Archive for Music

Less amp may give you better sound

Posted in Guitar, Music with tags , on March 3, 2009 by rsalit

I’m constantly looking at new amps. I’m a little perplexed as to the preponderance of high powered amps that dominate the market. PRS recently announced a line of amps, three models of different sounding amps that all come in either 50 or 100 watt configurations. Most bands play in bars or small clubs where a 50 watt of tube power turned up is pretty loud, maybe too loud. I went to see a band a few weeks ago in a small bar and one of the the guitar players was showing me his Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (a 40watt amp) set at 4 and his Les Paul at 1. For a nice lead tone its desirable to have guitars and amps turned up to get that rich, harmonic tube sound players strive for. In other words, he’s not going to get any kind of overdriven lead with those settings. In larger venues, you can turn up the volume but sound guy will mic all the amps and mix the sound through the PA. They don’t need the amps to be too loud as it makes his job harder. The guy mixing the sound can only adjust the volume up, there’s no way to adjust someone if their amp is turned up too high other than make everyone else louder.

A good solution would be one of the amps that have multi-watt capability. Mesa-Boogie has many amps where the wattage can be adjusted.The new Express series can switch between 5 and 25 or 50 watts. Orange amps has an amp that switches between 7 and 15 watts. Egnator has one of thee more interesting solutions in their Rebel 20 amp which allows you to dial in the wattage AND the tube mix. You can actually set a specific wattage and then set the tube mix you desire. That’s pretty crazy.

I was at a Guitar Center recently and played a Mesa Express 5:50. That’s an amp that switches between 5 and 50 watts. I played on the 5 watt setting and turned up the master volume to about one o’clock. It was really loud, probably loud enough at 5 watts to practice with my band. What’s nice is that if I need additional clean headroom, I can move to the 50 watt setting but I’m guessing the natural overdriven tones at the 5 watt setting might be really nice for a practice setting.

if you are looking at an amp that might be able to satisfy your needs in both a practice situation as well as in a small gig, these multi-watt amps might be just the thing.