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Do lower wattage solid state amps sound better at low volumes

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  • Do lower wattage solid state amps sound better at low volumes

    I've heard that tube high wattage tube amps sound worse than low wattage tube amps when at low volumes, so is that the same for SS amps? If it's the same speaker and everything, just higher watts. I live in an apartment and I usually only have time to play at night so I have to keep the volume pretty low. I'm contemplating getting a fender mustang II or a mustang III and I don't know which one will sound better at lower volumes.

  • #2
    Who told you that? Amps just sound different at different volumes, so you pick an amp for how it sounds at the kind of volumes you want to use it at.

    Just as a matter of perspective, a 5 watt tube amp cranked is still usually way to loud for home playing, and if that's how it's designed to be played it gets frustrating.

    On the other hand, a modern sounding 50 watt valve amp that gets its distortion sounds from preamp gain might sound much better at typical home playing volumes, with better clarity and low end response.

    Solid state amps tend to be more consistent sounding across their volume range. It's not better or rose, just different!
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    • #3

      Strictly with respect to the amp circuit, no. Solid state power amps are never pushed into their clipping ranges and a well designed chip is almost dead on linear throughout the range. The signal will look pretty much the same at 1/10 or 30W of power.

      This is typically not true of speakers, though.