get good TONE? Would the 1/2 power switch be all I need? Or overdrive pedal and low volume setting?

    Thank you....
     
  2. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    All the Tone King amps are NON master volume designs. That means that by design, you have to get 'em up on the pipe to get gain sounds.

    I played a Comet 40B, 2x12" for several years, and I now mostly gig a Meteor II, about 2 years old now. The 1/2 power switch (DON'T pull two tubes, use the 1/2 power switch) works great, but still, it's louder than, say, a Deluxe Reverb, significantly louder.

    I'm thinking here that in general, if you want an amp that gets gain sounds at low volume, you want a master vol amp. An attenuator will attenuate the clean side output as well as the gain side, so the clean channel will have to be cranked to hear it and balance the vol between channels. You will likely run into headroom issues on the attenuated clean channel. The Tone Kings are EXCELLENT amps, but I think you'll be fighting the design of the Tone Kings if you're using an attenuator with one.

    When I want gain sounds at low volume, I use a pedal - it's my compromise solution. At medium and higher volume, the Tone Kings are fantastic. If you want gain at lower volume, a pedal will do the job. I don't know what a Tone King would sound like w/ an attenuator - it just seems to me that if you're looking for a 20w amp for gain sounds, and that w/o an attenuator that would be too loud, you'd have an easier time 'taming the beast' with a master vol, channel switch design.

    Hope this helps, Dana O.
     
  3. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    ;)

    (I currently own Dana's old Comet 40B - killer amp - it ain't goin' anywhere if I can help it)

    How you doin', Dana?

    FWIW, I agree here w/what Dana said about the volume issues.
     
  4. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    larryl, not trying to make your life harder, but you might want to consider a Tone King Imperial. It is a 2x6V6 amp, 20 watts, smaller trannies than the Comet and Meteor and therefore a smidge less overall volume.

    Here's a clip of me playing one:

    http://media.putfile.com/Imperial-at-NYC-Tonefest

    P.S. Like the Comet and Meteor, it is a non-MV amp and therefore may still be a bit loud for strictly home use.
     
  5. larryl

    larryl Supporting Member

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    RiffMeister - if the Imperial 20W will do the trick, whay would the Comet 20W NOT work?
     
  6. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I don't know that the Comet wouldn't work for you. And I've never compared 20W Comet with the Imperial (in fact, I've never played any Comet!). But my guess is that the Comet, with bigger trannies and cab is going to be a bigger sounding and louder amp than the Imperial. You could ask Mark Bartel by email. He's a super nice guy and he more than anyone would know what might work best for you in the Tone King family.
     
  7. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    IME the Tone King is Very Powerful. Even w/ the 20w don't expect you'll do more than just crack the volume open.

    Nice looking amps, but they're more than furniture!
     
  8. stratlad

    stratlad Member

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    I have a Comet 20. When I got it I wanted a 40 but I was talked into getting the 20. It's controllable on the rhythm channel but pretty loud on the lead. Great amp. If you are playing in your home you won't need the 40
    and you can play out with the 20 no problem unless you are in big club.
     
  9. larryl

    larryl Supporting Member

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    Stratlad,

    So you are saying I can get the famous Tone King tone at low to medium 'bedroom' volumes with the Comet 20?
     
  10. larryl

    larryl Supporting Member

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    ?? Sounds like I need to go to an amp that has a master volume to get the sounds I need at BR levels. I was LUSTING for a Tone King!
     
  11. stratlad

    stratlad Member

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    Larryl: One man's "bedroom volume" (sounds weird doesn't it) may not be another's, but the TK's volume isn't a problem on the rhythm (blackface) channel. The Lead channel is another story -it can get very loud and sounds more like 50 watts than 20 when cranked. I only use that when playing out as kind of a "lead boost". I use the TK at home a lot and in jams, but I play pretty clean most of the time. It's a winner and its tone always gets noticed. You won't regret it if buy one. It's tone is hard to replicate and it sounds equally good with humbuckers and single coils.
     
  12. mbetter

    mbetter Member

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    I like the 40 watt Comet a lot better than the 20 watt Comet, but I never touched the lead channel on mine, just ran pedals into the Blackface channel. Stunning amp, I'd kill for another one.
     
  13. lannyhall

    lannyhall Member

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    I enjoyed the demo. It sounds like a really good, versatile amp.
     
  14. mgctrat

    mgctrat Active Member

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    I have used the Comet many times at lower volume on the 40 watt mode late at night and have been fine (wife not complaining while trying to sleep). We have a two story home. Bedroom upstairs and guitar boy downstairs in the living room. Very good low volume tone.
     
  15. larryl

    larryl Supporting Member

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    I found a Meteor II 40W w/112 I am going to buy. I will start with a good attenuator and see how that works... then I will try a pedal.

    From all I have read, I am sure I will not be disappointed with the TK.

    Thanks for all of your help and suggestions.
     
  16. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Larry -

    Contact Mark Bartel at Tone King and ask him what his experiences with an attenuator are - he'll recommend one to try.

    On pedals, I have good luck with the Fulltone Fulldrive II and the Menatone Blue Collar. The TK's are pedal-friendly, so most any pedal works well.

    Good Luck, Dana O.
     
  17. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Excellent! Although I have not tried all of Mark's amps and cannot speak from first hand experience, I do believe the Meteor II is the pinnacle for what he is trying to achieve. The 1/2 power switch will bring it down a bit, but I think the amp would need more reduction (power scaling, attenuator, etc) to make it a "bedroom" amp.

    In any event, I hope all goes well for you in your Tone Quest!
     
  18. mgctrat

    mgctrat Active Member

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    You will love the Meteor.

    Great Amp.
     
  19. heady dude

    heady dude Member

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    Ive got a MII, and dont have much of a problem playing at bedroom volumes through the clean channel at 20w, cant crank it much past 1 though. The lead channel is a different story, its got one volume setting, LOUD AS HELL. Its a really powerful amp even at 20w, and I think it could be an issue if you lived in a small apartment, especially cause it has such a huge bottom end that would carry through walls no problem, but if you have a little room you will be fine. Like someone said you can get the gain through pedals. Its a fantastic amp, always makes me smile when I play through it.
     
  20. larryl

    larryl Supporting Member

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    I pulled the trigger....hope the neighbors don't threaten me for the VOLUME. I am going to try a Barber Tone Pump in front of it and see what I can get before I try an attenuator.
     

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