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If you use mainly preamp gain, is there any point in having a big tube amp?

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  • If you use mainly preamp gain, is there any point in having a big tube amp?

    My guitarist has a Peavey Classic 50 (2x12) and for the most part he'll never get to crank it very loud. Since he's with me

    He still needs his little distortion, so he'll use the preamp. I think he'd sound much better if he ran it clean.

    Actually, I think he should have a small class A amp. It would sound more interesting at the low volumes we're at.

    Anyway, is there actually any real point in having a big tube amp like that if all you're using is preamp gain?
    Terje Larsson

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  • #2
    No! At least not until he gets rid of you, Har! I have a 100 watt amp and rarely turn it up beyong 10 o'clock in fifty watt mode. The reason for having it is headroom. It will always be there if I need it. There is something about the sound of 4 hot EL34s, When it is turned up with all 4 tubes cooking it sounds great. Just too loud for most environments.

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    • #3
      I don't get it.....if the tubes don't create the distortion....then the distortion has to come from preamp sources, like a pedal for instance.

      So what's the big deal with "Mesa crunch" and "smooth hotrods"?? If they're just normal preamp distortions and do not rely on the tubes for their characteristic sounds, then what's wrong with trying to emulate them??

      Or do I just have my tube basics all wrong. Dang, I've never played one of those....but I opened up my small Yamaha VA-2 2-watt amp once and it had these tube-looking thingies. Doesn't sound fantastic though.
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      • #4
        Maybe he could pull a couple of those EL84s if he wants the 2x12" configuration for the projection.

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        • #5
          He needs a hotplate!
          Terje Larsson

          inbox is full, send e-mail instead

          Hey, wanna look at my comics? Come here then http://terjelarssonserier.blogspot.com/

          Ah, sorry, it's all in swedish, but you can always look!

          You can also check out my crazy friend Dan's crazy website where he'll teach you to master the guitar in 8 minutes (or days... or whatever).

          http://spytunes.co.uk/

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Six String Stuntman Steve
            I don't get it.....if the tubes don't create the distortion....then the distortion has to come from preamp sources, like a pedal for instance.

            So what's the big deal with "Mesa crunch" and "smooth hotrods"?? If they're just normal preamp distortions and do not rely on the tubes for their characteristic sounds, then what's wrong with trying to emulate them??

            Or do I just have my tube basics all wrong. Dang, I've never played one of those....but I opened up my small Yamaha VA-2 2-watt amp once and it had these tube-looking thingies. Doesn't sound fantastic though.


            Preamp tube OD Steve.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Terje
              He needs a hotplate!


              Maybe he does.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Terje
                Anyway, is there actually any real point in having a big tube amp like that if all you're using is preamp gain?


                Yes because the testerone-pumping, heavy, rock sounds you get from big tube amps make you into more of a man. You would have hated playing in bands with me. The last rock band I played in I ran a 50 watt Marshall plexi head on about 4 with a 4x12 cabinet. I was so loud I wouldn't even have been able to hear you tell me to turn down or get a smaller amp.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jack E Martling


                  Yes because the testerone-pumping, heavy, rock sounds you get from big tube amps make you into more of a man. You would have hated playing in bands with me. The last rock band I played in I ran a 50 watt Marshall plexi head on about 4 with a 4x12 cabinet. I was so loud I wouldn't even have been able to hear you tell me to turn down or get a smaller amp.


                  Excellent Post!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jack E Martling


                    Yes because the testerone-pumping, heavy, rock sounds you get from big tube amps make you into more of a man. You would have hated playing in bands with me. The last rock band I played in I ran a 50 watt Marshall plexi head on about 4 with a 4x12 cabinet. I was so loud I wouldn't even have been able to hear you tell me to turn down or get a smaller amp.


                    You mean, a non-master Marshall with the volume on 4 through a 4x12"? Seems like you must have been pretty loud then! You never considered getting a smaller cabinet, an attenuator or a pentode/triode switch for your amp?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ove

                      You never considered getting a smaller cabinet, an attenuator or a pentode/triode switch for your amp?


                      Never. The only thing I considered getting to make that rig better was another 50 watt half stack to run in series. That would have definitely added to the awesome ground -pounding, fret-melting, balls to the wall nature of the sound.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jack E Martling


                        Never. The only thing I considered getting to make that rig better was another 50 watt half stack to run in series. That would have definitely added to the awesome ground -pounding, fret-melting, balls to the wall nature of the sound.


                        You mean in parallel, right?

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                        • #13
                          I've never really used a whole lot of preamp gain. My Master volume setting is almost always 3 o'clock or higher, and the most I'll turn my preamp gain setting to is about 11 o'clock. Hitting the strings hard gave/gives me my crunch.
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                          • #14
                            Even if the powertubes don't distort there is still point having them compared to an SS poweramp. Dynamics.
                            It's art, you wouldn't understand.

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                            • #15
                              That's just my opinion though

                              Some dudes who have been around amps since before I was born may disagree but what the hell
                              It's art, you wouldn't understand.

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