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Do racks sound good at bedroom volumes?


mcr2k5

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Since a rack system is modular and can be made of an infinite number of components of preamps/effects/poweramps/cabinets and other stuff it could be built to a specification that sounds great at low volumes. It could also be built so that it only gets cooking at gig voulumes. It all depends what you put into the system.

 

The main variable when scaling a rig will likely be your choice of preamp and power amp, and how they work together.

 

For example, Lexicon had a rack system a few years ago with a power amp rated at 1/2 watt. It was designed for recording at lower volumes.

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I agree with Jaymeister - "rack gear" does not imply any special functionality or capability. There are rack-everythings. It's simply a question of how you like your cookies packaged.

 

I'd ask these questions:

 

Why do you want to play at bedroom volumes? Would you be even better off playing through headphones when you want to be quiet?

 

If so, rack gear can be your friend, because many rack preamps have passable cabinet simulators that you can turn on and off, which can be a great way to practice. Headphones at night with the cab sims on (and just accept that it will be less than perfect tone) and then straight into your poweramp and cabs when you play live. Assuming you do. :)

 

Dig

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Thanks guys.

 

The situation is that I don't gig anymore. My current amplification is total overkill for this - a Marshall TSL100 with 4x12 cab. While it sounds absolutely amazing at loud volumes, it is next to useless at bedroom levels (sounds fuzzy and weak).

 

I have recently bought a THD Hotplate, which made no difference to the sound at low volumes.

 

So I have been looking for other alternatives - all angles.

 

I am looking to attempt to get as close to the cranked tube amp sound at bedroom levels as possible.

 

I don't want to play through headphones, as I play along to backing tracks.

 

One alternative is to get a smaller amp like a Cornford Harlequin - although I'm not sure if I'd be able to use a delay effect with that as there's no loop. I guess I could get something like a POD into it for that.

 

Another alternative is to get a modelling amp, like the vox vt series. This is a nice alternative as it would only cost around

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The neat thing about a low watt power amp is that you could still use your 4x12 cab. I bet it would sound pretty decent.

 

For home practice with backing tracks you could also look into one of the floorboard style modelers like the Vox Tonelab SE, Line 6 PODxtl, or Boss GT-8. Hook that up through the power section of your head (I bet you'd have decent clean headroom), or get a small active floor wedge monitor or 2 for stereo. You could get a mini mixer, and mix in the backing track source along with the modeler to the wedges and wail away at a pretty reaseonable volume..

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If your looking for a practice tool check out the Korg Pandora's Box. This little unit is GREAT! It has great presets that cover any style you would want plus you can create your own. It has a AUX in so you could feed your CD player directly into the unit. It has built in jam tracks with selectable keys & tempo, it has a metronome, a sampler for "Learn-a-Lick" stuff or looping your own guitar parts. A headphone out, Tuner, and it is even back lit so you can read it in the dark. All in a package a little biger than a box of cigarettes. New they are $199.00. I use mine everyday, simply the best practise tool and the best $200 I have ever spent.

 

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=home/search/detail/base_pid/152187/

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My old rack sounded great at bedroom levels. Here's a picture of it:

 

P5150007.JPG

 

Why did it sound good at bedroom levels? Some of the reasons:

     

    Anyway, I had no problems with this rack. It sounded great at bedroom volumes and cranked as loud as it would go.

     

    Nick

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Originally posted by nickdahl



Anyway, I had no problems with this rack. It sounded great at bedroom volumes and cranked as loud as it would go.

 

Purple cabinets always sound the best.

:D

 

The maximizer helps a lot for that, since you're essentially adjusting the EQ like the "loudness" control on a stereo. This compensates for the ear's different response at lower volumes. I do the same thing on my rig with an EQ and presence control.

 

Google search for "Fletcher-Munson" for an explanation of this effect.

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Originally posted by TheDarxide




Take a look at the .5 - 3 watt tube amps, they'll be fine for you.

 

 

Thanks - that's kind of what I'm thinking now too.

 

Such as which ones do you recommend trying? (Preferably ones that I can get in the UK if possible).

 

I tried out a Cornford Hurricane which is 6 watt, and that just didn't sound good enough to me (probably due to the low volume level... 6 watts is surprisingly loud).

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I tried the POD XT PRO for about two months. I really wanted to like it, but I couldn't get past the "compression:" every patch seemed to have compression on it. I went back to the amp and Palmer setup, and everything is good again.

 

Nick

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You speak the truth. I'm still trying to get used to that compression too. I'm looking into getting an EQ and that may help the overall tone (I made a thread about that). But yeah, that natural compression pisses me off sometimes.

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