Master Volume Amps & Usable Volumes

TrippyStormtrooper

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Let's say I have two identical amps. One is 100W, the other is 18W. Both have a high quality PPIMV. Skipping past the argument if I need a 100W amp in the first place...Could I get the same, usable Bedroom / Recording volumes out of each?

I know this is inherently a stupid question and a very subjective one. But I enjoy hearing your guys' experience on the matter.
 

matthew bear

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The power section of the amp will change the amps feel, and even in the lesser volumes, the tone as well.

It's much harder to get the "squish" under your fingers with high wattage amps, or from the other end of the spectrum, a tight chug (or funky tightness, or whatever) is more easily obtained with the higher wattage.

other factors are solid state VS tube rectification, and how they spec'd out the PT and OT transformers.

Small amps haven't suited me as well as logic would dictate. I have an Avatar 45 that is a JTM style amp with a nice master volume, and it does me better than most off the shelf smaller amps out there... I also have a fender champ that's too damn loud when it's breaking up. I also like my Orange RV 50 watter that is in no way being used to it's potential (volume), It's probably closer to 5% :laugh2:

I think it comes down to personal preference, and there are many paths to tonal satisfaction...
 

Gtarzan81

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How about running less efficient speakers?

If you pit the 100w through 97db speakers and the 18w through 102w speakers, the volume may not be different.
I've got an Orange micro terror through an Eminence GB128. Those are rated at 101. 7db.

Sucker is loud for 20watts.
 

CB91710

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Could I get the same, usable Bedroom / Recording volumes out of each?
Generally, no.
Neither with a Master Volume nor with an attenuator.

You can get usable sound for practice (and it's going to be extremely touchy), but you aren't going to get a fullness and compression that you're going to want for recording.
You have to work the output section, just as you have to work the speakers.

Now, temper this comment with some of the newer higher powered modeling amps such as the Fender Tone Master series and the Boss Katana, being very usable at low levels... to the point that on the ToneMaster, plug into the XLR out, put the amp on "standby", and you are recording with zero room volume.

But if you are talking a general comparison of between, say a JCM900 and a Blues Junior, no, it's not going to be the same.
 

TrippyStormtrooper

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How about running less efficient speakers?

If you pit the 100w through 97db speakers and the 18w through 102w speakers, the volume may not be different.
Let's say for the sake of this scenario I'm running the exact same cab and speakers.
 

grumphh

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One is 100W, the other is 18W. Both have a high quality PPIMV.
Could I get the same, usable Bedroom / Recording volumes out of each?
The answer is (as always) it depends.

All you can say with certainty is that any amp (that is not a modeler) will sound different at conversation volume than it will when it is turned up to play at (rock) band practise volumes.

Whether you like the sound of any given amp at conversation volumes is purely subjective.

Same goes for two identical amps with different power outputs. It is still subjective which one you are going to like the sound of.

Both 18w and 100w can be turned down to conversation levels with a ppimv - i know, because i used to have a SuperBass with a ppimv, and yes, it could get crunch/drive at conversation levels.
But obviously it did not sound the same at those loooow volumes than when it was turned up to proper operating volumes...
 

northernguitarguy

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With in-ear monitors, my 15W Orange sounded as mighty and bold as my lead's 100W Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier.
 

The_Nuge

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I think it depends very much on the design of the MV - my SLO clone, Ceriatone HRM and MESA MK IV sound great at low(ish) volume, whereas the JCM800s I had really had to be pushed. I recently installed a Lar/Mar PPIMV in my JTM, and that's really great too!
 

JCM900MkIII

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Listening and recording will require different approaches.
Also
How do you record??? Mic? DI?
What kind of mic do you use?

Low listening volume might not be adequate for recording with for instance a Shure SM57 (as in, good listening tone will probably force you to "up" the bass a little).
For recording you want to "lower" bass instead and "up" mids compared to your normal listening settings.

Too many factors which allow for a standard/general answer
 

Splattle101

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It'll also depend on what you think 'good' tone is. For example, if you've been playing through a 100 Watt Marshall JMP Super Lead into a 4x12, and you've never got the vol above 3 but you're getting a sound you really like, then yes, you'll be able to record that at relatively low volumes. However, if you get the only sound you like out of your JMP when it's got the pedal to metal, you're just not going to get that sound at low volume.

For another example, a lot of players have never played an amp with a tube rectifier or - if they have - they've never played one that's really CRANKED. Thing is, you won't hear the difference between a tube recto and silicon diode rectifier until the amp's cranked. This means a lot of players have never played an amp that really sags under load. For a lot of us, the first time we hear the sound of recto sag from our amp, it's not a good thing. If you don't like that sound then any amp will sound better TO YOU if it's backed off a bit. Or backed off a lot.

Can you get a good sound out of a 100 W Marshall + 4x12 at bedroom levels? Yes.

Can you get the sound of a CRANKED 100 W Marshall + 4x12 at bedroom levels? Yes, but not from a 100 W Marshall + 4x12.

Not from a Marshall.jpg


It really depends on what sound you're hunting for.
 

Big John

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I've heard and played thru lots of PPIMV amps. One thing people sometimes forget about this type of master is that the PI tube can add to the distortion of the amp's tone, which can be good or bad depending on preference. That said, if you get along with using headphones and a mixer, then you really don't need a PPIMV. Available artificial speaker load options that are out there and all the impulse response stuff means you don't really need a speaker anymore.

Myself, I prefer the sound of an actual mic'd speaker that's getting pounded into submission, which is why I homebrewed an iso cab with a Celestion 150w Redback in it. I can crank the shit out of a 100w head and not the kill the cat 3 rooms over.
 

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