Katana Air is really good at...

Eagle X

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ultra low volume!

I'm truly a bedroom guitarist. At the age of late 30s I don't have the leisure to play with a band. I got a new born baby and a struggling business to take care of. The only time I can finally sit down and play my guitar is, yes, midnight. So I need something really quiet.

Playing unplugged isn't an option. I play metal.

I tried so called 1 watt tube amps cuz I thought, well, tube amps should sound good. And 1 watt should be quite. Right? I was wrong. I got a DSL1. It's loud. And the sound quality drops radically when the volume gets low. I tried 0.1 watt output mode and turned the volume to 2/10. The tone is barely acceptable. But it's still loud enough to wake up my families.

I tried so called mini amps, including Katana Mini and FLY3. The tone isn't very satisfying. And they share the same problem: the tone gets much worse when I turn the volume low.

I tried headphones too. I have a Waza Air. I like it. But sometimes I still want something 'real'.

Then I got my Katana Air two months ago. That was a good decision. During the midnight I turn both channel volume and master volume to 2/10. And as I tested with a db meter on phone, the volume next to the speaker is as low as 65-69db (considering the room noise is nearly 50db already). The best part is that the sound quality doesn't drop too much at ultra low volume. The tone remains nearly unchanged. Of course it doesn't sound 'open' enough. But it becomes acceptable once I turn on the buildin reverb a little bit.

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THAWK819

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Nice; I'm in a similar boat needing to play quietly most of the time these days. For me it's been the Yamaha THR30 II that's getting it done. It's really versatile and the tone holds up at ultra low volumes.
 

haywoodwebb

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I've had one for years. I love it. I have it sitting next to my recliner and I usually just recline and jam. I love the sounds it makes and the wireless is great! Plus I can run backing tracks through it from my phone. The sound is amazingly great for low volume.
 

wildhawk1

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Congrats on a smart choice.

I've laughed for years at what some consider bedroom amps. You're absolutely right that 1w can get way too loud when there's others in the house or people in the next apartment.
 

Duane_the_tub

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I have one and use it every single day. Paired with a good set of wireless headphones it's a perfect tool for practicing, writing or just jamming at home. I wouldn't trade mine for anything.
 

JMP

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I’m in a similar boat - must use headphones for 90% of my playing. I’m grateful that modern technology offers many awesome solutions for headphone players.

In the late 1980s, when i started playing, there were practically no options.

Yeah, I’d much rather turn up my Deluxe Reverb or Carls Custom…..but my Zoom G1 Four with some headphones has been a life saver!
 

cybermgk

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What some don't grasp is there really is different 'home low volumes'.

For instance, low enough to be able to play for extended amounts of time, and not cause cumulative hearing loss is one type of home level. Often Not annoying your neighbors can be similar levels as this. This is where a LOT of home volume amps stay, like the 1 watt amps (assuming MV and/or power scaling)

Not annoying others in the house during normal hours (no baby) is yet another level. It could be as loud as above, given closed doors to rooms, basement rooms etc. But generally, it is a little less loud than above.

My amps like the Katana and Catalyst, and even the Supro Delta King, work perfect for both. Some of those 1 watt amps etc, can also work in both above.

Next is TV or conversational level. I.E. no louder than usual volume you watch TV at, or might talk at. This is where those 12" speaker amps above CAN start to struggle a little. I still think they can do it for certain tones. But this is the demarcation point.

But then comes don't wake the baby (or others) low volume. Pretty much what the OP is talking about. At this volume, frankly smaller speakers can work better. This is PARTICULARLY the case, when they are designed for these volume levels, like the Katana Air and THR amps mentioned are. This is where I use the SPARK Mini (formerly the SPARK 40, before I got the MINI). Like the OP, I often prefer this over Headphone, even with open back cans.

Then there is near silent play, which means headphones. EVERYTHING I use above, except the Supro, works for this. But, others I have that are great here are my HX Stomp, Boss GT-1 and Mustang Micro. Just had a thought, I wonder how the HX Stomp would sound through the SPARK amps, hmmm

NOW, I have one option that covers all of those different levels fantastically, and that is my Axe FX III mark 2. For the first one, I can use both Monitors AND through the Matrix amp into the Xitone 2x12. For the 2nd, 3ed and 4th, I can just use the monitors. And, it is THE best thru headphones.

But it is downstairs in my basement Studio, But, I don't always feel like going down there. But, I can go a little louder down there as well, as the room is treated so the neighbors don't call. Ergo these other devices. Probably, should sell some, but heck I like gear.

Bottom line, is not everything is good at ALL 'home' volume levels. In fact very few are.
 

cybermgk

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Congrats on a smart choice.

I've laughed for years at what some consider bedroom amps. You're absolutely right that 1w can get way too loud when there's others in the house or people in the next apartment.
You can rattle windows and knick knacks easily with cranked 1 watt amps. 95-100 DB is possible with a 1 watt tube amp cranked (though 90-95 is typical). A Vacuum cleaner is 80 db. Gas powered Leaf Blowers and lawnmowers are 80-85 db.

At a steady 85 db (i.e. not many peaks above that), you can go 6-8 hrs before getting hearing loss. For every 3 DB more, halve that time. So at 95, we are talking 20 minutes TOPS. You are also playing as loud as a Jackhammer

BTW, above assume you do not already have hearing loss. If you do, it becomes easier, ergo those times would be lower.
 


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